How to Find the Best SLA 3D Printer in 2020

Best SLA 3D Printer

If you want to find the best SLA 3D printer, this guide will help.

SLA or resin 3D printing has become very popular as the price of these types of 3D printers have come down quite considerably in recent years. If you aren’t too sure what SLA 3D printing is, we have you covered as well.

We are going to show you what SLA 3D printing actually is, things you should be looking out for before buying an SLA 3D printer, and finally what the best SLA 3D printers are.

First, let’s find out what SLA 3D printing involves.

What is an SLA 3D printer?

Unlike an FDM 3D printer that uses filament to print off models – the SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to create certain processes that ultimately end up as 3D printed objects.

The printing process is also known as Stereolithography.

The resin that is used in these printers is photosensitive and hardens up under UV light. This is how the objects are created. In fact, the process adds to the quality of prints and many resin-based 3D printers can create higher quality objects than more expensive FDM printers.

What is an SLA 3D printer

SLA and DLP 3D printing are quite similar. Both of the processes use liquid resin and light while SLA makes objects through lasers and DLP makes objects through a projector.

Before you go off and buy the first SLA 3D printer that you come across, there are a few things you need to take into consideration first.

What to look for in an SLA 3D Printer?

Buying an SLA 3D printer isn’t as simple as looking at a list and purchasing one right away – you need to think about the following things before you decide on which model to buy.

Build Volume

The build volume of a 3D printer is the maximum size of an object that it is able to print. In our list of the best SLA 3D printers, we have made sure to include a fairly diverse build volume so there should be something for everyone.

Build volume isn’t always directly connected to the price. While many affordable 3D printers may have a smaller build volume than larger and more expensive machines, it isn’t always the case.

You can find cheap SLA 3D printers that have large build volumes too. So, you need to think about what kind of objects you want to print so you can choose a printer with a suitable build volume.

Print quality

Alongside build volume, the overall print quality of a 3D printer is generally the thing that most people look at.

Getting high-quality prints can be a trial and error process especially if you are new to 3D printers. There is often more work involved with resin 3D printing – mainly around cleaning – than other methods.

That being said, resin-based 3D printers will usually produce great results when it comes to their print quality.

Print Speed

Speed is another determining factor in buying a 3D printer.

In many ways, you need to have a trade-off between speed and quality. Printing quickly can often lead to poorer quality prints however depends on what objects you are making.

There are a lot of factors to take into account for the print speeds between FDM 3D printers and SLA 3D printers. SLA tends to be a bit slower than FDM but it does vary between devices.

Ease of use

As 3D printers, in general, have become much more affordable and accessible to a larger market, their ease of use has improved too.

You don’t need to be an engineer to work any of the 3D printers that we are going to show you in a minute. Some are a bit easier to work than others and will have shorter learning curves.

The whole 3D printing process regardless of whether it is SLA, DLP or FDM can take a while to master so patience and a willingness to learn is key.

7 Best SLA 3D Printers in 2020

SLA 3D printers are quite a broad market so we have come up with the best 7 that are not only affordable but also produce great results.

Photon S

The Photon S is among the very best SLA 3D printers and it is placed firmly within the budget category too. This doesn’t mean that it produces inferior results – far from it.

Best SLA 3D Printers

The Photon S is ideal for home use as well as small businesses due to its compact size alongside a high print quality and decent print speed. The build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm is ideal for printing off a range of objects too. The noise level is quite low and is certainly lower than a lot of the FDM printers you find.

There is a full LCD screen with this printer, in addition to the Photon Slicer software and you will also get a carbon filtration system as well.

Overall the Photon S is great for printing smallish objects from resin whether you are a hobbyist or in a professional capacity. See how the Photon S compares to its previous version, the Anycubic Photon.

Pros

  • Good build volume combined with a very affordable price
  • Produces high-quality prints at a decent speed
  • LCD screen and carbon filtration system
  • Tailored Photon slicer software provided

Cons

  • Software is a bit basic but is OK for starting off

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 165mm
  • Overall dimensions: 230mm x 200mm x400mm
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1440)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Nobel 1.0 A

Even though the Nobel 1.0 A isn’t the cheapest on our list and there are far more budget orientated options out there, it does produce very high-quality prints.

nobel 1.0 a

A big drawback of this SLA 3D printer is that it is very slow. The speed issue is enough to be noticeable however if you aren’t going to be in a massive hurry the quality makes up for this.

With the Nobel 1.0 A, you also get a resin monitoring system as well as the automatic filling of the resin tank which ensures smooth and seamless prints.

The 128 x 128 x 200 mm build volume is also very good and will allow you to print off fairly decent side objects.

This is a high-quality SLA 3D printer for home or small business use (which is reflected in the price) but does come with some drawbacks.

Pros

  • Produces very high-quality prints
  • Automatic resin filler
  • Resin monitoring system
  • Decent build volume

Cons

  • Print speed is very slow compared to other 3D printers
  • Is a bit expensive

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 128 x 128 x 200 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 280 x 345 x 590 mm
  • XY DPI: 130 microns
  • Connectivity: USB

Creality LD-002R

Creality is a well known 3D printer manufacturer and the Creality LD-002R is an ideal choice if you are on a budget.

It is one of the cheapest SLA 3D printers on our list but that doesn’t mean it offers inferior quality. This printer features a build volume of 120mm x 65mm x 165mm and its overall dimensions of 221mm x 221mm x 403mm mean that it won’t take up a load of space either.

For beginners, it is a suitable SLA 3D printer because there isn’t a huge amount of setup required and you can get started quite quickly. The speed is fairly good as well.

Creality LD-002R

The Creality LD-002R is a very good SLA 3D printer that really comes in at a budget price without sacrificing much in the way of quality.

Pros

  • Very cheap and affordable SLA 3D printer
  • Offers high-quality prints
  • Easy to set up and use for beginners

Cons

  • Print speed is a little slow but the quality is worth it

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 65mm x 165 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 221mm x 221mm x 403mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20-30 mm/h

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The PHROZEN Sonic Mini is a great little compact 3D printer that is easy to install and set up which is a big bonus if you are new to 3D printing.

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The print speed is actually very good and the prints come out in high quality as well. Given the price which is very affordable, you’d think you would need several upgrades ‘out of the box’ but that isn’t the case. The Sonic Mini is absolutely fine as it is.

The slope on the build platform is a downfall as it means resin is retained but with a good LCD screen, high-quality parts, and very good performance, it is certainly worth thinking about when you consider the cost.

Pros

  • Produces good quality prints with great speeds
  • Very easy to set up and get started
  • Doesn’t really need any upgrades right away
  • Price is very affordable

Cons

  • Slope on the build plate can cause resin retention
  • Is one of the noisier 3D printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 119mm x 66mm x 129mm
  • Overall dimensions: 248mm x 248mm x 327mm
  • XY DPI: 62um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 50 mm / hr

Epax X1

Continuing with our affordable SLA 3D printers, the Epax X1 will cost slightly more than others on this list but is still in the budget category.

It has a 115mm x 65mm x 155mm build volume as well as USB and ethernet connectivity. The 3D printer has a very solid build about it and the setup is easy too. The various preset modes make printing fairly straightforward even for beginners.

The anti-aliasing mode on this printer is very handy as well and helps to create that injection molded look.

Epax X1

The software provided is another bonus with the Epax X1 and while it does have a few drawbacks such as a shorter warranty period it is a high-quality 3D printer all around. Check out our full Epax X1 vs Photon comparison here.

Pros

  • Simple to set up and you can get started in minutes
  • Anti-aliasing mode to adjust stray pixels
  • Good software provided and has several connectivity options

Cons

  • Warranty is a bit shorter than some other printers
  • Lacks SD card functionality but isn’t alone in that regard

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 155mm
  • Overall dimensions: 350mm x 350mm x 500mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Prusa SL1

Like the Nobel 1.0 A, the Prusa SL1 is a bit more expensive than many of the other SLA 3D printers we’ve listed.

That being said, the Prusa SL1 provides top quality 3D prints with a host of other features. This includes a 120mm x 68mm x 150mm build volume, an LCD screen for curing resin, and a transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank.

Prusa SL1

Set up is a simple enough process with this 3D printer so even if you are completely new to the game, you shouldn’t have too many issues getting started. The Prusa SL1 has pretty much everything you need from an SLA 3D printer and while slightly more expensive is still within the price range of most hobbyists.

Pros

  • Produces high-quality 3D prints
  • Doesn’t require a lot of set up
  • Transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank
  • Has a replaceable carbon filter
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Can’t raise the print bed during printing
  • Isn’t the largest build volume

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 68mm x 150 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 400mm × 237mm × 225 mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

QIDI TECH S-Box

The final SLA 3D printer on our list is the QIDI TECH S-Box which provides a host of features to complement its high print quality and accuracy.

From an aesthetic point of view, this printer looks really good. It has a build volume of 215mm x 130mm x 200mm and the leveling system is great as well. As far as set up and installation go, this is one of the easier printers to get up and running.

QIDI TECH S-Box

The slicer software is another bonus while it is fairly quiet too and won’t produce a lot of noise when in operation. Some 3D printers suffer from excess noise which can be a real pain at home or in an office but the QIDI TECH S-Box doesn’t produce a lot of decibels.

The cover can feel a little flimsy when operating and getting to the bottom of the vat to clean out the resin is a bit difficult but they are minor complaints in reality. Overall a really good printer for the cost.

Pros

  • The leveling system is a good and easy setup
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise
  • Slicer software is great and simple to use

Cons

  • Hinges on the cover can feel a bit flimsy but with the care, they shouldn’t break
  • Cleaning out the vat is a little difficult

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 215mm x 130mm x 200mm
  • Overall dimensions: 565mm x 365mm x 490MM(H)
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1600)
  • Connectivity: USB

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an SLA 3D Printer?

An SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to activate processes that turn the resin into printed objects. This is different from an FDM printer that uses filament to create models.

Is an SLA 3D Printer faster than an FDM 3 Printer?

Usually, they are a little slower when printing although this can depend on the model. SLA 3D printers often produce higher quality prints overall.

Are SLA 3D printers expensive to buy?

Not really. Many of the SLA 3D printers that we have listed here are actually very affordable and we have included a mix of budget and more expensive options.

Are these SLA 3D printers hard to assemble?

Most of the printers we have listed come more or less assembled and require very little in the way of set up. This is ideal if you are a beginner to 3D printing and aren’t too sure about assembling one yourself to create accurate prints.

Do I need to wear PPE with an SLA 3D Printer?

Yes. As all of these printers use resin which is toxic and can be harmful to your skin and also if you breathe it in. Make sure you use appropriate PPE when using these printers and the instruction manual should inform you of what you need.

Conclusion: My Best SLA 3D Printer Pick

SLA 3D printers are capable of producing very high-quality prints and they have come right down at price in recent years too. They are affordable to both home users and businesses.

Finding the right one isn’t as easy as purchasing the first 3D printer you see – you need to take several things into consideration first.

This is why we put this list together in order to show you the top SLA 3D printers on the market but we need to pick one.

After a lot of careful consideration, I am going with Photon S.

Not only is it a very affordable SLA 3D printer but it does a fantastic job as well. It isn’t the cheapest on our list but it certainly isn’t the most expensive either. For what you get, the Photon S is ideal for hobbyists and small businesses.

It has a good build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm, LCD screen, carbon filtration system and the slicer software is easy to use and is also a good addition. I was struggling to find much wrong with the Photon S if truth be told. One drawback is that the slicer software can be a bit basic if you are an experienced user but it is completely fine as it is.

If you want an affordable but powerful SLA 3D printer, the Photon S should be right at the top of your list.

Best Large Format 3D Printers in 2020 – How to Pick the Right One

3D printers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and today we’re going to let you know about the best large format 3D printers that are currently on the market.

These types of printers have become very popular with small businesses as well as some home users. Not only can they print off bigger than normal objects, but they come with many other great features too.

We’ll go over the things you need to look out for before you make a purchase, and we’ll also show you the seven best large-format 3D printers you can buy.

First, let’s look at why you might need a 3D printer with a larger build volume.

Why use a Large Format 3D Printer?

The main difference between a large format 3D printer and many of the other models you’ll see on the market is the build volume.

As these printers have a larger build volume, it means you can print off bigger objects. This is very useful for businesses, and also many home users will find a larger build volume beneficial.

Using this to print off prototypes and experimental parts for development products can also save money in the long run. Businesses that can do this themselves won’t need to outsource the work, which can get very expensive.

So, really using a large format 3D printer is ideal if you need to print off larger objects and want to cut down on manual work of combining smaller parts down the line.

What to look for in a Large Format 3D Printer?

We’re going to show you the seven best large format 3D printers a little later on, but before we do that, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy one.

Cost

This is important, regardless of what kind of 3D printer you are buying.

3D printers can vary in cost quite considerably, and there are many cheaper models available. In fact, the whole market has become much more accessible in general recently. That being said, you’ll find a lot of expensive 3D printers, especially models that offer a bigger print volume.

Ideally, it would help if you looked at a cost to build volume ratio – the bigger the volume for a low price, but you also need to consider print quality.

Print quality

Something else that you should consider is the overall quality of the prints.

It is all well and good having a larger than normal build volume, but if the prints aren’t coming out to a high standard, then it is essentially useless. Using tests like the #3DBenchy is a common way in which to evaluate 3D printers and the quality of the objects they make.

Ease of use

Similar to print quality, buying a state-of-the-art 3D printer is fine, but if it has a very steep learning curve, you won’t be able to use it to its full potential.

3D printers, in general, have become easier to use. As many are now marketed towards a mass audience, their usability has increased. Most 3D printers these days don’t require you to be an engineer or anything like that, and they can be operated by hobbyists and professionals alike.

Supported materials

The last thing you should consider before you go out and buy a large format 3D printer is what materials it supports.

These 3D printers use a filament to print off objects. Some will support different types of material than others. It is useful to think about this because even though most 3D printers support basic types of filament, you don’t want to buy one only to find out later that it doesn’t support the materials you need.

We’re going to list the filament our top picks for the best large format 3D printer, so you know exactly what they support.

