3D printing is a process in which you can use a machine to create a three-dimensional object by adding material. 3D printing belongs to additive manufacturing. Built objects in small layers and the objects will be accumulated on top of each other one at once. The 3d printing process may be a little bit slow, but it does have many advantages. On the market, there are different 3d printers, which are suitable for professionals, educators, hobbyists, and etc. Here we have a 3D printer ultimate guide.
To solve this question, we researched the following parameters based on the user experience of various types of 3D printers: print quality, build quality, reliability, ease of use, print failure rate, community, running cost, software. 3D printers vary a lot from features and the amount they cost.
Printers consist of industrial and desktop printers. The industrial printers are applied to electronic engineering, automobile, Space Aerospace, national defense, medical treatments, and other areas. On industrial verticals, there is also a big demand for designing, prototyping, tooling, and etc. It has taken up the largest market share and is expected to occupy the market for a while in the future.
Compared with industry printers, desktop printers are easier for amateur and small companies to operate. This type of printers is starting to garner attraction indoor, especially from the household to domestic segments. Furthermore, desktop printers can be used for educational purpose. They have been introduced to the educational field, like institutes, schools, and universities. We can see 3d printing no matter in technical training or creative education for intensive research.
What does 3d printing mean to small business? As the market demand for creating manually and customize is growing, small business is offering a service, three dimensional of printing of parts & components.
Based on technologies, the 3d printing industry has been classified to stereolithography, such as polyjet, FDM, SLS, laser metal deposition, DMLS, inkjet, EBM, digital light processing, and laminated object manufacturing. Thereinto, the FDM currently accounts for the largest market share.
Easy operation of FDM is the important factor that influences the 3D printing technology to grow. Thanks to the ease of operation, FDM has an increased adoption in additive manufacturing. Industry experts use these technological advancements and intensive research to several other reliable technologies.
Besides FDM, DMLS, polyjet printing, and SLS also will account for a considerable share over the forecast period. These technologies have discovered applications in specialized additive manufacturing fields. In addition, demand keeps rising from the aerospace & defense, medical treatment, and automobile, which also lead these technologies to deployment
Based on applications, 3D Printing has been split into prototyping, tooling, and functional roles. Thanks to its high adoption of the prototyping process in several industry verticals, prototyping segment has taken up a very large market share.
Prototyping is used to develop components, complex systems, accurate elements, especially in automobile and aerospace sectors. This allows manufacturers to achieve higher accuracy and develop reliable end products that are highly recommended for safety. As a result, the sector is expected to continue to dominate the forecast period.
The functional parts of 3d printing are expected to enlarge at a 17.3% CAGR until 2025. The growing demand for 3D printers is also likely to promote the growth of the industry, no matter from designing to building functional parts. Small joints and other connecting metal components of equipment are included in functional parts.
Just like the existence of hundreds of 3d printer types, sizes, and prices, there are a lot of printing materials, on the market (filament for FDM machines). At present, two main materials are the ABS and PLA.
Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable plastic, which is stemmed from reproducible resources, such as Saccharum officinarum or cornstarch. As a result, the seal with it gives a semi-sweet smell. This is one of the simplest materials for printing while maintaining high strength. PLA can be "vicious", which makes it prone to clogging. Make sure you follow all the manufacturer's recommendations.
Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) is the constituent part of Lego brick. Brought from the coals, it is firm, and wear-resisting. It is not biodegradable, and printing with it can release an intensive "burning plastic" smell. Although this may be difficult to print with, it is still one of the most popular materials. It is necessary to prevent the heated bed from frequently warping and poor bed adhesion. Parts printed with ABS can be burnished and smooth with ease.
Both PLA and ABS can be available in different colors. PLA material has some translucent colors. FDM machines always use a plastic filament. Often provided on reels or spools of 500g (1.1 lbs) to 1kg (2.2 lbs).
Not sure which 3D printer is the most suitable for you? Here are some tips for you to choose a suitable printer.
