Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide

Best cheap 3D printer: Buying Guide

In this article, we stileremo our ranking of the best cheap 3D printers. We will explain what are the 3D printers, how they work and how to choose. For our buyer’s guide, we have three choices, each with different needs and prices. For a quick comparison, you can find a comparison table of the best 3D printers below. If you are a neophyte, you’ll want to read the introduction and especially the section How to choose before jumping to the descriptions of the products chosen.

3D printers are devices that always arouse interest. Who has not dreamed of creating objects from scratch (or almost) to give away to your imagination? If a few decades ago it was a commercial tool that few could afford, in recent years the offer was very diverse, with very affordable prices and products of each band. By now, 3D printers are devices for everyone, no longer confined to the professional use. Indeed amateur use is becoming increasingly popular.

A premise is fundamental. Prices vary greatly and professional products you can get to spend over € 10,000. Here we will focus on the best 3D printers for hobby use, what we call economic 3D printers (it starts at just under 200 € to get up to 1000 €).

Best cheap 3D printers: comparative table

Flashforge Creator Pro 10745

Positioning precision nozzle axis Z

Positioning precision nozzle axis XY

45 x 44 x 44 cm (without coil)

Flashforge Creator Pro 10745

Positioning precision nozzle axis Z

Positioning precision nozzle axis XY

Positioning precision nozzle axis Z

Positioning precision nozzle axis XY

Positioning precision nozzle axis Z

Positioning precision nozzle axis XY

45 x 44 x 44 cm (without coil)

3D Printers: What They Are and How They Work

3D or three-dimensional printers are tools able to create three-dimensional physical objects from digital models predefined, adding layer after layer of the material chosen for implementation. The production process is defined as an additive for creating does not escape material object, but adds, thus reducing waste. It is a faster production of the subtractive and allows you to create various parts to be assembled later.

A 3D printer part from a 3D file, created through special specific software called CAD (Computer-Aided Design), then creating different layers in cross section to the completeness of the object. These digital models can be created from scratch or they can be copied using the 3D scanner (tools can scan real objects). Most of the best 3D printers are available and easily found online. Not to mention the many community of fans on the network.

What technology they use 3D printers?

3D printers can present different technologies. The most widely used among these is the FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) or FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication), through which the filament of material is unrolled from a reel on a floor where it solidifies extrusion waiting to receive the next layer. A suitable nozzle, able to move on the three axes YXZ, melts the filament and regulates the flow, layer after layer. There are also other types of less widely used, at least for non-industrial use, such as SLS (Selective Laser Sintering), which uses a laser to synthesize the powder materials.

Types of materials used

As already said, the most commonly used materials are in the form of thermoplastic filaments coils. These are mainly of two types, although there are other mixed. On the one hand, there are the filaments made of ABS, a plastic material, and therefore not biodegradable, rigid and very resistant product from a hydrocarbon (the same used for LEGO, the flute or hydraulic hoses, for instance). It is not suitable for contact with food and, unfortunately, it is harmful to health. In fact, it is advisable to print in a ventilated area. On the other hand, there are the filaments in PLA, natural material derived from the fermentation of corn, less resistant ABS but not harmful and suitable for contact with food.

What are 3D printers

We said that 3D printing is used to implement different physical objects from a digital file. But, in practical terms, what are the 3D printers and why should you buy one? 3D printers have different applications. Obviously, the major uses, for years, they are commercial ones in many areas: medical, aerospace, automotive, construction, furniture, accessories and jewelry, and even food and clothing. As mentioned, though, given the increasingly wide range and accessible, many are those who use 3D printing for home users.

