This is the decade of this technology, no doubt, hence we have made this 3D printer comparison, to get a general idea of where it stands and to compare the current scenario.
Although we have been reading about it for many years, it is only now that the big DIY companies are starting to get involved and invest in the technology that is revolutionising all kinds of markets.
There is a lot of movement but also a lot of ignorance about how easy it is to use this technology. It is very new and does not derive directly from any already known technology, but has appeared out of nowhere (we are talking about domestic environments, at industrial level they have been used for a long time), so with this comparison we are going to try to give you a better idea of how easy it is to use. some basic ideas for you to learn something about this world and you can see how the market is right now.
Note: if you think it's an interesting world and you want to join the club, I encourage you to consider buying one of the 3D printers or consumables we have for sale in our shop.
Note 2: we have inserted affiliate links to purchase some of the 3D printers that we help us to finance ourselves with a small commission if you make your purchase through one of them.
First of all, let's be clear about the types of 3D printing that we can find, just like normal 2D printing (inkjet, laser, etc...), here we also have different ways of capturing what we want.
Types of 3D printing
Selective Laser Sintering or selective laser sintering, is the technique used in industrial prototyping, which consists in laser marking, layer by layerThe material is sensitive to it and hardens on contact with it, so that as the layers are passed over, the object in question appears.
Stereolithography or stereolithography, some of them can be found at home but they are not as widespread as the last printing method. This is very similar to the previous one (SLS), but in this case we use a photosensitive liquid which hardens on contact with light (laser).
Fused Deposition Modeling or fused deposition modelling, this is the reigning technique in domestic 3D printing and the one we've all seen. It simply consists of melting plastic and passing it through what we call an extruder, which moves and deposits the material in the required shape. When a layer is finished, it changes height and starts printing the next one, melting more plastic.
3D design software
OK, so I have the printer at home and... now what do I do? You have two options, either you design a 3D object on your ownor download it from a 3D object shop (see below). There are many programs for 3D design, but I'll leave you with a list of the best known and most used ones:
- 3DTinis an online and very intuitive tool.
- Thinkercadalso online and easy to use, perhaps a bit clunkier than the previous one, but it is the best way to get started.
- BlenderThe king of 3D design without any doubt, free software, free and with power to envy.
- OpenSCADanother good software for the 3D modelling list.
- Grasshopperas the previous one, free, free of charge and highly recommended.
- SketchUpinitially designed for architectural themes and so on, but can be used for small pieces as well.
Once we have the object we have to make it clear to the 3D printerAnd of course there are many different types of printers and different ways of handling them, but basically we need a cutting or layering software that transforms the object we have to print into a series of instructions that the machine understands. There are many proprietary programs from each 3D printer manufacturer, but there are others that are open and well known such as Slic3r, Cura or Repetier. This part may have confused you a bit, but normally the manufacturer will give you all the software and instructions to set this up correctly.
I leave you an example video so you can see this last step with the Spanish printer Witbox 2 and the Slic3r software:
3D design shops
If you want to do some testing or simply don't want to wait to learn how to design something in 3D, here are some shops where you can download ready-to-print objects:
- Thingiverseis the 3D object shop par excellence, managed by the company that has invested and researched the most in the world of domestic 3D printing, MakerBot Industries.
- Shapewayswith many designs and a lot of imagination.
- TurboSquidvery professional 3D models, maybe not for printing at home, but you can get some ideas from there.
- cgtraderThe new model is very similar to the previous one, with very professional models, both paid and free of charge.
- GrabCADThe new design, a similar style to the previous one, is available in many other designs.
What materials do they use?
Generally speaking, we can say that a 3D printer prints plastic, but you will see that it has its little nuances depending on the material it uses:
- PLA or polylactic acid, is the most widely used and most commonly used as it does not require your printer to have a hot base to prevent it from fusing with the printer. This greatly simplifies the design and use of a printer and lowers its price. Another detail that makes it the favourite of manufacturers is that it can be used without fear of poisoning in closed or poorly ventilated spaces and that it is biodegradable. It is obtained from corn starch and can be used without fear for food containers. The texture of the printed material is not as smooth, but it has a higher gloss.
- ABS or acrylonitrile butadiene styrene, in this case it is also widely used and although it is not biodegradable, it is stronger than PLA and has some chemical and abrasion resistance. It needs more heat than PLA to melt so it complicates the machines somewhat.
- Nylonis the most complicated material for 3D printing as it has many problems when it comes to adhering to the base and can pick up moisture, complicating the work even more. Its advantages, on the other hand, are its great resistance, flexibility and transparency.
- HIPS or polystyrene, is very similar to ABS and needs the same melting temperatures. It has a very curious use which is to use it together with ABS to print what will be hollows as HIPS is soluble in D-Limonene (a liquid taken from citrus fruits) and ABS only in acetone.
- PET or polyethylene terephthalate, is the most commonly used material for packaging such as water bottles and so on. Its main characteristic is that it can crystallise and become transparent. It is impact resistant and the best thing is that we can recycle our bottles and use them with our PLA printers.
- LaywoodIt needs temperatures similar to PLA with the curiosity that if we increase the temperature a little or lower it, we obtain different tones of the colour we have. When it cools down it has a woody texture and the temperature changes leave darker streaks.
- Ninjaflexis a revolutionary new material that allows for highly elastic parts. It has the consistency of an elastic rubber and the final pieces can be deformed to a great extent. Its temperature of use is like that of PLA.
