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Best 3D Printer

For decades, the idea of being able to print three-dimensional things that you want from the comfort of your own home has been the stuff of science fiction dream. Rather than going to the store in order to get, say, a new dinner plate, or a cup that you could use to hold your pencils, or even a vase, you could just print it! What a world that would be, right?

Well, that is the world that we live in. Sure, it’s not as simple as the various ‘futurists’ of the time thought it would be (it’s not that easy yet, anyway), but it is becoming easier and more cost-effective to purchase your own 3D printer for home use to build various things, from art projects to parts.

Best 3D Printer 2018 – Comparison Table

This is a complex topic to breach, though, so let us begin by making sure that we have a good comparison chart of the various contenders for the title ‘Best 3D Printer’. The list below is up-to-date as of February 2018.

3D PrinterConnectionsRemote ViewingMax Build Volume (inches)
Sindoh’s DP200 3DWOXUSB, Wireless, WiFi NetworkYes8.3 x 7.9 x 7.7
Dremel Idea Builder 3D20USB and SD CardNo9 x 5.9 x 5.5
Monoprice Select Mini 3D PrinterUSB and Micro SD CardNo4.7 x 4.7 x 4.7
FlashForge FinderWifi Network and USBNo5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5
XYZ Printing MiniSD Cards and WIfi NetworkNo5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9
FlashForge Creator ProUSB or SD CardsNo8.9 x 5.7 x 5.9
MakerBot Replicator +Wifi, Ethernet, USB Stick, USB CableYes11.6x7.6x6.5
QIDI Technology X-ONEUSB or SD CardNo5.5 x 5.5 x 5.5
LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D PrinterUSBNo6 x 6 x 6.2
JG AURORA 3D Desktop PrinterSD Card and USBNo11 x 7.1 x 7.1
Prusa i3 Do It Yourself KitUSB or SD CardNo7.9 x 7.9 x 8.7

Now, 3D printing (or rather, utilizing software and commands to extrude various polymers in shapes at will) is not a new thing. In fact, companies making things like toys and figures have been doing it for quite some time. But the ability to do it at home without having to spend tens of thousands of dollars on the machine alone is a new thing.

Before we talk more about which one of these amazing 3D printers might be the best one for you, it might be good to go over the basics of how they work. They are, in essence, printers that, instead of printing with ink on paper, print with the use of various blends of plastics. It builds whatever you’ve instructed it to print in layer after layer, starting with the bottom layer and working up, most commonly. The compound used in the build is fed through the extruder nozzle as it is heated, and is then ‘printed’, or layered appropriately in accordance with software, and after some time, you have the item that you have printed.

So, now that we have a basic grasp of how this whole thing works, let’s take a look at a couple of the best 3D printers on the market.

1

Sindoh’s DP200 3DWOX 3D Printer – The Plug And Play Model

Have you ever bought a new printer and then spent the next couple of hours working hard trying to get it to connect to the computer that you have at home? Fighting with the printer and with the software and drivers that your computer tells you that you need to install in order to be able to actually be able to USE the printer? This is not an uncommon problem with things like printers or other peripherals (including things like joysticks or controllers for gaming), and those are relatively simple in comparison.

So, really, you can understand why it might be so complicated to first hook up your new 3D printer. It’s not just something that is going to paint a two-dimensional series of letters or dots on your paper; it is something that is going to be basically creating something through the use of simple plastics and heat. It only makes sense that, even with the use of a USB cable, that might take a bit of work.

Thankfully, the Sindoh DP200 is a lot easier to use than you would expect. Plug and Play was the original tagline for the USB cables and ports, and it is very applicable here, as this 3DWOX printer is very easy to set up and to get started on its first printing job.

But really, everything about this product is designed to make it easier for you to get started with your 3D printing. Sure, it looks something like a blocky microwave, but don’t let the less than pleasing aesthetics distract you from the fact that it is a very good piece of technology for printing the things that you would like to print from the home. It comes with an auto-loading cartridge, which means that you need only load in the cartridge and the 3DWOX will do the rest. It has an assisted bed leveling function, which is good, because leveling the bed of a 3D printer is both important to make sure that you are going to have your structure or object printed correctly, but also an immense hassle if you have to do it yourself.