7 Best Large Format 3D Printers

These are the top 7 large format 3D printers you can purchase right now that offer bigger build volumes, high print quality, and much more.

Tronxy X5SA

Tronxy X5SA

The Tronxy X5SA offers a large build volume (330 x 330 x 400 mm) combined with high-quality prints. It features a double Z-axis, which helps to add stability during the printing process, and there is also a silicone sleeve and improved fan to ensure a consistent temperature. The stability is also helped by the box design.

The X5SA is also very budget-friendly. You’ll find large format 3D printers that cost a lot more than this but don’t provide the same quality.

It supports a wide number of filaments, and the touchscreen is a nice addition, too, as are the filament run out detectors.

Overall the Tronxy X5SA is a very good print with a large build volume and a range of extra features.

Pros

  • Offers a large build volume combined with a low price
  • High print quality and stability during the printing process
  • Supports a wide range of different materials
  • Filament run out detectors and touchscreen

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners due to the assembly process

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 400 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PC, PVC
  • Connectivity: USB, TF-Card
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

FLSUN QQ-S

FLSUN QQ-S

The FLSUN QQ-S is definitely a larger format 3D printer to consider. Even though the build volume is a bit smaller than the Tronxy X5SA, it comes with a host of extra features.

This includes WiFi control, which you often don’t see on many budget 3D printers. That’s another thing, and it is very affordable as well. Given that it supports a wide range of materials and also comes more or less preassembled (around 90% complete), it is ideal for beginners as well.

There are a few teething problems with the FLSUN QQ-S that, if you are new to 3D printing, can take a while to figure out. This includes getting the auto leveling correct as well as some filament dribbling.

That being said, it is a very good and affordable printer for making larger objects.

Pros

  • Comes more or less preassembled with little work to do
  • Prints high quality objects
  • Supports many materials
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Some printing issues that may be hard for beginners to sort out
  • Smaller build volume than the Tronxy X5SA

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 260 x 260 x 320 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, flexible, HIPS, Wood, PVA
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card, WiFi
  • Print speed: 30 – 300 mm/s

Craftbot Flow XL

Craftbot Flow XL

More expensive than the other large 3D printers on our list, the Craftbot Flow XL benefits from being a true out of the box machine.

If you are looking for a real ‘plug and play’ 3D printer, this is it. The printer has a 300 x 200 x 500 mm build volume and can support a range of filaments such as PLA, ABS, Exotics. Like the FLSUN QQ-S, it also has WiFi connectivity.

With linear rails and improved bearings, there isn’t a whole lot of noise that comes out of this 3D printer, either. The print quality is really good (as you’d expect for a printer in its price range), and while it might be out of some peoples’ budget, it is a great machine for printing large scale objects.

Pros

  • ‘Plug and play’ with little setup required
  • Low noise and produces high quality prints
  • Has WiFi connectivity
  • Large build volume

Cons

  • Is a bit on the pricey side compared to other printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 200 x 500 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi
  • Print speed: 200 mm/s

Creality CR-10 V2

Creality CR-10 V2

Moving back into the more affordable range of large format 3D printers and the Creality CR-10 V2 is a high quality 3D printer with a decent build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm.

It also features an upgraded motherboard, which cuts down on its noise while you will also find dual cooling fans and a filament monitor. It is actually quite straightforward to put together as well, even if you are a beginner. While it does require some assembly, it is easier than other 3D printers.

The Creality CR-10 V2 provides really good quality prints (albeit with a slightly slower printing speed), and for the price, it really has everything you need.

Pros

  • Doesn’t make a lot of noise due to the recent motherboard upgrade
  • Has a handy filament monitor
  • Large build volume and easy to assembly
  • Low cost, so it’s in the affordable category for most people

Cons

  • Printing speed can be quite slow but does produce quality prints

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
  • Connectivity: SD Card
  • Print speed: 30-60 mm/s

gCreate gMax 2

gCreate gMax 2

OK, so the gCreate gMax 2 has a pretty massive build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm, but it comes at a cost – literally. It isn’t cheap, and if you are in the market for a budget option – like the Creality CR-10 V2, FLSUN QQ-S, or the Tronxy X5SA – this isn’t the machine for you.

That being said, it does come with a wide range of different features. This includes WiFi connectivity, a BL touch bed leveling sensor, in addition to being able to use a varied range of materials. It has a filament runout sensor, and there isn’t much setup or assembly required either.

There have been several reports of regular thermistor failures with this 3D printer. However, overall it not only has a really big build volume with a ton of great features, but it offers quality prints too.

Pros

  • It’s ideal for beginners with very little assembly needed
  • Large build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • WiFi connectivity and BL touch bed leveling sensor

Cons

  • Expensive so perhaps out of the price range for many people
  • Reports of regular thermistor failures

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, CF-Nylon, CF-Composites, Polycarbonate, Metal Composites
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Modix Big-60 V3

Modix Big-60 V3

The Modix Big-60 V3 is getting us back into the pricier side of large 3D printers, but not only does this machine perform very well, and it also looks great too.

If aesthetics are your thing, then the Big-60 V3 is a fantastic look printer. Even though it is on the expensive side on this list, for what you actually get, it isn’t bad at all. The printer has a 600 x 600 x 660 mm build volume, and you can add an enclosure on as well.

With a BLTouch auto leveling sensor, WiFi connectivity, filament runout sensor, and a dual-zone silicon heater, to name but a few, there is a lot going on with this printer. Costly – yes, but it actually represents good value for a top printer.

Pros

  • Large build volume and aesthetically pleasing 3D printer
  • Has WiFi connectivity alongside USB and SD card options
  • BLTouch auto-leveling sensor and dual-zone silicon heater
  • Can add on enclosure if you wish

Cons

  • Aimed more at professionals rather than for home use

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 600 x 600 x 660 mm
  • Enclosure: Open (can add enclosure addon)
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU, HIPS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Tronxy X5ST-500

Tronxy X5ST-500

This is this second Tronxy on our list, and the Tronxy X5ST-500 comes with a large 500 x 500 x 600 mm build volume.

The Z-axis double screws help to add stability to the machine while aids precision and printing accuracy. You can pause and resume prints with this printer while there is a filament run-out detector as well.

It also comes in at the budget end of the scale, which is ideal if you need a large-format 3D printer but doesn’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend. There are some issues with heat management. Not only does it heat up slowly, but it can stop working once it reaches a certain temperature.

While there are potential workarounds for this, if you are a beginner, it isn’t really something you should do. The software needs to be updated to be fully functional as well. Overall, it’s a decent large-format 3D printer that does have some downsides.

Pros

  • Has a large build volume for printing big objects
  • Low cost so isn’t going to break the bank
  • Precision and stability with quality prints

Cons

  • Issues around reaching the desired temperatures for print materials beyond PLA
  • The software needs to be updated and doesn’t come with a bootloader

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 500 x 500 x 600 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, WOOD, PVC, NYLON
  • Connectivity: TF Card, USB
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a large format 3D printer?

If you plan on producing larger than normal prints, then yes. Large-format 3D printers come with a bigger build volume than standard printers so you can print off bigger objects.

Do I lose print quality with a large format 3D printer?

Not really. The print quality should be the same; however, it is important to check out reviews to ensure that you aren’t sacrificing build volume for a high-quality print.

Are large-format 3D printers expensive?

They can be. We have tried to combine both budget options and more expensive options on this list. You can find cheap large-format 3D printers as well as pricier models.

Do I need to assemble a large format 3D printer?

In most cases, some assembly is required. Some printers will require a full assembly, which isn’t ideal for beginners, whereas some large-format 3D printers come almost ‘plug and play’, and you only have some basic tasks before you can print.

Can a beginner use a large format 3D printer?

Yes. While some of the printers on our list aren’t really aimed at beginners due to the assembly required, most of these printers can be used if you are new to 3D printing. You might make a few mistakes at first, but they aren’t overly difficult to operate.

Which is the best large format 3D printer?

Being able to print off large objects with a 3D printer requires a decent size build volume.

To negate having to print off different smaller parts and join them together, later on, printing off a full larger scale model can save both time and money.

All the large format 3D printers we’ve listed here do a very good job at printing off bigger objects, but we need to pick one.

We’re going to choose one in the budget category and go with the FLSUN QQ-S.

It doesn’t have the biggest build volume on our list (260 x 260 x 320 mm) but what it does do is come with a great range of features. For a start, you are getting WiFi connectivity on a 3D printer in a budget price range, which isn’t that common. It also supports a wide range of materials such as PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood as well as PVA, and you get a quick print speed too.

One thing that sets this apart from many other 3D printers is that there isn’t a lot of assembling to do. OK, there are a few drawbacks with this printer for beginners – such as filament dribbling and some issues around the auto leveling – but they’re solvable with experience.

Overall the FLSUN QQ-S offers a large printing bed and high quality printing for a very affordable price.

This is why it is the best large format 3D printer on this list, and if you don’t mind some tinkering and learning as you go, you should definitely consider this 3D printer for printing bigger objects.

Our Best CoreXY 3D Printers For Your Needs

In this guide, we’ll show you the best CoreXY 3D printers on the market right now. Since 2013, CoreXY has been growing in popularity in the 3D printing market for a number of reasons. As 3D printers vary quite considerably in price range, CoreXY generally isn’t that expensive. That being said, any upgrades and modifications that you need can add to the overall cost.

We’ll have a look at what a CoreXY designed 3D printer actually is, their pros and cons, and also what you need to consider when buying one. We’ll also show you the best CoreXy 3D printers that you can buy.

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

Until 2013, most FDM 3D printers used what is known as a Cartesian design. This is a system that uses individual motors for each axis on the printer. So, the X and Y axes would be used for the nozzle while the print bed would move on the Z-axis.

A new system was then developed by MIT and it became known as CoreXY. The difference is that the belts on a CoreXY printer move in different planes so this reduces the impact on twisting when printing. The X and Y motors are kept in one place so the overall weight of the parts on the printer is reduced as well.

If you pull on the belt of the CoreXY 3D printer it will move the tool head at a 45-degree angle whereas on a Cartesian system this will move at zero or ninety degrees.

Using a CoreXY 3D printer has several advantages but there are also a couple of downsides too.

Advantages of CoreXY 3D Printers

Fast print speeds

Probably the biggest advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that it allows for faster print speeds without reducing the quality of your objects.

It achieves this by having very little moving parts. Many other 3D printers have a moving gantry with stepper motors that move around during the printing process. This can result in vibrations which often cause issues with printing off high-quality models.

A CoreXY 3D printer has stationary stepper motors and the print bed itself will only move vertically. In actual fact, the only real part that moves with any speed is the tool head. So, there is less chance of vibrations and poor quality prints.

Smaller dimensions but the same build volume

Another advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that the overall size and dimensions of the printer is pretty small. This is useful if you don’t have a ton of space in which to house it.

This doesn’t mean that the build volume is impacted. It achieves this by the fact that the print bed moves vertically. This is a feature that is also present on H-bot printers such as the Creality Ender 4.

On other FDM 3D printer designs, the base is about two times the size of the build volume. This is because the print bed needs to move back and forth – this isn’t the case on a CoreXY. With a CoreXY printer, the printhead can freely move around the build plate so it doesn’t need the extra space.

Open-source

open source printer

The third big advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that it is open source so it is compatible with a wide range of firmware and software.

Open-source 3D printers have been growing massively in popularity. The design and technology behind CoreXY printers mean that there are many open-source projects out there. People have been putting their own spin and modifications on these printers which have produced a variety of great results.

Disadvantages of CoreXY 3D Printers

Belt system

Not everything is rosy with CoreXY printers and there are a couple of downsides to telling you about. The belt system is one.

If the belts aren’t aligned correctly on a CoreXY printer or if the tension isn’t exact (too high or too low), this can cause a multitude of problems. This includes the accuracy of printers and mechanical malfunctions.

It is something to keep in mind because the way CoreXY printers work means that it is heavily reliant on the belts. This can result in higher maintenance costs and more time spent ensuring they are set up properly. If you are a beginner it can seem a bit daunting but with experience, it becomes less of an issue.

Frame

Another potential downside to using a CoreXY 3D printer is the frame. The frame needs to be a perfect square when it is assembled. If it is not, this can cause accuracy problems with your prints. There are things you can do which will help negate any issues with the shape of the frame. This includes using a set square when assembling the CoreXY 3D printer and to add corner brackets to help maintain its shape.

If it is assembled correctly you shouldn’t have any problems however it is a bit more work at the beginning to ensure accurate prints.

What to look for in a CoreXY 3D Printer

Before we get into our best CoreXY 3D printers that you can buy, there are a few things you should consider before you make a purchase.

Cost

Cost is a factor before buying any 3D printer. Even though the affordability of desktop and home models of 3D printers has improved massively, they can still be quite pricey.

If the initial cost is quite low you still need to think about any modifications, upgrades and additional parts you might need to buy. This can often bring up the overall cost of the printer quite considerably.

Support and community

If you are new to 3D printing or have very limited experience, having good support options is a must.

Depending on what CoreXY 3D printer you purchase, the level of community engagement around it can often be different. Look out for 3D printers that have a good maker and designer community because this can be imperative when it comes to getting modifications and upgrades.

Ease of use

Finally, something else to consider is how easy is the CoreXY 3D printer you are thinking of buying to use?

Even though many 3D printers have been aimed at the beginner market, some will be for more advanced users and have more complicated designs and features.

If you are just starting off with a 3D printer, don’t get too far ahead of yourself and pay a lot of money for a printer that is hard to operate. Luckily many CoreXY printers do factor in ease of use to their design and operation but it is something to keep in mind.

5 Best CoreXY 3D Printers

There are a lot of different 3D printers that are based on CoreXY available. We have whittled the list down to the 5 best CoreXY 3D printers.

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

twotrees sapphire pro

The Two Trees Sapphire Pro is one of the most popular CoreXY 3D printers and it has built up a solid reputation as high quality but an affordable machine.

