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Things to consider before buying a 3D printer

If you are considering buying a 3D printer then you will be pleased to know that there is a 3D printer for just about every budget, application and need, and they have become more affordable for the public too.

However, there are a few things you need to know before you buy a machine for 3D printing:

  • Technology

Unlike standard printers, the tech behind 3D printing is totally different, with the two main innovations being SLA (Stereolithography) and FDM (Fused Deposition Modelling). They don’t just work in different ways either, the results from the two types will vary.

If you want your 3D printer to give you a nice surface finish, better finer detailing and accuracy then you should opt for an SLA machine, whereas if you are looking to print a selection of materials and multi-material prints then FDM is the best option.

  • Materials

Once you have your 3D printer you will also need plenty of materials to go with it, and the SLA machine uses photocurable liquid resins, which are more expensive than the filament spools that an FDM machine uses.

What is more, there are the post-processing steps to consider with SLA printing such as post-curing and washing of the finished item.

  • Build size

Another important aspect to choosing the right 3D printer is to carefully consider the size of the finished product or whether you are going to print multiple parts at the same time.

Industry-standard sizes for printing in three dimensions is around 200 to 300 millimetres for a desktop version, with an industrial model coming in at between 500 and 1000 millimetres.

There is plenty to consider when it comes to buying a 3D printer and we have only just touched on this exciting industry.