The Best 3D Printing Courses & 3D Printing Certifications

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:

  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 (University 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.

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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 around $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

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

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 around $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

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.

SIGN UP via LinkedIn Learning Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Further Research on 3D Printing

TEVO Tornado Review [2021] All You Need To Know

Personal 3D printing is getting big in more than one way. The evolution of hardware is catching up to the needs of large build volume printing, starting with the physical size of the printing area and progressing to lower price range per square inch so that more enthusiasts can experiment with designs they would otherwise either have to pass up or print in separate pieces.

TEVO, a 3D printer company from China that gave us a lackluster printer build kit with its Tevo Tarantula model, enters this ring with its new Tornado, a large-scale printer that comes almost entirely assembled and still fits on a user’s home desk.

Its bed heated through AC and its Titan extruder (also made by TEVO), makes it stand out in the affordable 3D printing pack; and TEVO improves on its build it yourself origins by shipping this one out 95% assembled, bypassing a lot of the complaints about confusing instructions and thus improving on itself already. But is it worth it as part of the general 3D printing market? Let’s find out!

TEVO Tornado Printer Kit Overview

The Tornado Printer Kit was introduced in 201f7 and is still technically sold as a kit, as are all of TEVO’s printers. TEVO itself was established in 2015 and has earned three international certifications: CE, which certifies it’s up to safety standards in the single market in the European Economic Area; FCC, which means it means safety standards in the United States; and ROHS.

This also means that the 3D printed parts are calibrated to hold up to but not beyond the specified maximum levels at which it’s safe to use them. This results in TEVO being able to ship to multiple areas in Europe and the United States, as well as elsewhere around the world, so wherever you happen to live, chances are you’ll have the chance to try this company if you want.

Their other products include printer kits for half a dozen models, spare parts, and a variety of filaments, so they’re striving to become your one spot for all your budget 3D printing needs. But you can also purchase a Tornado on Amazon, Banggood, or GearBeast. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.Tevo Tornado Printing

Features

The Tevo Tornado 3D Printer has striking coloring, bright green frame elements, and red printer bed stickers combining for a Christmasy look. (Plan on replacing these stickers after a few paintings; they tended to bubble up on previous models so it’s a good plan to keep a stash of your own just in case).

It’s also got aluminum extrusions. Its frame style takes its inspiration from Creality CR 10, but the Titan extruder is all TEVO’s own design. The Tevo Titan extruder is mounted to the left of the X-axis rail when you look at it straight on, and it pushes filament through a PTFE (Polytetrafluoroethylene) tube into the hot end.

One excellent design point is the lead screw, which is fixed at both ends and is great for stability. This is especially useful for prints that take up the whole 400 mm height of the printing area. The X and Y axes could benefit from fixed adjustment knobs, but it’s easy enough to adjust both of them by loosening nuts and pulling them taut before tightening again.

There are two major areas that need improvement. First, the control box is not part of the printer frame itself but is its own separate box attached to the frame with a cord.

The cord is short enough that the control box has to stay close enough to potentially get knocked over or interfere with the extruder during a print that takes the nozzle outside of the printer bed.

This poses a threat from cables potentially getting caught on the edge of the printer bed frame, and it can also limit the number of extras you would be able to confidentially fit onto the Tornado 3D Printer, which limits its potential to grow with your 3D printing skills.

The not so good

Another issue is a major potential safety hazard. The AC powered heating bed is great for getting the printing bed to its optimal heating temperature fast. But, this also means that you’re going to essentially have an open hot plate that you will have to be extremely careful about while using the other parts of the printer.

The wiring for the Tevo Tornado 3D Printer’s power supply is attached directly to the bed via soldering, which means there’s a chance that the live cables could work free from agitation from some part of the printer’s work and shock you through the frame because there’s no apparent grounding of these cables.

Also, the insulation on these cables is a thin single layer that can be easily slit from, for example, an attempt to scrape a print off the bed. There’s not any stress relief for the unsupported mains-carrying cables into the bed.

They are soldered into place, but the hours of continuous zagging motions that are the hallmark of 3D printing could easily knock them askew into hazardous positions. There aren’t any given strain reliefs for the cables in the original kit, either, so it’s a good idea to get paranoid and make some for yourself before you start any serious printing projects.

Specifications

Company TEVO
Price $358
Type 95% assembled kit
Weight 14 kg
Overall printer dimensions 560 mm x 600 mm x 620 mm
Print bed size 300 mm x 300 mm x 400 mm
Maximum print area 300 mm x 300 mm x 400 mm
Maximum print speed 150 mm/sec
Layer resolution 50 microns (0.05 mm)
Filament diameter 1.75 mm
Filament types PLA, ABS, PETG, wood, PVA, flexible filament
Positioning accuracy 0.004mm Z-axis, 0.012 X/Y axes
Nozzle diameter 0.4 mm
Maximum extruder temperature 260 degrees Celsius
Heating plate temperature 60 – 110 degrees Celsius
Power requirements 220V, 250W, 50Hz, 0.89A
Connection TF card or USB
File formats STL file, G-code
Compatibility Windows, Linux, Mac

The Kit

Once you decide where to order your printer from, it comes in a box thoroughly padded with foam and filled with bags of labeled screws, including extras, which comes in handy to keep around in case anything comes loose or out of true later on in your usage.

As mentioned, it’s not in nearly as many pieces as your usual 3D printing kit. But it’s not all the way constructed; you do have to put together the combined Z and X axes, the printer bed, and the control box.

You’ll also get a scraper to help you take the prints off the bed, which is a basic flat spatula-like blade with a wooden handle, an SD card with test designs, and all the necessary power cords.

It’s got the TEVO logo printed all over the pieces; make sure those are in good condition, which is how you’ll know you’ve gotten a new kit and not one that may have been refurbished and sold to you without your prior knowledge. Refurbished hardware is a great money saver if you know that’s what you’re buying, but look out for companies trying to pass off those as new.

One important area where TEVO has majorly stepped up its game is the assembly instructions. As mentioned in our Tevo Tarantula review, the kit that required more assembly had instructions that could frustrate even the most seasoned engineer, much less the hobbyists TEVO’s printers are aimed at.

But, the Tornado’s booklet has clearly printed and labeled photos as well as a logical flow to its directions. However, two things came to mind while using these: first, there isn’t a step that explicitly tells you how to attach the heated bed to the Y-axis carriage.

This will be fairly obvious for those who have worked with 3D printers before and are familiar with their general construct, but if this is your first kit, make sure you find out how to make that last attachment correctly before you proceed. Unfortunately, the Tornado 3D Printer instructions won’t be much help for that.

Secondly, you do have to remember that this kit has a lot fewer parts to deal with than the full build kit of the Tarantula, so the instructions may not actually be improved but just simpler.

No specific software comes bundled with the printer, which means you can take your pick on what you use, but it also means you’ll have to either already have a drafting program or get one separately before you use the Tornado.

But if this is your first 3D printer, there are a lot of free software options online, all of which the Tornado instructions packet tells you about. If this is another step further into your 3D printing journey, you’ll more than likely already have a preferred program that will gel with the Tornado’s system.

If you’re looking for an idea, Simplify3D has a settings profile set up for the Tornado, as does Cura. Both of these can be found with some easy Googling.

The Assembly

You won’t get a feel of how 3D printers are assembled if you buy the Tornado, but you do get an easy assembly. The tall standing part of the frame that also contains the X-axis rail, carriage, hot end, and belt and the Tevo Titan extruder goes together with the AC heating bed with its cabling.

Then you put together the base unit with its Y-axis and carriage, stepper motor, and belt with its control and power unit. It only sounds complicated because there are a lot of parts, but for the most part, they are already attached where they need to be and you’re just putting the large chunks together.

However, the process will not be completely painless. One thing that seems like it would be useful is the labeled packages of screws and attachment paraphernalia. But that gets frustrating when you realize that nothing corresponds to these labels, either on the printer itself or in the instructions, so it will take you extra time and frustration to figure out what is supposed to be used where.

Also, several of the cables are too short to comfortably reach their plugs, which while technically letting you get everything together have the real potential to become a problem sooner rather than later when you start printing in earnest.

There’s a simple solution to this, however – cut the spiral coverings of the cables, and they can reach what they need to with some safe give. The coverings, which look like landline phone cords, don’t seem to serve the purpose they’re meant to, so don’t worry about pulling them apart for a better build.

