New technological advances continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of 3D printers. These printers are for personal, educational and professional use and they are specially designed to satisfy the needs of all users.
When you decide to buy a 3D printer, there are certain things that you should know about different models. Some printers have key features that make them unique, and you should know these to be able to choose top-performing models. The aspect of price is also important since it can also determine the quality of the product that you will buy.
As such, this guide gives you information about the features you should consider when you want to buy a 3D printer. The guide also gives you the latest ratings of 3D printers for 2019. Some printers are easy to use and are also affordable compared to other similar market offerings.
Factors To Consider When Buying 3D Printers
One thing you should know is that 3D printers are no longer for professionals and large corporations only. These wonderful devices are now affordable and viable for use by different people including engineers, hobbyists, designers, schools as well as individual consumers.
You should know that 3D printers differ from each other and they come in different styles. Other devices are optimized for a specific kind of printing work or audience. If you want to buy a 3D printer, then you should consider some of the following factors.
What Do You Want To Use Printer For?
Before you buy a 3D printer, you must be clear about what exactly you want to print. These devices can print various products like toys, household items, and other creative items. You can also use the printer to print plastic items.
In this regard, individual consumers and schools may need gadgets that are easy to set up as well as use. These customers also need printers with excellent print quality and low maintenance while designers want outstanding print quality. Artists and hobbyists wish to printers that can print objects with more than one color while businesses want to reliable machines.
Many 3D printers use a technique that is called fused filament fabrication (FFF), and it is also known as Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). The prices of different printers differ, but their features are of great concern.
Size Of Objects You Want To Print
It is vital to consider the size of the objects that you want to print. You should make sure that the printer has a large build area that can accommodate different purposes. Many 3D printers have build areas that range from 6 to 9 square inches. However, the sizes vary according to the model of the printer.
What Type Of Materials Do You Use To Print?
3D printers with lower prices use the FFF technique where the plastic filament that is available in spools is melted. It then solidifies so that it can form the object. Polylactic acid (PLA) and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) are the most common types of filament.
These filaments have different properties. PLA produces smooth prints which however are on the brittle side. On the other hand, ABS is flexible, and it can melt at a higher temperature than PLA, but the problem is that it emits fumes. Many people find the fumes unpleasant.
FFF printing uses other materials that include but are not limited to the following, nylon, Tritan polyester, polyethylene terephthalate (PETT), copper composite filaments, wood, bronze, (HIPS) as well as polyvinyl alcohol (PVA). Filaments mainly come in two diameters of 1.85mm and 3mm, but most models use smaller diameters.
3D printers usually accept generic spools or cartridges so you should make sure that the filament has the right width for your printer. You can obtain a spool holder that is capable of fitting on various spool sizes. Stereolithography printers can print at high resolutions using photosensitive (UV-curable) liquid resin which is available in bottles.
What Resolution Do You Need?
Printing resolution depends on the height of the layer which is measured in microns. One micron is equal to 0.001mm and resolution is high when the number of microns is lower. Thinner layers can capture more excellent details, but higher resolution does not always guarantee quality print.
Most of the 3D printers currently on the market can print at a resolution of 200 microns. The resolution can produce decent prints or better while some printers print at 100 microns and the photographs are of good quality. When you want to print with a higher resolution of about 20 microns, you need to adjust the preset function. You should enable the custom settings to allow resolutions that are finer than 100 microns.
One thing you should know is that higher resolutions are expensive. You pay for a premium if you want to buy a printer with a resolution of more than 100 microns. The other downside of high resolution is that it increases the print times.
For instance, if you increase the resolution by half, then it means printing will take double the time it usually takes to print an object. Additional printing time may be worth it if you want high quality. However, hobbyists and consumers need something fancy.
Do You Want Multiple Colors?
Specific 3D printers that have multiple extruders can print in two or more colors. Each extruder gets a different color of the filament. The printers can print bright objects using the files designed explicitly for multicolor printing. Each file has a separate color.
The other critical aspect pertains to choosing the ideal surface that you should be printing on. You need to get a good build platform that is not sticky in case it might be difficult to remove the object after printing. When writing an object, you need to make sure that it does not bend during the process since this can affect the quality of the print.
How To Connect The 3D Printer?
Many 3D printers operate via a USB connection to the computer. However, some printers have internal memories and can print even when you disconnect the USB cable. Some printers use Wi-Fi connections while others have SD card slots where you can write the files using the controls and displays on the printer.
