Best Budget 3D Printers for Beginners
Have you been thinking about getting a 3D printer? Do you need it for printing out designs or prototypes? How about getting one for DIY Home fixes? Or do you have engineering related hobbies? Maybe you’re into miniatures? Or do you wanna utilize your courses from engineering, design, or architecture? There are endless reasons why anyone would want to own a 3D printer. But if it’s your first, maybe this article will help you decide what kind of printer you should get, especially if you’re new at this, or if it’ll be your first-ever printer!
I’ll be briefly rating my top 5 picks for a Beginner Maker (Yeap! You’re now a maker in the making!) and rated are the different factors to consider when canvassing for beginner-friendly 3D printers, your future best friend, and possibly the worst nightmare, if you don’t treat it right!ARTILLERY SIDEWINDER X1
The best mid-range 3D printer in the market
This printer has all the best features in a very solid frame. The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is built with 2040 aluminum extrusions in both Z axes and the top crossbar leading to greater stability. But check this, the X gantry is 2040 and the Y gantry is 2060 which limits tilting and skewing of the critical printhead and hotbed. The SWX1 also features direct-drive extruder and hotend technology which not only allows you to reach high temperatures of up to 260 degrees but also print exotic materials (like Wood, Carbon Fiber, TPU Flex). With all the added weight in the X gantry, dual Z-axis motors were installed to add heft. Not only this, a closed loop timing belt connects both Z-axis lead screws which means that both motors are always synchronized so the X gantry is always horizontal. With regards to heating speed, this printer is blazingly fast (pun intended.) The nozzle can go from room temperature to typical 200degrees Celcius in under a minute. On the other hand, the bed can go from room temperature to 60degrees in an average of 45 seconds, this is the result of bed heating not from 24V DC but from being heated directly by 220V AC.
This also features a ceramic heat bed, silent motor drivers, filament sensor, power loss functionality.ENDER 5 PRO
The good Core XY 3D Printer
Overall Value for Money: 5/5
The Ender 5 Pro, shaped like a cube, sets itself apart from other printers. It Opposes the “Prusa” style printers where the printhead moves in the XZ axes and the hotbed on the Y-axis, the Ender 5 Pro is a Core XY type printer -meaning that the printhead only moves in X-axis and Y-axis maintaining a fixed height whereas only the heatbed goes up and down. The advantage? improved speed and accuracy of prints.
Another thing that sets the Ender 5 Pro apart from the Ender machines or even the first iteration Ender 5 is that it is already equipped with a silent motherboard. It also comes with Capricorn tubing, which has a higher melting point (250-260 degrees C) - so no need to worry about clogging issues. Also coming in with a metal extruder, with significantly less likelihood of breakage and clogging issues. The Ender 5 Pro also has a dual Y-axis that happily tackles the issue of skewing. The cubic frame also makes it easier to construct an enclosure if needed.
If you’re looking for a reliable printer with no need for modifications to start, then the Ender 5 Pro is for you.ENDER 3 PRO
The best entry-level FDM 3D printer - This is another one of the all-time faves. An iteration of a classic 3D printer, the Ender 3.
Overall Value for Money: 5/5
If you see yourself as a beginner, who will undoubtedly go down the rabbit hole of 3D printing, then go for the Ender 3. It prints reliably, and it’s arguably the most bang-for-the-buck budget 3D printer, allowing you to tinker, and install mods and upgrades. It boasts a smaller build volume (220x220x250mm), a magnetic bed, and 4040 aluminum extrusion for the Y-axis base. This printer features a remote extruder (Bowden Extruder) taking away the weight of the hotend and the motor, allowing the Z movement to still be accurate even if powered only by one motor.
Right off the bat, the assembly of the 3D printer will serve as an unofficial intro to its parts. Take this advantage by using this assembly time to learn about the mechanics of the printer and to understand which movements are driven by which motors, this is a good opportunity for that - which may be a silver lining to the lack of pre-assembled parts, preferred by other beginners.
The Ender 3 Pro stays as a must-have 3D printer. Its compact size takes up significantly less footprint in limited spaces. Everything, including electronics and power supply, is neatly fixed to the machine. It is also portable. The compact size of the Ender 3 means it is much easier to build an enclosure (for printing difficult materials like ABS, ASA, Nylon, etc.) Another reason why I keep maintaining my Ender 3 Pro even if I have better printers, is because performing hardware upgrades or modifications are easier due to the positioning of critical parts.CR-10 MAX
The biggest volume 3D printer in the market
Overall Value for Money: 5/5
Sometimes size matters and the CR-10 Max definitely matters, as it’s one of the biggest of the Creality printers, boasting a build volume of 450x450x470mm!
You have to think that with a large volume like that, the prints would definitely get more wobbly the more it reaches the top, this was addressed by Creality by attaching a tensioner they call “the Golden Triangle.” giving you stable movement and good prints. This machine has 2 power supply units, speeding up bed heating! A dedicated 750 watts power supply for the heated bed and another 75 watts for the rest of the machine. This also has double Y-axis belts for more precise hotbed movement control. Out of the box, it also has an auto bed leveling feature. This machine is powered by a double geared Bowden extruder with a Capricorn tube and a 0.8mm nozzle is included in the box, giving you an option for a larger nozzle, drastically reducing print time.CREALITY LD-002R
Overall Value for Money: 5/5If you’re into printing miniatures or highly detailed models, then look no further. With MSLA (Masked Stereolithograph) aka “Resin printing”, you’ll be able to get quality 3D prints, mostly aimed for miniatures and detailed prints. Unlike FDM Printers, you manually pour the resin into a vat, then the printer imprints an image using an LCD and a UV light source, solidifying each layer. Once the print is done, you cure it thru different methods depending on the resin you’ve used. With resin printing, you’ll be able to reach a level of detail that traditional FDMs just cannot reach. Why is the LD002R better than other resin printers, especially for beginners? The iteration of this resin printer reduces visible layer lines. And it includes graduation lines in the vat so you’ll know how much you’re pouring, when to refill and when to stop so you won’t overflow. The LCD has a 2k pixel resolution and combines that with 4x and 8x digital anti-aliasing leading to imperceptibly smooth prints.
**It’s also important to note that resin is toxic upon skin contact and fumes are also toxic when inhaled so it is important to exercise caution, and operate in a well-ventilated area.
Now that we’re all at home, finding new ways to solve all types of problems, a 3D printer seems to be a very worthy investment, I’ve had my printers for longer than this pandemic, that’s for sure.
Luckily, Kezar3D is soon to introduce a number of printers for sale this coming 10.10, including some mentioned in this article. Choose your friends wisely, but choose your future 3D printer with more caution, hands-off those hotends! Stay tuned for more up-close and personal reviews of 3D printers, and maybe even an in-depth look at us Makers and our experience with 3D printing.