3D printers are powerful machines that allow you to exhaust your creativity and imagination by printing 3D objects.
The 3D printer is the evolution of printers that uses additive manufacturing technologies. It offers you three-dimensional and functional objects.
For instance, if you want an organizer, with a 3D printer you can create one for yourself. Moreover, these machines are versatile; they 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. The only limitation is your imagination. If you want to know more about 3D printing machines, you are just on the right page.
I will also give you a list of the top 3D printers on the market today. Whether you’re looking for an SLA, FFF or FDM printers, we have it all in our list.
- 1 3D Printer Buying Review Guide
- 2 3D Printer Reviews: What’s the Best 3D Printer?
- 3 Beginners’ 3D Printers
- 4 Hobbyists 3D Printers
- 5 Professional 3D Printers
- 6 Buying 3D Printers
- 7 Where Can I Buy A 3D Printer
- 8 What is a 3D Printer?
- 9 Types of 3D Printers
- 10 3D Printer Parts
- 11 How Does a 3D Printer Work?
- 12 Conclusion
|FlashForge Finder||$$$$$||Click Here To Check Price||4.9/5||16 kg||140 L x 140 W x 140 H mm||40 to 200 mm/sec||100-400 microns, adjustable||220ºC||1.75 mm||FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)||1 year limited||Beginner|
|FlashForge Adventurer||$$$$$||Click Here To Check Price||4.8/5||28.7 lbs||150x150x150mm||100mm/s||100-400 microns, adjustable||200°C||1.75 mm||FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)||1 year limited||Beginner|
|M3D Micro+||$$$$||4.2/5||2 lbs||110 x 107 x 73.5||55 mm/s||50 microns||ABS - Up to 265 ºC; PLA - Up to 210 ºC||1.75 mm||FFF||1 Year||Beginner|
|Zortrax M200||$$$||3.9/5||15.43 lbs||9 x 5.9 x 5.5 inches||150 mm/s||100 microns||Up to 230°C||1.75 mm||LPD||1 Year||Beginner|
|LulzBot Mini||$$||3.5/5||24.25 lbs||152 x 152 x 158||275 mm/s||50 micron||Up to 260 ºC||1.75 mm||FDM||90 Days||Beginner|
|FlashForge Dreamer ||$$$$$||Click Here To Check Price||4.9/5||24.2 lbs||230 x 150 x 150 mm||up to 200mm/s||100~500 microns||255ºC||1.75 mm||FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)||1 year limited||Hobbyist|
|Ultimaker 2||$$$$||4.8/5||11 Kg||230 x 225 x 205||300 mm/s||20 microns||15 ºC to 32 ºC||2.85 mm||FDM||1 Year||Hobbyist|
|FlashForge Creator Pro||$$$$||Click Here To Check Price||4.8/5||24.3 lbs||227 L X 148 W X 150 H mm||60mm/s||100~500 microns||220-240ºC||1.75 mm||FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)||1 year limited||Hobbyist|
|LulzBot Mini 2||$$$||3.9/5||9 Kg||160 x 160 x 180||300mm/s||50 microns||Up to 120°||2.85mm||FFF||1 Year||Hobbyist|
|Makerbot Replicator||$$||3.5/5||16 Kg||252 x 199 x 150||150 mm/s||100 microns||15 ºC to 26 ºC||1.75mm||FDM||6 Months||Hobbyist|
|FlashForge Guider ||$$$$$||Click Here To Check Price||4.9/5||83.8 lbs||280 x 250 x 300 mm||100 mm/s||50–400 microns||300 °C||1.75 mm||FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication)||1 year limited||Professional|
|Ultimaker S5||$$$$$||4.5/5||20.6 Kg||330 x 240 x 300||300 mm/s||0.25 mm nozzle:60 microns|
0.4 mm nozzle:20 micron
0.8 mm nozzle:20 micron"
|180 - 280 °C||2.85 mm||FFF||1 Year||Professional
|Formlabs Form 2||$$$$$||4/5||13 Kg||145 x 145 x 175||1-3 cm/hour||25 microns||Auto-heats to 35 ºC||SLA||N/A||Professional
|Zortrax M300||$$$||3.9/5||30 Kg||300 x 300 x 300||100mm/s||90 microns||Up to 290˚ C||1.75 mm||LPD||2 Years||Professional|
|Makergear M2||$$||3.8/5||12.7 Kg||200 x 250 x 200||450 mm/s||50 microns||Up to 300˚ C||1.75 mm||FFF||6 Months Limited||Professional|
3D Printer Buying Review Guide
Choosing a high-quality 3D printer can be a daunting task especially that there are tons of manufacturers claiming to deliver the best 3D printers on the market.
