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Last updated: 01/29/2020

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Until recently, 3D printers felt like something out of science fiction movies or cutting-edge technology that was only reserved for specialized sectors. Today, however, 3D printers are available to the general public for all types of projects and applications. More and more companies are turning to 3D printers to develop their business and achieve their business objectives.

There are so many options and models when it comes to 3D printers that it is easy to become overwhelmed. To help you in your search for the right 3D printer, we have prepared the following guide so that you can learn about these products in more detail. We will cover everything from the wide variety of 3D printers available to the different types of materials used, speeds and uses. We hope that this will help you learn more about these products and choose the 3D printer that best suits your situation.

Key Facts

  • There are many different printing technologies available when it comes to 3D printing. The printing technology chosen will determine the performance and quality of the results. Keep this in mind in order to make a long-lasting purchase.
  • There are 3D printer models that are useful for both domestic and business use. All types of materials can be used for 3D printing, from glass to bronze and even chocolate. This technology makes it possible to produce products for all types of industries.
  • The type of printing you are looking to do will determine whether you need a 3D printer with a higher or lower print volume. Precision and accuracy is another aspect to consider, which is linked closely to the quality of the 3D printer.

Our Selection: The Best 3D Printers on the U.S. Market

Comparing and choosing the best 3D printer on the market is not an easy task. There are so many options that the buying process can be very difficult. Before we dive into the fascinating world of 3D printers, we want to show you what we consider to be the best products on the market today.

Best 3D Printer Under $300

Comgrow Creality Ender 3 is an easy-to-setup 3D printer that comes partially assembled, allowing you to learn about the basic construction of 3D printers as you finish putting it together. This 3D printer features an improved build surface to provide protection to your heated bed and the Y-axis frame design provides improved stability of the printing platform. The Comgrow Creality Ender 3 is the best low-cost option on the market.

Best 3D Printer Between $300 And $600

The features of this 3D printer from Ender include a built-in power supply and dual Y-axis motors and down-shift Z-axis which means the printer moves more smoothly, has fewer points of failure and fewer issues. From an assurance perspective, the Ender 5 3D printer comes with a 1-year limited warranty, lifetime technical assistance and 24-hour professional customer service.

Best 3D Printer Between $600 And $1,300

Quality materials are the focus of the FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro, which is why we have included this product in our list of the best 3D printers on the market. The sturdy metal frame and the aviation level aluminum plate with a thickness of 6.3mm ensure that this machine can withstand extreme heat without experience issues such as metal warping. For a quality product that is made from some of the best materials, the FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro is one of the best options on the market.

Best 3D Printer Above $1,300

If the price is less of an issue and you want the absolute best 3D printer on the market, look no further than the QIDI TECH Industrial Grade 3D Printer. With the ability to build products up to 11.8″ x 9.8″ x 11.8″, this 3D printer can be used for many different applications. Featuring a 5-inch full-color touchscreen with intuitive icons, this is one of the most advanced 3D printers available for domestic or industrial use.

Shopping Guide: Everything you Should Know About 3D Printers

As you can see from the products above, some of the best 3D printers are within reach of most people. However, these products continue to generate a significant amount of reluctance among the general public as many people are unsure how they work and how they can be beneficial. For this reason, we will explain in detail everything there is to know about this technology to dispel any myths or concerns.

happy children with 3d printer

You should choose a 3D printer based on the principle intended use.
(Source: Dolgachov: 69062354/ 123rf.com)

What is a 3D printer and what is it used for?

A 3D printer is a physical machine that allows three-dimensional objects to be produced. A 3D printer creates these objects by modeling molten plastic filaments, copper, wood, bronze, glass and even chocolate! (although the full list is much longer). A 3D printer works by printing in layers based on designs that are created on a computer using special software programs.

3D printers can be practically used for anything and their applications are really only just being discovered. From fields as wide as medicine to architecture or cinema, there are so many possibilities. With the best 3D printers you can create almost any object you want, it all depends on how creative you are.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of using a 3D printer?

3D printers are not only useful for fields as technical as medicine, but an average user can find countless uses that could change their lives. Of course, as with any new technology, there are some disadvantages that should be highlighted.

Advantages of 3D printers

  • Possibility of creating all types of products. From professional fields (e.g. medical tools) to personal products (e.g. a personalized doll for your child), the range of possible products is endless.
  • Reduction of production costs. Undoubtedly these machines provide great opportunities for new businesses or entrepreneurs to produce products faster and cheaper.
  • They allow you to obtain levels of personalization never before achieved. With a 3D printer, you can make exclusive garments or unique personal objects that were never before possible.
  • Imaginations can run wild. 3D printers open up endless possibilities that are only bound by the limit of one’s imagination.
  • Huge opportunity for improvement as the technology is still in its infancy. This industry has big potential for the medium to long-term as the technology improves even further.

Disadvantages of 3D printers

  • Higher quality 3D printers can be extremely expensive.
  • 3D printers can be used by criminals with bad intentions. It is possible to make weapons or other similar objects with a 3D printer.
  • By increasing the accessibility of 3D printers there are more copyright infringement cases as anyone can replicate anything.

How does a 3D printer work?

To build something with a 3D printer you must first design the object through a specific computer program. Thanks to the software that exists, you can create practically any object. The limit to what you can create is your imagination and your technical skills. However, if you prefer not to design and have an object that you want to replicate, you can scan the object in 3D and then print it.

To print in 3D, the best models on the market use filaments of various materials, as we mentioned at the beginning of this shopping guide. The materials that are used by 3D printers can have completely different origins (from glass to chocolate). 3D printers use a fusion system, a type of joining technology, that molds the filaments together to create the object.