- UV-cured resinThis is the material used for SLA printers, it is a photosensitive liquid that hardens when in contact with a powerful light, normally a laser is used. With this material the best resolutions and very good finishes are achieved.
Undoubtedly with imagination you can make very interesting combinations (if your machine allows you to do so) to achieve spectacular results and objects. Now we will see that most things can be printed with PLA, which is undoubtedly the most used material due to its ease of use and sufficiently good results.
We stock a good range of high quality PLAs from bq compatible with all 3D printers. You can find PLA Metal, Wood, FilaFlex, and normal PLA spools of 1Kg or 300gr.
Top 3D printers in comparison
Before we look at the bulk of the comparison, here are the ones we consider to be the best. the best 3D printers on the market sorted by the best home printer, the best printer for professional environments and the 3D printer with the best price.
bq Hephestos 2
We all know the Spanish company bq and its mobile phones, well, it also designs and manufactures 3D printers, and it has a good range. The Prusa i3 Hephestos is a first cousin of many others that derive from the well-known RepRap free hardware printer project. Its quality/price ratio is one of the best on the market, in a complete kit to assemble. It has a print volume of 220 x 220 x 180 mm and a maximum speed of 100 mm/s with a resolution of up to 60 microns. Already discontinued, the renovation of this one is the Hephestos 2The print volume of the new, much-improved 210 x 297 x 220 mm and prints twice as fast (200 mm/sec) at a resolution of 50 microns.
Following the philosophy of a company like bqThe two projects are completely open projects, with free software and hardware. Both have integrated control and access by SD card and USBThe coils work with Windows, Mac and Linux and can be used with PLA, HIPS and FilaFlexin addition to ABS if we add the warm bed as a complement.
Buy bq Hephestos 2 in our shop
bq Witbox 2 and Go!
Here we move on to the more professional range of the Spanish bq, with a totally industrial printer and another with a more elegant style for the office or home. The only similarity between the two is the name, as one prints up to 297 x 210 x 200 mm and the other reaches 140 x 140 x 140 mm. Witbox 2 can print at a speed of 200 mm/s down to an incredible 20 microns It uses open software and hardware and can print independently thanks to its integrated control and SD and USB card reader. It is compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows and does not have a hot bed, which somewhat limits the materials it can print.
One of the curiosities of Witbox Go! is its use of Android M as an integrated system, which makes it much more versatile, for example to integrate the use of Wifi for stand-alone printing in addition to the USB port. As printing software it uses ZetupIt is bq's own and very intuitive, with parts repositories and so on. It does not have a hot bed.
Buy Witbox 2 in our shop
Buy Witbox Go! in our shop
Anycubic i3 MEGA, Large size 4Max, Diy Kossel and DLP Photon
An example of a Chinese company that has wanted to touch all areas in order not to miss any business opportunity. The Anycubic family begins with what for me is one of the most important best value for money 3D printers The i3 MEGA is the first of its kind on the market, taking advantage of the know-how cultivated by the well-known Prusa open model to present us with this great product at a small cost. The i3 MEGA (about 356$) comes in a ready-to-assemble kit, you can print up to a volume of 210 x 210 x 205 mm at a speed of 100 mm/secat a maximum resolution of 50 microns.
The whole family uses open Cura software (Win, Linux and Mac) and with its integrated control they can print independently thanks to its SD card reader and USB port. They have a heated bed, so they can print without any problems on materials such as PLA, ABS, HIPS and Wood. The top model Large size 4Max, improves aspects such as closed printing, print volume, print resolution and print speed.
Also, as a curious note, Anycubic has a 3D printer in Delta format (Diy Kossel) and another that prints using the SLA technique with UV resin (DLP Photon).
Buy Anycubic i3 MEGA on Amazon
Buy Anycubic Large size 4Max on Amazon
Buy Anycubic DIY Kossel on Amazon
Buy Anycubic DLP Photon at Amazon
3D printer comparison
3DISON S, ROKIT Stealth 300, AEP and H-700
From the Koreans of 3DISON we have this compact 3D printer capable of offering figures in all types of materials (PLA, Nylon, Flexible, HIPS, PVA, Wood, Stone, S-PLA) without the need for a hot bed and up to a size of 215 x 130 x 145 mm. With a print speed of 200 mm/sec can reach a resolution of up to 25 microns with its single extruder.
It has an integrated control in the printer itself and is capable of printing independently of a PC thanks to its wifi connectivity and its Creator K software/firmware, compatible with both Windows and Mac.
The predecessors and big sisters of the now retired 3DISON+. We are talking about 3D printers halfway between domestic and professional with printing capacities ranging from 260 x 200 x 245 mm of the AEP, up to 270 x 200 x 680 mm of the H-700 and 290 x 180 x 260 mm of the ROKIT Stealth 300.. With record-breaking print speeds of 300 mm/sec for the ROKIT and 1000 mm/sec of both the ASP and the H-700.
They use a single extruder for printing, except for the most professional of them all, the H-700, which can use up to 2 extruders, all of them with a maximum resolution of up to 25 microns. In the software section, all of them use the software Creator K (Win, Mac), with the exception of ROKIT, which in its internal firmware makes surprisingly good use of AndroidWe imagine that this is to facilitate the great connectivity available (wifi, USB, ethernet).