Printer type: There are two main types of 3D printers: FDM (fused deposition modeling) and SLA (stereolithography). What is FDM Printer's work principle? It forms a model by melting the plastic filament in a moving nozzle head. SLA printers solidify the resin with UV laser and form a solid model using a laser. Generally speaking, FDM printers are cheaper and simpler to use, although SLA Printers, such as XYZ printing Nobel 1.0 (about $ 1000) and $ 1.295 Peopoly Moai, are reducing the difference in price.
Printing materials: After choosing the type of printer you use, you need also to pay attention to the printing material types. FDM printers use different types of filaments, like PLA (A biodegradable plastic material), ABS (a plastic material used in Lego Bricks), Nylon, TPE (a soft material), and HDPE (a tough polystyrene). In particular, PLA and ABS are available in a huge range of colors. These filaments have two sizes: 1.75 mm and 3 mm.
Print Size: All printers have limitations on the size of the 3D printing that they can generate. This limitation is determined by the size of the printing heated bed and how far the printer can move the print nozzle. This is usually measured in cubic inches, but you should also pay attention to the dimensions that determine the maximum size of the 3D print device can complete. For example, if a printer like the LulzBot Mini has a print capacity of 223 cubic inches (6.2 x 6 x 6 inches), that is to say, that it can print objects that are not bigger than 6 inches tall, wide and deep.
Speed and print quality: 3D printing is a slow process of manufacturing. Currently, there is no way to solve this issue. Based on the selected printing quality, printing a model between 3 and 4 inches will usually take 6 to 12 hours. This is because of 3D printing work principle: the print is built in layers. The thinner these layers, the slower the printing, but the higher the print quality, as the layers become more unapparent. Thus, there is a compromise between speed and quality.
The best printers will provide you several programs to select. Generally, there are two conditions: produce quickly but a low quality or produce slowly but high quality. The best printers offer a wide range of settings options, from slow (but high quality) to fast (but low quality).
Additive Manufacturing (AM) can be described like this: create 3d objects adding layer by layer of material. Depending on the various techniques, materials can be different, it can be plastic, liquid, powder or even paper. However, AM technology has some common features, make use of a computer in combination with certain 3D printing software. The first step is to make a CAD sketch. After this, the AM device reads data from the CAD file and builds a layer of the structure by a layer from the printing material.
3D Printing, Rapid Prototyping (RP), Layered Manufacturing, and Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM) belongs to Additive Manufacturing. Different 3D Printing methods have been developed to create 3D structures and objects. Among them, SLA, DLP, FDM, SLS, SLM, EBM, and LOM have been very popular.
Before intensive study 3D printing, here are some common terms you may meet while using 3D printers.
Filament — A material (often plastic) used by 3D printers to produce objects.
Extruder -- Printhead to melt filament.
Nozzle -- A small hole to extrude melted material (plastic)
Bed -- The surface where a 3D printed object is manufactured.
Heated Bed -- A heated print cover to offer to provide adhesion.
Stepper Motor -- A powerful motor used to move the printer head to complete precise printing.
G-code -- Instructions for a 3D printer to complete every movement and manufacture a 3D model.
Slicer -- A 3D printing software used to transform 3D models to G-code.
Axis -- Movement direction. A 3-axis device can move in XYZ (left to right, front to back, and up and down)
Finding the best 3D printer doesn't need to be difficult or expensive thanks to our guide to the best 3D printers on the market today. In this list, we provide clear and concise information on a wide range of 3D printers, helping you to choose the best 3D printer for your needs. Read on and select a suitable one for yourself.
1. Dobot Mooz
Dobot Mooz is an industrial grade transformable metallic 3D printer, which takes all-in-one design with interchangeable heads for 3D printing, laser engraving, and CNC carving. Dobot Mooz is very popular between educators and makers. No matter 3D printing beginners or professionals, you can use Mooz to find the fun that belongs to you. What makes Dobot Mooz so special? The industrial grade linear guideway, advanced stepper motor, and CNC-machined body keeps MOOZ stable and 0.02mm high precision.
