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Questions about printers and CAD Softwares

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    Questions about printers and CAD Softwares

    Greetings to all,

    I've been fancying the idea to get myself a 3D printer for over a year and I believe that it is time to seriously look into that hobby. As I stated in my intro thread, I'm a mine technician specialized in mine design on CAD software (AutoCAD and Deswik.CAD).

    That being said, I've began to do some research on different printers available. Given I don't want to spend over 500$ on my first printer and since I've got a Prime account with Amazon, I'll more likely order it from them, here's the three printers that have caught my eyes so far (any other suggestions are welcome by the way):

    - Comgrow Creality 3D Ender 3
    - Creality CR-20 3D Printer

    I've also read a lot of good stuff about the Creality CR-10, its a bit over my budget but I wonder if the CR-20 is that much better given I don't really need the extra working space that the CR-10 offers (as of now anyway, keep in mind that this would be my first printer). Also worth mentioning that I'm not afraid at all to assemble and troubleshoot a unit, one of my hobbies being to assemble tube guitar amplifiers.

    Now the second part of my newbie quest for informations: softwares. As I stated higher in this post, I've worked with CAD softwares as my main job tool, and so for about 10 years. I'm no expert but I can handle myself quite well with AutoCAD and Deswik.CAD. I know that in theory, AutoCAD can export a DXF/DWG file in STL extension and Deswik can do both STL and OBJ (which I believe are the most common file types that 3D printers read). That being said, anyone actually has exported such files with any success to a 3D printer? I've seen that the Anycubic support files from the Software Cura, is there a better choice out there that is also free? I don't mind learning how to use another CAD software, I'm usually a fast learner with those.

    That it for now. Thanks in advance to anyone taking the time to give an input on those matters.


    I have cr 10s and I can recommend that. No experience of other printers tho.
    I also recommend Fusion 360. It's basically free so try it



      I use AutoCad for my creation of 3D models. It does everything that I need.


        I can highly recommend the Anycubic I3 Mega. It has a large 220 x 220mm bed and is well put together and comes in under your budget!
        The cash you save could be used to purchase Simplify 3D, which is the best slicing software on the market!
        I would have a look at DesignSpark Mechanical which is free and with your experience of AutoCad, you should have no problems.


          I have a working background in the prop and model making industry. I’m semi retired but loved the entry of 3D printing into the industry and so have been itching to have one at home but couldn’t justify the up to £2k I felt needed to be spent to get a model with a self levelling printing bed. I kept an eye on the budget models and have taken the plunge with an Anycubic Mega S seeing the great reviews and feeling £300 was with a punt. So far so good great quality and the manual levelling seems fine. Most fails so far have been issues with the free models I’ve downloaded - in my opinion simple too small a surface area to be easily successful with FDM printing (experience having two Cubicon printers at my old company which we ran day and night for months on a project 4 years ago). I have used Vectorworks for creating basic 3D models and editing and scaling more complex imported models. Exporting as stl or obj which is the file types most slicing software use that converts the file into gcode for the CNC machine in this case a 3D printer. Most models that I’ve successfully printed in the past have been cut up in something like netfabb first as the most common issue I had was prints failing because one was trying to print too much in one go. Cutting and reassembling like an airfix kit always produced better results.

          So in summary.

          I’m enjoying my Anycubic Mega S.

          Autocad or any other cad software you are familiar with will serve you very well for originating or editing downloaded 3D files.

          Exporting in stl or obj for further processing is the what’s required.

          Cura seems really good so far. That’s the ‘slicing’ software that creates the gcode file for all the instructions your 3D printer needs. Latest Cura version has an Anycubic Mega print profile already in its options so you are good to go with default options you can tweak as you get more experience.

          Netfabb is a great tool to cut up your 3D model into manageable sections with decent flat surfaces that start the print off successfully.

          Hope that’s helpful and not to long winded - I can go on


            Ender 3 is a solid choice, great machine. More importantly loads of satisfied customers who can help when things go a bit wrong.


              Greetings to all,

              Just wanted to do a quick follow up on this, I finally decided to get the Creality Ender 3 Pro since it seemed like a good starting printer.

              I've received it on Monday and flew out for my job on Thursday so I didn't had a lot of time to spend on it but so far so good, I was able to successfully print a couple of stuff that I've downloaded off Thingiverse as well as an actual part of the underground mine I'm working at (basically just two drifts and the first ore stope that we took, everything was exported from Deswik to an STL file and then sliced in Cura). Given the little amount of time I could spend with it, I'm really impressed how easy it was to set it up and get it ready to print ahah.

              I will order a couple of different filaments and upgrades (nozzle, PTFE tube and new couplings) and I'll print a couple of mods during my next time off.

              Thanks to all for the inputs, really helped me to make my mind!



                I hope it goes well for you.