Best 3D Printer Review of 2017

IMG Source: trinus3d

The 3D printer is the evolution of printers. It offers you three-dimensional objects. This device is the new trend today. It is interesting and very useful because it produces functional objects. For instance, if you want an organizer, with a 3D printer you can create one for yourself. Moreover, 3D printers are versatile; it can manufacture simple objects to complicated ones including a working gun, car or a residential building.

With a 3D printer, almost anything you have in mind is possible. Your only limitation is your imagination. If you want to know more about 3D printers, you are just on the right page. Read more to get yourself familiar with 3D printers and 3D printing.

3D Printer
PricePrice CheckRating
Weight
Build Volume
Print Speed
Max Resolution
Temp.
Nozzle
Filament Diameter
Print Method
Warranty
BQ Witbox$4.3/5
34 Kg (with box)
297x210x200 mm
200 mm/s
20 microns
15 ºC to 25 ºC
0.4mm
1.75 mm
FDM
24 months

Ultimaker 2
$$3.6/5
11 Kg
230 X 225 X 205 mm
300 mm/s
20 microns
15 ºC to 32 ºC
0.4mm
2.85 mm
FDM
12 months
Ultimaker 2+
$$4.3/5
11.3Kg
223x223x205 mm
300 mm/s
20 microns
15 ºC to 32 ºC
swappable 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 mm
2.85 mm
FDM
12 months
Zortrax M200
$$$3.9/5
16 Kg
200 x 200 x 185 mm
100 mm/s
90 microns
20 ºC to 35 ºC
0.4mm
1.75 mm
LPD
24 months
Makerbot Replicator
$$$3.8/5
16 kg
252 x 199 x 150 mm
Unlisted
100 microns
15 ºC to 26 ºC
0.4mm
1.75mm
FDM
6 months
Lulzbot Mini
$$$$4.5/5
8.55 Kg
152x152x158 mm
275 mm/s
50 microns
Up to 300 ºC
0.50 mm
3 mm
FDM
12 months
Flashforge Creator Pro
$$$$4.6/5
24.25 Lbs
225 x 145 x 150 mm 
100 mm/s
100 microns
Up to 260 ºC
0.4 mm
1.75 mm
FDM
90 days
Formlabs Form 2
$$$$$4.25 / 5
13 Kg
145x145x175 mm
1-3 cm/hour
25 microns
Auto-heats to 35 ºC
N/A
N/A
SLA
1 Year
M3d Micro 3D
$$$$$3.5/5
2 lbs
110x107x73.5 mm
55 mm/s
50 microns
ABS - Up to 265 ºC; PLA - Up to 210 ºC
0.35mm
1.75 mm
FFF
1 Year
Xyzprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3d Printer
$$$$$3.2/5
55 lbs
200x200x190 mm
150 mm/s
100 microns
Up to 210 ºC
0.4mm
1.75 mm
FDM
1 Year

What is a 3D Printer?

3d-printing-causes-harmful-health-effects-illinois-institute-of-technology_dezeen_ban (1)
IMG Source: dezeen.com

A 3D printer is the new evolution of printers. The old printers only print an object in two dimensions. You can see and touch it but you can’t feel its edges and curves. Two-dimensional objects are devoid of texture, weight and volume. On the other hand, 3D printers produce things that you can touch and feel. The objects you can print in a 3D printer have texture, volume, and weight. Moreover, these objects are usable. In short, 3D printers are the devices used when 3D printing. Looking for 3d drawing pens?

So, what is 3D printing? 3D printing, on the other hand, is an additive manufacturing process that helps you realize a three-dimensional object from a two-dimensional digital design. 3D printing builds the three-dimensional physical object by dividing the digital model into layers. The 3D printer prints each layer and it piles up. As a new layer is added to the object it gains weight and volume.

Types of 3D Printers

There are two main types of 3D printers: the small 3D printer and the large 3D printer.

Small 3D Printer – These printers are usually used to print small objects like mini figurines, cartoon characters, tools, utensils, shoes, gadget accessories, keychains, and more. These devices only have a small printing area and can even be placed on your desktop. Check out our article for small 3D printers

Large 3D Printer – For these printers, it can print large objects like vehicle parts, music instruments, furniture, and even a house. Learn more about large 3D printers in this article

Significance of a 3D Printer

If you are a businessman who wants to present a new project to your potential client, what’s the best thing to do than bring a prototype? Of course, you can present papers but bringing a model that your client can touch and feel is different. It is better, more convincing and effective.

Initially, if you want to build a model or prototype you have to carve it or sculpt it. The process is tedious and may take days. This is the reason why the overall process tends to be expensive. You have to pay for the raw material and labor, which could take days, weeks or months.

