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3D Printers

 

3D Printers

M2


The M2, Ohio-based Makergear is a professional–level 3D printer praised for its all-round solid engineering. The M2 has a build area of 254 x 202 x 203 mm, and a minimum layer height of 20 microns. It is a standard FDM printer best suited for ABS and PLA which comes pre-assembled having a wealth of upgrades and potential tweaks that allows it to become your perfect 3D printer. For example, it has option for onboard controls, a dual extruder and interchangeable nozzles.
It’s not recommended to get started with, it is pretty noisy and not the best choice if this is your first 3D printer. It has a basic design but this simplicity acts as a strength since it an be used year after year. Once you have the M2 calibrated, it produces consistent high quality prints at a fast speed. As it’s an open platform, you are free to use the software of your choice, such as the popular Simplify3D. It’s a clear winner for the 3D printing enthusiast.

The LulzBot Mini


The LulzBot is known for its simplicity and reliability – you can just plug it in and get started. Its auto-leveling bed, all-metal hot end and self-cleaning nozzle make the LulzBot effortless to use. It also has a strong community of users behind it for technical support.
When compared to the Ultimaker 2, precision is lacking at a minimum layer height of 50 microns. It is significantly smaller with a build area of 152 x 152 x 158 mm. As an FDM 3D printer, ongoing costs are low. It can print at temperatures up to 300 degrees Celsius, and the included Cura LulzBot Edition software is super easy to understand and use.
So what’s not to like? The LulzBot Mini is a bit noisier, unlike many printers it requires a constant connection to a computer while prints are being completed. Otherwise, it’s a highly recommended choice for beginners in 3D printing.

Monoprice Select Mini


The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer is by far the best 3D printer on the list as an introductory unit. The Monoprice offers not only an economical 3D Printer consumer option, but comes packed with everything you’d expect from other high-end models.
The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer supports all filament types. Its heated build plate with varying temperatures allows it to work with basic filaments such as ABS and PLA, as well as more complex materials such as wood and metal composites. The 3D Printer comes assembled straight out of the box with full calibration and includes a sample PLA filament and Micro SD card with preinstalled models, so you can begin printing immediately. It comes with a one-year warranty.

Formlabs Form 2


At the other end of the scale is the professional desktop resin printer for intermediate or pro users, and the Formlabs Form 2 is a top choice for this segment. A new peel feature and heated tank increase print consistency. A touchscreen display and wireless controls make manipulation, easier and an automatic resin system keeps things cleaner with less mess.
Build volume is slightly bigger, at 145 x 145 x 175 mm. Layer height remains at 25 microns. SLA resin printing still remains much slower and more expensive than FDM, so take that into account if you’re planning on choosing a Form 2 because you want to increase your print runs. It may be better to use a Form 2 to build an excellent master and use other methods such as injection molding or resin casting to make hundreds of copies.
Consider the Formlabs Form 2 if you value a larger size, high quality resin printer with additional wireless controls that will make your life easier on a day-to-day basis.

Replicator 2


MakerBot have released a slew of 3D printers, and the fourth-generation Replicator 2 continues to be one of their most successful models. With a more industrial look (steel chassis and LCD screen), the Replicator 2 would fit perfectly in a home garage. It’s a larger printer than most, too, with an excellent build volume of 285 x 153 x 155 mm – just make sure you have room for it.
This FDM 3D printer supports printing from SD card and predominantly prints on PLA. It’s an extra-durable machine; unlike some of the flimsy 3D printers on the market, the Replicator 2 is known for its reliability and build quality. It’s precise, easy to use and has good software.
On the down side, there’s no heated platform and it’s a noisy model. It’s also pricey and is best suited for intermediate users who want a machine that will go the distance.

FlashForge Creator Pro


The FlashForge Creator Pro is a fantastic value for anyone looking to get into the 3D printing world without spending a small fortune. Often described as the “absolute best value for the money,” the plug ‘n’ play setup is just one of the many reasons why this FlashForge appears on this list. A build area of 225 x 145 x 150 millimeters that can be used with ABS, PLA and exotic materials allows for a minimum layer height of just 100 microns. Offered with dual extruders, the FlashForge is ready to print a wide range of experimental materials. There’s plenty of availability for spare parts and maintenance is fairly straightforward.
There are some reviews that highlight noise as a notable con, and many reviews recommend using open source software for printing over the included FlashForge software. And at 24.25 pounds, you’ll want to create some space for it in the house or in an office before it arrives.

Monoprice 13860


If you’re just getting your feet wet in the 3D printing world, then the Monoprice 13860 Maker Selected 3D Printer V2 is a great option to consider. While more experienced 3D printers are kit-based that require a certain level of knowledge and experience, the Maker Select assembles with just 6 screws. The included 2GB micro SD card offers preloaded 3D printable models that you can attempt with the sample PLA filament also included out of the box. And once that runs out, what you want to use is up to you, as the Maker Select can print with any type of 3D filament.
The large 8 x 8-inch build plate and 7-inch vertical spacing offer additional space for printing larger, more complex models than most beginner 3D printers. The heated build-plate allows for highly-reliable printing utilized alongside compatible professional and open-source software that works with Windows, MacOS, and Linux. Online reviews highlight the easily sourced replacement parts if they cannot be 3D printed, as well as numerous upgrades you can make for more professional and complex prints.

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