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Published on Aug 20, 2011
In this edition we cover the lowest price one could build a RepRap for currently ($350ish), and the most money one could put into one as a self sourced machine ($800-$900), and the differences along this scale.
Some notes, All 3 machines can print equivalently well in PLA, with the cheapest machine really only having difficulty with larger prints (over 50x50mm). The Middle machine and the more expensive one are going to have almost indistinguishably different print qualities. The reason to go that further mile is because the higher quality machine will be reliable much long, be almost immune to oxidization, have lower resistances on all axis so the electronics will be ran less hard, and be easier to assemble.
I usually tell people be to be honest with themselves, if you have the money, at the very least built the $500 machine, but the smart move is to go "all out" and get the $900 machine. Your going to have enough learning curves to fight without making the assembly/maintenance harder than it has to be.
On the other hand, if all you can afford is the $300-$400 machine, by all means built it, you can have prints even the guys that own $3500 BFB3000 printer would be impressed by if you calibrate well and use a hot air gun.