Things to Consider When Buying 3D Printers

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There are different makes and models of 3D printers to consider. For instance, there are a consumer and industrial 3D printers. You can find some that handle materials such as ceramics and metals. No matter your intended use of 3D printing, you need to get the right machine.

Selecting Professional 3D Printers

Intended Application

Your end-use determines the functional requirements of the printer. Do you want to make prototypes? Is a great visual appearance or smooth surface important for you? Does durability matter? What about material properties? Maybe you want to create functional products that support the operations of your business, such as fixtures and jigs. These choices will influence the type of creality 3D printer you choose.

Materials

You should note that there is a link between the 3D printer and the material it uses. For instance, when you purchase certain 3D printers, your material options become limited. For instance, SLA printers use thermoset resins, whereas FDM/FFF printers use thermoplastics.

Even if the printers are using the same manufacturing technology, each is compatible with a certain set of materials. For instance, lower-end FFF printers can only use prototyping materials such as PLA. On the other hand, engineering-grade materials such as composites or nylon need adequate process control and higher processing temperatures. That means you can only use them with industrial-grade 3D printers.

Therefore, you should consider the materials you have access to before choosing a printer. Some printers provide dual extrusion capability. Therefore, you can print in different colors. Remember that some printers use only materials from the manufacturer. It is advisable to consider printers that can use a wide range of materials.

Resolution

The minimum layer height and the smallest part size the printer can produce determine its resolution. For instance, nozzle diameter of 0.4 mm means that your printer cannot make details smaller than 0.4 mm. If you want parts with fine details, you should consider choosing laser 3D printers. That is because the spot size of these printers ranges from 0.1 to 0.2 mm.

The layer height is quite important as 3D printers manufacture parts by adding layers. However, a small layer height does not mean you will get better results. Most applications require default height. Although a higher resolution is important, it is not a guarantee of high-quality. If you are manufacturing large parts, you should use a large layer height and nozzle. That is because fine details are not critical, and when you increase the layer height, you can considerably reduce build time.

Software

Since 3D printing involves the use of computers, the type of software you choose is quite important. Every printer comes with software or slicer for preparing CAD files. You should note that the capabilities of the slicer vary. For instance, some can allow automation and preset parameters.

You can also find 3D printing systems with tools that make monitoring, connectivity, and management easy. For instance, they can support Wi-Fi integration, sensors, and cameras. With such tools, you can print parts from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection. This is quite advantageous when managing multiple machines remotely.


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Published by

Harris

Harris

I’m Harris Khalid. I started my career 10 years ago(2010) as an industrial designer. I write this blog for sharing, communicating and learning.

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