How to choose a desktop 3d printer

How to buy the best desktop 3d printer? Before you buy a printer,that is the first thing, but maybe you don’t know how to do that.The following is a 3d printer buying guide for you.

Nowadays, 3d printer has become a good help to bring your idea to life. On the market there are a lot of 3D printers and they have varying specifications, use different printing technology (e.g. FDM, SLA, SLS, SLM, and so on). You can read more about 3d printing technology here.

If you want to make large-volume object while maintaining high precision, you need to choose industrial 3D printers. But usually these printers are very expensive.

If you want to make medium and small size objects, you can choose a desktop 3D printer. Most of them are simpler and cheaper than industrial 3D printers.

In this 3d printer buying guide,we make a list of consumer 3D printers too, including both of printer kits and pre-assembled printers. The things that fit for you are the best. A printer is a good fit for me,but maybe it is not a good fit for you. So it is best to choose 3d printer by yourself. After you read the 3d printer buying guide, compare 3d printer’s parameters, then you can try to choose the best desktop 3d printer for you. And after you are familiar with your 3d printer, you can even start a 3d printing business to make money.

Factors to consider when choosing a desktop 3D Printer

1. Types of desktop 3D printer

As you probably don’t plan to buy an expensive industrial 3D printer, there are just two desktop 3D printer types that are relevant. They are called FDM/FFF and SLA.

FDM (Fused deposition modeling), or FFF(Fused Filament Fabrication, is the most widely used 3D Printing technology. Most installed 3D printers are FDM printers. The Material is thermoplastic filament: ABS, PLA, PET, TPU, PETG,etc.

Stereo lithography(SLA) uses the additive process too. In SLA 3D printing technology, a UV laser is used to cure and solidify fine layers of photopolymer in an open vat. SLA parts have the highest accuracy and resolution, the smoothest surface finish and the clearest details. The material is Photopolymer resin (Standard, Castable, Transparent, High Temperature). DLP printer is one type of SLA printer too.

2. To buy 3D printer kits or a Pre-Assembled printer

When you plan to buy a desktop 3D printer, there are 2 options.

Option one, to buy a 3D printer in kit. The advantage is that it is cheaper and you can modify it to meet your requirement. You can know more about the printer and it will be helpful in the future.  The problem is you need to take some time to assemble, program and calibrate the 3D printer. And maybe the precision is not very good if you don’t have necessary tools and knowledge.

Option two, to buy a Pre-assembled 3D Printer. This is a hassle-free option. After you get the  printer, you just need to take it out from the box, and then start to look for 3D models or design 3d models by yourself. After getting the 3d model, you can print it immediately on the printer. Usually the printing precision will be better than printer kits, and you can save a lot of hours to assemble it. Of course, the cost will be a little higher than in case of kits.

Your final decision will depend on whether you want to start printing right away or you are very interested in the printing technology.

3. Size of objects to be printed

The build size is a consideration when choosing a desktop 3D printer. If possible, you should look for a 3D printer that fits the particular needs to avoid having to make cuts in the design, print in parts and then join them.

4. Price of 3d printer and material

One of the main factors that can help a desktop 3D printer to be popular is their market price. FDM and SLA printers are affordable printers now, but the price is different too.

Keep in mind that the materials you require to print your products maybe don’t come with the 3D printer. And the material’s price is important too. Maybe the 3d printer is very cheap, but the material is expensive. Sometimes that may happen. And because different products may require different materials, you will need to separately acquire the materials.
When you buy a 3D printer, try to buy some materials too.

5. Quality

To get a high quality 3D printed product, you need to take care of two things: print speed and print precision.

Print precision refers to the level of detail the printer can get, the smaller it is, the higher level of detail in the objects you can create.

Print speed measures how fast the extrude (FDM printers) can move on the 3D printer– the higher the print speed, the faster it will print.

So the X/Y precision and z precision (layer thickness) on a FDM printer are a factor need to consider.

In terms of tolerance, CNC machining is superior to most 3D printing processes. So if you need better quality, I suggest you to buy a CNC Router. After you print object on a 3D printer, you can manufacture the object again on the CNC Router. Of course, if you plan to do that, the 3d model must have enough material that can be removed on CNC Router.

6. Extrude quantity (FDM printer)

With a single extrude, you can only print object using a single material of a single color.

With multiple extrude (2,3 or more) , you can use more than one material that have different color to print on a single object.

A printer with multiple extrudes is more complex than a single extrude printer. If you don’t have experience with 3d printing, I recommend you to buy a single extrude 3D printer. If you have much experience with 3d printing, you can try a multiple extrudes printer.Of course, even though you are a beginner, you can choose a multiple extrudes printer too.

7. The power

In different countries, maybe the power is different. For example, 110V/60Hz, 220V/50Hz, etc. When you choose a desktop 3d printer, usually it is best to support the power in your country. Of course, you can use an adapter to convert the power too. So now it is not a matter.If you have chosen a 3d printer, but it doesn’t support your country’s power, you can get a travel adapter to resolve the issue.

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