The Pro version isn’t going to break the bank while you can assembly this 3D printer in less than a couple of hours or so. It isn’t actually that hard to get it up and running but there are a few parts that need careful attention. There is a decent community built up around the Sapphire Pro as well so you’ll find various upgrades and mods for this printer.

Overall the Sapphire Pro from Two Tree’s is a well-built machine that features a dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails.

Pros

  • Affordable CoreXY 3D printer that produces high-quality prints
  • Dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails
  • Easy setup and plenty of additional online resources beyond the instruction manual
  • Active community for support, modifications, and upgrades

Cons

  • Accessing the print bead could be easier
  • Can be a bit noisy

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 235 x 235 x 235 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: USB, TF-Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Creative3D Elf Printer

creativity corexy

The Creative3D Elf Printer has a large build volume of 300 x 300 x 350mm and in terms of its costs, it is very competitively priced too.

This CoreXY 3D printer is also fairly quiet as well which is a bonus. In terms of actual operation, the touchscreen is handy and it is one of the easier 3D printers to get set up. Like all the CoreXY printers it does require some careful assembly.

It features power failure support so if you are in the middle of printing and suffer an unexpected outage, the printer can pick up where it left off. Overall this is a very good CoreXY 3D printer that certainly challenges some of the bigger names on the market.

Pros

  • Fairly easy to set up and can be assembled in around an hour
  • Large build volume which may be more suitable to our needs
  • Affordable CoreXY 3D printer
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise

Cons

  • Some reports of the bed leveling springs being too short
  • Support options aren’t as great as some other manufacturers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 350mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: SD
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Tronxy X5SA Pro

tronxy x5sa

This is one of the larger CoreXY 3D printers and the Tronxy X5SA Pro is certainly worth consideration.

It comes with various great features which include an auto-bed leveling system, double-axis guide rail in addition to a filament runout sensor. One thing to mention is that a lot of people have found that you need some modifications right away. While they shouldn’t be too expensive, it is something to factor into the cost.

You’ll find instructions to assemble this 3D printer but in all honesty, it is a bit harder than some of the others on this list. Getting support from the community isn’t as readily available or widespread either but it is there. Overall, not a bad CoreXY 3D printer at all but one that does have a few drawbacks.

Pros

  • Comes with a variety of great features
  • Solid CoreXY 3D printer at a decent price
  • Not a large community support but very helpful
  • User friendly once assembled and working properly

Cons

  • Assembly can be a bit tricky and can take a while
  • Needs modifications right away

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 400 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

SainSmart Coreception CoreXY

sain smart

This CoreXY 3D printer has a direct drive extruder and a 300 x 300 x 330 mm build volume. The SainSmart Coreception CoreXY isn’t a million miles away from the Saffire Pro from Two Trees and many of the features are quite similar.

It doesn’t have an auto-leveling bed which is one drawback. It is very easy to assemble though and should take less than an hour to get up and running. You’ll find a small but enthusiastic community for this 3D printer too as well as various support options.

For the price, this 3D printer presents a very good deal especially when you consider the build volume and some other features such as the direct drive extruder.

Pros

  • Powerful CoreXY 3D printer with direct drive extruder
  • Assembly is fairly straightforward
  • Good community support and help options
  • Great cost for the size of this printer

Cons

  • No auto-leveling bed
  • Manuals can be a bit technical for beginners

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 330 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Direct
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: SD Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Vivedino Troodon CoreXY

vivedino

We’re going to finish off with the most expensive CoreXY 3D printer on our list – the Vivedino Troodon CoreX.

It is controlled by a WiFi board and has belts on the Z-axis which helps reduce wobbling and the effect this has on your prints. The printer dual drive extruder, filament runout sensor, and an auto-leveling feature. You’ll also find a built-in HEPA filter with this CoreXY 3D printer as well.

The big upside to purchasing this printer is that you don’t really need any modifications or upgrades. Some of the other printers do require some upgrades pretty much straight out of the box however the Troodon doesn’t.

You get it fully assembled as well which is an added bonus however there isn’t a big community around this 3D printer which could very well be down to its price tag.

Pros

  • A ton of features including a dual drive extruder, filament runout sensor, and an auto-leveling bed
  • Comes fully assembled so no need to spend hours putting it together
  • WiFi controlled and has a HEPA filter
  • No need for upgrades or mods out of the box

Cons

  • A lot more expensive than other printers on our list
  • Doesn’t have a large community following

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm (also 400 x 400 x 500 mm available)
  • Enclosure: Closed
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Interface: Touchscreen

FAQs

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

A CoreXY 3D printer differs from FDM printers with a Cartesian design. It features individual motors for each axis and the overall design is more complex. They are usually smaller overall too without sacrificing build volume.

Do CoreXY 3D printers provide good quality prints?

Yes. In fact, in many cases, they provide higher quality than many other FDM printers. This is because they don’t have many moving parts so there is less room for wobbling and vibrations.

Are CoreXY 3D printers more expensive?

Not necessarily. They are often cheaper than many other FDM models and this is because many CoreXY 3D printers require more modifications and upgrades.

Is assembling a CoreXY 3D printer difficult?

It depends on the printer however overall they can be a bit harder than others. This is because the frame needs to be perfectly square. If it isn’t it can cause printing problems. Some do come fully assembled but generally cost a lot more money.

Are CoreXY 3D printers easy to use?

For the most part, yes. They are easier to use than some other 3D printers and if you are a complete beginner you should be able to learn how to make quality prints fairly quickly. Some of these 3D printers often have large communities that can help out.

Which is the best CoreXY 3D Printer?

We’ve looked at the advantages and disadvantages of CoreXY 3D printers, had a glimpse at 5 of the best and their pros and cons – so which one do we choose?

I think all the CoreXY 3D printers we’ve mentioned do a very good job of offering high-quality models for an affordable price. OK, the Vivedino Troodon CoreXY is certainly on the pricey side compared to the rest. In saying that, it removes the need for assembly and upgrades right away so I suppose the extra cost is kind of worth it.

So, which one do I think is the best? I’m going to choose the Two Trees Sapphire Pro. It is one of the most popular CoreXY 3D printers on the market and not only does it provide high quality and precision prints, but it has also been tried and tested time and time again.

Some CoreXY 3D printers have a fairly limited community following but not the Sapphire Pro. There is a very active community on board to help and provide mods and upgrades for this printer.

There is a bit of assembly required that can take a while especially if you are new to CoreXY printers. That being said, its low cost, high-quality prints, and the fact that it is a well-known and respected device with a devout following edge it for me.

Further read: 

The Best 3D Printer for Miniatures [Sep 2020]

If you enjoy printing 3D miniatures, then you’ll already know that there are a few things you need to consider when looking for the best printer: cost and quality.

There’s more to printing off a miniature than just popping the material in and waiting for your perfect little figure to come out.

But even if you’re just getting started printing your very own 3D miniatures, the good news is that there are plenty of printer choices.

Whether you are looking for prototypes for a design model, role-playing games, tabletop games, or video gaming miniatures for concept art, there are some better printers for miniatures. 

List of the Top 5 Best 3D Printers for Miniature Printing

  • AnyCubic Photon – Best Overall 3D Printer [ON SALE $110 OFF!]
  • Wanhao Duplicator 7 – Best for Large Batch Printing
  • Original Prusa MK3 – Best for Beginners
  • Monoprice Maker Select – Best Budget
  • FlashForge Creator Pro – Most Versatile
Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon [Cyber Deal]

Dead simple to set-up, comes pre-assembled, intuitive touch-screen and exceptional level of detail. This machine empowers CREATORS, without expecting you to be a mechanic. The small - but precise - print bed is perfect for miniatures.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

However, before we get too far along, let’s begin with some basics of printing technology.

For starters, there are two types of 3D printers available to print off your miniatures:

  • Filament-based printers, also known as FFF or FDM 3D printers
  • Resin-based, or SLA 3D printers

Both options come with their own benefits and drawbacks, which you’ll want to take into account before you get started printing.

These are the best 3D printers for miniatures:

AnyCubic Photon – Best Overall 3D Printer

AnyCubic Photon

Our favourite 3D printer for miniatures is the AnyCubic Photon printer. This resin-based unit can print your favorite miniatures with incredible quality. The unit is more detailed than almost any other 3D printer on the market and stays within a reasonable price range.

The Photon offers a maximum layer resolution that checks in at 25 microns, which is the highest of any of the products on our list.

The Photon is a top of the line SLA 3D printer that comes with a UV LED light source. Your miniatures will print from top to bottom. You’ll notice this is the opposite direction of the bottom to a top method that FDM printers use.

If you’re in the market for a 3D printer, you can’t go wrong with the Photon, which will create very detailed and smooth products no matter how complex they are.

Not much assembly is required with this printer. Right out of the box, it’s easy to set up and get going. The unit comes with a solid frame, along with a touchscreen interface that lets you see a preview of your miniature before it prints.

The unit provides an easy process for levelling the bed and ships with a slicer that users find simple and user-friendly. When it comes to creating complicated and detailed miniatures, the Photon is one of the best printers on the market for getting the job done.

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon [Cyber Deal]

Dead simple to set-up, comes pre-assembled, intuitive touch-screen and exceptional level of detail. This machine empowers CREATORS, without expecting you to be a mechanic. The small - but precise - print bed is perfect for miniatures.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Pros of the AnyCubic Photon

  • Simple and easy to set up
  • Print offline
  • Comes completely assembled
  • Intuitive touchscreen user interface
  • Easy to maintain
  • Print quality provides amazing detail

Cons of the AnyCubic Photon

  • The material can be on the expensive size
  • Smaller print size than other 3D printers

Holiday Discount Alert: The Anycubic Photon is on sale for a RECORD $169 here (normally $279). That’s $110 off the list price and the steepest discount we have seen ALL YEAR!

Further Reading:

Wanhao Duplicator 7 – Best for Larger Print Jobs

Wanhao Duplicator 7

Wanhao 3D printers are one of the more popular filament-based brands in the market. They offer a wide variety of devices, so you’re sure to find something that works for you. For the purpose of our list, we’re going with the Duplicator 7.

This 3D printer is a desktop offering specifically designed for users who want only the best when it comes to layer resolution. Similar to the AnyCubic Photon, the Duplicator 7 is an LCD SLA 3D printer that comes with a UV LED light source.

While these two printers have much in common, they also have a few differences. For starters, the Duplicator 7 provides users with larger printing size. However, Duplicator 7 does not have the resolution capabilities that the Photon offers.

The Duplicator 7 offers plenty of features, including an excellent cooling system, vents that allow for increased airflow, and a solid frame. Wanhao also put the power button on the back of the machine, so you won’t accidentally bump into it in the middle of a print job.

So if you really like the Photon, but need something that offers more build volume, take a look at the Duplicator 7. It’s straightforward and easy to use and can print very detailed 3D miniatures.

It’s not quite as easy as the Photon, but definitely worth the money if you don’t need something as advanced.

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11/29/2020 05:09 am GMT

Pros of the Wanhao Duplicator 7

  • Large base
  • Open material platform
  • High detail printing
  • Larger printing size than AnyCubic Photon
  • Sturdy and stable frame

Cons of the Wanhao Duplicator 7

  • Materials can be costly
  • Customer support isn’t very reliable
  • Build volume is limited

Further Reading:

Original Prusa MK3 – Best 3D Printer for Beginners

Prusa i3 MK3

When it comes to value and convenience, it’s tough to beat the Original Prusa MK3 3D printer. This FDM printer comes loaded with plenty of features, including automated print bed levelling, which is something a lot of beginners need.

The MK3 is easy to assemble. However, you might be waiting a while for it to arrive as it ships out of the Czech Republic. Many who use the MK3 would argue that it’s worth the wait given the quality and value the product provides.

This medium-sized, open-sourced 3D printer offers an open structure, which makes it great for both hobbyists and professionals.

The MK3 has a solid frame that includes a spool holder mounted on top, along with an LCD controller, which comes with a magnetic heated print bed that you can remove if necessary.

Additionally, the MK3 boasts a high-quality mainboard that detects shifted layers and runs quietly while printing. The unit also has a filament sensor that can determine if a jam occurs and automatically pauses the current printing job.

With the right nozzle and the appropriate settings, anyone using the MK3 3D printer will get high-quality, clean, and detailed miniatures. The unit has the ability to print large models as well, so you don’t have to choose between one or the other.

Even though this 3D printer doesn’t compare with the AnyCubic Photon, it’s still an excellent option. It’s versatile and capable of printing with various materials right out of the box. Plus, you’ll get excellent value since you can use it for more than printing miniatures.

If you’re just getting started in the world of 3D printing and want a stable, high-quality 3D printer that prints miniatures in high-resolution, the MK3 will get the job done. It comes loaded with plenty of features perfect for beginners, so you won’t feel overwhelmed.

We Prefer the Ender 3 Pro Here
$236.00
Put simply, the Ender Pro has worked out all of the kinks, glitches, and inconsistencies that were shipped with the original Ender 3. You can save some money by going with the Ender 3, but it's not worth it unless you are very technical.
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Pros of the Original Prusa MK3

  • Great for beginners
  • Automated bed leveling platform
  • Excellent print quality
  • Built-in filament types sensors
  • Quiet printing process
  • Panic feature pauses print job if necessary
  • Magnetic build platform can be removed

Cons of the Original Prusa MK3

  • No enclosure provided
  • Translucent materials create issues with filament types sensor

Further Reading:

Monoprice Maker Select – Best 3D Printer on a Budget

Monoprice Maker Select

3D printers aren’t cheap, which is why it’s important to have an option you can afford on a budget. If that’s the case for you, check out the Monoprice Maker Select.

This company is known for its budget printers, all of which you can find for a lot less than other printers on this list.

With its open-frame 3D printer, the Maker Select is an excellent choice if you prefer the FDM route (fused deposition modeling). The unit comes with a stable and strong aluminium frame and includes a separate controller box for the device.

The Maker Select comes equipped with an open-material system, heated printer bed, and a build-volume that’s perfect for creating your favourite miniatures. You can connect the unit through USB or print via an SD card if you prefer.

Right out of the box, the printer is easy to set up. It comes partially assembled, so you don’t have to assemble the whole thing yourself. All you need to do is make sure the frames are securely in place, and you’re ready to start printing.

