In just a few years, 3D printers have become one of the most sought-after products in the technological space. From creating miniature cartoon characters to printing arm and leg prosthetics, a desktop 3D printer can do it all.
3D printers have extensive uses, especially in the health and construction industry. These printers were once only used in industries because of their outrageously high prices. But with technological advancements, the cheaper version of industrial 3D printers were made available in the market for the general public.
Today, many options are available in the market, and you can get a decent 3D printer for as low as $250. But all these options can confuse someone new to the world of 3D printing.
Many important factors should be considered before you make this buying decision. In this article, we’ll guide you step-by-step throughout your 3D printer buying journey.
Let’s begin this guide by addressing the elephant in the room.
Should you consider buying a personal 3D printer?
The answer to this query is dependent upon how often do you want to use it. If you only wish to check out the technology itself, spending $250-$300 is not a smart decision. You can visit a nearby lab for that purpose, and it won’t cost you a penny.
If you know someone who has a personal 3D printer, consult them about the benefits of owning one. An experienced user will be able to help you decide if the technology is for you or not.
If you only want to 3D print just one or two parts every month, consider using 3D printing services.
Let’s assume that you decide to go ahead with this purchase. The second question you should ask is
How many kinds of 3D printers are there, and which one should I buy?
There are 11 different types of 3D printing technologies in the market, but not all of them are used for desktop 3D printers. Only a couple of them are used in home/desktop 3D printers.
The two most popular ones among home users are
- FDM 3D printer
- Resin 3D printer
Is an FDM 3D printer the right choice for you?
Fused Deposition Modeling is very commonly used in desktop 3D printers. In this type of 3D printer, thermoplastics are melted and extruded via metal nozzle. The extruded thermoplastic is then deposited on the heat bed layer by layer. Due to the molten state of the thermoplastic, these layers fuse together and form one finished part or item.
FDM printers don’t cost a lot of money, making them an ideal choice for hobbyists, small businesses, and schools. The operating cost of an FDM 3D printer is also meager because its filaments don’t cost that much. Aside from being economical, these filaments are available in many different shades.
You can print almost anything using an FDM printer, it is an excellent choice for both beginners and experienced users.
Is a resin 3D printer the right choice for you?
The technology called Vat photo polymerization is used in resin desktop 3D printers. In Vat photo polymerization, the liquid polymer is hardened with the help of UV light.
In a resin 3D printer, the liquid polymer is hardened layer by layer through exposure to UV light. As the name indicates, these 3D printers use resin as a polymer for 3D printing objects.
Resin 3D printers cost more than FDM 3D printers, but they have their benefits. Resin printers can print objects with a very smooth outer surface. The things printed with resin printers are finely detailed. They work at a faster speed as compared to FDM printers.
Resin has great adhesion properties, so the object you’ll print will be strong and durable.
You can buy a good resin printer for as low as $300, but the running cost of a resin printer will be higher than an FDM one.
If you want an affordable 3D printer for professional use, a resin 3d printer is your best bet