One of the coolest things about this product, though, is the internal camera, which you can view from a wireless device, including your cell phone, while you’re not there. This makes it one of the coolest 2017 3D printers on its own, really; you can see how long until your printing is done without having to be anywhere near the printer. This can be a very helpful tool indeed, especially if you have better things to do with your day than to spend it watching your new object print through your 3D printer.

It has a build space of roughly 8 inches cubed (which means that it is 8 inches width by 8 inches height by 8 inches length). So, if you are looking to print something like a plastic cup for drinking out of, or if you’re looking to print a couple of action figures or figurines, it is going to be more than capable of doing just that.

It will feed from PLA and ABS plastics, but if you’re looking to get the most out of the printer, you will probably be best off buying the recommended filaments, as they tend to cause less jamming that requires fixing.

All things considered, this is one of the easiest to use, and all around one of the best 3D printers on the market, which is just what you would expect from something that combined the knowledge of South Korean designers with the design of British engineers.

PROS
  • Easy to use, truly a plug and play design
  • Autoloads the filament from cartridges, which makes it a lot easier for you to get more printing done, and helps you avoid hassle
  • Auto-levelling of the plate is a great thing as well
CONS
  • Kind of an ugly design with no aesthetic flair, but if you are strictly searching for a utilitarian object, then that should not be a problem
2

Dremel Idea Builder 3D20 3D Printer – The Educational Model

To be fair, almost any of these can be used as an educational device, but Dremel has a lot of work that they’ve put into making their 3D printers usable for education of students, including younger students, to get them interested in things like engineering and product design and even 3D modeling. If you check out their website, they have a lovely selection of things that you can make with the Dremel Idea Builder 3D20 3D printer, as well as instructions and an explanation concerning the project.

A Dremel is a device that is used somewhat like a sander, usually consisting of a motor with a ‘bit’ on the end. The bits come in various shapes and sizes, and they are used to wear away material, often to create a curved surface. The folks at Dremel who built this printer, on the other hand, seem dedicated to not only making sure that it will be as easy to use as is humanly possible, but also to make sure that it can be fun to use and informative, too.

It’s not something that I brought up with the Sindoh model, but the Dremel Idea Builder (and all Dremel products, it seems) is fully self-contained. It operates inside its own little cube, with acrylic material between you and the actual operating area. What this means is that not only are you going to get to enjoy building with ease, but you can enjoy it with relatively little additional noise. It may not seem like it for such a small device, but the noise can be loud and extremely annoying, especially if you’re in a classroom setting and trying to teach students while this thing is printing.

Another great consideration about the Idea Builder is that it comes completely ready to use out of the box; all you have to do is to load it with the appropriate filament and it is ready to go.

It’s an easy system to work with, too, when you are looking to print something. You just sign in to their website and download a model (or make your own, if you have the appropriate know-how and software). You pick the model that you want to print, and then you put it on an SD Card or you just connect via a USB cable to the printer, select the model, and press the ‘build’ button. Simple and easy to do!

One of the big benefits of this 3D printer is that you don’t need to be hooked up to the internet with it, or to be hooked up to a computer with it, in order to get something printed. You only need to have an SD card with an appropriate file on it, slide it into the computer, and then select the file and hit build on the little touchscreen that is included on the 3D printer. Again, it’s a very simple system.

A notable downside is that the build area is not as big as it could be. It’s 9 inches wide and less than six inches deep and tall, but for most of the things that you would want to print, it’ll more than meet your needs. There’s also the fact that if you’re just downloading the models to build, you’re already downloading things that are the proper size for this printer (assuming you’re downloading from their website, anyway), so the size issue should not be a great worry to you.

If you’re looking for a great 3D printer for learning, or you’re a teacher that wants to get their kids interested in the world around them and in this wondrous new technology, this is a great way to start. The people at Dremel also provide top-notch customer service, which is a good touch, especially if you’re not very familiar with 3D printers already. It is available in a variety of places, including at Home Depot and Best Buy, if you would like to go and see one in use. It is probably one of the best 3D printers Best Buy has ever and will ever, offered.

