Over recent years, the demand for 3D printers has grown dramatically with more and more people demonstrating a keen interest in these hi-tech wonders. Not so long ago a privilege of wealthy designers, today, they can be afforded by virtually any creative person. Indeed, for $250 you have a wide choice of printers able to produce pro-looking miniatures and other awe-inspiring things.
If you are on the look for your first creative device but just do not know where to start and which type or model can eventually become your perfect fit in terms of both needs and budget, read on to find everything about the ideal 3D printer for beginners.
Types of 3D Printers
Even though 3D printing technology is relatively new, you will be surprised to know how diverse the offering is. Namely, there are as many as eleven different types of 3D printing, each comes under enigmatic acronyms such as FDM, SLS, DLP, and similar.
Luckily for you, the majority of them are for industrial use only, of course, if you are not going to invest a staggering $100,000 in a state-of-the-art tool able to sintering metal. That’s why you will have to consider two concepts of 3D printing technology: fused deposition modeling (FDM) and vat polymerization, which typically hides behind the SLA, DLP, or MSLA abbreviations.
Pros and Cons of FDM 3D Printer
To start with, FDM technology is the most common when it comes to products intended for desktop 3D printing, hence chances are, the printer you looked at a couple of minutes ago on Amazon was an FDM 3D printer. Dylan Miller from https://io3dprint.com/, who spends all day working with industrial 3D printers, explains that FDM devices are cost-effective, which is one of the reasons why they are so popular among people who love making things with their own hands. One of the main advantages of these tools is the vast assortment of materials they can accept for producing a broad range of awesome items.
In addition to that, FDM machines are incredibly easy to use, which makes them a great choice for a beginner. Plus, they offer impressive scalability thanks to manufacturers that do not cease to make them bigger and less expensive at the same time. Speaking of cons, there are not that many and it is safe to say that the main one is the inability to achieve impeccable quality and high detail prints that have a professional look. Another downside of this method is that FDM prints are generally not that sturdy, therefore might not be suitable for some specific applications.
Pros and Cons of Resin 3D Printer
Resin 3D printers leverage vat polymerization – if put simply, it is the process of hardening a liquid polymer by exposing it to ultraviolet (UV) light. You will come across three subcategories of printers driven by this technology – SLA, MSLA, and DPL – but the difference between them is only in the source of light they use.
Resin printers are known for creating more refined prints with better resolution compared to the FDM counterparts. Plus, it is safe to say that they do the job faster, it is especially true for DLP printing. Another advantage comes in the fact that resin prints are more uniform across all axes, meaning they are stronger and more functional.
When it comes to disadvantages, let’s start with messy post-processing, which is far from being easy and hassle-free. You will need plenty of skills and patience to remove support structures, sand imperfections, and give your print a nice finish. To continue, resin printers are generally more expensive, not only in terms of prices for a device but also the cost of the liquid resin given that some models require several liters to fill up the resin vat.
Before you begin shopping for your first 3D printer, ask yourself a couple of questions, and do your best to give true answers. What are you going to print? How often will you use your device? Are you looking for the top-notch quality of prints? Are you going to work with a wide range of materials? Finally, do you think you are ready to produce pro-looking items or have a strong feeling that you will need some time to master your skills?
Naturally, you can have some specific needs or preferences but as general expert advice, opt for an FDM 3D printer because when chosen wisely, it can offer you more opportunities to express your creativity at an affordable price.