The Printing Process

The Tornado boots up well with a manual bed level, although if you power it down between leveling and printing you may come across a bug that wipes out your control box settings. That’s something TEVO has an address with a workaround that lets you connect your printer to your computer to wake it back up. This is a known firmware issue, so hopefully, there will be future updates that eliminate it.

Another issue that comes up in the middle of printing is not so easily fixed, mainly because the print itself does not give any indication of what’s actually wrong and merely stops printing in the middle of the design.

By methodically examining mechanical parts for connections that may have gotten loose and software error messages, we found an issue with the SD card that came with the printer kit.

Once we transferred the design to a USB drive and used that to feed the design to the Tornado, it printed the whole thing without a hitch, and with future projects that used a personal favorite brand of SD card instead of the provided one worked fine too.

And it came out fairly nicely, especially for a first print. There were a few strands across the bridgings, but they were small and insignificant enough to trim away without leaving any lasting impression on the final product.

But several oddly bulging areas warrant a closer inspection of the printer’s calibration methods, and the object showcases TEVO’s ongoing problem of “salmon skin” finish, which is a hallmark of a jerky printer head caused by the stepper motors that handle how that head moves.

You can fix that by purchasing new drivers or add smoothers between the board and steppers, but that may not be something you want to deal with.

Tevo Tornado Printing

Other designs that take advantage of the printer’s bigger size show the same tendencies, enough to warrant the fixes mentioned above or a separate finishing process that gets you the surface you want.

If you’re planning on mixing materials, printing something with a lot of sharp turns in the design, or needing to load more than one filament to finish it, the Tornado printer isn’t the best print quality you can get. However, if your designs are mostly smooth, one-filament wonders, you’ll get a good quality finished product.

FAQs About TEVO Tornado

What kind of materials I can use for printing with TEVO Tornado?

If you have bought the TEVO Tornado, good news for you, you can use plenty of different materials like PLA, wood, PVA, ABS, PETG and lots of different flexible filaments to create your desired object.

Which operating systems does TEVO Tornado supports?

Unlike some other 3D Printers that only work with one system, the TEVO Tornado operates with Windows, Linux, and Mac.

Can I purchase TEVO Tornado original filaments for printing?

No. Unfortunately, besides selling extra parts for the printer that make it faster at printing, the company does not sell filaments, but you can find compatible ones easily online.

Final Verdict

The Tornado is a definite improvement over previous TEVO kits in both assembly ease and final product quality. It is priced at about the point of a low-end fully-assembled machine and does have some print quality issues to overcome, but it may be worth it for you for the enlarged printing area alone. But if you’re not specifically looking for a bigger printer that is still affordable, you may want to look elsewhere.

Recommended Reads

The TEVO Tarantula Printer Kit – Is It The Best Bargain For The Price?

Deciding to buy a 3D printer kit instead of a fully assembled machine is a tricky proposition. They do bring the cost down to an attractive range for anyone who is looking to get into the hobby without fully committing their bank account to it. However, they come with a few catches. For instance, you don’t necessarily have to have mechanical experience in the real world but it does help. Either way, thorough and clear directions are crucial.

Another point to consider with kits is the quality of both the parts you receive and the finished products you end up with. If you’re comfortable around tools and making adjustments to pieces that won’t fit together, you might have a better time building your own printer so you can see how the whole thing works from the ground up. But not everybody’s idea of a good time is having to complete a project before they start working on what they wanted to original just to save money – we call this the “Ikea principle.” TEVO banks on you caring more about cost than convenience.

TEVO is a company based in the Guandong Province in South China and started the business in 2015. Their specialty is 3D printer kits that are designed to stay under a certain cost point so they’re more economically accessible for hobby users.

A majority of their line comes in at under $200 per unit (not including taxes, or shipping and handling, which you should take into consideration, especially since kits come with helping tools that add to the weight of the package beyond the printer material itself). TEVO Tarantula I3 Aluminium Extrusion 3D Printer Kit Auto and Large Bed 3D Printing With Aibecy Cleaning Cloth 2 Rolls Filament 8GB Memory Card is one of the latest in this line, coming out in 2018, and below we are giving you all the details on how it handles.

Since this printer comes as a kit, we’ll be reviewing the building and printing experience as users who are moderately experienced in both. Your mileage may vary. Although with the Tarantula, you will not get very far without patience and time you may not have.

Features

First, we need to talk about what the kit is supposed to be. The 3D printer itself is designed as a basic Cartesian-style fused filament fabrication, which means it feeds a continuous filament of thermoplastic through a moving heated printer extruder head.

It’s the way a lot of beginner printers are built and allows for an open surface area to print, although sometimes that’s at the expense of frame stability. This specific model has a single extruder, but the mainboard that houses the Bowden extruder leaves room for more, so if you feel like modding it out to double or triple extrusion, that’s theoretically possible.

These are all the features you find standard in beginner 3D printers, with a price significantly lower than its already-built peers; so far so good. But this falls apart, sometimes literally, when you get to the execution.

The print head moves on the X-axis with rail-mounted pulleys, as does its Y-axis. The Y-axis moves the printer bed, and the provided nuts allow for tightening if the bed gets loose. It also allows for the leveling you’ll have to do after pretty much every job – but more on that in the printing experience section. The Z-axis is fixed to the X-axis with a single lead screw for 3D movement.

One thing to look out for is to that lead screw is positioned so the lead screw is in contact with essential wiring, which is a danger that may cause a major meltdown if you don’t keep a constant watch over it. The Z-axis extruder positioning also makes it top-heavy in an aluminum frame that’s already rickety even when you add modifications to strengthen it.

However, the aluminum frame does allow for easy additions of extra frame supports, modification accessories, and extra extruders. There’s a plethora of T-nuts left over from the original construction to attach these to your frame to boost it to something closer to your ideal. This does make the Tarantula a decent kit to learn how to modify; if you’re looking for that experience and already know the basics of how a 3D printer is supposed to go together, the price may make this worth it for you.

Specifications

Company TEVO
Price TEVO Tarantula I3 Aluminium Extrusion 3D Printer Kit Auto and Large Bed 3D Printing With Aibecy Cleaning Cloth 2 Rolls Filament 8GB Memory Card TEVO Tarantula I3 Aluminium Extrusion 3D Printer Kit Auto and Large Bed 3D Printing With Aibecy Cleaning Cloth 2 Rolls Filament 8GB Memory Card
Type Kit
Weight 7.5 kg
Overall printer dimensions 430 mm x 440 mm x 400 mm
Print bed size 200 mm x 200 mm x 200 mm
Maximum print area 200 mm x 280 mm x 200 mm
Maximum print speed 150 mm/sec
Layer resolution 50 microns (0.050 mm)
Filament diameter 1.75 mm
Filament types PLA, ABS, PETG, PVA, wood
Positioning accuracy 0.004 mm on Z axis, 0.012 mm on X/Y axes
Nozzle diameter 0.4 mm
Maximum extruder temperature 260 degrees Celsius
Heating plate temperature 60 – 120 degrees Celsius
Power requirements 220V, 250W, 50Hz, 0.89A
Connection TF card or USB
File formats STL, G-code
Main board MKS Gen L
Compatibility Windows, Linux, Mac

The Kit

When you open the box, you’re struck by the consistent branding across the packaging and pieces, which is impressive but is the only consistency you’ll experience in the process. Everything is packaged and labeled according to use. But, many users have complained that once you open the instruction booklet, what you read in there does not match exactly to what you’ll see on the labels of the parts.

A check of each bagged group of parts against the pictures in the assembly booklet is a necessary first step; this is a good idea anyway no matter what you’re building from a kit, but it’s especially needed for the Tarantula. It’s handy to create your own labels with what’s in the instructions, which seems like extra work now but will save you lots of time in the long run with this kit (trust us).

Within the kit, you get an aluminum frame that stays shaky and top-heavy because of the extruder placement, a heated printing bed that does not auto level (although that is an option with other TEVO kits, it’s not with this model), a single extruder, and multiple pins and screws to put everything together (be warned these may come loose mid-build as ours did).

The tiny tools that come with it to help you complete the machine are not worth your time. Just like every cheap bookshelf you’ve brought home, the building process will transform these tools into something less than useless, so make sure you’ve got your own small screwdriver and other basics that you trust to get the job done.

There is no cooling fan, which is unusual for 3D printers of any type and not a good idea for material that heats up to the temperatures necessary to get even a basic level of quality in your finished project. It takes a lot of effort to pull finished objects off the printing bed, and the lack of any cooling method makes that almost impossible, not to mention the havoc it wrecks on the layer precision.

