If we don’t know which 3D printer to choose, we are in the right guide: here we will show you how 3D printers work and which models to choose from those on the market, so as to focus on less expensive models (for home use and fun) or on mid-range models. -high (for work or for the need for reconstruction of parts and spare parts).
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How to choose a 3D printer
The operation of a 3D printer it’s not as complex as you might think. Let’s find out in this guide how 3D printing works and where we can buy 3D printer models that can also be used in the home.
3D printers: how they work
While with a classic printer ahead sprays ink on the sheet to reproduce the shapes and letters of the instructions given (when we press the Print button on Word for example), with a 3D printer there is a head that “sprays” rapidly cooling plastic material in the desired shapes and sizes, drawing the object layer by layer: starting from the bottom, then proceeding floor by floor (each floor can be very few nanometers thick) and so on up to the head of the object, concluding the work; the latter can either be hollow inside (in this case the 3D printer has drawn only the edges) or filled with plastic material (consistent objects).
To print in 3D, a three-dimensional model of the desired object is required, which can be created using the special programs supplied with the 3D printers or by creating a graphic project with AutoCAD and using the 3D printer to actually reproduce it (even if in scale). The material used such as “ink” in 3D printers is usually ABS, a plastic-type substance that is easy to model and relatively inexpensive, but many other types of plastic materials can be used (even if they are not suitable for domestic use given the very high cost). Other substances used successfully on 3D printers are polylactic acid (PLA), acrylic, soluble materials (HIPS), and flexible filament (TPU).
What can we print
What you can do with a 3D printer is fabricate a drawn object or clone an existing object. If you break something that is no longer for sale, for example, you can print it new like when you make copies of keys; if you buy something online, instead of shipping the item, you can receive the model and use the 3D printer to make it at home. Of course, this is the theoretical future, more or less distant depending on the production costs of these 3D printers, also because theoretically there are no limits to what can be done: custom-made furniture for the home, spare parts for household appliances, tools, screwdrivers and so on. Those who read this article with pessimism can search on Google “custom 3D printed products” and find out how many things have already been done, including weapons.
If we don’t know where to start, we can very well visit one of the sites that offer freely downloadable 3D models (in STL format, the most used for 3D printer projects). A list of interesting sites can be found below:
Best 3D Printers
At the moment, the purchase of a 3D printer is practically within everyone’s reach, since prices have fallen quickly in recent years thanks to the widespread diffusion of technology. Below we have listed some of the best 3D printers you can buy on Amazon and are suitable for home use. Although many machines use beginner modes and predefined models to print and modify, this equipment is mainly dedicated to architects and engineers, therefore to people able to use complex vector graphics or 3D graphics programs.
The cheapest 3D printer we can view is the ELEGOO 3D LCD printer, available on Amazon for less than € 200.
On this 3D printer, we find a 3.5 “Smart Touch Color screen, Offline 3D Printing system, Print size 11.56cm (L) x 6.5cm (W) x 15cm (H), XY resolution of 0.047 mm, software dedicated and integrated photo-curing system.
If we are looking for a mid-range model also suitable for professional use, we invite you to take a look at the ANYCUBIC 3D printer, available on Amazon for less than 500 €.
With this 3D printer, we will get a 3.5-inch Touchscreen Display, 210 x 210 x 205mm printing size, laser engraving system, Ultrabase printing plate, and automatic modeling system on multi-material (TPU PLA).
If we are looking for a mid-range model to be used purely in the office or to make models, we recommend that you take a look at the FlashForge Adventurer 3, available on Amazon for less than 500 €.
On this cube-shaped 3D printer we find Wi-Fi and USB connectivity, Print Volume 150x150x150mm, LCD control monitor, remote control system via the cloud, internal camera to check the progress of printing even outside the home, and backup system online of uploaded and printed projects.
Are we looking for a professional printer suitable for all uses? In this case, we can view the printer BIBO 2 3D Printer, available on Amazon for less than 600 €.
This 3D printer has a touch screen, a control system via Wi-Fi (with remote controls and internal control camera), two extruders systems to print two objects at the same time or use both of them to speed up single printing and an automatic pause system. (at the end of the thread).
If, on the other hand, we want to focus on a top of the range of the category, we recommend that you take into consideration the Dremel 3D40 FLEX, available on Amazon for less than € 1100.
With this printer, we will have a touch display and detailed self-description software, a complete kit to start printing immediately (white PLA 3D filament, USB cable, 2 glue sticks, USB key, power cable, spatula), print resolution 340-50 microns, FDM printing technology, semi-automatic leveling and Wi-Fi connection for remote control.
The 3D printer has taken on an increasingly important role in architecture, engineering, and even among mechanics and modeling enthusiasts, who can recreate spare parts and new pieces for their jobs using one of the printers seen above. Obviously, in the home environment, such a printer will hardly be used often, but it can be a good pastime to create models, creatures, and famous characters from comics, video games, or cartoons.
If, on the other hand, we are looking for an answer to the age-old problem of traditional printers (those on paper), we invite you to read our guide Guide to buying a printer: laser or ink?.
Do we want a very fast classic printer? In this case, we recommend that you read our article immediately What are the fastest printers.