In terms of printing materials, they are not far behind thanks to their use of hot bedding. They can print on all these materials: PLA, ABS, Nylon, Flexible, HIPS, PVA, Wood, Stone, Heat-resisting PLA, Engineering Plastic, Gold, Silver, Copper, Bronze, Steel, Chocolate.
A Dutch machine available in a multitude of versions, both in red and white, with one or two extruders and in a 60 cm print height version, yes, yes, this printer has a big brother that could perfectly print a figure of more than half a metre high. It costs about 2.450€ in its smallest version and this is capable of printing a volume of 205 x 215 x 200 mm to some 80 mm/s at a maximum resolution of 50 microns.
It uses open source software but its hardware is kept closed, has touch control built into the printer itself, and can be operated independently using an USB flash drive or wifi. It is capable of running on Windows, Linux and Mac and uses a multitude of materials for printing (PLA, ABS, PVA, PVA, XT, Woodfill, Bronzefill, PET, Flex), it is of course optional to be able to use a hot base for the correct use of any of these materials.
Buy Builder on Amazon
With the ZEUS we are in a different league, this 3D printer manufactured in the USA has the particularity of being able to it also has a scanner and is able to send what we are scanning to another printer or PC. For how compact and well finished it is, the price is not exorbitant, 2499$. As for the rest of the features, it doesn't stand out too much, but overall it is a very good machine, its printing volume is in the low to medium range. 204 x 153 x 145 mm and a maximum resolution of 80 micronsIt uses its own OS, the ZEUS OS, and is completely closed.
In terms of connectivity, it has integrated control in the form of a touch screen and can operate autonomously by receiving the designs either by its own scanner, by microSD, USB, Ethernet or Wifi. It is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS and has a web-based interface. Use PLAIt does not need a hot base for proper operation.
AXIOMe Desktop and AXIOM 20 Large
The home and office version of the American Airwolf3D is offered at a basic price of 2695$and is capable of printing up to a maximum of 254 x 317 x 203 mm and 40 microns resolution, at a speed of 250 mm/sec with its single extruder. It uses its own proprietary software called APEX and can be controlled independently and print via microSD or USB.
It does not have a heated base so you can only print PLA, TPE and TPUUnlike the larger AXIOM 20 Large model, which can also print ABS, Polycarbonate and Nylon up to a maximum of 317.5 x 304.8 x 508 mm at the same resolution and speed as AXIOMe, the AXIOM 20 Large can also print ABS, Polycarbonate and Nylon up to a maximum of 317.5 x 304.8 x 508 mm at the same resolution and speed as AXIOMe. The great advantage of the 20 Large model is its high connectivity (in addition to the print volume), being able to be controlled from Ethernet, microSD, USB and Wifi.
Arduino Materia 101
The Italian Arduino has been encouraged to enter this market with its first and only 3D printer with a totally DIY aspect, as it could not be otherwise. It is priced at around 700€ and it comes in pre-assembled versions or as a kit to entertain you by assembling it yourself.
One of the most discussed facts has been its low print volume compared to the thing it is (it barely prints at all). 140 x 100 x 100 mm), with an average definition of 100 microns. As it could not be otherwise, it uses open software and, as they do with all their products, the hardware is also open. It has an integrated control and can print independently thanks to its built-in SD card reader. Even without a hot bed, this 3D printer is compatible with a multitude of materials such as PLA, Cristal flex, PLA thermosense, TPU, PET, PLA sand, PLA flex, PLA flex.
3D printer with SLA operation (remember, the one that uses a photosensitive liquid to generate the parts). It is also American-made and the price is quite high (5199€) and even more so considering that it is only capable of printing up to 104 x 75 x 203 mm. We don't know how fast it prints, but it can reach a resolution of about 30 microns.
It uses proprietary software and cannot be operated independently, although it is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. It uses UV-cured resin, which is a bit more expensive comparatively speaking than the plastic of the FDM printers. From my point of view, this printer has a curious point, but looking at the performance and price, I think the rest are on the right track using plastic as raw material.
BCN3D Sigma and Sigmax
Range of 3D printers developed in Spain that are undoubtedly halfway between the domestic and professional environments, being able to print a total of 210 x 297 x 210 mm y 420 x 297 x 210 mm respectively. Both models have two extruders (with a resolution of 50 microns), but the curiosity of this innovative design is that they move independently, allowing, for example, two pieces to be printed at the same time in mirror mode.
They are open 3D printers in every sense, both in software, which uses a modified Cura, and in hardware. They have touch control and can print independently using SD card or via USB. They are compatible with Linux, Mac, and Windows and because they have a hot bed, they can make use of a variety of materials such as PLA, ABS, PVA, TPU, Nylon, HIPS, Co- Polyester and specials.
Buy BCN3D Sigma on Amazon
CEL Robox and Pro
From the outset, these British printers have been committed to the twin extrudersboth have them built in. They are priced at 1,499 and 3,999 pounds respectively, and can print up to a total of 210 x 150 x 100 mm for CEL Robox and 210 x 300 x 400 mm for the Pro. They use proprietary software called Robox Automaker and can print at a quality of up to 50 microns.
The Pro version can print independently thanks to its touch screen and connectivity. Wifi and Ethernet. They make use of a hot bed, so they can print a wide range of materials, such as PLA, ABS, HIPS, Nylon, PC, PVA, COPET, PETG, TPU...
