What Kind of 3D Printer Should I Buy?

March 4, 2020

By Nick Quinn

Have you seen 3d printers online or on a YouTube video creating the coolest stuff imaginable and thought to yourself …. I wish I could get one of those? You can, there's nothing stopping you other than $300 and some patience to learn a new skill set. The learning curve can be quite severe with 3d printers because they're isn't a way for you to be instructed on using them locally. The internet is the main resource for you to learn how to use a 3d printer so if you're not into teaching yourself new skills its not for you. First off you have to land on the 3d printer you want to buy. There's a couple of major factors that you'll want to look at like build area, brand, reputation and cost. Most printers available will print PLA right out of the box. PLA is a plastic that melts through the hotend fed by the extruder that lays down a thin layer of plastic and builds layer by layer on your build surface to ultimately get a completed 3d object. ABS, PETG and other filaments are available whether you want your objects stronger, flexible, see through etc. You'll need a full enclosure to print ABS as the ambient temperature has to be regulated and there's other carveouts to some of the other filament types unlike PLA. PLA is also the safest with little to no impact on air quality. I have an air quality sensor and never has PLA ever impacted the environment negatively even in closed spaces.  I like a minimum of 300 x 300 for the build area and I don't like to pay more than $400 so that leaves us with a couple of brands to choose from. Creality CR10 and the Tevo Tornado are the most popular and there is a ton of online information as well as replacement parts available for the Creality brand printers. Ebay is the cheapest place to get a 3d printer and they usually ship from the US. Amazon is more expensive but you can get one in 2 days or you can use Bangood and Gearbest and have one shipped from China. I like eBay personally for the balance of cost to delivery time. My personal preference is a Creality CR10 or one of the generic versions. I don't like anything too dependent on technology like sensors and autoleveling. All it takes is for a bed sensor to get loose and now you can't print anything and have no idea how to fix it until you spend countless hours online. Tech support isn't present, Chinese manufacturing means no help with troubleshooting. I like my components physical and replaceable. You'll need to replace parts from time to time so its absolutely critical to get a brand of printer with a lot of parts available in the US as well as a brand or model of printer that you can fix yourself. I'm not knocking some of the more expensive 3d printers, they are more dependable and really nice and if you have the money and prefer really nice high tech printer and have a ton of time to learn everything about it technical and all go for it. But for me I'll stick to what I can operate and what I can fix. Below is a link to a Creality CR10 3d printer available of eBay.