You do get a spare temperature probe and an 8 Gb SD card, both of which prove useful in making up for various levels of incompetence in the rest of the Tarantula’s design and build process.

The Assembly

The assembly instructions don’t get any better as you go along. The instructions often end without telling you how a certain piece fits into the printer as a whole. They tend to have you build the printer in clumps of parts that are put aside until you discover later they’re supposed to be enclosed in a section that you’ve already built; now you have to disassemble, find the step that tells you how to fit the clump of parts into the enclosed section, and finally find the step that tells you how to build the encasement. If that sentence is laborious to read, it’s even worse to act out.

And sometimes the diagrams contradict each other, which is a whole other level of a headache. The best solution to this is an internet search, which we realize is not that difficult. Especially with the Tarantula’s marketing as an entry-level printer at such a low price point, more than one engineering-savvy user has figured out the proper assembly and posted it for everyone to use freely. But the lack of correct instructions from the company itself is a representation of the slipshod way it treats this entire kit.

The Software

One feature of the Tarantula that actually keeps its promise of accessibility is its software capabilities. You can use whatever 3D modeling software you’re comfortable with here. You can adjust the details of your designs to your heart’s content. The provided SD card has more than enough memory for a big library of projects, and there’s also a USB connection if you want to print directly from your computer or external hard drive.

The Printing Process

We would like to be able to tell you that all the extra time and effort to get your Tarantula up and running is worth it once you start printing. Unfortunately, that’s not true.

A lot of the printing problems come from the printing bed itself. Its carriage is unstable enough to warrant a new leveling process after every print you make. This is mainly because you have to wrestle each project off the bed’s insanely grippy surface and, as we mentioned above, without a cooling fan to help anything solidify. If you’re fine waiting so long you might forget what else you want to print, you may be able to extract your print without damage, but that’s still going to knock your bed out of true and require another leveling.

The extra-grippy bed theoretically helps, but if you’re using filaments that need an exacting surface to get the first layer right, you are out of luck getting that to work without a LOT of trial and error. At least the print calibration process is fairly simple – you just need to adjust the thumb nuts on the four corners of the printing bed until you can comfortably slide a piece of paper underneath the nozzle with little resistance.

Another failing to look out for is the hot end temperature probe farting out on you after about twelve hours of printing. This takes away your ability to control the temperature optimal for whatever filament you’re using, and with such temperature issues on both ends of the printing process, this is a vital component to stay accurate and working. You do get a spare temperature probe in the kit, but there’s no evidence that the spare is any better than the original, so anything that involves heat level manipulation – aka the whole point of 3D printing – is a game of chance after a full day’s worth of work.

Trial runs of the straight-out-of-box assembly of the Tarantula did not go well without multiple adjustments to pretty much every physical aspect of the process. Even with constant vigilance, the prints come out average at best. And this assumes that you’ve managed to assemble everything perfectly – no knock on your building skills, just an uphill battle in general on this machine. You may not realize something went wonky until you try to use it and something jams or falls apart. The layer lines to display an ability to get to the detail level of the promised 50-micron layer height.

And if you’re really determined to work with the Tarantula, there’s a large, active membership online that shows you how to modify the basic kit so you can make it do at least an approximation of what you want. You can find plans for a cooling fan and a spool holder (both super helpful to the point of necessity in our experience), and you can find out the best assembly process that lets you throw out the confusing instructions.

TEVO Tarantula Final Verdict

In conclusion, the Tarantula is not an especially impressive unit. As a kit, its assembly instructions and additional parts leave a lot to be desired; the directions can be confusing for anyone but definitely for 3D printer users who are not used to assembling their units before use, and 3D printers as products need such specific parts that if one in the kit doesn’t work, it’s not easy to improvise without compromising your ultimate product’s quality.

At this price point, TEVO is selling these printers as great for beginners, but the intricacy of assembling the kit may be frustrating enough to discourage casual users in another direction. Yet the results are not nearly enough to entice those who may have the assembling knowledge to get it built but are looking to get into a higher standard of 3D printing, so the audience for the Tarantula is unclear.

If you can get past the frustration of assembly, the Tarantula is merely serviceable when it comes time to actually printing anything in 3D. Because you assemble it yourself, it’s hard to build to professional quality unless you have professional tools, at which point your skill level is probably beyond what this printer can give you, making it not worth your time. Bottom line: you can do better, even at this low price.

Recommended Reads

Tronxy X3 3D Printer Review [2021]

Tronxy X3 3D Printer Review

In 3D printing, there are low-cost printers and then there is the Tronxy X3. It is inexpensive, open-frame, and fun to use. It is one of the largest printers you can get for the price, which makes it tough to beat.

The

Is the Tronxy X3 Worth it?
If you are comfortable with the DIY build, the Tronxy X3 is one of the MOST reliable kits on the market for 3D printing. Best of all, the print time estimator is ACTUALLY ACCURATE. Among the best values under $300.
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is another classic kit 3D printer, which comes fully unassembled. You can expect set up to take around 10 – 12 hours if all goes smoothly.

Of course, depending on your technical skills this can swing one way or other. If you are new to kit 3D printers be sure to use the internet for help when you get stuck. More than likely someone else has run into the same issue and many online communities are ready to help.

This is a printer where the grass is greener on the other side. Right out of the box, the Tronxy X3 is not as good as other top-rated 3D Printers. But with some minor adjustments and changes, it will be creating masterpieces for you. So be warned if you are new to 3D printing. You will learn a lot with building and calibrating this machine but with a little time and patience, you will be able to get it just right.

Once you have the Tronxy X3 built you will find it has a lot of awesome features. It creates a fairly high-quality print and is consistent with its quality. There is a large community online that is willing to help and provide tips and tricks. Overall, this 3D printer pleases most who use it. Let’s check out some of the finer details.

Cores Features of Tronxy X3 3D Printer

Is the Tronxy X3 Worth it?
If you are comfortable with the DIY build, the Tronxy X3 is one of the MOST reliable kits on the market for 3D printing. Best of all, the print time estimator is ACTUALLY ACCURATE. Among the best values under $300.
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  • All Metal Design: An aluminum frame give it an industrial polished look. All metal pulleys improve performance and allow the machine to operate smoothly. Stainless steel rods, gears, bearings, and connectors. All of this makes for a sturdy build and a 3D printer that looks and feels like it will stand the test of time. It seems to be a much sturdier machine than the similar Anet A8.
  • Compact Design: The total footprint for this machine is only 19.2″ x 12″ x 7.8″, and it weighs less than 20 lbs. The lightweight and aluminum design make this 3D printer easy to move between workspaces. Whether it’s a new spot in the office or bedroom, you can rest assured the printer will move easily and stay intact when you pick it up all without taking up much space in your area.
  • Large Print Bed: A fairly large print bed is a big draw for many people to this printer. It allows you to create most objects that you would want to print on a desktop machine. You can create multiple small pieces in batches or a large functional prototype. As mentioned previously, this is one of the larger build volumes you will find at this price point.
  • LCD Screen: Makes printing off an SD Card a breeze as all print functionality can be configured through the screen. You can easily adjust settings and manage your printer without the need of an external computer.

Key Specifications

Here are the key specs of the Tronxy X3 3D printer:

Build Area 8.7″ x 8.7″ x 11.8″
Print Speed 150 mm/s
Filament Types ABS, PLA, Wood, Nylon, PVA, HIPS and more
Layer Resolution 50 – 100 microns
Extruders 1
Nozzle Diameter 0.4 mm
Open/Closed System Open
Warranty None
Our Score 8.3/10
Price
Is the Tronxy X3 Worth it?
If you are comfortable with the DIY build, the Tronxy X3 is one of the MOST reliable kits on the market for 3D printing. Best of all, the print time estimator is ACTUALLY ACCURATE. Among the best values under $300.
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Pros of the Tronxy X3

Here are some of the aspects I really enjoy about the Tronxy X3.

