After seeing how the technology can help you create custom parts or design components faster, it’s time to consider buying a 3D printer. Before you make a decision, it’s important to understand the various factors that affect the purchase process. There are a variety of brands with different prices making it challenging to make a choice. This list will help you navigate through the process.
Below are a few questions to keep in mind before buying a 3D printer:
1. What is Your Budget?
Before you start considering a 3D printer, it’s important to consider the cost. How much are you willing to spend on a 3D printer? This will be determined by among other things what you want to use the 3D printer for. If you want to just try 3D printing as a hobby you don’t need to go for the high-end printers. If you want a 3D printer for professional/commercial use then you need a bigger printer.
If you have a budget that exceeds a thousand dollars, you can still find various 3D printers that can help you with your project. For instance, if you want to spend around €972 to €4860, you can find FDM and industrial 3D printers that have high print quality. In this category, you will also find the Snapmaker 2.0. This is a 3-in-1 3D printer, laser engraver, and CNC carver. On the other hand, between €4860 and €29140, you can choose more specialized SLA or industrial FDM machines.
The last price range that you can choose from is €77,885 to over €974,585. This will allow you to access various high-end technologies.
2. What material do you want to use?
Before you start considering a 3D printer, it’s important that you understand the technology and how it works. One of the most important factors that you should consider is the materials that you will be using for 3D printing. For instance, if you are interested in using FDM technology, you can expect to spend around €19 for a single spool of filament.
If you are planning on using your 3D printer for industrial purposes, you should consider DMLS or SLS technologies. In the first instance, you will mainly be using polymer powders. On the other hand, you can also choose different metal alloys and metals for varying prices.
So, ultimately the printer you choose will be determined by the materials you intend to use for 3D printing.
3. What volume do you need?
Another important factor you should consider when shopping for a 3D printer is the print volume that you want to achieve. How many pieces will you be printing? If you need large quantities then you may need to spend more. So, in some instances cases, low-cost 3D printers may not be ideal.
There are also 3D printers that have a large print volume that can be purchased at an affordable price. These are FDM technology machines, and they can be used for different projects.
4. What is your 3D printing skill level?
Having a good, or say at least some, understanding of additive manufacturing will help you choose the best 3D printer for your project.
There are various types of 3D printing machines that are suitable for different people. For instance, if you are a beginner, you can easily use FDM technology by purchasing a plug-and-play machine. However, if you are a more advanced user, you can opt for a kit 3D printer. This type of machine will allow you to make a customized 3D model.
If you are already familiar with 3D printing and have a good understanding of its mechanics, then you can easily upgrade to professional 3D printing technologies such as DMLS or SLA. However, this step will require additional training.
One of the most important factors that you should consider when it comes to using 3D software is the type of project that you are planning on working on. For instance, if you are planning on working on a complex project, then you will need to use more complex software.
It is also important that you consider the amount of work that you are willing to commit to after the printing process has been completed. Some 3D printing technologies require more post-processing work than others. For instance, FDM often involves removing support material and processing the final product to minimize the layering effect.
SLA technology requires more complex post-processing processes, while for metal 3D printing, the process is even more time-consuming.
5. Where can you buy a 3D printer?
After you have decided what your budget for a 3D printer is, the materials you will be using, the volume you require, and your 3D printing skill then comes the next important question. Which manufacturer best meets your needs? Where do you buy the 3D printer? There are tons of sellers to choose from.
There are also a wide variety of brands available on the market. On Snapmaker’s website, for instance, you can easily browse through the various features of different Snapmaker 3D printers and choose the one that fits your needs. Just like with any other type of purchase whether online or offline make sure to buy from a reputable seller.
Look for things like customer support; how fast and well do they reply to your queries? Do they offer after-sales support? Also compare the features of each printer and the prices. A cheap printer may not offer you the service you need depending on your requirements. On the other hand there is no need to buy a professional printer if what you want is just to enjoy 3D printing as a pass time activity. All these factors will help you decide where to buy your 3D printer.