3D Printer Buying Guide

With more than a thousand different models of 3D printers in the market, it is only natural that choosing one can be quite confusing. Nonetheless, the most important thing is to conduct extensive research from websites such as Lady 3D and other sources and find out which models have the most appealing features. Also, see what other customers have had to say about different models from ratings and review websites. However, remember that no single 3D printer is suited for all needs. Each printer has its advantages and disadvantages. If you are planning to buy a 3D printer and you are still wondering where to start, or you are juggling through the many models and still can’t make a choice, this guide will help you to decide which model is best for you and your needs.

Build Area

The build area represents the optimal size of an object that can be created with the printer. The build area is measured in 3 dimensions which include the width, depth, and height. Even though most print jobs can be fragmented into lesser parts, which are assembled later on and glued together, a smaller build area is still limiting. Therefore, be on the lookout for a build area that is large enough for most printed parts.

Speed

The print speed is measured by the rate at which the extruder moves when laying down the print material for a filament printer. For quicker prints, you must get a printer with a fast print speed.  The complexity of the print and the material used may have an effect on the print speed. For instance, if your print models are complex and with many edges, be prepared for slow printing. Therefore, consider looking for a model with a top speed of at least 20 mm per second.

User needs

Before buying any printer, you should ask yourself what it is that you intend to achieve. Once you establish what you want the printer for, look for properties and features that are a good fit for those needs.  For instance, if a teacher wants to buy a 3D printer for demonstrations in class, he or she would probably go for a cheap option and safety features. These features would be a complete opposite of what a mechanical engineer would seek.  The engineer would want a more advanced printer with multi-material abilities, high resolution, and super speed. In short, shop according to your needs and look for features that fit those needs.

Materials

Most 3D printers use ABS or PLA filaments. PLA is quite affordable and also biodegradable. However, it can break easily due to brittleness. On the other hand, ABS tends to more flexible but needs a heated bed to print. Other print-friendly materials include wood-based filaments, copper, bronze, nylon and copper composites among others. The printing materials may be available in a wide range of colors to satisfy the preference of different users. Depending on your budget, you should go for materials that you can afford and also that will produce good quality.

Affordability

The prices of 3D printers vary from one model to another. The cheap models have a relatively small build area. They are ideal for small prints hence making an excellent choice for teachers, beginners or anyone who wants to experience first-hand, the taste of 3D printing. However, you will also find some high-end models that come with advanced features. These features contribute to the high cost of such printers. The high-end and more sophisticated printers are best suited for professionals who want to print 3D prototypes of their projects.