  • Supports multiple filament types: All metal, hot-end temperature: 170-275 C, Heated aluminum bed only thing missing is an enclosure, which can be easily purchased or printed.
    Upgrades: as most popular 3D kit printers, the X3 has a large following online. You are able to find many tips and upgrades from people with the same printer. One that seems to be a fan favorite is printing legs for the 3D printer to rest on. This frees up space under the printer. You can store the electronic housing box or even extra filament spools under your 3D printer and not use any more desk space.
  • Price: You will find the Tronxy X3 3D printer DIY full kitsfor right around $250 with that pricing varying depending on where you are purchasing the 3D printer from. It is currently listed on Amazon for $255 and can be found around that price on most other sites. Always be sure to make sure you are purchasing from a reputable seller to ensure better service and products. Tronxy X3 3D printer DIY full kits
  • Auto-leveling bed: While this does take a minor upgrade it is worth the cheap buck to improve your 3D printer. The auto-leveling feature makes it so you no longer need to fiddle with tiny screws between prints trying to get the bed perfect. Let a couple of sensors do the work for you.

Cons of the Tronxy X3

We don’t love it all, so here are the things that get to users of the Tronxy X3 the most.

  • Timely setup: Takes time to properly calibrate – As you should expect from budget 3D printers, they are not perfect. One of the most reported flaws is the time to get the machine fully dialed in. Due to the bed having a bad wobble you will need to spend some extra time getting it properly calibrated. Of course, the plus side to this is a few cheap improvements will drastically improve the performance of the machine and stabilize the bed. Many of these improvements can be printed from your machine and models can be found online.
  • Limited connectivity options: Unfortunately, the TronxyX3 does not support WiFi connectivity. You are restricted to using a usb cable to connect it to an external machine or an SD card with your models preloaded onto it. This isn’t the end of the world it just limits some of your capabilities. You will need to be with, or close to, your 3D printer in order to begin printing and monitoring the process.

Final Take – A Decent 3D printer for a Specific Group of Users

The printer is by no means perfect. But with a little bit of work, you can take this from a so-so 3D printer to an awesome 3D printer. Which is why this is a great 3D printer for hobbyist and those that want to customize and mess around with the inner workings of their machine.

This is why the Tronxy X3 is a fairly popular desktop 3D printer. Most users are the creative hobbyist types and enjoy and hands-on task. If you fit into that category then this could be a great option for you.

However, this 3D printer is not meant for everyone. Many novice users and those wanting to use the Tronxy X3 for educational purposes are better off looking at pre-assembled 3D printers. If you are looking for an easy to use, plug-and-play type printer then you will need to be willing to spend a little more and look elsewhere.

Is the Tronxy X3 Worth it?
If you are comfortable with the DIY build, the Tronxy X3 is one of the MOST reliable kits on the market for 3D printing. Best of all, the print time estimator is ACTUALLY ACCURATE. Among the best values under $300.
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Further Read

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 Printer is 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.

Dremel Digilab 3D20 3D Printer | Amazon
$667.17

Quickly and easily make your 1st print out of the box with completely pre-assembled printer, included 0.5 kilogram spool of filament and clear setup instructions. Countless hours of high quality printing with the most reliable low-cost 3D printer.

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06/19/2021 08:39 am GMT

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.

Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D Printer
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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.

Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer | Matter Hackers

The latest and greatest new 3D printer from the geniuses at Dremel, the DigiLab 3D45 is a workhorse that's perfect for household projects, education, or use in a print farm. An all-metal hotend, a heated bed, and a super quick and easy set-up through the powerful touchscreen make this the most capable Dremel printer yet!

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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.

Recommended Reads

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

Best Dual Extruder 3D Printers [2021] Dual Extrusion Printers

Best Dual Extruder 3D Printers

Everyone knows two is better than one. The same can said for 3D printing when referring to the number of extruders on the machine.

It used to be that Dual extruders were a very rare sighting. However, as the 3D printing industry continues to grow, we are seeing more and more manufacturers release dual extruder models.

Dual extruders open a lot more opportunities that a single extruder printer doesn’t offer. It enables users to print twice as fast, work on multiple models at the same time, use different colors and materials. Some setups will even blend two filaments (multiple filaments) for you.

Just as other 3D printers go, there are a lot of dual extruder models available. It can make you go crazy trying to research them all and decipher the differences.

Lucky for you we have gone through the dual extruder 3D printers and broken down the highlights of some of the most popular models, some of our favorites, and some you may not have heard of before.

Hopefully, this list simplifies your life a little bit and come ultimately help you begin 3D printing with not one, but two extruders.

Our Picks for the Best Dual Extruder 3D Printers in 2020:

1. Best Dual Extruder 3D Printer: BCN3D Sigmax R19

Our Pick
BCN3D Sigmax R19

It's like watching a symphony. Completely open source and designed in an academic lab, the BCN3D is the BEST fully enclosed dual extruder printer for consistent, quality 3D prints. The touchscreen display and heated print bed is well worth the higher ending pricing.

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The first dual extruder 3d printer on our list is the BCN3D Sigmax. What makes this one unique is it was developed as a project at BarcelonaTech University in Spain. The company has continued to produce more models of 3D printers. The Sigmax is completely open source.

Every bit of the printer is available for free online if you are interested in learning about the nitty-gritty or if you’re interested in designing your own professional 3D printer and need some inspiration

The BCN3D Sigmax features an independent dual extruder setup with a much larger build area than smaller Sigma 3D printer from BCN3D. This model is a high-end printer that is ideal for professionals. The Sigmax packs a professional, sleek design with its partially enclosed metal frame, heated bed, and touchscreen display.

The two extruders are separated and move independently from each other. This system lets you 3D print two objects simultaneously. This can be two of the same objects or two different 3d object items.

Either way, it will increase your productivity and cut back your total build time. While it is pricey, if you can justify the cost or need a new tool in your office, this is a great choice.

Where to Buy the BCN3D Sigmax? Pick this one up at the dedicated MatterHackers page here.

Layer Resolution 50 microns
Build Area 16.5″ x 11.7″ 8.3″
Filament Dia. (Nozzle) 3 mm
Filament Type PLA filament, ABS, Nylon, TPU, and more
Connectivity USB, SD

2. CEL RoboxDual

CEL Robox Dual-Material 3D Printer | Amazon

Tech Specs Features: Fully assembled Safety enclosure, interchangeable print head, heated/tapless build plate, fully automatic material recognition and third party filament compatibility.

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A British company, CEL, is taking a stab at the 3D printing market with a futuristic line of 3D printers, the Robox series. Let’s take a look at the RoboxDual dual extruder printer model, which as you guessed is the dual extruder model.

The Robox 3D printer comes with several advanced features. The innovative extruders utilize an advanced filament system. This ensures the right amount of filament is fed through the hotend at the right speed. This ultimately reduces jams. As well, the valve system provides smoother cutoffs and less oozing of filament from the extruder.

Finally, the Robox has a filament detection system. In other words, the machine quickly identifies any filament that is loaded into the extruders and automatically adjusts the temperature settings to match the type of filament material.

A major limitation is due to the dual extruders. What does that mean?

Well, the Robox is not capable of printing multiple objects at once or even using two different filaments or colors. The second extruder is used exclusive for support and fill material on the models. Essentially these means better print quality vs faster print speed.

While this is not how we typically see two extruders used, it does mean much faster printing with the Robox. As well, the build area is rather small, which just about eliminates the possibility for any large prints. Either way, it is a great 3D printer if it fits your needs.

Where to Buy the CEL Robox Dual? Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Layer Resolution 20 microns
Build Area 210 x 150 x 100 mm
Filament Dia. (Nozzle)  1.75 mm
Filament Type  ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, CO-PET
Connectivity  USB, SD Card

3. Flashforge Creator Pro

FlashForge Creator Pro | 3D Printers Online

FlashForge Creator Pro makes some of the best printers for beginners that you can buy. For the moderate price tag, you’re getting a workhorse of a 3D printer.

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Here we have the dinosaur of 3D printers, Flashforge Creator Pro. One of the classic 3D printers as it is one of the most popular 3D printers every year and seems that it has been around since the beginning of time. But it is missing some of the high-end features we see in newer 3D printers.

Flashforge created a masterpiece with this dual extruder 3D printer that users absolutely love. It is a MakerBot Replicator clone and performs just as well in either a home use or industrial 3D printer setting. The online following is cult-like for the Creator Pro. The price is reasonable, and the printer comes ready to go once unboxed.

It is fully enclosed with the top and front panels being removable for easy access to finished prints. The software is somewhat limited, but the LCD screen makes operating the machine a breeze. A heated aluminum bed enables you to print with more filaments and handles ABS very well. The all-metal design makes it strong and sturdy throughout the printing process, which minimizes movement and minor misprints that some other machines experience.

If you ever run into any headaches just look towards the online community. There’s a great chance you’re not the first to encounter your problem, and everyone is willing to help out.

