As an avid reader, I am quite sure you have come across multiple articles on additive manufacturing otherwise known as 3D printing, its benefits and how it can be used in whatever industry your profession falls under.
For some readers, the urge to take theoretical knowledge and put it into practice will have you considering purchasing a 3D printer to kick-start life on the creative side. Well, this article is for you and we urge you to stay with us as we analyze some of the best 3D printers you can purchase at affordable rates to start your journey.
Now, how does one go about selecting the best device in a category that has thousands of similar devices? The answer is simple, he or she must make use of some criteria which will serve as a yardstick for making a choice. So here is our yardstick
Criteria for Selecting the Top 10
The criteria to be discussed covers features that determine your building capacity and how accurately users can build without encountering insurmountable issues during the manufacturing process. Also, note that most domestic 3D printers come in assembly kits which means you must be quite handy, so as to be able to assemble your printer accurately before use.
- Build Volume: this is the size or volume of the building surface a 3D printer works with. Most printers under $500 are built for domestic use which means the build Volume space is usually quite limited for manufacturing bigger objects
- Printing Effectiveness: everyone expects some level of accuracy and malleability when printing 3D objects, and most printers come with heated beds which provide these. This criteria will focus on print accuracy and the availability of a heated bed.
- Cost: today’s topic borders on frugality so the amount in which the listed 3D printers can be purchased for is an important criteria to consider. We also understand that beginners would not yet be willing to part with too much when starting out 3D printing.
The Top 6 3D Printers Under 500
So here we are, the best printers you can purchase for as little as possible with the ability to create solid, durable 3D models for your use.
Reprap Guru DIY Prusa i3
Anyone looking to gain some hands on experience with working with a 3D printer is welcome to start with the Prusa i3. It comes in an assembled package which means users must first go through the user guide before tinkering and assembling it to function properly. Once this is done, you are ready to start printing.
- Build Volume: As building space go, the Prusa i3 truly provides some building capacity or space which allows for some decent work. With a capacity of 8*8*7 inches, you can definitely do a lot.
- Printing Effectiveness: the Prusa i3 comes with a printing bed which means you can work with ABS–molten plastic–when designing your models. The availability of a borosilicate heat bed drastically increases the accuracy of this 3D printer and it also prints to a resolution of 100 microns.
- Cost: the Prusa i3 costs approximately $340 and with its features, it should be considered a bargain by anyone looking to purchase a small domestic 3D printer.
The HICTOP Prusa i3
For those in love with more building volume, the HICTOP Prusa i3 is definitely a fan favorite. This is due to its considerable large build volume and the availability of a heated bed. In purchasing the package, users will have to first assembly its parts before use. But do not be disheartened for it comes with educational resources on assembling as well as its use.
- Build Volume: a considerably large build volume of 11*8*7 inches provides more than ample space for building domestic objects and small toys or items that can be used around the home.
- Printing Effectiveness: the HICTOP Prusa i3 also features a heated bed and can be used to print with ABS filaments to a high level precision–0.1mm to 0.4mm. Which makes it a great educational tool for 3D printing students.
- Cost: this 3D printer is relatively cheap when compared to its colleagues in its category. Purchasing a 3D printer with a heat bed for $315 is definitely a solid bargain.
Related Post: Download free STL files
Printrbot Play 1505
In the world of 3D printing, manufacturers Printrbot has become a household name and it should be no surprise to see one of its printers on this list. It is quite accurate and should be viewed as a printer for beginners and students.
- Build Volume: the Printrbot has quite a small build volume. With a build Volume of 4*4*5 inches, or happens to be one of the smallest 3D printers in this list. Therefore its use should be limited to building toys, and other minute’s objects for personal use.
- Printing Effectiveness: the Printrbot 1505 lacks a heated bed but this in no way affects its printing accuracy nor effectiveness as a printing machine. In fact, it is one of the most accurate printers on this list and features a printing resolution of 50 microns.
- Cost: the Printrbot 1505 leverages its brand name and printing ability in terms of its pricing. A unit of this 3D printer costs approximately $390 and can be found online at Amazon.
The HICTOP Desktop
Another HICTOP brand makes our list and this time, it is the bigger Desktop which comes with an autobed leveling feature which is traditionally found in more expensive 3D printers. Like most printers on this list, users must be willing to assemble the device before kick-starting the printing process.
- Build Volume: the Desktop is slightly bigger than its counterpart the HICTOP Prusa i3. Its volume is 11*8*8 inches which provides more spaces for building objects. I also have a theory that its size was instrumental in the naming of this domestic 3D printer.
- Printing Effectiveness: this 3D printer is equipped with an autobed leveler which ensures the accuracy of your prints. Its heated bed makes it possible to print PLA Filaments including using some other specialty filaments like HIPAA, Wood and Nylon. It prints to a resolution of a 100 microns
- Cost: Despite its advanced features, HICTOP still considered the little guy by setting its price at approximately $443. Which is still quite affordable and a bargain when considering what it brings to the table.
The Geetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s
As far as name goes, the Geetech Delta is one of my favorites, for it packs a solid name as well as an exquisite build which is aesthetically pleasing to the eyes. Its advanced features on the other hand will make you doubt that it falls under our $500 price range.
- Build Volume: as build volumes go, the Delta Rostock’s should be considered average for it provides a surface area of 7*8 inches. Which is still large enough to build domestic objects of your choice.
- Printing Effectiveness: the Geetech Delta prints at a resolution of 100 microns and it includes a heating bed which aids accuracy. But what makes this 3D printer exceptional is its 2 extruder feature which allows for printing your objects in different colors. Also integrated is an auto-leveling probe designed to aid the adjustments you require while printing.
- Cost: judging from our list, a price of $460 may seem excessive to some but I believe that the features packed into the Geetech Delta Rostock Mini G2s package makes it worthwhile to both beginners and 3D printing hobbyists.
The M3D Micro
The M3D Micro first came into the limelight as one of the successful projects that received funding from a kickstarter campaign. The M3D is quite small but packs a solid mechanisim that aids its printing process when building a project.
Its features include:
- Build Volume: the build Volume of the M3D is quite small and at 7.3 cubic inches, it provides the perfect space to design compact 3D models for your personal use
- Printing Effectiveness: the M3D Micro is a very precise printer and although it has no heat bed, it still prints to a high level of accuracy. It prints to a resolution of 50 microns which makes it one of the best 3D printing machines under the $500 range.
- Cost: the cost of the M3D Micro is approximately $430 which puts it at the higher end of this list but its precision and durability makes it one you should consider purchasing.
The XYZprinting Davinci Jr 1. 0 3D
The XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. is a decent option for anyone looking for an entry-level 3D printer. It can be a great machine to teach your kids how 3D printing works, or just as a fun toy for anyone interested in the technology. Like its counterparts on this list, users must be ready to assemble the kit before use
- Build Volume: the build Volume of the XYZprinting Davinci Jr is quite small and at 6 cubic inches, it provides the perfect space to design compact 3D models for your personal use
- Printing Effectiveness: the XYZprinting Davinci Jr Micro printing accuracy and precise is quite good, and with a resolution of 100 microns you can make domestic items as well as toys for your kids. Although it comes without a heat bed, it still provides decent printing capabilities to beginners
- Cost: the cost of the XYZprinting Davinci Jr is approximately $380 which puts it at the higher end of this list but its durability makes it one you should consider purchasing.
Here we are at the end of the list and I believe the 3D printers outlined above have the required features and the price range needed to get you started as an additive manufacturer. For those who have their favorites which are not on this list, do not hesitate to add your voice to the conversation using the comment box below.
Related Post: Cool Things to 3D Print