Upgrade Old Reliable or start over?

Hey everyone, I've paid zero attention to advancements in 3D printing until just now. I just bought a resin printer and love its quality and also that I plug in a USB drive to print.

But my question is regarding my FDM from 2013... It's an Airwolf 3DXL. I've asked a few people and haven't gotten convincing feedback about what to do going forward. It is a solid printer ... Z axis doesn't wobble, has 2 steppers, and X-Y are well behaved. There is a lot of bracing and rigidity with the thick acrylic and the many threaded rods bolted through it. Chalk it up to the ME who paid attention to engineering while designing it. It's simple, strong, and rigid. It uses direct drive to print 3mm filament, has a RAMBo 1.4 board in it, and I use repetier host from a dedicated computer to print.

Wouldn't the below upgrades (amazon list) make it "like an ender" but with better stepper drivers? And octoprint will be the host, so I don't have to use my laptop?

  1. R-Pi 3 kit to run octoprint for the host. Then once this is working...
  2. 32 bit controller board (seems to include drivers)
  3. Maybe: New power supply (current one's fan is noisy so might only change the fan)
  4. Maybe: New heated bed (current one struggles to get over 105°C, used to do 110 no problem - I'll investigate its connections when I check on the power supply)
  5. Maybe: BL Touch - I rarely "level" this printer.

What am I forgetting? aka, "hold my beer" or "what could possibly go wrong"

  • I'm great with embedded designing and programming (ESP32, Arduino), just never did R-Pi before. And I'm great with linux - so I don't see problems getting Octoprint set up and running.
  • I'm great with setting up motors and controls, just haven't built a 3D printer before.
  • I've printed a few spools of ABS for small things and prototyping and make ad-hoc enclosures for it and get consistent results but would like better finish quality. I'll build a proper stand once it doesn't need a computer attached to it.
  • What do I need to change to switch to 1.75 filament? Right now, extruder has a hobbed bolt that feeds down to a hole in the carriage above the all metal hot end. It hasn't ever clogged (0.5mm nozzle) but I've only printed ABS and a little nylon in it. - If my extruder doesn't cut it, I'm not against remaking the extruder carrier to use whatever people think is the latest great product. Current extruder is mostly 3D printed ABS. I did rebuild the tensioning arm from aluminum when I broke the printed one.
  • If I get the 32 bit board, I'm assuming I'll need to do something with its firmware, which I'll go scour the github for before spending that $$.

If I don't upgrade the 3DXL, I'll probably get something comparable to Ender 5 Pro. And then what upgrades does it need? If someone says "buy new", how exactly is something new better than the 3DXL? For X and Y linear stages, there are smooth rods and 4 linear bearings. Z axis gantry has floating captive nuts on the all-thread lead screws and linear bearings on the smooth rods - the screws wobble freely and the stage remains true.

Looking to get into PLA and make shiny things for my gaming friends... My 3DXL has built in fans and shroud on the extruder carriage, so I won't need to add fans.

Thanks for any thoughts!

If this one prints fine and you've dialed it in, I'd leave it be and maybe design a new one from scratch or buy+mod something off the shelf.

If it gets left alone, it won't get used. It prints acceptably well (though never put real effort into dialing it in). At the least it needs to be able to run stand-alone.