Where to Buy the Flashfroge Creator Pro? Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Layer Resolution 100 microns
Build Area 8.9″ x 5.8″ x 5.9″
Filament Dia. (Nozzle) 1.75 mm
Filament Type PLA, ABS, PVA, Flexible, and more
Connectivity USB, SD

4. Qidi Tech X-Pro

QIDI TECH X-Pro 3D Printer X-Pro | Amazon

Useful for consumers and schools, easy to set up and use, does not require a lot of maintenance, and has reasonably good print quality.

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The X-Pro is almost identical to the Flashforge Creator Pro as both machines are mirror images of a MakerBot dual extruder 3D printer machine. They are open source 3D printers, and it is common practice in the industry to base your model off a previously successful one. The metal and plastic frame allow the X-Pro to be sturdy while also save some manufacturing costs, which results in a cheaper price offered to consumers.

Ease of use is the name of the game with the X-Pro. The removable print bed makes getting to your objects as easy as can be. The touchscreen LCD display makes operations and setup faster than many knobs controlled LCD display. Overall, setup is very straightforward, and you can be printing in just a few minutes.

tA great little feature is the machine will pick up right where it left off if you ever experience a power outage will printing. This is another high quality, workhorse 3D printer that is based off some of the best and most reliable machines in the industry.

Where to Buy the Qidi Tech X-Pro? Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Layer Resolution 100 microns
Build Area 9.1″ x 5.9″ 5.9″
Filament Dia. 1.75 mm
Filament Type PLA, ABS
Connectivity WiFi, USB, SD

5. Raise3D Pro2

I Personally Prefer the Raise3D Pro2 | Matter Hackers

Better reliablity and consistency make the Raise3D Pro2 stand out as the clear choice here for me. Yes, it's a bit more expensive, but you will ultimately save more money and minimize wasted effort over the lifetime of this printer.

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One of the newest 3D printers on this list, the Raise3D Pro2 was released in early 2018. The Pro2 is the successor series of the extremely popular and loved N2 series. Year after year we constantly saw the N2 3D printers at the top of every “Best of” lists. Now, the Raise3D hopes the Pro2 will do the same.

Right off the bat, the design of the Pro2 is stunning. It looks futuristic and professional, but not intimidating to a new user. The 7″ touch screen display makes using the printer easy and entertaining as you maneuver through the various menus and settings.

The Pro2 is designed for “functional manufacturing” or the ability to quickly and efficiently produced engineer-grade prototypes (rapid prototyping) and production parts. It has a large enough build volume to satisfy many of your design needs. Also, it can print very fine layers (layer thickness) to give you the best quality prints around. While it only has one print head, this contains two nozzles, which allows for very fast switching between each.

The Pro2 also comes with a built-in camera for print monitoring, a HEPA filter, and removable print bed all to benefit the user and make operating the 3D printer as easy as possible. This is one of the newest and surely one of the best 3D printers on the list.

Where to Buy the Raise3D Pro2? The Raise3D Pro2 typically retails between $4,000 – 5,000, but check this listing here at MatterHackers for the latest.

Layer Resolution 10 microns
Build Area 12″ x 12″ x 11.8″
Print Speed 150 mm/s
Filament Dia. 1.75 mm
Filament Type PLA. ABS, PP, HIPS, PETG, Glass, Metal, Wood
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB, LAN

6. Raise3D Pro2 Plus

Raise3D Pro2 Plus 3D Printer | Matter Hackers

Second generation power loss resume - don't lose a print when you lose power.

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Of course, we couldn’t mention the Pro2 without mentioning the big brother, Pro2 Plus. Very similar to the smaller version, the Pro2 but bigger. Much bigger. This is one of the tallest available desktop 3D printers you can buy. It sits at the top of the large format 3D printers category and has an almost 2 foot tall build area for extra build volume.

You can easily create full scale prototypes or any large 3D model you have been waiting to bring to life with the Pro2 Plus dual extruder.

An enclosed body with a heated aluminum bed and high temperature dual extruder means you can use just about any type of filament you want with the Pro2 Plus. It is very similar to the Pro2 and has most of the same features as the smaller model. If you need to create large objects requiring extra build volume and want the best of the best, this is the 3D printer for you.

Where to Buy the Raise3D Pro2 Plus? The Raise3D Pro2 Plus costs around $5.999. Check out the latest prices on MatterHackers here.

Layer Resolution  10 microns
Build Area 12″ x 12″ x 23.8″
Print Speed  150 mm/s
Filament Dia.  1.75 mm
Filament Type  PLA. ABS, PP, HIPS, PETG, Glass, Metal, Wood
Connectivity  Wi-Fi, USB, LAN

7. Sindoh 3DWOX 2X

Sindoh - 3D2XQ 3D Printer | Amazon
$2,999.00

3DWOX 2X has 2 Extruders that move independently achieving the highest efficiency possible.​ Open Source Filament Mode is available letting users to explore new printing possibilities. 

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06/19/2021 01:59 pm GMT

The second version of the 3DWOX from Sindoh is an under-the-radar gem of a 3D printer. The Sindoh 3DWOX 2X maintains the ease-of-use functionality as the previous version and improves from there.

It features a removable build plate, which is held in place with magnets. This allows for a more stable surface for printing and easier leveling. As well the 2X version is equipped with an air filtration system, and of course the dual extruders.

A fully enclosed 3D printer not only maintains temperatures, but also vastly reduces the noise level while the printer is operating. What could be a forward-looking feature as voice controlled technology is rapidly increasing in popularity, the 3DWOX 2X talks to you.

While it can’t understand commands yet, it will give status updates and troubleshooting help through its voice. While this is just speculation, voice-controlled 3D printers may not be far off from commercial availability.

Where to Buy the Sindoh 3DWOX 2X? Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

Layer Resolution  50 microns
Build Area 8.9″ x 7.9″ x 11.8″
Filament Dia.  1.75 mm
Filament Type PLA, ABS, PETG, PVA
Connectivity WiFi, USB

8. XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo

XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo 3D Printer | B&H

Print in two colors of ABS up to a maximum build volume of 5.9 x 7.8 x 7.8" with the blue da Vinci 2.0 Duo 3D Printer from XYZprinting. Create detailed objects in resolutions as fine as 100 microns.

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XYZprinting is spearheading the beginner and educational market with their 3D printers. The da Vinci 2.0 Duo is no different. It is a quality 3D printer with limited software. It’s print results are pretty impressive and it is an easy to use printer. It has a fully enclosed design, which reduces operating noise, makes the machine safer to use, and maintains a consistent print environment.

A significant limitation of this printer is it requires proprietary filament. This filament is typically more expensive than third-party filaments. Also, XYZprinting does not offer a wide range of colors or options for filaments.

Limitations aside, it is still a great 3D printer. It is a cheap option for a dual extruder 3D printer that is pretty much ready to print once you remove it from the packaging.

Where to Buy XYZprinting da Vinci 2.0 Duo? Check out the latest prices on BHP here.

Layer Resolution 100 microns
Build Area 5.9″ x 7.9″ x 7.9″
Filament Dia. 1.75 mm
Filament Type XYZprinting only
Connectivity USB

9. Maker Farm Pegasus 12″

The Maker Farm Pegasus is a kit 3D printer that is available in 3 different sizes with the 12″ model being the largest. Maker Farm is an American based company and offers all of their kit 3D printers with an aluminum frame and multiple hot end options.

Kit 3D printers are a great option for those on a tight budget looking for a few extra features. But as implied, they are unassembled and will require some work after unboxing before the 3D printer is up and running.

The heated bed, hot end options, and open filament system mean this printer will use just about every type of filament to fit your needs. This one of the largest print beds you can get for under $800. It has an impressive print quality and can be used as a true workhorse 3D printer.

It is very consistent and will produce the same results time and time again. While it is not the most user-friendly 3D printer, users with a little more experience in 3D printing should not have any issues.

Layer Resolution 50 microns
Build Area 11.5″ x 12″ 13.5″
Filament Dia. 1.75 mm
Filament Type PLA, ABS, HIPS, NYLON, and more
Connectivity USB, SD

10. Leapfrog Creatr HS

 leapfrog creatr hs 3d printer

Leapfrog, a Dutch manufacturer that is well known for its educational toys and technology products is making a splash in the 3D printing industry. Their latest 3D printer, the Leapfrog Creatr HS, the successor to the very popular Leapfrog Creatr.

While very similar to the previous model the Creatr HS does excel in some areas where the previous model was lacking. It is still an all-metal build, but the Creatr HS comes with the dual extruders and a knob-controlled LCD screen.

