Thoughts from both sides.....MP3DP vs Ender3

Last night I set up the Ender3 and thought it was worth a report here. Ryan, feel free to make this disappear as if it were never even posted if you’d rather not have propaganda on the forum. I won’t take offence nor will anyone that had seen it before it mysteriously vanished.

From the top - I’m super happy I had the background and knowledge that the MP3DP build provided me before the Ender came into my life. I can’t say exactly how or where but I can definitely assert that it DID make the Ender assembly easier. Partly because I understood what part did what, I understood the concepts of X, Y, and Z and end stop switches and I understood the process of filament loading and bed levelling. And when I say “understood” I mean I had a deep, deep knowledge of the above.

If I’d have just opened up and Ender3 box as my first exposure to the world of 3d printing I’d have struggled with getting the filament into the first fitting in the bowden tube assembly and then pushing it through to the nozzle (which I probably wouldn’t have preheated because I wouldn’t have known better…the “documentation” surely didn’t offer any insight).

I’d have struggled with the lead screw not knowing it’s much easier to remove the nut from the Z assembly, get it onto the lead screw and then attach it all back onto the assembly.

I also would have not had the foresight to research the printer before it arrived and preprint (using the MP3DP) several mod pieces which make the Ender a much better printer.

Satisfaction of a job done? Meh. It pales in comparison to the satisfaction I felt when that first test print started on the printer I built with my own hands from a box full of parts and some pieces of wood I cut with the MPCNC. Heck - I was over the moon just seeing the MP3DP move around under my control through the LCD.

Costwise? I bought the Ender3 Pro version which was $50 more than the base version because I knew a couple of the differences between the two were important to me. I’m a Prime member so shipping was technically free…but we pay to be Prime members so what is “free” really? Yes - I spent less than I would have spent had I built another MP3DP. But not by a lot (probably only $100 or so) and mostly due to our current crappy dollar exchange rate and the comparatively small cost of shipping. Will I buy another Ender over building up another MP3DP? I don’t know…several things influence that choice. I assure you this though - if our dollar was at par the choice would be MP3DP hands-down. No question.

Plus its easier to tell the wife “it was cheap - I built it myself”. That my friends, can be priceless.

Did you flash the controller? I’ve heard they used to come without fire protection enabled. There was a big stink that they weren’t releasing the source for a while, but I think they fixed it. The other big downside with printers like the ender is the relatively high cost of changing things. It’s not enormous. but with everything wired and fittinf together with tight tolerances, there is a barrier to doing something like changing nozzles or auto level sensors.

I think it’s a useful review. The MP3DP is not really competing with the ender. Only a crazy person would pick a diy kit like the MP3DP as their first printer :D. I started with a wanhao duplicator i3, caught the bug, built an MPCNC and then built the MP3DP. The wanhao does fine, but I wanted to make one myself. I learned enough to make the wanhao print a lot better and I have a platform to experiment without losing my ability to make parts.

I honestly think it’s quite courageous to start the MP3DP without having another printer and I probably wouldn’t recommend it. The people who would choose it after a non recommendation are exactly the kind of people who could succeed with it. I recommend the prusa mk2 or mk3 to people who are looking to print things and I suggest the local library to people who are looking to learn about it. I think either road could lead to an MP3DP.

If I needed another printer, I probably wouldn’t make another MP3DP, just because I would want to try something new, like a much bigger or a delta. If I needed a farm for some business, I think it would be a good fit, but only if the operator knew what they were getting into.

I also like the point of having two printers that look the same so my wife would think it’s really the same one :slight_smile:

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We are full of crazies…Love it.

Agreed, The MP3DP was brought about because I needed the ease of exact same specs for my “farm”. I then realized a ton of people had some really crappy printers they could salvage and use there new CNC to make a frame and build a nice printer. An “advanced” project was what it used to be called since you could print and mill all your own parts with an MPCNC, but I had no interest in making instructions or doing much support.

That said, no way to compete with China prices an no intention of doing so until they have to pay comparable shipping. There are enough printer companies out there, I only release updates to the MP3DP because I use them, 24/7/365 (no fires is a must).


I absolutely love your point of view on all of this and of course no offense taken on my part at all.

Kelly, You were able to order, receive, assemble and test a new Ender 3 already? yikes I am slow. I ordered the Prusa i3 MK3 January 16th. I just finished assembling it Yesterday. I haven’t even tuned it or plugged it in yet.