A printer that prints directly from the media is advantageous in that there is no need for a computer. You need some time though to upload the files on the media before you start printing. There are also a few printers that offer different media connections. The other thing about today’s 3D printers is that they come with software you can load on a computer before connecting them.
Best 3D Printers For 2019
There are different types of 3D printers, and they have various features that make them unique. The following review outlines some of the best printers that can help you to make an informed decision when you want to buy one.
The Dremel DigiLab 3D45
The Dremel DigiLab 3D45 comes with powerful software, and it prints accurately. It is one of the best 3D printers at the present moment by its excellent performance. The printer is also easy to use, and the software is user-friendly. It can print via USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and it is has a good design and relatively quiet.
The downside of the printer is that its touch screen does not respond quickly. It also has limited colors for the filament compared to other products offered by the competitors. The printer costs approximately $1,600.
Form 2 provides quality print, and it gives the users an improved experience compared to the last generation of Formlabs 3D printers. The print quality is excellent, and it also has automatic resin feed. The printer uses Wi-Fi, Ethernet and USB connectivity and it also has a touch screen.
Its disadvantage is that it cannot detect one resin cartridge during testing. It takes some time to get used to printing and often displays a few error messages that can be confusing. The price of the printer is about $3,800 at Amazon.
The LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
The LulzBot Mini 3D Printer is simple to use and set up, and it prints with a variety of filament types. The printer has high resolutions, and it can accept third-party filament spools. It works perfectly well with Linux, Windows and OS X.
The main downside of the printer is that its print quality is inconsistent and it has high exposure to burns from a hot extruder. It costs about $1,350, and the price is affordable compared to other similar products.
The MakerBot Replicator+
The MakerBot Replicator+ is an upgrade to its predecessor, and it offers high speed and greater efficiency to the working professionals. It also has a larger build area. It is easy to use, and it also provides perfect quality print. It also has powerful software, and it is user-friendly.
The printer is relatively quiet, and it prints via USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet as well as a USB thumb drive. However, setting the printer through MakerBot Mobile app can be a challenge. The printer costs approximately $2,500, and it also has a pricey filament.
The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini
The XYZprinting da Vinci Mini is relatively cheap, it costs about $290, and it is also easy to setup and use. It is ideal for consumers, and it offers smooth prints that are of good quality. Its filament is reasonably priced, and it does not have misprints. The printer is, and it uses USB as well as Wi-Fi Connection. Its downside is that it is at times tricky to remove printed objects from its print bed.
The Ultimaker 3
The Ultimaker 3 offers excellent print quality, and it is easy to use. The printer is also reliable, and it prints with plastic filament. It has dual print cores that help you to write while using two different filament types. The printer is, and it also offers several choices of connections.
The printer costs about $3,500, and it uses default resolution while at the same time offering long print times. The 3D printer is pricey compared to other similar products in the market.
The XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 2.0 Mix
This type of printer is ideal for consumers who wish to print in two colors. The 3D printer provides excellent print quality, and it has no misprints. It reproduces via USB, Wi-Fi, and SD card connections and the other aspect is that it is quiet. The major drawback is that its use requires proprietary filament. However, it is affordable, and it costs about $450.
The Flashforge Finder 3D Printer
The Flashforge Finder 3D Printer is affordable, and its price is about $300, and it provides quality print. The printer is quiet, and it offers connection via Wi-Fi, USB thumb drive as well as USB 2.0 cable.
However, it can be tricky to start up and run. It also has poor documentation, and its printing is limited to the polylactic acid filament (PLA).
The printer offers excellent print quality that is consistent, and it also supports a variety of filament types. It also supports printing using PLA as well as ABS, and it has room for a larger print area. It also offers mobile printing support as well as a versatile software package.
However, the printing process is noisy, and its touchpad is too big. It costs about $1,450, and this amount is a bit high compared to other 3D printers which are quite.
The LulzBot Mini 2
The LulzBot Mini 2 3D printer is easy to use, and it accepts a variety of filaments. The printer is suitable for hobbyists, schools as well as people interested in buying versatile and powerful printers. It has powerful software, and its operation is quite. The $1,500 printer works well with Linux, macOS X, and windows.
The device has a print bed that is self-leveling, and it is also easy to remove finished products from the bed. However, it poses risks of burns from a hot extruder. The print quality can be inconsistent.