What is a 3D Printer for Me?
When considering buying a 3D printer, you will be faced with various types, and there are pre-built and self-built. In this modern days, there are some great printers on the market that you can find, and they come at various prices. The difference between pre-built and self-built of the same model is only for the price. Of course, you would pay extra for their work because someone else has built a pre-assembled.
To decide the type of 3D printer that is right for you, you need to answer the questions below which will lead you to determine the best 3D printer you should buy and read desktop 3d printer reviews. You will learn here and then apply it to the list of printers to help you make a choice.
- First, determine what the function is? Whether for miniatures or terrain.
- Then, set the budget. Is it low(under $400), medium (about $400 – $600) or high (more than $600).
- What build size do you need? Small (120×120), Medium (200×200), Large (300×300), Huge (400×400+)
- Do you want a kit printer, a pre-built printer or a pre-built that can be heavily modified?
- What is your technical skill? (low, competent, high)
I recommend going with the self-built printer. You will find that you can get more printer for your buck on the off chance that you purchase a unit and assemble it yourself. It’s not too, and it’s not simple either. For most people who enjoy painting models and tinkering will enjoy making their printer. Self-built also give you a chance to learn more and understanding of the different component that stands up a printer. If you have a printer that is mostly plugged and play, you will not understand the parts as well.
3D Printing Types
Let’s learn more about the printing technologies. There are two common types of printers. One of them is called FDM (Fused deposition modeling), and the other styles are called SLA (Stereolithography) and DLP (Digital Light Processing).
FDM printing is the most common printing method used in 3D printing. FDM is an additive process, which is made by heating and extruding plastics, uniting layer by layer. This type of printer is the most widely used by industry. The 3D printer can use many materials, but in general, the elements that usually use are ABS and PLA. The determination of this material is crucial in choosing a 3D printer because ABS and PLA have different characteristics.
ABS and PLA are thermoplastic where they will soften and are easily formed when heated and solid after cooling. ABS is widely produced for the industry. The plastic is hard and a bit more flexible than the PLA. ABS needs to be printed in an enclosed space to retain heat and prevent warping, shrinking, and delamination. PLA and ABS are value for money. I recommend PLA for most uses, it comes in various colors and is safe. It’s necessary to consider the costs when building a lot of terrains.
But it’s not well to print miniature because they lack the resolution. If you need the high-temperature performance of ABS, my recommendation is PETG as it’s another safe filament without the problem associated with ABS.
SLA/DLP printers is a UV light-sensitive material that uses a laser LCD screen to harden the resin layer by layer. It uses resin to make the 3D model. But it’s more expensive than FDM printer. It has excellent resolution than FDM printer. That’s why this type of printer tends to be great for miniatures.
So, what’s the best?
I recommend considering FDM for Terrain, and the SLA/DLP style printers for miniatures.
Generally, there are two main types of printer beds. Some are square/rectangle; some are circular. All of them have a Z-axis that creates a cube or cylinder respectively. It’s important to consider the build volume when you buy a printer. Most models are sliced which fit one most normal print beds. Some of the sliced fit on the big Monoprice Mini bed that is 120x120mm. Also, most prints fit on a more standard 200x200mm, with some of them needed a full 300mm square.
The two primary consideration with build plate size is a maximum size of the model and total amount of space for smaller parts. Each has its advantage, it’s sound good to put several pieces on a plate at a time and printing, but it takes the risk of malfunction halfway through, then they will be trash. While the smaller build volume forces you to print fewer items.
So, even the large plate may be right, but it’s not always the best choice.
Most of FDM printers will have built plates in a range of small and large (small 120×120, medium 200×200, large 300×300, colossal 400×400+).
Best Entry Level 3D Printer
As we know that FDM printers come in many shapes and sizes. There are two common types, and they are Cartesian and Delta. Let see the detail.
Cartesian printers are the most familiar in use, with the i3 style being the most familiar type. They have a rectangular bed which is excellent for the printable terrain. Here are some of the Cartesian printer’s forms.
I3 Clone called the Tivo Tarantula which uses for Terrain, Low budget, Competent technical skill, Medium build size and FDM type. This printer has an excellent basis to start from, giving you the ability to take a reasonably standard printer into a very high-quality printer. Another style is CoreXY which has some minor variations of this one as well.
The Cartesian printers are the most familiar on the market, with i3 representing the vast majority of the available printers out there. There is Creality Ender 3 which use for Terrain, Low budget, low technical skill, Medium build size and FDM type. This is a newcomer and has been taking the 3D Printer market by storm. If you try to a little cost, entry-level 3D Printer, probably it can be your best choice right now. Because they are low cost and have a high performance, I am worried that they will be out of stock for many times.
Another favorite printer style is called the Delta. The deltas printers will usually feature a circular print bed. Known for fast printer speed. Delta printers have the advantage in the ability to make taller objects due to the height of the printer and the great arms. Rather than using simple Cartesian geometry to calculate where the print-nozzle should go, delta printers estimate the head position using trigonometric functions.