3d printing reviews

3d printing reviews DEFAULT
  • After a new round of testing, we think the Prusa Mini+ is the best 3D printer for hobbyists. Our former top pick, the Prusa i3 MK3S+, is now our upgrade pick.

August 4,

What can you make with a 3D printer? Almost anything you want—from vases to GoPro mounts to phone cases—provided you don’t mind that it’s made out of plastic. Whether you’re a tinkerer interested in prototyping or a tabletop-gaming enthusiast seeking to expand your arsenal of miniatures, a 3D printer might be the manufacturing tool you need. We recommend the Prusa Mini+ printer because it’s the most reliable printer we’ve tested and it has a large printing volume; for $, we find it to be an especially good value. It’s also easy to use and relatively inexpensive to operate.

The Prusa Mini+’s consistency and thoughtfully chosen, repairable parts will please more advanced users who need a dependable 3D-printing machine. It’s also a bargain, with unusual features at this price including a large, 7-bybyinch printing area and a color display, as well as 24/7 customer support. Prusa printers are the quietest models we’ve tested, too, and they’re compatible with a wide range of plastic types.

If you want to print large models, or multiple models at once, the Prusa i3 MK3S+ is a worthy upgrade from the Mini+ for its bybyinch printing area. It comes with parts that are likely to last longer (though no color screen as on the Mini+) and an upgraded motherboard that can better detect and correct errors while the machine is printing. Its setup is also faster and easier than that of the Mini+.

If you’re a total beginner who doesn’t want to invest too much, or if you’re looking for a printer that’s safer for children to use (similar machines are advertised for kids as young as 8), the Monoprice MP Cadet might be a better option. In our testing, it consistently turned out flawless (though less detailed) prints as long as the designs weren’t too complex. It has a small, desk-friendly footprint. It’s also just half the price of the Prusa Mini+, but it doesn’t offer as many features or produce the same level of detail, and it has a smaller, bybyinch print volume.

Why you should trust us

I’ve been researching, studying, and testing 3D printers for tech publications including Gigaom, TechCrunch, and now Wirecutter since I’ve printed hundreds of 3D models, and through that experience I’ve learned how to spot the annoyances that can come with using an emerging technology.

In the course of researching this guide, we interviewed several 3D-printing experts, including Sean Charlesworth, a 3D-printing specialist for Tested, and Justin Kelly, who runs the on-demand 3D-printing service Proto House.

Who should get this

People who need to quickly make prototypes or custom plastic parts will get the most mileage out of a 3D printer. These machines are also useful tools for anyone who likes tinkering or teaching children about STEM concepts. You can find plenty of downloadable designs online at 3D-model libraries such as Thingiverse. The range of possibilities is even wider if you know how to use CAD (computer-aided design) software. And anyone can work with a 3D printer: Most printers are easy enough to use that a child (with adult supervision) can print any of the endless variety of toy designs available.

What you should know about 3D printers

Be warned that no 3D printer is unbreakable. A day will come when you’ll need to replace a part or get your hands dirty in some other way. Replacement parts are available for the Mini+ and MK3S+, but not all 3D printers are equally easy to fix. You might want to avoid 3D printing altogether if you aren’t confident you’d be able to perform a minor repair on the equivalent of a household appliance.

Prospective buyers should also be aware that the 3D-printing industry is in a constant state of upheaval. XYZprinting pumps out new printers annually. MakerBot, which was long considered the frontrunner for home 3D printers, stopped marketing to hobbyists and home users several years ago in order to focus on commercial and educational institutions. Many of the printers we have tested have come and gone within the span of a year or two. So it’s not out of the question that you might someday find yourself without much support from the company that made your printer. It’s also possible that a new breakthrough will suddenly leave you with outdated technology.

In addition, a 3D printer brings health and environmental concerns. When a printer melts plastic as part of the extrusion process, it releases volatile organic compounds and other particulates. The CDC recommends (PDF) using printers in a “negatively pressured area with a dedicated ventilation system,” which is not a feature found in your average home. It’s a good idea to weigh how comfortable you are with exposure to some fumes before buying.

On the environmental side of things, consider that you’re investing in a machine that works primarily with plastics. It’s possible to recycle or compost certain types of 3D-printed plastics (polylactic acid, or PLA, being the most sustainable of the common varieties), but the process can be complicated. There’s also the option to invest in a spendy recycling system of your own.

How we picked

We turned to articles from 3D Hubs, Make, PCMag, and Tom’s Guide, plus customer reviews on sites like Amazon, to develop a short list of the best 3D printers for beginners. We then interviewed our experts on what to look for in a printer.

You could spend anywhere from $ to $1 million on a 3D printer. We think the best options for hobbyists are priced at $1, or less. As with any piece of technology, printers in different price ranges offer different mixes of features. Printers really do get better the more you spend—and sometimes they’re also easier to use. Some higher-priced machines offer specialty features such as dual-color printing or a webcam for monitoring your print remotely, while other expensive units are known for their exceptional reliability.

We skipped 3D printer kits, which are less expensive but require a great deal of assembly, in favor of machines that print good-looking parts straight out of the box with as little maintenance required as possible.

No matter what price range you’re considering, we think the best 3D printers offer the following features:

  • High-quality prints: Without too much tweaking, the printer should put out smooth-looking models with layers that are mm or thinner and barely visible.
  • Easy-to-use hardware: Even a complete beginner should be able to put the printer together, load filament, start a print, and remove a finished model from the print bed. The bed should also level itself or be simple to level manually (a sloping print bed can cause printing errors).
  • Ample connectivity options: Ideally, you should be able to start a print over Wi-Fi or transfer the file over a USB cable. Loading files onto an SD card that you plug into the printer is also okay. A design that requires you to keep a computer tethered to the printer at all times via USB is a serious flaw but not necessarily a dealbreaker.
  • Intuitive software: Beginners should be able to jump right into using a printer’s software, including making adjustments to models before printing. The software should come preloaded with print settings but provide options for more experienced users to fine-tune. It’s a big plus if a printer is compatible with Ultimaker Cura, which has become somewhat of an industry standard and a favorite of ours.
  • Large-enough print volume: It would be nice to have the ability to print objects as large as you want, but the reality is that most models found in libraries like Thingiverse are designed for small 3D-printer beds, with workarounds for combining several printed pieces to create a larger object. As a result, beginners need only a print bed large enough to print models about the size of a small tissue box.
  • Heated bed: Heated beds prevent prints from warping, help models stick to the print bed, and allow you to print using a wider range of materials. (ABS, one of the two most common types of plastic used for 3D printing, and other materials shrink as they cool. Without a heated bed, you are limited to PLA, the other main type of plastic.)
  • Compatibility with any brand of filament: Some companies embed chips in the spools of plastic that feed into their 3D printers, requiring you to buy refills directly from the printer manufacturer. Proprietary filament is generally more expensive, and if the company that makes it goes out of business, you won’t be able to use the printer.
  • Suited to everyday life: The machine should look at home sitting on a desk. Ideally, it isn’t too big or heavy, and it’s relatively quiet so you can’t hear it from every corner of the house. Although some printers are marginally faster than others, large prints can take days; even small prints take hours. A quiet printer is much easier to live with. Printers should also be able to print in polylactic acid, or PLA, plastic. While melting any type of plastic releases volatile organic compounds and other particulates into the air, the CDC considers PLA to be safer (PDF). PLA also has a sweet, inoffensive smell—still, it’s best for both children and adults to use a 3D printer in a well-ventilated room.
  • Enclosed printing chamber: Enclosing the print space keeps prints at a consistent temperature to prevent warping and other printing imperfections. It’s an especially good idea to have an enclosed chamber if you are printing with acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, or ABS—one of the two most popular printing materials—which is more prone to warping because it shrinks when it cools. Although enclosed printing chambers are nice to have, they’re not essential, and they’re actually fairly rare among inexpensive 3D printers.

How we tested

Eight successfully printed pieces made during the testing process to determine the best 3D printer.

We timed how long we took to get each printer from boxed up to set up on our desk, and we jotted down notes on the initial software installation and navigation process. Then we got to printing. We allowed each printer eight attempts to produce as many acceptable models as possible. I rated each print as either a success, a mediocre effort, or a failure. Successful prints looked smooth, with no obvious imperfections. Mediocre prints had readily visible layers or imperfections but still looked like a completed model. Failure took many forms—everything from broken filament string that caused the print to stop to wild spaghetti-like misprints due to software or hardware errors.

A properly printed Pokemon character, shown next to two failed prints, where the character is missing its head and filament has not stuck correctly.

Printers usually come with several models preloaded; we always start by printing one of these because they’re carefully optimized for the printer. Errors in these prints mean there is likely something wrong on the hardware end that we need to adjust. After the first successful print, we move on to designs we’ve found on Thingiverse. For our and testing, that group included “Low-Poly Bulbasaur” and “Low-Poly Charmander” by Thingiverse member FLOWALISTIK, “Curved Honeycomb Vase” by eggnot, and “Skull Lamp” by shiuan. The models had a range of detail, overhangs, and scale that would give us an impression of the printers’ strengths.

Almost any 3D printer is capable of putting out successful models—an experienced user knows (or can figure out) how to tweak settings and hardware to get such results. But a beginner (or even an intermediate user like myself) isn’t as likely to know what to do or to care enough to spend time fine-tuning. For the purposes of this test, we gave the printers the basic care they needed to function—an initial bed-level check combined with factory-recommended settings—but we didn’t tweak the printer or software to get better prints unless something went wrong.