PROS
  • Very easy to use and to just plug in and make use of
  • Designed to be used by school children, so it is designed to be as simple as possible
  • Great company and great customer service once you have bought their product
CONS
  • With the wonder of simplicity comes the limitations of a simple device. Still a great 3D printer if you’re just getting started
3

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer - The Affordable Starter

The first two 3D printers that we have taken a look at are very simple devices that are built to not only be simple to use, but that are built to be more on the ‘high end’ of the spectrum. They have full enclosure, they auto level the build surface (sometimes called a plate), they do all sorts of things that you could do yourself, but that are a hassle to do, such as loading the filament into the extruder. However, with all of those lovely bells and whistles come a necessary addition in price. Convenience is never cheap, whether it is the convenience of being able to buy a gallon of milk at your local gas station when you’re in a hurry, or the convenience of not having to load your own filaments when you’re looking to do some 3D printing.

The Monoprice Select Mini 3D printer is an affordable and ‘few frills’ kind of product. That’s both a good and a bad thing, but that doesn’t make it any less a great way to get started in the world of 3D printing if you’re looking to break into it without having to spend close to a thousand dollars on a high-end 3D printer. For about the price of the average gas and electric bill for a summer month, you can get one of these.

One of the big drawing points for this 3D printer (besides its low price, obviously) is the fact that it can use pretty much any of the common 1.75mm filaments that are on the market right now. If you find that you are using one and it is continuously jamming, you may want to switch filaments, but otherwise, you’ll find that most of them work pretty well. This may be preferable to some who are looking to save a bit of money and are hoping to not have to pay for the ‘recommended name brand’ filaments that seem to be foisted upon you in some cases (especially with the more expensive 3D printers).

Now, this is a MICRO 3D printer. It will easily fit on a desk, even if you’ve got your desktop computer and your tower and even your keyboard up on that desk. It doesn’t take up much space, but the downside of that is that the Select Mini 3D Printer has a limited workspace, something a little bit under 5 inches cubed (again, 5 by 5 by 5 inches). That is still sizeable, and if you’re looking to manufacture a bunch of little pieces to combine into something bigger, that will be just fine, but if you’re looking for something that can make an 8 or 9-inch figurine, then you’re going to be disappointed.

A nice touch with this affordable printer is that unlike other low-cost printers, you don’t have to assemble it. They put it together at the factory, they properly mount the extruder, they ensure that everything is set up correctly, and everything is properly calibrated before they ship it out. Short of some sort of issues in shipping, or short of some sort of user error, you’re going to find that your 3D printer will arrive ready to use, and they even are kind enough to send you some filament (PLA filament) and some pre-designed models on a Micro SD card so that you are going to be able to test it out the minute you take it out of the box and get it properly situated.

Overall, if you’re looking for a decent 3D printer on a budget, this is a good place for you to begin. It’s a nice, no-frills model that you can use as a learning aid until you get the budget or the money together for a bigger and more expensive model, and unlike other low-cost 3D printers, it does not require that you put it together yourself.  As far as low-cost 3D printers for home use go, this is a great buy for a beginner.

PROS
  • Easy to use and comes ready to go out of the box
  • Well put together and simple to use
  • Very affordable
CONS
  • Not too many bells and whistles on this model, in order to keep prices down
4

FlashForge Finder 3D Printer – The Creator’s Cube

The Finder is the most affordable model that is currently being offered from FlashForge. Clocking it at around the price of rent for a decent apartment in most parts of the world, it is a well-put together piece that is also aesthetically pleasing.

This is another one of those 3D printers that has obviously been designed to ensure that people can afford it as a learning tool, which may explain why it looks so much cooler and more ‘new user friendly ‘ than the more industrial design choices that were made for the rest of the 3D printers offered by the fine folks from FlashForge.