Bill GatesFounder of Microsoft

“People always fear change. People feared electricity when it was invented, didn’t they?”

What is FDM and SLS technology in a 3D printer?

FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology is a molten deposition modeling technology. In simple terms, it is a 3D printing system that casts plastic and then pieces them together layer by layer until the final object is created. This method of 3D printing process is the most common.

SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology is a 3D printing system similar to FDM technology but designed to be used in professional environments. SLS uses a high power laser to cut through the material to shape the final product.

What do 3D injection and stereolithography printers offer?

There are 3D printers that can also work by means of injection or stereolithography (also known as SLA printing). The first option injects liquid photopolymer into a chamber and the printer molds this material into the object. The SLA 3D printers utilize a laser to create the object.

Below is a comparative table with the advantages and disadvantages of each technology:

Printer type Advantages Disadvantages
By injection Ability to combine many different materials. Excellent precision and high-quality finishes. A great option for printing a series of objects that require high-quality results. Difficulties may be experienced when combining materials with different pigmentations. Limited to the use of waxy materials that can be liquified.
Stereolithography (SLA) Excellent print speed, making this type of 3D printer a great choice for prototyping. Thanks to its versatility, these printers have the ability to create functional parts. If you’re looking for the best results, you may have to invest thousands of dollars. The quantity of production is less compared to other printing alternatives.

What are the ABS and PLA filaments of a 3D printer?

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is nothing more than a type of plastic. It is very common in today’s 3D printers. The main characteristics of ABS are flexibility, hardness, and strength. This material is already widely used in the automotive and toy manufacturing industry. However, on the downside, ABS is more sensitive to temperatures than its PLA alternative.

PLA (polylactic acid) filaments are formed with a less flexible type of plastic than ABS. However, this material produces fewer odors and is more biodegradable, as it is not derived from petroleum. In addition, PLA is more resistant to temperature changes, which avoids potential deformation problems.

What is a 3D printer extruder?

Extruders are one of the fundamental components of a 3D printer and are a key part of understanding how a 3D printer works. Without an extruder is not possible to complete the 3D printing process. Extruders are responsible for forming the filament material by melting it and joining the layers to form the final object.

Shopping Criteria

Now you know the most important aspects of a 3D printer and the technology that makes these devices so innovative and useful. However, when you go out to purchase a 3D printer, is adequate knowledge enough to choose the right product? The final step of the buying process, after learning about a product, is assessing a number of criteria so that you can narrow down your search to a few products that meet your needs. Below we list the most important shopping criteria so that you can find the perfect product for your situation:

Type of User

Depending on whether you are a business that wants to produce large objects or you are an individual looking for a 3D printer for more conventional prints, will determine the product that is suitable for you. Generally speaking, you must choose between an industrial 3D printer or a desktop 3D printer.

In our Ranking section, we have focused on desktop printers that are generally more suitable for individual or home use. Students, designers, and creative types will find these types of 3D printers useful rather than professional manufacturing businesses. However, you should be aware that industrial 3D printers exist and that there is a large market for these machines. It’s all about determining what you will use the printer for and choosing accordingly.

Paul LearyAmerican Musician

“That’s what’s cool about working with computers. They don’t argue, they remember everything, and they don’t drink all your beer”.

Material Used For Printing

The performance of the 3D printer often depends on the material used for printing, as certain materials are easier to work with than others. Also, not all 3D printers have the functionality to work with all materials, as printing metal is not the same as printing with plastic or glass. You need to look closely at the specifications of the model you’re interested in and ensure that it has the functionality to work the materials you want to use. If the information is not clearly displayed, look for additional information or consult a specialist!

It is clearly not the same to print a small doll as it is to build a big piece of furniture. This is why, depending on the size of the object that you will be printing, you’ll need a certain sized 3D printer. The majority of 3D printers have a print volume of around 8 x 8 x 8 inches. However, there are options that have the ability to produce larger objects (15, 24 inches or more). Choose the model that meets your needs.

Design And Precision Level

The design of a 3D printer has a direct influence on the performance and accuracy of the machine. We recommend that you always choose a 3D printer with main robustness as the main feature. This will ensure that the product not only produces high-quality products but also lasts for a long time. Of course, quality costs more, however, when it comes to a 3D printer, quality should not be compromised.

Printing a figure in 3d

The possibilities of a 3D printer are endless.
(Source: Alexander Traksel: 75449086/ 123rf.com)

Community Opinions

Although 3D printers are a product that does not yet have a large community user base, in recent years they have grown in popularity and have started to be used by the general public. Before investing in a specific model, we highly recommend visiting one of the many websites or blogs dedicated to 3D printers. User comments and reviews can be very helpful in choosing a quality product.

Summary

3D printers are slowly finding their place in the lives of many people. The future of 3D printers in the medium and long term is very positive thanks to the endless applications. They are a relatively new invention that will not stop improving and that offer a huge range of possibilities. Whether you are an individual, such as a design student or an architect or you are looking to start a business, a 3D printer can be very useful.

Buying the best and most suitable 3D printer will depend on your circumstances. You should assess aspects such as the material you want to use, printing size, and printing quality. With a bit of research and by sticking to your budget, you will be able to purchase the model that best suits your needs.

We sincerely hope this guide has been useful to you and you now know which 3D printer to buy. If so, please share this guide with your friends via your social networks or leave a comment below!

(Source of featured image: Luchschen: 92230252/ 123rf.com)

Why you can trust me?

As a literature and translation licensee and avid traveler, language has always been at the heart of my daily life. A freelance translator since 2014, I love to delve into a variety of topics that contribute to my professional and personal development. My favorite things in life? Maté in the morning, soccer with friends, and old school hip hop.