Furthermore, there are tons of DIY and kits that you can find online and it can be confusing what to get. So, here’s a buying guide for you.
Price – 3D printer cost differs. There are affordable and expensive machines but its price is determined by its features and specifications.
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 are 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 model or manufacturing.
Print Speed – This refers to the time required for printing a finite distance in the z-direction because 3D printers build a component layer by layer. High print speed is always an advantage especially for concept modeling because it will allow you to quickly make an alternative of your digital 3D 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.
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.
Accuracy – This attribute refers to the quality of the printed parts. Accuracy is critical for printing-specific measurement test parts and in producing objects with solid print quality. The process allows you to produce each part additively and you may have to deal with material shrinkage, which needs to be compensated to produce accurate results.
Now that you know the important details that you need to learn, it’s time to check the different 3D printer reviews to see what machine suits you best.
3D Printer Reviews: What’s the Best 3D Printer?
Beginners’ 3D Printers
The 3D printers in this category are mostly plug-and-play. These machines don’t need any assembly and rarely fails which makes it a great printer for beginners.
#1 FlashForge Finder | Best Entry-Level 3D Printer
FlashForge Finder is a good start for beginners because it has a simple design, it is very easy to use and the price is affordable. Everything about this 3D printer is very attractive for novices.
It comes with a sturdy, slide-in build plate for easy set-up or removal. This also contributes to its stability and good print. This also comes with the FlashForge integrated assist leveling system for precise and easy calibration. It provides straightforward and easy to follow directions to tighten and loosen the leveling screws
As for the operation, this includes a full-color touchscreen with user-friendly control that is very simple and easy to use. It also shows the preview control, operates quietly and supports multiple languages.
#2 Flashforge Adventurer III
Flashforge Adventure III is another great 3D printer for beginners because it is easy to use and it is affordable compared to most competitors. Also, it has a user-friendly and safe design that novices will surely appreciate.
This 3D printing machine has a removable buckle design for fast and easy maintenance. It is also safe because it has a built-in enclosed filament cartridge.
Moreover, it comes with a patented extruder structure, stable filament loading, ready to use and non-leveling printing technology to prevent incorrect leveling issues and automatic filament feed technology. All of these features are added for a smoother and enjoyable 3D printing experience that beginners will surely love.
Considering its price, features, and performance, I must say it goes beyond my expectations. So, I highly recommend it.
#3 M3D Micro+ Review
For those looking for a great-performing and cheap 3D printer, you should consider M3D Micro 3D Printer. It is affordable, competitive and high-quality. Some even dubbed this as the “best 3D printer for beginners” that’s why this tops our list for entry-level 3D printers.
It looks like a toy but, it’s definitely functional. It has a super compact and cube-shaped design and is very easy to operate.
However, it needs to be physically connected to a computer the whole time to be functional, which I assume would not be a big deal if you simply want a 3D printer to get started. In addition, it can only print small objects and has a slow printing speed but with good print quality.
If your budget is tight and you desperately need a 3D printing machine to get started this is a great starter kit.
This 3D printer is popular due to its reliability, efficiency, and precision at such a low cost. It can run for countless hours without any issues. Most importantly, it is pre-assembled and comes with a free spool of filament with clear setup instructions. Within minutes, you can start 3D printing.
It is also very safe because it has a fully enclosed design and a non-heated build plate. Moreover, it comes with a full-color LCD touch screen that makes it easier for you to modify settings, lookup files in the SD card, and print in a smooth fashion.
In addition, the company is working on making it compatible with the brand new Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D slicer based on Cura. It also offers a 1-year warranty and world-class customer support. With Dremel, you will not only get a quality product but an impressive service, too.
Dremel offers you an entire ecosystem of benefits beyond the 3D printer hardware. Thus, this brand is highly recommended
#5 LulzBot Mini Review
LulzBot Mini is a high-quality and high-performance desktop 3D printer that uses the so called fused deposition modeling which is a type of rapid prototyping.
It is pre-assembled and fully calibrated with a self-cleaning nozzle and a self-leveling tray. It is very easy to operate and is great for rapid prototyping. You can use it after unboxing and within minutes you can have your first 3D print.