Buy CEL Robox on Amazon
Colibri Home and 3D Pro
Mexican printers with a very good finish, one in Delta format and the other in traditional format. 90 mm diameter x 80 mm high is the print volume of the Home version, which costs around €500, and the Pro, with 260 x 170 x 155 mm, costs €1,700. With a maximum resolution of 200 and 100 microns respectivelyuse proprietary Constructor software.
The Pro version is able to print independently thanks to its integrated control, USB and SD card reader. In addition, this version can print PLA, ABS, Flexible, Nylon and PLA Wood thanks to the use of hot bed.
Colido Compact and 3.0
Other British printers, in this case low cost, the Compact can be found for about 489$ and the 3.0 for about 899$. 130 x 130 x 130 mm and 225 x 145 x 140 mm print capacity respectively, as we can see they are not excessively large. Both can print up to a maximum resolution of 100 microns, but they can also print at a maximum resolution of 100 microns. 3.0 will do it with two extruders..
They use free software and the 3.0 has integrated control, printing from USB and SD and hot bed, so it can print ABS as well as PLA.
Buy Colido on Amazon
We are going to the USA to go to another extreme in design, you can see that this printer is totally DIY (which does not detract from its merit or quality, although you should have seen the original designs), as it is only available from kits to assemble and priced at 699$. Its printing volume is 125 x 150 x 125 mm with a speed of 100 mm/s and with only one extruder.
It uses free software and hardware and can work independently per SD once it has been started from the PC. It runs under Windows, Mac and Linux and can print with PLA, Nylon and Laywood.
With this printer we come across a Delta design, which consists of three columns that are responsible for regulating both the height and the point X, Y in which the extruder must be positioned at all times. Apart from the somewhat strange design, I don't really know what advantages it can have over a common design (and if you look at it, it hasn't been standardised much either), but I'm sure it's not the price since it's in 2649$.
It is sold already assembled, and can print up to a volume of 240 mm diameter x 260 mm heightwith only one extruder, with a maximum resolution of 100 microns and a maximum printing speed of 150 mm/s. It makes use of free software but the design is not documented as such. It does not have integrated controls on the machine itself but can print independently through Wifi and Ethernet. Use only PLA for printing, so it does not need a hot base.
Another 3D printer with delta physiognomy, this time from China and with a tighter price, 649$. It can print up to a total of 150 mm diameter x 160 mm high at a maximum speed of 100 mm/s and a maximum resolution of 100 microns. It makes use of a single extruder for printing thanks to its integrated control and its SD, USB and Wifi connectivity.
It works on all major operating systems and surprisingly for this price. can also print ABS as well as PLA, which is why it has a hot bed.
Dremel 3D20, 3D40 and 3D45
A great company like the German Dremel could not miss in this world and has been encouraged with three models, which start at the 999$, 1299$ and 1799$ respectively. They use proprietary software, Dremel DigiLab 3D Slicer and all three make use of a single extruder and integrated touch control. From 230 x 150 x 140 mm in the 3D20 model, it improves in the other two models to 255 x 155 x 170 mm, plus connectivity, adding Wifi and Ethernet plus USB on the last two models.
The 3D20 and 3D40 models can print up to 100 microns resolution, the 3D45 model can print up to 100 microns resolution, the 3D45 model can print up to 100 microns resolution and the 3D40 model can print up to 100 microns resolution. 50 microns. On the other hand, this last model also has a hot bed, so it can print ABS in addition to PLA.
UP Mini 2 and UP BOX
Cuesta 750€ in its Mini 2 version and 1960€ in its BOX version, also comes from an American company (I told you that they have a monopoly at the moment) and has a printing volume of 120 x 120 x 120 mm in its Mini 2 version and up to the 255 x 205 x 205 mm in the BOX. They make use of a single extruder and have a resolution of 150 and 100 microns respectively.
They use their own software and can print independently thanks to the integrated control and Wifi they incorporate. Both have a heated bed so they can print PLA and ABS without any problems.
Buy UP Mini 2 on Amazon
Buy UP BOX on Amazon
Italian 3D printer at a price of around 660€ with an aesthetic that we had become accustomed to forgetting. It comes in a self-assembly kit and can print a total volume of 90 x 60 x 60 mm at a speed of 200 mm/s with its 2 extruders capable of giving a maximum resolution of 50 microns.
It uses free software Cura and Marlin and they have published the hardware as open as well. It has no integrated control, but can be connected by Wifi being compatible with Linux, Mac and Windows. It has a heated bed so it can print a wide range of materials such as PLA, ABS, Nylon, HIPS and PVA.
Felix Tec 4, 3L and Pro 2
Another complete range of 3D printers coming from the Netherlands with a respective price tag of 1099€, 1899€ y 2250€. The Tec 4 and Pro 2 models share many technical data such as the print volume, 237 x 244 x 235 mm, a print speed of 18 mm3/s and both have the possibility to have one or two extruders printing at 50 microns.
The 3L model has a print volume of 255 x 205 x 400 mm with a speed of 150 mm/s and a single extruder at 50 microns. Both Tec 4 and 3L make use of free software, however the Pro 2 uses Simplify 3Dthe owner of the Dutch brand. All have integrated control and printing via USB, the 3L and Pro 2 models additionally via SD card and the Tec 4 via USB. Wifi.