Included with the printer are a few 3D model samples, along with some free filament. This gives you the opportunity to start printing once you have everything set up.

As far as print quality is concerned, the Maker Select runs about the middle of the road. It’s not going to blow you away, but it’s not horrible either. While the unit can print large miniatures very well, it does have trouble with smaller miniatures, like those in the 28-millimetre range.

Overall, the 3D printer is reliable and offers decent quality, especially considering that it’s one of the best you can get on a budget. If you fall into that category, the Maker Select is a solid option.

Monoprice Maker Select Plus
$389.99

The large heated bed, LCD touchscreen, and MicroSD card loaded with printable models make the Monoprice Maker Select Plus a worthwhile purchase.

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11/28/2020 10:10 pm GMT

Pros of the Monoprice Maker Select

  • Decent print size (large build plate)
  • Good print quality
  • Simple to set up
  • Heated bed (print bed)
  • Sturdy frame

Cons of the Monoprice Maker Select

  • May need upgrades out of the box
  • Bed levelling is a manual process
  • Not as good printing smaller miniatures

Further Reading:

FlashForge Creator Pro – Most Versatile 3D Printer

flashforge creator pro

The FlashForge Creator Pro is a dual extruder 3D printer, which makes it one of the more versatile options on our list. For starters, the unit provides new ways for users to print with the filament. This includes printing in dual colours without pausing the current print job.

It’s more stable and durable than many other open-frame 3D printers since it is built with a robust and sturdy metal frame. It also offers an LCD controller, which allows you to print via an SD card, a heated print bed, and a pair of back-mounted spool holders.

You’ll also notice that you can remove the acrylic covers, which is handy when you need to perform any type of maintenance on the FlashForge printer.

Since this unit comes assembled in the box, setting up the Creator Pro is a very straightforward process. You’ll be up and printing in a matter of hours, however, it might make sense to change the stock settings for better results.

Once you have everything set up the way you want it, the Creator Pro is an absolute beast. It can print for days with little to no maintenance required on your part. Plus, the unit can print with either ABS or PLA without experiencing any additional problems.

The biggest feature the Creator Pro has to offer is its ability to use water-soluble support materials. As a result, the unit can create more challenging miniatures that don’t skimp on the details.

Additionally, the Creator Pro can print with a wide variety of materials, so you’re not limited to just one type. A full enclosure allows the printer to maintain a stable temperature within the printing area, which is a must-have when using certain types of materials.

Plus, the printer can use filaments that aren’t specific to FlashForge. However, bear in mind that you may need to create your own spool holders as the ones that come with the Creator Pro are designed specifically for the printer.

Overall, the Creator Pro is reliable and creates quality miniatures. It’s versatile and offers many features that align with some of the best printers on the market. If you need something that does a little bit of everything, consider the Creator Pro 3D printer.

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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Pros of the Creator Pro

  • Includes dual extruder option
  • The metal frame is enclosed
  • Excellent support
  • Dual colour printing option
  • Supports third-party filaments
  • Solid print quality
  • Larger build plate

Cons of the Creator Pro

  • Built-in software is limited
  • Bed levelling requires manual adjustments
  • Very heavy

Further Reading:

 

Photon

Duplicator 7

MK3

Maker Select

Creator Pro

Type

Resin

Resin

ABS/PLA/PETG/others

ABS/PLA/TPU/others

ABS/PLA/PVA/others

Resolution

25 microns

35 microns

50 microns

100 microns

100 microns

Filament

N/A

N/A

1.75 mm

1,75 mm

1.75 mm

Volume

4.5×2.6×6.1 inches

4.7×2.7×7.9 inches

9.8×8.3×8.x inches

7.9×7.9×7.1 inches

8.9×5.8.5.9 inches

Connection

USB

USB

SD Card/USB

USB/ SD Card

SD Card/ USB

Weight

14.6 pounds

26.5 pounds

14 pounds

20 pounds

32.7 pounds

FDM or SLA 3D Printer?

FDM 3D printers make use of an extruder with a hot-end, which allows for melting the filament. Once the filament is melted, it’s then deposited onto the build platform (build plate). This is what creates the 3D model. However, FDM printers do so a single layer at a time.

On the plus side, FDMs are easier to use and come with lower operating costs and a larger build volume than their counterpart SLA printers.

With an SLA 3D printer, you’ll notice that the post-print process is a little messier than it is with an FDM option. Keep in mind, though, that FDM printers don’t offer the overall quality that an SLA printer offers.

With that in mind, which 3D printer should you choose when it comes to printing 3D miniatures? We’re glad you asked.

We did the leg work and came up with a list of the best 3d printers for miniatures..

Where to Buy a 3D Printer

There are plenty of places you can use when you’re ready to buy your 3D printer. However, keep in mind that the type of 3D printer you want may dictate where it’s available.

Like nearly anything else, you can usually find the 3D printer you want on Amazon. If it’s not available there, you may also try other retailers like MatterHackers.com.

NOTE: You can order the Anycubic Photon – our top pick for miniatures – directly via the Anycubic site here.

If you can’t find the printer you want in any of those places, you can always try to contact the manufacturer directly.

Holiday Discount Alert: The Anycubic Photon is on sale for a RECORD $169 here (normally $279). That’s $110 off the list price and the steepest discount we have seen ALL YEAR!

FAQs

How Much Does It Cost to Print a 3D Miniature?


There are several reasons to print your own 3D miniatures, one of which is cost. The average cost of printing an unpainted miniature typically falls in the $5-$ ten range.

How Long Does it Take Print a 3D Miniature?


If you aren’t concerned with quality, you can print off a miniature object in roughly 10 minutes. However, a more complex, high-quality, and detailed object can take as little as a few hours or as much as a day to finish.

Take a look at the software on your 3D printer to get an idea of how long it will take for your miniature to complete.

Which is Stronger? ABS or PLA?


While ABA has better properties when it comes to mechanics, it’s more difficult to use when 3D printing than PLA. For 3D printers, PLA is ideal if you’re focusing on aesthetics. On the other hand, ABD is ideal for strength, stability, and durability.

Something else to keep in mind is that ABS has been known to warp during printing.

What Materials Are Used in 3D Printing?


There are many different types of materials that are used when 3D printing. We’ve mentioned PLA and ABS, however, some objects can be printed with titanium, wax, polycarbonate, epoxy resins, and even nylon.

What to Look for in a 3D Printer?


If you’re new to 3D printing, take a moment and read the following tips to give you a good starting point when looking for a printer.

What Do You Want to Print?


Before you purchase your 3D printer, know what you plan on printing. There is a significant difference between printing devices for your desk and printing large-scale production pieces.

Also, ask yourself how often you will print, how much time you want to invest in 3D printing, and where the 3D printed objects will be used.

What Safety Features are Available?


Typically, a 3D printer that offers plenty of safety features is well-designed. For instance, a quality printer will probably cool the heated bed and nozzle when a printing job finishes. Additionally, some 3D printers will point the nozzle away from the object if you pause the job.

Is Resolution Important to You?


You’ll notice in the table above that the resolution of 3D printers is measured in a unit called microns. Usually, FDM printers are on the lower end of the spectrum, offering around 25 microns.

By comparison, resin-based printers usually reside on the higher end, around 100 microns. With an FDM printer, you can quickly and easily adjust the resolution. For smoother printing, being able to adjust the belt tension and layer height is paramount.

Finally, remember that resin-based printers require precision from their lasers. Keep an eye out for a printer that you can adjust based on the micron count detailed in the printer’s specifications.

What High-End Features Does the Printer Offer?


It can be easy to forget about high-end features as you look for a 3D printer that suits your needs. However, if you want things like heated glass beds, touchscreen interfaces, and dual filament options, be sure to add them to your list of must-haves.

What About End-User Support?


You’ve found the 3D printer you want to buy, and you’re ready to pull the trigger. Before you do, take a moment and look for the customer support offered by the manufacturer. It is just a social media logo, or are there actual ways to reach a real-live person?

3D printing is more complicated than traditional printing, so if something goes wrong or you aren’t sure how to proceed in a certain situation, having someone to speak with could make your 3D printing experience.

No Lack of Options for Printing 3D Miniatures

Whether you have plenty of experience with printing 3D miniatures or you’re just getting started, there are plenty of options on the market that can get you headed down the right path.

No matter your budget or comfort level, you’re sure to find a 3D printer that works for you. It’s up to you to determine which one makes the most sense for what you hope to accomplish, but when it comes to printing miniatures, it’s safe to say you have a wide variety of choices.

So make a list, check it twice, then head out and find the best 3D printer for creating your favorite miniatures.

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon [Cyber Deal]

Dead simple to set-up, comes pre-assembled, intuitive touch-screen and exceptional level of detail. This machine empowers CREATORS, without expecting you to be a mechanic. The small - but precise - print bed is perfect for miniatures.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Further Reading: How to Find the Best Silicone 3D Printers and How to Find the Best Multicolor 3D Printers.

Best 3D Printer for Cosplay [2020]: Cosplay 3D Printer Guide

Cosplayers are a passionate bunch. They are willing to spend a lot of money to come up with bigger, better, more elaborate, and more intricate costumes at every cosplay event. Money.com reports that some enthusiasts spend more than $1,000 on one costume alone. What’s more, around three out of four cosplayers buy anywhere from one to four costumes a year.

The thing is, it is rather challenging to find cosplay costumes at retailers.  For some people, they have the option to buy from a costume or props maker. Others prefer to use 3D printing for their cosplay needs. And with all the choices out there, we can understand how daunting choosing a 3D printer can be.

How to find the best 3D printer for cosplay?

You will need to consider the building capacity, filaments supported, and price of different 3D printers for you to decide on the best one for your needs.

If you’re new to cosplaying or 3D printing, don’t worry, we will lay it all down for you to easily understand what you need to look for.

These are the best 3D printers for cosplay in 2020:

  1. Ultimaker 2 3D Printer [Best Overall]
  2. Monoprice Maker Select Plus [Best Affordable]
  3. Ultimaker s5 3D Printer [Best Large Format]
  4. Raise3D Pro2 Plus [Best Dual Extruder]
  5. Dremel Digilab 3D20 Idea Builder [Best Fully Enclosed]
  6. Anycubic Photon [Best Small Format Highly Detailed]

But First, What Are You Printing?

3d printer

The first rule of any purchase is to know what you’re going to do with it. With 3D printers, it helps to know what kind of items you intend to create. You should be able to answer these questions:

  • How big is the design?
  • How durable should it be?
  • Where are you going to use it?

Once you have a clear idea of the things that you are going to print, you can then check out what types of 3D printers you will need for your cosplay costumes and props. To choose the best one for your needs, you will need to consider the building capacity, the filaments that the printer supports, and the price.

Build Capacity: The Size of Prints You Can Produce on a 3D Printer

Cosplay costumes are wearable, so you probably need a 3D printer that has a large build volume (print volume). Unfortunately, most home 3D printers can only handle smaller build sizes. Buying a 3D printer with big build sizes means that you have fewer welds in your cosplay costume. The fewer welds that you have, the more durable your costume or props will be.

There are, however, some options, such as the ADIMLab Updated Gantry Pro 3D Printer, which can handle maximum build sizes of 12.2 by 12.2 by 16.1 inches. The ADIMLab 3D printer has a lattice glass platform and comes almost wholly assembled. It can handle different kinds of plastic, soft rubber, metal, and other types of materials.

People who own this 3D printer likes the fast build times, the affordable price, and the excellent print quality. The technical and customer support is also a plus, while others note that it is easy to use. This printer sells for less than $400, making it one of the most affordable 3D printers that can handle big builds.

You can also consider the Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer, which sells for significantly more at around $1,300. This printer, however, has a smaller build size at 7.9 by 7.9 by 7.3 inches. What makes it pricier are the advanced features like the embedded camera that allows you to view what is being printed from your laptop, smart devices, or PC. It also has a touch screen menu as well as WiFi connectivity.

Another option you have is the Creality CR-10 V2 3D Printer, which sells for less than $550. It can handle build volumes of up to 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches. This easy to use 3D printer has a user-friendly interface and has rapid prototyping features. It’s tough and durable with its all-metal frame plus it has excellent print quality.

Small Build Capacity for Details

However, if you are planning to use your 3D printer for the fine details, check out the home 3D printers that can do the job but are generally more affordable. For example, there’s the ELEGOO Mars 3D Printer Liquid Resin which sells for less than $300.

Even at that price, you can create intricate and elaborate designs with your prints. The printer has a 2,560 by 1,440 2K high-definition layer resolution. It’s also quite fast, printing at 22.5 millimetres per hour. That’s equivalent to printing a 30-megabyte STL 3D model in just one minute. You can print objects as large as 4.7 by 2.7 by 6.1 inches.

The 3D printer uses an industrial steel ball design that makes it easy for you to use. It also features a large touch screen that allows for easy and quick operation. Some of the designs you can pull off with this 3D printer are found in this video:

Another 3D printer that you can buy is the ANYCUBIC Photon UV LCD 3D Printer, which is highly praised for its superior print quality. This printer is best for small builds up to 4.5 by 2.6 by 6.1 inches (also available with liquid resin additive manufacturing capability).

If you have any need for highly detailed costume parts, you would want this printer’s high accuracy, smoother quality, and speed. You can also print several models on one build plate without taking up too much time.

How much detail is possible with the Anycubic Photon to 3D print cosplay? See it for yourself:

Filament Type

When creating a 3D printed cosplay costume or prop, you would probably need to print in different colours and filament types to achieve the look that you want. The type of filament you use is going to affect the durability or strength of your cosplay costume, parts, props, or armour.

Filament Type PLA ABS PETT TPE Nylon PC
Strength High High High Medium High Very
Flexibility Low Medium Medium Very High Medium
Durability Medium High High Very High Very High
Easy to use Yes Medium Yes Yes Medium Medium
Print temperature range (°C) 180 – 230 210 – 250 220 – 250 210 – 230 240 – 260 270 – 310
Print bed temperature range (°C) 20 – 60 80 – 110 50 – 75 30 – 60 70 – 100 90 – 110
Shrinkage/warping Minimal Yes Minimal Minimal Yes Yes
Soluble No Yes No No No No

From this table, you will find that only ABS plastic is soluble: you can dissolve it in acetone, ester, or ketone. If you need the cosplay prop to be very durable, use polycarbonate filament.

