Better FDM 3D printers

So 3D printing was not really a hobby I wanted to get into. I needed parts for things I was making out of steel, aluminum stainless, and brass. It’s gotten busier and it was getting too expensive sending out for aluminum parts to be made just to try something, so I got my printer to do those parts in plastic instead and it’s been great because now I can just make something crazy just to try and I don’t have to stand at a machine all day to make it, That’s what would happen if I bought a mill which I was a hair’s breadth from doing. Now I’ve got too much to print and maintaining the printer is a thing… I’ve also been making more fun and useful stuff that’s not so critical so this thing has basically printed 24 hours a day since I got it except for a few days here and there while I’ve had some silly trouble to sort out.

So now I’m contemplating another printer and was entertaining building a Voron 2.4 because I could get a larger build volume and I can use much better components and construction but also, I see we are now printing things for other people so that might work as a side business. Time is also a thing, and I don’t think I could dedicate the time to build a Voron or one of the others like it so now I’m thinking, mostly after reading comments from @kitedemon (Alex) about his Prusa and how reliable it is. I had read this before but I was put off by their web site to be honest., all I wanted to know was the build volume, and it was really well hidden so maybe it would be better to get one of those instead and not bother anymore with the Chinese machines. The build volume thing still bugs me though. I’ve spent time and extra money getting my … starter" printer up but I can tell it’s not going to be great for long-term reliability. All my tools are top notch and I think I’m not going to be happy with run of the mill anymore


I purchased prusa i3 about 4 years ago, when I first looked at it I thought I had purchased a piece of crap. But 4 years later it still works perfectly with very, very few issues. It’s accurate and reliable, the only thing I have change is a few thermistors and nozzles.
Like you I was seriously considering buying a milling machine for small custom projects. I’m ready to buy a second 3D printer, so also looking around at solutions.
I recently purchased a resin printer, these have a much higher learning curve, and finding a resin which is strong and not brittle has been a challenge.
Prusa machines are well designed and run really well without issues. But my gut feeling is they have stopped innovating.

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I also have been looking at a Voron. the sidewinder has been a frustration and disappointment. It has even after all the modifications not absolutely reliable. I assembled my Prusa as was very fussy in doing so. It took my two evenings and part of a Saturday. I also have only replaced nozzles and a heat cartridge (because I messed up changing a nozzle.)

COVID has delayed the release of the Prusa core XY larger build volume. I expect it will look like a Voron in some ways but I am guessing. Personally I am going to wait a bit to see what the new Prusa looks like.

There is guesses about it in the background printing away during Joel Telling “3DPrinting Nerd” tour of Prusa a year ago. IF that is the new Prusa xl, I would assume they have been running it constantly to solve issues. This is how they test everything run it 24/7 for a long time to find issues. I can only guess there is supply issues and COVID issues with workforce that everywhere is having. They are behind on shipping too.

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I’m kind of on the fence about the build volume thing. I was just writing another post as a discussion starter that turned into almost an essay on why I think build volumes are as they are but abandoned it as it got too long. the more I think about it the more I’m thinking 3d printing might be a good outlet for me to get some ideas running around my head out the door. If it’s going to be a business by itself then it will need to have printers and I just can’t see myself building 3 or 4 of these Vorons to do it with. If a print takes 10 hours on a Prusa and 6 hours on a Voron then in my mind its just another prusa to solve that problem if it needs to be solved. Having a big Voron might be good to develop a larger design of something and if its successful then make a Voron to suit it and thats all it does for it’s life.

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I hear that. The sidewinder is a fair bit slower than the Prusa. Personally it is a question of a Voron Build, I like you have transitioned to 3d printing as a tool so taking time to build a printer has to counter with the $$ of my time.

If I buy a second Prusa I’ll likely buy one assembled.

I have been looking at the Troodon as well it is a Voron copy. The menu is a mess on it from the look anyway.

Then the mystery prusa.

Personally I want something that doesn’t need lots of alterations to get a good print. The sidewinder is the most expensive printer I own, it is the slowest and the debatably worst. Anyone want to buy a 4500$ sidewinder?

I am leaning Voron. I no longer trust most 3d manufactures to make a decent machine. The speed to the voron is the most attractive part. They are in the boat race are in the 11-15 min. Not awesome prints but a 30 min benchy looks great.

The sidewinder has about the same build volume as the Voron 2 but its speed makes large prints take forever. My last big print was 5 days and the body thing had a software crash on day 4.

I think a Core xy is the way to go. The true bed levelling and mesh of the Voron / Troodon is so interesting. The sidewinder T frame is not rigid and having that much weigh it needs to be.

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I just saw a few minutes of a teaching tech video where he’s building something called a Rat Rig V-core 3 some of that might even be better than the Voron design but at the beginning of the video he lists a bunch of ones he’ s considered. there are more kinds to think about than I thought. I’ll have to watch the rest of it later but seems interesting


Well that is quite interesting. The fact it sells as a mostly complete kit, makes it way easier. The price is similar.

Heavier construction too and 3pt leveling. Whe. I started making machines the welders taught me to use a 3 point structure on uneven floors to be able to weld together a frame that would be perfectly flat no matter how big it needed to be.


We use a three point system for alignment it is by far easier. It is interesting for certain. It looks like there is specific interactions rather than Voron with a guide not really interactions.I might be a better contender. Thanks Glenn.

I have questions about this 3-point leveling system. I watched the posted video. I understand how the three point leveling system works, but I don’t understand the advantage.

As a worst-case, there’s the cantilevered Ender 5 Pro, the bed of which will inevitably sag as the model it caries gets larger and heavier.

