The fact that we can print out three-dimensional models from the comfort of our homes has fascinated each one of us.
Initially, the 3D printers were quite expensive as they are today, but the advent of budget printers has made 3D printing accessible for all. You can find the right printer with high-quality features at a decent price.
From hobbyists, beginners to professionals working in manufacturing and design, the price increases according to the purpose of usage. In this article, we will cover the pricing of all these printers for you to make an informed choice.
Things to Consider Before Buying a 3D Printer
There are a plethora of 3d printer options flooding the market.
You can cut your search down by identifying the purpose of its usage. This will help you understand what features and technology you want in the product and what you can do without it.
The 3D printers usually have an FDM, SLA, SLS, DLP, EBM, etc technology.
Next, decide your budget beforehand. Even if you have a lot in hand, refrain from spending extra money on the printer features that won’t be of any use to you.
What are the Different Types of Printers?
Here are the different types of 3D printers you will come across during your search. Take a look:
- DIY 3D Printers
- Hobbyist and Entry-level 3D Printers
- Professional 3D Printers
- Industrial 3D printers
The cost of these 3D printers depends upon their features and their quality. Now, let’s talk about their pricing in detail here:
1. DIY 3D Printers
These are the budget 3D printers that come in a price range of $150 to $300. They are small printers that are often available in DIY kits and custom parts.
The customer has to put together the parts to assemble the printer.
This is perfect for the DIYers who like to build their own printer model and modify them as and when required. It can take hours or even days in the assembly, and you should be willing to put your time and patience into this.
However, the assembly time depends from kit to kit. If you don’t have that sort of time, then you can go for higher-budget printers around the same price range.
DIY printers often have open build areas, which means you have enough space for medium-sized models if not larger.
But such printers have a safety disadvantage in case they have a heated bed. You might burn your hand accidentally while taking off the printed object from the heated bed.
The parts can be easily upgraded like the extruder hot ends, nozzles, etc. This is more of a necessity to save you from the hassles of repairing later.
These printers are cheap, so one cannot expect a lot out of them. They do not support multiple filament materials.
Make sure you check all materials it supports before buying the printer.
The print quality is passable and the speed can go up to 100mm/s. You can expect a lot of noise while running the printer, so it’s better if you use it in your basement or garage away from the neighbors.
Best Printers in DIY Category:
2. Hobbyist and Entry-Level 3D Printers
These 3D printers are perfect for beginners and hobbyists who have started growing interest in 3D printing.
They come in a price range of $300 to $1000. They have better features than the budget printers and are semi-assembled by the manufacturer. You just have to put a few parts together and start printing as soon as possible.
The entry-level printers have a sturdy frame and can withstand daily use.
They are available in two designs- enclosed frame and open build area. The enclosed frame is beneficial for safety, whereas the open build printer gives you space for larger models.
These 3D printers are pretty easy to use and can be operated without any extra supervision. The touch screen is fairly responsive and you can easily choose the printing options.
You can modify and upgrade the parts from time-to-time to maintain the printer.
The prints are usually of good quality and they support multiple filaments like PLA, ABS, wood, metal, etc. They offer a print speed of up to 300mm/s, and the noise is fairly high in this one as well.
These printers may or may not have a heated build plate.
The build volume of these printers is limited, so you can’t print out the larger models at once, especially of the enclosed frame models. The best thing to do in such a scenario is to print smaller parts and stick them together.
The entry-level printers offer easy connectivity through WiFi or USB drives.
Best Printers in Entry-Level Category:
3. Professional 3D Printers
Professional 3D printers are high-performing models that produce 3D models with utmost precision.
They are available in the price range of $1000 to $10000 depending upon your budget and purpose.
These printers are used in the prototyping, automobile, aerospace, medical, electronic, and engineering sectors. As you increase the price, the features and quality of the printer also increase. They print excellent quality models in the shortest amount of time possible.
These 3D printers often come pre-assembled with little or no assembly to be done by your side.
They have a robust design and are perfect for school and office settings.
For schools and education purposes, you can buy the enclosed frame printer that will keep the kids safe from the heated bed. You can benefit from the resume print function that allows you to start printing the model from where it left once the power is back on. The laser engraving module lets you add details to your model to give it a more refined look.
With a high build volume, you can print out larger models in one go.
They have a responsive user interface that allows you to choose your print options easily. The print process also becomes fast with the intuitive touch screen on these printers.
Many of these professional 3D printers allow the usage of third party materials. If you wish to experiment with different types of filament materials, you can buy a professional printer that supports all.
Professional 3D printers offer easy connectivity through Wi-Fi, SD cards, and USB drives.
Best Printers in Professional Category:
4. Industrial 3D Printers
As the name suggests, these 3D printers are manufactured for industrial purposes.
They have a price range of over $10,000.
From metal, wood to carbon fiber, these printers support all sorts of filament materials to provide you with the finest 3D models. The filaments of such printers are also expensive.
You can print out industry tools, prototypes in the manufacturing, aerospace, and design sector.
The printers are often very large and can’t be moved as often. Many models are available in multiple units that perform different functions of the printing process.
You need to maintain these 3D printers with regular checks by using the company-referred materials. This is not a cheap process, and that’s why such printers are only suitable for large scale businesses and industries.
Before buying such a printer, the companies should consider if the model they are investing in will save the cost or not. They have a highly responsive user interface and make the printing process as easy as possible.
Industrial printers usually have a large heated chamber that lets you print at a higher temperature. This makes the objects stronger especially the ones prepared using the ABS filament.
The safety features in such printers are usually top-notch but it won’t hurt to cross-check one more time.
The high print speed and faster performance save you a lot of time and money as they work to reduce the production cost significantly.
Most good industrial 3D printers have a dual extruder with two hot ends. This allows two different filament materials to dissolve to form one hybrid model. This feature is also available in many professional 3D printers.
No matter which printer you choose, always check if it has the required features or not.
You can check the review websites or customer testimonials on Amazon to understand if the printer is worth the price you’re paying for it. Always go for a reputed and reliable brand that has good ratings on the internet.
You should be willing to spend on their maintenance especially if you have a professional or industrial 3D printer.
A good warranty period is necessary for a cost-free and hassle-free replacement of a damaged part as the electronic items often run into a problem.
Also, they should have good customer service that will help you as and when required.
Please note that you should never leave a printer unattended. This is because it might pose a safety hazard to your factory or manufacturing unit.