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Top 10 3D Printers

3D printers are taking over for prototyping and speedy manufacturing. We check out some of the best options out there - for every budget and skill level!

3D printers are taking over for prototyping and speedy manufacturing. We check out some of the best options out there - for every budget and skill level!

Theyre not quite at the level of Star Treks replicator yet, but slowly, surely and with great amusement, were getting there!

3D printers have empowered a new generation of makers, in home, workplace and educational settings, and are becoming more and more affordable every day. These devices convert your 3D designs into small, plastic objects be they figurines, prototypes, or spare parts for domestic machinery and the level of sophistication will probably surprise you. Here are some of the best 3D printers available for any budget or skill level.

No. 1: Printrbot Simple

As far as bang for the buck goes, its tough to top the Printrbot Simple. The machine starts at $349 for the build-it-yourself kit (or $449 pre-assembled), and is available with plenty of perks (like a metal enclosure) if you need them. It uses cheap PLA material to create small prints quickly, and while its not exactly a powerhouse the print volume is small, at 4 x 4 x 4 inches, though a $139 expansion unit increases this to 7.2 by 4 by 5.5 inches its a great way to get the ball rolling for not a lot of dough.

The Simple kit starts at $349.99

The Simple kit starts at $349.99

No. 2: Ultimaker 2

By all metrics, the Ultimaker 2 is the fantastic option for 3D printing enthusiasts. The unit is sturdy and approachable, as has become the Ultimaker trademark. It supports any brand of 3mm ABS or PLA filament (as well as other filament types), and can be used to quickly bust out 200-micron resolution prototypes, or more considered fine prints at just 20 microns. It even has room for a second extruder, which will allow for printing in multiple colors or materials.

The Ultimaker 2 costs $2500

The Ultimaker 2 costs $2500

No. 3: Formlabs Form 1+

Youll pay a bit more for them, but resin printers produce objects with lots of detail, and Formlabs Form 1+ is the best way to get into the world of resin. If you want to get really granular with your designs and arent overly concerned with speed, its one of the best options out there: The design is beautiful and operation is straightforward, software is dead easy to use with good online documentation, and it can accept STL files from most CAD tools.

The 1+ costs $3299

The 1+ costs $3299

No. 4: Solidoodle 4

This well-designed, durable and easy-to-use printer has a spacious build area and represents a great value for the money. It opens itself up to tweaks and modifications due to its open design. While its not quite as intuitive as some of its competition, it makes up for it in size, with a 6-inche cubed print bed. The Solidoodle 4 can print using either with petroleum-based acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic, or polylactic acid (PLA), a starch-based, biodegradable plastic.

The Solidoodle 4 will cost you $599

The Solidoodle 4 will cost you $599

No. 5: PP3DP Up! Mini

The Up! Mini by PP3DP.com and Delta Micro Factory Corp. is has a fully enclosed design that comes with everything you need, from material to gloves. While printing its impressively quiet, and warm-up time is very quick. Theres enough filament for dozens of builds, and the default print setting on the machine is .25mm/250 micron, which produces very clean output. As the name implies, its mini the build area is 4.72 inches, cubed but you can get some great results out of it for a relatively cheap price.

The Up! Mini will cost you $899

The Up! Mini will cost you $899

No. 6: Robo 3D R2 Mini

With a compact design, a 4.5-inches cubed build volume, a Wi-Fi connection, and an LCD touch screen, the Robo 3D R2 Mini gives you a lot for a little. It can print in a range of materials beyond PLA and ABS, letting users experiment with other types of filament. Out soon at a rather pleasing cost of $500 - $600.

The R2 is expected to cost $500 - $600

The R2 is expected to cost $500 - $600

No. 7: Stratasys Mojo

This small, prototyping 3D printer is great for quick modeling, and one of the smallest industrial quality options out there. For those looking to spend a bit more on their 3D printer, the Mojo prints using ABSPlus thermoplastic, which is stronger and lighter than normal ABS. It can only print 5 x 5 x 5 inch creations, but layer height and resolution is comparable to many more expensive models. Stratasys also has a recycling program that lets you replace the material and print head, which is very convenient, and the footprint is small enough to fit on your desktop.

The Mojo will run you $5999

The Mojo will run you $5999

No. 8: Type A Machines Series 1

With its large print area, detailed user guide and excellent ease-of-use, Dynamisms Type A Machines Series 1 fires off consistently excellent prints in a variety of resolutions. The San Francisco-based company provides great, unlimited tech support, and The Series 1 is compatible with Windows, Mac, or Linux. Type A Machines Series 1 is geared towards pros and hobbyists alike, depending on their budget.

The Series 1 costs $2749

The Series 1 costs $2749

No. 9: bq Witbox

Made in Spain by bq, The reinforced chassis also let users stack more units on top of each other to easily create a grid of 3D printers. It has a large build area, and its ease of use and high print quality make it a great choice for students and educators (as does the fact that its fully enclosed, making it stable and child-safe. Its fantastically well built, and relatively affordable to boot.

The Witbox will cost you roughly $1900

The Witbox will cost you roughly $1900

No. 10: Makergear M2

The M2 is built on a solid, sturdy metal chassis, and can use PLA or ABS to build objects of as large as 203 x 254 x 203 mm. Its available in either kit form or assembled, and users can tweak it with onboard controls and interchangeable nozzles. Manufactured in Ohio, the M2 is calibrated well and is extremely well-built, and Makergear provides excellent, unlimited customer support.

The M2 will run you $1775.00 assembled, or $1475 as a kit

The M2 will run you $1775.00 assembled, or $1475 as a kit

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