I started gently researching 3d printers prior to going to San Francisco Maker Faire and when I got there it felt like wall to wall 3d printers. By the time it was over, I really wanted one and as my birthday was coming, I was planning my options on the flight home and I was ready to order one the moment I got home.
The one I chose was the kit supplied by Skyhunt. http://skyhunt.net/tubularbot-aluminum-frame-3d-printer-kit/
There are a couple local companies in the Toronto area producing 3d printer kits. but I chose this one because it looked more sturdy than the competitors.
There was also some safety features of the others that I was not quite sure of. This was not the cheapest option but I considered it the best. Also the was no lead time. I am quite happy I bought this one. Finally, the book I purchased gave a list of add-ons to soup up the printer; they were all included.
From my research I found that buying a 3d printer kit has an advantage over buying pre-made.
1) There are some companies doing a “razor blade” type business were the 3d printers are cheap but the filament is special and you need to buy it from them at a marked up cost.
2) I use Linux and while some are compatible there are a lot of the pre-made 3d printer choices that are not compatible with Linux.
3) It did take about 2 weeks of working on it at night and weekends to put together, but putting it together myself gave me an additional intimate knowledge I could not get from buying off the shelf. I know how it all works, and I could repair everything with the exception of the firmware programmed into the board.