I’ve recently purchased, and had immediate success with, an Anycubic Photon 3D printer. This is a FDM (fusion deposition modelling) type of printer that, for the cost, is allowing me to print some very detailed miniatures.
There are some tradeoffs but I’ve got no problem with any of them. But it will depend on what you’re looking to get out of a 3D printer if they matter to you.
I think the two most regularly cited drawbacks of this type of printer is the cost of the resin and the smell/difficulty of working with the resin. The cost is the bigger issue of the two, with a litre costing about $90. This is way more expensive than a spool of plastic thread that other printers use. But the advantage is the “layer lines” that traditional printers make are absent when using a liquid resin. This means smaller and more detailed prints that need less post printing work.
The other major complaint I hear most regularly is the smell of the resin. It’s not as bad as I was expecting given that every Youtuber I’d watched made a point of mentioning it more than once. It’s toxic, must be used in a ventilated area, and you must use gloves. But if you’ve used two part epoxy resin for modelling water, or polyurethane primers, or tetramethly ammonium hydroxide…you won’t be overwhelmed. It’s actually not that bad.
As long as you set up your work area ahead of time, with a little forethought there’s not too much you need to worry about. I’ll continue to report on how this venture progresses, as there are a few interesting options to pursue just over the horizon….