You’ve been scouring the web looking at all these amazing prints achieved by 3D printing. You’ve looked up the hundreds of 3D printers available to buy, but money is tight…why not go for buying a used 3D printer!?
Sure, you can go and buy brand new for under £200. What if you want something that is tried and tested? Buying a used 3D printer would be the way to go and you may get more bang for your buck! Ensure you know which type of printer you want, as there are different variations out there. FDM, SLA, DLP and more!
Before buying a used 3D printer
When buying a used 3D printer, unfortunately you are not going to know its history (apart from what the seller tells you). It’s not like buying a car, where you can check its past for any faults that may have been repaired prior. Ideally, I would suggest buying from someone local to you. Then, you will then be able to personally check the printer for any visible defects and you could also ask to see it in action. There are some small prints that can be done within 10 minutes, so that should give you an idea as to how it would print going forward.
Look at any pictures available before deciding to go and see it for yourself. You may see something obvious that would make it not worth the trip!
What to look out for?
Obviously, when buying a used 3D printer, anything that would render the 3D printer useless, I would’t bother unless its cheap enough and you want it just for the parts.
Any cracks in the frame? This can cause issues whilst printing as any cracks can weaken the structure of the printer meaning more movement/vibrations as it prints resulting in poor quality prints themselves,
Any wobble within the frame? Again, like before, this can produce more movement whilst printing. This could just be a case of tightening some bolts or the eccentric nuts. An easy fix!
Does it get up to temperature? Once powered on, set the bed to 60 and the nozzle to 200. Does it get to temperature and in good time? It should only be a matter of minutes for it to get to temperature. So, if its heating up really slowly, this could be the sign of a bad thermistor, temperature probe etc…
Does the nozzle and gantry move freely? With the printer powered down, can you move the print head and the gantries without any resistance? If there is resistance, this could be a case of some screws being too tight or even the belt. The Z rods could even be bent!
Can you feed filament through? Get some filament and with the hotend heated up, can you push filament all the way through so it comes out of the nozzle? If so, great! If not, this could mean a clog in the hotend or nozzle of which would need further investigation.
These are just a few things to check for when buying a used 3D printer. I’m sure there are many more, so leave a comment and I can add them to this article!
Anything else I should know?
When buying a used 3D printer, the previous owner may have put their own mods on to it. Be this, fan shrouds, hotends, stepper drivers, fans, or maybe even a different board. If not listed in the selling description, you can ask about these so you get a much bigger picture of what they are selling. In the case of any warranty that may be left, having aftermarket parts can void the warranty.
If you do decide to take the plunge in buying a used 3D printer, good sellers would offer their support and guidance to you. Especially if you are new to 3D printing. There is a lot of knowledge and guidance online to help troubleshoot any issues, should you have any. Even here at Inov3D, we can help!
If you feel I have missed anything from this, please leave a comment below and I can add where necessary.
3D printing enthusaist, salsa dancer and motorbiker!
Started 3D printing just over a year ago after receiving a review unit, and it has just stemmed from there!
Recent purchase is a laser engraver to add to my printer, so keep an eye out for future articles on that!