Considerations for your 3D printing investment.

Newcomers to 3D printing may feel overwhelmed by the many different options available. 3D printers are sold at many different price points, with differing technologies and levels of sophistication. Consequently, there isn’t a single “best” 3D printer for a job – it depends on your application needs and utilization requirements. Below we’ve laid out the important factors to consider when buying a 3D printer for the first time. There’s a 3D printer for nearly every budget. Please find the factors that you should evaluate before going for a particular 3D PRINTER/ PRINTER TECHNOLOGY:

1) Use case
“3D printing” covers a wide range of technologies, each of which has different strengths. Some technologies are better suited for industrial applications like functional testing and tooling, while others are better for consumer goods or design applications. At Stratasys, you’ll find that FDM technology is largely used for parts that need to be durable and strong, while PolyJet technology is more often used for parts that require color and texture realism.

2) Speed
Depending on the desired application, print speed might be a critical factor. Rapid prototyping or factory floor applications, for example, rely on fast and efficient part production to keep lead times short. More inexpensive 3D printers generally print around 50 mm/s, while the fastest options print at or above 150 mm/s.

3) Resolution
Resolution refers to the level of detail that a 3D printer can achieve. Overall print quality is determined by the horizontal resolution, which is the smallest movement the extruder can make across the XY axis, and the vertical resolution, which is the minimum layer thickness the extruder can produce. A smaller resolution indicates better detail in the final part.

4) Material capabilities
Some printers are limited to one or two materials, and others have a range of material capabilities. While hobby printing or certain kinds of prototyping may only require one or two materials, you might need a more versatile printer for more sophisticated applications. Some printers are compatible with a wider range of materials, while others feature multiple print heads for more complex designs.

5) Environment
It’s important to consider the environment that will house your 3D printer, as it can place restraints on size and other factors. For example, a printer that runs loudly may be disruptive to people working nearby. Look for a 3D printer that’s been specifically engineered to minimize noise levels. For office environments where space is an issue, desktop 3D printers tend to be more sleek and compact than their more industrial counterparts.

6) Print size
For beginners or hobbyists, a large build plate probably isn’t a priority. However, if you plan to use a 3D printer for end-use parts and industrial applications, the ability to print larger parts may be valuable. Bigger build plates allow large parts to be printed all at once, saving manufacturing time.

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