For Eli’s birthday (he turned 9!) we got him a 3D Printer. We settled on the MonoPrice (MP) Mini 3D Printer V2. It seemed to be the lowest cost entrant into the 3D printing world that also had good reviews.
Overall setup has been kinda a pain. I had to download Cura and figure out the correct settings for the printer. There’s no documentation, so I had to google it. There’s actually a nice Reddit page for the printer that has been super helpful. It took me several days to get things set up.
Printing time is a lot slower than I was expecting. It’s typically 3-4 hours for a small figure. Also, I’ve had the printer stop half way through for no apparent reason. In general the firmware on the unit is a little buggy.
On the positive side, the quality of the printed items is awesome for the price. This is going to be a great way for Eli to explore his engineering side. Also, the Thingiverse site is great.
Overall this printer is definitely not ‘kid ready’. Even once it’s setup, you have to download CAD from Thingiverse (or a similar site). Import the CAD model into Cura, adjust it as necessary, apply the printer settings, save it to a file, put it on an SD card, start up the printer, preheat it, then start printing.
If someone came out with a fully integrated ‘itunes store’ where you could just click a print button it would be a huge step forward. Maybe the printer can be integrated as a printer in chrome and you can print directly from the thingiverse site?
For now I’m having Eli just pick items out on Thingiverse and I’m taking care of the rest of it.