Comprehensive Buying Guide for 3D Printers

by norwegianprototypes

Are you planning to purchase a 3D Printer? With the right printer, you can print out models of your musical instruments, toys, and even custom phone case. In fact, you have unlimited options for what you can do with your printer. Nowadays, there are various types of 3D printers on the market with different features and specifications. They are also available for different applications. The following are some of the things to look for when choosing 3D printers for your projects.

Type of 3D Printer

3D printing is a collection of manufacturing techniques for producing physical parts. The most popular type is the Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). Ideally, this is an additive process that creates prototypes and parts by heating and extruding plastics and piecing them layer by layer. These types of 3D printers are widely available and cheaper.

Other types of 3D printing are Selective Laser Sintering and Stereolithography. These manufacturing techniques are more expensive than FDM. Stereolithography is an additive process that uses a UV light beam to harden models. As a result, you can have a high-quality print. On the other hand, SLS involves the use of powders and lasers rather than liquids and UV light beams. With this method, you can manufacture metal objects that are impossible with FDM and stereolithography.


One of the things to consider when considering choosing a 3D printer is the market price. You need to determine how much is a 3d printer that suits your project. Ideally, the prices are dependent on the quality of output. High-quality printers are quite expensive and are suitable for professional and industrial applications. However, if you are getting into 3D printing, you should begin with simple models.

The heavy competition and popularity of 3D printers have resulted in the reduction of prices of printers. However, some printers produce low-quality prints. Remember that you will need to purchase materials for printing separately.

Materials Used

The common materials used in 3D printing include ABS and PLA. These are thermoplastics that become malleable and soft when heated.

PLA is obtained from corn starch and is perfect for beginners. It is also great for making simple items such as toys and household products. The good thing about this material is that it is environmentally friendly and biodegradable. It cools quickly and prevents issues with model warping. The material is available both in translucent colors and provides a glossy appearance.

However, with its low melting point, some of the products deform because of the high temperatures of the print head. Also, you will find it difficult to work with if you need interlocking parts and joints.

ABS is sourced from petroleum, and it is widely used because of its excellent flexibility and strength. The flexibility makes manufacturing interlocking parts easier. Moreover, its high melting point means that your creations are not likely to deform under intense heat. However, it has its share of disadvantages. For instance, it takes longer to cool, and parts made of this material warp easily. The fact that 3D printing involving this material generates fumes, the process must be carried out in a well-ventilated material.

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