FlashForge is a relatively new company that began creating 3D printers and the supplies for 3D printing in 2011. Since then, they’ve had three commercially successful printers, and they’re currently in rumored production for a fourth. Many of their printers are geared toward more ‘educational’ uses than industrial use or even hard use for manufacturing. And FlashForge has done a good job getting their printers into the hands of not only teachers and educational facilities, but into places like Best Buy and WalMart, places where they are likely to be seen and bought by an interested public.

One of the big downsides of the FlashForge Finder is that it is limited to printing with the use of PLA (Polylactic Acid Filament. How they got PLA from that, I couldn’t tell you). It’s not a huge problem, but PLA can be a bit more expensive than various other filaments, so you can find yourself paying a bit more over the long term, but you will be able to get the initial product at a much lower cost of entry. That’s just a choice that you will have to make, here.

The build area is 5.5 inches cubed, which is a decent size. If you have a standard television remote that came with your TV (especially if it’s a Samsung), the remote is probably about five inches long, just to put that into perspective. It may not be the biggest design area, but if you’re willing to take your time and design projects in pieces if you need more space, or if you’re only making small tchotchkes that are less than five inches or so in volume, then you will be just fine using the Finder.

As with many of these 3D printers, the FlashForge Finder comes completely assembled. All you need to do is to insert the PLA filament (they included blue filament in the order), thread it through a hole in the box, and then make sure that you put it into the extruder. Once that is all done, you’re good to go!

One issue that you will want to take into account is that there are reports of the prints coming off the build platform. There are various ways to fix this which you can find on internet forums, but it can be a bit of a hassle to have to restart a print because of something so ridiculous and simple. Just a word of warning and caution, should you decide to purchase this model.

All things considered, for the price that you will be paying for it, and for the fact that even at about 35 dollars a spool for replacement PLA, you’re not going to be breaking the bank, and considering how easy PLA is to work with, you are going to find that an Investment in the FlashForge Finder 3D printer will be an investment you’re glad that you made.

PROS
  • Very affordable
  • Comes preassembled
  • Designed to be easy to use, and comes with a few sample or ‘test’ projects that you can print out to make sure that everything is going to go well
CONS
  • Only capable of using PLA filaments
  • Some issues with adhesion to the building platform
  • Only capable of using PLA filaments
5

XYZ Printing Mini 3D Printer – The Da Vinci Mini

Leonardo Da Vinci was the greatest inventor of his time. He was so wondrous a creator, in fact, that there are things that he conceived of which would not be seen, much less made workable, for half of a millennium. He had great vision, and he was a prolific inventor and painter. It only makes sense, then, that someone would name a 3D printer after him at some point.

Now, this is not the biggest 3D printer in the world, but the build area is still respectable. It comes in at just under six inches on all sides, which is more than enough for most small projects, or to create pieces to assemble for a big project. That is something, by the way, that you must remember if you buy a 3D printer. Just because you can’t afford to get one of the huge industrial models that cost more than a decent used car, that doesn’t mean that assembling parts together is something that you cannot do. In the images showcasing their product on the internet, in fact, they did just that, building a Ferris wheel with a multitude of assembled parts they printed out.

This is another one of the more affordable printers, which makes it all the more surprising that you can connect to it wirelessly from anywhere in the house. In fact, you can have multiple such printers on your network, and you will be able to access them if you’re on the same network. You have to use a program called XYZWare in order to connect via the network, but it still is pretty cool. With the proper setup, you can even use devices on the network to begin production on your various prints!

A slight complaint is that, once again, it is designed to only work with spools of filament made of PLA. A fun fact is that these spools are thought to be the most biodegradable of the filaments currently in use (at least in common use, anyway), and they are based on corn starch. That’s right; you can print 3D objects out of what is essentially treated cornstarch. Talk about odd and futuristic. Of course, the upside of that is that PLA is the easiest filament to work with on all counts, so if you’re a beginner, it’s not going to be some daunting task to get it to feed correctly or anything like that.

 

The one big downside here is the noise. I know that printing has always been a loud process, but the technology has improved over the years. Just like how a standard printer used to make enough noise to wake up the dead, industrial grade 3D printers, the original designs in most cases, make enough noise to drown out a heavy construction site. This printer does not have windows or a door, so you’re going to hear the whole process, and though it won’t fill a whole house or hallway with annoying noises, you will definitely hear it in, say, a classroom, or in your basement if you’re using it to print to from home. 