It comes with straightforward software and easy to read and comprehensive documentation which is very helpful for newbies who are still treading water in this activity. Also, you can bank on its community for support because the other users are always willing to help. This is one of the best FDM printers on the market.
Hobbyists 3D Printers
The 3D printers in this category are more demanding than 3D printers for beginners but not as advanced as those designed for professionals. Check out the best 3D printers for hobbyists in this section.
#1 FlashForge Dreamer 3D Printer
FlashForge Dreamer is a beginner-friendly that even first-time users won’t have a hard time operating. At the same time, it is very versatile which makes it a good option for hobbyists, too.
It has a touch screen LCD menu and offers multiple connectivities including a USB cable, SD card and a WiFi connection for easier access to your 3D files, designs, templates, and projects.
Its second-generation wireless connection guarantees a more stable wireless file fetching and transmission. You can even send 3D files from your computer directly to the printer through the WiFi network and under STA or AP modes.
You can bank on this when it comes to quality because Dreamer meets the global users’ requirements with its multilingual operating interface and built-in language packages. Overall, it delivers an smooth and powerful print. It is also functional and very handy. So, I highly recommend it.
#2 Ultimaker 2 Review
Ultimaker 2 is engineered to perform which makes it a great option for 3D printer hobbyists who are looking for FDM printers. It is not fully assembled, but it’s almost completely assembled.
Some directions are not clear and you may need to do quick Google searches to make this work. That’s why we don’t recommend this for beginners, only to hobbyists whom we consider to have enough 3D printing experience.
It has different nozzles allowing you to conveniently switch to achieve the speed and resolution you desire. You can also save your digital 3D model to an SD card for stand-alone printing.
This rapid prototyping 3D printing machine can be used for a variety of applications from prototyping to customizing tools. Thanks to its technology you can enjoy the rapid prototyping advantages including lower cost and more efficiency by enabling you to realize concepts more quickly.
Ultimaker 2 is perfect for those who want to get a dual extruder 3D printer with a bigger build area and better performance. However, you’ve got to prepare a huge sum of money as this is more expensive compared to other brands.
#3 FlashForge Creator Pro Review
FlashForge Creator Pro 3D printer is mostly pre-assembled, so you’ve got to do a few things to make this work. Also, we believe that you need to have enough understanding of 3D printing to maximize its results.
FlashForge Creator Pro only supports limited software. Setting this up and finding the perfect software can be time-consuming and challenging. But once you’ve figured this out, you will love this rapid prototyping 3D printer.
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 a guide rod to help with stabilization and durability. Furthermore, it is more flexible than most 3D printers because it has dual extruders, but you’ve got to make your way around this as sometimes this may fail. FlashForge Creator Pro 3D printer can accommodate different printing materials including ABS, PLA, and PVA plastic filaments.
Overall, this 3D printer is stable. It is easy to use and delivers quality output. The manufacturer also offers full warranty and lifetime support. Considering its price and quality, this is a steal! So, for those looking for the best 3D printers, this is highly recommended.
#4 LulzBot Mini 2 Review
LulzBot delivers hardware improvement in Mini 2. This 3D printer includes a redesgined tool head and Einsy RAMBo electronics with Trinamic 2130 stepper motor drivers for a more silent printing operation.
It took some time for us to eventually maneuver the tip of the filament to get out without too much effort. Thankfully, after toying around we eventually solve the clogging issue. This is the reason we recommend this for hobbyists and not for beginners.
It has redesigned PEI print bed too that worked like a charm. We tried printing different materials and models and didn’t encounter any issues with adhesion or warping.
Overall, this 3D printer is compact, reliable, and has additional features than its predecessor Lulzbot Mini which we recommend for beginners. It also allows you to print from SD card.
#5 MakerBot Replicator Review
MakerBot Replicator embodies the new standards of convenience, quality, and reliability with its smart extruder, motion controllers and gantry design. It is equipped with Wi-Fi, USB and Ethernet connectivity for seamless production workflow. It also comes with an app, is cloud-enabled, has onboard camera and diagnostics, and has assisted build plate leveling.
MakerBot Replicator is highly recommended for those hobbyists especially those who want to improve their 3D printing experience because this machine delivers unmatched print quality. In addition, 3D printer enthusiasts will surely appreciate its extra features.
