Immersing yourself in the sea of 3D printing, it is a process as exciting as it is deep. So much so, that it is easy to be overwhelmed by the wide options and possibilities available. The beginnings go beyond the choice of a printer – a simple task in terms of models, budgets, and expectations. But, we also need a series of resources for learning. In this article, we propose everything. A few simple lines to be clear about which printer to choose at home and some interesting models. Also, the places to go in search of designs or software for the Best Budget 3D Printer.
Choose the best budget 3D printer: factors to consider
The world of 3D printers is vast. So we try to narrow down the domestic range without losing sight of where we can go. After all, buying a 3D printer is something that is usually done to experience.
High impact polystyrene, polyethylene terephthalate, nylon, ninja flex … 3D printers allow us to create objects from an idea. But for that, we need a starting material. The most popular domestically are acrylonitrile butadiene styrene or ABS and polylactic acid or PLA.
The ABS is a non-biodegradable thermoplastic, rigid, soft, with high resistance and hardness. Especially if you step on them, and the LEGO pieces of a lifetime are made with this material.
Although ABS is very interesting in 3D printing for its properties, the difficulty of working with it when you are a beginner. Its high handling temperature makes this material not the best in the beginning.
The PLA offers better results when we are starting (especially with the corners) and we want to make simple pieces. It is also biodegradable and offers a brighter finish.
If the idea is to end up experimenting with other materials. There are affordable best budget 3D printers that allow you to work with wood, copper, bronze and other materials.
What printing system do they use?
Although at industrial and detail level we are going to find a few printing technologies
- selective laser sintering
- selective laser fusion
- electron beam fusion
At home scale, there is essentially the FFF or filament manufacturing cast. The FFF is a term equivalent to the FDM or molten deposition modeling of Stratasys Inc. But was coined by the RepRap project community to have terminology without legal limitations.
This printing system melts the filament and this is deposited on the base, generating layers of material that are bonded thanks to the high temperatures at which they are found.
Commercial or DIY?
In the domestic market, we find two types of 3D printers: those that we buy ready to use and those that come in a kit that we will have to assemble ourselves.
The advantage of commercials is that it is not necessary to have too much technical knowledge to start them up. Just take them out of the box, plug them in and we can start printing.
As they are closed and commercialized models, we can always use the manufacturer’s support in case of problems. Of course, for the same specifications, they are usually more expensive than DIY.
But DIY has many more assets beyond price. Riding it yourself is an adventure, but it does not have to be a tragedy. Since there are models with designs that are free that have been thoroughly perfected (it is the case of Prusa i3, for example).
In addition to enjoying great popularity and from a community around it to ask questions and implement improvements.
Mounting your printer offers a certain guarantee that at least you know how it works. Something essential for a task as necessary as calibrating it to print properly.
The mishaps in 3D printing are the order of the day and later they will happen sooner. So it does not hurt to be able to remove and replace parts. Precisely another advantage of DIY is the ease of finding compatible parts and assembling them. Or to expand your printer.
After reviewing basic concepts, it is worth knowing other features that can help us choose the best budget 3D printer better. They are not the only ones, but they do offer a general “picture” of their main specifications.
3D printers are “slow” when spitting out parts, so the printing speed (in mm / s) is important to approximate how long it will take us to finish apart.
The part responsible for spitting the filament is composed of a hot end, a nozzle and an extruder.
What does each element do and what can we expect?
The hot end is the one that heats and melts the material and the material used will depend on its working temperature.
Cast material comes out of the nozzle: a large one offers more printing speed and more adhesion but is less accurate. The extruder is the piece that presses the molten material at the other end, there are direct, which offer greater control and ease, and Bowden type, faster.
For best results during printing, some models have a warm bed, which keeps the support at an elevated temperature so that the piece does not lose temperature, especially important with materials such as ABS, HIPS, and nylon.
The way we will connect the printer to our devices. Although there are models that have SD slots or USB ports, there are also models with Wi-Fi connectivity. So that we can do it without the need for additional cables or devices.
How to control the printer: As usual it is a combination of screen and roulettes, there are also touch panels, more intuitive.
It is important to verify that the printer is compatible with the file format generated by the software used for the design.
If you embark on the adventure of the best budget 3D printer, it is important to have a starting point. On the internet, there are websites, forums, and communities where you can delve into specific models of 3D printers with their problems, guides, and tutorials.
As well as projects and templates to experiment as you improve your skills. These are some of the most important:
- Thingiverse is the web par excellence and in it, you can find practically models of anything, which you can modify to your liking.
- Cults3d is a complete website that offers a wide catalog of free and paid models, as well as a forum, spare parts for your printer, contests and different projects sorted by theme.
- MyMiniFactory brings together free and paid 3D parts sorted by categories, an online shop of 3D printers, competitions and even the possibility of monetizing your experience and projects.
- In Youimagine you can create an account and upload your projects, document them and make them available for download by other users.
- GrabCAD is a library with more than one million CAD and 3D designs to which we will have to join to exchange knowledge and download them. It has sections of popular users (the ones that share and best explain), frequently asked questions, forums.