If you are going to use TPE, make sure to consider that the finished print may not be as durable as when you use other materials. On the other hand, you can use TPE if you need your print to be flexible, whereas PLA filaments often produce stiff prints. Furthermore, some filaments might be easier to use than others. Now let’s take a look at each filament type more closely.

PLA

hatchbox

Polylactic acid is a very popular filament for 3D printing enthusiasts. It’s easier to print and it needs a low printing temperature. Plus, it does not need a heating bed and also does not emit bad odours when you print.

PLA is available in a wide variety of colours. It is also biodegradable. However, PLA can be quite brittle, so you should not use it for movable cosplay parts, or those that might be dropped or twisted. PLA also deforms when temperatures rise to at least 60 °C.

These types of filaments have a very attractive price. For instance, the HATCHBOX PLA 3D Printer Filament sells for around $23 and you get one kilogram of odour-free 3D printing material that doesn’t warp as much as other materials.

ABS

abs filament

Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is another widely used filament for 3D printing, and it’s better than PLA in some ways. This material is used for LEGO bricks and some bicycle helmets.

ABS prints are very durable and they can withstand hot temperatures. The downsides of this are that you will need to print on a heated bed so that it doesn’t warp during cooling. Print with ABS filaments can also be a problem because it emits a very bad odour.

You can buy these HATCHBOX PLA 3D Printer Filament for less than $25 and get 12 different colours and an 80 stencil ebook. All in all, you have 240 linear feet of a filament made only from the finest and premium grade material.

HATCHBOX PLA 3D Printer Filament
$18.99
The HATCHBOX PLA 3D Printer Filament offers one kilogram of odour-free 3D printing material that doesn't warp as much as other materials at a great price!
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11/28/2020 05:10 pm GMT

PETG

overture

Polyethylene terephthalate is better known as polymer and is widely used in the manufacture of water bottles. A type of PET, called PETG, is now used for 3D printing.

PETG, where the G stands for glycol-modified, can absorb moisture from the air. This property means that if you don’t print in a dry and cool place, the quality of your print might now be as good as you hoped it to be. It also scratches easily.

Overture Clear PETG Filament sells for less than $25 and you get a kilogram of the material. It’s clog-free and bubble-free and doesn’t tangle as much.

Overture Clear PETG Filament
$19.99
Overture Clear PETG Filament is a TOP fillament Option. You get a kilogram of the material, and it's clog-free and bubble-free, plus, doesn't tangle as much.
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

TPE

priline

Thermoplastic elastomers are very flexible because of their rubber-like characteristics. They are also very durable and have been used for household appliances, shoes, and medical supplies.

TPE filaments are soft and easy to stretch. If you need something flexible for your cosplay costume, this is the filament to use. However, TPE can be more challenging to extrude and might be a bit harder to control. Printing with TPE may also take longer than when you use other filaments.

You can also use thermoplastic polyurethane, such as the Priline Yellow TPU Filament, which is both elastic and soft. The rubber-like characteristics make it ideal for flexible props. This product is harder than TPE, which makes it easier to extrude.

Priline Yellow TPU Filament
$24.99
The Priline Yellow TPU Filament is not only a very soft and elastic filament but also its rubber-like construction is PERFECT for flexible creations.
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Nylon

dremel nylon

You should use nylon filaments for printing parts that require flexibility, durability, and strength. Another benefit of using nylon is that you don’t have to buy different varieties for your cosplay costumes: you can just dye each one before you print.

However, it does absorb moisture from the air, which means you will need to print in a cool and dry area for you to make sure that your costumes are in the best possible quality. Further, nylon filaments tend to be more expensive than other types of filament.

Check out the Dremel Nylon 3D Printer Filament. This filament has very minimal rough edges when printed and can have a very durable and stable print. It promises flexibility and durability, more than what you can get from other filaments.

Dremel Nylon 3D Printer Filament
$34.99
The Dremel Nylon 3D Printer Filament has the flexibility your creation needs but promising a very durable quality with very minimal rough edges when printed.
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Polycarbonate

polymaker pc-max

You can also use polycarbonate filaments, which is probably the strongest in this list. It’s resistant to heat and impact. Polycarbonate can withstand high temperatures up to 100 degrees Celsius.

This is a very strong and durable filament, with medium flexibility. Polycarbonate is transparent, which is why it’s widely used in bulletproof glass and scuba masks. Polycarbonate, however, absorbs moisture from the air. It can also be somewhat difficult to use, too, and it’s not as flexible as TPU.

A product like the Polymaker PC-Max 3D Printer Filament allows you to have stronger, harder, and easier prints.

Aside from these filaments, there are also special types that give your prints a different look. There are wood-filled PLA filaments that have wood fibres in them. You can also check out metal filaments such as gold or bronze. There are also biodegradable filaments for those who are environmentally conscious and conductive ones for electronic projects.

Polymaker PC-Max 3D Printer Filament
The Polymaker PC-Max 3D Printer Filament is one of the strongest materials in the Market. GREAT for the hardest pieces.
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So what are the best

Which 3D Printers Should You Buy

monoprice maker

Different 3D printers support different kinds of filaments. Choose one that supports the type of filament that you want and, if possible, choose a 3D printer that can support several types of filaments.

The Monoprice Maker Ultimate 2 3D Printer works with just about any filament. You can use PLA, PLA Plus, ABS, ABS Plus, TPU, PET, TPE, metal, and wood fill filaments with this 3D printer. It also has an auto-levelling bed that guarantees that the first few layers of your prints stick together. It also has a removable glass build plate and filament detector (sometimes referred to as a filament sensor). It costs around $550.

If that price point is too much for your budget, then you can check out the Monoprice MP10 Mini 3D Printer, with its assisted levelling bed and resume printing function. It works with PLA, ABS, PETG, nylon, wood and metal fill.

Monoprice Maker Select Plus
$389.99

The large heated bed, LCD touchscreen, and MicroSD card loaded with printable models make the Monoprice Maker Select Plus a worthwhile purchase.

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11/28/2020 10:10 pm GMT

Price

As you have noticed, most of the 3D printers we have recommended so far are priced moderately. However, there are cosplayers who are working under a tight budget. Some beginners might also like to test out 3D printers first before committing to a more expensive one. Check out the XYZprinting da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer, which sells for less than $200.

Even at that price, it has everything you’d want in a 3D printer. It’s easy to use and can handle PLA, PETG, and tough PLA. You can buy an optional extruder so that you can print with carbon fibre and metallic PLA. It also features an auto-levelling bed and printing speeds of up to 120 millimetres per second.

At the other end of the spectrum, there are professional custom makers that will want the convenience of getting a 3D printer that can print large objects while also having other nifty features. It has a sizable build capacity at 22.3 by 22.3k by k20.5 inches.

The Ultimaker 2+ 3D Printer sells with a whopping $2,500 price tag. It offers four different nozzle sizes from 0.25 to 0.80 millimetres that you can swap out to obtain better details with a speedy print. It also has a resolution of 20 microns.

Other Things You Should Look for

There are some other technical features that you should consider. For example, you want a 3D printer with high print resolutions and fast print speed. You will also want to choose an auto-levelling print bed for your 3D printer. If you plan to use different filaments, you should choose a 3D printer that has a higher maximum temperature for the bed and nozzle.

Easy to Use

Another criterion for the best 3D printer for cosplayers to buy is how easy it is to use. The good news is that there are a lot of printers out there that are quite intuitive to use so there’s not much of a learning curve for you. There are some basics that you should know, however, such as how to control the temperature, filament consumption, and print speed.

Expect to have a bit of challenging first days: you can’t be expected to have perfect prints the first time around.

FAQ’s About 3D Printers

What is the best 3D printer for cosplay?

The best 3D printer for cosplay would largely depend on what you need. If you need one that can handle large builds, then get the ADIMLab Updated Gantry Pro 3D Printer or the Sindoh 3DWOX DP200 3D Printer. Or you can splurge on industrial-grade 3D printers.

For those who are sticklers for details, get the ELEGOO Mars 3D Printer or the ANYCUBIC Photon UV LCD 3D Printer. Both of these 3D printers have very high accuracy and speed. The prints they make have a good level of detail.

For those who make their own costumes, it helps to have a 3D printer that is compatible with a lot of different filament types. The Monoprice Maker Ultimate 2 3D Printer is ideal for this purpose.

What size 3D printer do I need?

According to Tom’s Guide, you should choose a 3D printer with a build area of 5 x 5 x 5 inches. This size is good enough for most prints that you have to make.

However, if you are planning to build armours and larger pieces, buy something with a bigger build capacity.

Can you 3D print an armour?

Yes. And here are some tutorials to help you do it.

How much does it cost to 3D print a helmet?

It depends on the type of filament you use, and whether you already have a 3D printer at home. According to several enthusiasts, you can expect to spend anywhere from $750 to $2,000 to 3D print a helmet.

The more important question, however, is whether it’s a good idea to 3D print a helmet. The answer seems to be leaning towards a “no” because of the prohibitive costs, the need for a 3D printer with large print areas, and how the helmet might be too brittle for frequent wear.

Looking for the Best 3D Printer for Cosplay Is Now Easier

Having a clear budget and knowing what you’re planning to print will help you choose the best 3D printer. Fortunately, there are now several products available that you can choose the best one for you.

After choosing the best 3D printer that supports the filaments you want to use and falls within your budget, you should also look at how easy it is to use. And then finally, look at the technical details to figure out if it has the print resolution and printing speed you want.

Recommended Reads:

How to Find the Best 3D Printer for Schools [2020]

Is 3D printing fun for you? Do you find excitement in the idea of taking some basic materials and turning them into an object you can use? If so, can you imagine how much more joy something so special can bring to children?

3D printing is an amazing and creative market, and every child should have a chance to watch an object come to life at once during their childhood. And 3D printing continues to expand and grow. Today it is a part of several industries, including healthcare, architecture, and many others.

So no matter what field your child is interested in, there’s a good chance 3D printing can have an application. 3D printing in school allows them to explore what this new technology is capable of doing and the impact it has on the world around us.

But which ones are the best ones for schools and how do you find the right 3D printer? Here are a few of the best 3D printers you can purchase for your classroom.

Flashforge Finder 3D Printer – Best Overall for Classroom Use

Best Overall
Why Go With the Flashforge Finder?
$299.00

The Flashforge Finder is the perfect combination of approachability and reliability to be a great classroom performer. Not too big or complicated to overwhelm, but also consistent with no "open source" finicky customizations.

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11/28/2020 08:09 pm GMT

The Flashforge Finder is a really good starter 3D printer for students with potential for the more advanced students. It packs some really nice features and offers a lot out of the box.

Because of its focus on ease of use and simple interface and software, it is the perfect printer to get you started with 3D printing.

I personally love the proprietary filament management system. The filament is contained inside a cartridge that slides into the back of the printer with an automatic filament sensor, working just as easily as a traditional printer. This makes filament management a breeze; extremely approachable for students.

The other standout feature is the auto-leveling print bed 3D technology. This is a feature mostly found on expensive printers that allow the user to precisely calibrate the distance between the nozzle and the build plate. It uses a sensor on the print head as well as very informative messages on the touchscreen to allow the user to quickly and easily calibrate the printer.

All in all, the Finder really takes the common friction points out of 3D printing (additive manufacturing). Students can focus on be creatively engaged vs troubleshooting.

Further Reading: Full Flashforge Finder Review.

Lulzbot Taz 6 – Best for Older Students

LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer

If you’re teaching older high school or college students, the Lulzbot Taz 6 FDM printer might be the 3D printer you need. While this Lulzbot Printer is one of the bigger 3D printers available on the market, its large build volume (print volume) allows you and your students to print off more than one object at a time.

Setting up the Taz 6 will take you a little longer than it will with the Dremel, but you can probably get it done in less than an hour. Once you get everything figured out, it’ll make much more sense and become second nature. Check our full Taz 6 Review here.

For your students, the Taz 6 ships with software which helps them learn how 3D printing works. More advanced students can jump right into the settings where they print almost anything they want.

With an LCD display, students can see exactly how much progress has been made on the current print job, along with how long they can expect to wait until it is completed. The Taz 6 is a little noisier than other enclosed 3D printers, so be aware of that if you plan on starting a print and then teaching a lesson.

The Taz 6 offers an all-around high-quality printer that lets you automate your 3D printing sessions. This 3D printer gives high school and college-aged students a leg up as they get ready to enter the workforce Learning about 3D printing may wind up serving them well.

Monoprice Select Mini – Best for the Budget-Minded

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer V2

Even though the Monoprice Select Mini is a budget-friendly FDM 3D printer unit, you may be impressed by how well it’s built. Moving parts within the printer are hidden from sight, which means you don’t need to worry about little fingers finding their way into an area where they might get hurt.

On the front of the printer is an LCD screen so you can view helpful information such as the overall health of your printer and the progress of the current print job. The LCD also allows you to find files so you can locate exactly what you want to print.

The printer comes fully assembled, which is nice if you don’t want to mess with a lot of set up. However, you will have to calibrate the printing bed, which shouldn’t take too long. Otherwise, you’re up and printing 3D objects before you know it.

Monoprice is known as a company that builds quality 3D printers, so you know you’ll be getting a reliable 3D printer without breaking the bank. However, there isn’t really such thing as a “cheap” 3D printer, so keep in mind that you’re going to spend quite a bit.

With that in mind, the Mini 3D printing machine is NOT cost-prohibitive and does make it possible for some schools to have multiple 3D printers. If you’re on a budget, the Monoprice Mini should be your first choice when it comes to 3D printers.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer
The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer is a HIGH quality and budget-friendly option printer, that is very safe to use around children.
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Dremel 3D40 – Best Large Format Classroom Use

Dremel 3D40

The Dremel 3D40 tops our list of best 3D printers for classrooms because it literally comes with lesson plans. There are 30 lessons included with the printer, and they can be used for third graders or high school seniors.

