Which is the best large format 3D printer you should buy? Read our guide for recommendations of the two models that offer excellent performance and value for your money.
Most 3D printers have relatively small build volumes. This is because manufacturers are mainly targeting hobby 3D enthusiasts and small businesses. In fact, most 3D printers on the market have a build volume of 6 inches or less.
However, what if you need to print a 3D model that is larger than 1:200 on the architecture scale? For such a model, you’ll need an advanced 3D printing machine with a larger build volume.
Generally, large 3D printers require a little bit of more setup and maintenance than plug-and-play 3D printers for beginners. Therefore, you should be ready for some hands-on DIY session if you will be going for a large format 3D printer.
Best Large Format 3D Printers
Below are the best large format 3D printers with an enviable build volume. As expected, the larger the build volume, the higher the cost of the printer.
1. LulzBot TAZ Workhorse
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The LulzBot TAZ Workhorse looks compact but has a large build volume of 280 mm x 280 mm x 285 mm. This is nearly twice the build volume that you’ll get with most home 3D printers.
Quick and Easy Setup
The LulzBot Workhorse is relatively easy to set up, reliable and requires little maintenance. The printer comes with a comprehensive setup manual.
Assembling the printer takes about an hour. The assembly is just a matter of attaching the printhead and the base with some screws and connecting a few cables.
Finally, you have to load the filament in the extruder guide. The printer automatically loads the filament. Therefore, you won’t have to worry about nozzle jams.
One of the printer’s features that we love is automatic bed leveling. This makes set up and calibration of the bed very easy.
There are four metal discs on each corner of the print bed. The extruder goes around, touching each disc in turn. This contact completes a circuit, which enables the printer to know the height of each disc and adjusts as necessary.
This printer also has a small felt pad that automatically cleans the extruder before every print. Therefore, you don’t have to worry about any excess filament remaining lodged on the printhead and potentially impacting your next print job.
The TAZ Workhorse printer is compatible with various types of filaments on the market. The extruder heats up to 572°F, allowing you to use materials like ABS, PLA, HIPS, and nylon. You can also use the 3D printer to print exotic blends such as wood filament and conductive PLA.
However, you should avoid using Carbon Fiber filament blend as it can damage the printer.
This printer accepts 1.75mm filaments.
Easy to Use
This LulzBot Workhorse comes standard with Cura software. You can tweak the software to get the best settings for your 3D prints. Fast print options typically sacrifice the quality of prints. On the other hand, slow-print options result in higher quality prints.
After finishing your print, you can send it to the printer through an SD card or USB.
The TAZ Workhorse has an LCD display with several functions. For example, you can start or stop the print through the display. The display also shows the progress of your print job.
However, this 3D printer is quite noisy when printing. Everything on the printer is a little loud, including the drive motors and the cooling fans. This is definitely something you would not want to put in your family room.
High Quality Prints
We love the quality of the prints of the TAZ Workhorse. The prints do not come out with any spider webbing or blobs.
When you set the Cura settings to High Detail, you can achieve a 0.18mm layer height, which is good for most applications.
When using the High Speed setting, you can only achieve 0.38mm layer height. However, the faster speed means your items will be printed about 3 times faster than is possible at the High Quality setting.
The LulzBot Workhorse is easy to set up and can print a wide range of filaments. This versatile unit produces high quality prints for different applications.
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2. Creality CR-10 s5
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Creality has some of the best large format 3D printers on the market. The best large format 3D printer from the brand is the Creality CR-10 S5. The printer comes at quite a low price tag for a big format printer.
The Creality CR-10 S5 ships with a few extras in the box. These are a masking tape, PLA filament and a cutting tool for removing your prints from the printbed.
Setting up the printer requires some easy DIY tasks. Inside the box, you will find an SD card with the setup installation instructions. Watch the setup videos in the card to know how to properly set up this unit.
The setup simply involves bolting the aluminium frame to the base and plugging some wired connections to the motor.
By default, the power source is set to 220V. For our US 3D printing hobbyists, make sure you switch it to 110V to match our US power supply. Lastly, you’ll have to fit the filament tube onto the extruder.
The biggest difference between the TAZ Workhorse and the CR-10 is that the former has auto bed leveling feature. For the CR-10, you have to manually set the bed level. This can be quite tricky as you’ll also have to manually calibrate the printer.
Here is a video showing how to level the print bed:
However, with some patience, you should be able to set the bed level properly.
After manually setting the bed level, you will not need to do any further calibrations. To make your work even easier, you can print some large adjuster wheels to help you with leveling the bed.
The setup process should take you about one hour.
The CR-1o’s nozzle temperature reaches 355°F to 428°F (180-220°C) while the hotbed temperature reaches 120°F to 140°F (50-60°C). Therefore, you can print most types of 1.75mm filament, such as the TPU, ABS, and PLA with this printer. The printer can also print exotic filaments like metal and wood.
Unfortunately, the open chassis design does not allow you to produce ABS prints as effectively as other enclosed 3D printers. To successfully print ABS filament, you’ll have to create a cover to retain heat and prevent draughts from affecting your build.
It’s hard to find any fault with the models printed by the CR-10 3D printer. You are less likely to see any blobs on the final product. Resolution is also very good.
While the large printing bed takes time to heat up, once heated, the temperature spreads evenly to all the corners and maintains the heat.
The CR-10 is one of the best large format 3D printers for consumers. It’s hard to beat the incredible value for money that you get from this large printer.
Where to Buy Large Format 3D Printers
All these large 3D printers are available on Amazon, MatterHackers, and other popular online 3D stores. Check out the products at the following links:
Which is the Best Large Format 3D Printer?
If you are looking to buy a large 3D printer, get the Creality CR-10 s5. This printer is perfect for 3D models that are larger than 11 inches. Any of the above printers will be great.
If you have a generous budget and will only be making models that are smaller than 11 inches, get the Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse. This printer produces quality prints and provides great value for your money.