3D Printer Buying Guide

3D printers are quickly becoming commonplace in professional and personal life. From small toys to machine parts, 3D printers can create impressive objects from a variety of materials. We hope this guide will help you make the right decision.

3D printing technology is growing in popularity around the world as it makes life easier and produces helpful gadgets in many areas. Not only is it a powerful technology with a promising future, but it also helps businesses save a lot of money. We used to associate 3D printing with big companies, manufacturers and universities. Although some may think of 3D printers as just toys, they have tremendous benefits if you know exactly how to use them. It is a technology that is being used on a large scale and is being adopted by more and more companies. 3D printing will play an important role in our lives in the new advanced world.

The strength, smoothness and overall quality of printed products depend on the type of printer and materials used. If you just want to use the printer as a hobby, inexpensive filament-based devices may be just what you need. However, you may need the 3D printer for your business to replace machine parts or make items that are used on a daily basis. In this case, a more expensive resin or powder material printer may be required. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of uses for 3D printers, so consider all of your possible creations before purchasing.

Types of 3D printers

3D printing is a broad term that encompasses the technologies required to create physical materials. The process you’ve probably heard about in the media and most popular among hobbyists is fused deposition modeling (FDM).

Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

Fused deposition modeling (FDM) is a cost-effective and common desktop 3D printing technology that quickly produces plastic parts. The most common type of 3D printing technology, the FDM printer works by extruding a plastic filament layer-by-layer onto the build platform.

In its most common business use case, engineers use it to test the fit and form of machine parts. For home use, however, many hobbyists use this technology to produce practical materials such as prosthetic limbs, casts, toys, and more.

Stereolithography (SLA)

SLA printers can produce objects with high detail, smooth surfaces and tight tolerances (tiny details with very little variation – think machine parts!). SLA technology can be used in businesses and at home to produce objects such as small computer parts and prosthetics.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

SLS melts nylon-based powders together to form solid plastic. SLS parts are made from thermoplastic materials, which makes them especially durable and gives them the ability to construct intricate shapes. Because of its durable construction and ease of use, this technology can be used to print a variety of household and office items such as hand tools, gloves, headphones and more.

Digital Light Process (DLP)

DLP uses a digital light projector to project an entire layer at once, resulting in faster printing speeds. Both home users and creative businesses can use DLP printers to print highly detailed sculptures and three-dimensional renderings of artwork.

Multi Jet Fusion (MJF)

Multijet fusion produces functional parts from nylon powder, which you can easily find online. Instead of synthesizing the powder with a laser, MJF printers use an inkjet assembly, similar to a regular printer, and heat to apply fusing agent to the nylon powder. Hobbyists make power tools with these printers, and the manufacturing industry also makes low-cost machine parts.


PolyJet technology is used specifically for the production of parts with different properties such as colors and materials. Both home users and businesses can use this technology to create smooth objects such as helmets, piping, medical prototypes, and more. FDM printers are most common among hobbyists.

However, which type of printer is better for beginners depends on the individual. Each of these technologies is accessible and easy to use for anyone looking to get into 3D printing. However, we recommend doing additional research to determine which technology is appropriate for the projects you will be doing most often.

Choose Between Open or Closed frame 3D Printer

An open frame 3D printer is, as the name suggests, more open. This can be convenient because it allows the user to easily view a job in progress. It also allows quick access to the printer bed and extruder. At first glance, this seems to be the most convenient solution, but there are also some disadvantages to consider. Let’s take a look at why a closed frame is a better choice for some. Closed frame 3D printers have a fully enclosed structure.

That is, they have a door, walls, and a lid of some sort. The first thing to note about closed frame printers is that they are safer period. The safety aspect is certainly worth considering if you have children or pets in the house. You don’t want them to accidentally burn themselves if they touch the exposed extruder. Enclosed frame printers also help reduce odor, which you’ll appreciate when printing with ABS.

After a while, the smell of burning plastic can become overwhelming, especially in a room with poor ventilation. Another plus for closed frame 3D printers is that they tend to be quieter. Any reduction in printing noise is welcome if you are working in the same room where you print for long periods of time. Finally, closed frame 3D printers are often better at maintaining temperature.

3D Printer Specifications

When buying a 3D printer, some specifications are more important than others. Here’s what they mean and how they affect your 3D printing experience:


The features and finishing of the 3D-printed object are directly impacted by the resolution delivered by the 3D printer. Each type of 3D printer has a different resolution. The SLS 3D printers deliver a resolution of around 60 macrons, while an FDM 3D printer has a resolution of around 100 macrons. You should opt for a 3D printer with a higher resolution to 3D-print three-dimensional objects with tiny features, smooth surface height, and thinner height.

