Section 3: 3D Prints to Make Your Life Easier

Section 3a: Introduction

3D Printers are a game changer in the CNC and Tinkerer space. While the artistic prints get all the press, the reality is that these machines are the Yin (Additive Manufacturing) to the Yang (Reductive Manufacturering) of the CNC world. The ability to make complex jigs and tools to assist with the operation of a CNC is invaluable. As an added benefit if a toolpath should can an encounter between an endmill and a jig, your expensive endmill won’t be destroyed as it reduces the jig to chips.

3D models for printing can be made in Fusion360 as well as other CAD tools which is a great way to learn the design side of the platform.

2 of the most popular sites to find premade 3D prints for free are:

Section 3b: 3D Printers

The following are 3D printers in common use by members of the community in ascending order of price.


Used printers come up on FaceBook Marketplace, Woot, Craigslist and Ebay all the time. Black Friday sales are also a great time to get a good deal on many brands including Prusa’s.

  • Ender 3 Pro
    Chinesium in all its wonderous glory you can regularly find these on sale in low $200’s. Out of the box tuning will be required to get quality prints and most people upgrade various components to improve print quality but it is a great starter printer and you can’t beat the price.
  • Crealty CR-6 SE
    Essentially the Ender 3 prebuilt with all the major upgrades the community regularly applies to the Ender 3
  • Prusa Mini
    Prusa is a top prosumer brand in the 3D printing area and comes at a premium price. The mini is their latest entry into the field at a lower cost with a somewhat reduced initial cost.
  • Prusa IMKS3
    Prusa’s flagship 3D printer that once dialed in is a workhorse. The authors regularly runs 20 hours a day with no issues.

Section 3c: Dust Boots

Section 3d: Workholding/Clamps

Is there really such a thing as too many clamps? With a 3D printer a wonderland of workholding obsession awaits you.

Section 3e: Wasteboard Upgrades and Helpers

Section 3f: Limit Switch Alternative Mounts

Section 3g: EndMill Helpers

Section 3h: Filament

Not all filament is created equally in quality and even high end filament doesn’t work the same on all brands of machines. As with everything test before buying in bulk.

Filament Vendors:

I’ve had the most consistent results on my Prusa IMKS3 using:

  • Prusa’s House Brand - Prusament
    You can get Prusament on Amazon but its more than double the price of buying direct from Prusa. DHL gives fairly rapid deliveries from Poland so keep that in mind.
  • Atomic Filament PLA and PETG

Specific Colors:

The topic of where to get certain colors of filament comes up fairly often. Let’s face it, who doesn’t want their machine to look cool when people see it!