On the other hand, a 3D printer has the power to speed up the process and help you cut cost. With a 3D printer, you don’t need to wait for weeks to finish your prototype, deal with your workers’ inefficiency and pay them labor. Getting a 3D printer saves you time and money. In addition, it keeps you from worries and gives you peace of mind.

3D Printers How They Work ?

IMG Source:3ders.org
IMG Source:3ders.org

As mentioned, a 3D printer produces a three-dimensional object. However, it does so in a different way. For instance, if you do a miniature of your dream house, you will need to construct it similar to how you build a real home but with different materials. For instance, you make replicas of the walls by cutting card and gluing them together. You make replicas of the window, paint it if necessary to follow your design and attach it to the structure you build.

While seeing a machine operating in this manner could be impressive, a 3D printer has a different approach. A 3D printer is similar to an inkjet printer that is operated from a computer. However, it uses a different material in printing an object. Instead of using ink, a 3D printer uses layers of molten plastic or powder and fuses them together with an adhesive or ultraviolet light.

A 3D printer does not cut objects and glue it together to form a prototype. The 3D printing process divides the whole object into thousands of tiny slices and makes it from the bottom-up repeatedly printing over the same area in a method popularly known as fused depositional modeling (FDM).

Each layer can be very complex but a 3D printer can execute it. A 3D printer can create moving parts like hinges and wheels. You could also print a ready assembled bike, with handlebars, frame, wheels, brakes, pedals and chains without any tools.

The 3D printer works automatically and creates the model in just a matter of hours by turning a 3D CAD drawing into thousands of two-dimensional and cross-sectional layers and then sit one layer on top of another, this process is repeated until the object is done.

3D Printer Buying Guide

IMG Source: wired.co.uk
IMG Source: wired.co.uk

If you want to own a 3D printer, you should know that choosing the best 3D printer can be a daunting task, especially that there are tons of 3D printers on the market claiming to be the best. There are DIY and metal 3D printers. Some are also available for sale, which offers you a greater deal to save. So if you are planning to get yourself a 3D printer, we suggest that you consider these buying guides.

Price – 3D printers’ price differs, some are cheap, others are affordable, and some others are expensive but offer more. When it comes to price, you better consider your budget and the type of printer you need. You might also need to consider the timing when a brand offers a discount.

Materials – Determining your intended application and the material characteristic is a significant factor in selecting a 3D printer. For instance, for concept modeling applications, the physical properties of the object is not very significant. However, materials for rapid manufacturing applications need to be castable or should be high-temperature resistant. Thus, consider your application whether it is for concept models, verification models, pre-production applications or digital manufacturing is critical when choosing a 3D printer.

The two most common materials are Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS) but there are also ceramic, wooden, bronze and more. There are 3D printers that combine multiple technologies and can accommodate a number of materials, which adds to its flexibility.

Print Speed – this performance attribute could mean two things for 3D printers. First, 3D printers’ print speed could be the time required for printing a finite distance in the z-direction. 3D printers with higher vertical build speeds are preferable for concept modeling because it allows rapid production of different parts in the shortest time possible.

Second, print speed could also be the time required to print a specific part or volume of an object. This method is often applied to technologies that quickly print a single simple-geometry part but the process slows down when additional parts are added or when the complexity or size of the geometries being printed increases.

Overall, having a high print speed is always an advantage especially for concept modeling because it will allow you to quickly make an alternative of your model for comparison and improve it in a short span of time.

Part Cost – This performance attribute is determined by how much total material a 3D printer consumes to print a given set of parts. You can find the lowest part cost with powder-based 3D printing technologies like gypsum powder, where the unused powder is recycled and re-used.

Other plastic part technologies use consumable materials for printing the part and the support with less waste. However, other plastic part technologies separate the less expensive support that needs to be removed after 3D printing by melting, dissolving or blasting with pressurized water.

These technologies are expensive because they use a greater amount of material to print the support and may require special handling and disposal precautions. The water blasting method, for instance, requires a water source and drain that can add thousands to your preparation cost.

Be aware that some popular 3D printers blend expensive build material into support material during the 3D printing process to create support but this will increase your total cost of materials consumed. In addition, this produces more in-process material waste. So when choosing a 3D printer, learn how it operates before purchasing it or you might spend more when using it.

Detail Resolution – This 3D printer attribute is usually stated in dots per inch (DPI), Z-layer thickness, pixel size, beam spot size and bead diameter. You can double check the resolution by visual inspection. Use a digital microscope and examine the edge, corner definition and texture. If you need a 3D printer for verification testing, you need one with a great detail resolution because the printed parts need to follow the design accurately.

