Like any other computer controlled machine even a 3D printer requires or expects its buyer to possess sound knowledge, at least in terms of expectations. This simply means you, the purchaser need to be sure that you are opting or selecting a printer which not only suits your current demands but also takes care of your future projects. In short, your choice needs to adapt to newer software, materials and accessories. Mentioned below are 6 tips which will help choose the best 3D printer.
1. Printer Bed
Printer bed is made up of glass or metal block, typically covering a major part of your 3D printer. It rests at the bottom and plays an important role; offering residence to your production job. The logic here is really simple. A large bed means you can create huge objects and therefore cater to an array of demands from your customers. For individuals it simply means you can let your imagination go wild in terms of size because your printer can take care of it. However, a point to note; bigger bed means bigger machine. It also means the printer will occupy more space, run exorbitant electricity bill and of course burn a huge hole in your pocket. Budget folks will therefore have to compromise for smaller printer bed.
2. Printer Speed
A 3D printer has several moving parts; prominent among them is the hot end or the nozzle which boasts speeds in terms of,
- The speed with which it lays raw material.
- The speed with which it moves in the space without ejaculating raw material.
If you are not buying for commercial reasons, speed might not be an essential parameter. However, business folks need a fast printer as it offers better ROI. Speed comes with extra cost. So be prepared to shell out additional money in case you are opting for a printer which offers impressive speeds.
3. Parts and Accessories
Does the company offer quick replacement of damaged or faulty parts? Does it offer warranty and free exchange? More importantly, does it provide accessories for your subsequent requirements? Consider all these questions before signing the dotted line. Some of the fragile parts include glass built bed, plate tape and nozzle thermal insulator. Make sure the manufacturer offers quick service with minimum downtime and loss of productivity.
Accessories are yet another aspect you need to take into consideration. Filament case, blue tape, trolley, glass windows, etc. are some of the additional add-ons which business entities would want on regular basis. Therefore, you need to choose a company which invests money in R and D, and offers innovative accessories for enhanced productivity and improved finish.
4. Compatible App
The 3D printer application is the link between the printer and the 3D software that you intend using. Make sure the printer as well as the native application is compatible with some of the popular 3D software available in the market. Any lapse could simply mean learning a new program which would simply be a waste of time and loss of production time.
Secondly, the native application should be easy to hook up and configure. If setting up requires frequent calls to manufacturer’s tech support personnel, it spells disaster because the downtime would simply kill your creative instincts. The native application also needs to provide greater control and intuitiveness for performance tweaking.
5. Raw Materials
Generally, raw material supplied by 3D printer manufacturing company tends to be precise in terms of thickness ( Filaments ) or density ( Blocks ). Does your printer manufacture offer basic materials? Yes! Then you should give it due consideration. ABS and PLA filaments are some of the essential requirements for producing complex products. Dissolvable filament is yet another essential feed without which deep crevices or pathways within an object is just not possible. Remember, if the quality of raw material is good, it will simply mean steady flow through the extruder nozzle. This in turn will print high quality objects.
6. Support and Service
Make sure your printer manufacturer offers support and service across the nation if not global. Another aspect you need to check is online support. If the company has online presence then chances are it will have FAQ’s page. Visit the website and check out the details. Does it offer video demos, forums and troubleshooting tips? Incorporation of these elements simply means the manufacturer cares for its products and buyers. So what else you need to ascertain? Tool free number, live demos, friendly tech support and store locator.