*Updated August 14, 2023*
I get asked all the time which software and machines I use to produce my projects. Here is a little more detail for you guys. Please note that I don't currently have any official partnerships with any of these brands, but if they were interested I would 100% work with them due to my trust in their products.
3D Printers - The Bambulab X1 Carbon
This printer came onto the market in May 2022 and quickly DESTROYED everything else in its class. It was up and running in minutes, and was printing perfectly from the first print. The best part, it is 3-4 times faster than my Prusas (see below). I haven't run into much in terms of problems with the machine. It's clogged once (due to a part design error on my part) and was incredibly easy to un-clog. I think this is a true sign of a good printer. If I needed to pick one small gripe about the machine, I wish it would come with a smooth pei sheet like the prusa machines. But this is a very small gripe.
Since I first got it in March 2023, I have been using it daily for big and small parts, and it has proven to be an absolute workhorse. For this reason, I highly recommend any of the Bambulab machines if you're looking for a printer that just works. Here is an affiliate link if you're interested in buying one that will help support more JBV Creative projects :)
3D Printers - Prusa i3 Mk3s+
I got my first Prusa in January of 2021 and it quickly overtook my other two 3D printers as my most trusted machine. The Prusa machines are as plug-and-play as it gets. The automatic leveling is spot on, the bed surface always sticks, and the printer calibration is precise. Since I make mechanical assemblies with lots of gears, levers, and other moving parts, it's important that my parts are dimensionally accurate so they can all fit together well. I have since added two more Prusa i3 Mk3s+ machines to my arsenal, and they are consistent across the board with the parts they produce, and their general reliability.
If you are interested in the Prusa machines and would like to help support JBV Creative, here's my affiliate link for the Prusa website. Please note, this is not a sponsorship, I just love their machines so I decided to join their partner program!
Laser Cutter - The Glowforge Pro
The Glowforge has been a game changer for me by allowing me to use more materials and drastically speed up my process. It's capabilities of cutting wood/plastic/cardboard have allowed me to design things that look like finish products. By combining laser cut parts with 3D printed parts, I am able to do so much more than I was with just 3D printing alone. The thing I love most about this machine is how easy it is to use. I was able to unpack it and cut my first piece of acrylic in less than an hour. It didn't require any calibration or tuning, which was huge when I was mid project and had already designed parts for it before it had even arrived.
With it's easy of use also comes some compromise- the glowforge ecosystem is quite closed. While I am normally ok with that, some of the really basic features in their 'slicing' software are behind an additional paywall which I would've liked to see included. This is easy to overcome because I am proficient in illustrator, so I can do all my design off-line before uploading to the machine.
All in all, I would recommend this machine to anyone who wants a stress free laser experience. You can use this link to get up to $500 off and also help support future JBV Creative projects.
Filament - ESun PLA+ (Cold White Colour)
I've been using this filament for over a year now- I love the colour, the consistency, and how well it prints on all my machines. They have sent me some rolls for free over the past few months, but this was because I reached out to them to tell them how much I like their filament. I have used other colours including red, green, and purple to name a few. It can be bought pretty much anywhere filament is sold.
CAD (Computer Automated Design) - Solidworks
After the initial idea pops into my head and a very rough whiteboard sketch is scratched out, I turn to CAD to bring my idea into a physical model that can be printed out. For this, I use Solidworks. I originally got started with Solidworks in university, but did most of my learning after I graduated through jobs and projects. One thing I love about Solidworks is the workflow for creating individual parts which can then be assembled. It definitely gives a similar vibe to actually building something in the real world, and I can imagine it even uses similar parts of the brain. Another great part about Solidworks is there is a large amount of Youtube content and tutorials showing everything from basic modeling to more advanced techniques. Solidworks has traditionally been a higher priced software package reserved for larger engineering companies HOWEVER they recently released a WAY more affordable copy ($99 US per year) to allow makers and hobbyists use their software. You can find it here (non-affiliate).
Something to note- Fusion360 is another very popular CAD software that is also very capable and has a huge community surrounding it. This really becomes a matter of preference- for me, I've been using Solidworks for a long time and have grown to be very comfortable with the layout. For others, they may feel similarly about Fusion360. One advantage to Fusion is that it's free for hobby use. I can't otherwise speak to the features, however I know some very capable engineers who use Fusion and swear by it.