The normal speed of an FDA 3D printer is 50-150 millimeters/hour, while the average speed of an SLS 3D printer is about 48 millimeters. However, the faster 3D printers are more expensive than the slower 3D printers. Moreover, you cannot compromise on the print quality when you increase the printing speed. Therefore, you should go for a 3D printer that produces physical objects in 24 to 48 hours.

Supported Materials

Knowing what types of materials you can use in your specific 3D printer is critical to determining the regular cost of using the machine. Some materials, such as powder for SLM printers, can be in limited supply and very expensive. Knowing how often you intend to print and what type of objects you want to make will help you determine what materials you should use in your 3D printer.

Slicing Software

The 3D printers are not capable of translating a CAD or CAM file on their own. They follow the instructions of the slicer or slicing software while 3D printing an object from a digital file. Some 3D printers have built-in proprietary slicing software, while others must integrate with third-party slicing software. Only by choosing the right slicing software can you use the 3D printer smoothly in the future.

This can also be called the build area. This specification tells you the maximum size of printable objects for your device. This is important to note because larger printers will quickly drive up the base price and cost of printing materials.

Keep in mind that even smaller printers can print some objects in pieces that can later be assembled into a larger object. Therefore, a large print area is not always necessary. Conversely, there may be times when a single large part needs to be printed that will be used in a professional setting. In this case, a 3D printer with a large printing capacity is a must.


Accuracy, precision and repeatability depend on a variety of factors, including part size, material, geometry, post-processing, print alignment and more. The Buyer’s Guide helps you define your application accuracy requirements so the experts at 3D Systems can help you choose the right 3D printer at the right price.


Some 3D printers support a single color, while others support multiple colors. If you buy a multi-color 3D printer, you can save the time and effort of recoloring and post-processing. On the other hand, you can use a single-color 3D printer to print 3D artwork, sculptures, home decorations, figurines, and similar gift items. However, you need to spend more for a 3D printer that supports multiple colors.

Filament Types

Filaments are special plastic materials that 3D printers melt and extrude through the 3D printer’s nozzle. There are several types of filaments from which you can choose. Be sure to research which types of filaments are best for your planned projects.

Features to Consider while Buying

The following features should be considered when buying a 3D printer:

Safety features

When it comes to working with electrical equipment, you can never be too safe. Always look for 3D printers that have additional safety features. Such features help improve your overall experience and ensure your safety. There are several automated features like nozzle cooling and more. Also, look for a 3D printer that automatically shuts off when printing is complete. So look for the safety features when buying one.

Resume printing features

There is nothing worse than destroying a beautiful model in the middle of the printing process. The resume printing feature is an important feature that ensures your 3D prints or models do not break in the event of unexpected errors or power outages. With this feature, the machine resumes printing where it left off instead of starting over.

Quality user interface

For devices like a 3D printer, a high-quality user interface can make all the difference. Navigating via buttons can be tiring and stressful. The touch interface, on the other hand, makes navigation easier. Plus, you don’t have to spend a lot of money for a 3D printer with a touch screen. Even affordable printers today have a high-quality user interface, and one such 3D printer is the Ender 3 V2.

Heated plate

The heated bed is crucial for the final result of the 3D product. The advantage of a heated bed is that it provides a solid base and the product is firmly fixed in the same place. The filament adheres better to the heated surface and prevents the edges from curling. There are different plates available – magnetic plates, plain glass, carborundum glass, removable PC spring steel plates and the latest PEI plate.

After testing all platforms, we can say that the PEI plate is the best choice because it not only provides a perfectly heated table and strong adhesion of the first layer, but also allows the easiest removal of the finished 3D product. On this basis, you no longer need various tapes, putty knives and other tools to remove the models. If your printer does not have a PEI base, we recommend using Dimafix or 3dlac spray, which has a similar effect to a PEI base.

Axis flexibility

This is another important feature that saves you time. When creating 3D objects, you often have to tighten or loosen the tension to find the right setting. This can get quite difficult and lead to wasted time. So look for a 3D printer where you can easily adjust the belt tension.

Bed leveling

Adjusting the stage is a very important step for successful 3D printing. 3D printers have both manual and automatic table adjustment. However, some newer models combine both modes and offer “smart” leveling, which means you get a wheel for manual adjustment and CR-Touch for automatic adjustment, so you can combine as you like. If you have a 3D printer that does not have automatic leveling, you can upgrade it later with CR-Touch (automatic leveling of the bed with a metal probe).

Extruder Type

There are two types of extruders: the direct-drive extruder and the Bowden tube extruder. The difference is especially noticeable when you want to print flexible filaments. With a direct drive extruder, the filament has a shorter path to the die and therefore less chance of twisting or getting stuck.

