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Everything You Need to Know about Buying Your First 3D Printer in 2019

Buying a 3D printer can be complicated. Bigger and more expensive doesn’t always mean something is better. And what might work for one person might not necessarily work for another. Just like any other gadget, you have to do your due diligence as a consumer and research and read up on the best 3D printers in Australia before you commit to the purchase.

As a 3D printing newbie, you might be overwhelmed by the amount of information you have to absorb. And believe us, there is a lot to take in, especially if you’re not that technically adept. If all this information is just confusing you more, we here at X3D will help you narrow down what 3D printer you should buy. Read our comprehensive guide to buying your first 3D printer below.

Guideline 1: Do you need a 3D printer?

A 3D printer is a costly investment. Are you sure that you’re not just buying on impulse? Before buying a 3D printer, make sure that you’ll be getting the most out of it. You need to consider how often you’ll be using it and for what purposes.

If you’re just venturing into the world of 3D printing as a hobbyist, you can try getting your feet wet first by visiting a 3D printing lab like SOLDER at FLUX to get a first-hand experience at 3D printing.

Address: 191 St Georges Terrace
Perth, 6000
Contact number: (08) 6102 5685 – 8am – 5pm Monday to Friday
Email: SOLDER@fluxperth.com

If your 3D printing projects are few and far in between, you can just outsource your projects to 3D printing service providers such as X3D. Fill out our form to get a complimentary, no-obligation 3D Print Quote to get started.

If you find that you’ll be using a 3D printer more regularly or have fallen in love with 3D printing as a hobby, it is time to buy your very first 3D printer. So where should you start? Go to the next step to find the right 3D printer for you.

Guideline 2: What 3D printer should you buy?

Before shopping around for a 3D printer, you need to determine your must-haves:

  • What size of models would you be 3D printing?
  • What’s your budget?
  • What filaments would you be using for your prints?
  • How adept are you at 3D printing software programs?
  • What are your specific requirements?

3D Printer Size

Typically, huge models are printed in installments and are glued together during post-processing. However, if you’ll be producing sizable models on a regular basis, you will find that there are 3D printers that have larger build volumes. On the flipside, almost any type of 3D printers can accommodate smaller prints.

Budget

X3D’s range of 3D printers are priced between just below $1000 and as much as $10,595. Here is what you can get according to your budget:

  • Budget 3D printers ($989- $1975): UP 3D printers, Plus 2 and Mini 2 make for great entry-level printers due to their affordability, easy-to-use interface, reliability, and compact size.
  • Mid-level 3D printers ($2900 – $3995): You can already buy a dual extruder 3D printer from this range. Dual extrusion is when your 3D printer has two extruders which allow you to combine colours and materials. You can also print your model and support at the same time. Our 3D printers in this price range include models from premium brands, such as the Ultimaker, BCN3D Sigma, and Zortrax.
    Recommended 3D printers: Zortrax M200 with Sides, ZORTRAX M200 PLUS, UP Box+, Ultimaker 2+, and BCN3D Sigma R17.
  • High-end 3D printers ($5,600 – $10,595): If you are an experienced prosumer with a healthy budget, you deserve nothing but the very best from Ultimaker. With this budget, you can get the best 3D printers, Ultimaker 3, Ultimaker 3 Extended, and Ultimaker S5.

Print materials

Not all 3D printers accept all kinds of filaments. Some brands only use proprietary 3D printer filaments such as Zortrax. Older models only work with a limited number of materials. Meanwhile, new models are compatible with most types of filaments, including the classic PLA and ABS, along with PVA, TPU, Nylon and more.

There are two filament diameters: 1.75mm and 3.00mm. What you’ll use depends on what your 3D printer is compatible with. Most 3D printers only accept one or the other. There are only a few of them that accept both diameters.

Software program

Some brands have their own software programs like the Cura for Ultimaker, UP software for UP, and Z-Suite for Zortrax. These vary in levels of usability and user interface. Some are easier to navigate than most. It all depends on your technical skills and knowledge in 3D printing.

Specific requirements

Each person has a different requirement from their 3D printers. Depending on the things you’ll be creating on them, they may prioritise printing speed, build volume, layer resolution, usability and so on. No two 3D printers are the same. Different 3D printers specialise on one of these criteria more than the others, so read through the 3D printer description to find out.

Do you require print resolution?

High print resolution retains the fine details of your design. This is especially handy when creating large parts with intricate details. If these are what you’ll be creating, it would be best to look for the smallest number of print resolution. This is because the smaller the number is, the better the resolution of your print will be.

Do you require print speed?

You have to keep in mind that 3D printing at high speeds can affect the quality of the output. 3D printing is not for the impatient. It takes a long time to produce large and complex models as it requires higher print resolution. However, if you aim to produce small parts that have low resolution or have materials that require high printing speeds, pick a 3D printer with speeds that go as high as 150mm/s.

Guideline 3: What should be the build of my 3D printer?

There are some features that vary in 3D printers, such as the print bed size and frame. Read below to find out how these impact your 3D printing.

Size of print bed

3D printers have heated and non-heated options of their print bed. A heated print bed comes in handy when using filaments that need extra adhesion, such as ABS. A larger print bed, on the other hand, lets you print bigger models.

Open or closed frame

3D printers either come with an open frame or closed frame structure. There are pros and cons to each type.

  • Open frame: 3D printers with open frames tend to be cheaper as it has less parts. It also allows the user to see the print in progress. The bed and extruder also have no obstructions, making it easier to access them.
  • Closed frame: When a 3D printer has a closed frame, it has a door, lid, and walls that act as an enclosure. This enclosure maintains the print temperature, contributing to the quality of the print. It is also safer since it contains the noxious fumes and noise and bars children and animals from touching the hot insides of the 3D printer during printing.

Buying a 3D printer need not be complicated with our 2019 Comprehensive Guide to Buying Your First 3D Printer. If you have more questions about our range of 3D printers, you can contact us by phone at (08) 6380 7488 or email us at x3d@x3d.com.au.