Accuracy – This attribute refers to the overall results of your 3D printer. When 3D printing you produces each part additively and you may have to deal with material shrinkage, which needs to be compensated to produce accurate results. Power-based 3D printers have the least shrink distortion and are generally accurate. Meanwhile, plastic 3D printing technologies that use heat, UV light or both are subject to more variables that can reduce its accuracy. Accuracy is critical for 3D printing specific measurement test parts.

Best 3D Printers

IMG Source: flipboard.com
IMG Source: flipboard.com
If you agree or if you are convinced that 3D printers are beneficial in your business or operation, you should get one for yourself. We understand that choosing the best 3D printer on the market is challenging, especially that there are tons of 3D printers claiming to be the best. To help you narrow down your choices, here’re the best 3D printers that you should consider.

#1 BQ Witbox 2

Is a Spanish 3D printer with reinforced chassis that allows stacking of multiple printers. This brand is the best 3D printer that you can find in the market. It is ready-to-use and is perfect for domestic, professional and educational environments.

It comes with a new inductor sensor for maximum precision, an efficient extruder to print what you imagine and a new circuit board that offers better heat dissipation. All of these items contribute to give you extraordinary results.

Pros
  • Flawless results
  • New and more intuitive graphic LCD display with high resolution
  • Better user experience
  • Dedicated support service
Cons
  • Noisy
  • Sticks to the print bed without BuildTalk
  • Can only accommodate PLA

#2 Ultimaker 2

This 3D printer offers a fast speed and superior precision that when taken together results in an impressively detailed product.

This 3D printer is perfect for anyone, regardless of his skill level. Ultimaker 2 comes with premium features and offers high-quality results.

Pros
  • High resolution
  • Excellent build quality
  • Easy to maintain and repair
Cons
  • More expensive compared to other brands
  • Noisier than Felix and Printrbot
  • No pre-heat function to speed up the process
  • Difficult to disassemble components for repair or maintenance

#3 Ultimaker 2+

What set this 3D printer apart from the rest is its ability to 3D print difficult tasks with ease. One of the benefits of these is the extensive research and development available.

This makes it excel at bridging and enables it to produce accurate details to realize the intricate shapes and sizes of your model. This 3D printer has an innovative feeder for easy swapping of filament and choosing of pressure. It also offers an easy switch between 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 mm nozzles for greater detail and faster speed. Moreover, is comes with new fan caps to optimize airflow and enjoy smoother prints.

Pros
  • Open filament system (this means that you are able to use any kind of filament and combine different materials to get the exact finish that you wish)
  • Quieter than other 3D printers
  • Lifetime active support
  • Calibration card to build the plate
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited to printing from SD card
  • Sometimes misprints

#4 Zortrax m200

This 3D printer is popular due to its reliability, efficiency, and precision. It features an integrated system and comes in a wide selection of professional materials with a variety of qualities and colors.

With its dimensional accuracy and precise repeatability, Zortrax M200 will meet every inch of your expectation. Moreover, it is offered at a more reasonable price, which makes it one of the most competitive 3D printers on the market.

Pros
  • Combines ease of use and professional quality
  • Requires little to no maintenance
  • Great print quality
  • Reliable
  • Best value for money
Cons
  • Material availability
  • Connectivity
  • Not open source

#5 Makerbot Replicator

This 3D printer offers you the easiest and most versatile process of getting your 3D model to 3D print. It embodies the new standards of convenience, quality, and reliability with its smart extruder, motion controllers and gantry design.

Aside from this, it comes with Wi-Fi, USB and Ethernet connectivity for seamless production workflow. It also comes with app and cloud enabled, onboard camera and diagnostics, and assisted build plate leveling.

Pros
  • Uses MakerBot PLA filament which is uniformly round for consistent flow and smooth and even layers
  • Supported by MakerBot 3D Ecosystem that integrates seamlessly for a satisfying user experience.
  • Compatible with MakerBot Smart Extruder+
  • Perfect for educational and home use
  • Produces professional quality and high-resolution prototypes and models
  • Reliable Support – backed by an extensive Quality Assurance operation and technical support to ensure success when 3D printing
Cons
  • Overpriced compared to other brands like Zortrax M200
  • Extruders are critical but not reliable
  • Not easy to fix
  • Noisy

#6 LulzBot Mini

Is a high-quality and high-performance desktop 3D printer that works great for home use, designers, engineers, architects and anyone looking for an easy-to-use desktop 3D printer.