For instance, this includes an onboard camera inside the printer that enables you to monitor the progress of your project remotely. So, if you want a convenient, easy to use and versatile 3D printing machine, MakerBot Replicator is one of the best 3d printers to buy.
Professional 3D Printers
These 3D printing machines are designed for serious 3D printing enthusiasts, professionals, skilled designers, engineers, and businessmen.
#1 Flashforge Guider 2S 3D Printer
FlashForge Guider 2S is a large build volume 3D printer that delivers professional and high-quality 3D prints. It is 70% larger than standard printers and comes with high-level FFF technology that is created for better stability when you print your 3D designs.
It has a heated build plate that supports flexible platform temperature that is suited for different types of filaments including PLA, ABS, Carbon-Fibre Filament, TPE, and more. It also works well with 3rd party high-temperature filaments.
Moreover, it operates smartly with its filament run-out detection system and automatic resume function that works after a power failure. It has secured longer printing with a turbofan that evenly circulates the air and helps you get better molding results.
Overall, this 3D printer has well-balanced features and durable build which make it perfect for professional users.
#2 Ultimaker S5 Review
Ultimaker S5 is the most advanced 3D printing machine from the company. It is built with the capabilities of Ultimaker 3 but with lots of improvements.
It has a simple and sturdy built with a stylish enclosure, intuitive touchscreen and helpful interface that displays the detailed status of your printing. It also has a responsive and full-color touchscreen and loading/unloading or changing material is effortless with its ergonomic locking lever built into each feeder.
It has a smart system, too. It has a built-in filament flow sensor that intelligently detects when material stops moving or nearing an end. When the material runs out, it automatically pauses and prompts you to take action.
With Ultimaker S5, you can print large scale and technical parts in high quality with dual extruders. You also don’t need to worry about its adjusting its setting when printing complex projects because this comes with pre-configured settings.
S5 is a powerful, reliable, versatile 3D printer. With its large build volume, industrial-grade parts and materials, accurate and high-resolution prints making it a complete professional 3D printing solution.
#3 Formlabs Form 2 Review
Forrmlabs Form 2 is a professional 3D printer that uses stereolithography SLA technology. It is one of the few resin 3D printers in the market and is even considered by many as the champion of desktop SLA 3D printers.
Aside from delivering high-quality prints, this 3D printing machine is very intuitive. It is engineered with precision and is designed with your comfort in mind.
It comes with a new touchscreen 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 SLA 3D printer is one of the best SLA 3D printers in the world. It produces laser-sharp prints with a stunning surface finish, not to mention the comfort and convenience it offers. Peopoly Moai is your other SLA 3D printer option.
#4 Zortrax M300 Review
Zortrax M300 is a desktop 3D printer with a large print volume. This produces big prints with remarkably high quality making it a great option for professionals.
This 3D printing machine is an upgrade of the renowned M200 model. Plus, it is equipped with the production capabilities of large industrial-class machines. So this is a perfect choice for those who are into 3D printing services.
M300 is used by professionals. This is designed to be an indispensable prototyping and manufacturing tool for high-profile designers including the NASA Johnson Space Center engineers.
I love the quality and build of this 3D printer. From the look and feel, it is reliable. You will be an instant fan when you see its output because it produces incredibly clean and detailed prints. Unfortunately, you need to have a good grasp of the 3D printer because it is not fully assembled.
M300 requires a bit of assembly and some heavy lifting, so this is for serious 3D printing enthusiasts only. It’s not that easy to set up, but not that difficult either as long as you’re capable of reading and following basic instructions.
Overall, M300 is highly recommended for professionals. It is expensive, but worth it especially if you are making money out of it. This is the best desktop 3D printer in terms of
#5 Makergear M2 Review
Makergear M2 is manufactured in the US, this is the third generation of the company’s 3D printer. This is designed with high-quality components and combines it with industrial-level precision which is the reason this makes it into our professional 3D printer category.
This is built with a solid metal chassis that gives it a sturdy structure. This is also equipped with a heated platform that uses various plastic filaments including ABS PLA to build objects.
M2 is durable and completely modular. Maintenance is a breeze which means less time troubleshooting and more time innovating.
Although this is easy to use, this is more appropriate for experienced users because this allows you to adjust and tweak the machine to your like. It has interchangeable nozzles and swappable dual-extruder. It takes a certain learning curve to maximize the full potential of the machine.
