If you’ve decided it was time you bought your first 3D printer, but aren’t quite sure what to look for, we’ve got a solution for you. Here are all the important things you need to know before investing in a 3D printer.
The Types of 3D Printers
Many people don’t realize that 3D printing in itself is a very broad term that is used to describe all the technologies required for creating physical materials. The one which is probably known in the media and also the most popular is the one that uses FDM, a Fused Deposition Modeling. Fused Deposition Modeling is an additive process where you get to create models by heating and extruding plastic which is then and are pieced layer by layer. Most of the 3D printers work based on this technology and are also widely available and quite easy to find. The other two types of 3D printing are SLS, Selective Laser Sintering, and Stereolithography. Stereolithography also uses an additive process but uses a UV light beam to harden a model instead of extruding plastics. SLS is also quite similar except that it uses lasers and powders instead of UV light beams and liquid. The laser is used to melt the powder which creates a layer of the printed material.
Is Printing Speed Important?
While you may not be aware that printing speed is an important factor, many experts argue that this might indeed be one of the key aspects. The higher the speed of your 3D printer, the better the printer is, but it comes at a price. Getting a 3D printer will depend on what you expect it to print, and also the highest printing speed has limitations on its own, so it’s best advised you decide beforehand on what you prefer. A 3D printer will give you finer details if it has a lower printing speed but will offer a higher turnaround time if it has a higher speed. Furthermore, you should know that 3D printing is all about patience and you should own that quality of the print because it might take hours and sometimes even weeks to 3D print parts. The larger the piece is, the longer it will take to print it. Another factor that largely adds to the time is the complexity of the object. This is why it might be important to weigh in all the factors and determine the speed.
One of the most important factors that you should be aware of before making a purchase is the overall payment of 3D printing. Generally speaking, the cost of buying and running a 3D printer will depend on many factors such as the price of the model, the time you plan on using it, repair expenses, electricity, etc. This is all the more important to consider if you plan to make money with 3D printing. If you’re after the best quality output 3D printers which are used by professionals, their price will range anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000. If you’re completely new to 3D printing, you can invest in a cheaper 3D printer for less than $100. However, you should be aware that these low prices also provide a certain quality of the printed material. While this might seem like a problem, the prices of 3D printers are constantly decreasing as there is more competition so you might end up getting a really good printer for a much smaller price.
Another very important thing you need to be aware of before buying a 3D printer is the appropriate safety measures that come with using one. The first thing to be aware of is the heat when you’re modeling with heated plastics because plastics, extruders, and the print bed itself can become too hot and can burn you if you’re not careful. The next thing to consider is that 3D printers need to be placed in a room that is very well ventilated. The fumes which get emitted during the 3D printing process come from the ABS plastics mostly, and as some researches show that these aren’t harmful, others suggest you should take precautions anyway. A 3D printer is not a toy, no matter how fun it is to use it because it can cause serious burns to anyone who has access to it. As you are well aware burns can be quite serious and hard to treat, not to mention they almost always leave a huge scar.
Make sure you consider all of these factors before buying a 3D printer, especially if you’re new to the experience. Be aware of all the safety measures too because this is not a toy, and also weigh in your pricing options based on what you plan to use it for.