The best affordable 3D printers have been rising in popularity in recent years and have become the go to gadget for hobby enthusiasts, collectors, and even cosplay actors. 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, processes and synthesizes three dimensional objects by using layers of material that are formed under the control of a computer.
3D printers can be used to make a variety of different objects, such as customizable cell phone cases, figures, cosplay items, and an array of other things. The possibilities are endless when you get your hands on a 3D printer and have the time to use it.
After deciding that you want to purchase one of the best affordable 3D printers, there are several factors that you should keep in mind while shopping around for the best one:
- Ease of Use
- Fast Build Speeds
- Larger Build Envelope
- Better Reliability
- Wireless Connectivity
Most Common Type of Printing Material
The best affordable 3D printers use two different types of plastic materials for their builds. The first type is poly lactic acid and is biodegradable and environmentally sound. Polylactic Acid (PLA) cools quickly and comes in different solid and translucent colors. The second type of plastic is Acrylonitrile ButadieneStyrene (ABS) and is a petroleum-based plastic that has incredible strength and durability. Both of these types of plastic are also used with handheld 3D pens. It creates easy interlocking pieces and has a much higher melting point than the other plastic. It also takes longer to cool and can be susceptible to warping because of this. This second type of plastic also emits fumes during printing.
Most popular brands of 3D printers use 1.75-millimeter filament which usually can be found in 1-kilogram spools and carry an average price of around $30 per spool.
Before purchasing one of the best affordable 3D printers you will want to keep in mind the following points:
- The quality, print resolution, and speed
- The available build area
- The width of the filament
- Layer thickness
Top 10 Best Affordable 3D Printers Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Affordable 3D Printers
The MakerBot Replicator Z18 is one of the more expensive and higher quality 3D printers that are available for the average consumer and hobbyist. It is designed to fit extra-large capacity filament spools and can print without interruptions. It pauses the printing process when it realizes that the filament is empty or absent.
- Able to print larger and more detailed objects up to 12 inches in width and depth
- Heated build chamber to maintain a consistent temperature
- ABS build plate that is resistant to temperature extremes
- 3.5” full color LCD
- On board camera for print monitoring
- Automatically takes reference photos of final prints and stores them
- Extra-large capacity filament spools
- Connect via USB stick, USB cable, Ethernet cable, or wirelessly via Wi-Fi
- Largest of the new replicators
- Smart Extruder
- Customer support
The FlashForge 3D Printer does not require any expensive aftermarket software purchases, and it includes a new power supply from Delta. This printer also comes equipped with an enclosed chamber that insulates and protects ABS prints. FlashForge is a Chinese 3D printing company that has been in business since 2011. They are the largest supplier of 3D desktop printers in China and across the states.
- Sturdy metal frame
- Full manufacturer’s Warranty
- Aviation level aluminum plate with a thickness of 6.3 mm
- Enhanced stability construction
- Aluminum printing platform
- Clear acrylic covers
- Dual extruder
The LulzBot TAZ 3D Printer is a self-leveling, self-cleaning, tetherless printer with an integrated power supply that makes 3D printing easy. This model also has one of the largest print volumes in its particular class.
- Large Build volume of 280 x 280 x 250 mm
- Maximum temperatures of 572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Modular tool head carriage design
- Comes with Cura LulzBot Edition Software
- Dual part cooling fans
- Modular design for easy upgrades
- Flexible or dual material printing
- Built to last
The Printrbot is assembled with an aluminum handle and spool rack and has an auto-leveling probe and black powder all metal construction. The Printrbot uses open source software and connects to the computer using a mini USB cable. The perfect best affordable 3D printers for beginners and those who have just begun 3D printing.
- Steel frame and aluminum extruder
- Auto-leveling probe that simplifies Z-axis calibration
- Prints at a resolution of 100 microns
- Large printer size
- Easy maintenance
- Community and customer service
- Affordable price
The LulzBot Mini is an award-winning 3D printer that awards you the freedom to be able to use virtually any 3D printing software program. Compatible software includes OctoPrint, BotQueue, Slic3R, Printrun, and MatterControl.
- Auto-bed leveling
- Auto-nozzle cleaning
- Easy-carry handle
- Low-maintenance print surface
- Modular tool head carriage
- Maximum temperatures of up to 572 degrees Fahrenheit
- Good print quality
- Simple setup
- Wide variety of filaments
- High-print resolution
- Open-source design
As you can see, there are several different types of best affordable 3D printers available on the market today and more and more are being designed as technology advances. Whether you are a beginner, intermediate, or even professional, several high quality 3D printers were reviewed. Price points vary drastically but what you spend is dependent upon the printing quality and speed you are seeking, as well as the build volume.
Always do research before making a big purchase and remember to weigh the pros and cons of each item and compare it to the key features and upgrades that they currently have available.
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