This post was written by Stuart Ting, owner of Infinity 3D Printing.
So for the past few years you have been hearing about all the amazing things a 3D printer could do and you have now made a decision to buy one for yourself.
Great decision. But make it a well-informed one as well. So you know you have done all the research and have chosen the best 3D printer available in the market, that is also affordable, efficient and cost effective.
You have already made a list of things you would like to try with your new 3D printer and cannot wait to own one now. What we have done here is that we have created a list of things you should know before you buy a 3D printer online.
In the one world, you will find a large number of printers that vary in specifications and claim to cater for different requirements. Looking at the physical qualities is just not enough when it comes to making a buying decision, because there is a lot to know about their technical configuration.
Here is your quick guide to help you out with this:
The Top Things to Keep in Mind When Buying a 3D Printer.
Types of 3D printers and their technical configuration.
3D printer is actually an umbrella term used to cover different types of technologies that are used to print a variety of physical materials. Knowing about the technology will help determine the best type to suit your requirements.
- Fused deposition modelling (FDM)
Most of the 3D printers you hear in the news belong to this category.
In case of an FDM printer, an additive process is used to heat and extrude plastic and add it layer by layer to produce the end product. FDM 3D printers are the most common type of 3D printers are widely available online.
Most of the commercial and industrial 3D printers also belong to this category.
- Selective laser sintering (SLS)
In case of SLS 3D printers, the printing material is a powder instead of plastic. This type makes use of a laser beam to melt the powder and print required models.
With it you can print metal objects, so this is better if your requirement is to work with metals.
- Stereo lithography
In this type of 3d printing as well, additive processing is used but using ultraviolet light instead of plastic or powder. An ultraviolet light beam is used to create a model from photosensitive liquid.
That is used for printing precise and high-quality models mostly used in industrial purposes.
Price of a 3D printer
One of the other factors that are equally important in choosing the right 3D printer online is its price range.
The price of a 3D printer is mostly directly proportional to its output quality.
If you are after a professional printer, the prices can go as high as $2000. But if you need something for your home to just explore the benefits and potential of printing, you can get one online for somewhere between $100 and $200.
So start with your need and then search online for all the available models along with their price ranges.
Raw material used in printing
3d printing mainly uses two types of materials to print models – acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) and poly lactic acid (PLA).
Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, so study about them before you make a decision.
What is best for you to start is thinking about your end product or model and then deciding which material will suit your model better.
Most of the printers work with one or the other material. The ones compatible with both materials generally cost more. So it is best to start with your requirement and then invest in which 3D printer will meet your requirement in the most cost effective manner.
Speed of a 3D printer
Speed is another important feature you must not ignore when making a decision on a 3D printer.
To print objects and models that have intricate design and minute details, for your small printing business for instance, the speed of the printer will be low. To print simple models mostly for leisure purposes you can choose a 3D printer that offers high speed.
Some other feature worth considering
There is so much to 3D printing that the features of a 3D printer one must study properly before buying one are also endless.
You now know about the important ones above. Here is another list that will help you make a well-informed decision and buy a 3D printer online that will be best for your job, whether big or small.
- Quality of the camera
- The touch screen or the LCD interface
- Wi-Fi or cloud connectivity
- Software and apps that come with it
- Its production volume.
Buying a 3D printer online is not an easy thing. But with this list you know what you need to consider when looking for the right one for your home or business.