Thinking of trying 3D printing? Or maybe you’re just looking to upgrade your existing print setup. This relatively new technology is fun and offers some practical applications at home, but the equipment — most importantly, a good 3D printer and quality print media — can empty your bank account in a hurry. Don’t worry: whether you’re new to this burgeoning hobby or a seasoned veteran, we’ve got the best 3D printer deals of the month right here.
For the price, the Delta 3D printer from FLSUN has some nice value-added features, such as an auto-leveling glass heater, making this printer a good starting point in the 3D printing hobby.
From game pieces to small DIY projects, the Monoprice Cadet 3D Printer is a great and kid-friendly way to try out 3D printing with its 3.9 x 4.1 x 3.9 inch workspace.
PLA+ is probably the best all-purpose filament for standard 3D printers, and Sunlu is one of the preferred brands for this material.
How to choose a 3D printer
3D printers cover a huge range of sizes and prices, with some industrial models capable of printing houses. However, such equipment is naturally beyond the needs or capabilities of most people, and the majority of consumer-grade devices are designed to fit on a tabletop. Even they run the gamut when it comes to price, so it’s worth spending some time finding a budget 3D printer (or at least a decent deal on a 3D printer for a more expensive unit) that can fit your budget. while meeting your needs.
Modern 3D printers use one of two manufacturing technologies: fused deposition modeling (FDM) or stereolithography (SLA). FDM printers are more popular and use a printing medium known as filament. This filament is heated to its melting point and then extruded through one or more print heads that move along three axes to create an object layer by layer from the bottom up on a heat-dissipating build plate.
FDM printers are usually the easiest to use and the filaments they use are also very common and quite affordable, making these 3D printers good for household items and other general projects. Items made with an FDM 3D printer tend to have a noticeably ridged appearance due to this layer-by-layer construction method, but filaments and the printers that use them are improving and becoming more capable of handling complex tasks, while this technology continues to evolve. Most 3D printers you will find will be of this design.
Stereolithography, although actually a decades-old technology, is less common due to the higher cost of SLA printers and their proprietary resins (there are a few 3D printers that use resin, but they tend to be on the smaller side). Instead of filament as the print substrate, SLA printers start with a liquid resin that is cured by UV radiation as it is molded into the desired shape in the print chamber. The UV laser is reflected off the mirrors to selectively target the resin to be cured; this is also done layer by layer, but in a much different way than in fused deposition modeling.
Therefore, resin-based SLA printers are able to create smoother, more detailed objects at a higher resolution than FDM printers. These resin items also tend to be significantly more durable. The trade-off here is that SLA 3D printers (and resins) tend to be more expensive than FDM units, and proprietary resins are less flexible and messier to work with.
Looking for more great stuff? Find tech discounts and more on our featured deals page.