Originally Posted by Panther
What would be consensus on the best buy for a 3D printer that has Cura or Slic3r capabilities for under $500.00.
Or is that even a reasonable request ?
Honestly that question is as loaded as trying to ask what is the best scale to model in. It depends completely on your particular needs and desires, what YOU want to get out of it.
For my own purposes, I wanted to be able to handle a variety of different types of prints, but aiming towards something that could print items for HO trains. I also was fine with doing some assembly myself, and I actually enjoyed the process of learning all the calibration steps and troubleshooting. Finally, I wanted something that had lots of possibilities for custom modifications, and a good community available to help me learn the printer and answer questions I may (surely) have along the way (and I consider a helpful online community to be one of the most important things when starting out with new technology). I honestly spent a couple of hard months getting familiar with my printer, but now I'm confident enough to understand the settings I need for most prints.
Keep in mind that while the filament-based printers are the most popular and easiest to use, resin-based printers have also come down significantly in price and can give you high-detail prints of people in most scales starting at a $300 price tag.
So instead of asking what the 'best' printer is, you need to start with asking questions to see what fits within your skill set, allow people to suggest other pertinent questions you should ask, and take a little time to understand the factors that go in to 3D printing and how they might affect your enjoyment of the process. Of course that is probably true of most any hobby where you will be investing a lot of time and money.