If you’re in the market for a good beginner grade 3D printer that won’t break the bank and that will be a fairly easy introduction to the world of 3D printing, the XYZ Printing Mini Da Vinci is a good choice for you. If not, you may want to look elsewhere.

PROS
  • Easy to use
  • Wireless connectivity is a wonderful thing
  • Comes set up to go
CONS
  • Kind of loud
6

FlashForge Creator Pro 3D Printer – The Dual Extruder Design

This is the first of the 3D printers that we have reviewed that has the real feel of being an industrial, or a semi-industrial, product. One of the more notable ways in which it sets itself apart from its competition is that it comes with two extruders, instead of one. This is a great thing in that it allows you to print things much more swiftly, which is good if you’re printing a lot or a lot of very large or thick things, but the downside here is that with two extruders, you are going to get two times the jamming, and that means twice the time will be spent working with the jamming tools to try and get the jammed bit out. How do the two extruders work? Well, they’re fed independently, which means that you’ll need to have two spools of filament of 1.75mm ABS or PLA. ABS is the harder to work with of the two, but there are a lot of interesting things that you can do with ABS that PLA just isn’t capable of doing.

Why would it need to have two extruders? Well, mostly convenience, but also because it has a quite large build area. The build area for the FlashForge Creator Pro is 8.9 by 5.7 by 5.9 inches, which is a considerable amount of space. That’s more than enough to make almost anything that you could need or want to make, or to make parts for something bigger, obviously. Now, as you would expect, this means that the price is going to be a bit more, with the price normally hovering somewhere around the thousand dollar mark, give or take a hundred dollars or two, but you’re getting a pretty serious piece of equipment for all that money that you have to spend, which is a good thing.

When it comes to actually telling the machine to print, and what to print, it is the usual basic methods that the machine will accept. It is capable of reading certain filetypes from an SD card, of course, and you can select and print with the use of the on-board buttons and screen, and, as you would expect, it can also import the file from a computer via USB connection and then print that file. 

It comes with an acrylic cover that will allow you to make sure that while it is busy printing, you’re not going to have to hear it make noise, which is a noise touch. It obviously won’t silence all the noises in the printing process, but it will silence a lot more than having no covering would do, obviously. The big upgrade between the Creator and Creator Pro from the folks at FlashForge is that the Creator Pro comes with a metal frame, whereas the Creator used a humble wood frame to hold the parts together. This means that the frame is going to be much less prone to issues like bending, warping, or breaking (wood isn’t a great frame under extreme heats, either, so why they ever made the initial frame out of wood is questionable). 

 If you’re looking for something that is kind of like a small scale industrial 3D printer, or something that is one of the more ‘professional’ of the 3D printers for sale, this FlashForge Creator Pro is a good option for you to take a look at, and one that you’ll be glad you spent the money on. If you’re looking for a more ‘starter’ friendly 3D printer, it may be time for you to go and look elsewhere.

PROS
  • Steel frame
  • Dual extruders
  • Prints much more swiftly
CONS
  • Twice the jams
  • A little bit more expensive
7

MakerBot Replicator + - The Big Name Phenomenon

MakerBot is probably the most well-known of all the 3D printers that are on the list, what with how the MakerBot3D Printer was even featured in a Netflix 2014 documentary. The guys who designed the MakerBot line started out as parts of a nonprofit who were looking for ways to make 3D printing technology open-source and available to everyone. They were basically shipping kits at the time, looking to make sure that people could enjoy 3D printing for as low a price as possible. Sadly, with the investment of 10 million dollars from a venture capital investment firm, that stance kind of went by the wayside. They were then sold in a 403 million dollar stock deal, and the adherence to open-source principals kind of died somewhere between the investment and the sale. 

That’s not to say that they don’t make a decent product, but just a bit of information on what happened to the company and to the ideas that they were founded on. The MakerBot Replicator + is still a serious piece of equipment that is well designed and has a decently sized area to work on (11.6 by 7.6 by 6.5 inches). It just no longer adheres to the principals that it was invented on, and the reality is that the people who started the company are mostly no longer in a position to make any decisions about how the company operates or produces goods.