The quality of prints (print quality) is just about the same, but this model prints much faster and can reach speeds up to 300 mm/s. This sure is a high-speed printer as the name suggests. A slightly larger print bed, which is heated, gives you a little more room to operate.

Some other features of the Creatr HS that has users excited about is it is completely prebuilt and ready to use right out of the box. Some users have gotten the machine up and printing within 30 minutes of unboxing. Just like many other Leapfrog products, the Creatr HS is a great educational 3D printer. Some home printers may look elsewhere, but if you want to bring a 3D printer into a classroom, this is a great option to consider.

Layer Resolution  
Build Area 290 x 270 x 180 mm
Print Speed 300 mm/s
Filament Dia. 1.75 mm
Filament Type ABS, PLA, HIPS, PET, Nylon, and more

Final Thoughts on Dual Extrusion 3D Printers

That wraps us up for this. Dual extruder 3D printers are cutting-edge technology that really add a whole new layer to 3D printing. The ten printers listed above are all great machines that have received rave reviews from their users. You will not be disappointed picking any of them. So stop waiting, go get a dual extruder 3D printer and let your creativity flow.

Further Reads

Monoprice Maker Architect 3D Printer Review [2021]: Good Budget Pick?

Monoprice has made a name for themselves in the 3D printing world by finding their own niche within the industry. They often reproduce open-source systems and sell them for a fraction of the cost of the real 3D printer. With the low price though, you often still get top-notch quality, at least for some of their models.

Monoprice Maker Architect is a “workhorse” for a fraction of the cost. We put workhorse in quotes as this model has been the middle of a lot of controversies. Some users report amazing reviews of an awesome machine for dirt cheap, while others report a machine that barely stands on its own. It had all the promise of being a break-through.

Unfortunately, cutting costs in this situation did not work out. One of the biggest sales of the Maker architect is it is modeled after the Flash Forge Pro and MakerBot Replicator, which each run well over $1,500. You could find the Maker Architect for about $300.

Of course, this is a budget 3D printer, so it does have its limitations. It does not have a heated bed, nor is there an auto-leveling feature. You can upgrade it, but Monoprice no longer supports this machine, so you are on your own with this. But, if you can get past the limitations, this is a decent 3D printer for very few dollars.

Core Features of the Monoprice Maker Architect:

  • Wooden Frame: Put the Monoprice Maker Architect right next to the MakerBot Replicator, and you will have a hard time saying which is which. The Maker Architect uses an extremely similar wooden mostly enclosed design. The top of the machine is open where the wiring and cable run. Other than that, the walls are clear plastic windows framed by thin wood walls. I do really like the design, even if it is borrowed from another printer.
  • FlashForge Mighty Board: As I previously mentioned, Monoprice is known for using open source 3D printers as the basis for their models. They took it as far as installing the FlashForge Mighty Board in the Maker Architect. This is the main control board for 3D printers. So you were essentially getting a FlashForge 3D printer brain inside of a MakerBot Replicator frame. Find one online where they sell for under $300, that’s a steal.

Key Specifications

Here are the key specs of the Monoprice Maker Architect 3D printer:

Build Area 8.9″ x 5.7″ x 5.9″
Filament Types PLA
Extruders 1
Nozzle Diameter 0.4 mm
Open/Closed System Open
Warranty None
Price Discontinued

Pros:

Some of the “nice to have things” on the Monoprice Maker 3D Printer:

  • Upgradable (somewhat): depending on who you talk to you will get different results when it comes to successfully upgrading the Maker Architect 3D printer. Some users have reported not being able to upgrade their machines at all. While others have upgraded it without any issues, however, if you can upgrade, they are awesome. You can get yourself a heated build plate to be print with more filaments. Also, you can set up the Maker Architect with dual extruders. Multiple filaments, colors, prints, and quicker printing is always a good thing.
  • Price: Monoprice’s claim to fame is using open-source designs and finding ways to cut costs, which trickles down to the consumer. They have created some amazing, high-performing 3D printers for a fraction of the cost of the original. The Maker Architect is no different. You can save yourself about $1,000 by going with Monoprice. If you just need a cheap addition to your collection or need to get into the game without breaking the bank, the Monoprice Maker 3D Printer is a great option for that. Monoprice Maker 3D Printer

Cons:

Some of “not so nice to have things” with the Monoprice Maker Architect:

  • Unheated build plate: This means limited choices with a filament. It is mostly suited for printing with PLA, but there are a few other filaments you can use as well.
  • Limited connectivity: You can use either a USB connection or print files stored on an SD card, but there is no WiFi capability. Well, this isn’t terrible, it does take away some functionality and you will need to have a computer nearby if that is how you plan to transfer models to the printer.
  • Discontinued: Unfortunately, the Monoprice website no longer provides support for this 3D printer, so buyer beware. You can still find it on Amazon and a few other sites, but you will have to dig through websites and forums for any troubleshooting help. If you enjoy a tough problem and are good at finding solutions, then this shouldn’t be an issue for you.

Final Take: A controversial 3D Printer that is Best Left in the Past

When Monoprice supported the Maker Architect, it was a great 3D printer. It is a duplicate of one of the best workhorse 3D printers we have ever seen. It was very similar to its popular open-source, still manufactured, models it is based off. With many similar parts and components, the Monoprice machine ran almost identical to its counterparts. As well Monoprice is known for making high quality, budget-friendly 3D printers. But there is a reason the company decided to stop supporting the Maker Architect.

There have been too many issues surrounding this 3D printer to advise anyone to pursue it. From miss-marketing of an upgradeable machine to failing parts, it is not worth the headaches. There are a lot of other duplicates that perform just as well and even better than the Maker Architect, and their respective companies still support them. Don’t let this one scare you from Monoprice. They are still a great and reliable 3D printer company and offer many other great machines.

Further Read

Anycubic i3 Mega Review: Is It Worth Buying in 2021?

The first step in your 3D printing journey is finding the right unit. There are a ton out there, but don’t worry, we’re here to help you sort through all the hype and find the best equipment for your needs.

Anycubic has been making 3D printers since 2015. It’s based in Shenzhen, in the province of Guangdong, China. Its i3 Mega is part of its growing line of 3D printers designed for non-industrial users. You can order it from any of their 20 warehouses in Europe, Australia, or the United States, and when you join their website as a member, you get new member discounts you can apply to future purchases.

They started manufacturing the i3 Mega in 2018, and it’s since grabbed “best 3D printer under $400” across a variety of technology review blogs.

Now that your curiosity is piqued, we’ll give you the bottom line: the i3 Mega is a great printer for desktop users. It gives you a lot of awesome for your buck. Let’s get into the specifics of how.

Why go with the Anycubic i3 Mega? | Anycubic

Compact, affordable and reliable, the i3 Mega represents one of the best VALUE picks of the 3D printers we've tested. It's flexible enough for most small projects, while being popular enough to be well supported and resourced.

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Technical Specifications (and Why They Matter)

Measurements and other tech specs sound boring when you read them straight off a list, but they’re crucial. A 3D printer’s specs will dictate the space, time, and money you need to sink into making your imagination come to life. So here’s why the Anycubic i3 Mega will help you realize those dreams:

Size

The printer itself is 405mm tall by 410mm wide by 453mm deep, or about 16 inches by 16 inches by 18 inches, and weighs in at about 11kg, or 24 ¼ pounds. This makes it an ideal size for desktop storage and use.

Print size maxes out at 210mm by 210mm by 205mm, or about 8 ¼ inches by 8 ¼ inches by 8 inches. Not the largest finished products in the world, but definitely a good fit for action figures, jewelry, or parts to snap together as a whole.

Construction

The printer’s frame is sheet metal, which gives it the needed rigidity for frequent use. This won’t crack or warp on you after six months of cranking out your new line of plastic space army men or interchangeable watch straps.

Its printing bed is made of a patented composite from Anycube that heats quickly and evenly during printing and cools fast so you are able to snap off your product with no issues when you’re done.

This does come semi-constructed, which means you will need to put together its frame and printing bed with eight screws and three wires (provided in the shipment) before your first print. Keep that in mind, and make sure you have a few basic tools on hand.

Temperature

The ambient operating temperature is between 8 and 40 degrees Centigrade, which is about 46 degrees to 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The maximum temperature for the extruder when it’s operating is 260 degrees Centigrade, or 500 degrees Fahrenheit, and the maximum temperature during operation for the printer bed is 110 degrees Centigrade, or 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

These temperatures are ideal for standard printing filaments such as PLA or ABS but may not reach a maximum needed for more specialized materials.

