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I'm interested in buying the cheapest possible 3D printer that is user-friendly. That is, I don't want to have to do any assembly or trouble-shooting. If possible I just want to set it up, download the design, and click print, without having to know technical details.

Here are the three cheapest 3D printers I've found:

  • The da Vinci Nano, which is $230.

  • The Monoprice Select Mini, which is $199.

  • Reprap, which is an open-source self-replicating 3D printer, and which is in a variety of models and prices, the cheapest usually being in the $150-$165 range.

Of the three, I think Reprap is probably the least user friendly; it involves a kit that you have to assemble.

Which product is recommended for me? I'm looking for one that is safe, and preferably one that works with an iPhone instead of requiring me to use a computer.

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    "User-friendly" is a rather vague term. For example, do you consider an easy-to-use printer with frequent failed prints user-friendly? – Mark Mar 13 '17 at 22:21
  • @Mark. No, failed prints don't sound very user-friendly to me. – Keshav Srinivasan Mar 18 '17 at 13:51
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I'm currently using a Monoprice Maker Select ($400). It's quite reliable and quite easy. I'd definitely recommend it to newcomers to 3d printing.

The Monoprice Select Mini is very easy to use and cheap, although the print bed is pretty small.

I would highly recommend the Monoprice Select Mini Pro over the standard version, as for $10 you get higher extruder and base temp as well as auto bed levelling. That alone is very valuable, and will save you a lot of time and failed prints when calibrating the bed.

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If you're looking for "cheap" and "reliable", you probably want the Prusa i3 Mk3S ($750 in kit form or $1000 pre-built). If you're willing to purchase a second-hand printer, the Prusa i3 Mk3 and Mk2.5 have almost all the user-friendlyness features of the Mk3S. There are plenty of cheaper 3D printers, but if you hang out on 3D-printer discussion forums, you'll find that they require extensive tuning, and often upgrades, before they're ready to use.

Since the Prusa printers get their instructions from an SD card rather than by being hooked up to a computer, you can probably control one from an iPhone. You'll need some software called a "slicer" to generate those instructions from a 3D model, and I don't know what, if any, is available for the iPhone.

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