The MakerBot + is one of the most well-tested and well designed 3D printers that you will find on the market today. It is capable of being run off of WiFi, Ethernet, USB flash drives and via a computer over the USB cable, which basically means that you have a plethora of ways that you can hook up to the printer in order to be able to print your goods. It also makes use of the ‘SmartExtruder +’, which is supposed to allow it to print 30% quicker than the previous models, as well as cutting down on jamming.

Now, the folks at MakerBot started out trying to pair software with easy and cheap ‘DIY’-esque 3D printers in order to make something that you would be able to use with ease, and they haven’t abandoned the software side of things. They offer software for both your computer and your mobile devices; MakerBot Print for your computer or your laptop, and MakerBot Mobile for your phone or your android or Apple wireless device.

A nice final touch is that the MakerBot Replicator + comes with an on-board camera, so that you can remotely view the progress of your printing project. Couple that with the time and money that they have invested in making an improved extruder and an improved design for the build platform, and you have a design that is completely built around the idea of making sure that it is as easy as possible to ensure your prints come out well and to offer you every nicety while printing. And that makes sense, because the printer costs as much as most people are going to spend buying their first car.  One word of warning, though; there is word that the people at MakerBot are in a lot of danger of going under and that the business may be failing, and if that is the case, it may not continue to be a good investment down the line. If the company collapses, it’s unknown if the software will continue to be updated as new operating systems become common.

PROS
  • SmartExtruder+
  • Improved silicone building platform
  • The software is fantastic
CONS
  • Very expensive
  • They may be on the cusp of bankruptcy, and it is unknown if anyone would pick them up in the case of bankruptcy and continue to front the money for the business
8

QIDI Technology X-ONE 3D Printer – The Detailed Printer

The X-One is capable of accuracy and definition in printing, a layer definition of 100 to 500 microns. That is surprisingly good resolution for anything, to be sure, but if you’re looking for a great amount of precision when you are printing, this is definitely one of the best 3D printers for you to take a look at, for sure. Combine that with the use of 1.75mm filaments, and you are getting a printer that is going to be capable of very precise printing.

The downside is that the printing platform is tiny. I mean, look at the picture that was posted. The printing platform is less than a third the length or width of the actual printing container. It’s about 14 centimeters in width for each one of them, which is under six inches on each side (and the printing area is a perfect cube, too, meaning it’s 14 centimeters on each side).

When it comes to how you’re going to be transferring the information to the printer for the actual print, you are going to find that it is the usual ways. They have a slot for your SD card, they have the usual USB cable, and that’s about it. But let’s be honest here, all you really are going to need is to be able to print from a computer or from an SD card, and if you can print from a USB flash drive, well that’s just frosting on the cake, right?

You can print using 1.75mm PLA or ABS filaments, and you don’t acutally need to be hooked up to a computer in order to be able to print. The 3.5-inch LCD screen that comes standard on the printer will make it possible for you to easily pick an object to print, and that’s all there is to it. Great design, just another one of the more ‘frills light’ designs that we have seen.

So what are the downsides for the Qidi Tehcnology X-One? Well, there are a couple of notable downsides. One of the big ones is that it is not only a very heavy printer, but also a very noisy one. Uncommonly noisy, it seems to be. The only other real complaint is that the design of it is kind of standard, nothing special, but not bad, either. And for all you’re getting for around four hundred dollars? That’s a heck of a deal, really.

PROS
  • Easy to use
  • Metal construction
  • Doesn’t need a computer to run
CONS
  • Noisy
  • Heavy
9

LulzBot Mini Desktop 3D Printer – The Lulzy Option

There are a lot of reasons to like LulzBot that go beyond the name of the thing, but the one that really needs your attention is the fact that it can use pretty much any kind of the commonly used filaments out on the market today. Their extruder, the LulzBot Hexagon Hot End, heats up to 300 degrees Celsius (somewhere in the 570 degrees range Fahrenheit), and the bed will heat up to 120 degrees Celsius (about 250 degrees Farenheit), meaning that as long as your filament is able to be properly melted at that temperature, you can run it through the LulzBot 3D printer. The folks at LulzBot have a good list of materials that they can use and that are for sale on their website, but really, you can use just about every kind of material used in 3D printing outside a few of the stranger and rarer implements that are made for strange uses you probably don’t have.