The Bowden tube is more suitable for larger prints. Here the filament has a longer path to the heated nozzle. Just like setting the bed, the extruder can be replaced or upgraded. So if you buy the Ender 3 V2 equipped with a Bowden system extruder, you can later replace it with a direct drive extruder. The Micro Swiss brand is a leading global supplier of spare parts.

What materials do I need to print with?

Filament printers use spools of filament made from a variety of materials – often plastic such as PLA, ABS and PETG. However, there are also unique materials such as flexible filament and wood-based filament. The most common types of filament are:


Polylactic acid is a plastic derived from plants. It decomposes after prolonged exposure to sunlight and is easily damaged by excessive moisture. It is suitable for most indoor applications, but PLA should not be used for outdoor applications.


Polyethylene terephthalate glycol is a food-safe plastic, but that doesn’t mean your 3D printed object is food-safe. FDM printers create layers that easily trap moisture, food, and bacteria. PETG objects should be treated well with a food-safe epoxy resin before coming into contact with food.


Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene is a notoriously tough plastic. It requires a lot of heat to cure properly and works best with a closed 3D printer to keep the ambient temperature warm. You should only use this filament if the room can be well ventilated. Unlike PLA, ABS is a good option for outdoor printing.

Resin printers, like SLA and DLP style, use liquid resins to create objects. The options vary between manufacturers but are typically broken into a few categories:

Standard Resin

It is often available in clear, white and gray. It is great for prototyping or small desktop gadgets, but not sturdy enough for final products.

Tough resin

It is mainly used in the professional sector and in technical applications. These resins are physically more resistant than standard resins and therefore ideal for applications with higher loads.

Medical-grade resin

It is suitable for a wide range of medical fields – from the manufacture of hearing aids to the production of individual dental work.


Duplex printing allows you to print on both sides of a sheet of paper automatically or manually. To do this, the sheet of paper is reinserted as soon as the first side is finished. In contrast, simplex printing allows you to print on only one side of the paper. To enable duplex printing either manually or automatically, your printer must be equipped with this feature. If your model number has the letter D at the end, it has this feature.

With duplex printing, you can reduce your paper costs and also save the environment because you can print documents on both sides. You can save money on printer costs by choosing a device that offers manual double-sided printing. However, if you prefer to set it up and then forget about it, you may want to consider the additional cost of an automatic device. This allows you to program the device’s print settings.

Material Compatibility

Certain machines recommend the use of 3D printer filaments according to their guidelines and they are also exclusively produced by them at exorbitant prices. Here, the end user has no option to change the printer settings and the materials to be used. For someone who is starting 3D printing for the first time, this may sound amazing at first, but the more you get familiar with it, the more you wish that you could adjust the machine to work faster and also print a variety of materials.


Most printers on the market today can connect computers wirelessly via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. This allows documents to be printed without having to plug in a cable. In many cases, you can even print without a computer. Many models today offer the ability to print directly from a digital camera’s memory card. All you have to do is insert the card into the printer to access and print the photos.

Some printers have a technology called Wireless PictBridge that allows Wi-Fi photo printing from a camera without removing the camera’s memory card. Finally, cloud technology allows printing remotely by connecting the printer to the Internet. Web services like Google Cloud Print allow you to print from your laptop, tablet, or even your smartphone.

Do I need multiple filament support?

You don’t need dual filament support to get multi-color prints, but it does help! Instead of relying on multi-color filament spools, look for a 3D printer that supports more than one roll at a time. You can cut gcode files to gradually switch between colors, turn on a specific layer, or even apply a color to a specific part of a print-in-place object.

You can also get creative with dual filament printers – for example, dissolvable filament is a clever solution to the limitations of FDM printing. This filament works great as a support material when creating detailed prints with extreme overhangs. Once the object is printed, you can dissolve the support filament in water.


It may seem excessive to use the brand as the main criterion. However, this is an emerging technology where some brands have proven themselves and are recognized for their quality, while other, lesser-known suppliers are trying to get a piece of the pie. Some of the well-known brands include: Formlabs, Ultimaker or LeapFrog, for example. At Makershop, we choose quality for our customers.

That’s why we give preference to the most renowned printers, such as the Ultimaker 2 from the brand of the same name, or, at the entry level, the FlashForge Pro 3D printers, which are based on the technology of the original Makerbot Replicator 2X (open source technology).


3D printers are quickly becoming commonplace in professional and personal life. From small toys to machine parts, 3D printers can create impressive objects from a variety of materials. We hope this guide will help you make the right decision.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staffhttps://www.bollyinside.com
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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