I also noted how many times I had to repair the printers, how often each machine needed its print bed leveled, and how difficult it was to remove completed models from the print bed. These are general issues that pop up for any tier of 3D printer, but some printers are better than others at reducing the time you have to spend cleaning and repairing them.

Our pick: Prusa Mini+

The best overall 3D printer, the Prusa Mini+, shown printing a Pokemon character using silver filament.

The Prusa Mini+ offers the best overall 3D-printing experience thanks to its combination of print quality, reliability, and desk-appropriate size at a relatively low price. It produced some of the best-looking prints among the machines we tested, it works with a wide variety of filament brands and types, and it comes preassembled. (You can save some dough and buy a kit to assemble the Mini+ yourself instead, though we didn’t test kits because of the added skill involved.) Prusa printers are the quietest we’ve tested, which makes them especially bearable to work alongside in an office.

Across eight test prints, the Mini+ produced eight perfect models, the best result from any printer we’ve tested. It can print layers as thin as mm, half the thickness that most of the printers we tested can achieve. As a result, it prints objects that look especially glossy and smooth. Unlike with most of the other printers we tested, we never saw an obvious error in printed models from the Mini+.

We decided to use the free PrusaSlicer software program to prepare files for printing. We still prefer the detail packed into Ultimaker Cura, another free program compatible with a wide range of printer types, but we found PrusaSlicer easy to use and reliable in how it prepared files for the Mini+. It has plenty of customization options for the average 3D-printer user.

We used a USB stick to transfer files from our computer to the printer, but Prusa says there will be an option to send files over Wi-Fi in the future. Once you plug in the USB stick, you can use a knob to scroll through the menu and file list on the Mini+’s color screen, which we found to be much easier to parse than the blue and white, text-only screen of the Prusa i3 MK3S+.

Although the MK3S+ has a larger, bybyinch PEI print bed, the Mini+ is no slouch with its 7-bybyinch print volume. Most free models you’ll find available on library websites like Thingiverse are made for this size of print bed, so it’s not often that you’ll max out its abilities. We were able to remove the bed and bend it to pop off prints, but usually we used a scraper and gentle pressure instead. The Mini+ isn’t flashy, but it’s especially practical. It automates as many quality checks as possible, so there’s less manual setup each time you print. It’s also built out of replaceable parts; that’s useful if you plan to run the printer continuously and want as long a lifespan as possible. And Prusa’s printers are upgradable, whether you want to add nicer parts or swap in features from the latest printer.

Three 3D printed Pokemon characters and a honeycomb vase, all printed with our top pick, the Prusa Mini+.

The Mini+ can print in layers as thin as mm, which aids in its ability to print finely detailed models. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The Mini+ printer, shown next to an iPhone to demonstrate the printer's small size.

Although the Mini+ is small enough to fit on a desk, it can still print models as large as 7 by 7 by 7 inches. Photo: Sarah Kobos

The Mini+ can print in standard plastics such as PLA and ABS, plus materials like nylon and wood blends. If you’re interested in even more exotic materials, the MK3S+ is a better choice. Prusa makes a line of reasonably priced filament in many types of materials that we have enjoyed using, but the Mini+ is compatible with other brands, too. We have used Hatchbox filaments with good results in other printers in the past, but we haven’t tested them on the Mini+.

The Mini+ has a decidedly old-school look among 3D printers. But we actually prefer its exposed components to the sleeker looking printers we’ve tested because the design makes the printer easier to repair.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

It took us just over an hour to assemble the “preassembled” version of the Mini+. That’s the longest process for any printer we tested. From ensuring we attached wires in the right place to fiddling with screws at awkward angles, the experience was more of a headache than we expected after the relatively easy assembly required for the MK3S+. The instructions are sometimes vague, so we recommend a close read. However, once we had the Mini+ assembled, it was quick and easy to get ready for printing.

Spending more on a 3D printer gets you, well, more: Touchscreen controls and the ability to print over Wi-Fi are two features we’ve enjoyed on more expensive printers. One benefit of using a USB stick instead of Wi-Fi is that you can save multiple prints to the stick at once; that way, when the first job finishes, you can remove the print and start the next one without having to go back to your computer. But we look forward to Prusa’s addition of Wi-Fi abilities in the future.

The Mini+ has a totally open design, which means that it releases the VOCs and particulates that it produces while using certain types of filament like ABS. You might notice a maple-syrup or plastic smell from the melting filament. If you’ll be using the machine in a home environment, it’s a good idea to use a “healthier” plastic such as PLA. It’s also a good idea to print at the lowest temperature possible for your chosen material; the lower the temperature, the less bad stuff the printer will release into the air. If you plan to spend time in the same room as a running 3D printer and don’t have a ventilated hood or HEPA air filter, turn on a fan or crack a window to improve ventilation (PDF). It’s also a good idea to wear gloves to prevent skin transfer.

Upgrade pick: Prusa i3 MK3S+

The best upgrade 3D printer, the Prusa i3 MK3S+, shown next to a plant.

The Prusa i3 MK3S+ offers the reliability and print quality of the Mini+ plus an even larger print bed, which opens up new possibilities for printing large models, or multiple items at once. It also comes preassembled or in a DIY kit, though we found it much simpler to set up than the Mini+. In addition, it offers you the option to print with more types of filament than the Mini+ does, and it’s similarly quiet.

In eight test runs, the MK3S+ made five perfect prints, second only to the Mini+. Like the Mini+, it prints layers as thin as mm, creating more detailed models than most competitors in its price range. Of the three jobs that were failures, two were due to setup error and one was due to a clog that we were able to resolve. Unlike with most of the other printers we tested, we never saw an obvious error in the printed models.

It took 32 minutes for us to set up the MK3S+, about average for the printers we tested. Our test unit came assembled, but we took some time to run through the initial setup wizard. Although most of the setup is automated, you should take care to pay close attention during the bed-level calibration; using the knob next to the printer’s computer screen, you need to lower the print nozzle until it nearly touches the bed, slightly squishing the melted filament. We made some mistakes the first time we booted up the printer. We recommend paying close attention to the messages on the screen while the setup wizard is running, as well as carefully reading the printer’s instruction manual. The manual is wordy at times, but we prefer that to the minimal or confusing instructions other printer makers tend to include.

Several software options are available for the MK3S+; we used Cura, downloaded directly from the Ultimaker website. Cura is compatible with a wide range of printers, so during setup you should pick the MK3S+ profile to ensure that it’s tailored to your machine. We’ve used Cura for years without issue. Beginners can start a print quickly, without much thought, or drill deeper into the settings in the software’s intuitive menus when they’re ready to do more fine-tuning.

The MK3S+ has neither a touchscreen nor the ability to print over Wi-Fi (though there are some workarounds). Instead, after you prepare models using the Cura software, you save them to an SD card, which you slot into the printer. Using a knob, you can scroll through the black-and-white menu on the MK3S+’s small screen to select which model you want to print. It isn’t the most intuitive or flashiest system, but it is similar to what you’ll find on most other sub-$1, printers.

The controller on the MK3S+, showing the simple screen and minimal features.

The MK3S+ has plenty of cool features, our favorite of which is the huge, replaceable bybyinch PEI print bed. This printer also has the largest print volume of the machines we tested, which makes it useful for printing tall vases and planters. Like the print bed on the Mini+, this model’s print bed is removable. And this machine is similarly modular and built out of replaceable parts, so you can swap in the latest upgrades.

The MK3S+ can print using standard filaments such as ABS and PLA, as well as more interesting materials like nylon or those that contain carbon fiber. It’s compatible with a wider range of filaments than the Mini+ (its hotend can reach degrees Fahrenheit, compared with the Mini+’s degrees), though most people won’t need to take advantage of its more unusual filament options.

Although this machine doesn’t look as stylish as some of the other 3D printers we’ve tested, its byinch footprint is small enough for it to fit on a desk. It’s also impressively quiet (though you’ll still know it’s on when you’re in the same room). As someone who has tried to sleep within earshot of five 3D printers whirring and singing in their robotic tones, I can attest to the importance of a printer that is seen and not heard. As is the case with the Mini+, we recommend cracking a window to avoid inhaling the fumes that the MK3S+ releases due to its open design.

Budget pick: Monoprice MP Cadet

The best budget 3D printer, the Monoprice MP Cadet, shown with two 3D printed animals and an in-progress vase, all made with blue filament.

If you aren’t sure you want to commit to using a 3D printer regularly, or if you just want to spend a bit less, the Monoprice MP Cadet is a good budget option. In our testing, this $ printer made prints that looked just as good as the results from printers that cost several times more, and its small size makes it especially desk friendly. Its removable, unheated bed is also more suitable for little fingers and releases finished prints with ease (though it puts your prints at risk of warping). However, this machine lacks the relatively advanced features you get from more expensive printers such as the Prusa Mini+ and i3 MK3S+.

Among the eight test prints we attempted, the MP Cadet produced four great-looking prints, one mediocre print, and three failures. The MP Cadet can print layers as thin as mm; they’re eight times thicker than the MK3S+’s mm layers but still thin enough that prints look tidy (even if you can see each individual layer). This machine did a mediocre job of printing the skull lamp file, which has lots of small details and overhangs that ended up looking a bit sloppy but still intact.

