Best 3D Printers

Best 3D Printers 2016

Can’t wait to get your hands on one of the best 3D printers of 2016? We’re glad you came to us for your additive manufacturing needs!

Brand/Model Resolution/Filament Features Consumer Ratings Preview & Purchase
AIO Robotics
Zeus
*80 microns
*PLA
Building Dimensions: [21.6 x 14.8 x 15.3 inches] (which equals over 4,500 cubic cm)
1.7 Ghz Quadcore Processor
Less than 50lbs
5 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Dremel
3D40-01 Idea Builder 2.0
*100 microns
*PLA
Building Dimensions: [10 x 6 x 6.7 inches] (over 402 cubic cm)
Glass Platform, WiFi Compatible, Cooling System, Mobile App, Single Extruder
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
QIDI Technology
3DP-QDA16-01
*100 microns
*ABS/PLA
Building Dimensions [8.8 x 5.9 x 5.9 inch]
Supports Software, Dual Extruder, Heated Bed, Acrylic Covers, Free Filaments (2)
4.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!
ROBO 3D
R1 Plus
*100 microns
*ABS/PLA
Building Dimensions [10 x 9 x 8 inches]
Supports more than ABS/PLA Filaments (HIPS, etc, sold separately), Heated print bed, Auto Calibration
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Printrbot
Play 1505
*50 microns
*PLA
Building Dimensions [4 x 4 x 5 inches]
Assembled, Metal Frame, Auto-Leveling Probe, Open Source Software, v2 Extruder
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
LulzBot
Taz 5
*50 microns
*PLA/ ABS/ HIPS/ PET (T-glaze)/ Polycarbonate/ Nylon/ Wood-filled PLA/ Metal-filled PLA/ NinjaFlex/ SemiFlex TPU
Building Dimensions [11.7 x 10.8 x 9.8 inches]
1 year limited warranty, 1 year free phone & e-mail support, All Metal, PEI Print Surface, Cura Software
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
MakerBot
Replicator Z18
*100-200 microns
*MakerBot PLA (recommended)
Building Dimensions [11.8 x 12 x 18 inches]
MakerBot PLA Filament (High Quality), Desktop and Remote Connect, Smart Extruder, Onboard Camera, 6 month warranty, Z-Homing Sensors, Jam Detection
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
Zortrax
M200
*90 microns
*ABS (or other Z-forms)
Building Dimensions [7.9 x 7.9 x ~7 inches]
Official Side Covers Included, PC & Mac Compatible, Supports any STL Files
4 out of 5

For more information, click here!
XYZprinting da Vinci
1.0 Pro
*100-400 microns
*ABS/PLA
Building Dimensions [7.8 x 7.8 x 7.8 inches]
3rd-party compatible, Easy Calibration, Aluminum Print Bed, Included Software, WiFi Compatible
3.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!
XYZprinting da Vinci Jr
1.0
*100-400 microns
*ABS/PLA
Building Dimensions [5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches]
Free Software, Print Bed Calibration (w/LCD Screen), Biodegradable PLA best
3.5 out of 5

For more information, click here!

Since 3D printers are still so new, it can be rather difficult to make a smart, quick decision on which one to purchase. That’s because we as everyday folk don’t really know what we’re looking for unless we already understand the power of 3D printers! They have so much potential… but how much potential are we talking?

I used to dream of being able to replicate objects perfectly. 3D printing has brought this dream to life!

How 3D Printers Work (a Quick Briefing)

If you’re curious as to who could’ve patented such ingenious technology, his name’s Charles Hull, and he needed to make prototypes faster than technology could at that time (in the late 1980s). His solution? Instead of spending tons of time creating a model by hand, he spent time developing this awe-inspiring technology to make inventors’ and DIYers lives easier!

3D printing can be viewed similarly to that of inkjet printing (what we use to print off papers at home) until we know the extent of how it works. Instead of one splotch of ink, layers are being created so they can become an object rather than an image on paper.

3D printers use CAD files and slicing software. These files and software make the printer’s job of layering materials on top of each other possible so that everything printed doesn’t look like a blob, triangle, or box.