I must be one of the crazy ones then! I build a LR2 first but my first time ever even touching a 3D printer was when I built my MP3DP. It’s been a fun learning experience and I am loving the heck out of it! I just finished a modified Prusa3 filament holder and am giving it it’s first test while I print out parts for my MP3DP (changing some of the black printed parts to red, just because it looks cool. lol).

If the holder works like it is so far, then I will upload the changes I made to it to Thingiverse. I had to change some of the sizes of the parts to fit the 1/2" MDF that we use for the XZ Frame.

There is a Daniel Tiger (the successor to Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood) song that goes, “Grr, Grr, Grr out loud. Keep on trying… and you’ll feel proud”.

So much wisdom being dropped on preschoolers.

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I am also crazy then. I figure I will learn a lot more by building my own printer than buying a kit, and the learning is probably the biggest drawcard for me.

So I started in the world of 3D Printers with a Kickstarter 3D printer back in 2013 and then used the vitamins to upgrade to a H-bot printer which was loads better. I recently got the Ender 3 Pro from Banggood and for the price that I paid for it ($250 I think) I can’t believe the prints I’m getting from it. The hardest part was leveling the bed. Since then I’ve printed the astronaut phil, the martian from 3D hubs, Benchy, and the aztec guy without issues. The biggest issue that I have seen currently is that I think my cooling is down a bit but other than that I’m awestruck by the quality of print. For anybody, I would say go for a Prusa 1st if you can afford it and Ender 3 Pro second.

Heheh, I tried to start on 3D printers with Kickstarter, but with less than stellar results. The Peachy Printer ended up with one of the principles bugging out with the money, The Tiko printer ended up running out of money after they’d done some production and they ended up bankrupt before shipping. It’s really a good thing I started down Ryan’s road…

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I’m a professional crastinator. I had 37 other things I really should have been doing. So I did that instead. Hahaha

Me too! I can’t WAIT to see the look on my wife’s face when she sees that I cut the middle of the dinner table out. Had I never found V1 I would never have been able to experience that.

Well, maybe some other reason may have compelled me to one day cut the middle out of the dining table but I’m at a loss to fathom what that might be. Of course who would have ever thought we’d be carrying super computers in our pockets and sending files to 3d print from them? Who knows what will be possible in the future. I recall the Jetsons having a table with a trap door in the middle…

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This is the one that got me started:

I actually received mine but apparently a lot of others haven’t. I used that to get started, learned the process, some kid made the Qu-BD 3Up using those parts and aluminum extrusion that I upgraded to and used to print all of my initial MPCNC prints. It then busted, I didn’t want to fix it and now I have a more accurate printer at a price that is less than the one I backed at. Crazy how far technology has come!

I too backed the Tiko but then backed out because 1. I didn’t have money and 2. it started to become scammy.

Is there any reason I couldn’t flash the Ender with the MP3DP firmware?

I would google that one. Search for flashing marlin onto ender 3.

They come running Marlin. But an older version.

I think all I need to do is make sure the correct extruder info is set?

There will be simple things like steps/mm that could be different. Hopefully the board is already a preset and has a pins file. The thermistor values always seem like the biggest trouble with unknown printers.

At least at some point though, they weren’t shipping with a bootloader. When you program a microcontroller with arduino, you’re actually resetting the board, sending a signal to the bootloader and then sending Marlin to the bootloader to run on the next boot. Without a bootloader, Marlin will run the same, but the normal USB connection won’t be able to reprogram another Marlin. You need to connect to the ISP pins with another arduino to be able to program a bootloader and then you can install any Marlin on top.

You can imagine my delight when I learned I had a good reason to order an Arduino! Hahaha. It arrived yesterday. I do the test print before I reflash. Just so I know if it’s a runner or not before I try to MP3DP clone it.


A really basic question here…

I have an Ender3 which is currently printing my parts for the box of little pieces known as the LR2. I have to say, the E3 is behaving flawlessly. So my question is - what are the benefits of the PM3DP over something like the Ender3 - besides the fun of actually building it?


That’s it, maybe even less, I have not really looked into an ender. I made the MP3DP for me simple no frills so I can keep a reliable print farm going, I had previously had poor luck with imports.

I’m not sure what makes a good quality printer. The parts for the MP3DP are all well made, the frame is rock solid and it’s highly extensible. There’s not much more you can ask for out of a Cartesian 3D printer. Mostly likely, any print quality differences are from software configuration issues. You’d have to move to a Delta or CoreXY style printer for other properties besides print quality (e.g. faster printing). I really hope Ryan comes out with a delta style printer. =)

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Check out a Youtube channel called Teaching Tech. He does a lot with the Ender and upgrading it.