The first failed print happened right away, as the print head immediately dug into the print bed, damaging its soft surface. I discovered I had readied the print in Cura with a profile for the Monoprice Mini. Once I downloaded a version of Cura directly from Monoprice and selected the MP Cadet profile, the printer operated normally. The next two failures occurred when I tried to print the pack-of-gum-sized Charmander: Partway through the print, the Charmander figure lifted off the bed and adhered to the print nozzle instead, creating a half pocket monster, half spaghetti nightmare creature. Because the MP Cadet’s print bed is unheated, prints don’t adhere as well as they could. Using a layer of painter’s tape and dabbing at it with a glue stick before starting prints solved the problem. The upside of an unheated bed is you can remove models as soon as the print job is done. We didn’t find any sort of scraping or bending necessary to pop off prints—another advantage of an unheated bed.

The control screen on the MP Cadet 3D printer, showing settings and. time remaining in the print.

Setting up the MP Cadet took us 30 minutes. It arrived assembled, but we ran into some kinks with Monoprice’s instructions. First, the company advertises that you can print from an iOS or Android app called Poloprint, but the app is difficult to use, and owners complain of connection issues. Second, the printer offered the option to start printing the models loaded onto the microSD card in the printer—our hitting the print button did nothing, though, and we found the interface confusing. Instead, we recommend using Cura to load files onto the microSD card and then initiating prints on the printer’s screen.

As with the MK3S+, you can prepare models for printing on the MP Cadet with Cura. Despite the initial snafu we had in downloading the correct version, we appreciate that all of Cura’s features are available even when you’re working with such an inexpensive printer.

The MP Cadet’s print bed is relatively tiny, at just by by inches. That’s big enough for it to print game pieces, toys, and some household parts; many downloadable designs also allow you to print them in several pieces and then assemble them to create a larger object. However, if you want to print big designs on a regular basis, a printer with a larger bed is worth the investment.

The MP Cadet is noticeably smaller than most printers, with an overall footprint of just by inches. However, because its print bed is not enclosed and it doesn’t have a heated bed, you’ll need to keep it away from open windows and in an area with a relatively constant temperature so that the air doesn’t warp prints. The work area also needs to have good airflow. The melting filament gives off a maple-syrup or plastic smell, so in addition to having airflow in the room, you should avoid sitting right next to the printer as it operates to avoid inhaling the fumes. The MP Cadet is noisier than the Prusa i3 MK3S+, too, though it isn’t unbearably loud.

Care and maintenance

A 3D printer can be a finicky machine. Performing basic maintenance can go a long way toward preventing breakdowns and print flaws.

If your printer doesn’t automatically level its print bed, periodically check the print bed and adjust it if necessary. The MP Cadet is self-leveling, while the Mini+ and MK3S+ have a calibration option (called the Wizard) in their menus.

Some printers have print beds made of materials that prints adhere to extremely well—and judging from our experience, maybe a little too well. Adjusting print temperatures and a few other settings can help prevent sticking, but such tweaks aren’t always enough. Many printers now come with removable, flexible print beds; if your printer has one, remove the bed and carefully bend it to release your model. Don’t force it, or you’ll risk damaging the bed’s finish. If the print is still stuck, heat the bed back up to its printing temperature and see if the model pops off easier. Next, use a scraper to carefully unstick the edges of the print and then move in a sawing motion toward the center. If you’re still stumped, one final trick is to remove the print bed and stick it in the freezer for an hour. This should shrink the print a little and make it easier to remove.

Plastic remnants can build up over time on the print bed. A cloth and warm water are usually enough to remove it; more-stubborn grime should come away with a bit of rubbing alcohol that’s at least 90% isopropyl alcohol.

Finally, be sure to follow each software maker’s rules for heating up and cooling down the printer, which will help to prevent clogs.

The competition

The Dremel Digilab 3D40 impressed us in some ways: For about 50% more than you’d typically pay for the MK3S+, you get an enclosed print area, a huge print bed (though not quite as large as that of the MK3S+), a touchscreen, and cloud-based printing. However, its prints in our tests didn’t look quite as nice as those of the MK3S+. We also found removing prints to be difficult, and we managed to ruin two flexible beds when the top layer ripped off during print removal. Finally, we dislike that the 3D40 prints only proprietary spools of PLA—if you want to use other types of Dremel filament, you have to spend several hundred dollars more on the Digilab 3D

The Tiertime Up Mini 2 was a previous top pick because of its consistently nice-looking prints. However, when we tested the updated Up Mini 2 ES, software issues got in the way of producing a single print. We tried updating the printer and then “activating” it several times, including with the help of customer support and a press-relations representative. But we continued to get a pop-up telling us to activate our printer and alerting us that slicing had failed. Even if we had resolved the software issue, the difficulty it added to setup was enough to leave a permanently sour taste in our mouths.

The Monoprice MP Cadet narrowly beat out the Monoprice Maker Select v2, our former budget pick. Although the MP Cadet was much easier to set up and produced better-looking prints in our tests, we still think the Maker Select v2’s comparably huge print bed makes it a bargain at this price. If you don’t mind tinkering a bit to get the right settings, the Maker Select v2 could be a better option. However, setting up the Maker Select v2 took us 45 minutes, and it suffered from a clog after just a few prints.

Once our upgrade pick, the LulzBot Mini has been discontinued and replaced with the LulzBot Mini 2. The new machine addresses some of the qualms we had with the original Mini by adding an onboard controller and an even larger print volume. However, a North Dakota entrepreneur recently acquired its parent company, Aleph Objects, and moved operations to Fargo. We have not yet tested a Mini 2, and the company did not reply to our requests for information.

If you’re looking for a printer that can print in two colors, the FlashForge Creator Pro is one of the best-reviewed options. However, in our tests it printed only one great-looking model, along with six okay-looking models and one failure. We liked the printer’s streamlined software, which made it easy to select what parts of a model to make which color. You load models onto the printer with an SD card, so queuing up a few prints at a time is also easy, and it has a large, bybyinch print volume.

We decided to test the Monoprice MP Select Mini v2 based on feedback from our readers and positive reviews. It’s inexpensive, equipped with a color screen, and easy to set up. But we had problems with print quality, and the printer sometimes stopped altogether in the middle of a job.

The easy-to-use MakerBot Replicator Mini+ restored our trust in the brand after MakerBot hit a rough patch with reliability. However, the company discontinued the printer as it further narrowed its focus on education. The MakerBot Replicator+ combines the advanced features of the Mini+ with a more impressive build volume ( by by inches), which makes it an ideal choice on paper, but we decided against testing that printer due to its $2, price. Most hobbyists should start with a more affordable machine.

The Qidi Tech I is a near-exact copy of the FlashForge Creator Pro but costs a bit less. It has a massive print bed, dual extruders, and a solid design. It also has hundreds of positive reviews on Amazon. However, we were unable to get this printer for testing.

Sources

  1. Sean Charlesworth, Tested, phone interview,

  2. Justin Kelly, Proto House, phone interview,

  3. Dan Ackerman, The best 3D printer in for beginners and budget creators, CNET, February 28,

  4. Tony Hoffman, The Best 3D Printers for , PCMag, February 7,

  5. Matthew Mensley, Best 3D Printers, All3DP, January 2,

  6. Anatol Locker, 3D Printing With Kids: What You Need To Know, All3DP, November 5,

About your guide

Signe Brewster

Signe Brewster is a senior staff writer at Wirecutter covering drones, virtual reality, 3D printers, STEM toys, smart-home gadgets, and hobby tools. She previously reported on emerging technology and science for several tech publications (with brief stints at CERN and The Onion). She spends her free time quilting and pursuing an MFA in creative writing.

Sours: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-home-3d-printer/

Best 3D printers for

You'll find the best 3D printers everywhere these days, whether it's in a classroom of in the home of a hobbyist. (And of course, more powerful 3D printers have become vital parts of design shops.) With a 3D printer, you can create just about anything — models, working prototypes, even protective gear. But finding a 3D printer that's right for your skill set can be a daunting task.

There are a dizzying amount of 3D printers aimed at all kinds of users so narrowing down your options may seem like a tall task. But we've tested enough models to separate the best 3D printers from the also-rans, with choices ranging from entry-level units to more advanced machines.

We've reviewed a wide array of 3D printers at different prices to find the best ones for different needs. From low-cost printers aimed at novices and students to higher-end models that help with professional design projects, here's how to get your hands on the best 3D printer capable of producing just what you're looking for.

What are the best 3D printers?

Based on our extensive evaluations and hours of testing of more than a dozen models in different price ranges, we recommend the Monoprice Voxel as the best 3D printer for anyone on a budget. It produces good-looking prints at speeds you'd expect from more expensive models. Monoprice also makes our best budget 3D printer, the Delta Mini V2, which is easier to find these days than the also excellent XYZ da Vinci Nano. 

We also like the 3Doodler Create Plus pen as a tool to help teenagers and hobbyists create their own 3D objects. Those looking to print in a variety of materials should turn to the LulzBot Mini 2 if you can still find that model. 

