3D printing is the process of making three dimensional solid objects from a digital file. The solid object is created by laying down successive layers of a material until the object is created completely. Each of these layers can be seen as a thinly sliced horizontal cross-section of the eventual object. You can say that the 3D printing is the opposite of cutting out a piece of metal with for instance a milling machine. The benefit of 3D printer is that it enables you to produce complex shapes using less material than traditional manufacturing methods.
If you’re looking for the best 3D printers of 2019, then you’ve come to the right place, as we’ve listed the top 3D printers keeping in mind which is budget friendly or user friendly or has the best features.
Formlabs Form 2:
The 3D printer Formlabs Form 2 makes the most detailed, dimensionally accurate, structurally robust models than other consumer level 3D printers. It also contains a user friendly interface though it is extremely advanced. The interface is so simple that even beginners should have no trouble using it.
Formlabs Form 2 printer; Image Source: digitaltrends.com
What average FDM printers do is, they heat up plastic filament and squirt it through a nozzle to build objects layer by layer. Instead of doing that, the Form 2 uses a laser projection system to grow objects out of a pool of UV-curable resin. As soon as the laser flashes over the resin tray, it causes a thin layer to solidify on the build plate, which is slowly drawn upward as each new layer is made. Form 2 is not the only 3D printer to use this method, but this the easiest to use because of its user friendly interface. It has some great features that make resin-based printing less of a hassle such as auto-filling resin tray and a feature that makes objects easier to remove from the build plate. You can also check the status of your print when you are away from the printer through a web app.
It is expensive in terms of the price you need to pay to buy it which is $3,500. But if you think about its quality you will feel like moving from an old tube TV to 4K UHD.
To make a beginner friendly printer, most of the companies strip away the uer’s available choices, give them less control. In most of the cases, you’ll only be able to choose from three different resolution options: high, medium, or low and have zero access on confusing settings like extrusion speed, infill density, or hot end temperature. This lack of access may ease our operating task but it also limits what you can do with your 3D printer in a big way. Lulzbot does not apply this method.
Lulzbot Mini printer; Image Source: digitaltrends.com
Lulzbot’s software lets you choose your level of complexity and control. You will get to choose two levels. The basic level will give you a simple interface from where you only need to adjust simple settings such as temp, speed, layer height, etc. The advanced level will give you more control over the printing parameters.
It allows you to print with tons of different materials as it contains in it a heated bed, a Hexagon hot end. It’s also highly upgradable.
To avail all these great features you need to spend $1,250 to buy it.
Monoprice Maker Select Plus:
Most printers in price range below $500 have build areas that are no larger than 6 inches in length/width/height. Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D printer is an exception here. It has a spacious build area of 7.9 x 7.9 x 7.1 inches. This means that not only can you print bigger parts but also can fit more small parts on the build plate, which cuts down on production times.
Monoprice Maker Select Plus printer; Image Source: digitaltrends.com
This build plate is also heated, which helps to prevent the extruded filament from cooling. This feature is crucial but it drastically reduces your chances of getting a misprint which is great. you will have to pay $399 to buy it. Unless you are willing to get a kit and build the printer yourself, this printer is arguably the best of the bunch.
Anycubic Photon printer is capable of producing insanely high-detail objects. To print it with extremely thin layers, it uses SLA/DLP printing process. Thin which is less than a tenth of the width of a human hair.
Anycubic Photon printer; Image Source: digitaltrends.com
Unfortunately it has a woefully tiny build envelope, so you can’t print anything over 4.5 x 2.5 x 6.1 inches on it. It’s also a huge pain to work with the printer’s sticky toxic resin. It is safe to wear gloves to avoid touching it, and soak finished parts in isopropyl alcohol. It is not that easy maintenance printer as other average FDM printers.
You have to pay $499 to buy it. So it is budget-friendly beast in terms of print performance, but also has a maintenance hassle.
Monoprice Mini Delta:
You will get Monoprice Mini Delta printer fully assembled and ready to print straight out of the box. To prevent warping and reducing your potential for misprints it contains a heated bed. You can find this feature on printers that cost over $1,000 but surprisingly this printer costs only $160, which is great! On top of that, the heated bed is also self-leveling, so you’ll never have to calibrate the machine manually before initiating a print.
Monoprice Mini Delta printer; Image Source: digitaltrends.com
It has a variable temperature hot end, which allows you to adjust settings. Using these you can print with a wide range of different materials such as basic filaments like ABS and PLA or advanced materials like conductive PLA, wood and metal composites etc.
Just because it’s cheap does not mean that it is a good for choice for beginners because it requires some high-level troubleshooting when something inevitably goes wrong.
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