These professional 3D printers are tailored to more specific requirements and are often found in higher price categories. They are used at home as well as in workshops, schools and offices.
For the vast majority, our top favorite 3D printer will be completely sufficient. He’s an all-rounder, that’s one of the reasons we picked him.
But due to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for 3D printing at home, we’re here to help. Here are a few tips to help you find your way around the vast but wonderful world of terminology. And while we’re on the subject, at the end of this article you will find a helpful glossary of useful terms.
Printer for beginners: Many of the 3D printers that are advertised as printers for beginners or children wrap the user in cotton wool, and the printing experience quickly becomes a fear-filled experience. As you gain experience, you will encounter more limitations than opportunities. If you haven’t settled on the special features of a downright terrible entry-level 3D printer, we would recommend a budget printer instead. This saves you a little money, and the opportunity to learn by doing is so much greater. And should something go wrong, there is a huge online user community for every printer, in which all conceivable questions have already been asked and answered.
With cheap printers you should go with the crowd. While the general quality of budget 3D printers has improved significantly in recent years, the level of quality control leaves something to be desired. Manufacturers with a broad user base (such as Creality and Anycubic) are adapting to the demands of their newly won fans, including improved customer service. That, and the users themselves, contribute to the vast online knowledge base. No stone is left unturned in solving problems for the currently best budget 3D printers.
Reviews play an important role. Few publications go into as much depth as we do to test the current printers. We have no obligation to the manufacturers to grate licorice in our test reports – they read them for the first time exactly when you read them too. If you want to know more about a printer that has not yet been tested, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
How the price comes about. A one-time investment is not enough when purchasing a 3D printer for your home. In addition to regular expenses for buying materials for printing, there are maintenance costs for wear parts on the printer – just think of the printer nozzles on FDM printers or FEP foils on MSLA printers. Of course, parts can also wear out or break. Therefore, the procurement of spare parts must be planned if you want to print in the long term. The easiest thing to do is to get spare parts for printers with open source designs that originated in the RepRap movement: standard parts with a design ethos behind them. On the one hand, closed printers that are designed for entry-level users may be the most cautious entry into 3D printing. On the other hand, the spare parts for it can be the hardest to come by. If you can get that far and diagnose the problem.
Why do you even want to 3D print? The enthusiasm for a new hobby will only last to a limited extent. Due to the “desktopification” of an actually complicated manufacturing process, sooner or later you have to be prepared for problems with a 3D printer for the home – even for the occasional problem that nothing works. With your final ambitions in mind, you are motivated to find solutions to your printer problems and move forward. Printing something just because it looks cool leads to a pile of useless bells and whistles. And, ultimately, the cost, frustration, and junk produced will make you lose interest.
Then, when you know what you want, choose a printer that makes it easier for you.The vast majority of home 3D printers are fused deposition modeling printers with a single extruder, which means that a single printable material is conveyed through a single extruder nozzle. Due to their material compatibility, these printers can be used for a wide range of applications and are therefore a safe standard machine for entry-level users. But if you want to print objects with sophisticated geometries or semi-closed shapes, you should use a double extrusion printer that would make printing a lot easier for you. The same applies to individual objects made of materials with different properties. These can only be produced with double extrusion. For objects with high detail resolution, the resin printer should be the printer of your choice.
And think about how much space you have available for the printer. Depending on the technology and material used by your printer, the direct environment can be contaminated in a wide variety of ways. FDM 3D printers tend to come in a variety of sizes, and they only pollute the surrounding area slightly, apart from slight fumes in the air from the melting of the filament. It is therefore advisable not to be in the vicinity for too long. Depending on the model that is printed, not much needs to be cleaned and the soiling is limited.
Resin 3D printing, on the other hand, is a completely different number and has specific requirements, so you should think carefully about an investment. Resin stinks – and to a very different extent. Sometimes it is dangerous to health. As well as extremely toxic to the environment and harmful in the event of prolonged skin contact. Suitable cleaning stations and personal protective equipment are required. Typically, you will need 95% isopropanol to clean the prints to remove excess resin from the surface.
Well-ventilated rooms are important for all printers, but this is especially true for resin 3D printers.
Kickstarter. It’s tough.Although a large number of excellent 3D printers were able to achieve their big breakthrough on Kickstarter (even only recently), it is still a problem that the platform is not actually a store. There is no way to “buy” anything on Kickstarter. You support a vision. The money goes into a big pot to help companies or individuals achieve something. If a project is negligently abandoned and the money disappears, you will not be compensated. One might argue that some Kickstarter campaigns are pre-orders for glorified initiatives. Maybe there is something to it. Nevertheless, we would not advise anyone to support a project – no matter how promising – if they cannot afford to lose the money invested.3D PRINTER UNDER TEST – OUR TEST CRITERIA
One thing we’ve learned all through testing 3D printers is that sticking to a broad benchmarking of 3D printers is unwise. It is nigh on impossible to quantitatively benchmark 3D printers with good reason. And comparing a self-assembled printer for hobby users under € 200 with the standard of a € 6000 production printer that reliably processes materials at an engineering level is difficult. It’s not really meaningful to certify the former that assembly is child’s play and the latter that you have to struggle with a jumble of firmware updates, chaotic systems and unreliable performance.
In our test reports, we want to get straight to the point. How do you use a printer? What are its defined properties? Do you keep what you promise? And more importantly, is it worth investing ? We don’t want to dwell here with out of context numbers or fuzzy analyzes of countless variables.
With this in mind, our test reports are aimed at the target user and their requirements for a 3D printer. Our focus in testing is to find out. For example, if we test a large format printer – surprise! -, we print large parts and use the entire print bed to check the performance of the maximum z-height.
Other criteria that characterize the best 3D printer: ease of use, auxiliary software and repair options. Another thing to consider is how quickly a printer can be restored if something goes wrong. Do instructions or customer support provide sufficient information?
We try to consider all of these questions and much more in order to find the printer that suits you best.
Trust is important to us, and that’s why the guidelines for our testing methods are so strict. The printers that we test are either made available to us on loan or they are bought from us. Point.
We try to return the loaner units after the tests have ended. If the return does not work out, the printer is put into storage for later testing, or it is donated locally or disposed of responsibly. All devices purchased from 3DTechValley go one of these three ways. Test devices are not used by anyone in the editorial team for private use. The printers are only used during working hours to deepen our knowledge and improve our skills so that we can deliver quality content.
Manufacturers or donors who provide us with devices for testing free of charge have no influence on our test results or their content. When we publish the review for our readers, they will also see it for the first time. To the best of our knowledge and belief, we will pursue questions and problems together with the manufacturers in order to place them in a larger context and to assess their awareness of the problem. Plus a roadmap for problem solving that we can give the reader by hand.