Techcommjournal.org – 3D printing technology has been around for some years, yet many people are still confused when it comes to buying a new 3D printer. Well, such confusion is quite normal as buying a 3D printer is not the same with buying a 2D printer. You might be familiar with such great names in 2D printer market as Epson and Canon, but even the number one 3D printer manufacturer has obscure name that you are mostly not familiar with. The confusion gets worse because just like you, most 3D printer customers have to decide whether to focus on affordability, quality or functionality. If you are looking for a cheap 3D printer, then you have to decide whether to sacrifice quality or functionality. You cannot get the three features altogether. No matter how smart you are as a buyer, you mostly have to pick only two among the three.
Table 1.0 10 Best 3D Printer 2017 – Based on Budget (Under $500 & $1,000)
This guide is designed to help you find the best cheap 3D printer that you can buy on the market. The choice is tough due to the confusion we explain above, but with little yet careful research of the top 10 3D printers that you will see below, it should be easier for you to pick the best product. Because you are looking for a 3D printer with cheap price, we will focus on price range when selecting the best products to be included in our list. Here we are classifying the listed products into 3D printers under $500 and those under $1000. If you are a new user looking for an entry-level model, products listed in the former category can be your best choices. If you prefer to spend more to get better functionality and quality, search among the latter.
5 Best Cheap 3d Printers Under $500
QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer
QIDI TECHNOLOGY’s X-One 3D printer might not be the most eye-catching cheap 3D printer that you can find today, but it definitely looks sturdy and durable and performs satisfactorily. From the outside, X-One looks almost like an old computer case with simple design—something that you’d rather put in a garage than place on a fancy desk in your office. The body is also very heavy even for a 3D printer. Despite its rather mediocre look and heavy structure, the metal body looks and feels sturdy and durable.
Now we will talk about performance. Surprisingly, despite being an affordable 3D printer with bland look, QIDI TECH X-One performs rather excellently. With capability to create printing result with layer resolution ranging from 100 to 500 microns, X-One is able to offer quite accurate result. When printing simple geometries, the end result appears smooth and precise, though you shouldn’t expect 100% perfect result as tiny seams and ridges still appear on the print result. But overall, the print result is satisfactory enough, as long as you don’t use the printer to print highly detailed objects.
One thing of concern about X-One 3D printer is its noise. X-One is possibly one of the noisy 3D printers you can find on the market. Considering its unadorned design and noisy operation, you may want to store it in your garage and not somewhere else in your home.
Monoprice 13860 Maker Select 3d Printer V2
Monoprice 13860 Maker Select is a versatile 3D printer that is easy to assemble, easy to prepare, easy to use, and easy to upgrade. The first time you unbox the package, you will not see a fully assembled 3D printer, but separate components that you have to assemble yourself. Fortunately, assembly is very easy whether you use the included manual or you do the assembly job without the manual. Preparation and calibration is also easy as you only need to touch the calibration button once. When you are ready to use Monoprice 13860 Maker Select, you don’t have to be confused of whether to use ABS or PLA as the printer supports both. You can use ABS if you prefer stronger result or PLA if you want to print faster and eco-friendlier. Upgrade and modification are also easy to do as this printer supports most part models available in the market. If you want a smoother engine, you can switch its engine with NEMA motor. If you want multicolor printing, you can attach additional extruder. The only con of this printer is that it is not that capable to print highly detailed object, but this is a weakness typical of all cheap 3D printer models.
XYZprinting da Vinci mini 3D Printer
The most difficult thing a buyer of cheap product must do is getting the best product with the cheapest price. We have mentioned above that if you focus on budget, you have to sacrifice either functionality or quality. When you buy Da Vinci mini 3D printer released by XYZprinting, one of the top manufacturers of cheap 3D printers, you don’t have to sacrifice too much. The mini 3D printer can truly show its excellent performance despite its cheap price. In a nutshell, Da Vinci mini 3D printer is a 3D printer under $300 that is comparably better than any other under-$500 models.
This 3D printer has some strong points. To begin with, the machine is surprisingly silent. Noises are heard, but they are not as notorious as those of other 3D printers within the same price range. Print quality is also excellent with the result showing reasonable accuracy and few to no misprints. This is undeniably a cheap printer that you can rely on if you want to start a small-scale 3D printing business.
Monoprice Maker Select Plus 3D Printer
Maker Select Plus 3D printer offers a number of enhancements to the already versatile V2 model. On paper, the Plus model is advertised as featuring 50% higher printing speed, tuning options on the fly, better and more enhanced anti-jam extruder, integrated control design, and smaller and sleeker design. There is around $70 price difference between the Plus and the V2 model, with the former being the more expensive. If you don’t mind to spend additional $70 for the new model and all advertised features that it offers, you can go for it. However, since you are already aware that the V2 model is easy to upgrade and modify, buying custom parts to improve it instead of buying a new model is also considered a sound decision.
You’ve read the advertisement, now let’s take a look at whether the advertised features are true. Based on our test, the new printer indeed works as advertised; however, in regard to printing speed, there is actually no significant increase. It does print faster, but it is not one and half faster than the V2 model.
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer
The last in our 3D printer under $500 list is Monoprice’s Select Mini. Being the cheapest 3D printer in our list, this model proves that you can actually have a reliable and cheap 3D printer even if your budget is only $200. Being a cheap printer, however, it does have its own strong and weak points.
The biggest weakness of this 3D printer lies in its temperature control. The hot end of this printer cannot effectively control its temperature. As a result, melted filament may form bubble on the printed result. The bubble may cause inconsistencies in the structure of the printed object. Due to this problem, you may often see bumpy or uneven surface on the printed object. This 3D printer works reasonably reliably, but the result will less likely be as smooth as you expect.
Fortunately, just like the other two Monoprice models reviewed here, the Select Mini model is also easy to modify. If the problem with temperature control frustrates you a lot, you can always swap it with better hot end, such as the E3D V6 model.
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