- Tinkercad is free and easy to use the program to create our own designs. We will have to create an account – there is the possibility of creating an account as a teacher and conducting classes – and from there, there is plenty of documentation and tutorials.
- Another option to work in 3D is the FreeCAD software, something more complex and technical.
Featured Models of best budget 3D printers
bQ Witbox Go!
The Witbox Go! It is the bQ input printer, a simple and compact input model that has the advantage of being mounted, being easy to handle (with Android as an interface). It has official support and that the documentation is in different languages.
Another plus is that we can send the plans to print from the mobile phone, thanks to the app and its Wi-Fi and NFC connectivity.
In return, it is a basic and limited model in terms of options, so it can be interesting for basic prints or sporadic use, but it can fall short if the idea is to immerse yourself seriously in this world.
|BQ WITBOX GO!|
|Dimensions and weight||300 x 255 x 480mm; 4.8 kg|
|Print volume||140 x 140 x 140 mm|
|Resolution||Normal and low|
A very affordable and recommended best budget 3D printer to start with is the Chinese ANET A6 (~$230), a popular DIY that has a lot of documentation and a large community around it.
It offers a relationship between benefits and very high cost, with good print quality and versatility. This is a slightly improved version of the ANET A8 (~$212 ), more veteran and with an even larger community.
|Dimensions and weight||480 x 400 x 400 mm, 8.5 kg.|
|Print volume||220 x 220 x 250mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, wood, Nylon|
|Printing speed||up to 150 mm / s|
Creality Ender 3
The Creality Ender 3 (~$250) comes pre-assembled. So in a couple of hours and without much knowledge, we can have it ready. In addition, there is a large community and documentation on this printer within the reach of the user, which makes it a great candidate to start.
For its price, it offers an acceptable print volume (despite how compact it is) and has the capacity to make good quality prints. Of course, we will have to calibrate it.
|CREALITY ENDER 3|
|Dimensions and weight||440 x 410 x 465 mm, 8.6 kg.|
|Print volume||220 x 220 x 250 mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, TPU|
|Printing speed||up to 200 mm / s|
Anycubic I3 MEGA
The Anycubic I3 Mega, best budget 3D printer (~$200) comes in the form of a preassembled kit. That is easy to start. Unlike other models, this model integrates an LCD touch screen to use it, providing a more intuitive interface than the usual wheels.
It offers high print quality for its cost and, in case of electrical failure, automatically resumes from the point where it stayed. With semi-automatic calibration.
|ANYCUBIC I3 MEGA|
|Dimensions and weight||405mm x 410mm x 453mm, 10kg|
|Print volume||210 x 210 x 205 mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood|
|Printing speed||up to 60 mm / s|
Creality Ender 5
The Ender 5 (~$365) is a bulky printer with an easy-to-assemble aluminum frame (partially assembled) that also allows modifications. It is able to offer good quality prints and do it moderately fast. And, in case of stop, resume printing.
Against it, it is not the easiest to manipulate for tasks such as leveling. So we require some skill or time. It has a USB and SD card from which to insert the parts printed in a way thanks to software such as Cura, Repetier-Host or Simplify 3D.
|Dimensions and weight||400 x 380 x 400 mm, 11kg|
|Print volume||220 x 220 x 300 mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU|
|Printing speed||180mm / s (60mm / s recommended)|
|Resolution||up to 100 microns|
Prusa i3 MK3
It is one of the most interesting 3D printer models within the opensource for its good relationship between quality price, and the good design replicates by many other brands. One of the most elaborate projects with the Prusa i3 base is that of Reprap, which has a large community behind.
It is a relatively easy-to-assemble DIY printer (and with the ability to upgrade), very versatile and offers good printing results. In addition, it is calibrated automatically.
|PRUSA I3 MK3|
|Dimensions and weight||55 × 40 × 50 cm, 7Kg.|
|Print volume||250 x 210 x 210 mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, FlexPP, Ninjaflex, wood, Laybrick, nylon, bronze, polycarbonates, carbon fibers|
|Printing speed||more than 200 mm / s|
bQ Hephestos 2
We continue to explore the catalog of commercial printers of bQ. This time with the Hephestos 2 (~$940) based on the Prusa i3. It stands out for the quality of its design, the materials used in its manufacture and the stability it offers.
|BQ HEPHESTOS 2|
|Dimensions and weight||450 x 516 x 661 mm, 13.72 kg|
|Print volume||210 x (y) 297 x (z) 220 mm|
|materials||PLA, wood, bronze, copper and Filaflex.|
|Printing speed||up to 200 mm / s|
|Resolution||up to 50 microns|
Ultimaker Original +, the best budget 3D printer
The Ultimaker is a classic within the world of 3D printing, with the Ultimaker Original + (~$2499). As one of the most interesting models for its high relationship between quality – print and device – and its cost.
Your Ultimaker Cura software works with macOS, Linux, and Windows. As well as programs such as SolidWorks, Siemens NX, Autodesk Inventor.
|ULTIMAKER ORIGINAL +|
|Dimensions and weight||342 x 560 x 650 mm; 11.5 kg|
|Print volume||210 x 210 x 205 mm|
|materials||PLA, ABS, CPE|
|Printing speed||up to 300 mm / s|
|Resolution||up to 20 microns|