A 3D printer is used to create three-dimensional figures by using computer-aided design (CAD). It is achieved through a method known as layering. Different materials like plastics are used to create objects such as cars, car parts, or houses plus house amenities, which vary in size and color. Note, these printers are fast, accurate, and flexible; hence they are essential, especially to companies who use them for rapid prototyping. In this extract, we discuss key points to note when picking a 3D printer.
Printers are essential in technological advancements, and getting the best budget 3d printer is crucial. There is a wide range in the market to choose from, and the factors below will make the buying process easier.
Different 3D printers use different technologies. Each has its pros and cons, and understanding them will guide you to pick the one that suits you.
1. Stereolithography (SLA)
It is popular among builders and designs, but it is quite expensive. A liquid plastic printing material called photopolymer resin is used for modeling. An ultraviolet laser is used to solidify the resin, and the resultant objects are clear and with very high resolution.
2. Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
It is the most popular technology due to its ease of use. It is also widely available and affordable to many people. It uses a process called material extrusion; thus, the object is printed in successive layers, and many materials can be used.
3. Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
It is the most expensive 3D printing technology. It is a good option for industrial applications as it produces designs with fine details. It uses a laser to melt the materials, e.g., polystyrene and fuses them to print a particular object.
4. Printing Speed
The speed dictates the amount of work you can cover and the time you’ll spend on it. High-resolution printers have a slow printing speed since it focuses more on the details and clarity. The printing nozzle also affects the rate. A small nozzle moves at a slow pace to produce fine prints while a large one works very fast, but the quality of print produced is not the best.
5. Material Compatibility
There are mainly two materials needed for 3D printing. These are Poly Lactic Acid (PLA) and Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS). The material determines the final product, and not all printers use both substances.
6. Build Volume
It refers to the space used during the 3D printing process. The printer’s size should accommodate the prints you want, and some like the SLA is small compared to others. It gives fine details, and the quality of finish is high, but it is not suitable for large prints. You can choose to compromise on the quality and go for machines with a more significant build volume then post-process the printed objects to get a finer look.
There are multiple types of 3D printers with different outputs hence the difference in prices. High-quality ones like those used by skilled personnel are more expensive, but there are other cheaper models you can choose from for a start. Prices are usually not inclusive of materials; therefore, you have to factor their cost too.
3D printers can be tough to buy, especially if it’s your first time. Take time to understand the application to avoid purchasing the wrong one. Also, take time to understand the different types of 3D printing materials and their elements.