Earlier, there was mention of how MakerBot began as kind of an ‘opensource’ platform, with the hopes that the robust community of people who are interested in 3D printing would be there to help you out with the improving of the process, as well as helping you with the necessary improvements to things like software and even to hardware. But while MakerBot ended up getting away from that, and ended up with a product that was far more corporate. On the other hand, LulzBot is dedicated to being opensource right now, which means that your product is going to be a lot better, and that you are going to end up with a device and with software that is more tailored to your desires.

So, if you have a thousand dollars and change to spend on getting this LulzBot Mini, a great 3D printer that will work off of your computer’s USB drive, and a robust group of users that will be able to help you with everything? Then this is the printer you should be looking at. And if you’re one of those opensource types, this is the one that you are going to want to look at.

PROS
  • Opensource!
  • Use almost any filament that is on the market today!
  • Great design
CONS
  • This is a more ‘do it yourself’ model, and that means it isn’t as easy to use as some of the other more ‘educational’ ones.
10

JG AURORA 3D Desktop Printer – The Chinese Connection

The JG AURORA 3D printer (also known as the Z-603S printer) is a pretty serious piece of printing hardware, to be sure. It may be a Chinese design from a company that is not very well known, but that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad printer, just that it isn’t a big name. Of course, of all the printers we’ve reviewed thus far, the only one that is really a ‘big name’ product is the MakerBot printer.

This is a great printer for you to use, but I have to stress this, it is ONLY DESIGNED TO BE USED WITH WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEMS NEWER THAN WINDOWS XP. If you’re looking to make sure that you are going to be able to get an affordable and decent quality 3D printer, though, this is a great solution. It can print from an SD card, or from a USB connection as well, but it cannot print from a USB stick at this time. 

It will allow you to print via the 2 most common filaments, namely PLA and ABS, and it has a decently sized platform to work from, coming in at 11 inches by 7.1 by 7.1 inches. This is more than enough space than you will need for most non-industrial projects.

All things considered, there may not be much interesting or special about this model, but it’s definitely not a model that you should ignore if you’re looking for an affordable one.

The JG AURORA 3D printer (also known as the Z-603S printer) is a pretty serious piece of printing hardware, to be sure. It may be a Chinese design from a company that is not very well known, but that doesn’t mean that it is necessarily a bad printer, just that it isn’t a big name. Of course, of all the printers we’ve reviewed thus far, the only one that is really a ‘big name’ product is the MakerBot printer.

This is a great printer for you to use, but I have to stress this, it is ONLY DESIGNED TO BE USED WITH WINDOWS OPERATING SYSTEMS NEWER THAN WINDOWS XP. If you’re looking to make sure that you are going to be able to get an affordable and decent quality 3D printer, though, this is a great solution. It can print from an SD card, or from a USB connection as well, but it cannot print from a USB stick at this time. 

It will allow you to print via the 2 most common filaments, namely PLA and ABS, and it has a decently sized platform to work from, coming in at 11 inches by 7.1 by 7.1 inches. This is more than enough space than you will need for most non-industrial projects.

All things considered, there may not be much interesting or special about this model, but it’s definitely not a model that you should ignore if you’re looking for an affordable one.

PROS
  • Affordable
  • Easy to use
  • Works with PLA and ABS filaments
CONS
  • The instructions are terrible and in broken English
11

Prusa i3 3D Printer DIY Kit – The Do It Yourself Option

Long before the idea of 3D printing at your home became something that anyone could afford and do (well, almost anyone), it was done by people in labs. Much like the internet, it was pioneered by people with immense amounts of technical know-how, and with a lot of time and money to spend on it. It was done by the same kinds of people who first figured out how to play games and to communicate over the internet, back when DARPA was busy trying to use it to send information concerning the military. 