As for SLA printers, the Form 3 ($3,) from FormLabs is ideal for professionals who need a dependable 3D printer and who won't blink at the printer's high price tag. If you'd like to pay less for your SLA printer, check out the Peopoly Phenom, which at less than $2,, is almost half the cost of the Form 3. The Photon Mono X is even cheaper, bringing the cost of SLA printing to less than $1,

The best 3D printers

1. Monoprice Voxel

Best 3D printer for most people

Specifications

Printer Type: FFF

Layer Resolution: 50 to microns

Materials: ABS, PLA, Wood Fill, Copper Fill, Steel Fill, Bronze Fill

Build Volume: x inches

Printer Size / Weight: x x 15 inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Excellent print quality+Fast print speed+Heated print bed

Reasons to avoid

-Lackluster software-Some Wi-Fi connection issues

If you're looking to get started in 3D printing, the Monoprice Voxel 3D printer is a great choice, as it delivers high-quality prints without costing you a fortune. 

Novices will particularly appreciate the heated print base on the Voxel, which means more reliable prints when you use materials like ABS. The top of the print bed slides out, too, and it's bendable, so removing prints is a snap. We also like the fact that the Voxel is enclosed, an important consideration if you're planning on using a 3D printer in a home or classroom.

The MP Voxel is speedy, producing prints in times we usually see from more expensive devices. We were also impressed with the quality of prints, which accurately recreated details and captured natural, smooth curves in our testing. You may run into some minor frustrations with setup, but once it's up and running, the MP Voxel is the best 3D printer for people who want to experience 3D printing for the first time.

Read our full Monoprice Voxel review.

2. Formlabs Form 3

A great resin 3D printer

Specifications

Printer Type: SLA

Layer Resolution: to 25 microns

Materials: Resin

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: × × inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Excellent print quality+Support for a range of Formlabs supplied materials+Supports multiple users and printers

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Using third-party resins may violate warranty

How do you follow up the best resin printer around? Build something even better, which is what Formlabs has done with its new Form 3 3D printer. You'll get a slightly larger print area than you did with the Form 2, but the real change in this new version is the Form 3's redesigned optics engine. The laser and optics are located in a sealed package that makes the printer more reliable since it keeps out dust that might block the path of the laser.

We certainly saw that reliability when testing the Form 3, as none of our prints failed — a first for us. We also appreciate the use of Low Force Stereolithography, which means that the Form 3 uses less force when working with the hardened layers of a print in progress. 

At a starting price of $3,, the Form 3 is not an inexpensive 3D printer, though if you don't need the new features, Formlabs sells refurbished versions of the Form 2 for around $1, less. (Your best bet for buying the Form 3 or Form 2 is to go directly to the Formlabs website.) Artists, designers and professionals who do a lot of 3D printing won't mind the price, as they'll appreciate the time saved by the dependable Form 3.

Read our full Form 3 3D printer review.

3. Monoprice Delta Mini V2

The best 3D printer under $

Specifications

Printer Type: FFF

Layer Resolution: 40 microns

Materials: PLA, PLA+, ABS, Wood Fill, Copper Fill, Steel Fill, Bronze Fill

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: x x inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Prints PLA, ABS, PETG, and other materials+Excellent print quality for the price+Costs less than $

Reasons to avoid

-Smaller build volume than other low-cost printers-Software has some rough edges

To get started in 3D printing for less than $, look no further than the Monoprice Delta Mini V2. It's an affordable printer that's still fully featured a delivers excellent print quality for the price.

You'll make some compromises like a small build volume, even compared to other budget 3D printers like the da Vinci Nano. But you do get support for a wide variety of materials, with the Monoprice Delta Mini V2 able to handle PLA, ABS and other materials. You don't often see this kind of flexibility in an entry-level device.

It's hard to beat the value of the Monoprice Delta Mini V2, especially for people just getting started in 3D printing.

Read our full Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer review.

4. Photon Mono X

The best 3D printer for low-cost SLA printing

Specifications

Printer Type: SLA

Layer Resolution: mm

Materials: Resin

Build Volume: X X inches

Printer Size / Weight: 18 X X inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Fast printer with high-quality output+Costs a fraction of what other SLA printers cost

Reasons to avoid

-Slicing software produces inconsistent supports-Some print failures

As good as the Form 3 is, it's very expensive. The Photon Mono X offers a cheaper entry into SLA printing, and the results are pretty impressive. We found that Photon Mono X created high-quality SLA prints quickly, despite the occasional printing error.

3D printing enthusiasts will appreciate the large print area — cubic inches. That's particularly impressive given the Photon Mono X's comparatively small size — it's only 18 inches tall and a little more than 11 inches wide, so it will fit easily into a home workshop or similar setting.

SLA printing remains a messy, smelly business. But the Photon Mono X helps bring down the cost of this process without forcing you to make too many compromises.

Read our Photon Mono X review.

5. LulzBot Mini 2

Best intermediate 3D printer

Specifications

Printer Type: FFF

Layer Resolution: 50 to microns

Materials: PLA, TPU, ABS and others

Build Volume: 7 x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: 4 x 18 x 13 inches / 9 pounds

Reasons to buy

+Prints are fast and of high quality+Supports a wide range of materials+Printer is quiet

Reasons to avoid

-More expensive than many comparable models

This updated version of the LulzBot Mini doesn't miss a step when it comes to replicating what made the original such a great 3D printer. Once again, you get a printer that's flexible enough to handle different materials at an affordable price tag if you're ready to step up from models aimed at beginners. 

But the LulzBot Mini 2 outdoes its predecessor by giving you a larger print area to work with and a new, more flexible printhead capable of handling even more materials. Our testing revealed that the Mini 2 churns out prints faster than the original with quality remaining high on the finished product.

You may have to hunt down the LulzBot Mini 2 and finding it for a price around its original $1, cost may be a challenge, as the printer is in short supply. It remains available at 3D printer retailer Dynamism for $1, That's a better price than we've seen at other retailers, suggesting supplies for this older printer may be running low.

Read or full LulzBot Mini 2 review.

6. XYZ da Vinci Nano

A bargain 3D printer if you can find it

Specifications

Printer Type: FDM

Layer Resolution: to microns

Materials: PLA

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: x 14 x 11 inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Simple to use+Inexpensive+Easy-to-use software

Reasons to avoid

-Slow-Works only with XYZ filament

With the Monoprice Delta Mini V2 3D printer now available, the da Vinci Nano from XYZprinting can no longer boast that it's the best inexpensive 3D printer around. Still, it's a good bargain, if you can find the da Vinci Nano for around $ (That may take some doing, as the printer is in seemingly short supply these days.)

The da Vinci is relatively compact, about the size of a bread maker, but it has a generous-for-its size build area of inches on all sides. (That's bigger than what Monoprice's budget printer offers.) There's a door to close off the print area and block out some of the noise from printing, but be aware that opening the door doesn't stop the printing process.

The da Vinci Nano is no speed demon — other best 3D printers produce objects in much less time — but the prints it produced in our testing were of very good quality. The software that accompanies this 3D printer is also easy to use, another reason why we recommend the da Vinci Nano for classroom settings. A wireless version — the da Vinci Nano w — is available at the XYZprinting site for $

Read our full XYZ da Vinci Nano review.

7. Polaroid PlaySmart

Fast, high-quality 3D prints

Specifications

Printer Type: FFF

Layer Resolution: 50 - microns

Materials: PLA, P-Wood, PETG

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size/Weight: x inches/11 pounds

Reasons to buy

+High-quality prints+Good print speed

Reasons to avoid

-Smaller print area than similar models-Software is not very flexible

The brand that made its name with cameras that can instantly produce photos is now doing the same with 3D printing. The Polaroid PlaySmart is one of the best 3D printers to get if you're looking for a beginner-friendly device that also produces good-looking prints relatively fast.

In our testing, this Polaroid 3D printer churned out prints much faster than comparably priced devices. The output looks good, too — details are clean and smooth, and we had very few problems with our test prints. We also like that the Polaroid PlaySmart can work with different types of materials, and you're not locked in to buying your printing material from the manufacturer.

These days, you can find a Polaroid PlaySmart for just a little bit more than the da Vinci Nano — and sometimes the same price when there's a sale on Polaroid's 3D printer. That makes it a good option if you're looking to get started in 3D printing. The PlaySmart takes a lot of the waiting out of 3D printing process, and we think you'll be pleased with the results.

Read our full Polaroid PlaySmart review.

8. 3Doodler Create Plus

Best 3D pen

Specifications

Printer Type: Handheld pen

Layer Resolution: 3, microns

Materials: ABS, PLA, FLEXY, WOOD

Build Volume: Not applicable

Printer Size / Weight: x x inches / ounces

Reasons to buy

+Comfortable to hold+Supports multiple materials

Reasons to avoid

-Requires frequent refills

If you want to take 3D printing into your own hands, we recommend, the 3Doodler Create Plus. This handheld pen lets you create 3D objects as easily as you would with a standard pen and paper.

We like the 3Doodler Create Plus because it's easy to hold and it supports a variety of materials. Less expensive options like the Polaroid Play 3D Pen restrict you to PLA, so you get greater flexibility with the 3Doodler Create Plus. You'll also find hundreds of stencils from 3Doodler that can help you design toys, animal models and other architectural designs. There's a $ kit that features additional nozzles for changing the layer size and texture of your model.

3D pens typically attract younger users, and the size and simple controls of the 3Doodler Create Plus is the right size for tiny hands. You'll find yourself reloading the pen frequently, as the 3Doodler Create Plus uses shorter filaments, but overall this is a very good experience for people who want to find a creative way to design small objects. 

Read our full 3Doodler Create Plus review.

