Red Panda Apps logo 3D Printing Other Projects About Me

My experiences with 3D printing

I have a Tevo Tarantula (TT) since 2017 and it is my first printer. It costed me ~250€ incl. duty and taxes. So I'm a noob in 3D printing. A YouTube video has awaken my interested in 3D printing and I wanted to have a 3D printer as soon as possible. The price should have been low, so it had to be a DIY 3D printer. After a bit of research (actually a lot) I had two options: Geeetech Prusa i3 Pro B or TEVO Tarantula. I decided to give the Tarantula a try, because he seemed to have a better quality. Unlike other printers in this price category, the frame is made from 2040 aluminium profiles and not plastic. Now that I have my printer a few months, I want to give you some tips, from beginner to beginner.

My experiences and tips with DIY 3D printers in general

  • DIY means do-it-yourself, so take your time
  • It would be best if you add a washer to each nut, even if they are not included
  • 3D printers aren't toys, so handle them with care
  • Be careful when leveling the bed, otherwise your nozzle rams into your heatbed and destroys it
  • Be careful when removing (ABS) prints. You can destroy metal and glass beds
  • Someone should look onto your wiring, if you're not fit with that
  • Think about your cable routing. Do the wires stick or rub somewhere?
  • Begin to print small things in the corners
  • Thinigverse has the largest database, but has crappy usability
  • MyMiniFactory has a smaller database, but the models have better quality
  • Thangs and PrusaPrinters are new competitors
  • Cura is a very good (and nice looking) slicing software for beginners
  • Other free slicers worth mentioning are Slic3r and PrusaSlicer
  • Please note that your printer needs space and is (in most cases) loud. Where will you keep it?
  • Only in very rare cases you must alter the firmware directly at the beginning
  • The best filament for beginners is PLA: No heated bed required, no pollution and easy to print

My experiences and tips especially for the TT

  • I bought mine at and it arrived after 2 weeks
  • I have the standard Tarantula plus auto-leveling sensor. Fees: 205 € plus 44 € tariff
  • First of all: The auto-leveling sensor is crap. It works, but you should rather buy a capacitive sensor, they cost the same and you can use all bed materials. The original sensor runs with less current than it should, making the range shorter than it can be.
  • Everything else is super, the Tarantula has the best price-performance ratio (not anymore, because the CR-10 was not released when I bought my Tarantula)
  • The printer is suitable for beginners because two rolls of filament (PLA & ABS) and a SD card are included
  • The packaging is very good, nothing can break
  • The instruction manual has become better, but don't expect too much because there are still parts missing. I can recommend the YouTube tutorials of ArcadeEd
  • Don't wonder if it is wobbling, the frame is stable, maybe some of the acrylic parts stick out
  • There are many "experts" out there who believe they've found the perfect printing surface. For me, blue tape still works great
  • The power supply wires are not covered. Secure them properly to reduce the risk of fire. If you have children, add a plug and socket to your power supply or at least print a coverage for the wires
  • There is an active Facebook and Thingiverse group who will help you out in case of problems.
  • You should print some stabilizations for the z-axis and you can print something to prevent z wobbling

DIY 3D printers are really for tinkerers. You must think very much on your own and you have to do things by yourself. You must have a small workshop, or at least nuts, washers and a soldering iron. But if you have all these things, you will have a lot of fun and learn something along the way.

2020 Update

It's 2020 now, let me tell you what I've learned in the past 3 years. First of all, TEVO changed their name: TEVO is now Homers. I haven't done any major upgrades. I changed the print surface, because I destroyed the original one and I bought a slightly larger aluminum plate. I have to admit that I'm only printing PLA on blue tape, which works best for me. I have experimented with different fan shrouds and now have found one which is not to heavy but still provides sufficent cooling. I finished one prop, an Iron Man helmet, which came out too big. Besides that, I mostly print household replacement parts or custom mounts for lots of things. My ability to operate CAD software and slicers has improved a lot. The printer now works very reliably, the only problem is a bit of z axis sagging. A very good overview on what are good printers that is continuously updated is the website of Devin Montes. Also, the printers of Prusa Research and Creality have been proven to be very reliable in the past.