Monoprice Select 3D Printer Review (part 2)

I reviewed this entry-level 3D printer soon after I got it. Now I've been using it for nearly two months and over 100 prints and I wanted to post some updates. I do continue to feel that this is a good printer for me, and for anyone who would like to start 3D printing without spending much money and without building a machine from parts. (on the other hand, you do have to endure the learning curve that comes with modeling and slicing software on your PC, which I was interested to do)

The printer continues to give me very usable results in PLA, some adequate results (but with lots of stringing) in PETG, and useless results in ABS. I've been doing PLA on painter's tape and a cold bed; PETG on painter's tape with gluestick and 75C bed. First layer adhesion is just fine, removal is sometimes finicky.

The original hot end continues to work, though I did have one pretty close call when the old filament broke during a filament change, leaving the old filament stuck in the hot end, unwilling to move forward or back. Ultimately, I disassembled the hot end so that the heat break was not in the heatsink, then heated the heatbreak+nozzle assembly to 250C from the front panel. As soon as it was possible to do so, I pushed the filament through using an allen wrench of the right cross-section. After this, I experienced more minor jams during my next few filament changes; I think there is some remaining filament melted to the inside of the heat break further up than it ought to be. But it does continue working, extruding properly.

(I've tried using the atomic method to clean it up inside, but I just can't find that sweet spot where the PLA is pullable but not too melted)

On the software side, I am getting more comfortable with Cura and OpenSCAD and I've been able to contribute a few designs to thingiverse, a few remixes but mostly original items. The firmware of the machine itself is adequate, though you do have to get used to a few quirks. The main quirk occurs when you want to print again immediately: Cura writes out an ending sequence like: Turn off heaters, wait 5 minutes, turn off fan. After "turn off heaters", the front panel UI acts like the part is done and returns to the main screen. But if you actually try to print something again immediately, the 5 minute wait is still going on and doesn't seem possible to cancel. At this point, it's easiest to just power-cycle the printer. (But it's good enough that I don't care to spend weeks figuring out how to replace the control's firmware with a proper, source-available firmware, or replace the whole control with linuxcnc, despite the superficial feasibility of either option)

As far as modifying the printer itself, I haven't done (or had to do) much. The fan sounds pretty bad, and sometimes the whole machine rattles pretty loudly when moving; I probably could do something about this by either making sure all the screws are well-tightened and/or trying some of the vibration-reducing designs on Thingiverse. I haven't had to change anything about the wiring or electronics; overheating is not a problem in my 20C house (but just wait for summer..). I did print a little "filament guide nut" that goes at the entry to the bowden tube, and a spinner for the extruder just so I can see at a glance that it's working properly, but that's just about it.

Entry first conceived on 7 January 2017, 13:50 UTC, last modified on 7 January 2017, 14:18 UTC
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