This 3D printer is very easy to use. You can easily use it after unboxing, no assembly needed. Moreover, it comes with straightforward software and easy to read and comprehensive documentation. You also need not worry, in case you encounter a problem because LulzBot has an army of enthusiasts that are eager and willing to help you to get started.

Pros
  • Small and compact design
  • Portable with easy to carry handle
  • Comes with excellent software
  • Quick print settings
  • Supports several materials
Cons
  • Requires computer connection during printing
  • Noisy with high-pitched whine
  • Some prints include stray material and needs cleaning

#7 FlashForge Creator Pro

This 3D printer has striking similarities with the Makerbot Replicator 2X. This model is a better version of the entry level Flashforge Creator, only that it comes with a metal frame and enclosed chassis.

It also comes with an improved platform leveling system, metal build plate and guide rod to help with stabilization and durability. Furthermore, it is more flexible than most 3D printers because it has dual extruders and can accommodate different printing materials including ABS, PLA, and PVA.

Pros
  • Uses MakerBot PLA filament which is uniformly round for consistent flow and smooth and even layers
  • Supported by MakerBot 3D Ecosystem that integrates seamlessly for a satisfying user experience.
  • Compatible with MakerBot Smart Extruder+
  • Perfect for educational and home use
  • Produces professional quality and high-resolution prototypes and models
  • Reliable Support – backed by an extensive Quality Assurance operation and technical support to ensure success when 3D printing
Cons
  • Overpriced compared to other brands like Zortrax M200
  • Extruders are critical but not reliable
  • Not easy to fix
  • Noisy

#8 Formlabs Form 2

This 3D printer offers you everything to get started with 3D printing. In fact, it offers more. Formlabs Form 2 has a powerful optical engine and automated resin system for bigger and better prints with less mess and longer tank life.

It is engineered with precision and is designed with your comfort in mind. It comes with a new touch screen interface and wireless connectivity, so you can easily send prints over Wi-Fi, reprint your previous jobs and manage print queue wherever you are because you can access Form 2 anytime and anywhere. Overall, this 3D printer is one of the best 3D printers on the market. It produces you laser-sharp prints with a stunning surface finish, not to mention the comfort and convenience it offers.

Pros
  • Auto-orient for optimal print
  • Auto-mesh repair
  • Auto-generation support
  • Produces high-resolution object with incredible details
  • Reliable materials that are developed for performance
  • Smart printer, keeps you informed
Cons
  • The 3D printer itself is costly
  • The process can be time-consuming, messy and expensive

#9 M3D Micro 3D Printer

For those looking for a cheap 3D printer, this one is for you. M3D Micro 3D Printer is one of the cheapest 3D printers that you can find on the market. It looks like a toy but definitely functional. It has a super compact and cube-shaped design and is very easy to operate. However, due to its cheap price, it also comes with a number of drawbacks. This 3D printer needs to be physically connected to a computer the whole time to be functional. In addition, it can only print small objects and does the job in a longer time because its print speed is slow.

Pros
  • Super Compact
  • Very Affordable
  • Very quiet
  • 14-day money back guarantee
Cons
  • Needs to be physically connected to the computer when used
  • Slow, printing even simple items take hours
  • Subpar quality

#10 XYZ Printing Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer

This is another budget 3D printer that will surely impress you. It has a large-than-average print capacity compared to other 3D printers of the same price. In fact, you can print items nearly 8x8x8 inches in size using this 3D printer.

This product is a great choice for first time and young users who want to enjoy 3D printing but doesn’t want to spend too much for the device because it worth every penny. XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.03d printer has a very large print area, a navigation screen and a full cartridge of filament. It also comes with a plug-and-play feature with very little installation and calibration required for setup.

Overall, XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 combines affordability and creativity, making it a wise choice for anyone who is on a budget but wants to get himself a functional and efficient 3D printer.

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great community support
  • Easy to operate
  • Self enclosed
  • LCD interface
  • Self-leveling bed
  • Large build envelope
Cons
  • Poor building quality compared to high-end 3D printers
  • Not as fast as the other 3D printers
  • Surface quality of part can still be improved.

Buying 3D Printers

The 3D printer is a great investment especially for engineers and designers because it enables you to produce anything you have in mind be it a small organizer, clothes for your fashion collection, a household tool, a vehicle or a building.

Yes, almost anything is possible with a 3D printer. This device also offers comfort, convenience, a faster operation and a lower cost. So, if you want to get one, don’t hold back because with a 3D printer the possibilities are infinite. Have you tried any of these 3D printers? Which among the 3D printers on the list is the best for you? If you are using another 3D printer that is not on the list, can you share it with us?