3D printing technology has revolutionized the way we produce objects. Either these are tools, clothing, toys, or even body parts. In a process commonly referred to as additive manufacturing, 3D printing allows you to re-create complex three-dimensional objects. However, the question is how to choose a 3D printer? Initially, 3D printing was supposed to be for industry line and they used to spend tens of thousand dollars. But now it is getting common and consumers are also needing it. This article is going to enable you to know the guidelines you should follow before buying a 3D printer.
How to choose a 3D printer?
Are you a 3D artist? Do you need to print your artwork? If your answer is yes, then definitely you need a 3D printer. However, unfortunately, there are countless numbers of 3D printers, and the market is saturated. While the price range also varies from low to very high. Then what to do. How to choose a 3D printer? Well, follow the following guidelines.
Why do you need a 3D printer?
First of all, you will have to determine why do you need a printer. What kind of printing you are going to do? For how long you are going to do the printing? Because there is a huge difference between printing a gadget for your own and printing for industrial scale. Choose the objective of your printing from the below mentioned.
- Household 3D Printing: These are the objects we can commonly find in our homes or offices. Such objects are printed at a low scale and also are vulnerable to moisture and light. So, it means this type of work needs occasional printing. Hence for such printing, an FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printer with Polylactic Acid (PLA), Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), or Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol (PETG) for filament will be the best choice.
- Outdoor Objects Printing: Well how to choose a 3D printer if you are going to print outdoor objects like lawn decoration, plants, as well as green hills. You will need a printer that could bear the sun too. So, if your printing is of this nature then you should go with ABS as PLA or PETG.
- Artwork Printing: Are you an artist or a 3D painter? Then you will need a printer to print on a regular basis. Therefore, to print your beautiful artwork, you should go for an FDM printer or resin printer. These are more accurate to print 3D artwork.
- Professional Products Printing: How to choose a 3D printer when you need to print professional products? This will be on a large and industrial scale. So, there will be regular printing. So, for such printing, it is better to go with the resin printer.
- Tools Printing: Tools printing can also be a reason to buy a 3D printer. However, it depends on the application of those tools. But remember, if you are going to print the tools in just a working way then an ABS on FDM with enough infill will work fine for you. But for the professional level, you should choose the resin.
Determine the style of your printing
After knowing the objectives of your 3D printing, you need to know in which style you are going to do the printing. There could be hot extrude material or plastic or vats of liquid. So, you will have to choose the printer according to the printing styles. The following are some printing styles.
- A Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM): In this style shapes or objects are printed by heating filaments that are fed through a tube. While shapers are extruded along with the X, Y, and Z-axis. Cartesian or Delta style frame construction can also be done.
- Stereolithography (SLA): In this style, a photo-solidification process is used in which layers are formed through a chemical reaction. This is one of the best styles to print with accurate details and precision.
- Digital Light Processing (DLP): Knowing your printing style matters a lot when we say how to choose a 3D printer. One of those styles is DLP. It is very similar to SLA but in this style digital lights are used to create layers.
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS): This style uses laser technology and is much suitable for industrial 3D printing. While the powder is used that is solidified using laser and form layers.
Well, after knowing the style of 3D printing, it will become a lot easier to find the answer to how to choose a 3D printer. For every style, you will have to choose the printer accordingly.
Choose a printer with high safety features
After going through the above paragraphs, you will be well aware of how to choose a 3D printer. However, in each work or project safety should be the first priority. So, you should choose a printer with high safety features. For example, the FDM printer automatically moved its nozzle away and it becomes colder once you stop printing. Hence it will prevent any damage done by heat.
High Resolution and Quality Features
The printer you will choose should have a high resolution as well as quality features. The resolution of 3D printers is measured in microns. So, the minimum microns should be 25 while 100 microns can be the maximum. Thus you will be able to get the best and smooth printing. Moreover, you should also keep in view that the printer should have a touch screen, heated glass beds, support for filament, etc. These features will change your 3D printing experience.
Materials needed for a 3D printer
Just knowing the basic information is not the end of how to choose a 3D printer. There are a lot of other things you need to know. Well, you should also know about the materials and ingredients needed for 3D printing. The following is the material, you should have.
For FDM or Filament Printers
Such type of printers use Filament spools that are made up of different materials like plastic, and wood etc. However, following are the types of filaments.
