Today, many people have expressed interest in 3D printers and have asked themselves which printer is best for their circumstances. Questions to consider before investing in a 3D printer begin with budget. A 3D printer can range from a few hundred dollars up to tens of thousands of dollars. If you’re seeking for a practical printer, there’s a lot of great choices that fall within $400 to $1,000 range.
The size of prints needs to be taken into consideration. A popular print size is 6″x6″x6 upwards, with 8” (200mm squared). However, there are printers that print in a larger scale. These types of printers are suitable for folks with larger scale projects.
The third factor that needs to be asked is the level of experience. Is this going to be your first purchase of a 3D printer? Do you have any experience using a 3D printer? Are you good with electronics or have any mechanical expertise? If this may be your first printer or don’t have patience on learning deep level technical hardware/software, then you might want to reconsider. However, if you do find this technology fascinating then this may be a fascinating hobby to be involved in.
Fourth, is materials required for your 3D printout. It’s common to use PLA, a vegetable based plastic that tends to be a go to material. However, depending on your need you may need to look into ABS, PETG or Nylon. There’s even a glow in the dark material available for your 3D projects.
The fifth question that needs to be asked is the intention? What’s the purpose of the printouts? Are you planning to use the printouts as props or RC parts? Do the printouts need to be food safe?
How about customer service? Do you expect customer service via telephone, chat or on-site? Many of the 3D printers that people purchase are small non-branded operations. As a result, customer support can be mediocre at times. If you need more than just e-mail support, then an extra investment may be considered. Also, how about the extended warranty? Many of the budget friendly printers come with zero or a very little warranty. Having to invest in a higher end printer or purchasing the extended warranty is worth taking into account. Then comes the software requirements. Do you use Windows, Mac, or Linux? You need to ensure the software supports your operating system.
Finally, if cost isn’t a factor or you’re simply interested in purchasing the best printer then you may want to consider the Ultimaker 3 Extended. The machine is recommended for intermediates and experts and the hardware and software is open source.