CAD files (computer-aided design files) are the digital “ideas” for the product we wish to be able to touch. We can’t expect a perfect model with just a 3D printer and a CAD file, though. Once we have a CAD ready, we need the CAD model to be split up into a formula, so to speak. This formula tells the 3D printer how to print each layer of the product… and that’s the most important part of 3D printing — the layering! The layering process is also known as fused depositional modeling. (You can abbreviate that with FDM).

Lasers are used in many 3D-printing processes in order to quickly harden the materials used to create a model (with light from the laser).

Since lasers are used in 3D printing, we don’t have to use ink to print a model. (It wouldn’t be a quick process if we did). Instead of ink, 3D models are made from powders, plastic, metal, concrete, and wood-like bases (which harden up after being hit by the laser). These are known as filaments and are often on spools, resembling thread.

The types of 3D printers that use plastic usually require acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), which is a thermoplastic(Heatable and hardenable — hard, yet rubbery, plastic).

Thusly, we obtain a model that we design or use software to replicate other objects of our desire! You can usually paint your models, too.

For Simplicity’s Sake…

We’re not too terribly concerned with commercial, rapid-prototype machines or even ones that can create food (yet — maybe next year, if they’re more readily available) right now. We want fellow hobbyists and inventors to know which brands and models have been tried and tested enough to feel safe purchasing an in-home 3D printer!

What we are concerned with is filling you in on the best personal 3D printers currently on the market!

It depends on your desires, which brand and model you should select. No matter what, though, be sure to check up on warranties thoroughly before you touch your printer. You never want to void a warranty without even realizing you have! (Since these printers aren’t super cheap, that’d be a big chunk of money to lose!)

Some of these models include attachments or add-on capabilities, some don’t.

In the case of 3D printing, you very well may get what you pay for, too. Since they’re still so new and constantly improving, it will be difficult to find a commercial- or professional-grade printer for less than $1,000 USD.

In time, we may be able to enjoy bigger, better printers at a cheaper price… but for now, let’s stick with the tried-and-true mindset of getting what we pay for.

If you don’t need a printer for hobbies or professional purposes, there’s no sense in buying a professional printer. Buy yourself a simple, easy-to-use printer! (Or even a build-one-yourself kit!)

Which Filament does What?

When you select a 3D printer, you should consider what filament it is compatible with (or if it’s multi-compatible).

There are many filament options on the market, but the most common ones for personal use are known as PVA (polyvinyl alcohol), HIPS (high-impact polystyrene), PLA (polylactic acid), and ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene).

PVA is water-soluble and works well with PLA. If you don’t want to accumulate a lot of models you’d otherwise be tempted to throw away, this is a good filament, since it can practically dissolve.

HIPS filaments are great for if you’re making an ABS model and need it to have a little extra support. Splash some limonene on the areas with HIPS filament and you’ll come back to just your ABS model after a while. (ABS isn’t always super sturdy on its own at first).

PLA is biodegradable because it’s made with organic material! (Tapioca root, sugar cane, cornstarch). It will probably smell a bit like some slightly-sweet food during the heating process. Most PLA filaments don’t need a heated build plate. Slightly flexible, with a nice, shiny finish!

ABS filament is extremely common and is one of the most preferred filaments for hobbyists and their printers. It’s tough and requires a lot of heat (something some personal 3D printers can’t handle). ABS-friendly printers are the ones you’re likely to see with heated build plates to avoid model deformation and inconsistencies. (The sun’s hot enough to warp ABS models over time, though, so beware).

Resolution

3D printers are still improving, as we’ve discussed. The development of 3D printing resolution will continue to get better (as it did with cell phones), but how do you understand it?

If you want a high-resolution printer, you may need to sacrifice printing speed. Not all models are slower if they’re high resolution, just look into that.

Layer resolution for 3D models is usually measured in microns. Microns are just micrometers. Higher resolution printers will boast a low number of microns. Precision printers can create smaller objects than printers who cannot print a resolution of 10 microns.

