Newby questions

Hi. I want to get into 3D printing and have downloaded FreeCAD to make sure I can use it before I start spending money. I’ve had some success and I’m confident that I will be able to progress with it.
My next step is to buy a printer and my current thoughts tend towards the Ender 3 V2. Are there any reasons why I should not start with this printer? I want to print in some of the higher melting point filaments and I believe that an upgrade to a metal hot end would enable me to do this. The Micro Swiss product seems to look good (but I’m open to other suggestions) and this might be the way I’ll go. What I don’t understand is that I suspect the printer has a limited temperature range and just changing the hot end will not resolve this on its own. Is the software (firmware?) able to be adjusted to allow higher temperatures to be selected? If so, how high will it go?
Looking at filaments on supplier websites, they seem to have 2 temperatures in their specification (I can’t remember exactly how they are described). Am I correct in believing that these refer to the hot end temperature and the bed temperature?
I’m sure that much of this would be obvious if I actually had a printer to look at but I don’t want to buy one that won’t do what I want to do.

First, an Ender 3 V2 is an excellent printer. Please note it requires assembly and while not complex you should expect it to take 30-60 minutes or more depending on your skills.

You should be able to go up to about 206C with an all-metal hot end and the standard Creality supplied firmware. To go higher you will need custom firmware (Marlin) and at some point, you will need a different, probably above about 280c or maybe 300c, thermistor. The thermistor senses the temperature at the hot end.

In theory, you can go to 260c with the stock Ender 3 V2, however, many people would not recommend it because of off-gassing of the PTFE tubing. This is a controversial subject but to be safe many people recommend keeping printers with hot ends where the PTFE tubing goes all the way to the nozzle below about 240c.

I find various formulations of PETG are printable below 240c and have impressive specifications. What type of filament do you want to print and why?

If you are looking to print Nylon or other high end manufacturing filaments you probably need a printer designed for these filaments.

Folks – what filaments are you using on your stock Creality printers?

I have the Ender 3 V2 and love it. It is a great printer right out of the box and I have had no issues. I would be interested in what filament you want to print. Most the filaments will work with this printer with out mods. I’m not one who likes to make a lot of mods if everything is working and will do them when things start to get worn out. There are lots of good Youtube videos on this printer and mods. Most my filaments I run at 200 hotend and 60 on the bed. I use mostly PLA,PLA+ and PETG

Thanks for the replies.
I expect most of my early prints to be in PLA or PETG because they are relatively cheap and easy to use. Once I master the printer, though, I am concerned that it not become a “toy” but be used to make functional items that have a practical use. This means that they should be strong with heat and weather resistance. The materials I am considering are ABS, ASA, Nylon, PP and PC. I realise that some of these are difficult to use and will take a bit of perseverance. I will also need to build an enclosure of some kind but I’m pondering the difficulties of providing fume ventilation without compromising even heat distribution. Perhaps I keep it closed during printing and use the ventilation system to purge it before opening. I’ll have to watch out for uneven cooling, though. What do you think?

Since you are a beginner I would suggest to stick with plain PLA at the beginning. This will give you enough room to play with and to learn your stuff about proper printer calibration and the optimal z position for the first layer. For normal household items PLA is enough unless you want to print parts that come into contact with food. Also temperature is not a real issue in the most cases unless you print stuff for your car, where you really need more temperature resisting materials or the stuff will melt away on a hot sunny day.

Then later on you can decide what you need to improve stuff like an enclosure with ventilation. For PLA this is not necessary

Often youtube channels are throwing tons of slicer profiles and highly important print settings you need to apply to your prints to make them fancy. Go for Curas default setup and see what you get. Then only use the stuff that you think is improving your prints. I have three printers and do not even know if Cura has a profile for them. It probably has. I just set the temperatures, the print speed and the retraction/ retraction speed. That is basically all. Beside that I change infill percentage and brim support and support, which you need to set depending on the model anyway. Works for me. The quality to my eye is perfect and I see no reason to add another 200 options to the mix to improve the mounting bracket of my figurines. When printing ABS for me it is the same. Change temperature and part cooling fan off. I also set the model to be printed 3mm in the air (using auto support fill up as a basic fake raft). Done. Prints perfect. Even so I swapped the printer without letting Cura know.

