As a beginner in 3D printing, sometimes it can get pretty confusing, what’s with big words thrown around and about a million 3D printers to choose from. The best news is that it doesn’t have to be that way!
This article seeks to show beginners what to look for when buying 3D printers, whether a basic 3D printer or a professional 3D printer. By following these tips, you will seamlessly begin your journey into the world of 3D printing.
What to Look For When Buying 3D Printers for BeginnersPrinting Materials
It is crucial to note that while the majority of beginner-level 3D printers use ABS and PLA filament, premium models give you the freedom of using a broad array of materials. For example, some top-of-the-range 3D printers allow you to print using carbon-fiber, glass, water-soluble support materials, and even wooden filaments.
So, if you intend to indulge in general 3D printing, the basic 3d printers would do the trick. But if professional 3D printing is more of your thing, the best choice is a 3D printer that supports numerous filament types.
Self-levelling Print Bed
Among the most preferred 3D printer features are self-leveling beds. Manual leveling is a lengthy process and can be a real headache. If your print bed is not level, then botched prints can be the result.
Fortunately, most printers boast of auto bed leveling where sensors check several areas on the bed to calculate the distance between the print bed and the nozzle.
From there, the software adjustments make sure that the nozzle stays at the right distance from the print bed as you print. There are users who prefer printers with manual bed leveling. However, as a beginner, an auto leveling print bed is the best option.
The build area of a 3D printer basically refers to the maximum available space for printing. In many printers, you can see it as a series of dimensions; like “6 X 6 X 6”, or as volume, such as 6”3 or six cubic inches. In both examples, this implies a similar build size area.
It is absolutely vital to remember that this does not refer to the largest objects you can print.
In most cases, your 3D printer’s layer height is listed in microns. Keep in mind that the thinner your layer is, the less obvious it is, and naturally, the smoother the finish. However, where the thinnest layers are concerned, your print will take more time to finish.
It makes sense to buy 3D printer with a layer height that allows you to strike a balance between print quality and speed well in advance. Later on, you will gradually understand the settings that work well for intricate printing and the best for general everyday printing.
3D Printer Noise
As a beginner in 3D printing, printer noise is something that you may have to contend with. Noise is a huge and undeniable factor when looking for the best 3D printer price. Of course, no 3D printers are utterly quiet, but some are noisier than others.
Always keep in mind the noise level will be determined by the place you’ve set up your printer. For instance, printing in your bedroom as you sleep will seem much noisier than printing in your garage or basement.
If you’ve already bought your 3D printer, and you find it a little tad noisy, there are tricks to help you minimize the noise. You can place your printer atop a solid surface or any dampening surface.
In many 3D printers, the print speeds are listed in mm (millimeters). The listed numbers tells you the extent the print head moves per second. Although higher print speeds are way better, it isn’t the real depiction of how fast you can print.
Now, it pays to note that the listed print speed is naturally the fastest your 3D printer will allow. Usually, there are two settings:
The quicker you print, the lower the general quality of the object. So, if you are a stickler for fine details and precision, a slower speed is recommended.
Generally, you are expected to calibrate your 3D printer before you can start printing. There are various components that you should pay attention to, for instance:
- You have to level the print bed to get a perfectly level surface.
- You should position the print arm perfectly.
- You are advised to set the step distance to ensure that you don’t print a far smaller or larger object than intended.
However, nowadays, some 3D printers have automatically automated such processes, hence taking calibration out of the equation. Some 3D printers come with automatic-leveling functionality, while you can buy others pre-configured out of the box.
3D Printer Connectivity Options
Before printing, you have to send the file to the 3D printer. You can do this via various methods, including USB cables, an SD card slot, among others. As per your desire, you can also find printers that send files through Bluetooth. All in all, the choice is yours!
Finally, there is the 3D printer price. 3D printers (even low-budget gadgets) generally go for hundreds of dollars. Nevertheless, you can find many good quality 3D printers under €500.
If you need a basic 3D printer for fun, a hobby, or general, simple home printing, then you can find great buys at affordable prices. However, if a 3D printer-centric business venture is what you have in mind, then you have to look at professional 3D printers which are more expensive than the entry-level ones.
Best 3D Printer for Beginners: The Verdict
Now that you have the information on how to buy 3D printers as a beginner, you are probably scratching your head regarding which is the best overall.
Well, while it is not an easy decision, if you can confidently tick all or most of the above tips, the job is halfway done. At Snapmaker, we have an amazing array of 3D printers for every conceivable printing project you might have.