Every lesson included has a 3D model that comes with it. That means students have the ability to modify and adjust the object before they print it off.

With this printer, your students can learn the fundamentals of 3D printing while gaining the confidence needed to become comfortable with the device. The 3D40 is designed to be easy to use and safe in a classroom setting.

The printer isn’t very noisy, so you can start a print session at the beginning of class and let it run without worrying about the need to talk over it. Plus, the object may be done printing by the time class is over.

3D Printing Experience in Schools

This is why it’s so important that we bring 3D printing to our schools. We want our children to stay abreast of the latest technologies and how to use them safely. Teaching our children how to use 3D printers while they’re young opens the door to many opportunities as they move forward.

As more and more 3D printers enter into classrooms, more and more children are discovering the fun and excitement they provide. But these devices aren’t only for engineers and architects. There are uses for 3D printers in biology and music.

3D printing encourages creativity and innovation as our children consider the blank piece of paper before them and imagine a real-life object they could create in only a few short hours.

That doesn’t mean 3D printers are only for students. Teachers can use them as well to create educational tools as opposed to spending their hard-earned money on them. This means that instead of spending money on educational aids for all their students, a teacher could use a 3D printer and spend that money elsewhere.

Best 3D Printer for Schools

Use Cases for 3D Printers in a Classroom

As we’ve discussed, there is a wide range of use cases for 3D printers in the classroom. Whether you want to add it to your already existing curriculum or build something brand new, there’s a good chance you can find a way to incorporate 3D printing.

Here’s a list of areas where you can implement 3D printing to show your students how it works and drive them to adopt this technology while being enthusiastic about its possibilities.

3D Printing

If you have a 3D printer in your school, why wouldn’t you use it for a 3D printing class? You can educate your children all about the technology behind 3D printing. Students could learn more about two distinct aspects of 3D printing:

  1. First, they could learn about the core functions of 3D printing. This involved understanding how to control a 3D printer and the right materials to use when creating a 3D printed object.
  2. Second is understanding the key features of the 3D printer. This includes what the features are, how they work, and why they’re important.

This provides students with a way to learn more about the mechanical aspects of the 3D printer. I don’t know about you, but I usually learn something much easier when I’m doing it myself. Having a 3D printer in the school lets students see and learn up close and personal.

Engineering

Of course, when it comes to 3D printing, you almost have to throw engineering into the mix. Before 3D printing, it was difficult for teachers to find a way for their students to view their model in real life. Having a 3D printer would help solve this problem.

With 3D printing technology, teachers have the ability to teach their students many different engineering concepts. One example could be having students improve upon an already 3D printed model, then see how they turn out.

Engineering 3d printing

Biology

How can you use a 3D printer to enhance biology class? One way is through the use of printed anatomic models. Teachers can download these models online and print them off and use them as objects with which their students can study.

Having a physical representation of an organ will help students have a better understanding of the object they’re studying. It can also allow them to show that they understand the object from a practical perspective.

Art

3D printing has long been considered a part of the art industry as it allows students to create 3D versions of their artwork. This helps to promote innovation and creativity among children while showing them the flexibility of these devices.

Math

It can be difficult to engage students in math, no matter what level you’re teaching. Having a 3D printer can make this subject come to life. This could be in the form of using 3D printed objects to show percentages or learn 3D shapes like cones or pyramids.

With physical shapes and objects, students become more engaged and open to learning, which leads to an overall better experience for both the teacher and the pupil.

As you can see, there are plenty of ways an educational institution could benefit from owning a 3D printer. But what should these schools look for when considering a 3d Printer? Let’s take a closer look.

What to Consider?

If your school is ready to purchase a 3D printer, then there are a few things you’ll want to consider before making the final decision. Buying a 3D printer for your classroom is similar to buying one for your home.

That said, there are a few factors you may want to give serious consideration to so you can make an informed decision.

Setup

When it comes to set up, you’ll want something that simple, straightforward, and easy. Fortunately, there are a handful of 3D printers available that don’t require much in regard to setup. A printer that’s easy to set up means you take it out of the box, load the filament into the printer and get started (PLA filament, PETG filament, ABS filament, and more..).

Note: With every year, more diverse filaments and filament types come on the market, including wood, resin (and special resin 3D printers), and even carbon filament. Be sure to check your 3D printer specifications to ensure it’s compatible and/or upgrade nozzles / extruders if available.

There are also some that require a little bit of work during setup, but nothing too complicated. While these may require a bit more effort to get them up and running, they’ll also save you some money. So if you’re on a budget, you might consider going this route.

Size

When considering size for your 3D printer, you’ll want to think about two things. First, the physical size of the printer itself. How much room do you have in your classroom to dedicate to a 3D printer? This will help you determine what size printer to purchase.

Most classrooms are probably best suited to a desktop 3D printer, but even this generalizations contains MANY nuances including whether or not it fills an entire desk, has a dual extruder, etc….

Second, size refers to the build volume of your 3D printer. Many people believe that the more print build volume they have, the better off they’ll be. While this might be true for commercial 3D print businesses, it won’t make much sense for use in an educational environment.

This is because large volume printers are going to take much longer to print an object. Instead of waiting an hour or two for a single object, you may be waiting an entire day. Plus, you’re going to go through your materials much faster when using large volume 3D printers.

school 3d printers

Cost

Even though the print quality of 3D printers has gone up recently, the price has dropped, making it easier than ever to find a good printer at a reasonable price. You shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a 3D printer for nearly any budget.

Keep in mind that if you’re on a strict budget, you may have to make a few sacrifices to find something in your price range.

Print Quality

As the 3D printing process continues to improve, so too does the physical design and print quality of 3D printers. However, just because you have a high-quality 3D printer doesn’t mean you can leave it on at all hours of the day.

Quality 3D printers are made with great components, which means they’ll be reliable when it comes to printing objects for you and your students. Usually, these types of printers also use high-grade filament as well.

Speed

The reality is that most 3D printers won’t be able to complete a printing session during your class period. While today’s printers are much faster, it can still take the better part of an hour to print off a small object.

Unfortunately, some 3D printers are on the slower side. If possible, try to avoid these for your classroom. You’re not helping your class learn about 3D printing if it takes a few days for something to print.

Material

The vast majority of 3D printers you’ll find will use one of two material types: PLA or ABS. Most people prefer PLA since its biodegradable and is a natural source and doesn’t have any toxic byproducts. It’s probably your best bet for use in a classroom setting.

While ABS is in and of itself great material for 3D printing, it does give off toxic fumes, which can eventually lead to health problems. No matter which material you choose, make sure your room has plenty of ventilation and ensure children maintain their distance while a print is in session.

FAQs

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions about 3D printers for schools.

How much time does it take for a 3D print to complete?

This really depends on what you’re 3D printing. Printing a 3D object can range from 30 minutes to a week. There are many factors that determine how long it takes, including the size and complexity of the object, the quality and speed of your printer, and much more.

How much electricity do 3D printers use?

Today’s standard color printers are used by most people in their homes and use around 0.05 kilowatt-hours of electricity for every house they print. This is a pretty low amount. By comparison, a 3D printer will use roughly 50 watts of electricity for every hour you’re printing.

What are some of the benefits of 3D printing?

There are plenty of benefits to using a 3D printer. These include ways 3D printing is revolutionizing and combining certain industries. Hospitals and health care professionals use 3D printed items to save lives. 3D printed items help to reduce the cost of items we use on an everyday basis.

With 3D printers, we can customize objects and devices for specific uses and rapidly create prototypes without wasting a lot of hours and resources.

Opportunities Abound: 3D Printers for Schools

Having a 3D printer in your classroom has significant benefits for the school, the teacher, and the students. It provides a way for students to learn more about 3D printing, while enhancing subjects like Biology, Math, and Art.

Additionally, allowing students to learn about 3D printing open doors into areas of learning they may have never previously considered. Or it may spark an interest in a subject they otherwise dreaded.

There are countless opportunities that come with having a 3D printer in your school, and you shouldn’t have much trouble finding the right one now that you know what to look for. So what are you waiting for? Head out and get a 3D printer for your school!

Further Reading on 3D Printers:

How to Find the Best Multi Color 3D Printer [2020]

As technology continues to evolve, lesser-known markets are beginning to come into their own. One such area that is starting to spread its wings is 3D printing. This industry has shown that it has a place in the world of consumer technology during the past few years.

Even though this industry isn’t as mainstream as other technologies yet, it is still making significant noise in the tech sector. But what about those that aren’t as familiar with 3D printing?

That’s where we want to help. Choosing the right color 3D printer can be challenging. So, with that in mind, what should you consider when selecting a color 3D printer? Let’s take a look at some criteria to consider as you make your decision.

Best Multi Color 3D Printers

Now that you have an idea of what to look for as you search for the ideal multi-color 3D printer, here are a few of the top options to consider.

XYZ Printing da Vinci Color – Best Desktop Option

Our Pick
da Vinci Color
$3,548.84

One of the only true desktop 3D printers for full spectrum color printing, the da Vinci also is one of the easiest to use out of the box.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/29/2020 03:09 am GMT

First up on our list is the XYZ Printing da Vinci Color. This multicolor 3D printer uses its jet technology to print out full color 3D printed objects. Base material used with this printer is white PLA, which the printer colors by using its CMYK filament cartridge.

So that it doesn’t waste ink, the Da Vinci only colors the filament layers that are visible on the print bed, rather than the entire item. If you’re interested in a smaller version of this printer, it also comes in a mini. However, the smaller option only uses one cartridge whereas the bigger version uses four.

If you have a home office, this is the ideal multiple colors 3D printer for you. It allows you to have a 3D printer in your home without taking up a lot of space. Plus, the option of an even smaller unit makes this printer appealing to anyone who doesn’t have a lot of room to maneuver.

Where to Buy? Pick this one up via this Amazon listing here.

Read More: XYZprinting da Vinci Mini Review: Does it Work?

3D Systems ProJet CJP 660 – Best for High Build Volume or Large Scale Projects

3D Systems ProJet CJP 660

The ProJet 660 offers a full color 3D printing experience that will have you creating high-quality pieces in no time. By depositing liquid color and using it as a binding agent, the ProJet makes use of its Color Jet Printing process to print amazing items.

This multicolor printer offers a capacity of 508 x 381 x 229 mm, which makes it one of the most productive options on our list. With this ProJet CJP660, you’re getting both a high-resolution print and high build volume. Using the CJP 660 means you can easily create large-scale concepts and models at any point during the development process.

ProJet says it can print faster than other technologies and multicolor printers on the market (multi color print, single batch). Whether or not that’s true, you can create a large 3D model (using the excess build volume) within just a few hours. Plus, if you’re creating a project that doesn’t require filament color, the CJP 660 will print 35% faster if you’re only using black and white.

HP Jet Fusion – Best for Intricate and Complex Designs

HP Jet Fusion

The HP Jet Fusion multicolor 3D printer focuses on allowing various binding agents to deposit onto plain materials in the additive manufacturing process. With this process, which HP calls “Voxel Transforming Agents,” you can manipulate not only the color or your project, but also the texture.

Additionally, you control the density, translucency, and many other features that allow you to print exactly what you want the way you want it. There are up to eight various agents to choose from, all giving you the 3D print you desire.

If you’re color 3D printing intricate designs with integrating complex parts, then the HP Jet Fusion multicolor 3D printer is a great option. You’ll be able to produce functional, fully-formed pieces with plenty of detail. This 3D printer is great for small or medium-sized businesses that want to focus primarily on design and functionality.

ComeTrue T10 – Best for Faster Print Speeds

ComeTrue T10

This multi color 3D printer utilizes sandstone as its base material. This plater-like and neutral powder is colored and solidified with the ComeTrue process that allows for the colored liquid to bond to the agent itself.

At that point, you’ll need to put the pieces into a dry vacuum device – which you purchase separately – to get rid of any remaining powder by using an airbrush. The ComeTrue10 is a solid multicolor 3D printer, but the entire process takes some getting used to.

If you want to print your pieces quickly, then the ComeTrue T10 might be the right multicolor 3D printer for you. Of course, remember that sometimes you’ll sacrifice print quality for speed. However, the T10 does provide additional features like multiple use cases, a wide range of applications, and the ability to print complex parts.

Rize XRIZE – Best for Beginners

xRize

If you’re in the market for a professional multi-color 3D printer, then take a serious look at the XRIZE. This unit uses a combination of ink-jetting technology, along with its proprietary Augmented Deposition process to provide pieces that are strong and vibrant.

Additionally, the XRIZE multicolor printer also deposits Release Ink – a special proprietary material – into the support structures and the piece itself. This makes it easy for users to quickly disconnect the support materials. Doing so leaves the piece smooth, which means users don’t have to mess with a lot of post-processing.

Even though this multicolor 3D printer offers professional-grade print quality, it’s still a great printer for beginners. It’s easy to use and setup and doesn’t require a lot of pre and post-process effort. The XRIZE works with environmentally friendly and recyclable materials and makes things simple for those that are unfamiliar with the world of color 3D printing.

What Will You Use It For?

3d printer

This Is arguably the most important item to consider while you’re making your choice. What do you plan on doing with your color 3D printer? Are you going to make large or small items? Do you plan on 3D printing in batches?

What applications do you plan on using? What types of moulds will you use? What about tooling, fixtures, and casting? You’ll want to answer these questions to have a solid idea of which color 3D printer will work best for you.

What Features Are Most Important to You?

After you decide what you’re going to do with your multicolor 3D printer, you’ll want to determine which features are a priority. Different products offer different features with different qualities.

Each 3D printer is going to provide a different level of surface finish, resolution, and accuracy. Which of these features are most important to you? Determine that and you’ll have a solid idea of which 3D printer fits your needs.

Color 3D Printing Surface Finish

Surface finish is important for a few pieces. Keep in mind that you can smooth the surface of your item after its done 3D printing, however, it’s usually best to choose a 3D printer that does this for you.