9. Peopoly Phenom

A capable midrange SLA printer

Specifications

Printer Type: SLA

Layer Resolution: 72 microns

Materials: Resin

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: x x inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Big print area+Supports a wide variety of resins+Costs less than rival SLA printers

Reasons to avoid

-Noisy-Interface can be confusing

SLA printers can be pricey, but Peopoly is doing its part to knock that cost down. With the Peopoly Phenom, you can get an SLA printer that's capable of working with a wide variety of resins for less than $2, And you don't even have to sacrifice on print speed or quality as the Phenom produces excellent 3D prints.

You will need to be fairly comfortable with 3D printing, though as the Peopoly Phenom has its share of quirks that require a lot of tweaking and some patience. There's no Wi-Fi connectivity, for example, and creating a print involves a few manual steps. Printing can be pretty noisy and there's a slight chemical smell, so you'll want to have a dedicated space for this printer in your workshop. (And set aside a lot of space — the Peopoly Phenom is a very big printer.)

Still, if you're a 3D printing veteran, you'll appreciate the lower overall cost of the Peopoly Phenom. And the expanded build area means you'll be able to create prints that simply aren't possible on some of the other best 3D printers. The Phenom is available directly from Peopoly for $1,

Read our full Peopoly Phenom review.

Toybox 3D Printer

A fun printer for creating your own toys

Specifications

Printer Type: FDM

Layer Resolution: microns

Materials: PLA non-toxic plastic

Build Volume: x x inches

Printer Size / Weight: x x inches / pounds

Reasons to buy

+Prints simple toys quickly and efficiently+Easy setup

Reasons to avoid

-Exposed hot and moving parts-Unheated print bed means prints don't always stick.

There are more sophisticated 3D printers out there than the Toybox 3D Printer. But as an introduction to 3D printing, this device will appeal to young makers looking to flex their creative muscle. And they'll get to produce toys as part of the bargain!

Using the Toybox 3D Printer, you can create small toys — you're limited to prints that are around 3 inches on each side. The controls are simple to operate, and printer maker Make.Toys includes a selection of free toy templates that you can use to get started. You're also able to modify designs or even upload your own, adding to the creativity that this printer can spark.

Kids shouldn't use the printer unsupervised, as it's too easy to touch the hot printhead or one of the other moving parts. Because the Toybox's printing bed isn't head, sometimes prints can be difficult to remove. Nevertheless, we were charmed by this printer and how quickly it produced good quality prints. If you'd like to experience Toybox for yourself, you can buy a starter kit directly from Make.Toys that includes the printer and a selection of materials; the Toybox has also popped up at some retailers' sites.

Read our full Toybox 3D Printer review.

How to choose the best 3D printer for you

Not sure how to decide which 3D printer is right for you? Here are a few things to consider when shopping for a printer.

Printer type: There are two main types of 3D printers: FFF (fused filament fabrication) and SLA (stereo lithography). FFF printers — which also cover FFM (fused filament manufacturing) and FDM (fused deposition modeling) devices — work by melting a plastic filament in a moving printhead to form the model. SLA printers use an ultraviolet (UV) laser to solidify a resin, focusing the laser to form the solid model. FFF printers are generally cheaper, simpler and easier to use, although SLA models like the Peopoly Phenom are lowering the price.

In addition to 3D printers, there are also 3D pens that hobbyists can use to create models using plastic filament. These are handheld devices that usually cost $ or less, so they're another low-cost way to give a kind of 3D printing a try.

Printing materials: Whichever type of printer you choose, pay attention to the type of material it uses when printing. The filament material used by FFF printers is available in several different materials, such as PLA (a brittle, biodegradable material), ABS (the same plastic used in Lego blocks), nylon, TPE (a soft, rubberlike material) and HDPE (a light, tough polystyrene). Many of these materials, particularly PLA and ABS, are available in a huge range of colors. Filaments come in two sizes: mm and 3 mm, which are not interchangeable. 

SLA printers have fewer options than their FFF counterparts, but printers like those from FormLabs can use resins that produce models ranging from very rigid to flexible and rubbery. The best 3D printers can use a wide range of materials, each of which comes with its own strengths and weaknesses. (HDPE, for example, is light and tough, but not suitable for food use, while nylon is food-safe.)

Note that some printers only allow the use of approved materials or materials produced by the same company that made the printer. In that sense, those types of 3D printers are like more traditional paper printers: The manufacturers sell the hardware cheaply and then make money back on the consumables. (One of the best 3D printers for people on a budget, the da Vinci Mini, only works with PLA filament from manufacturer XYZprinting, for example; on the bright side, XYZ's filament costs about the same as most third-party materials.) Other 3D printers place no restrictions on the type or origin of the material.

Print volume: All printers have limits on the size of the 3D print they can produce. That limit is defined by the size of the print bed and how far the printer can move the printhead. This is usually measured in cubic inches, but you should also pay attention to each of the individual dimensions, which determine the maximum size 3D print the device can create. 

Print speed and quality: 3D printing is a slow business, and at present, there's no way to get around this. You should expect a 3- to 4-inch model to typically take between 6 and 12 hours to print, depending on the print quality you select. That's because of the way 3D printing works: The print is constructed in layers. The thicker these layers are, the quicker the print is produced but the lower the print quality is, as the layers become more visible. So, there is a trade-off between print speed and print quality.

The best 3D printers will allow you to determine which way you want to go with this, producing prints quickly or more slowly but at higher quality. The best printers offer a wide range of quality settings, from fast (but low quality) to slow (but high quality).

Price: The best 3D printers don't have to cost a lot, though the ones used by professional designers and creators who print at heavy volumes will certainly put a big dent in your budget. (Both the Ultimaker 3 and Formlabs Form 3 cost upward of $3,, for example.) But you can find very capable 3D printers for around $1,, and prices are even lower for machines aimed at novices, educators and home printing enthusiasts. Prices for entry-level 3D printers are now below $, and some of the best 3D printers now cost less than $

While online retailers like Amazon offer different 3D printer options, some 3D printer makers only make their products available through their own websites, so don't be shy about shopping around.

How we test 3D printers

When we review a 3D printer, we set up each model, noting how long it takes from the time to remove the printer from its packaging to calibrating the printer so that it's ready to use. We also take note of any special set-up instructions.

We look at what kind of materials a 3D printer supports and whether the manufacturer requires you to only use materials they sell. 

When its time to test the printer, we have three different test models — a miniature statue of Rodin's Thinker, a complex set of planetary gears that incorporate interlocking parts, and a geometric sculpture to see well the printer can reproduce sharp edges and points. In addition to evaluating the quality and detail of each print, we also time how fast the printer works at various speeds, from draft mode to the highest-quality setting.

We also consider the software that a printer uses and the different ways you can control prints, whether it's from a computer or via a control panel on the 3D printer itself.

Sours: https://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-3d-printers,reviewhtml
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Best 3D printers of top choices for work and home use

If you're looking to buy the best 3D printer on the market right now, you might find yourself a little overwhelmed with choice. Printing hardware has really taken off in reason year, so while a handful of filament printers (otherwise known as FDM printers) were all that was once available, there's now a wide variety of different styles to suit your needs across a range of budgets.

Unlike office-style printers that just print ink onto paper, 3D printers turn digital models into real-world objects made from materials like plastic, metal and wood. FDM printers now come in all shapes and sizes and are well suited to prototyping and crafting larger objects, while resin-based (SLA, MSLA and DLP) allow for much greater detail, typically at a smaller scale which makes them a fantastic buy for anyone looking to design jewelry or create tabletop miniatures. 

Considering the current and potential benefits the best 3D printers bring to the table, there’s never been a better time to grab one. You can use them to build complete products, make spare parts, or simply create things you’ll find useful for your home, office, and workshop. And, since 3D printing technology is within grasp of just about anyone, you don’t have to utilize one to your advantage.

Whether you’re just getting your feet wet or are an expert, here are the best 3D printers range to consider. Our picks wildly vary in price, size, functionality, and use case so there should be something for you whatever it is you’re looking for. Just remember that the more expensive choices are better suited for professionals while the best cheap 3D printers are ideal for those just starting out.

The best 3D printers 

1. Original Prusa MINI

Small, affordable and remarkable 3D printer

Specifications

Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling

Build Area: 18 x 18 x 18cm

Minimum layer resolution: 50 microns

Maximum layer resolution: microns

Dimensions: 33 x 33 x 38cm

Weight: kg

Reasons to buy

+Great value for an FDM printer+Easy to use+Supports a variety of filament types

Reasons to avoid

-Reel sits separately-Imperfect print quality-Calibration can be tricky

It is testament to how quickly this category is advancing that the latest model from Prusa is superior in so many ways to its previous model and yet half the price. The Original Prusa MINI, as its name suggests, is a smaller version of the Original Prusa i3 MK3s, but the print quality is comparable, while the dimensions are far more manageable. It comes in an easy-to-assemble kit form and uses FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) to turn popular modeling materials such as PLA, PETG, ASA, ABS and Flex into accurate printed products. There’s a Network LAN port and USB port for simple connectivity and a user-friendly interface. This entry-level printer should be the first choice for crafters, modelers and engineering enthusiasts.