They are compatible with all operating systems and are capable of printing a wide range of materials as they are all equipped with warm bed installed.
Delta format 3D printer from China in a compact format with a print volume of 170 mm diameter x 210 mm high. It prints at a speed of 120 mm/s with its extruder at 50 microns maximum resolution. It is closed both in software and hardware, using FLUX Studio for print layer management.
It has connections USB and Wifi and it does not have a hot bed so it can only print with PLA.
We are once again faced with a printer that makes use of the technology SLA and UV-cured Resin. Although at first we may not see the advantage of paying 3299€ and even more so with a print volume of just a few pages. 145 x 145 x 175 mmThe maximum resolution is what catapults this technology over plastic injection moulding, as it can reach the maximum resolution of 25 microns layer height.
It uses entirely proprietary software (PreForm) and is of closed design. It has integrated control and printing by Wifi, Ethernet and USB. Unfortunately their software is not compatible with Linux.
da Vinci Mini and da Vinci Color
3D printer arriving from China at a price of about 279€ with a printing capacity of 150 x 150 x 150 mm. At this price it offers a single extruder that prints at a maximum resolution of 100 microns. It uses closed software (XYZware) and can print through Wifi and USB. It is not Linux compatible and can only print PLA as it does not have a hot bed.
Who said China couldn't innovate? What makes this 3D printer stand out is the fact that it can printing in colour using a single extruderHow does this work? It uses an inkjet system on the plastic (like the colour printers of all times). This innovation does not come cheap, about 3499$.
Prints up to a maximum of 200 x 200 x 150 mm at a maximum speed of 120 mm/s up to 100 micron resolution. It has integrated control and like its little sister it prints via Wifi and USB. In terms of materials it uses only PLA as it does not have a hot bed and for colour it uses a special ink for plastic called 3D Color-inkjet PLA.
Buy da Vinci on Amazon
Another compact printer arriving from China at a price of around 439$ capable of printing up to a volume of 150 x 150 x 140 mm at a speed of 150 cm3/h. It uses a single extruder and has a maximum resolution of 180 microns.
It is closed both in software (DoraWare) as well as in hardware and has an integrated control for operation. It can print independently both via USB and SD. It is Windows compatible only and has no hot bed, so it prints only PLA.
Liquid Crystal LC10, Precision, Hi-Res and Pro
A whole range of SLA 3D printers from the British company Liquid Crystal with prices from 899€, 1199€, 1920€ y 4440€ respectively. They have a respective print capacity of 200 x 100 x 200 mm, 123 x 69 x 180 mm, 200 x 150 x 200 mm and 450 x 280 x 300 mm and all share the same maximum resolution, 25 micronsexcept for the LC 10 model which goes down to 50 microns. The Pro version can print at a speed of 50-100 seconds per layer.
All of them use the closed Creation Workshop software and only the Hi-Res model has integrated control as well as the possibility to print by Ethernet and Wifi (optional on LC10). All can print via USB, the LC10 and Precision models via HDMI and the Pro via Display Port. They are Windows and Linux compatible and use Photocentric Daylight resin as media.
Buy Liquid Crystal on Amazon
Professional 3D printer of the Spanish Lewihe at a price of 5995€ with an impressive print volume of 500 x 300 x 300 mm. With its single extruder it can print to a maximum of 50 microns and uses both free software and hardware. It is also worth mentioning that this company has a 3D printer framework called PlayThe 3D printer is not a 3D printer as such, but some internal parts and measurements to have the basis to assemble our own printer, also open.
Following on from the Sneaker XL, it also has an integrated control and is compatible with all operating systems. It does not have a hotbed, but it can print a wide range of materials such as Filaflex, PLA, Ninjaflex, PETG, Nylon, EP.
LulzBot Mini and TAZ 6
From the United States come these two 3D printers at a price of 1250$ and 2500$ respectively, compact and with print capacities of 152 x 152 x 158 mm and 280 x 280 x 250 mm. Both have a maximum print resolution of 50 microns, a single extruder and are Open Software and Hardware. The mini can reach a print speed of 275 mm per secondthe TAZ 6, 200.
In addition, the TAZ 6 also has an integrated control and SD card printing capability. They run on all operating systems and have a hot bed with this full repertoire of printable materials: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, wood, Polyester (Tritan), PETT, bronze, copper, stainless steel, Polycarbonate, Nylon, PETG, PLA and ABS conductors, UV luminescent filaments, PCTPE, PC-ABS and Alloy 910.
Buy Mini and TAZ 6 on Amazon
MakerBot Replicator+ and Mini+
They are considered (and rightly so) the fathers of domestic 3D printing. If they were not the first to enter this world, they were not far behind, but they are certainly the ones who have invested the most in spreading and promoting this booming new niche. The Replicator has always been their standard bearer, but now they have other models such as the Replicator Mini, for more demanding budgets, and the Replicator Z18, an all-rounder for business environments.
Prices range from 1299$ of the Mini+and the 2499$ of the one that heads this section. In the case of the Replicator+ in particular, it is capable of printing up to the 195 x 195 x 165 mm volume with a resolution of up to 100 microns. The Mini+ operates at the same resolution with a print volume of 101 x 126 x 126 mm. Oddly enough, since they started out completely open, today both the design and the software (MakerBot Print Software) used by the Replicators is closed and proprietary.
