Other Reliable 3D Printers Worth Investigating
Dremel DigiLab 3D40 Flexible 3D Printer
The Dremel DigiLab 3D40 Flex 3D Printer is an excellent printer that may appeal to beginning 3D print enthusiasts and is ideal for STEM educators. It is easy to set and use.
What makes this printer attractive is that it’s compatible with multiple interfaces and software, such as
- Mac OS
This is handy for educators who may be working with different types of laptops or tablets. It also includes cloud-based software so you can print using Wi-Fi.
The Dremel Digilab 3D40 3D has a built in automatic detection for when your print material runs out. It pauses the print and waits for you to refill the filament roll.
In addition, it has a self-leveling feature that automatically accounts for imbalance during the print process. This makes it handy for when you want to start a print and leave it alone.
The fully enclosed housing keeps the temperature consistent and improves the print, while letting the printer run quietly.
It’s flexible build plate is held on with magnets and has convenient handholds to help you remove the plate when your print is done.
This printer is more expensive than the QIDI Tech X-Plus 3D by about $500, but it’s solid reputation and reliable 3D print capabilities makes the Dremel Digilab 3D40 a close second.
Their website contains slicer software and other helpful hints in case you need assistance. Dremel also has educational curriculum that you can pair with the printer to help in your classroom or science lessons.
QIDI TECH X-Max Large Size Intelligent Industrial Grade 3D Printer
The QIDI Tech X-Max large size intelligent industrial grade 3D printer is the upsized version of the QIDI Tech X-Plus 3D Printer and offers all the same features as the QIDI Tech X-Plus.
The main difference between the QIDI Tech X-Max 3D printer and the X-Plus is that it’s print plate is scaled larger than the X-Plus, and it can handle larger prints.
This industrial grade printer is geared toward an industrial setting where you may want to print full sized print jobs instead of parts that have to be assembled.
It’s internal build structure is made up of aviation aluminum and CNC machining aluminum alloy to provide a more stable print bed. Consequently, it’s much heavier when shipped and doesn’t have the same basic tool kit that comes with the X-Plus. You’ll have to contact the manufacturer for that.
The X-Max printer has space for two filament holders and can print using a variety of materials, including
- PLA plastic
- ABS plastic
- TPU or thermoplastic polyurethane
- PETG plastic
- PC or Polycarbonate
- Carbon Fiber
The QIDI Tech X-Max is more expensive and is an excellent choice for business owners in the industrial field looking to add a heavy-duty printer to their arsenal. With the ability to print full-sized parts, it cuts down on the process to create the final result and still offers the fine detail you need.
ANYCUBIC Photon Resin 3D Printer
The ANYCUBIC Photon Resin 3D Printer is the most reliable and budget friendly choice for 3D printers looking to use resin as their printing material instead of plastic.
When most people think of 3D printing, they probably think about the plastic variety. Where the printer creates a 3D print from the bottom to the top. Building layer upon layer using heat to shape the plastic.
However, a resin printer creates the 3D print starting from the top down to the bottom. Then uses a UV light to cure the viscous liquid.
The benefit to using resin as your print material as opposed to extruded plastics is that it provides much finer detail in the print while avoiding the print lines that extruded plastic prints inevitably produce.
The most common use for resin printing is for creating models or tiny figurines used in table top gaming. This is popular among customers and prop makers for creating the tiny detail pieces their costume part requires. It is less expensive and saves on time.
If you are a prop maker or heavily into cos-play, consider a resin printer to print your detail pieces. You won’t have to spend time
- Sanding the print lines down
- Filling spaces in with bondo
- Doing more sanding
- Wishing you could get that fine detail resin prints offer
Resin prints, however, require a rinse to get rid of the residue leftover from the resin material. You can use different chemicals to help remove the residue. Chemicals such as
- Isopropol alchohol at a 91 percent solution.
- Simple Green cleaner
- Denatured Alcohol
Whatever chemicals you use to clean the residue off the resin print, you have to figure out a way to wash the resin print. There are several DIY wash solutions for resin printers that may or may not cost a lot of money.
But if you want to avoid the mess and the smell, it’s recommended that you invest in a good wash and cure station. This not only rinses the resin residue away, but cures the print at the same time.
Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer
The Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer is a fantastic entry-level DIY 3D printer that is geared toward beginning 3D printers who want to get their feet wet into the 3D printing world. For under $250, the price point is very reasonable.
This printer is geared toward
- Budding STEM students who have a knack for building and want to try their hand at 3D printing and would make an excellent gift for them.
- For educational use in the class room to allow STEM students learn about 3D printing.
- For DIYers who want to understand how 3D printers work and like to put things together themselves and are looking for a budget friendly printer.
It comes semi-assembled and with a set of instructions to finish the rest of the assembly. If you have issues assembling printer, there are excellent videos to help guide you through the set-up of this 3D printer.
While most 3D printers use software like Fusion 360 to create the prints in, the Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer is open-sourced and lets you modify your source code. It also fosters a community environment in which users can share tips and tricks to help each other.
However, this printer doesn’t come fully enclosed like other printers and needs to be in a stable temperature environment that is well ventilated.
Also, it lacks a removable print bed. This can make removing your print problematic if you’re not careful. Some 3D print users use painters tape to form a temporary surface that can be removed without damaging the glass plate.
QIDI Technology High-end 3D Printer
The QIDI Tech X-Maker High-end 3D Printer is the most reliable and budget-friendly 3D printer available. This is the scaled down version of the QIDI Tech X-Plus 3D Printer and comes with the same reliability.
This printer is geared toward hobbyist 3D printers and STEM educators who want a solid plug and play printer that doesn’t require the pre-assembly like the Comgrow Creality Ender 3 Pro 3D Printer.
The QIDI Tech X-Maker’s print bed is significantly smaller than the QIDI Tech X-Plus. And it only has a single space to hold a spool of filament. But it still has the same features, such as
- It is enclosed to maintain a steady temperature and quiet running
- Has a flexible print plate that is attached using magnets
- Has the same splicing software as the X-Plus
- Reliable touch screen and Wi-Fi enabled for easy printing capabilities.
- Access to QIDI Tech’s customer service support
- Built in self-leveling print bed
It has special educational software geared toward STEM students interested in 3D printing. Having access to educational software is valuable when you’re planning out your curriculum and lessons for the year.
What Defines a Reliable 3D Printer
There are several factors that go into defining a reliable 3D printer. And with so many choices out there, where do you start in your decision-making process.
The first step in finding a reliable 3D printer is deciding what you plan on using the printer for. This is a good place to start your research. Things to think about are
- Where do you plan on placing the printer
- How often do you plan on using it
- Where will you use the printed parts
- Is this for your own personal use or for commercial purposes.
Once you’ve decided the purpose of your 3D printer, you need to understand the level of detail you are looking for. Different types of printers perform differently.
- FDM printers, or Fused Deposition Modeling, extrude or put out heated-up plastics and other materials that are called filaments, to create the 3D prints. These leave behind print lines that may need to be sanded out before finishing.
- Liquid resin printers use vats of resin to create a 3D print, then cure it using UV lights. This needs the extra step for washing the residue off in a wash station.
- Powered resin printers, called SLS or Selective Laser Sintering, uses powered resin to create 3D prints.
Consider what safety and other features you want in a printer.
- Does that FDM printer heat and cool the nozzle, maybe by moving it away from the finished print so as not to damage it.
- Touchscreen interface makes it easy to input the details into your printer
- How many filament spools does the printer hold
- How big does your printer need to be? If you are only printing small parts, then you don’t need a large print bed.
- Does it have a flexible and removable print bed? Removing the print from the glass print bed can get tricky if you don’t have something underneath it.
- Does it have an enclosed case? When heated up, plastic and resin can give off smells and fumes. Having your printer enclosed keeps these smells down. It also keeps the temperature more constant, as 3D printers can be finicky with quick changes in temperature.
- What is the printer resolution in microns? FDM machines go as low as 25 microns, and Resin printers can go as high as 100 microns. The level of detail you want in your prints will dictate the resolution in your printer.
The last and one of the most important things to consider is the reputation of the manufacturer and the quality of their customer support.
With so many new printers coming out on the market, it’s important that your 3D printer is made with quality, reliable parts that will last you for some time to come. And that the manufacturer has a solid customer support service you can get in contact with in case something goes wrong.
Make sure to do your research by reading user reviews and watching videos about the products. This will help you decide which printer is best, especially if you’ve narrowed your choices down to a couple of options.