You can create infinite objects. Toys, toy soldiers and various models. Stands and Cases for phones and tablets, key rings, pen holders, magazine racks, lamps, parts for any objects (eg buttons) and various accessories for the home, office or person. You can really indulge with ideas! And if you do not know where to start, you will easily find online courses, tips and projects. In the video below to print as many as 100 ideas in 3D.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GmfgTFrkefU

How to choose the best 3D printers

Factors to be considered during the purchase of a 3D printer are different. First, the search for the right product depends on the uses to which you want to make. If you want a 3D printed to realize your personal projects, useful items for the home and, why not, to have some fun ‘, the inexpensive printers (up to a maximum of 1000 €), they’re fine. If, however, you would like to produce items for sale to third parties, would instead be better to consider resolution tools and impeccable quality. Also, in this case, be sure that the projects you use are not protected by copyright.

Similarly, if you are a beginner, you should choose a product suitable for those who are beginners and choose something more complex and professional only later. There are also a variety of printer features to be tested: below you will find the main ones. Obviously, we must not overlook the presence of extra features (for example, the presence of the screen, the more nozzles, a scanner, a video camera etc.). Also, before purchasing remember to take a look at compatibility: software and supported files (STL, G-code, OBJ) and operating systems (Mac OX, Windows XP, etc.).

Print Volume

The print volume, measured in mm or cm (on XYZ axes), and the print area determine the size of the objects that we will create as well as the number of units achievable during a single print job. Usually the best economic FDM 3D printers with technology and designed for use hobby, allow the creation of small items and have a print volume of 200 x 200 x 200 mm. For medium to large-sized objects, we recommend the purchase of professional 3D printers, who may also use different technologies, with a greater outlay of course.

Accuracy and Resolution

The printing precision, which in turn is affected by the accuracy of positioning the nozzle and that establishes the resolution, it is essential to create quality products. The resolution will depend on the thickness of the layers. Most of these will be subtle, as the resolution is high. A 3D printer with FDM technology can usually get up to 100 microns minimum print layer height (ie the maximum precision printing).

Of course, 3D printers with low price range will never have the accuracy and finishing details of the more expensive printers. However, they do a great job, perfect for home / personal use that the naked eye can almost look the same as the patterns made with premium tools.

Print speed

The print speed, measured in millimeters per second, is an important factor to be taken into account when choosing the 3D printer. Here to do a major premise. The work of 3D printers, especially the economic ones, however, takes a long time, regardless of the quality of the result. It is often better to a printer that works slowly but with great precision, although this depends on the model and price. Who wants to undertake this type of activity will have to be patient, especially during the early stages. Usually, 3D printers that use the FDM technology have a speed from 40mm / s to 150mm / s, depending on the material used and the nature of the project.

Connectivity

Most 3D printers achieve printing by connecting to the computer via USB cable. Obviously you always need to use special software for printing. In addition, some of the best 3D printers are WiFi and can connect wirelessly to your PC or even smartphone (although here obviously the price ballooned). Some models may also have a slot for the SD card, so that it does not necessarily require connection to a computer during printing.

Best cheap 3D printers

Flashforge Creator Pro 10745

The best moment of the 3D printer is without doubt the FlashForge Creator Pro (model 10745). As a Chinese brand but very affirmed in 3D printing, no ranks among the cheapest, but it is definitely a good compromise between affordable and professional. Despite the price, in fact, the print quality and reliability is at the same level of more sophisticated instruments.

Excellent value for money for what it offers, FlashForge Creator Pro presents a dual nozzle, thus allowing the printing of two different materials that require different temperatures or of two different colors. The print precision is enviable (0.1-0.2 mm, 100-200 microns) with a maximum print layer of 0.5 (500 microns). Similarly, also the nozzle positioning accuracy is very high, especially in the Z axis (0.025 mm 0.011 mm against the XY axis). The result is a highly accurate product with finishing the last detail.

In terms of printing speed, it reaches about 40-200 mm / s. Unfortunately, it is a product from a small size, the print volume is not very high and it will be possible to create objects with a maximum size of about 230 x 145 x 150 mm. It is an ideal tool for the processing of ABS material, being a closed printer. Very handy to monitor the printing process the screen provided.

