The replicators from Star Trek are close to becoming a reality with the development of 3D printers and it is really easy to get your hands on one to see the miracle for yourself!
The process of 3D printing is also called additive manufacturing and if they were a matter of the future a few years ago, now you can get one for yourself. These printers could lead to a new industrial revolution since you can send a blueprint of any product on another continent and they will be replicated there.
Although they were first developed during the 1980s, they became a mainstream item in the 2010s and today everyone knows about them. In case you never thought about buying one, today they are quite affordable and thus we made a selection for you to choose from. Let us find out how much it would cost you to get a 3D printer in your own home and what other supplies you need to make it work.
XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer
This won the Editors’ Choice Award at the CES 2014 for being the most affordable 3D printer and at the price of $499.99 it is really cheap when compared to the others on this list. This one totally beats its competition when it comes to the size/price ratio, being 69% bigger than the competition. It has a size of 20x20x20cm and you can use it straight out of the box due to the plug-and-play features.
The filament cartridges are easy to replace or install and the CE certified printer with an enclosed design protects the users from the high temperatures while also making the printing process more efficient. You get access to a large online community which shares 3D designs and you will be really surprised to see how much this printer can do for such a small price.
The cartridges come in 13 colors and the XYZ Printing Filament Cartridges were made to offer the most accurate image. You can print in ABS or in PLA, the two most common thermoplastics available and the layer thickness is between 100-400 microns.
HICTOP Prusa I3 3D Desktop Printer
Although this printer was originally listed for a higher price than the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 at $550, you can now get it for $363.99 on Amazon, so it is even cheaper than the first one and thus a comparison is in order.
The high accuracy CNC self-assembly means that when it comes to setting this printer up it will take quite a long time, but once the calibration is completed you will have a really high quality 3D printer at a very modest price. If you want an adventure and like to put things together yourself (as with the IKEA furniture for example) then this might be worth buying.
This printer has a software entitled ReplicotorG and you can print a size of up to 270x200x170mm on ABS or PLA with the same layer thickness as the previous one (100-400 microns). The printer can be upgraded due to the flexible motherboard and thus its adaptability much higher than the Da Vinci one, but this is only a plus for those who like to tinker and the others might prefer the sturdiness and easy control found with the previous one.
FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro
This desktop 3D printer was built on an open-source platform and comes with features like a metal frame structure, acrylic covers, an optimized build platform and dual extruder w2 spools. The hardware additions make the prints it makes in ABS stand out as highly detailed and it can also print on PLA.
For the price of $1,199 you get FlashForge Creator Pro, two spool holders, two spools of filament, two filament guide tubes, the cables needed and an SD card of 4GB with the software, sample files and manual. This one can be used on Linux as well, something that the other printers couldn’t say and you have a build envelope of 225x145x150mm.
Aside from the great customer support and attention to details, this printer gives you access to a wonderful community which will provide a lot of new ideas and designs. The platform system was completely redesigned for this model to withstand high temperatures and the overall construction is really solid with a steel frame so you will have this printer for a long time.
MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer
This is the most expensive item on this list at the price of $2,745.84 and that was discounted from $3,499, so let us check out the additional features you get for the extra dollars. This is the fifth generation of this technology and it is the easiest and most versatile so far.
The volume is of 250x200x150mm and they say the prints are true-to-life objects and that isn’t hard to believe at a resolution of 100-microns. Another quality it has is the speed with which it prints and the great support for the hardware, firmware and software you get access to. You get USB, Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity and have an on-board camera as well as diagnostics and assisted build-plate leveling to give you insight into how things are going.
In conclusion the best bet is to think about what you want to do with the device before buying it and if you just want to give a printer like this a try without too many complications then the XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D Printer is unbeatable for that price (at about the same price the HICTOP Prusa I3 will be quite difficult to assemble and thus more suitable for someone specialized in this kind of equipment).
If quality is what you are looking for then you should check out the FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro since it is overall more stable and efficient than the MakerBot Replicator Desktop 3D Printer and you also save over $700 dollars in the process.
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