Looking for a cheap double extruder 3D printer - any recommendations?


I’m looking for a reasonably cheap double extruder 3D printer, what for printing with dissolvable supports. Amazon is not very forthcoming but I found these on Aliexpress:

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32837196728.html, https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32829543519.html, https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32763942841.html

Has anyone had experience with these? And if they’re garbage, can you recommend something under £350 that isn’t?

@laurent_muchacho is our 3Dprintopedia…

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I don’t have experience per says with those kits in particular but I can comment on the type of printer and the hardware they are coming with. So I will try to give you quick break down below as concise as I can, if you feel reading until the end I’ve put a few alternative options otherwise take into consideration the following.

Buying a cheap printer don’t always end up being the cheapest options because we omit too often the cost of our time and this will be potentially reflected exponentially when buying a printer if things do not work as expected. The first question you need to ask yourself is do you want to print stuff or possibly having to learn how to build a 3d printer to build stuff. Second are those things you want to print are for your own prototyping/creation or to produce for a client this will define the amount of reliability and reproducibility you’ll need to have. Finally don’t think because someone as positive experience with a specific clone cheap printer that it will apply to you. Buying a kit from the same aliexpress, baba , bangood etc … is an absolutely unreliable experience. The only one I can put my name next to it is TriangleLab

  • First link is a Prusa I3 architecture style and this one in particular make me think of a cheap CR10s
    - The biggest draw back of that architecture is the wobble of the z axis (in short when you bed move forward and back the extruder carriage and the top part of the frame follow the movement of the bed creating some banding on your print) this defect increase the faster you print and consequently the higher your carriage will be
    - For the extruder the chimera options is harder to setup but less prone to problem. The cyclop is really temperamental when using the original I can’t be sure this clone will be better but it’s definitely less reliable
    - That gift of a free nozzle can go to the bin straight away most clone are usually really badly machine causing huge amount of stringing so if you want to cheap get them from this shop instead
    - They seems to have cheap out on the y axis by using 8mm smooth rod and at that length that start to be a bit bouncy
    - No pictures of the extruder but I suspect they are using something similar to this and perso I think this is a crap direct extruder when combined with a bowden (bowden is the configuration when the motor pushing the filament is away from the carriage that carry the hotend)

  • Second link this architecture is the closest from the ultimaker or the makerbot. Perso I’m bias toward that architecture because I think out of the 3 it will be the more stable
    - For the extruder and hotend read the things above
    - bad things I can see is the acrylic uses for the carriage and especially for the extruder but those can most likely be replaced easily

  • Third link is a delta configuration
    - Things to be aware is that Delta printer are the hardest to get right when you assemble them and subsequently the calibration will be directly impacted if the assembly is not right. Unless it’s an expensive delta printer the cheap option are only good for printing pokemon and vases or organic shape. Printing precise, reliable and reproducible parts is the hardest.

  • Alternative options:
    - Geetech A10 : it as a bit smaller build platform but on overall the hardware seems better
    - Prusa I3 Mk3S This is probably the best options as the base machine and community support will be the best out there. There is a few hoop to jump through as you need to find that missing brass nuts but thinking about it you could mod that part to receive a plain narrow M8 nuts instead. (on the shop front FYSETC as good feedback from what I could read online)

I hope this help you a bit, feel free to ask any other question or let me know if you want to drop by for a chat. I’m usually in the space on Tuesday.

Have a great day.

ps : thx Dermot for the kudo


Thanks @laurent_muchacho for the info!

That one seems to have a mixer hotend - wouldn’t that be a problem when printing with two different materials like PLA + PVA?

If the printing temp is close (PLA & PVA have a similar temperature printing range) it’s ok however if it’s wide apart it become a problem. Usually when the tool change is triggered in the gcode you will have a retract and purge. This cannot be avoided even when using a dual hotend setup as you have to make sure that pressure within the hotend is consistent so a purge is needed after tool change.
A 2 to 1 setup make it easier to control oozing because you one have 1 nozzle in comparison on 2 hotend setup there is always a risk filament ooze hot of the unused nozzle and leave tiny blob of the other color

Word of caution PVA is extremely prone to absorb humidity making this mean that print quality or ability to print degrade in as short as an hours of print so a dry box to hold the filament while printing should be considered. I know modern one are better now that they used to be but still I never managed a single successful print using PVA as support material when I had my dual material machine.
A good read

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Do you know what size nuts these are? Because the kit you linked does sound pretty good, especially with the multi-material upgrade.

By the look of this picture this nuts hold a push fit connector QSM-M5 and this specific one is for a M5 thread so my logic and in theory if you take the mmu2-selector-front-plate from https://www.prusa3d.com/prusa-i3-printable-parts/ and modified it to receive an M5 nuts instead then it should work. it’s nuts that one of this is not available in thingiverse (no pun intended)

The advantage of the last kit in my view is that’s a clone of the original prusa so you can use all there documentation as references and forum community to help if you have any problem unfortunately you can’t use the official support provided by Prusa but that the price to pay for buying the clone instead of the original

Done a quick costing of buying a Prusa clone from a slightly more well known seller (TriangleLab), looks like buying a clone might not even be worth it. And the multi-material upgrade sounds even better than a fixed two-extruder setup, so I might get that eventually instead.

Please can you link to that printer you bought?

What, the fisher price delta? https://www.amazon.co.uk/Monoprice-Calibration-Assembled-Preloaded-Printable/dp/B07GK12G5Q/ although I’m gonna sell mine with all my upgrades when I actually get the Prusa if you want to wait

Yes I’ll probably have that off you. Can you print a test piece if I send you the file?

I personally would be really uncomfortable buying such a blatantly ripped off version of the Prusa - especially when they are using a photo off the Prusa website to sell it. How can you be sure what you’re getting?

Sure, although I’m going away tomorrow and the soonest I can get your test print done is Thursday.

Differences from the original model:

  • 10A (120W) power supply
  • Firmware to match (Marlin4MPMD “v43+ 10A” in case you want to upgrade)
  • Rewired stepper motors to match the firmware

I also bought but haven’t had a chance to install a glass bed to replace the horrible stock PEI sticker. Note that it takes 1.75mm filament as opposed to the 2.85mm of the Ultimaker.

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Heh, I missed that! But the point is that once you factor in taxes, import duties, and buying replacement parts for duff ones from the kit, the savings ain’t that much, which I was slightly surprised about

It looks like the perfect size to reproduce my current product range. In absence of another means of mass production, injection moulding or similar?

I’d just like to see the quality so I’ll send you a small example file to print.