Read the full review:Original Prusa MINI

2. Ultimaker S3

The best 3D printer for college education

Specifications

Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling

Build area: x x mm

Minimum layer resolution: 20 microns

Maximum layer resolution: microns

Dimensions: x x mm

Weight: kg

Reasons to buy

+Class-leading print quality+Easy to network+Supports a range of materials

Reasons to avoid

-Expensive-Slow print times

Ultimaker has been one of the most desirable 3D printer manufacturers since 3the technology broke into the mainstream. The Ultimaker S3 is a next-generation printer with speed, quality and reliability at its heart. While the machine does make a small nod to Ultimaker's open-source foundations in looks, it breaks new ground when it comes to usability and business integration. The S3 is aimed at the education and commercial markets and offers a wide selection of accessories and materials to meet any designers needs. Standout features include the swappable cartridge hotends, market-leading touchscreen UI and the Cura slicer software.

3. FormLabs Form 3

The best SLA Printer

Specifications

Print technology: Stereolithography

Build area: × × mm

Minimum layer resolution: 25 microns

Maximum layer resolution: microns

Dimensions: × × mm

Weight: kg

Reasons to buy

+High-quality printing+Wide material support+Supports multiple users

Reasons to avoid

-SLA prints require cleaning-Incredibly expensive, even for a resin printer-Using third-party resin voids the warranty

FormLabs focusing on resin-based SLA 3D printers and has been instrumental in pioneering and advancing the technology. Form 3 is the smallest of their machines but has wide appeal with the use of a high precision laser that ensures unparalleled print quality, far surpassing FDM printers. As with all SLA printers, a liquid resin is used rather than a solid filament so more time is needed in the preparation and finishing of prints which will not suit all users. However, the breadth of materials and technology makes the Form 3 one of the most versatile 3D printers on the market. Ideal for high-quality prototypes, jewellery, casting and production.

4. Original PRUSA SL1

The best MSLA Printer

Specifications

Print technology: Stereolithography

Build area: x 68 x mm

Minimum layer resolution: 25 microns

Maximum layer resolution: microns

Dimensions: × × mm

Reasons to buy

+High-quality, very detailed prints+Wide material support+Enclosed hood to minimize fumes

Reasons to avoid

-SLA prints require cleaning-Resin comes with steep learning curve

Prusa Research revolutionised the FDM 3D printer market and the SL1 looks set to do the same for SLA printers. While the printer uses Stereolithography technology, it's in fact a slight variant, know as MSLA. This uses an LCD and UV LED to expose the resin and is far cheaper than the high precision lasers seen in the likes of Form 3. While the component parts may be cheaper the results are outstanding and with support from the excellent PrusaSlicer software and huge open source community, the SL1 looks set to be game-changer in the SLA market.

Read the full review:Original PRUSA SL1

5. AnyCubic Vyper

The best beginner friendly FDM 3D printer

Specifications

Print technology: Fused Deposition Modeling

Sours: https://www.techradar.com/best/best-3d-printers

Best 3D Printer • 6 3D Printers Reviews

What is a 3D printer and how does it work?

A 3D printer is a physical machine that allows three-dimensional objects to be produced. A 3D printer creates these objects by modeling molten plastic filaments, copper, wood, bronze, glass and even chocolate! (although the full list is much longer). A 3D printer works by printing in layers based on designs that are created on a computer using special software programs.

3D printers can be practically used for anything and their applications are really only just being discovered. From fields as wide as medicine to architecture or cinema, there are so many possibilities. With the best 3D printers you can create almost any object you want, it all depends on how creative you are.

To build something with a 3D printer you must first design the object through a specific computer program. Thanks to the software that exists, you can create practically any object. The limit to what you can create is your imagination and your technical skills. However, if you prefer not to design and have an object that you want to replicate, you can scan the object in 3D and then print it.

To print in 3D, the best models on the market use filaments of various materials, as we mentioned at the beginning of this shopping guide. The materials that are used by 3D printers can have completely different origins (from glass to chocolate). 3D printers use a fusion system, a type of joining technology, that molds the filaments together to create the object.

Advantages and disadvantages of 3D printers

3D printers are not only useful for fields as technical as medicine, but an average user can find countless uses that could change their lives. Of course, as with any new technology, there are some disadvantages that should be highlighted.

Advantage

  • Possibility of creating all types of products. From professional fields (e.g. medical tools) to personal products (e.g. a personalized doll for your child), the range of possible products is endless.
  • Reduction of production costs. Undoubtedly these machines provide great opportunities for new businesses or entrepreneurs to produce products faster and cheaper.
  • They allow you to obtain levels of personalization never before achieved.With a 3D printer, you can make exclusive garments or unique personal objects that were never before possible.
  • Imaginations can run wild. 3D printers open up endless possibilities that are only bound by the limit of one’s imagination.
  • Huge opportunity for improvement as the technology is still in its infancy.This industry has big potential for the medium to long-term as the technology improves even further.

Disadvantage

  • Higher quality 3D printers can be extremely expensive.
  • 3D printers can be used by criminals with bad intentions. It is possible to make weapons or other similar objects with a 3D printer.
  • By increasing the accessibility of 3D printers there are more copyright infringement cases as anyone can replicate anything.

Shopping Criteria for 3D printer

Now you know the most important aspects of a 3D printer and the technology that makes these devices so innovative and useful. However, when you go out to purchase a 3D printer, is adequate knowledge enough to choose the right product?

The final step of the buying process, after learning about a product, is assessing a number of criteria so that you can narrow down your search to a few products that meet your needs. Below we list the most important shopping criteria so that you can find the perfect product for your situation:

  • Type of User
  • Material Used For Printing
  • Print Size
  • Design And Precision Level
  • Community Opinions

Type of User

Depending on whether you are a business that wants to produce large objects or you are an individual looking for a 3D printer for more conventional prints, will determine the product that is suitable for you. Generally speaking, you must choose between an industrial 3D printer or a desktop 3D printer.

In our Ranking section, we have focused on desktop printers that are generally more suitable for individual or home use. Students, designers, and creative types will find these types of 3D printers useful rather than professional manufacturing businesses. However, you should be aware that industrial 3D printers exist and that there is a large market for these machines. It’s all about determining what you will use the printer for and choosing accordingly.

Material Used For Printing

The performance of the 3D printer often depends on the material used for printing, as certain materials are easier to work with than others. Also, not all 3D printers have the functionality to work with all materials, as printing metal is not the same as printing with plastic or glass.

You need to look closely at the specifications of the model you’re interested in and ensure that it has the functionality to work with the materials you want to use. If the information is not clearly displayed, look for additional information or consult a specialist!

Did you know: 3D printing started in the 80s?

Print Size

Description: This printer not only comes fully assembled, it has already been calibrated at the factory.

It is clearly not the same to print a small doll as it is to build a big piece of furniture. This is why, depending on the size of the object that you will be printing, you’ll need a certain sized 3D printer.

The majority of 3D printers have a print volume of around 8 x 8 x 8 inches. However, there are options that have the ability to produce larger objects (15, 24 inches or more). Choose the model that meets your needs.

Design and Precision Level

The design of a 3D printer has a direct influence on the performance and accuracy of the machine. We recommend that you always choose a 3D printer with main robustness as the main feature. This will ensure that the product not only produces high-quality products but also lasts for a long time. Of course, quality costs more, however, when it comes to a 3D printer, quality should not be compromised.

Community Opinions

Although 3D printers are a product that does not yet have a large community user base, in recent years they have grown in popularity and have started to be used by the general public. Before investing in a specific model, we highly recommend visiting one of the many websites or blogs dedicated to 3D printers. User comments and reviews can be very helpful in choosing a quality product.

What is a 3D printer extruder?

Extruders are one of the fundamental components of a 3D printer and are a key part of understanding how a 3D printer works. Without an extruder is not possible to complete the 3D printing process. Extruders are responsible for forming the filament material by melting it and joining the layers to form the final object.

Related links and sources

https://hbr.org//05/thed-printing-revolution

https://www.nature.com/articles/d

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/science-nature/what-lies-ahead-ford-printing/

FAQ

What is FDM and SLS technology in a 3D printer?

FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) technology is a molten deposition modeling technology. In simple terms, it is a 3D printing system that casts plastic and then pieces them together layer by layer until the final object is created. This method of 3D printing is the most common. SLS (Selective Laser Sintering) technology is a 3D printing system similar to FDM technology but designed to be used in professional environments. SLS uses a high power laser to cut through the material to shape the final product.

What are the ABS and PLA filaments of a 3D printer?

ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) is nothing more than a type of plastic. It is very common in today’s 3D printers. The main characteristics of ABS are flexibility, hardness, and strength. This material is already widely used in the automotive and toy manufacturing industry. However, on the downside, ABS is more sensitive to temperatures than its PLA alternative. PLA (polylactic acid) filaments are formed with a less flexible type of plastic than ABS. However, this material produces fewer odors and is more biodegradable, as it is not derived from petroleum. In addition, PLA is more resistant to temperature changes, which avoids potential deformation problems.

What is a 3D printer extruder?

Extruders are one of the fundamental components of a 3D printer and are a key part of understanding how a 3D printer works. Without an extruder is not possible to complete the 3D printing process. Extruders are responsible for forming the filament material by melting it and joining the layers to form the final object.

Sours: https://venturebeat.com/product-comparisons/best-3d-printer-reviews/

Printing reviews 3d

I first became interested in 3D printing a few years ago, when I started making everything from phone stands to tabletop game accessories to a sweet mini Millennium Falcon. Maker culture is alive and well, thanks to an army of creators who are passionate about handmade goods, maker culture is alive and well. As a result, 3D printers are now more popular than ever.

3D printing technology has come a long way since then, and I've doubled down by getting into 3D scanning and even laser cutting, which lets you sculpt real-world designs from leather and wood. 