Contrasted with this, there’s the Ender 5 Plus which adds a second lead screw opposite the first one to eliminate the sag. Granted, if the model being printed has a center of mass that is off the axis between the two lead screws, I suppose the bed could start to tilt sideways slightly. From that point of view, putting lead screws in the two corners makes sense, particularly on a large build plate.

What I don’t grasp is why they use three stepper motors, three stepper drivers and the corresponding beefier power supply to run them. It seems like a waste of material, money and complexity. Why not just use a timing belt?

My Frankenprinter is going to run into that problem because of its 620x620 bed, but I was just going to go with 4 supports and timing belts.

Am I missing something?

To me ,the 3pt system is a lot less complex in terms of how many parts, I consider parts and the joints between parts as points of failure that should be counted…

I’ve seen the printers with 2 lift points, no matter where they are placed there is going to be errors cause by the joints that hold them together and whatever tolerance they use to keep it from binding. like you said the plate could be allowed to wobble and the system can’t compensate for that. with the 3 lifting points, aside from defects in the plate that spans them itself, those 3 points will always define the plane the leveling sensor is looking at. if the leveling sensor and nozzle are always on the same plane (this is currently the problem with my printer) the system can compensate for the bed level. even if the plate has defects those defects will be there every time. If you use any other number of lifting elements greater than 3 there is a possible error causing there to be 2 or more planes that are not coplanar. So if you put a lifting device at each corner and one lags a little behind the other because of friction or a slack belt then your bed won’t be level everywhere. This is not a problem on smaller printers. Mine is .03mm out between one side and the other but only at the front (after leveling) and still prints ok. but if my bed was twice the width then I’d have a whole side printing in air on the one side in the first layer.

Fewer parts doesn’t always mean less complex, as you point out. but cost aside I’d rather have parts that are absolutely and easily identifiable as the problem if there is a failure. so for the cost of the motor I can eliminate the belts. pulleys, tensioner and all the connecting points these parts fail a little at a time and are hard to notice. it’s a win for reliability but maybe a loss in terms of cost. if there’s a failure in a motor or power supply then you’ll know right away (follow the smoke). if a belt is loose you’ll lose accuracy a little at a time until it’s noticeable. I see mostly on 3d printers, and it’s a pet pareve, they use single cup point set screws on shafts that turn in both directions under load. the holes are sloppy, the threads are sloppy and often they are turning against a hard shaft while threaded into soft material. The makers don’t care because it’s not a warranty issue. it’s a sorry you lost a whole day, please tighten the set screw. and you’re relived because it was only a loose set screw.

I actually didn’t watch most of the material for that printer and I don’t know a couple things that are bug me. They use spherical bushings at the 3 points which is fine but I don’t remember seeing what concept they use to keep the 3 lead screws and vertical motion constrained an the 3 sides. Also as is my concern above how do they ensure the nozzle and leveling sensor stay on the same plane.


If you want to build one yourself, go to and check out the designs. Otherwise I would go with an Ender 5 Plus or maybe a CR-max style. The Voron is intriguing but pretty expensive option for me right now, about 400 bucks more than an Ender 5 plus, depending on how you configure it. I am building my own based on a Dash-X and Ender 5 Plus hybrid design.

We have many of the “hard” parts to build Voron 2 2.4 in stock, on the way in
The Printed Parts you’ll have to do yourself. I Don’t recommend building a Voron 2.4 as your First Printer. There’s some things you need to learn about putting printers together before starting a Voron Build. It’s a great Printer once it’s together!!

Have you Considered the Ender 6 CoreXY printer?

For those looking to build a Voron type printer, Stefan from CNC Kitchen just posted an interesting video.


Very interesting, I found many things I came to on my own to be supported. When I was using at 0.8 nozzle at the same speeds of a 0.4 (twice the material extruded) I found I needed to exceed the normal print temps too. sub 10 min benchy is impressive. I really respect the people doing that work #speedboatrace it will eventually result in faster printers and the one hour or longer benchy that is typical now.


Re: 3 point leveling: One of the biggest annoyances of my Ender 5 is that it has 4. Since it takes three points to define a plane, the only function of the fourth leveling knob is to twist the build plate. I’m pretty sure it would be justified to drive z ( on a machine where the print bed moves only in Z) with 3 lead screws ( probably with a single stepper and a belt, but cost would drive the decision)

Re: Mesh bed leveling: I don’t think there’s any compelling need to have a sensor. Manual mesh bed leveling works just fine, and keeps the machine cimpler (and the print head lighter)

re: CoreXY: I’m not completely convinced of its superiority. The drive belts are really, really long, and a lot of fiddly bits come with that. As well, all kinds of unbalanced moments get applied to the structures supporting the print head, and wear will eventually lead to stuttering and jamming.
The Y axis mechanism of the Ender 5 is a very good design. The stepper motor droves a shaft with a sprocket at both ends, driving a belt that moves the gantry. It’s very robust, and never imparts a moment to the gantry. This solidity makes it a reasonably sensible choice to mount the Z stepper on the gantry ( it deals well with the additional moving weight), but it would be a simple matter to move the X stepper to the frame, driving X via a belt that followed a T-shaped path from the stepper to the gantry, across to the other side and back, thence to the back corner and back to the stepper.


Hello LGSGreybeard I Personally have an Ender 5 Plus that i’m looking at swapping in a Duet 2 WiFi Board, Stepper DUEX5 Board, and 5i Panel due screen Once i have thess control boards in it. i’m going to be swapping the dual Zed axis system to a 3 point system as well. The Bed and Glass have Aluminium Bracing under them for increased Rigidity from the Factory. So under the Assumption that “Bed” is Flat I can do it where I only need to adjust it as a plane.

Does swapping in a touch screen interfere with manual mesh bed leveling? The procedure seems to depend upon the control wheel.

IT came from the Factory with a touch screen

However factory is MArlin based. The Duet’s are RepRap web/pull down based