With over 1,000 different 3D printer models available on the market today, “Which 3D Printer should I buy?” is one of the most common questions we are asked at 3D Hubs.
To answer this question, we reached out to our global community of 3D printing service providers to learn from their experiences and find out more about the 3D printers they own.
With reviews from over 8,624 verified 3D printer owners having a collective 4,982 years of 3D printing experience, coupled with 1.14 million prints completed on 513different 3D printer models, the result of our research is the 2017 3D Printer Guide – the most comprehensive 3D printer guide available.
Printers in ourProsumercategory are for professionals looking for a printer with exceptional build quality that can produce high quality parts, reliably. These are highly advanced desktop machines with a variety of applications. Printers in this category are best suited for professional designers and small businesses.
Back with its white box design, the Ultimaker 2+ features a well-lit open front and semi-translucent sides similar, if not identical, to its predecessor, the Ultimaker 2. The Ultimaker 2+ improves upon the 2 and comes equipped with a new PT100 printhead, an upgraded heater cartridge and the ability to use different nozzle sizes. As a result, it can achieve a build speed volume of up to 24mm³/s with the 0.8mm nozzle.
Printers in ourWorkhorsecategory are for users looking for robust machines that can print nonstop with minimal print failure. These are printers manufactured with reliability in mind and are open to slight modifications and tinkering.
Winner: Makergear 2
The Makergear M2 is a precise and reliable 3D printer that our community has ranked highest in the Workhorse category. The M2, originally released in 2012, is now in its 5th generation of builds by Ohio based Makergear.
The M2 owes its reliability to a solid steel frame and aluminum construction, giving it precision print quality. With a build envelope of 254mm × 203mm × 203mm, it also features a heated platform for printing in both PLA and ABS. M2 owners also utilize a wide range of materials ranging from common thermoplastics to Flexibles, Nylons, Polycarbonate, and more. Additionally, open source electronics and firmware allow users to adjust and tweak this machine to their liking. Interchangeable nozzles and a swappable dual-extruder upgrade gives this printer its modular nature, also making maintenance easy.
Printers in this category are all about value and bang for your buck. These machines offer good print quality for money along with a supportive community and are open to modifications and tinkering, with a reasonable degree of reliability.
Winner: Prusa i3
The highest rated printer in the Budget category this year is the only printer that has topped both Highest Rated Desktop Printers and Trending Printers lists in our Trend Report (Q3 2016): the Original Prusa i3 MK2.
The MK2 has a volume of 250mm × 210mm × 200mm, which is a little bigger than most desktop printers. One of the most impressive features of this printer is the MK42 heated bed, which has a lot more features than just heating up. It’s a thick, custom PCB (printed circuit board) heater with a thin PEI foil on top. This means it heats up and cools down quickly, has fantastic bed adhesion and also ends up as a very light y-axis setup. The bed also features calibration points that can compensate for a skewed axis. Combined with an inductive probe for automatic bed levelling, it makes calibration a breeze. The i3 MK2 comes with asilent modein which power is reduced to the stepper motors resulting in a much quieter printing process. This unique feature is limited to prints under 400 grams.