There are a few reasons you want to select a printer with this feature. First, it reduces the total amount of time it takes to produce an item since nothing needs to be done post-processing. Plus, if the smoothing process isn’t done properly there could wind up being problems.

Color 3D Printing Resolution

Next up on the list of features to consider is the printer’s resolution capabilities. Some 3D printers only print with the minimum resolution possible. However, there are also options on the market that offers excellent resolution, so determine how important this feature is to you.

Remember that the layer height (layer thickness) is what tells your 3D printer what resolution to print. The lower the designated layer height, the higher the resolution you’ll get on your printed item.

Color 3D Printing Accuracy

Last, but definitely not list, is the accuracy of your multicolor 3D printer. You want complex pieces and geometrical parts to print just the way you expect them to, so you want to be sure you’re getting a 3D printer that can handle it.

Additionally, if you plan on 3D printing pieces that will need to be put together later, accuracy is of the utmost importance. Accuracy is definitely something to keep in mind as you decide which 3D multicolor printer makes the most sense for you.

3D Printing Speed

3d printing speed

If you’re unfamiliar with 3D printing speed, it’s measured by inches printed each hour. Of course, the amount of time it takes to print your item depends a lot on the size and complexity of its design.

Oftentimes, speed will also depend on the type of different material you’re printing with. Take all these factors into account before you settle on a multi-color 3D printer. Sometimes the ones that brag about their speed aren’t the ones that can handle heavy workloads.

Also, remember that just because you’re getting higher speeds doesn’t mean you’re getting precision. Some 3D multi-color printers sacrifice on accuracy in favor of higher speeds. So, if you’re planning on printing parts that require extreme accuracy, a high-speed printer may not make sense for you.

3D Printer Build Size

When it comes to the size of your printer, you’ll want to primarily think about how much room you have and what you plan on printing. That’s because you can find multi-color 3D printers that are big enough to fill a closet while others are small enough to sit on a desk.

Most 3D printers specify their build size, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the right one. Just be sure you don’t ignore the printer’s build size. If you wind up printing items that are bigger than your 3D printer build size, you’ll wind up with a useless printer.

Multi Color 3D Printer Material

printing materials

Next, let’s take a look at what type of material you plan on using with your multi-color 3D printer. Were you aware that today, there are a wide variety of materials available to choose from? And the list keeps growing!

When 3D printers launched, the only option was photosensitive resin. But as 3D printing technology has progressed, multiple materials and options have come into the picture.

Of course, selecting the materials for your 3D printer may depend entirely on what you plan on printing. So, for instance, if you need to print items that need to be durable or flexible, you want to be sure you choose a material that allows for those capabilities.

In today’s 3D printing market, there are a wide variety of materials available. There’s even a good possibility you’ll find varying degrees of print quality with the type of material you select. That’s why it’s critical that you know exactly what you’re printing and what type of material you’ll need.

For example, if you plan to print using PLA filament (vs PETG filament, ABS filament, or a different filament), then your 3D multi-color printer will have to work with that type of material. Chances are you’ll want to use various types of materials for color 3D Printing, so try to find a printer that will accept different color and material options.

FAQs About 3D Printers

Can my 3D printed items be sanded?

Plastic parts made of FDM (FDM 3D printer vs SLA printer) are capable of being sanded with belt sanders or by hand. Think of it as sanding down an automotive part of a piece of wood. The nice thing about sanding is that it doesn’t cost a lot and is and effective method for getting a smooth finish on your print.

Sanding is one of the most commonly used techniques for finishing a 3D-printed part. You can sand and smooth nearly all your pieces with the exception of a few tiny parts.

What is the life expectancy of a PLA print?

A decent 3D printed piece will take roughly 6 months to start showing signs of stress and decay. This will show up in the form of cracks and lines in your piece. Of course, the length of time it takes depends largely on the conditions in which the piece resides.

While you may notice that the piece isn’t as perfect as it once was, in the right conditions, your printed project may last up to a decade and a half.

Are the parts I printed on my 3D printer airtight?

With a high-quality 3D printer, you can now print watertight printed object such as canisters, cups, and containers. This type of technology makes it possible to create 3D prints that will float or even hold water.

So, what are you waiting for? Go print that 3D boat you’ve always wanted and give take it for a swim!

Can I make money using my 3D printer?

Sure, you can! One of the simplest ways to earn a little extra money is by using your multi-color 3D printer to create items and 3D object models and sell them. There are sites available online through which you can sell your goods, or you can always create your own.

List your multi-color 3D printer as a service available to others and have them pay you for any items or pieces that you print.

Final Thoughts: Best 3D Printer for Color

Getting started with color 3D printing is not an easy thing to do, which makes it all the more important that you find the printer that fits your needs. It is a difficult task, but one that needs to be taken seriously.

The fact that 3D printers and the materials they need can be costly makes the decision that much more important. Chances are you don’t have an unlimited budget, so buying a multi-color 3D printer more than one time likely isn’t an option.

That’s why it is crucial that you consider each and every feature you want prior to making your final decision. These printers are costly and are designed to serve specific purposes and functions. That doesn’t mean they’re not worth it.

Be sure to find one that meets your needs and expectations. Focus on the details. What requirements does your multi-color 3D printer have to have? As you do your research, you’ll discover that the choices will be narrowed down to less than a handful of options.

Once you’ve found a few you like, you’ll be able to find the one that fits what you need. If need be, make a list and check off the items as you complete your search. Remember, you don’t need a multi-color 3D printer that has all the best bells and whistles.

You need one that has the features and functionality that suits your purposes. Look for that, and you’ll wind up with exactly what you want.

Our Pick
da Vinci Color
$3,548.84

One of the only true desktop 3D printers for full spectrum color printing, the da Vinci also is one of the easiest to use out of the box.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/29/2020 03:09 am GMT

Recommended Reading on Desktop 3D Printer Options and 3D Print Filaments

The Best 3D Printing Courses & 3D Printing Certifications [2020]

One outstanding feature of 3D printing is its accessibility. Sure, it helps to have previous drafting or engineering training, but if you don’t, there are plenty of ways to learn as you go. Here’s our list of the best 3D printing classes you can find.

And remember, 3D printing technology is ever-evolving, so if you don’t find a course you like here, there are a lot more available for whatever your niche need.

But first, here’s a high level summary of the best 3D printing courses for 2020:

  1. Additive Manufacturing: Tips, Tricks and Techniques (via LinkedIn Learning) [Best Practical 3D Printing Course]
  2. 3D Printing Software (University of Illinois via Coursera) [Best Software 3D Printing Course]
  3. Designing for 3D Printing with Fusion 360 (via Udemy) [Best 3D Printing Design Course]
  4. The 3D Printing Revolution (Unvisity of Illinois via Coursera) [Best 3D Printing Survey Overview Course]
  5. Shapeways 3D Modeling [Best FREE 3D Printing Course]

Our Pick
Try Additive Manufacturing: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I really love this course because it features bite sized increments, but is action packed with PRACTICAL techniques you can put to use right away. The best way to learn 3D printing is to do guided tinker sessions and this course provides a great foundation without overdoing the theoretical history.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Before we go into specific classes, let’s go through the types of 3D printing classes that are on offer. Knowing what each type of class covers, how it’s delivered, and what you’re expected to get out of it will help you find what you need with minimal issues.

It will stop you from getting frustrated while combing through all the possibilities because there are a lot and it’s easy to get overwhelmed if you don’t know exactly which type of class you need or want, pick a free version of a type that looks interesting. If you don’t end up liking it, no big deal, you can always stop it whenever you want and move on without feeling obliged to finish because you paid for it.

Also, 3D printing courses are a little bit like recipes: they’re a lot easier to understand if you take an overview of the whole process before you start on the specific steps.

So, keep that in mind – courses that cost money won’t let you view all their content for free before buying, of course, but check out their outlines, presenters, and final projects before you decide to purchase. That will save you a lot more than cash if you are looking at something that doesn’t end up working for you.

best 3d printing courses

First, decide what you want to use this class (or classes) for. Is it for your enjoyment to experiment with a new hobby? Do you want a way to create your designs to sell professionally? Are you going to be teaching other people how to 3D print based on your own knowledge? Will you be using these instructions on one especially tricky project, or will you need to be able to refer to it for a variety of printings?

These answers are going to be crucial for your choosing process, so make sure your project parameters are defined before you search for a class.

Now it’s time to decide what kind of class will best suit your needs.

Here are your options:

Self-paced

These are the most common type of courses for people who are looking to explore 3D printing as a hobby. These are typically a series of instructional videos that break down the 3D printing process into steps, with each step being its own video.

They’re posted in an order that’s meant to progress on what you learn, but nothing is stopping you from going through them in whatever order suits you best. Some have quizzes and projects meant as progress checkpoints.

These are especially useful if you end up having to go through at non-regular intervals. Plus, you can always go back to previous lessons for a refresher and repeat them as many times as you want, which is great for beginners and people who learn best by repetition.

If you want to learn about 3D printing on your schedule and in your workspace, self-paced classes are awesome. You can find a lot for free on YouTube from people who started at your same skill level and are now further along so they know what questions you might have, but the helpfulness of these is as varied as the personality of the posters, so make sure you find someone you like and understand if you go this route.

3D Printing Course

Many learning sites also offer self-paced courses in 3D printing with more regulated teachers and curriculums. If you’ve ever gone to LinkedIn Learning (formerly Lynda) to learn another language, for instance, the same sort of structure and delivery applies to their 3D printing courses.

Learning sites almost always charge for the courses, but their costs are a lot lower than courses taught through universities or colleges, so if you’re looking for flexibility with just the smallest bit of structure, they may be worth it.

  • Top pick: We briefly mentioned LinkedIn Learning in the previous paragraph, but it can’t be said enough how awesome their whole catalog of courses is. The selection for 3D printing is wide enough to cover any skill level, and you’ll get the same expertly measured pace as you do for everything else on the site. You don’t pay per course, but rather subscribe to the site for $25 – $37.50 per month. That includes all the courses you can take, and oftentimes, public libraries have a deal where you can join the site for free with your library card. Either way, Lynda gives you a free trial month, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
  • Honorable mentions: Shapeways Beginner 3D Modeling for 3D Printing. It’s free, on demand, and covers a variety of programs used across the 3D printing world. Plus you know Shapeways knows what it’s doing since it’s been in the 3D printing game since 2007.

Our Pick
Try Additive Manufacturing: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I really love this course because it features bite sized increments, but is action packed with PRACTICAL techniques you can put to use right away. The best way to learn 3D printing is to do guided tinker sessions and this course provides a great foundation without overdoing the theoretical history.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Massive Open Online 3D Printing Courses

Massive open online courses, or MOOCs, are gaining immense popularity as Ivy-league colleges and universities are harnessing the internet to reach anyone who wants to learn from their top experts without the expense or inconvenience of attending the actual institutions. It’s a great way to get a thorough education in a specialized subject without going through a whole degree course.

Massive Open Online Courses

MOOCs are college courses that are offered online. They’re structured like traditional classes, with scheduled lectures, coursework to turn in on deadlines, final exams or projects, all that fun stuff.

Except you access everything through a specific class login on the web that lets you take the course from anywhere as a non-degree student. You can learn about 3D printing in your pajamas on the opposite coast as your lecturer and without the pressure of your future career relying on how well you do – but keep in mind, these are still classes.

The Massive Open Online Courses much more structured than self-paced ones in that they don’t let you set your own schedule, and a lot of them require you to turn in your progress work to a third party for judgment. If you can’t rely on your own internal motivation to carry you through a full 3D printing learning experience, a MOOC may be a great option. You’ll also have the advantage of choosing seasoned experts who have impeccable credentials and formal teaching experience to boot.

MOOCs can vary widely in their pricing structure, with some being offered freely by their college and some costing as much as a full course would so make sure you know your budget as well as your ability to commit to a whole semester-like schedule before you pay for any.

  • Top pick: Richmond School of Professional and Continuing Studies. It’s an online course that will let you earn continuing education credentials as well as take you on a thorough guide of 3D printing, and its cost of $195 will save you plenty of money to spend on some sweet hardware.
  • Honorable mention: The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, through Coursera, has a series of 3D printing courses that encompass a multilevel viewing of the process that gives you a great broader context of 3D printing’s history and applications. You also get discounts on software through the course, so if you’re worried about not being able to afford to follow along, you should check this one out.

Accredited 3D Printing Programs

Accredited 3d printing courses

Close on the heels of MOOCs are full, degree-granting accredited college programs that let you get a BS or higher in 3D printing. Since 3D printing is typically part of an engineering program, be ready for some intense math and physics – if you don’t enjoy or aren’t good at both of those subjects, you should choose a lower stakes way to learn about 3D printing.

But if you want to make 3D printing your livelihood, programs are popping up in many accredited colleges and universities that you can go through to become a true expert with the piece of paper to prove it (and job search support that many institutes of higher learning give their students).

  • Top pick: Penn State. Its Masters of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design concentrates on how 3D printing is changing manufactory industries like aerospace and medical technology. A degree from Penn State is a major endorsement of your skills, so this program will take you far into the future of working with 3D printing.
  • Honorable mention: Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the premier engineering school in the United States, has its own 3D printing course. It’s not a full degree program, but it’s a five-day crash course in everything 3D from MIT, so you’ll definitely learn a whole lot.

3D Printing Continuous Education

continuous 3d printing courses

A sort of hybrid that combines the open access of MOOCs with the hands-on learning style of accredited courses, continuous education courses are often a happy medium for 3D printer users who learn best in person.

These are courses that are taught at local education centers, community colleges, or public libraries, which also makes them great for people who can’t afford or access their own 3D printing equipment. You go in person to a single program or series of them and listen to the instructor, then watch and participate in demonstrations of the techniques you heard.

Often you’ll get to take away a 3D printing souvenir that you’ve made yourself with your new skills. Like MOOCs, the price range of continuous education courses vary; for these, it usually depends on where the course is given.

If it’s through your local library, recreational center, or other public places that offer educational programming for free or with a small general membership fee, it will probably be free, with the institution absorbing the fee for the materials. If you take a continuous education course through your local community college, they may charge you as they do for fully enrolled students, albeit only for the single class.

