People who have been involved with the printing community would know that it would have been very difficult to compile a list of the top 3D printers a few years ago when the size of the market was much smaller. You only had a handful of products to choose from during those days. Hence, making a list of the best 3D printers did not exactly make much sense. Today, things have changed a lot in the 3D printing scene. There are a lot more manufacturers and products in the industry, which means that the consumers have a bigger collection to choose from. Selecting from a large variety of products can often be a daunting task, especially when you are about to spend more than $300 on a single unit.
For your convenience, we have created a list of the top five 3D printers to watch out for in 2016. If you are out shopping for 3D printers, be sure to check out all of these products individually before finalizing your purchase. (The printers have been listed in no particular order).
1) Prusa Steel
Price: $460 (Printer Kit)
The Prusa Teel 3D printer is a wonderful addition to the current line of DIY kits. People who enjoying making and assembling their own 3D printer are going to have a wonderful time with this product. It is a much improved version of the popular Prusa i3. The frame is stronger as it has been made with structural steel. It is faster than its predecessor and can print at speeds between 50mm/s and 120mm/s. It also comes with a hot bed, which minimizes the probability of encountering problems when printing with ABS plastic or Nylon. The technology used in this 3D printer is FDM.
2) The Afinia H480
This printer does not come with a safety enclosing, which makes it a lot lighter than its competitors in the market. You will also notice that the 3D printer has a relatively small build volume of 14 x 14 x 14 cm. The platform is heated, which allows it to 3D print objects with both PLA and ABS filaments. The entire weight of the printer is only 11 lbs, which makes it one of the portable high quality products that you can find in the market. It uses FDM technology and runs very smoothly. The Afinia H480 is a great product for consumers with limited space in their homes and those with a need to travel frequently.
3) CEL Robox
This 3D printer is a product that was successfully crowd funded through Kickstarter. The company had all the funds needed to make the product a huge success in the market by the end of 2014. This printer stands out because of its impressively high resolution. The best layer resolution that you can achieve with the CEL Robox is 20 microns. It is fitted in with a heated build platform that comes with automatic bed levelling. The basic edition of this 3D printer only contains a single extruder. A second extruder can be purchased as an add-on. The small build height is the only major disadvantage of this product. FDM technology has been used in this machine.
4) Form 1+
If you Google images of 3D printer, then you are very likely to come across a picture of the Form 1 or the Form 1+. In fact, it is in the cover photo of this article. This is an extremely high resolution SLA printer that has the unique ability to print layers at 25 to 200 microns. It is a printer that has made the best use of the stereolithography technology. The product was crowd funded in the year 2012. It made a return to the market in 2013. In its earlier run, the 3D printer was known as Form 1. This one is basically an upgrade of the predecessor, which is no longer available in the market.
This is another FDM printer which has a great resolution of 50 micron and a highly impressive build volume of 20 cm (diameter) and 40 cm height. The maximum print speed that it can achieve is 300 mm/s. You can use both 1.75 mm and 3.00 mm filaments when you are using this product. What is really special about this 3D printer is that the extruder can be exchanged and replaced with another one that is designed for fluid-dense materials. In other words, you can use this printer to 3D print clay or porcelain models. It comes with a hot pad and has an enclosing chamber to create a controlled temperature environment. Frankly speaking, you are not going to find too many better FDM 3D printers in the market at this price point.