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.
1. MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer, Black
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.
2. Lulzbot TAZ
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.
3. FlashForge Creator Pro
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.
4. CraftBot PLUS
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.
5. Makerbot Replicator 2
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.
6. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer with Removable Build Surface Plate and UL Certified Power Supply 220x220x250mm
This is one for the tech savvy, as it does require a fair amount of skill or aptitude to pick up the learning curve quickly. If you are a beginner, you may find it a little intimidating at first, and it is therefore better suited to those with a professional angle in mind, rather than those interested in casual and amateur printing. This Creality Ender 3 model from Comgrow comes with a rather nice, large removable build surface.
The kit does come part assembled, but to complete the installation there is a bit of work required. You can purchase expert installation as an add on, but if you are mechanically minded, it’s pretty easy to set up the remainder yourself. Just be gentle as not to mess up any of the calibration.
If for any reason a project is interrupted, or there is a power outage for example, the Creality Ender 3 can resume from it’s ‘last known position’ so to speak. So from the last location of the material extrusion head. It’s a great value 3D printer for those looking for a bit more than casual printing and with a bit of time to invest.
7. Official Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer All Metal Frame 12x12x15.5 Inch Build Volume and Heated Bed Includes Glass Bed
Another Creality model entry to the list, but this one, the Creality Open Source CR-10 3D Printer, is a behemoth. It has an all Aluminum frame with an extra large 12x12x15.5 inch build space, so bigger projects are far more feasible in a machine of this size. Though expect to run through a lot of material if you build anything that justifies this size of build space.
Some of the standout features include a true and flat glass bed, POM engineering thermo-plastic “V-Slot” wheels and unique Bowden extruder design. The firmware and design documents of the Creality CR-10 are all open source, so the community can contribute any knowledge or flair to the development of future updates and models. All in the interest of progress, which is nice. As with all Creality 3d printers, you get lifetime 24hr tech support and a 1 year manufacture warranty.
8. QIDI TECH Large Size Intelligent Industrial Grade 3D Printer New Model
The QIDI Tech Large Industrial Grade 3D Printer, is another suited to the extreme hobbyist or professional. The build area is a little smaller than the Creality model above at 11.8″ x 9.8″ x 11.8″. However, this model i sincredibly intuitive and easy to use. It comes with a nice, 5-inch color touchscreen with easy to operate buttons. It also comes with ports, including USB, for importing projects. The QIDI offers a high quality 3D printing solution, and is widely usable, supporting most filament types from ABS, PLA, TPU and Flexible Filament.
9. Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer, Idea Builder for Brand New Hobbyists and Tinkerers
This is a great 3D printer for amateur hobbyists. Very easy to use and not intimidating in the slightest. The Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer is quite a lot smaller than some of the other models mentioned above, with a maximum build with of 5.5 inches, Height of 5.9 inches and depth of 9 inches. However, for smaller, hobby projects it is a very user friendly and professional printer. It comes fully assembled, with 0.5 KG of filament to get you started straight away.
The design, being fully enclosed is a good safe option for printing when there are curious kids about. The build surface is also non heated, which is another plus point for printing when there are curious kids about that may want to reach in and remove their finished printed products. This printer will soon be compatible with the Dremel Digilab 3D Slicer which is based on the open source Cura 3D printing software. For amateurs with the budget, this is a great choice of 3D printer.
10. QIDI TECH 3D Printer, X-Pro 3D Printer with WiFi Function, Dual Extruder, High Precision Double Color Printing
A second entry from QIDI, is the Tech 3D Printer X-Pro with WiFi. There are some obvious differences between the two models though. This QIDI X-Pro is a bit smaller than the Tech model above, more similar in size to the Dremel DigiLab model above. The build space is 9.1”x5.9”x5.9” and the X-Pro also has a smaller 4.2 inch touchscreen. However, it is a great, easy to learn option for hobbyists. As with the other QIDI, this one is compatible with most filament types. Another plus point is the WiFI compatibility, as you are able to share files across a network to the device rather than having ot plug in with Ethernet or rely on USB sticks. Another great choice for the amateur or professional 3D printer.