They have the option of stand-alone printing using connection Wifi and USBReplicator+ in addition by Ethernet, and are compatible with Windows and Mac. In this case they have also gone the practical route without installing a hot bed and only deal with PLA.
Buy Replicator Mini+ from Amazon
Buy Replicator+ on Amazon
MBot Cube and Grid II+
We were already late in returning to China, in this case to find a 3D printer that at first glance looks like it is for DIY lovers. We can get it with a base price of 299$ in the form of an assembly kit and has a more professional version called MBot Grid II+. The basic version has 240 x 220 x 200 mm of print volume and can print at a speed of 120 mm/s with a maximum resolution of 100 microns. The Grid version has a print volume of 235 x 210 x 180 mm and a less competitive price of 1099$.
They use free software like most printers of this type and as we can see in the image they have integrated control to be able to use them independently through their reader. SD cards or via USB in the case of the Cube. It is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and can use PLA and ABS for printing, so they have a hot base.
US 3D printer at a price of 899$ which is a mix of Delta and traditional three-axis format. It has a print volume of 203 mm diameter by 152 mm high with an extruder that prints at a maximum of 50 microns resolution. It uses proprietary Polar Cloud software and has the ability to print independently by USB, WiFi and Ethernet.
Compatible with Windows and Mac it does not make use of hot bed so it can only print. PLA.
M3D Micro+ and Pro
Another American firm with very competitive prices, on the one hand we have the 299$ of the Micro+ and on the other the 999$ Pro with respective print volumes of 117 x 109 x 109 x 114 mm and 267 x 267 x 267 x 267 mm. The small version can be printed at 60 mm/s with a maximum resolution of 50 microns and the Pro a 120 mm/s and 25 microns.
None have integrated control, functioning exclusively via USB. They are compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and, according to the manufacturer, are compatible with any 1.75 mm filament in diameter (to be seen), so we understand that they have hot bases.
Buy M3D Micro+ on Amazon
Robbery R1+, C2 and R2
Family of printers that comes from the USA at prices from 499$, 799$ and 1499$. They have respective print volumes of 254 x 228.6 x 203.2 mm, 127 x 127 x 152.4 mm and 203.2 x 203.2 x 254 mm and print speeds of 50 mm/s, 16 mm3/s and 16 mm3/s.
The R2 is the only one that can have up to two extruders and matches the resolution of the C2, 20 microns. The R1+ has a resolution of 50 microns. They use free software and the C2 and R2 versions have integrated controls and can make use of USB and Wifi for printing, unlike the R1+ which can print via SD only.
They are compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux and surprisingly only the little brother has a heated bed so in addition to PLAyou can print ABS, HIPS and Nylon.
Buy Robo R1+, C2 and R2 from Amazon
Rostock MAX, Orion Delta and Artemis 300
A whole family of Delta printers from the USA is available in both kit and compact format (except for the Orion Delta). Starting prices are respectively 999$, 1049$ and 1999$ and print volumes of 265 mm diameter by 400 mm high, 150 mm diameter by 234 mm high and 290 mm diameter by 525 mm high.
Rostock MAX and Orion Delta can print at a speed of 100 mm/s with their single extruders at 50 micron resolution, however Artemis 300 improves on this with 150 mm/s printing speed and the possibility of having one or two extruders, also at 50 micron resolution.
With the exception of Artemis 300, all others have integrated control and SD card printing capability, however, this one makes up for it with WiFi printing. All of them have a hot base, therefore they can print PLA and ABS. The Artemis 300 also PETG, HIPS and NinjaFlex SemiFlex.
Sharebot Kiwi-3D, Next Generation and Spirit
We go on a visit to nearby Italy to find this small machine. The Kiwi-3D is priced in kit form at 899€ and prints a volume of 140 x 100 x 100 mmThe Next Generation (1500, 250 x 200 x 200 mm). You can print with 100 microns resolution with the only extruder it has, Next Generation improves to double this figure, printing at a maximum resolution of 50 microns with the peculiarity that it can also have up to two extruders.
They make use of open source software and can operate independently thanks to their card reader and USB. They support Windows, Mac and Linux, Kiwi-3D does not have a hotbed so it prints PLA only, Next Generation on the other hand can print PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU, Polystyrene, Cristal Flex and PET.
This company also has an SLA model for around 2990€ and a print volume of 100 x 60 x 100 mm and a maximum resolution of 25 microns. It does not use free software and has no integrated control so it will have to be used from the PC. The resin used is called SHARE-LO, which I imagine will not differ much from generic UV resins.
Buy Sharebot Kiwi-3D, Next Generation and Spirit from Amazon
It is a very interesting Chinese project that unifies 3D printer, laser marker and CNC die cutter for a price of 799$ in its only version at the moment, which is a kit to assemble ourselves. As far as 3D printing is concerned, we have a volume of 125 x 125 x 125 mm with its single extruder with a maximum of 50 microns maximum resolution.
It uses proprietary software (Snapmaker 3D), but is compatible with open software such as Cura. It has integrated control in the form of a detachable touch panel and can print independently via USB. It is compatible with Windows and Mac and has a hot bed so it can print both PLA as ABS.
We have been able to find little information about this French printer, even on its official website they don't give all the details. What we do know is that its first functional version costs 1140€which, as you can see, is a Delta design (I'm noticing that Delta's are always expensive for the specifications they have) and has a print volume of 180 mm diameter and 200 mm height.