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3D printers, which range from affordable (under $) to high-end (over $3,), are awesome gifts for a creative person or the 3D printing enthusiast in your life -- or even better -- they're great for you to craft your own personalized designs. Also, 3D printing technology is getting better and better, meaning the print quality of whatever it is you're making is starting to look like it was made by a professional 3D printing service. Like I said, it's a really, really cool hobby and it's getting easier to find a great 3D printer to facilitate it.

I will note, though, that a cheap 3D printer is still going to cost at least a couple hundred bucks. If even a budget 3D printer is out of your price range, and you can still jump on the additive manufacturing trend by grabbing a 3D pen to play with until a desktop 3D printer is within reach.

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I've taken a deep dive into the 3D printers available today and have chosen several options for people who want to start printing 3D objects and for those who want to update their existing 3D printing setup with a pro 3D printer. I've included both small and large 3D printers on this list. I've also taken other factors into consideration, such as print speed, the size of the build plate, the cost of PLA filament, the kind of print head included and more. Once you find the best 3D printer and you end up getting completely addicted to 3D printing and additive manufacturing, don't blame me. (But if you do, here's a handy 3D printing FAQ that should answer some of your questions.)

Entry-level 3D printers

Sours: https://www.cnet.com/tech/computing/best-3d-printer/
Top 5 Best 3D Printers of (2021)

Best 3D Printers

With various types of 3D printing showing up in the headlines on a nearly daily basis, there’s never been a better time to learn more about this exciting technology and start using it yourself. With a 3D printer, you can make everything from replacement parts and tools to robots, toys, models or chassis for your Raspberry Pi. You can get one of the best 3D printers and plenty of material for well under $ in , so consider what you’ll be making with it and read on to learn more. 

The two most common types of home 3D printers are resin MSLA (Masked StereoLithogrAphy) and filament FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling). Resin 3D printers use a UV-cured material to form a model layer-by-layer as it rises from a vat of liquid. This style of 3D printing can create very finely detailed models, but it requires more clean-up and post-processing than you might expect. Filament 3D printers use a feedstock material that is fed into a hot nozzle and extruded out layer-by-layer to form a solid model. This style of printing requires little-to-no post-processing, but results in a generally coarser appearance. 

There are several factors to consider before buying a 3D printer in , so be sure to consider the questions before making a choice.

Shopping Tips for Best 3D Printers 

  • Resin MSLA or Filament FDM? The two most popular styles of desktop 3D printing, resin MSLA and filament FDM 3D printers offer various strengths and weaknesses, and choosing the style more suited for your application will help you get better results. For many , especially beginners, filament 3D printers are a better choice because they are easier to use and offer a wide variety of colors.

    Resin 3D printers can provide a bit more detail, but typically require messy post-processing involving isopropyl alcohol and UV curing. You also need to handle toxic chemicals and wear a mask when setting up a print.
  • How much build volume do you need? If you want to print out large parts in a single print, you’ll need a printer with ample build volume. This is usually directly tied to the price of the machine, so a larger printer is going to cost more money. Printers with a mm cubed or less build volume are on the smaller side, to mm cubed are average, and mm inch cubed and above are considered large format. 
  • Manual or automatic bed leveling? Leveling the bed of a 3D printer is an important part of the printing process, and it can be time-consuming and difficult if you’ve never done it before. Some printers have the ability to automatically level the bed which can get you up and printing faster. 
  • What’s your experience level? If you’re an absolute beginner to 3D printing, you’ll want to find a first printer that offers a good out-of-the-box experience without too much tinkering. If you’ve already logged some print time, than you might be more interested in printers with advanced or unique features or ones that are open-source and easily modified.

Best 3D Printers  

1. Creality Ender 3 Pro

Best 3D Printer for Beginners, General Use

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Heated Removable Textured Sheet

Interface: inch LCD w/ Dial Button

Bed Leveling: Manual

Connectivity: microSD, USB

Reasons to buy

+Highly modular and modifiable design+W power supply offers quick heating

Reasons to avoid

-Noisy stepper motors and cooling fans-Two-tone LCD screen feels outdated

If you ask someone involved with 3D printing what their first machine was, there’s a good chance they’ll tell you it was the Creality Ender 3 Pro. A wildly popular 3D printer, the Ender 3 Pro packs a powerful punch in the form of a low-cost machine that has an almost endless supply of readily available upgrades to adapt it to your specific needs. Whether you want a 3D printer to convert into a laser engraver, a pen plotter, or just a printer to print specialized high-temperature materials, the Ender 3 Pro can accommodate you with no issues. 

The Ender 3 Pro arrives as a kit in need of assembly, so you’ll want to put aside at least a few hours to build, calibrate, and possibly troubleshoot your new machine before using it. The Ender 3 Pro has a W power supply, so the bed and heated nozzle heat up quickly and keep a consistent temperature when printing.

Creality has released all of the mechanical and electrical schematics for this machine under an Open Source licence, so it’s easy to find upgrades and modifications that have been built using these blueprints. If you love to tinker and can’t wait to turn your 3D printer into a custom build, it’s hard to go wrong with the Creality Ender 3 Pro. 

More:Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer Review

2. Prusa MK3S+

Best FDM 3D Printer under $

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Magnetic Heatbed with removable PEI spring steel sheets

Interface: inch Mono LCD and click wheel

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: SD Card, USB

Reasons to buy

+PrusaSlicer provides best-in-class model slicing+Swappable flexible build platforms make switching materials easy+Automatic bed leveling sensor is fast and accurate+Stealth Mode enables a nearly silent printing experience

Reasons to avoid

-Assembled printer is pricey-Monochrome interface feels outdated

Considered the best 3D printer overall by many aficionados, the Prusa MK3S+ has received countless industry accolades and awards, and with good reason. The MK3S+ is a powerhouse 3D printer that combines reliable hardware, feature-rich software, and a support channel that makes the Prusa signature black and orange hardware a common sight in 3D printing farms. The MK3S+ is based on the i3 platform and has benefitted from several generations of incremental upgrades which have resulted in one of the best 3D printers on the market.

Silent stepper drivers, removable textured build platforms, automatic bed leveling probe and more; the list of features that come stock on the Prusa MK3S+ is certainly impressive, but that’s only part of the story with the MK3S+. Prusa has developed their own slicer app, PrusaSlicer, for processing 3D models and is actively adding new features requested by the community. Features like the ability to paint-on support material, create variable layer heights and generate custom printer profiles are examples of how PrusaSlicer enables the MK3S+ to leap ahead of the competition.

At a price point of $ for an assembled printer and $ for a DIY kit, the MK3S+ is one of the most expensive machines on this list. That price may raise some eyebrows among 3D printing enthusiasts who have become accustomed to printers in the sub-$ price range, but for power users who need uncompromising performance and industry-leading documentation and support, the MK3S+ is at the top of the list. 

More:Prusa MK3S+ 3D Printer Review

3. Prusa SL1S

Best High-End Resin 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: MSLA

Build Volume: mm x 80mm x mm

LCD Resolution: x

LCD Size: inch

XY Axis Resolution: mm

Connectivity: USB, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+Native integration with PrusaSlicer app+Unique tilting mechanism enables rapid print speed+Simplified build platform leveling+Color touchscreen LCD offers guided setup

Reasons to avoid

-Pricey-Resin vat sensor is very sensitive to overfill

The Prusa SL1S is an MSLA resin 3D printer that offers speed, precision, and a high level of automation. The sensor-rich SL1S offers a guided unboxing, setup, and calibration through the color touchscreen LCD, and the included manual contains detailed documentation that provides troubleshooting steps for nearly every common problem that you may run into. Prusa has developed the hardware, software, and even the resin used by this machine to work together, and this effort has culminated in one of the easiest-to-use (and priciest) resin MSLA 3D printers on the market.

The SL1S uses a tilting resin vat that enables blazing fast print speeds without compromising either print quality or risking part failures. The vat peels gently from each cured layer, allowing for wide cross-sections or thick, solid models to print without the excess suction causing the part to stick to the FEP film. The x masking LCD resolution and inch LCD size give an XY resolution of , which is standard for most 2K resin MSLA 3D printers. The rigid aluminum gantry and solid metal build platform move via a ball screw linear actuator, offering precise layers down to mm (25 microns).

Selling for a retail price of $1, (or a bundle with the optional CW1S Cure Wash station for $2,), the SL1S is targeted towards prosumers or businesses that are looking to offer high-resolution models with a fast turnaround time. For hobbyists interested in high-resolution printing at a lower cost, the Elegoo Mars 2 Pro and Elegoo Mars 3 both sell for under $ and offer similar XY resolution at the expense of a slower print speed. 

More:Prusa SL1S Speed Resin 3D Printer Review

4. Flashforge Adventurer 3 Lite

Best 3D Printer Under $

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Heated Removable Flexible Platform

Interface: inch Touchscreen LCD

Bed Leveling: Semi-Automatic

Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+Built-in Wi-Fi+Enclosed build chamber retains heat during printing

Reasons to avoid

-Integrated spool holder only works with smaller spools-Build volume is smaller than other machines in this price range

If you want to spend more time printing and less time tinkering, the Flashforge Adventurer 3 Lite offers a lot of bang for the buck. Unlike printers like the Creality Ender 3 Pro, the Adventurer 3 Lite uses proprietary parts (flexible bed, nozzle assembly, etc.) which are designed for easy replacement as opposed to low-cost.