This has open chassis design and is not the quietest 3D printer you will ever find in the market. But this doesn’t turn us off considering the precision and reliability it offers. We highly recommend Makergear M2 for those looking for 3D printers with dual extruders for business.
Buying 3D Printers
All of the brands mentioned above are great 3D printers, but take in mind that it has different features, specifications, sizes, and prices. The best 3d printing machine for you is the one that fits your budget, requirements, and needs. Don’t worry as there is always one for you.
The 3D printer is a great investment especially for engineers and designers because it enables you to produce any 3d design you have in mind be it a small organizer, clothes for your fashion collection, a household tool, a vehicle or a building.
Where Can I Buy A 3D Printer
For those who are asking themselves this question “where can I find a 3d printer” or this “where can I get a 3d printer” the best place to buy 3D printer is by visiting the website of the brands we mentioned above.
You can also visit e-commerce corporations like eBay and Amazon as some retailers offer 3D printer kits on those sites. The good thing about buying from these sites is that you can read a lot of reviews about the product prior to buying one, so you will be guided accordingly on what to purchase.
What is a 3D Printer?
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 but 3D printers have it.
On the other hand, 3D printing machines produce things that you can touch and feel. It produces objects with texture, volume, and weight. More importantly, they are usable.
3D printing, on the other hand, is an additive manufacturing process. It builds the three-dimensional physical object by dividing the digital model into layers.
The 3D printing machine prints each layer and piles it up. As a new layer is added to the object it gains weight and volume. If you can’t afford a 3D printing machine, you can start 3D printing with 3D drawing pens.
Types of 3D Printers
There are two main types of 3D printers for additive manufacturing: the small and large.
Small 3D Printer – This type of printer is 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. Learn more about portable 3D printers here.
Large 3D Printer – This machine can print large objects like vehicle parts, music instruments, furniture, and even a house. Learn more about big 3D printing machines here.
3D Printer Parts
Aside from understanding the additive manufacturing processes, you have to be familiar with the printing machine’s main components to better understand how it operates.
By familiarizing a 3D printing machine, you will also be able to:
• Achieve better quality, strength and speed
• Easily maintain it
• Choose the right one that suits your needs
• Upgrade and modify a particular part for specific applications
Here are the different parts of a 3D printer that you need to know.
Z Resolution – Layer Thickness – This refers to the minimum thickness of a layer printed down in a single pass.
Build Area – This is the maximum size of an object that you can create with the 3D printer and measured in XYZ dimension.
Filament Diameter – The most used plastic filament diameters are 1.75mm and 3mm, but may depend on your preference.
Hot End – It is where the plastic is melted and extruded in little tiny layers.
Extruder – This is the part that feeds the filament to the hot end.
Cooling Fan – A must-have because the process requires active cooling. It improves overhanging features, crisps the sharp edges and results in good bridging capabilities.
Heated Bed – This is required for all high-temperature extrusion filaments like ABS. It keeps the plastic warm during the printing process, prevents it from warping and ensures better adhesion.
Printed Bed – This is the surface of the 3D printer where a print head lays down the material after 3D printing. This needs to be level and flat.
LCD Display – This allows you to control the printer without the need for a computer or 3D printing software like Cura.
Multiple Extruders – Allows you to print in multiple colors or materials simultaneously by assigning each extruder specific material. It also allows you to set the support structures with a different material that can be dissolved in water or other types of solvent.
How Does a 3D Printer Work?
3D printer is similar to an inkjet printer that is operated from a computer but swaps ink with layers of molten plastic or powder and fuses them together with an adhesive or ultraviolet light. It uses the additive manufacturing process by joining the material layer by layer from a CAD file.
It 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), a popular type of 3D rapid prototyping.
Each layer in additive manufacturing processes can be very complex but a 3D printer can execute it. It creates moving parts like hinges and wheels. You could also print a ready-to-assemble bike, handlebars, frame, wheels, brakes, pedals and chains without any tools.
The 3D printer works automatically and creates the digital 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.
We hope that our list above will help you decide on choosing the best 3D printers for you. Always remember that this depends on your personal preference and the amount you are willing to spend on the machine. We also recommend that you check out Dremel Digilab 3D45 and Creality Ender 3 Pro because these are great 3D printers, too.
If you know other great 3D printers for additive manufacturing that should be on the list, feel free to contact us and we will consider your suggestions. If you wish to learn more about 3D printing materials, you can visit our homepage.