  • Top pick: You should definitely check out your local offerings, but, New York University’s 3D Printing and Fabrication is top notch if you’re able to get there in person and pay the $810 course charge. You’ll get hands-on access to 3D printers from the LaGuardia Studio for practice, not to mention continuous education credits from an Ivy League school.
  • Honorable mention: Another good one is Blue Ridge Community College’s 3D printing group of courses. You can choose either their live or online sessions (they’re based in Weyers Cave, Virginia), and the tuition per course is considerably less than a four-year college. Blue Ridge Community College also offers related courses on Adobe and other design programs that are useful additions to your 3D printing knowledge.

Product Based 3D Printing Courses

Product-based 3d printing course

Related to self-paced courses, almost every 3D printing product you buy will have some sort of instructions or tutorials to help you figure out what to do with them. And a good chunk of them will show you multi-step courses on how to do general 3D printing processes.

Granted, these are basically ads for all that company’s products, but they are also super useful if you’re looking for courses that take into account the specific quirks and best practices of the equipment you bought (or are thinking about buying).

fThey also have the advantage of going through professional lighting and filming – from a marketing standpoint, it’s because they want to show off the goods as nicely as possible, but that also helps you the learner see the processes more clearly than an independent YouTuber may be able to provide.

Of course, beware of any part of the course that seems too good to be true from either your personal experience with the products or your general knowledge of 3D printing or engineering. Your research and purchase experiences, along with thorough review reading, should give you a sense of whether something is too good to be true.

  • Top pick: Leapfrog 3D. As a fast-growing 3D printer company, Leapfrog has been running laps around other manufacturers with its integrated educational offerings. It has a wide range of 3D printing instructions for all levels and types of education, from classroom-guided courses for teachers to individual instructional videos meant to clear up specific issues you might have as a solo printer. It’s a great range, and you can check them out before you buy anything from them, which makes it a great way to decide if their products are for you before spending a dime. 
  • Honorable mention: Printrbot. Starting at its founding in 2014, Printrbot has been crowdsourcing 3D printing information for its course offerings, which creates a huge variety of educational material that’s both open access and hardware neutral.

Whether you’re teaching yourself how to design your first figurine, or gearing up to teach a class yourself, now you’re ready to take on anything you want to 3D print. Enjoy!

Our Pick
Try Additive Manufacturing: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques

I really love this course because it features bite sized increments, but is action packed with PRACTICAL techniques you can put to use right away. The best way to learn 3D printing is to do guided tinker sessions and this course provides a great foundation without overdoing the theoretical history.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Further Research on 3D Printing

The Best Dremel 3D Printer Models to Consider

Best known for rotary and saw tools for DIY hobbyists, Dremel knows what it takes to create a quality product. They first introduced the high-speed rotary tool back in 1934. This was the birth of a company set out on a mission to help Makers create with their hands and machines.

The Dremel company continues the same mission today. Dremel wants to take their creativity that led to the do-it-all homeowner tools and apply that to the 3D printing industry. Their current offerings seem to have them on the right path.

How has Dremel impacted 3D printing?

Dremel offers a variety of high-quality 3D printers. Their products range from entry-level pricing and features, up to industrial-grade, top-of-the-line 3D printers. They offer a little something for everyone from the at-home users to educational and instructional products. Dremel wants to make a splash in all aspects of 3D printing.

Dremel wants to help everyone get started with their machines. They have a large Thingiverse page, which includes a variety of models for all users to print. From novice printers to the advanced, there a lot of great models that are sure to teach you a thing or two while printing them. As well, they have generated multiple teaching plans anyone can use to guide them through 3D printing and take their understanding of the machine to a new level.

The company is known for ready-to-use 3D printers as soon as you take it out of the box. All of the Dremel models require minimal setup, which means more time printing. And you can rest assured you are getting a high-quality printer. The Dremel 3D printers are often praised for their precision and accuracy. The final prints compete with many of the most popular brands on the market.

Now that we know a little more about the company, let’s dive into the 3D printers themselves.

Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer

Like the other printers in this line-up, the Dremel 3D20 3D Printeris very user-friendly and ready to start printing pretty much right out of the box. The touchscreen guides you through the startup process. It will show you how to level the bed, load the filament, and let your imagination run wild.

This 3D printer is clearly geared towards the novice user. It is very simple to use and is a great starting point for beginners. Some of the larger models allow more customization than the 3D20.

The 3D20 is designed for Dremel’s small, and extremely expensive filament. This is a big downfall for all of their 3D printers. Some users have reported using their own filament without issues. Check out our full 3D20 Review Here.

So, you may be able to get around this glaring issue. Just remember not all other brands will fit the machine. You will need to do some research to find the one that fits and is best for your needs.

While the build area is decent for the size of the printer at 9” x 5.9” x 5.5”, the bed is not heated. This also limits the type of filament you can use with the machine. As well, the plastic build of the machine, while looks nice, is not the best.

It certainly doesn’t help keep operating noise levels down. Nor is it the sturdiest build. But, as long as you’re not trying to sleep, this shouldn’t be an issue. The 3D20 is limited but effective and gets the job done for beginner 3D printers.

The Dremel 3D20 3D Printer is $599.00. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D Printer

Moderately priced at $1,299, the 3D40 is priced in the middle of the market, but the performance is leaning towards the high end of the industry. But costs will quickly add up as you are stuck using only Dremel PLA filament. As mentioned previously, the Dremel filament is quite pricey and sold on smaller spools than most other brands. The filament is offered in 10 different colors. But this lack of customization limits the 3D printer capabilities.

The Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D Printer rocks the classic Dremel Silver and Blue colorings with a fully enclosed print area.

The clear sections of the front and top of the printer make it easy to monitor your prints. The enclosure makes a great print environment as it traps the heat. Although, this isn’t necessary when using PLA. As well, we see the same issues as the 3D20 with the 3D40 using the all plastic frame design.

A simple LCD touchscreen display is located on the front. It is easy to use, and the icons help guide you through the screen in no time to get your printer dialed in. The screen and printer as a whole are functional and straightforward.

A removable glass bed makes for a sturdy build platform. But this has its difficulties trying to remove the bed and put it back in place.

Dremel Cloud Print system is a great feature for this 3D printer. All you need is a free account, and then you can upload an STL or OBJ file to prepare for your printer. The web-based software lets you control most aspects and settings. You can adjust infill, supports, and even preview the print. Once you’re ready, you simply shoot the prepared file to a connected printer, wirelessly, and begin the process.

While the 3D40 is a great 3D printer, it will cost you extra to pay for the pricey PLA filament. The lack of ability to use more than just PLA limits the users and their creativity. But if you don’t mind the limitations, you will be extremely impressed with the quality and precision of prints from the 3D40.

On Amazon, the Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D Printer is listed for $1.599. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Dremel Digilab 3D45 3D Printer

Dremel makes a big leap forward. The 3D45 3D Printer has everything we loved about the other Dremel models and everything we wish the others had as well. Released in 2018, Dremel made the 3D45 to compete with some of the best 3D printers around.

This is the 3D printer, as Dremel claims, “made by professionals for professionals.” It is an absolute high performing work-horse. The 3D45 can be yours for a price of $1,799. The overall footprint of the 3D45 is 15.9″ x 20.2″ x 16″, just small enough to easily fit in your workspace or office. And it provides enough space for a 6.7″ x 10″ x 6″ build volume. Not the biggest, but the build volume is comparable to some of its closest competitors.

The 3D printer features an upgrade Dremel look with a fully enclosed system. But the 3D45 has a darker, futuristic color-scheme with larger clear sections to view the printing process and easily remove and replace the print bed. It is a very clean design. The 3D45 has a larger LCD screen, 5 inches, compared to other Dremel models.

While you are still mostly limited to a Dremel-only filament, you have more choices. Dremel offers over 11 PLA colors, an eco-ABS, and nylon filaments. Still very pricey compared to other filaments, but we at least get more options than just PLA with the 3D45.

While it is possible to use third-party filaments, it is not the easiest.  The downfall is the machine will not automatically detect the filament type, which means you need to adjust the temperature settings. As well, the most third-party filament will not fit on the built-in spool holder, and you will need another method of feeding the filament into the machine. However, you can easily build one with your 3D printer.

This is easily the most impressive 3D printer from Dremel. The print quality and reliability are as impressive as always. It features multiple connectivity options, larger build area, and touch screen, more filament options, and is really just a high-quality 3D printer.

On Amazon, the Dremel 3D45 3D Printer is listed for $1.799. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

Dremel certainly knows who they want to target with their 3D printers. The machines are fantastic 3D printers regarding print quality, ease of use, and overall reliability. However, they all seem a little overpriced for what you are truly getting.

The limited filament choice and no heated beds on any of the machines are major downfalls in my book. If you’re able to look past these flaws, any Dremel 3D printer may be a great choice for you.

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3D Printing for Jewelry: How It Works? The Best Printers For The Job

3D Printing for Jewelry

One of the most exciting aspects of 3D printing is how technology can impact so many other industries. We have already seen the impact it will have on construction, toys, and manufacturing. Another industry that will be changed is jewelry. While it may still have a ways to go before it can compete with the likes of gold, silver, diamonds, and other precious gems, 3D printing is already moving into the jewelry business.

How does it work?

Now I am sure you all are thinking, just as we once were, how the heck does a 3D printer create jewelry? Well, there are more ways than one. Not all ways are the printers themselves creating the finished product. For example, Lost-wax printing and casting utilizes the printer to create a mold for metal casting. But other technology, such as selective laser melting (SLM), allows you to 3D print with metals.

Lost-wax casting can be seen as an indirect method of 3D printing jewelry. The final product was not actually 3D printed, but the process of creating the model and finished piece involved 3D printing. The process is a great blend of new and old technologies, 3D printing, and metal casting.

lost wax 3d printing jewelry

It starts with the design of your 3D model just as any other 3D printed object starts. Once you have your file ready, the next step is to 3D print the object with wax. A wax-like resin is used as a filament for this process. Next, you need to form the mold to cast the metal. You take one or multiple waxes 3D printed objects and cover them in a fine plaster. This plaster will solidify and become the mold, Now that you have the mold you need to get the wax out. To do this, you put the plaster containing the wax in a hot oven where the wax is heated and burned out of the mold entirely. What you’re left with is a solid, clean mold that is ready for casting your jewelry.

The main advantage of lost-wax casting is jewelry designers do not need all the tools. As long as they can create the 3D model, there are a ton of companies out there where they can have the model printed for them. This saves time and resources as they are out-sourcing part of the work.

The SLM process is quite different from start to finish. This process is a way to actually 3D print with metals. It is a special type of 3D printer that works similar to a desktop 3D printer in that it creates the object layer by layer. However, rather than plastic filaments we typically see, SLM 3D printers use a powered metal filament that is melted by a laser. Once melted it is pushed through the extruder to begin constructing the object.

As you can imagine, this technology is becoming very popular since you can create a lot more objects than just plastic structures. As well it is becoming cheaper as people are discovering ways to improve technology. The SLM process is ideal for custom, one-off jewelry projects that are unlike any other.

Types of 3D printers to use for Jewelry

You don’t have to be a professional Jeweler to design and create jewelry with 3D printing. Anyone with wants to make jewelry, and of course, the right 3D printer can make jewelry too. Of course, which printer you need depends on what your end goal is.

For the at-home Jeweler or workshop users, quality is the name of the game. You need a 3D printer that is reliable and consistent so you know exactly what you’re going to get each time you use it. A printer with high resolutions, accuracy, and smooth surfaces will create the best jewelry. Two that we really like for this case is the Formlabs Form 2 and the Wanhao Duplicator 7 Plus.

The Formlabs Form 2 is an SLA 3D printer. It comes from Formlabs, which is one of the pioneers of 3D printing so you know you are getting an amazing machine. What makes the Form 2 so great is the consistency in quality. Time and time again the machine performs exactly as it did the print before. This allows you to know you are going to get the perfect piece you need, every time.

The Wanhao Duplicator 7 Plus is a budget-friendly option for those looking to get in 3D printing jewelry. Although it is budget friendly, it still creates pieces just like any top of the line printer would. It comes with all the bells and whistles you need, triple cooling fans, high-speed printing, and a large user-friendly touchscreen. It may not be as consistent as the Form 2, but for the price, it is tough to beat the Duplicator 7 Plus.

Plastic Filaments 3D Printers

Some users may not need a top of the line 3D printer and would prefer something that prints with plastic filament. The classic 3D printers we typically hear about fall into this category. With these, you will be printing in PLA, ABS, PETG, and the like. While they are not metals or metal composites, you can still create beautifully crafted and designed pieces of jewelry.

One thing you need to be on the look for is the ability to swap out nozzle size. While the industry standard 0.4 mm nozzle is great for most users, we need something a little more precise. A 3D printer that allows you to use a 0.2 or 0.25 mm will help you produce those very fine, intricate details you need for jewelry. Two great printers to consider are the Ultimaker 2 and the Prusa Mk2.

Both of these printers are considered absolute workhorses in their respective category. They create high quality, flawless pieces every time. They are highly regarded amongst the desktop 3D printing community. You can’t go wrong with either of these.

Mark Two Markforged

Another option for creating jewelry is using metal 3D printers. These machines take a composite metallic material and produce amazing pieces with very high tolerances and quality. They are still fairly new to the industry, but they are picking up steam as companies are advancing the technology. Two great options are the Markforged Mark 2 and DesktopMetal 3D Printer series.

These companies produce monsters of 3D printers. The Mark 2 is more desktop friendly due to its compact size. Desktop Metal, on the other hand, was backed by multiple major companies including Google and Ford. Given their backing, you can be assured they create a high-quality machine. These 3D printers use a composite filament to create metal pieces. If you want to create jewelry solely with a 3D printer, these are the machines you need.

Final Thoughts

As you can see 3D printing is beginning to make its moves into the jewelry industry. There are multiple ways to accomplish designing and making jewelry and multiple printers that can get the job done for you. Depending on what you want to do will determine which printer and which process is best for you.

Further Read