Printing

The layer resolution of this printer is 0.05 – 0.3 mm, which gives you an idea of the level of detail you can get. Layer resolution is the thickness of each layer the printer builds while constructing your product.

The thinner that each layer is, the more detail the final product will have, because variations of the levels is what builds the features of your printed object. The i3 Mega’s range is well below the standard size of 0.4mm, so you’ll get crazy good details even if you choose the thickest setting.

The positioning accuracy of the nozzle is 0.0125mm on the x and y axes, which are the up and down  and side to side parts of your design, and 0.002mm on the z axis, which represents the depth of your project.

The nozzle takes either 0.4mm or 1.75mm filaments, which means it takes either of the standard sizes. Its travel speed tops out at 100mm per second, and its print speed ranges from 20 – 100 mm per second. The recommended speed is 60 mm per second for optimal work.

The printing uses fused deposition modeling. This is the standard way that filaments are fused together in the printing process, so if you are familiar with 3D printing at all, you will be familiar with this printer’s process.

Electrical

The working voltage, or how much voltage is safe to pass through the wires during operating, is 12V DC. Its input rating is 110V/220V AC, 50/60HZ.

Software. This printer uses Cura for its slicer software, which is the program that translates your design into layers for the printer. Any 3D drafting program that produces .STL, .OBJ, .DAE, or .AMF is compatible for input, and the software output format is GCode. The company recommends an SD card for connectivity. Using a USB port is possible but recommended for experts only.

Why go with the Anycubic i3 Mega? | Anycubic

Compact, affordable and reliable, the i3 Mega represents one of the best VALUE picks of the 3D printers we've tested. It's flexible enough for most small projects, while being popular enough to be well supported and resourced.

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The Good

We’ll mention the best thing first: the price. You can find the Anycubic i3 Mega for under $300 dollars at a variety of reputable sellers, and that makes it one of the best desktop 3D printing deals out there. You can get a further deal if you’ve never bought from this company before.

Buying through their website as a registered first-time customer lowers the purchase price to $239. (That doesn’t include shipping costs, but since they have warehouses in twenty countries including the United States, you shouldn’t see more added on than you would buying from a US-based supplier.)

Both the slicer AND the output software is free and open source, which means a wide range of accessibility and customizable options. That keeps your operating costs low and your software easy to find. (That also means it doesn’t have regular bug fixing upgrades, though, so make sure you see examples before you use any specific modulations.)

The filament detection and resume functions work together to give you better control of the printing process. Filament detection lets you know when you are running low on a filament, and with the resume process, you can pause your job to reload the filament and then continue printing without a hitch.

And of course the resume function is great for all kinds of other reasons as well. The company’s site advertises it as a guard against power outages, which is great for unexpected interruptions, but you can also use it deliberately to better plan your printing around your life.

If you have to go to work or school or somewhere else in the middle of a process that produces a lot of heat and moving parts, and you don’t want to accidentally burn down your house or office, you can pause it and start right back up as soon as you get back. It’s a great convenience and safety feature rolled into one.

As a side note, you can put both of these functions to creative use by switching filament colors or types when the previous filament runs out. This is a great way to work around the single-nozzle extruder limits without having to buy a more expensive dual extruder model.

The printer’s TFT (thin-screen transistor) touch screen is easy to use and labeled intuitively. Its buttons are big enough for comfortable manipulation, and are a bright blue that stands out well against the white background without searing your retinas. The commands are simple and take you through your processes step by step without making you backtrack or circle around.

The nozzle is a “hot end” with straight through design, which means that the temperature stays consistently hot enough for the filament to flow through easily, for easier cleanup and less of a chance for the nozzle to clog while in use.

Anycubic packs this printer with a number of thoughtful accessories. Along with spare parts, you get miniature tools such as tweezers meant to ease not only the setup process but also your continuous use.

A nice touch is a pair of plastic gloves for you to use while assembling to keep the surfaces clean and the joints free of debris that comes from working on small-scale mechanics. It’s a small thing, but it makes a big difference, and it adds to the credibility of the i3 Mega as a great starter printer by providing things you may not know you need yet if you’re just starting out.

And above and beyond the basics, Anycubic gives you two significant goodies: a spare hotend assembly and a full spool of 1.75mm filament. Both of these extras are a major bargain to get free within this printer’s price range. (Beware that the quality of filament seems to vary across different shipments, however.)

Assembly consists of bolting the frame to the rest of the printer. That’s it. All bolts (plus spares!) included, as is a tiny Phillip’s head screwdriver that you may ignore for your own or use with confidence, depending on your own tool situation.

Earlier in 2018, Anycubic put out another version of this printer with an upgraded printer bed. Called the Ultrabase, it has a texture coating on the Borosilicate glass bed. This lets your designs stick to the bed without needing any outside adhesives, and its 7 Mohl’s hardness rating means you can clean it with blades without worrying about scratching it up.

The Bad

This company does not offer warranties. That is super crucial to keep in mind if you don’t have access to a way to fix things when they break, or new parts if those take a dive.

And contacting Anycubic for customer support may be tricky because of their international base, so make sure to have all your information on hand when getting in touch with them about a problem so you can get everything settled at once.

This is a single-extruder printer, so you won’t be able to combine colors or types of filaments in your creations. This may also affect the creation of scaffolding for protruding bits of your prints; if you are planning on printing a lot of overhang, you may want to consider another printer that has dual extruders, or at least another model that has a bigger printer base.

With this printer, you will be limited to the type of printing filament you can use. It can handle PLA, ABS, HIP, and wood composite. This is a great selection for the majority of 3D printing, especially for those just learning about the process, but keep this in mind if you are planning on printing with other types of filaments. Also consider if you’ll be able to vent any heat or material fumes from your work area.

Its layer resolution range means great detail work – but it also means a slower print time for things that don’t have variations in their surfaces. However, the convenient size of this printer and the ability to go into a markedly thinner layer resolution than is common more than makes up for any lag in printing time.

Overall Take: Anycubic i3 Mega Review

The Anycubic i3 Mega is an excellent introduction to 3D printing. Its ease of use, quality construction, and thoughtful details are perfect for those who want to get into this type of DIY but don’t have the cash or extensive know-how to make other models work.

Its use of open source software connects it to a wonderful source of knowledge – fellow 3D printing geeks! – that will keep its workings fresh without the bother and expense of proprietary software updates.

Although the size may be a limiting factor for more projects of more industrial dimensions, it goes beyond the basics for personal and beginner to intermediate needs. And the Ultra Base gives you the perfect balance between adhesive during printing and easy to pull away once cooled.

Bottom Line: highly recommended for anyone who needs a reliable desktop model or is looking to upgrade from a less reliable experience. Pick it up directly from Anycubic right here.

Why go with the Anycubic i3 Mega? | Anycubic

Compact, affordable and reliable, the i3 Mega represents one of the best VALUE picks of the 3D printers we've tested. It's flexible enough for most small projects, while being popular enough to be well supported and resourced.

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Further Reading:

A Guide to the Top 20 3D Printed Gift Ideas for a Any Season

The stress of shopping for gifts can really take the fun out of the holidays. You hate the crowds and the cut-throat capitalism that starts way before Black Friday, and you’re trying to think of something more personal (and easier!) to give the people you love.

No worries – your 3D printer is here to help. With hardware becoming more accessible and affordable every year, hobbyists and professionals alike offer an explosion of DIY ideas for all the folks on your list, as homemade as the macaroni portraits still hanging on your mom’s fridge and as useful as her favorite coffee mug. Here’s our handy guide to get your ideas flowing.

1. Jewelry

You don’t have to know anything about carats to give jewelry for the holidays. 3D printers are great for small individual items such as rings, earrings, bracelets, etc. Plus it lets you think outside the Tiffany’s box to make something that’s completely personalized – not just by engravings, either.

If it’s a shape that can be worn and material that can be melted into a filament, you can print it. Check out Cult’s pattern archives to get you started.

2. Containers (including for food)

Depending on where you are in life, containers are either the most boring OR the most useful thing on the planet. But 3D printers will make everyone on your list excited to get new ways to store their stuff. You can go as minimal or elaborate as you want, which is a running theme in this list.

Hollow boxes are some of the easiest ways to get started with 3D printing: the plans are basic, the shapes are in line, and several types of filaments are rated safe enough to use as food storage. (Double check which ones before you buy!)

