My Tools and Equipment

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 - Prusa i3 Mk3s+

Paul the Prusa - my favourite 3d printer

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.

The downsides to these machines are their price- $999 US for a fully assembly printer, $749 for the kit. This is about double the price of the newest Ender S1 from Creality, however to me the Prusa pays for itself in overall reliability.  I haven't had any problems with my Prusas since I bought them.  I also never have to re-print parts due to failed prints or poor quality.

My Recommendation for First Printers (or anyone looking for a new printer)

This goes against what you might read all over the internet, but if you're looking for a printer that just works, I recommend either of the Prusa machines.  The mini is a little smaller than the Mk3s+ and more affordable, but still features the auto-leveling and reliability that I've come to expect from my machines.  For this reason, you'll be spending a lot more time printing things and a lot less time tinkering with your machine (if that's what you're looking for).

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!

Filament - ESun PLA+ (Cold White Colour)

My go to material - ESun PLA+ Cold White

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).

Screenshot of the Corporate Ping Pong Machine in Solidworks

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.