Best 3D Printers

Best 3D Printer Under $500:

The following are some of the most popular models available on the market today. These printers are affordable and have been designed with ease of use in mind. They all offer similar features such as heated build plate, hot end, filament spool holder, and other useful accessories. Some of these printers come with software pre-installed which makes it easier for users to get started quickly.

1. MakerBot Replicator 2 (Original)

MakerBot is known for its high quality products at reasonable prices. The company was founded in 2009 and has grown into one of the largest 3D printing companies in the world. Its original Replicator line of printers were created to provide rapid prototyping capabilities to hobbyists and professionals alike. Today, MakerBot continues to innovate and produce new products such as the Replicator 2X. The Replicator 2X is a higher-end model that includes many improvements over its predecessor.

2. Printrbot Simple Metal (Original)

Printrbot was founded in 2011 by three friends from MIT’s Media Lab. Their goal was simple; create a machine that could print objects out of plastic filament without support structures or supports. Like many 3D printer manufacturers, they started out on Kickstarter and have now grown to become the industry leader in affordable 3D printers. The Simple Metal (Original) is arguably the company’s best product. It is a small yet powerful 3D printer that can print objects as large as 4.5″ x 4.5″ x 6″.

3. Ultimaker Original

The Ultimaker is a high end 3D printer that has all the bells and whistles you would expect to see in an industrial grade machine. It has a sleek, modern design with an anodized aluminum frame. The machine comes fully assembled out of the box and is ready to print right out of the box. It is the perfect choice for users that need a reliable machine that just works.

4. Lulzbot Mini

Lulzbot is a company that was founded by a 21 year-old entrepreneur. The goal was to create an open source 3D printer that could be easily modified by users. Although the Lulzbot printers are easy to modify, many users choose to buy ready-to-print models because of their strong community support and reputation for reliability. The Lulzbot Mini is one of the best 3D printers on the market with high quality parts and great design.

5. Airwolf AW3DHD

The Airwolf AW3DHD is a large 3D printer that was designed for industrial use. It has a sturdy steel frame and a massive print bed. The machine can print large objects much faster than its smaller counterparts. Although the machine costs more than most hobbyist printers, it is still fairly affordable for small businesses and serious enthusiasts.

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6. The Zortrax M200

The Zortrax M200 is another 3D printer that was specifically designed for industrial use. It has a very sturdy design with an internal metal frame. In addition, all of the moving parts are especially hardened to improve durability. This model is definitely one of the best 3D printers for the money.

7. Da Vinci 1.0 Pro

The Da Vinci 1.0 Pro is a truly unique 3D printer that uses a completely new type of technology that was developed by the manufacturer, XYZprinting. The machine uses a process called Slurry Deposition Modeling (SDM for short). This technology allows the printer to achieve fine detailed prints that have a high resolution with a minimal amount of fuss. In addition, the printer is also outfitted with various safety features such as an enclosed build chamber and automatic bed leveling.

8. Lulzbot TAZ

The Lulzbot TAZ is another 3D printer manufactured by the company of the same name. The TAZ is designed to be a high-end, high-performance 3D printer. It uses the same open source hardware and software that is found in all of the company’s 3D printers. The TAZ also has an all-metal modular frame which improves its overall durability.

9. Rostock Max

The Rostock Max is one of the highest quality, yet cheapest 3D printers on the market. Like most repraps and other low-cost 3D printers, it uses repstrap technology. The Rostock Max is the largest model in the Rostock series and can print objects as large as 10 inches tall by 8 inches wide by 6 inches deep.

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10. CTC Mini

The CTC Mini is a 3D printer that uses DLP technology to print objects. The printer has an extremely small footprint and can print objects that are up to 5.5 inches tall by 5.5 inches wide by 4.75 inches deep.

The machine uses a proprietary filament that must be purchased from the manufacturer. The 3D printer is controlled by a series of software programs that are used to create and edit digital models.

Additional Facts and Other Interesting Information

You may not be familiar with this, but 3D printing is an extremely old technology. In fact, the first 3D printer was created in 1984. The machine was a massive, clunky device that took up an entire room. However, it was still considered to be one of the first working 3D printers ever built. In 2009, another type of 3D printer was introduced and began to quickly gain popularity among artists and engineers.

The printer is known as Stereolithography Apparatuses (SLA) and it uses a light source to cure a photopolymer layer by layer until a three dimensional object emerges. A company called 3D Systems was the first to develop and produce these printers on a large scale. Today, there are several other manufacturers that offer their own versions of this technology.

Digital designs are created through a process known as 3D modeling.

Sources & references used in this article:

Cost, sustainability and surface roughness quality–A comprehensive analysis of products made with personal 3D printers by Y Li, BS Linke, H Voet, B Falk, R Schmitt… – CIRP Journal of …, 2017 – Elsevier

Making the best of it? Exploring the realities of 3D printing in school by S Nemorin, N Selwyn – Research Papers in Education, 2017 – Taylor & Francis

Makers in the library: case studies of 3D printers and maker spaces in library settings by HM Moorefield-Lang – Library Hi Tech, 2014 – emerald.com

Thermoplastics: the best choice for 3D printing by F Fischer – White Paper, Stratasys Inc., Edn Prairie, MN, 2011 – smg3d.co.uk

Practical 3D printers: The science and art of 3D printing by B Evans – 2012 – books.google.com

Using 3D printers as weapons by M Yampolskiy, A Skjellum, M Kretzschmar… – International Journal of …, 2016 – Elsevier

Press Clause and 3D Printing by JL Tran – Nw. J. Tech. & Intell. Prop., 2016 – HeinOnline

Physical characterization and pre-assessment of recycled high-density polyethylene as 3D printing material by S Chong, GT Pan, M Khalid, TCK Yang… – Journal of Polymers and …, 2017 – Springer

The impact of manufacturing parameters on submicron particle emissions from a desktop 3D printer in the perspective of emission reduction by Y Deng, SJ Cao, A Chen, Y Guo – Building and Environment, 2016 – Elsevier