For some, the construction of the machine itself is half of the fun. And let’s face it; when it all comes down to it, these are simple pieces of machinery, being driven by powerful software and processors. You have a handful of motors, a couple of wires, a frame, and an extruder, and that’s about all there is to it, really. So, if you have the know-how to build such a thing, then you can save quite a bit of money, and have a fun experience building, if you are willing to buy a do-it-yourself kit instead of getting your 3D printer pre-made.

Designed by Josef Prusa and part of the RepRap project, this is a good printer, and one that will teach you much about the design of these 3D printers, as well as allowing you to look on in pride at the thing that you have designed with your own hands. Truly, it is the kind of thing that will be a great experience, and building your very own printer will ensure that you have more than a superficial understanding of how the 3D printer works, and what can be done with it.

It is a fairly basic printer, really. A single extruder is what will provide your printing power. The printer is capable of reading from a USB connection or from an SD card, in keeping with the standard method of providing information to the printer that is in use with almost all of these printers.

In general, as a printer, there is nothing very revolutionary about this product, but it is fun to create your own tools, and it will also ensure that you know how to do things like level the bed that is being printed on. This kind of knowledge can be a stepping stone to a more high-end, even an industrial kind of printer, if you wish it to be.

PROS
  • Much cheaper than comparable printers
  • Teaches you more about how the printer works
  • Easy to work with once its done
CONS
  • You must assemble it yourself

Best 3D Printer - Buyer's Guide

3D printers are complicated, to put it bluntly. You are likely to have many questions about them, and about what you can do to make sure that you get the right one for you. Luckily, we’re here to give the answers to some common questions

Are There Any Health Concerns With 3D Printers?

Yes, in fact, there are some minor issues to be worried about. 3D printers have been linked to the production of very fine particles that, if inhaled, may cause health problems for you. The best way to make sure that you don’t end up dealing with such problems is to ensure that you are working in a ventilated area when you are printing (which is just a good general rule for anything that you ever do, really. Decent ventilation is very important at all times). 

The various filaments you use may also come with some minor health risks. It’s important to read all information about the filaments you use carefully, and it is most important that you ensure, as always, that you work in a well-ventilated area.

Do I Need A Wireless 3D Printer?

Honestly, I would say that you do not. A 3D printer that is wireless, much like a wireless printer, is something that is a convenience, not a necessity. And honestly, much like a 3D printer, it can be more of a hassle than it is a blessing.

If you have ever tried to set up a wireless printer, you probably understand how much of a hassle that can be. It may not want to scan your internet connection, it may not want to connect, you may have to get into your router/modem settings and open certain ports or turn off certain protections, the whole thing is just a mess. Why would you want to do that unless you have some real need to do so?

Personally, I am a big believe that having a wired connection is preferable, and just much easier to deal with. If you are looking for simplicity, there are few things in the computer or technology world that could be more simple than just plugging in a USB cable and the device auto-configuring and auto-adjusting.

Conclusion


So, if you’ve read this whole thing, you probably know quite a bit more about a few of the 3D printers on the market, the ones that can lay claim to being ‘the best 3D printer’ in some way or another. There are many 3D printers on the market, and even many of the ones we’ve reviewed in this article are part of lines that have various other models which may be more tuned to a certain specific use or a certain specific end user. However, alas, there can be only one! Only one best 3D printer, one that will allow you to enjoy making your very own objects, while also allowing you to make sure that you can learn a bit about how they work and even understanding a bit more about 3D modeling.

So, which one is the best? Honestly, the best is the MakerBot Replicator +. It has it all, and the price tag reflects that. It can be connected to via a variety of means. It is easy to use. It is easy to feed. It has a vibrant group of users who are willing to offer assistance and to help drive the product forward. Because of this, it is a bit sad that there are so many rumors out there that the company is on the verge of falling apart.

Whichever of the printers we reviewed that you choose, whichever you feel is the right printer for you, you are sure to get a great piece of technology, one that people should be envious of, and one that you will be able to use for years to come. Enjoy your printer, and may your creativity be unchained so that you can better utilize the printer!