3D printing has gone far beyond hype. The emerging technology is now being used in fields such as automotive, education, medical, and even aeronautics. It has successfully infiltrated the manufacturing processes of companies and organizations worldwide because of its many advantages such as mobility, agility, and cost efficiency. And with the current rise of metal 3D printing, the technology shows no signs of slowing down.
CEO of Markforged Greg Mark reiterated the practical application of 3D printing by veering away from prototyping and moving toward end-use parts. "We’re finally living up to the promise and printing high-strength parts for real-world use cases," he said.
From a retail perspective, more and more prosumers are turning to 3D printing for various reasons such as to create replacements for broken household items, do-it-yourself projects, as well as a creative outlet. Online communities that showcase 3D models, prints, and guides are also gaining popularity, especially for beginners.
So, how does one get into 3D printing? What is the best model for newbies? As intimidating as it may seem, there are actually dozens of 3D printers out there specifically targeted to beginners looking to welcome 3D printing into the comfort of their own homes.
Since we love nothing more than promote and propagate the exciting world of 3D printing, we did the dirty work and narrowed it down to the best 5 according to customer reviews and a number of trusted websites. Read up and take notes. This is where your journey begins.
Recognized by many as the ultimate go-to printer for 3D printing newbies, the LulzBot Mini is easy to use and built to last. As the company’s entry-level FDM printer, the Mini goes alongside your skill level, allowing you to increase the level of printing complexity as you become more accustomed with 3D printing.
The LulzBot Mini boasts of open-source hardware, high-temperature extruder, heated glass bed, and user-friendly software. It also comes with a self-cleaning nozzle and a self-leveling tray, so you’re always print-ready with little to no prep required. Oh, and did we mention -- it’s plug and play, meaning the machine ships pre-assembled and fully calibrated. Truly a no-nonsense and reliable 3D printer!
Monoprice Select Mini
Positioned as a low-cost 3D printer offering a more advanced experience that’s still simple enough for beginners to grasp, the Monoprice Select Mini comes packed with everything you’d expect from other high-end models.
A notable feature of the Monoprice Select Mini is that it supports all filament types, from basic filaments such as ABS and PLA to more complex ones like wood and metal composites. The printer also comes fully assembled, and is able to print wirelessly via WiFi. Additionally, this is a good choice if you have a smaller living area, as it is very compact and won’t take a lot of space.
The FlashForge Finder perfectly combines advanced technology and safety features. Its sturdy design features a semi-enclosed print chamber to avoid injuries and a slide-out tray to help remove printed objects. The printer also comes pre-assembled and with a spool of filament.
The built-in distance sensor combined with guide instructions on its LCD touchscreen makes the Finder easy-to-use and a great companion as you discover the world of 3D printing.
The Finder also received good reviews because of how quietly it prints, which makes it suitable for classrooms and offices.
Praised for its capabilities, price, and community, the Creality CR-10S is a printer designed to hold up to stress. Although requiring some assembly, it is comparable to higher-end machines at a fraction of the cost.
The CR-10S features a simple design with no enclosure and a durable industrial aluminum-alloy tray bed. It has a full metal frame, which holds a large build volume (300x300x400mm).
However, the CR-10S’s most valuable asset is its active community. Whether you’re on the lookout for pointers on troubleshooting, setting up, upgrading, or even available printing resources, the CR-10S community is ready to help. Plus points for 3D printing camaraderie!
XYZprinting da Vinci Nano
If you’re looking into 3D printing as a hobby and wouldn’t mind sticking to a brand for a long time, this one is for you. XYZprinting’s da Vinci Nano uses the company’s own brand of filament, which costs a little higher than other third-party materials.
Nevertheless, the budget printer model features a simple yet helpful software, intuitive controls and fully enclosed design ideal for the whole family. It also works right out of the box, no assembly required! ☺