What Printer is right for me?

Right now I’m torn between the A1 Combo Or the standalone P1P or possibly the P1S. Could you guys give me some reasons to go for each? I’m on a really tight budget and I’m not sure what one to do I mainly print in PLA but I want to start trying PLA-CF, PETG and TPU. Why should I go for each one?

A1 had some technical issues and has been recalled not long ago. However, should be me in your shoes, I’d determine first why do i need the 3D printer (hobby, business, education, R&D prototypes, etc), what do i want to make with it and what filament types i want to use, what printer characteristics do i need most, and based on the available budget, I’d start from the top (that’s from X1 series) & go down towards A1. Which one fits and answers the best to the above questions, that one gets home with me. Which is why a lovely X1C with 4 AMS sits now in my workshop next to a Prusa XL with 5 printing heads.

Yeah I would just be using it mostly as a hobby but I also do a bit of prototypes

P1S with AMS is cheaper than the X1C without AMS and it’s all you’ll need to print any filament you want.

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Yeah that’s my Problem tho My budget is $600 and If I’m really convinced I could stretch it to 700

IMO, the X1C is not worth the extra cost over the P1S.
It has a better screen but you’ll likely just use the app or PC to control the printer anyway. It has lidar, which by most accounts is not really necessary. It has a better camera but I have seen reviews that say the time-lapse of the P1P/S is actually better (?).
And with the money you’ll save you can get the AMS and spares.
The filaments you mentioned you would like to try are capable on any machine, A1 through to X1. But ABS, PC, ASA, PA etc. you can really only print with an enclosure, so you’re better off with a P1S or X1C if you think one day you might want to give them a try. You’d want to upgrade the extruder and hotend (on a P1S) to hardened which is not expensive or hard to do.

Yeah the only thing that’s keeping me from the P1 series is that I would only have the budget for the standalone printer but if I chose the A1 I’d be able to print in multi color. but is the multi color system really worth it?

A1 had some technical issues and BL has recalled it (see explanation from BL CEO on BL blog), but in principle, multicolor printing with BL machines means a quite significant amount of lost (purged) filament for each color change. Overall, if you’re prepared to accept this and if you’re going to fill the plate with the same item, then it’s worth having the AMS. If it’s just one item per print, then multicolor printing gets a bit expensive in terms of lost filament. Personally I went for X1C because it has an enclosed chamber and it’s not intended for mass production (printing farm) but for personal projects and as a hobby, so though it’s still painful to see the amount of lost filament due to color purges, I came to accept it as the advantages it provides overcome this downside. You’ll also have to consider the ease of maintenance and parts replacement, as the P1 and X1 series aren’t that user friendly from this perspective. I can’t speak of how replacement friendly the A1 is, as I haven’t used one yet, nor have I seen A1 users commenting in the forum on this specific topic. There’s however an A1 dedicated section where you can address your questions. I hope this post helps.

$399 for the entire a1-mini-ams combo is pretty compelling.

Yes, the price is indeed appealing. However, prior to acquiring one, consideration should be given to the poorly organized and operated customer support and to the fact that A1 had (perhaps still has) some technical issues (see A1 Recall Update) . Once aware of these points, one can make an informed decision. I’m not denying however that an A1 combo is indeed very appealing pricewise. Personally I don’t like slingers so, not really interested. But others might be, for various reasons, price being one.

By all means, do your due diligence. However, the A1 mini is not affected by the recall, and you can’t buy an A1, so it’s rather irrelevant.

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Treat this as if it wasn’t recalled

X1 Carbon Combo (must have 25 signs)


“I’m on a really tight budget” and “PLA-CF” do not fit each other at all.

Just as you provide information about the current status, your goals and the reasons why a 3D printer is needed - How do you expect a recommendation then?

