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Buying a 3D printer

When buying a 3D printer, the main difference in price is usually the ‘accuracy’ of the printer. The more accurate the printer, the smoother the print finish. The printer speed can also affect its output quality, making accuracy difficult to measure.

If you are starting out, we recommend that you buy a printer for under $500. At this price point you will get great 3D prints without breaking the bank, and it will more than pay for itself in ‘scenery’. A good place to start looking at different 3D printers is Amazon.

At Printable Scenery, we have a number of 3D printers:

Left to right: Prusa i3, Wanhao Duplicator i3, Wanhao Duplicator 6 and Makerbot Replicator 2X.

We haven’t found much difference between enclosed and non-enclosed printers. Enclosed printers are less noisy than their non-enclosed counterparts, and will be protected from pets and kids.

You should consider the environment you will keep the printer in. Enclosed printers can be placed anywhere fairly worry free. However, dust particles or similar may become embedded in the print of non-enclosed printers. These may be best housed in a cupboard.

Buying a 3D printer that is right for you can seem a bit daunting with all the choices available on the market. To help with this, here are some general guidelines for what features to look for:

  • ABS or PLA printer (read more)
  • A minimum print bed of 150mm x 150mm. The bigger the better.
  • An auto levelling print bed.
  • A printer that takes reels as opposed to cartridges is an absolute must, as it will allow you to use any filament.
  • You will only need a single extruder.

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