The Adventurer 3 Lite has a modest build volume of mm cubed, which is smaller than most printers in this price range. However, it’s clear from the design and experience from using this machine that the emphasis is on reliability and consistent results with the build volume that’s offered. Printing a large part with an FDM printer can be tricky as the plastic tends to curl and warp as it cools, so the enclosed build chamber of this printer allows for consistent and even cooling. 

The build platform leveling is semi-automated, and requires manual input as the UI guides you through the process. Once calibrated, we ran print after print on the Adventurer 3 Lite without having to touch the settings. In addition, the built-in Wi-Fi allows you to send sliced models to the Adventurer 3 Lite without having to transport a USB stick or SD card to the machine. If you would rather spend more time printing and less time adjusting the mechanical assembly of your printer, the Adventurer 3 Lite is a great choice. 

More:Flashforge Adventurer 3 Lite 3D Printer Review

5. Anycubic Vyper

Best FDM 3D Printer for High-Throughput Printing

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Heated Textured Flexible Removable Platform

Interface: inch Color Touchscreen LCD

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: SD Card, USB

Reasons to buy

+Automatic bed leveling system+High print speeds+Advanced cooling design

Reasons to avoid

-Included Cura profile needs optimizing-Kickstater-style launch may turn off some users

The Anycubic Vyper is designed for high-throughput 3D printing, and impressed us with its rock-solid build construction and impressive list of features. Silent stepper drivers, dual Z threaded rods and a high-airflow part cooling system are just a few of the many features that make the Vyper an easy choice for anyone interested in printing out large quantities of parts.

The strain-gauge bed leveling system allows the Vyper to quickly and accurately complete an automatic mesh bed calibration. This form of calibration is ideal for anyone who doesn’t want to spend a lot of time tweaking or calibrating the printer, and it worked well during testing and didn’t require any further adjustments to get an even first layer. 

The Vyper isn’t the cheapest printer on this list, but it earned its place by providing a fast setup and trouble-free operation throughout our testing. The Vyper was designed with an impressive level of attention to detail, and the various areas on a 3D printer that would require adjustment (extruder, X/Y belts, etc.) are all easily accessible and adjustable. The included Cura slicer app is easy to use, but the printer profile that ships with the machine might require some tweaking that beginning users may struggle with. 

More:Anycubic Vyper 3D Printer Review 

6. Elegoo Saturn

Best Large Format Resin MSLA 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: MSLA

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: ?

Interface: ?

Bed Leveling: ?

Connectivity: USB, Ethernet

Reasons to buy

+Exceptionally large build-volume-to-price ratio+Rigid dual-Z linear rail system

Reasons to avoid

-Difficult to find in stock

The Elegoo Saturn is the counterpart to the smaller Elegoo Mars series of printers, which offer solid build quality for a reasonable price. The Saturn takes this formula to the extreme by offering a large x x inch build volume while simultaneously increasing the resolution of the masking LCD. This, combined with the second per-layer cure time from the Mono LCD, means that the Saturn can print more parts in the same amount of time as the smaller format Mars series of printers. 

Elegoo has developed a two-bolt bed leveling solution for the Saturn that makes the leveling process a quick and painless process. This, combined with the native integration with the Chitubox slicer app, makes setting up and using the Saturn a simple process that is ideal for both beginners as well as experienced users. 

The Saturn has a build volume of cubic inches, a dramatic increase from the cubic inch build volume of the smaller Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. If you’re looking for a resin printer that offers a large build volume but you don’t want to compromise with a lower quality print, the Saturn is an ideal solution but you might have to check Amazon several times before you can find one.

More:Elegoo Saturn Review 

7. Prusa Mini+

Best Compact 3D Printer

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Heated Removable Textured Sheet

Interface: inch Color Touchscreen

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+High quality prints+Easy set up process+Removable magnetic print platform

Reasons to avoid

-Limited build volume 

With a bright orange 3D printed LCD enclosure, the Prusa Mini+ is immediately identifiable as a smaller relative of the popular Prusa i3 MK3S 3D printer. Just like the MK3S, the Mini+ is designed with user experience in mind, and the color touchscreen, easily removable build platform, and automatic leveling process all come together to create a seamless process from slicing to printing a model.

Available either as a DIY kit or a fully assembled unit, the Prusa Mini+ is a printer that is designed with trouble-free 3D printing in mind. The automatic mesh bed leveling means you’ll spend less time leveling the bed with a piece of printer paper and more time removing printed parts from the flexible magnetic print platform. Models are prepared using the included PrusaSlicer software, an easy-to-use and capable slicer app designed for the Mini+ and larger MK3S machines.

The small footprint of the Mini+ makes it an ideal 3D printer for use in a print farm or anywhere that desk space is tight. The build volume of 7-inches cubed can accommodate a wide range of geometries, and the high build-volume-to-printer-footprint ratio directly translates into a machine that can be used for pumping out parts without taking up too much shelf space. Prusa has even added an Ethernet port to this machine in anticipation of this use case, something you won’t typically find on most FDM 3D printers. 

More:Prusa Mini+ 3D Printer Review 

8. Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K

Best 3D Printer for High Resolution

Specifications

Technology: MSLA

Build Volume: mm x 74mm x mm

Build Platform: ?

Interface: ?

Bed Leveling: ?

Connectivity: USB Thumb Drive

Reasons to buy

+4K resolution gives highly detailed XY accuracy+Native integration with ChituBox app

Reasons to avoid

-Difficult bed leveling process-Review unit had some machining issues

If you’re interested in printing models with lots of fine detail, the Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K should be on your short list. Using a 4K mono LCD screen, the Sonic Mini 4K is capable of printing high resolution models with a per-layer cure time of just over 2 seconds per layer. This translates to high detail and high speed, but you’ll pay for it in the difference in cost between the Sonic Mini 4K and other MSLA 3D printers like the Anycubic Photon.

In our testing, we found the Sonic Mini 4K’s ability to produce fine features to be as-advertised, so printing table-top gaming miniatures and small sculptures is something this printer excels at. In addition to the high XY accuracy, the Z-stepping is barely visible even at a standard micron layer height due to the software-enabled anti-aliasing provided by the ChituBox app.

Leveling the build platform on the Sonic Mini 4K was a little tricky, and the conflicting information provided by Phrozen can make the process intimidating for a first-time user. The quality of a print can depend heavily on the initial build platform calibration, so be prepared to spend some time getting this printer dialed in.

More:Phrozen Sonic Mini 4K 3D Printer Review 

9. Monoprice Cadet

Best 3D Printer for Kids

Specifications

Technology: FDM

Build Volume: mm x mm x mm

Build Platform: Removable Flexible Platform

Interface: inch LCD w/ Dial Button

Bed Leveling: Automatic

Connectivity: microSD, USB, Wi-Fi

Reasons to buy

+Fast and accurate auto-leveling probe+Safety features designed for beginners

Reasons to avoid

-Wi-Fi can be unreliable-No part cooling fan

The Monoprice Cadet is a 3D printer designed from the ground-up with safety in mind and is ideal for a young beginner who is interested in getting started. The motion components are hidden internally in the frame and the heated nozzle is protected by a large metal grille, keeping curious fingers away from the parts of the printer that shouldn’t be touched during operation. The printer includes a bed-leveling probe which allows for touch-free automatic bed leveling, something a beginner will greatly benefit from.

As you would expect for a printer in this price range, the build volume is modest with a roughly 4-inch cube being the largest possible print. The build platform feels like an oversized fridge magnet, and parts detach quickly and easily without requiring hand tools. 

The Cadet does have a few quirks to consider before you pull the trigger. For one, the side-mounted filament spool holder is mounted low on the printer, so most standard 1 kilogram filament spools won’t fit. You can mount g or smaller half-spools, or 3D print a filament stand to hold full spools. The Wi-Fi feature of the printer is also a little hit-or-miss; we were not able to get it to connect and several other users have noted the same issue online. 

More:Monoprice Cadet 3D Printer Review 

Anycubic Photon Mono

Best Resin 3D Printer for under $

Specifications

Technology: MSLA

Build Volume: mm x 80mm x mm

Build Platform: ?

Interface: ?

Bed Leveling: ?

Connectivity: USB Thumb Drive

Reasons to buy

+Mono LCD screen prints parts quickly+Photon Workshop slicer app is easy-to-use

Reasons to avoid

-Native software lacks functionality-Non-standard FEP film is more expensive than standard

If you’re interested in diving into resin 3D printing but don’t know where to start, the Anycubic Photon Mono is the perfect printer to get your feet wet. The Photon Mono uses a Mono LCD to achieve per-layer cure times of around 2 seconds and a masking LCD with a 2K resolution to make printing detailed parts a fast process.

Anycubic ships the Mono with a slicer app called Photon Workshop, which allows for a quick and simple slicing process to prepare your model for 3D printing. The software will automatically generate support material and a raft for the print, but lacks the ability to detect floating pieces of resin that may be created when curing each layer. This certainly isn’t a deal-breaker, but it means you’ll want to pay attention when preparing your models for 3D printing.  

The Photon Mono ships with an angled build platform which allows resin to drip off the sides during printing and prevents it from pooling or curing.This attention to detail is indicative of the Photon Mono as a whole, and we can recommend it without hesitation as a first resin MSLA 3D printer. 

More:Anycubic Photon Mono 3D Printer Review

Sours: https://www.tomshardware.com/best-picks/best-3d-printers

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