Pros: Multifunctional 3D printer, precise print, easy to use, All-in-one device, laser engraving, CNC carving
Cons: A little bit noisy
2. MakerBot Replicator+
The MakerBot Replicator+ is an excellent promotion of the popular MakerBot Replicator. A new version has brought an overall improvement to nearly every part of the old version. Operation of the Replicator+ is faster and quieter while maintaining its excellent body design and safety features. This desktop 3D printer is not cheap, but it can offer excellent print quality. It adopted PLA filament 1.75mm. Don't worry that you can't handle it in a short time. Actually, it's user-friendly enough for even home users and hobbyists to use.
Pros: Print speed fast and user-friendly
3. Ultimaker 2+
The Ultimaker 2+ is one of the most suitable 3D printers for professional use. It's featured with high print quality. If you are looking for a reliable 3D printing device to manufacture many 3D models, then Ultimaker 2+ may be the best choice for you. It definitely can make a good impression on you thanks to its amazing accuracy. But it's not suitable for 3D printing beginners, due to its expensive price and complex operation approach. So, home users or hobbyists are better to leave and learn about others 3D printing device.
Pros: High accuracy and resolution
Cons: Experience and complicated to operate
4. LulzBot Mini
If you're planning to begin your 3D printing road, then as your first 3D printer, the LulzBot Mini is an excellent choice. It's suitable for entry-level 3D printing learners, due to its competitive price and simple manipulation. But its weak points are low print speed. LulzBot adopts an open source software, that is to say, that it lacks propitiatory hardware.
Pros: Easy to use and open source
Cons: Noisy and slow print speed
5. MOD-T by New Matter
MOD-T is the second generation of their low-end 3D printers manufactured by New Matter. Its design philosophy is that it can be used at home. The printer has an easy and user-friendly design. MOD-T can provide a layer thickness of 0.05mm with a printing volume of 150 x 100 x 125 mm. In addition to the abovementioned characters, MOD-T also has a filament detector and WiFi module.
Pros: Competitive price and easy to use, even for beginners
Cons: Slow print speed and noisy
Easy to use
3D printing/laser engraving/ CNC carving
Household & Professional
When you have owned your favorite 3D printer, do you know how to make a high-quality 3D printing objects?
Unskilled enthusiasts can choose to download an interesting and emotional G-code to add creativity to the interior decoration. Skilled enthusiasts (you can make 3D models yourself) can create a lot of original things, such as: like stars, movie characters, and cosplay can make the corresponding models, such as Lady Gaga, Justin Biber, Taylor Swift's villain model. Like Star Wars, you can make warships and print robots. You can also print your own logo on your own T-shirt.
High-end 3D printers can already print food (although the printed food is not yummy now), print auto parts and so on. Note that these high-end 3D printers cost far more than $3,000 and require skilled 3D printing experience, which is not suitable for most 3D print beginners.
For beginners, designers can choose Dobot Mooz, which is cost-effective, affordable, supports high-precision (industrial-grade) printing, and is easy to operate, allowing users to focus on design rather than printing steps. Three options are available to suit your 3D printing needs. Mooz is guaranteed. Chinese universities have a lot of trust in Mooz and teaching with Mooz. In addition, Mooz developers have a neural network research background and know how to make 3D printing function well.
3D printing status: a lot of technology, not uniform, has not yet formed a set of standards. Printing accuracy varies widely, from rough printing to industrial grade. Prices, especially price/performance ratios, also vary widely. Therefore, it is recommended to choose a cost-effective printer type. If you refer to the mini easy 3D printer, then choose Dobot, with laser engraving and CNC carving function. Food printing can be selected (example one), but the price will be higher than $3000, no engraving and laser functions. It is recommended that you choose according to your needs and the development of team capabilities.
As an emerging technology that subverts the traditional manufacturing model, 3D printing is based on a digital model, which enables a major shift in manufacturing from equal materials to material reduction to additive production, which can effectively reduce product development costs and shorten new product development cycles. It is expected that 3D printing will be vigorously applied to the development of large-scale equipment, material diversity, outer space, deep space, and etc.