Among the few cons of our review FlashForge Creator Pro, we find the noise of the printer when in operation, the absence of wireless connectivity (includes SD slot and USB) and improved usability, especially for beginners. In fact, despite the printer pre-assembled arrivals, you will be needed for optimization and customization work, particularly with regard to the calibration of the printing table. Ultimately, the perfect printer with a few in, suitable for intermediate level or the beginner who is not afraid before the first difficulty. One of the best mid-priced 3D printers.

Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide

FlashForge 10745 3D Printer Creator Pro Printer Dual Extruder …

I3 Anycubic Mega

Among the best economic 3D printers with a good quality / price ratio, we can not talk about Anycubic i3 Mega. This 3D printer is the most sold on Amazon and is the ultimate choice for beginners. Good balance between quality and ease of use. The printer comes pre-assembled (extruder and base) and installation is quite simple and takes 30-60 minutes. The manual is in English though the material is available in Italian on the manufacturer’s website. In fact, it is a real kit you will find in the package several accessories including tools, gloves and even a filament winding PLA (color at random) to start immediately. We break a lance in favor for this product for the excellent customer support in case of questions or problems.

The cost is very low compared to FlashForge Creator Pro, but the print quality and reliability of the results are surprising. Equipped with a single nozzle has a 0.05 printing precision – or, 3 mm (minimum layer 50 microns, maximum layer 300 microns). The positioning accuracy amounted about 0.0125 mm and about 0.002 YX axis axis Z. As regards the volume of printing, it will be possible to realize projects of about 210 x 210 x 205 mm. The printing speed, however, is about 20-100 mm / s (the manufacturer suggests working at 60 mm / s).

It is, overall, a very versatile tool: it is, in fact compatible, along with filaments as PLA and ABS, also with wood filaments. Next to the touch sceen, has features often found in more expensive 3D printers, including the ability to continue printing in case of blackouts and a sensor that warns when the filament is about to end and pauses printing. Appreciated also very durable metal structure necessary, since it is an open 3D printer and, therefore, exposed to high temperatures. For this reason, we should be very careful when using it.

As the pattern seen before, even Anycubic i3 Mega does not have wireless connectivity (USB and SD card).

Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide

ANYCUBIC 3D Printer i3 Mega-D Printing size 210 x 210 x 205mm …

Geeetech Prusa I3 Pro B

In the category of better economic 3D printers, we offer Geeetech Prusa I3 Pro B, a model, also Chinese, that hits the spot in regard to the convenience factor. Thanks to its attractive price, it is a very common printer that has also earned the badge Amazon’s choice. For this reason, boasts of an excellent online support for problems, questions and projects. In addition, the same manufacturer support is excellent. It has also established a real community that, along with the characteristics of the product and low cost, makes it an excellent choice for this printer for those who want to experience 3D printing without spending big money. A sort of initiation product that offers good quality.

Despite the price, the material of construction presents excellent quality and very durable (the frame is in acrylic). As the pattern seen above, even Geeetech Prusa I3 Pro B is an open 3D printer that requires much attention and ventilation during the printing process. The assembly is definitely one of the less attractive. It requires some time and can be difficult for beginners, it is a DIY kit, not operational. You will need to carefully assemble the different parts and devote time to calibration. E ‘can still download an Italian manual on the manufacturer’s website.

Once installed, however, the quality of this 3D printer can offer is good and convincing. The print precision is of 0,1 – 0,3 mm, with a positioning accuracy of 0,1 – 0,3 mm (the specifications relating to the XY and Z axes are not available). Even the print speed, given the price tends to go down even if not directly specified by the manufacturer. In terms of print volume, enabling the construction projects of about 200 x 200 x 180 mm.

Overall, it is a valid 3D printer with a low-end quality and accuracy enviable even if, sometimes, problems occur with the calibration and the screws of the axes are not perfectly aligned. Problems that are still corrected by small tricks or complementary accessories.

Equipped with an LCD screen, it allows connection via USB or SD (no WiFi connectivity card).

Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide

Best 3D printers: the most sold

Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide
Best Cheap 3D Printer: Buying Guide

Best ABS filament for 3D Printers

Best filaments PLA 3D Printer