Its layer resolution is 150 microns and prints at a maximum speed of 150 mm/s at both ABS, HIPS as PLA so we can guess that it will have a hot base. It may have one or two extruders and no integrated control.
This Canadian printer comes with a price tag of 1899$ in its only version (they had two smaller printers that have been discontinued). It has a print volume of 215 x 160 x 220 mm and prints at a resolution of 50 microns with its single extruder at a speed of 120 mm/s.
It uses a proprietary software called Tinkerine Suite which is apparently open source. It has integrated control and independent printing both by USB as well as SD card.
It is compatible with Windows and Mac and they wanted to keep things simple by using only PLA and thus avoid the hot base.
Ultimaker Original+, 2 Go, 2+ and 3
Along with Make's Replicator, these are the most famous 3D printers on the current scene and in recent years, and another of the companies that has most publicised this technology, proof of which is that it is a completely open printer. They are Dutch and their cheapest kit is in DIY format (Original+) and it costs about 995€has a print volume of 210 x 210 x 205 mm and prints at a speed of 8 mm3/s.
It has a single extruder but is capable of printing at a resolution of just 20 microns using as it said free software and hardware. It can print independently thanks to its integrated control and runs on Windows, Mac and Linux. It has hot-swappable expansion options, so it can print on Windows, Mac and Linux. ABS and PLA no problems.
On the other hand we have the compact versions (the ones you see in the photos) which are priced from 1195€, 1895€ y 2995€ with print volumes of 120 x 120 x 120 x 115 mm, 223 x 223 x 205 mm and 215 x 215 x 200 mm respectively. All three print at a speed of 24 mm3/s to a resolution of 20 microns. The Ultimaker 3 makes use of 2 extruders and can print via Ethernet and Wifi, the rest only via SD card.
All have integrated control and run on Windows, Mac and Linux and except for the 2 Go, they also have a hot bed. They print all kinds of materials such as Nylon, PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PVA, PC, TPU 95A, PP and Breakaway.
Buy Ultimaker 2 Go on Amazon
Buy Ultimaker 2+ on Amazon
Buy Ultimaker 3 on Amazon
We are back in Spain to find one of the best 3D printers for home or office at a price of 799€. With a printing capacity of 175 x 125 x 150 mm uses Linux as its internal software and can be used independently thanks to its integrated control.
It has all kinds of connectivity, WiFi, NFC, Ethernet and MQTT compatible with Windows, Mac and Windows, print PLA only, so it does not have a warm bed.
Buy Voladd on Amazon
Zortrax M200 and M300
They are a family of Polish printers, expensive, but of very good quality. They are priced respectively at 2326€ y 5755€ with print volumes of 200 x 200 x 200 x 180 mm and 300 x 300 x 300 x 300 mm. Both have one extruder and print at a maximum speed of 90 microns resolution. They use proprietary software called Z-Suite.
They make use of integrated control and can print independently thanks to an SD card reader. They are compatible with Windows and Mac and use a wide range of materials (only those they manufacture themselves, of course), Z-PLA Pro, Z-ASA Pro, Z-ESD, Z-ABS, Z-GLASS, Z-HIPS, Z-ULTRAT, Z-PETG and Z-PCABS.
I have tried to take into account a lot of interesting and important factors for this 3D printer comparison, but without having physically owned them there are details that may have escaped me, I can think of the quality of the manufacturing materials, if they tend to get stuck frequently, the difficulty of assembly if they come in kits, etc... these are things that I can't know from a distance and that are also very important.
If you ask me which one of these I would buy for myself, I would definitely say the Hephestos 2 for several reasons:
- Its price. If you have read this entire article, you will have realised that although the characteristics of the printers do not vary much, their prices do, and in this case I think it is the best value for money option.
- National product. It is made in Spain and this fact facilitates many things, you will not have scares at customsIf something goes wrong, you have the support in your languageall the manuals are in Spanish, shipping costs smaller...
In fact, we have chosen to sell it ourselves for these reasons.
Without further ado, I would like to finish by saying that as with everything, I may have forgotten to include some 3D printers in this comparison, so if you would be so kind, leave it in the comments and I will include it.
Comparison of discontinued 3D printers
American-made (like the vast majority, we'll see), with a price tag of 1299$ and with a slightly smaller size, which for experimenting a little, it is sometimes nice not to have a pot in the way. Its print volume is 140 x 140 x 135 mmwith a maximum resolution of 150 microns. In this case it uses proprietary software and is not open, neither in its software nor in its hardware.
It cannot print independently from a PC and is only compatible with Windows and Mac, on the other hand it is capable of printing both ABS as PLA and it does have a heated base. It received the award from Make magazine for the best 3D printer in terms of ease of opening and starting to use, in addition, it comes with a multitude of tools and accessories to make good use of this printer, a detail that other manufacturers do not have.
Another American printer with a lot of different versions (too many to be honest, it's a bit confusing to understand how they work), starting with the 2295$ you can have up to 2 extruders, 300 x 200 x 300 mm print size to about 150 mm/s and from among 60 and 100 microns resolution. It does not use open source software and only two of its models have on-board control, compatible with Windows and Mac.
Each version can print different materials, but they range from the one that only deals with PLAto the one that can with ABS, Polycarbonate and Nylon with its corresponding hot base. It looks like a good machine, but just diving into its versions and configurations, as well as its high price, makes you doubt.
