When you are out looking for the right 3D printer, the absolute first thing to consider is what you are going to use it for. There are a wide variety of possible uses for a 3D printer. You could use one to create concept models, pre-production applications, verification models, and more. If you are in the market for a printer that can create simplistic concept models without many working components, then there is no reason for you to invest in a printer with high accuracy. Rather, narrow the search based on the overall speed of the printer.
- The cost of the printer.
The cost of a 3D printer is based on the quality and speed of printing. Try to go for something that works decent and does not cost too much.
- Personal use or commercial use.
Whether you are going to use the 3D printer for yourself or for a business really affects which one you should purchase. For yourself, you will probably want a decent yet cheap 3d printer for printing a few objects out every once in a while. For commercial use, you will need a printer that is fast and high quality.
- Printing quality.
Depending on what you are going to be printing, you will want to decide a printing quality. For rough models without many moving parts, you will not need good quality. For finished products, it is probably in your best interest to find an accurate and good quality 3D printer.
- Printing speed.
This really depends on whether you want faster printing or a lower price tag. If you are going to be using it constantly, speed is important, otherwise, it probably is not.
- Overall performance and features.
Unfortunately, not every 3D printer is capable of handling complex designs with curves and multiple layers. Once you figure out what you are going to be using your printer to accomplish, try and find a feature set that helps achieve that goal.
Average 3D Printer Costs
The price of a 3D printer varies greatly, with not only the actual printer but the printing materials too. Average pre-assembled 3D printers are available on the market for anywhere from $400 to $2,000 and above. Premium quality printers will be in the price range of $1,400 to $2,500, but it is money well spent. If you are looking for a cheaper 3D printer, a decent one usually sells for somewhere around $600.
Desktop 3D Printers
Desktop 3D printers are capable of printing a multitude of objects. The majority of desktop 3D printers are designed to operate with FDM technology and use two different types of plastic as filling material. They are called ABS and PLKA, and they cost somewhere around $40 per kilogram. Desktop 3D printers are usually adequately fast and have exceptional quality printing.
The printing speed is an important factor in 3D printing, it not only affects the time required to print an object but also quality and price. The faster the printing speed, the more likely a 3D printer is to cost more, so try and get something within your price range that is still plenty fast. Fused Deposition Modeling or FDM printers will usually go slower than most others, but the quality will definitely be improved.
Layer height and the resolution of the print will decide the overall quality of the printed object. Desktop 3D printers will most likely come with a thickness of 100 to 150 microns in layer height.
If you are in the market for a 3D printer, make sure that it meets your specifications. It needs to be able to accomplish the goals you set for it and create the objects you want it to. The most important factors are the printing speed, overall cost efficiency, quality of objects, user-friendliness, and complex features.