Don´t get me wrong. It is good to know what options are out there and how to enable and use them, but what works for someone else does not necessary work for you and your printer. Even if it is the same printer model as used in that video. Those 200 extra options won´t help you to fix simple problems, they drag you away from it.

You should go your pace or 3D printing can be getting really frustrating really fast.

I would ask 1 question: do you want to buy 1 printer that will last a long time and be able to handle the future stuff as well as the current, or are you prepared to use your 1st printer as a learning machine and accept that you will have to replace it later on?

If your answer is the 2nd choice, then I think the Ender 3 will do very nicely. If your answer is the 1st choice, I think you might want to look elsewhere. For me, if I had it to do over again, I would have not bought the Ender 5. I would get a printer with dual extruders, direct drive, all metal hotends, and an even bigger bed. I want dual extruders so I can use dissolvable filament for supports, and all metal hotends and direct drive so I can print nylon, carbon fiber, TPU, and polypropylene.

I would go with the Ender 3 V2 as you suggested I have one and for my first printer i think it is a good choice. I have made some changes to mine though, added a raspberry pi 4 so i can use octoprint with it, changed out the beds springs for better ones ( much less bed leveling now), replaced the plastic extruder with a dual gear all metal one and the existing bowden tubing with Capricorn Bowden tubing, about 35 dollars of upgrades and well worth the effort.

That is the crux of the situation: accept the idea of a 1st printer, or spend more right off the bat to get something that will be viable into the future.

I believe this printer will be very viable in the future as long as i maintain it and do a few upgrades on it from time to time. The only reason i could see getting a different printer other then upgrading this one would be bed size. Can already see that it would be nice to increase the volume build size some. But i can print most things i need to so not a big problem for me.

For me, dual extruder is a significant item for the future, and it appears it will not be trivial to upgrade my Ender 5 to have 2 extruders.

That would be a nice add on but i got my printer mainly to create and then print enclosures for my arduino projects i make (air quality sensors, motion sensors, door/window sensors, etc.) and for that i didn’t need anything fancy. I have learned how to do dual color prints using octoprint and a different firmware upgrade that supports the M600 gcode command for other projects i’ve printed.

You might be a good resource for an Arduino project I’m contemplating: [U]Program for Curious People Coming Soon - MakeWithTech Community Forum

Hummmm… Don’t know about the projection part of it but the clock part is easy. I use a program called Arduino IDE to program the nodeMCU’s and the D1 minis i use in my projects. Pretty easy to program once you get used to how the coding works and they already have the libraries for NTP clocks. A little clunky for coding the timezone’s and daylight savings time but that’s doable as well.

You might check out the Adafruit hardware. They have a lot of arduino parts and info on arduino kits and projects.

I’m a long-time (as in more than 6 decades) programmer, and I’ve been following Paul McWhorter’s YT video series on Arduino and its IDE, so I have some basic familiarity with the IDE.

My understanding of how many projection clocks work is that they use an LCD display that has a transparent background. A bright LED, or several LEDs, are used to backlight the LCD. A, often plastic, lens is used to focus the image on the wall.

Nice to know that NTP libraries already exist. I assume there are hardware WiFi modules for the Arduino as well?

The D1 mini’s for example already have wifi on board and the older nodeMCU’s developer boards do as well. And the wifi libraries are already created for both of those

Using a D1 mini a small arduino screen and a 3d printed case i made a device to show the octoprint progress on my 3D printer. It’s very small and sense it’s wifi connected i can put the device anywhere

Sounds like it’s a very do-able project.

Thank you all for your input. I think I’m trying to do too much too early. I’ll stick with the ender 3 v2 and see how it goes with PLA and PETG. When I need a more robust material I’ll give ASA a try, it is supposed to be not too difficult to work with. I’ll upgrade the printer when I come across specific issues.

If I understand correctly, you will need to enclose the printer before printing ASA. I’ve read that it emits toxic fumes, much like ABS.