 If you’re needing to know specific measurements, there are 1,000 millimeters in a meter. Since micrometers are smaller than millimeters, there are 1,000,000 (1 million) microns in a meter.

This means (for the sake of our filament):

1 millimeter = 1,000 micrometers (microns). A resolution of, say, 0.5mm is equal to 500 microns. (This knowledge makes picking out a precision printer a lot easier).

Now, on to our models!

AIO Robotics Zeus

  • For less than $3,000, the Zeus is worth every penny.
  • This model will automatically calibrate for you, as well as calibrate any bed leveling in order to improve printing precision.
  • PLA filament (1.75mm [or 1,750 microns).
  • Can create parts that measure [21.6 x 14.8 x 15.3 inches] (4,526 cubic cm).

Dremel Idea Builder 2.0

  • Costing well-under $2,000, the Ideal Builder could be just for you!
  • It’s a 2.0 printer with a clog-prevention extruder.
  • Easy to use software.
  • Software permits included.
  • Color touchscreen for a preview of items.
  • ~12 Months financing when using Amazon Store Card.
  • 2 year Limited warranty from purchase date

QIDI Technology 3DP-QDA16-01

This gem is under $1,000! (With great reviews, to boot!) It has a metal frame and can work with ABA and PLA.

  • Heating plate made of Aviation-grade aluminum (to guarantee no warping).
  • Easy to use software for personalized models.
  • External metal frame for safety (around children).
  • Heat-resistant platform supports (not flimsy old plastic).
  • 24/7 customer service and support.
  • 3 month warranty. (No additional warranty available).

ROBO 3D R1 Plus

  • The ROBO RD3 1 Plus can cost you a little over $1,200, on average.
  • Print resolution of 100 microns
  • Heated print bed (aids in the prevention of possible warping)
  • Automated calibration & leveling
  • 6 month warranty (but no User’s Manual included — phone or e-mail customer support is accessible online)

Printrbot Play 1505

You won’t even have to spend $500 on this awesome printer!

  • All-metal housing
  • Protective covering for extruder (to prevent harm to children)
  • Automatic leveling probe
  • 100 micron resolution
  • 60-day mechanical & electrical (components) warranty, online support also available

LulzBot Taz 5

Under $3,000 (with a 0.5mm nozzle), this is a bargain for serious prototyping and model-making needs.

  • Free Software included
  • Can print large items and produce more items (sooner)
  • The carriage design allows interchangeable printer heads
  • 1 year of free phone call & e-mail support

MakerBot Replicator Z18

This is a top-of-the-line 3D printer, folks! It’s a little under $7,000 (which might seem like a lot at first), but it’s worth every penny. You can create so much with this bad boy!

  • Can handle impressively large building dimensions
  • Best bargain for serious buyers, according to 3D printers standards
  • Components integrated, as product evolves (customers opinions are kept in mind in the development for later models)
  • Constantly-updated software and is app-compatible
  • Can connect seamlessly to WiFi for supreme productivity
  • 1 – 3yr warranty, determined by the delivery or purchase date (MAX coverage is 3yrs. It is nontransferable, nor is it refundable).
  • Lifetime customer support!

Zortrax M200

This powerful, lightweight, desktop 3D printer will cost you less than $2,000. (If you need a lot of prototypes, this deal is hard to beat). It even comes with top-rated side covers!

  • Limited, 1 year warranty — so be sure to read that warranty before you test it out! (Though they’re tested already).
  • Plug and play components for desktops (PC and Mac)

XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 Pro

This versatile printer will cost you less than $600!

  • Machine acceptance of 3rd party filaments
  • Better print bed-redesign for better heat distribution
  • Great calibration system
  • WiFi and XYZ app-compatible
  • (Limited) 1 year warranty from date of purchase

XYZprinting da Vinci Jr 1.0

This one costs less than $500 and is great for personal use.

  • Easy to calibrate
  • Easy to remove extruder
  • Green-certified filaments
  • Enclosed design for safety
  • 1 year (limited, nontransferable) warranty
We will be happy to hear your thoughts

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