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We now have some options for 3D printing. Looking at capabilities, ease of use, and cost, can anyone recommend the best 3D printing from their own experience?

asked Jan 30 '13 at 14:24

Kevin%20Kelly's gravatar image

Kevin Kelly

I really don't have a good answer.

As far as I'm concerned, the average, readily available 3-D printer is great for one thing; producing samples for checking engineering (or design, or scientific) 'form, fit, and function'. OR producing baubles that sit nicely on a shelf after being given away at trade shows. I used to work for a company who sold the Objet line of printers, and they are amazing machines. There is one thing to remember as well, a dedicated operator is often required to get you 3-D printed object produced, and keep the machine maintained and running well.

The companies that have been set up solely as "3-D Print Shops" seem to have the business model worked out. A simple warehouse (or office park) for low overhead, 100+ 3-D printers to take advantage of the economy of scale for the supplies, a loading dock for shipping/receiving, a few highly qualified operators, and a well set up website for the customer interaction.



answered Feb 04 '13 at 13:13

boatbuilder's gravatar image


It depends on your goals and your budget. The five key parameters are 1) size 2) materials 3) speed 4) finish 5) colors. The larger the object you can print, the more expensive the machine. The type of print material you use, and their melting point is another key factor. If time is important, you should invest in a more costly printer that prints faster. Finish is generally related to speed and the step size (resolution) of the machine, and fine steps cost more than course steps. Machines that can print in multiple colors are more expensive than single-color printers.

For example, if you goal is to just learn about 3D printing, you could buy a small, low-melting-point, slow, low-resolution, single-color machine.

On the other hand, if you need to churn out large, durable, high quality products in multiple colors, you should go for a large, high-melting-point, fast, hi-resolution, multi-color printer.


answered Feb 17 '13 at 19:12

nixie's gravatar image


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Asked: Jan 30 '13 at 14:24

Seen: 2,653 times

Last updated: Feb 17 '13 at 19:12

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