The main thing I have learnt from starting 3D printing is that it is a hobby in its own right and you have to be a bit obsessive and tenacious (stubborn) to get a decent result. I seem to have slipped on every banana skin and fallen down every rabbit hole between taking the printer out of the box and getting a passable (although not really acceptable) result. There seem to be lots of places to share the fine tuning of 3D printers but I have not found much help getting over the initial blunders that I made when starting printing. Perhaps I am alone and everyone else got it right straight away...
I have been 3D printing for a long time now. I can definitely understand how you feel its a hobby, and for some I'm sure it is just a hobby. I know when I started out it felt like one to me. I started 3D printing for my work, and eventually bought a printrbot simple metal kit. Though its now old as dirt it still works great. After using the same machine for so long, I don't view 3D printing as a hobby any more. I know my printer inside and out, all the little quarks and tricks to get a nice print every time.
I feel that if you stick with 3D printing you eventually get past that point of feeling like its a challenge, or a hobby. But until then its definitely worth investing the time into learning how to do this.
I have a MakerBot Replicator+ at work, new as of 2017. The first major Aha! was how long it takes to print. Complex pieces take 15-30 HOURS. Ok, expectations reset. On the positive side, I was impressed how strong structures were that were printed in PLA. Then the negative Aha! was that you can really only print PLA on Makerbots. But then a positive Aha! with Makerbot is their service is top notch, and the machine has been a trooper. I can sit home and watch the printer work via its built-in camera. I had trouble getting a big, flat piece to adhere to the bed, restarted 2 times. I cleaned the mat, releveled the table, and calibrated the Z-axis - still peeled. It is good we have our own little community where I work so I got a new mat that goes on the table and that has fixed problems for other makers. Another Aha! was how many unvalidated or bad designs exist on thingiverse and other sites. I am now getting dangerous with Sketchup Pro so can design what I want/need. The STL extension does not allow any tailoring so Slic3r is my next hurdle to learn.
I am considering buying an authentic Prusa I3 V2 for my own use, to use other materials. I want to stay with a 3D printer with lots of community support and Prusa seems to be the one.
When I can't get things to stay on the bed I add some little "Ear Raft" to help hold it down. (just a little flat disc or something) So far they have been working wonders. I'd be interested in knowing what mat you ended up getting that's working so great for you.
Does anybody else get periods when they wonder if they will ever get their 3D printer to print anything ever again?
First printer was a Makerbot 2x, was a nightmare. Then we upgraded to a Makerbot Replicator (5th Generation) and that thing has been perfect so far. If you can get over the sticker shock, it's basically plug-and-play right out of the box.
Am I right in thinking the Malyan I have is a clone of the Makerbot? Or is it a clone of an older version?
It certainly looks like a clone of their earlier versions, like the 2X.
I'll start with a few:
I have a dual extruder printer. Not having the extruders perfectly level with each other caused mayhem and just turned filament into spaghetti wrapped round both nozzles.
I didn't pay enough attention to bed levelling so got prints that stuck well in one part and lifted off in others then spaghetti.
I managed to get the nozzle behind the bed which ripped the nozzle out of its mounting and covered the whole heat block and print assembly with PLA as well as writing off the nozzle and damaging the heat sensor.
I put the belt tensioner on the wrong way up so it caught occasionally on the print (car) and got caught in the drive mechanism.
There are many more but let's see what others have come up with before I share more embarrassment.