3D printing technology offers a variety of possibilities, including affordable mass production, fast iterations in the design process, and the ability to creative innovative objects from 3D models. However, the market of 3D printers is vast and complicated. Additionally, the use of 3D printers can be complicated and it’s important to fully understand the individual instructions and quirks associated with each machine. Here are 10 of the best 3D printers and their features, available for today’s innovative makers, creatives and innovators.
The MakerGear M2 is a 3D printer made almost entirely of steel. Its sturdy structure and quality build make for a reliable machine, unlike some of its cheaper competitors. With raving reviews, the MakerGear M2 also comes with a highly active online community which is quick to help its participants with getting started and troubleshooting problems. It has a large build volume of 8″ x 10″ x 8″ and will work with ABS, PLA, PET, Flexible, and other types of filament. This printer can be used with any software, although its manufacturers recommend Simplify3D. Overall, this printer is ideal for people who either already have some 3D printing experience or are ready to dive in and learn everything this machine can do.
Compared to the MakerGear M2, the Lulzbot TAZ has an even larger build volume of 11.7” x 10.8” x 9.8”. It can also be used with any software, making it ideal for innovative makers. It works with PLA, HIPS, ABS, and many other types of plastic. If necessary, the user may also change the printer’s toolhead. For instance, the Dual Extruder Toolhead v2 will allow the user to make use of more specialized plastics that require higher temperatures. With a PEI (polyetherimide) print bed, your 3D prints will adhere easily to the print bed and you won’t need to use glue, provided you follow temperature and cleaning guidelines. This 3D printer comes with renowned documentation and extensive support which will help you solve any problems during the 3D printing process.
If you’re looking to get into 3D printing with resin, the Form 1+ is an ideal choice. Its build volume is 4.9” x 4.9” x 6.5”, which is effective considering the precision and cost of resin. It makes use of laser stereolithography, meaning that the computer controls the laser’s movement and only the resin the the laser comes in contact with is cured. Users will want to finish their prints through a sanding and polishing process in order to obtain a finished surface. It’s also helpful to be aware that print failures can be more common with resin printers, which can lead to added costs.
The FlashForge Creator Pro is another highly rated 3D printer. It has a build volume of 9” x 6” x 5.7” and works with many types of materials. With a metal frame and a thick aluminum plate, this sturdy machine will remain stable throughout the printing process without deforming. Additionally, this printer has two extruders in case you’d like to print multiple components at once. It uses a metal rod to stabilize the printing process, which has helped the FlashForge Creator Pro attain its reputation for reliable, quality prints.
The UP! Mini 3D printer comes fully assembled. Suitable for beginners, this 3D printer is also one of the more budget-friendly options on the market. It has a small build volume of 4.75” x 4.75” x 4.75” and will print standard materials. It is enclosed entirely in metal to prevent changes in temperature that would impact the printing process. Additionally, the metal enclosure helps to make this machine less noisy than some of its competitors. While it won’t 3D print as precisely as other machines, it is a viable option for those wishing for an introduction to 3D printing without breaking the bank.
Another budget option for beginners to 3D printing is the CraftBot PLUS, a lightweight machine that boasts a high build and print quality. No assembly is needed to get this 3D printer working. Beginners will also find the CraftBot’s software easy to use, so you can dive right into the new world of 3D printing. Like the UP! Mini, the CraftBot PLUS also has a metal case. It has a relatively large build volume of approximately 10” x 8” x 8” despites its overall small size. All in all, this device is ideal for both experienced users and beginners looking to get their feet wet in 3D printing.
The Makerbot line of 3D printers is perhaps among the most well-known in the industry. In fact, the Makerbot Replicator 2 is one of the more affordable 3D printers on the market and with that comes a large community of innovators online to help troubleshoot problems. It has a build volume of 11.2” x 6” x 6.1” and is optimized for use with PLA plastic. It does not have a heated platform, which helps to prevent your 3D print from warping during the printing process. However, it remains a useful tool, utilized by many and suitable for beginners and experts alike.
The Zortrax M200 Pro 3D printer is a quality printer well-known from its successful Kickstarter campaign. This printer focuses on efficiency and aims for low material and energy use. Platform leveling is automated, making the calibration process simpler than with other printers. Additionally, this printer has a build volume of 7.8” x 7.8” x 7” and is optimized for use with ABS. Not only is this printer easy to use, but also it has a high print quality and resolution. Overall, this printer is a viable option for those wishing to pursue approachable 3D printing at high resolutions.
The BEETHEFIRST 3D printer boasts a unique, portable design. In particular, this machine is useful for students, engineers, and architects who wish to transport their printer between home, the office, and school. The printer itself contains a handle for easy traveling, which doubles as a carrying case for extra materials and tools including filament, tape, and a spatula. It has a small build volume of 7.5” x 5.3” x 4.9″ and accepts PLA filament. Clearly, this printer is ideal for those who print small and travel often.
Although not targeted for beginners, the Prusa i3 3D Printer kit and other similar 3D printing kits provide the opportunity to learn more about additive manufacturing. For those who wish to improve their 3D printing knowledge, fully understanding the assembly process and engaging in the entire set-up of a 3D printer like the Prusa i3 can be a welcome challenge. Once assembled, the Prusa i3 3D Printer kit has a build area of 7.8” x 7.8” x 7” and accepts a wide variety of materials. It also has an active online community of like-minded makers and innovators who are ready to tackle any challenges in the assembly process. Overall, this 3D printer is not targeted towards beginners, but its quality and opportunity for engaging learning make it ideal for an experienced user.