Already over plain ol’ cubes? Just like with anything you can 3D print, you can add as much elaboration as your CAD can handle. Raised monograms in the font of your choice, motifs from favorite fandoms, handles and locks – get some great ideas here.

3. Phone stands/accessories

As phones have grown more elaborate, they’ve also grown more indispensable. And expensive. Now we can’t imagine how to live without them, or how to replace them when they break. That’s where your 3D printing skills save the day.

Your abilities to produce stands that fit the exact dimensions of your loved one’s phone, or a cover that hides the exact spot they cracked the screen last month, will earn you respect that will last well beyond the holiday season. Bonus points if you throw in a bag of rice (just in case).

4. Picture frames

For those on your list who insist that technology will never take the place of good old-fashion human connection, show them extra love with a frame built (or at least designed) with your own two hands. Sneak in a photo that reminds them of their favorite times, or an original piece of art they can admire wherever they choose.

They’ll think of you much more often than if they had to buy their own frames, and you can take the opportunity to personalize their view even more. Practical AND touching! Learn how with a few designs here.

5. Figurines

If you’ve had your 3D printer for any length of time, you’ve stumbled across some dedicated fans of all kinds showing off their plastic menagerie building skills. Why not harness their passions for your own gift-giving prowess? 3D printers are great for figurines and other character-based collectables.

You can replace someone’s long-lost favorite statuette, or replicate one they’ve never been able to quite get their hands on, or create an entirely new version of beloved character. There may be a learning curve for getting the details just right, but lean on the work of others if you’re unsure where to get started or where you’ve gone wrong. Learn how to get started here.

6. Customized puzzles

If you’ve given up finding jigsaw puzzles that can last more than ten minutes against your world-champion family get-togethers, or if you like the challenge but hate the pictures you find in stores, make your own! 3D printing means 3D pieces, and printing your own means embellishing however you want.

Copy something from the internet like these, or make your holiday gatherings a test of wits personalized for the intellects that will be gathered together. Plus, printing your own means you can make a gift you know will be just the right amount of pieces for whoever you give it to.

7. Pens (printed BY 3D and also 3D printing pens)

Good ink pens are one of the finer things in life and an excellent gift for someone you’d like to honor but don’t know well. Unfortunately, impressing someone like this gets expensive, especially when you get into the realm of personalizing.

With a 3D printer and an ink cartridge fit for your specifications, you can make a pen with more personal attention and way less cost. If you really want to get fancy but stay on theme, there are also 3D printing pens, which are handheld, freeform 3D printers that you wield like a drawing utensil to print out whatever your imagination commands! Here’s a few to get you started.

8. Utensils

You won’t be able to replace Grandma’s fine china with a 3D printer (yet), but you can help out the campers and new parents in your life. The internet is full of blueprints for big, simple eating utensils that have safer and more rugged shapes than traditional tableware.

Pair those with food-safe filament types, and you’ve got a way for outdoorsy folks to carry specialty items they wouldn’t otherwise want to get dirty. Add on bright colors and you’ll save new parents the headaches of looking for baby-safe pointy things that will stand out in the dishwasher and drawer alike.

9. Everyday fixes

If you’ve got someone on your list who says they don’t want anything, respect that. But don’t despair. You’ve got a great multipurpose tool at your disposal with a 3D printer, so ask if they have anything that needs fixing and offer your help.

You’ll both be surprised how much you can repair with a 3D printer and Google: everything from replacement cup handles to mechanical limbs have instructions somewhere out there. Don’t be afraid to share your maker abilities to make the world a better place for your loved ones!

10. Buttons/pins/patches

3D printing is all about marrying the practical with the fantastic. Harness that duality to help your gift list wear their fixes on their sleeves. An exact match for a button that went missing on a favorite coat would make a great present to show your attention to the details of someone’s life; 3D printed pins with favorite
symbols or slogans will make a receiver feel understood. You can print anyone’s point of view for them to proudly display.

11. Ornaments

If you’re in a festive mood this year, check out patterns for 3D printed ornaments. These make great early gifts for those you’ll see before all the official holiday hoopla gets started, or for those on your list who love decorations they can re-use every year. 3D printing materials are sturdier than traditional materials like tinsel and glass, so you’ll be able to give the gift of celebration for years to come.

12. Specialized grooming equipment

Bodies are weird, and so are the ways we keep them in tip-top shape. Take advantage of how customizable your 3D printing is and put it to work on a mustache comb, backscratcher – anything that helps the receiver take care of themselves exactly the way they want. Make sure you won’t get any weird looks when they open it; other than that, go nuts!

13. Placemats

At a certain stage of life, everyone realizes they need placemats without knowing the least bit how to decide on what kind. Take the guesswork away for new homeowners, newlyweds, new grads, or new parents (or old parents with a new table) by printing a set for them.

Another easy shape to design, 3D printed placemats also have the advantage of being easy to clean on the spot without having to get to a washing machine. The small but present porousness of the weave lets the mats breathe and drain of moisture while catching spills before they hit the table. They may not sound glamorous, but the right person will love you for them.

14.Hobby accessories (loom frames, knitting needles, easels)

Getting a new hobby usually means spending more than just time, so help someone discover a new passion this holiday by printing accessories that match their interests.

Plans for weaving looms, knitting needles, art easels, paint trays – anything above a certain level of precision will help them hone their skills without getting in the way of their developing style. This is one present that’s better to spoiler alert ahead of time so you can get the specifics from the source and make sure you’re not guessing at their needs.

15. Pet accessories (Scratching post for cat, chew toy for dogs, play tubes for small rodents)

Our animal babies deserve love too, and it’s easy to give it to them with your 3D printer. Use tough filaments with some give for felines who need a place to scratch their claws, and use a tight weave for canines who see the world as their chew toy.

Assess the level of playful destruction you’re willing to put up with and
that will be safe for your buddy’s play style, and print your best playtime ever! And don’t leave the more unconventional pets out of the fun, either. 3D printing makes for great rodent runs, crates, snake basking rocks, and bird perches.

16. Car accessories (floor mats, mini trash can, custom license plate frame)

When you can’t afford to imitate those yearly car commercials with big bows on a new Lexus, treat your friends and family to things that make their current wheels better.

3D printed car floor mats have the same advantages of place mats: easier cleanup, more solid construction, slower wear for something that’s
constantly under foot. Mini trashcans are a great thing to have sprinkled throughout a vehicle, and a homemade one will avoid the “I bought this because you’re a slob” vibe of something mass-produced.

Anyone proud of their school, sorority, state, pet charity, anything that says “them” will love the street-legal customization of a personalized license plate frame that fits their car and their life perfectly.

17. Key hook/keychain

The best gift I ever got was the last ten minutes back from my morning routine. I got them back in the form of a key hook hung right next to the door, where I can know they’re hanging for me to scoop up on my way out without having to dig through the seven million other places they could have been before.

Give someone on your list the same peace of mind by printing them a place to keep their going-out necessities where they don’t have to think twice about it. And if you’re feeling extra helpful, printing a matching key chain will keep their keys noticeable as they move through the rest of their day too.

18. Building blocks

If the star baby of the family has already been showered with everything their parents could think of, give them a simple yet effective playtime set of building blocks. Like puzzles and figurines, these blocks can be as elaborate or as simple as you feel is best.

You can round the edges for someone prone to teething, you can recreate parts of a castle for an aspiring dragon-slayer, you can build words and letters into the side for preschool readiness – whatever works! And best of all, you can replace anything that gets broken, lost, or just plain disappears without worrying about finding another exact match or buying a whole new set.

19. Tea pot

Cold weather always brings the tea people out of the woodwork, and if you have anyone like that you need a gift for, 3D printing a teapot would be perfect. It’s the pinnacle of the practical/thoughtful combination that makes the best presents, while being general enough for several different types of use if you’re not 100% sure which one the recipient likes best. If you don’t feel like you’re up to designing your own, the internet has you covered.

20. Bobby pins/hair pins

Anyone who uses these can always use more, especially if you round off the ends of yours for more comfortable wear than traditional straight-edged hairpins. Find a pattern that matches what your recipient wears, then print as many as you can.

This is great for college friends while you’re still in school, or for anyone, you know who is living in a dorm or bathroom-sharing situation. Couple them with a matching container and they’ll appreciate them even more.

These are just a few ways you can use your 3D printer to work for you this gift-giving season. Check out our project files for more ideas, and happy printing!