Someone who has just started his own business can be just as on a tight bug as a teenager whose father has just cut off his pocket money. And if you’re short on cash because you’ve bought a house that needs renovation, I recommend something different than if you’ve been sitting in a burned-out rented apartment for 40 years and think that this is your big chance :wink:

Technical background or good at arithmetic, commercial background or strong in sales? and so on… and don’t tell me you can do everything or you can’t do anything, everyone can do something and no one can do everything…

makes perfect sense. Yes I am a teenager who started 3d printing as a hobby I make good money but most of it is going to saving for college funds. I’ve devoted the past 3 years to trying to understand and use CAD better and I’m coming from an ender 3 but want to purchase a more powerful printer to get better quality. From selling 3d printing services to my local community I make around 1000 USD a year from an ender 3 I hope to make more by buying a better printer.
I want to use PLA-CF because people will pay more mostly for its clean aesthetic look
and because my ender 3 is REALLY overused and doesn’t really work anymore :joy:

Then you can be very proud of yourself!

You may want to analyze your customer segment first. Are there more figures toys and ornaments on sale? So more customers with aesthetic demands? Is color changing an advantage or are there more products with practical uses where colors do not represent any added value… Or would improved mechanical values ​​result in a higher profit? So do you print more spare parts according to customer specifications?

The second question (which you only answer to yourself, I don’t want an answer). Where is your point of no return. How much can you invest so that you stand on your feet for a complete change of strategy (If the whole investment goes down the drain). And remember, your annual revenue is $1000, Miracles rarely happen - Customer growth is rarely more than 20% unless you hit a gold mine. Or can you reduce the risk of infections through a bite plan with your parents? You will discuss any investment with your parents first anyway…

k looking back at my most recent sales I have sold lots of toys/gimmicks but I sell those really cheap and print them with low infill. but, I sell spare parts for much more and print with much more infill for better strength. But those the month sales on spare parts are only around 3-5 while toys and stuff are around 10-15. Another reason for the PLA-CF people will pay more if I just charge an extra dollar or two and tell them that it will have carbon fiber in it. (:
Not gonna lie I feel like I’m getting some pretty professional advice here haha

Do you think that printing in more advanced materials will increase sales? I just don’t think that the average customer will really care or be able to tell the difference if I say ABS Nylon TPU or any other advance filaments that Id need an enclosure for so that’s a reason I feel like the A1 may be a better choice over the P1S

Not likely. They may pay more for a particular look (more silky or shiny or smoother, for example), but otherwise for most people it’s all just “plastic.” Unless they are into 3D printing themselves, they never will have heard of PLA or PETG or TPU. Maybe ABS.

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Remember, in the end it is your decision as a businessman. You are the one who has to bear the consequences of your decision. Call it collage of life - I think it’s really great what you’re doing and you’re learning a lot for life! and mistakes are learning lessons that are needed.

It’s really difficult to support you in your decision because every printer has advantages and disadvantages and it depends very much on the customer’s wishes. In the end, every decision goes back to the existing customers and to better fulfill their wishes better - then the business grows automatically because trust in existing customers also grows.

What I can really recommend to you is this: The book “Business Model Generation”. The people who wrote this are very successful, and the most successful business strategies are explained in a very understandable way. In contrast to the Havard Buissness concept or the St. Gallen business model, it is written in a very understandable way. Business Model Generation you will get it used for $14 and possibly the best $14 you’ll ever invest.

It outlines the 9 things you need to keep under control. Many people do this instinctively without ever thinking about it, but in the end it is clear that if one of the nine areas does not work, you will go bankrupt:

(Embedded image on another server, which may change over time and may no longer be relevant to the topic):

Maybe also put the A1 Mini on the list - it’s very cheap, if you can get a quick profit on your investment with additional small formats and run it in parallel with your Ender for a few more months (return of investment), you might soon have a second printer in there, but you have to do the math. In any case, it would reduce your risk capital and you can better assess larger investments (You could use this to do an initial market analysis) and better assess your market segment. But that also raises the question of how big your parts are.

But as I said, your business is your risk. And just by the way, if you rely on one machine or one key partner, you have a problem if one of them causes problems.