After almost 2 years of having my first 3d printer, I recently remembered how much worried I was related to what printer to buy, because as you might know, there are A LOT of them and in a crazy variety of price ranges. So if you are interested in buying a 3d printer and don’t know what to buy or what to look for, this post is for you.
For starters, I would recommend a printer in between the 250 – 400 dollars price range, in this range we are looking for a decent print surface (above 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″), an all-metal frame or enclosed, and a heatbed. This will guarantee you a lot of fun and a great investment. 3D Printers in this range are: Creality Ender 3 [$229], Creality Ender 3 Pro [$259], Creality CR 10 [$399], and Monoprice Voxel [$359]. We’ll be looking at why I picked this 3d printer and what makes them great for beginners.
Things to look for in a 3d printer
Look for a Heated Bed
For your first 3d printer, I’ll always recommend you to look for a 3d printer with a heated bed, as a minimum. The reason why is that by having a heated bed there are more chances to have a machine capable of printing several materials such as PETG, Wood PLA, and ABS.
As a beginner, you’ll be only printing with PLA, but as times goes on, and you acquire more experience and knowledge is good to have the flexibility to print with other materials, to utilize their unique characteristics. As well by having a heatbed we ensure that the 3d printer has a decent print surface, which will allow you to print a lot of cool things from Thingiverse and also your own creations.
All Metal Frame or Enclosed
This will ensure that your printer is sturdy and has a lot of rigidity since 3d printers are a mix between a dynamic system and a static system if the static is not able to reduce or cancel the vibrations produced by the constant change in acceleration of the nuzzle and heat block, that will create what are called “artifacts” which are details that affect print quality.
So by having a decent frame or an enclosed print volume you’ll be able to guarantee a decent print quality in the majority of your prints.
Great Community or User Group
This one is a major one because by having a large community you also have a huge amount of support, upgrade, tweaks so that you could take out the best out of your 3D printer, and most likely it will take you a couple of months to know your 3d printer, so if you have any doubt you could rely on the community for answers and further help and advisory.
Verify that the community is active and how much time it usually takes users to respond to a comment or post, a community with a base of 10k+ users is a decent community.
The Printers we recommend
Creality Ender 3 and Ender 3 Pro
The Creality Ender 3 has been a dominant 3d printer in the market, due to its low price and excellent results providing owners with a huge value. The Creality Ender 3 came after their big brother’s success CR 10 and CR 10S to provide a great quality 3d printer in smaller format but at a pretty good price.
At $229 the Ender 3, is providing you with an 8 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ x 10″ print volume, with a heated bed, capable of printing different materials such as PLA, ABS, and PETG. At a size of 8.7″ x 8.7″ x 9.8″ and 15.43 lbs, it offers a small format with tons of potential.
With a community of about 40k users, and an activity of around 10 posts per day. [Link to the user Group Here]
Differences between the Ender 3 and the Ender 3 Pro
The Ender 3 Pro is currently at sale at $259 (list price $299), and for 30$ dollars difference it offers you:
- A new mechanical design which makes it more stable.
- Upgraded power supply for more control and security during long prints.
- Magnetic build surface for a more comfortable print removal.
- Aluminum extruder.
Which for me seems like an awesome value at $259, so if you’re able to purchase it at this price, it would be a steal.
You could see a more in-depth comparison between the two so that you could pick the one that suits more your needs. Video Credits to user Nexi Tech, which has a ton of awesome content related to 3d printers and upgrades. [Link to his YouTube channel]
Creality CR 10
The Creality CR 10 has been one of the most popular entry-level 3d printer, with a number of 100k+ units sold since its inception in 2017. And that’s due to the fact that it cost $399 and it offers a 12″ x 12″ x 15 1/2″ print volume, yeah that’s A LOT of space to print. It also has a great heated bed and that’s important due to its big print surface, it requires a great print bed to heat it up evenly and correctly.
Also provides a great all-metal frame, to provide great rigidity to the system and securing quality prints. It’s also capable of printing with several materials such as PLA, ABS, and PETG.
And finally, it has a community of around 60k users only in Facebook, it also has a Reddit community with a total of 8.3k members, it has one of the biggest communities among 3d printers and it such a cool User Group, it really feels like a family. [Link to each community respectedly]
A CR 10 Review, by the user 3D Printing Nerd, Joel is well-experienced user in topics related to 3d printing. In this video, he’ll be showcasing his thoughts around the CR 10 3d printer. [Link to his YouTube channel]
Monoprice has been getting more popular throughout the years, and along the way, it has been able to self-correct and improve their products, so that they could provide good quality products at a competitive price. And we are able to appreciate that with this new 3d printer named Voxel at a $359 price.
The Voxel 3d Printer counts with a smaller print surface than the rest of the list with a print volume of 6″ x 6″ x 6″, but it offers an enclosed frame which is perfect to conserve heat and ensure great print quality. It also has a heated bed, and it’s capable of printing several materials such as PLA, ABS, and PETG.
Another downside that it has compared to the previously mentioned it’s its community, with a very small user group.
A product review of the Voxel 3d Printer, by user 3D Printing Professor, he also has a vast experience with 3d printers and 3d printing in general, and in this video, he’ll be sharing his thoughts on the Monoprice Voxel.
To wrap up this post, just wanted to make sure that you know what are some important features to look when buying a 3d printer, now there are definitely a lot of other parameters to take into consideration, but I personally found these ones to be the most important ones.
2 years ago I was super confused and overwhelmed by the amount options available, and which one to pick, so my best advice to you is to pick the one you like and feel more comfortable with, don’t let reviewers, comments or any other content change what you really like. In the end, we’ll never know which one was the better option for you, but you can definitely make any the best option.
Hope this was helpful. See you in the next post.