There have been  many attempts at an entry level 3D printers, none have been more popular than the Creality Ender 3. It’s large enough to do most jobs, sturdy enough for it to be repeatable, reliable enough to be entry level friendly.

2021 Update – The prices for the Ender 3 and the Ender 3 Pro have gotten close enough in price that it’s really just a tossup. The board we recommend in part 4 is better than the one in the pro model but if you’d rather not spend the time to do the upgrades then you’re not going to miss anything. The V2 version is not so much better that its worth 100$ more than the basic unless things like a pretty display matter to you.

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When you order your printer, order a spool or two of Esun PLA PRO/+ in white, black, or gray. There are fancier colors but these spools will be used to basically calibrate and test your printer, and they are dead on consistent. Fancy colors not required.

Another thing to pick up is a Capricorn bowden tube and a craft knife. This will come up again shortly and youll be glad to have it on hand.

I also recommend you get a feeler gauge to help you level your bed and a set (or two) of relatively accurate calipers. This is a good model to start with. These will be indispensable when tuning your printer in part 2.

While you wait for all of that to show up. Head over to Thingiverse.com and find some models you want to download. I suggest you start with the bed leveling and calibration cubes. Take your pick here.

Finally, you’ll need a slicer. I prefer Cura. There are many others available but I’ve found Cura the easiest to use getting started, and it’s free. Download here.

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