- PLA (Polylactic Acid): It is a type of plastic that is derived from a plant. If you are going to print indoor then it is the best fit. Because PLA is prone to Sun and excessive moisture and can easily degrade or deteriorate.
- PETG (Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol): Such type of filament is used for printing food objects and are said to be food safe. However, it does not mean your object after printing will be food safe. So, these filaments should be finished in a food-grade epoxy before making contact with food objects. Adhering to these instructions helps you a lot in finding the answer to how to choose a 3D printer.
- ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene): Choosing the right filament is an important thing in how to choose a 3D printer. ABS filament is the best for printing outdoor objects. Because it is a sturdy plastic and needs a lot of heat and temperature to work effectively. However, if you are going to use it indoors then make sure that the place or room is properly ventilated.
For Resin Printers
These printers use liquid resin to create 3D printing and are used at a professional level. the types of resin may vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some of the types are the following.
- Standard Resin: How to choose a 3D printer especially for professional printing? For the purpose, you need to about the resin. Standard resins are excellent for creating prototype desktop gadgets or small objects. These come in different colors like clear, white, and gray. However, for the final printing, these are not suitable.
- Tough Resins: When you need printing professional settings and engineering applications then tough resins are the best choice. Moreover, these can be used for the object to have a higher impact because these are more harder and rigid than standard resins.
- Medical-grade Resins: Well, this could be also a question, how to choose a 3D printer for printing medical-related objects. So, Medical-grade resins are there for printing such objects that range from hearing aids to dental work.
Software for 3D printing
Would you need any software for 3D printing? Yeah, sure, and is an essential part of this guide on how to choose a 3D printer. Both computers and printers use different software. The details are the following.
The software that is used on computers for 3D printing and saving file is called Slicer. While Slicing is to create a file for 3D printing. There are different types of Slicer and the most common one is gcode. Moreover, the other two popular slicing programs are the following.
- Cura: It is an open-source slicing program that has been developed by Ultimaker
- Slic3r: It is a free gcode slicing program developed by Alessandro Ranellucci.
The software used by the 3D printer is Firmware. The most used Firmware by the printer is Martin Firmware. However, all 3D printers do not use this. It varies from printer’s model to model.
What features should I look for in a 3D printer?
How to choose a 3D printer? Well, a lot of confusion I think may have cleared and you have an idea about it. However, apart from the above, the following features you should also look for.
Resume print ability
What would happen if you are a printing an object and there occurs error forcing printing to stop? Will your precious print spoil? On the other hand, it will become a lot easier if the printer has an ability to resume the print. It will save your time, precious material, as well as beautiful object. Therefore, while choosing a printer look for this feature.
Options to adjust axis
When you use a printer continuously, it axis become loose and tension decreases. So, they need to be tightened. Thus you should choose such a printer that could be easily adjusted as well as maintaining its tension without removing components.
Heated Bed Feature
This is one of the best features you should look for while choosing a printer. How to choose a 3D printer would become a lot easier once you use a printer with this feature. The printing of an object totally depends on its foundation while this heated bed plays an important role to make the foundation best.
Quality user interface
A quality user interface can help you to take your 3D printing experience to the next level. You should go for a touch screen interface when finding the answer to how to choose a 3d printer. Because a traditional rotary knob is not so compatible as well as is time taking to set the printing. While a digital touch screen interface will enable you to do print settings within seconds.
How much should I spend on a 3D printer?
Well, I am sure now you will be aware of how to choose a 3D printer. However, a question still remains there that how much should I spend while buying a 3D printer. So, before buying you should know why you need a printer and how often you will use that printer? What are you going to print? Of what type of printer you need?. The price of the printer varies from $150 to $30,000. Therefore, you will have to decide for what purpose you need a printer. Further, the price of some printers is the following.
|3D Printer Style||Low Price||Medium Price||High Price|
|FDM (Fusion Deposition Modeling)||$150||$500||$1,000|
|DLP (Digital Light Processing)||$500||$1,000||$2,500|
|SLS (Selective Laser Sintering)||$5,000||$10,000||$30,000|
How to choose a 3D printer? Now after going through this article you will be well aware of it. First of all, you need to know why you need a printer and what are you going to print out. Then you also need to determine in which style you want to do the printing. Hence it will help you a lot with how to choose a 3D printer. For more updates keep visiting us.