We go again to the United States to meet, in my opinion, the product with a better finish and what the market should be tending towards in terms of domestic 3D printers. The Cube 3D printer's greatest asset is undoubtedly its design, but we will see that it does not fall short in the rest of its features either. Its printing volume is 152.4 x 152.4 x 152.4 mm (hence the name Cube) and comes directly with 2 extruders to be able to print in two colours.
It has a maximum resolution of 70 microns and uses a fully closed system with its own software and hardware. In the picture you can see that it also has a touch screen control integrated in the machine itself, which allows it to print independently with the help of its Wifi or USB connection. It is compatible with Windows and Mac and has apps for Android and iOS. Use PLA in its smaller version to add ABS plus some improved features in its Cube Pro version. Where you see it "only" costs 989€.
We are back in the Netherlands to meet a 3D printer and its big sisters that looks very good. It is priced at about 1500€ and a print volume of 230 x 270 x 200 mma speed of 60 mm/sThe possibility of adding a second extruder for double-colour printing and a maximum resolution of 50 microns. As I said, there are superior versions that improve these characteristics, the most expensive one costing around €8500, obviously for industrial use.
It uses proprietary software based on the open source Repetier software. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and prints with PLA, ABS, PVA, Nylon, Brick and HybridIt therefore needs a warm base.
This printer has been a very recent discovery. It comes from the USA and has a basic price of 199$ in its assembly kit version is very small, with a print volume of just 100 x 100 x 125 mm. Of course there are superior versions with larger dimensions and higher prices, but it is appreciated that the trend is to look for this type of printers to broaden the audience to which they can be addressed.
Prints at a speed of 100 mm/s (the large versions print at 500 mm/s, a record, although this would have to be checked), with only one extruder and a 50 microns resolution this small printer is out of the average, for the better. It uses free software and hardware and obviously for its size and price, it has no built-in control and cannot print independently. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and can only work with the PLA.
This printer is designed in such a way that you can upgrade it with different expansion kits, with its base model priced at 1595$. Its printing volume is very high, 298 x 275 x 250 mmThe same applies to its printing speed, 200 mm/s.
It has a maximum resolution of 75 microns and is free software and hardware. It has no built-in control, but can be added as an extra and is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux. By default it can print on ABS, PLA, PVA, HIPS and Laywoodso it needs and has a warm base.
I was really hesitating whether or not to put this printer because as you can see in the image, it is still in the creation and design phase. I have finally decided because it came out of a Kickstarter project in which it managed to raise 13 times the price they needed to start. It is a Canadian printer with SLA The best asset is its price, as it will be around 100$ Canadian (about 70€ at the exchange rate). At this price, it's hard to resist.
Little else is known about it, all specifications are approximate, such as its printing volume, which is expected to be in the region of 76 x 76 x 406 mmor its resolution, some 200 microns. Logically, it will logically use as printing material the UV-cured resin.
This printer is another one of those with the skeleton in the air, for those who love to see how everything works. It comes from the USA and has a base price of 374$ available as a kit or already assembled, it has a printing volume of 250 x 215 x 200 mm and the possibility of adding a second extruder. Its maximum resolution is 100 microns and makes use of free software that will run on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. It is hot based, so we will be able to print with PLA, ABS, HIPS and Nylon.
Another printer that catches my attention, both for its design, which is up to the standards of a good final product, and for its price, which is not too alarmist, about 397$. It looks small but is capable of printing up to 145 x 125 x 150 mm volume with a maximum resolution of 50 microns.
It uses proprietary software and seems to be very well prepared for modern times as it is fully integrated across all systems, running on Windows, Mac, Linux, Android and iOS. It has Wifi and EthernetIt is therefore expected to be able to operate autonomously even without integrated controls. It uses the miraculous PLA to print.
This printer was the one I always had my eye on as my first purchase, firstly because of its DIY aesthetics and secondly because of its price, 349$ available both in kit form and ready to assemble. It is very tiny and compact, with a volume of 100 x 100 x 100 mm and a print speed of 60 mm/s. It is the perfect machine to do your little tests and to be able to disassemble and improve it without fear of taking several thousand € ahead of you.
Nor does it excel in anything else, it has a resolution of about 100 microns and is fully open, both in software and hardware. It works under Windows, Mac and Linux and is capable of printing PLA (and ABS in its extended version) without the need to be connected to the PC, simply by being started from it.
The Solidoodle is a family of North American 3D printers that start with the smallest, the Press, at a price point of 449$ for sale fully compact and ready to use. It has a considerably good print volume of approx. 203 x 203 x 203 mm and prints to 100 microns resolution with its single extruder (its big brother Workbench comes with two extruders).
It uses proprietary software, the SoliPrint, and as you can see in the picture, it has no built-in control. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux and can use in addition to PLA, ABS to print.
I have hesitated to include this printer as it is more in line with the industrial level printers than what we have seen here. Apart from its large size (a printing volume of 305 x 305 x 305 mm), has a cost of 2749$It is not to be kept at home.
Its printing speed is rather short, about 50 mm/sits maximum resolution is 50 microns and it uses free software. I have no idea where they get the almost 3 thousand dollars it costs...
It is open hardware with some commercial restrictions. It does not have integrated control and can print independently using its Wifi, Ethernet or USB. It runs on Windows, Mac and Linux and only uses PLA.