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Home > Buying Guide > 3D Printer buying guide
3D Printer buying guide

3D Printer buying guide

By  GB Blog Official 2017-07-17 1724 2

Learn more about the process of 3D printing: how does a 3D printer work, how to 3D print your design, get some ideas for your 3D printing projects and check out the best home 3D printers of 2017!
 >>What's 3D printing?
 >>How does 3D printer work?
 >>Best 3D printer models on Gearbest (best 5)
 >>Great 3D printing ideas (5 ideas)

Set your creative spirit free by making real-life three-dimensional objects from your designs. With a 3D printer, you print working items from your design templates, complete arts and crafts projects and even turn your child's drawing into a real toy. Learn more about the exciting process of 3D printing and browse the latest home 3D printer models - compact, easy to use and affordable.


What's 3D printing?

3D printing is one of the relatively new technologies that promise a lot of potentials in various industries from design and electronics all the way to medicine. Though often referred to as a "futuristic" concept, the beginnings of 3D printing actually date back to 1983. Today, 3D printing mainly refers to machines that are capable of creating three-dimensional objects from digital file. What's remarkable about the process is that these machines can work with almost any material and create various types of objects from toys to cookies and electronics to human organs.


How does 3D printing work?

3D printing starts from a digital file - first, you need to design a 3D object on a computer. You can use a 3D scanner to "collect" the appearance of the object and translate it into a digital format.

Then, connect the computer to the 3D printer, press "Print" and just wait. But what happens in the printer while you wait?

Think of the process of 3D printing as building a LEGO tower. First, the printer creates individual pieces, layer by layer, and then puts them all together into a finished object. Of course, this is a very simplistic representation - 3D printing is a complex process and each printed layer may contain several moving parts: wheels, hinges, pedals, etc. Typically, printing a 3D object is quite a lengthy process.

A 3D printer is a highly practical and useful tool for anyone involved in design, arts & crafts, electronics and other creative fields. It is also a great learning tool for both young children and university students.


Best 3D printers on GearBest

Eager to start a 3D printing project? There are plenty of affordable 3D printers right here on GearBest, check them out!

Anet A6 3D Desktop Printer Kit

Anet printers have long earned their reputation in the printing community. This particular model comes with an acrylic frame, a single extruder (0.4mm nozzle diameter), LCD screen and keypad for easy offline use. The printer supports offline printing from a TF card and supports different kinds of filaments. The best part? It comes as an unassembled DIY kit and lets you experience the whole process from scratch through a step-by-step assembly of the printer. The Anet A6 3D Desktop Printer Kit can be yours for a discount price of $189.99.

Anet A6 3D Desktop Printer Kit

 

 
Take a moment to review the specs:

Frame material: Acrylic plate
Single 0.4mm nozzle
Product forming size: 220 x 220 x 250mm
Layer thickness: 0.1-0.4mm
Memory card offline print: TF card
LCD Screen: Yes
Print speed: 40 - 120mm/s
Supporting material: ABS, HIPS, PLA
File format: G-code, STL
 

 

Creality3D CR - 10 Desktop DIY Printer

The Creality 3D CR Printer comes with a relatively large build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm for its price ($403.62) and a standard-sized nozzle of 0.4mm in diameter. The printer supports offline SD card printing and is equipped with an aluminum plate for enhanced durability. Creality 3D is a DIY 3D printing kit, meaning that you can assemble the machine yourself.

Creality3D CR - 10 Desktop DIY Printer

 

 
Take a moment to review the specs:

Frame material: Aluminum plate
Single 0.4mm nozzle
Product forming size: 300 x 300 x 400mm
Memory card offline print: SD card
LCD Screen: Yes
Print speed: 80mm/s
Supporting material: ABS / PLA / TPU, etc.
File format: G-code, JPG, OBJ, STL
 

 

TEVO Black Widow 3D Printer Kit

If you are looking for printing larger objects and are ready to spend a bit more, the TEVO Black Widow 3D Printer Kit comes with a lot to offer. The 3D printer features a large printing area (up to 370 x 250 x 300mm). Despite its bigger size, the bed of the printer heats up extremely fast, so printing large things will not slow you down. The printer's microstep extruder is adaptive to various printing conditions and can work with the majority of filaments on the market including rare filaments. Despite its impressive specs, the Black Widow 3D Printer comes with an affordable price tag of $519.54.

TEVO Black Widow 3D Printer Kit

 

 
Take a moment to review the specs:

Frame material: Acrylic plate
Single 0.4mm nozzle
Product forming size: 370 x 250 x 300mm
Layer thickness: 0.1-0.4mm
Memory card offline print: SD card
LCD Screen: Yes
Print speed: 100mm/s
Supporting material: ABS, HIPS, nylon, PLA, PVA, wood
File format: G-code, STL
 

 

TEVO Little Monster Delta 3D Printer

Searching for the ultimately professional device? Then, look no further than the TEVO Little Monster Delta 3D Printer. This is an 80% completed product and you won't have to spend too much time on assembly. The printer supports UDB drives and SD cards and comes with a colorful 2.8 inch LED screen. It also offers a large build size of 340 x 500mm and is compatible with a wide range of filaments: PLA, ABS, wood, nylon and others. You can now get the Teva Monster 3D printer for only $900.99.

TEVO Little Monster Delta 3D Printer

 

 
Take a moment to review the specs:

Frame material: Aluminum plate
Single 0.4mm nozzle
Product forming size: 340x340x500mm
Layer thickness: 0.05-0.4mm
LCD Screen: Yes
Print speed: 300mm/s
Supporting material: ABS, flexible PLA, HIPS, nylon, PLA, PVA, wood
File format: G-code, STL
 

 

Sunlu SL 300 Smart 3D Printer Pen

If you are not quite ready to spend the big bucks on a professional 3D printer but still want to experience the creative process, try using a 3D stereoscopic pen. This is probably the smallest and lightest 3D printer in the world - yet it offers a very realistic experience of what 3D printing is all about at a bargain of only $45.16. The pen comes with a small nozzle and uses plastic filaments which it melts at a high temperature to let you create 3D models. Start by using the pen on a surface (like a piece of paper) and after you've learnt how to use it, feel free to draw in the air.

Sunlu SL 300 Smart 3D Printer Pen

 

 
Take a moment to review the specs:

8-speed digital control
Cartridge type nozzle
Supporting material: ABS
 

 

5 3D printing ideas

So, you now have a 3D printer. Unless you already have a project in mind to start working on, consider trying one of these fun 3D printing ideas to get started.

What you can try, of course, depends on your knowledge and prior experience with 3D printing. The knowledge of modeling software like Google SketchUp can definitely come in handy. However, if you are a complete novice when it comes to 3D printing, you can still give some projects a try. Thanks to apps like MakerBot, you can easily turn a simple doodle into a 3D model ready for printing.

Bring a kid's drawing to life

A 3D printer can help you make a child's drawing real. Use a simple 3D printing app, upload your child's drawing to create a 3D model and press "print". Though simple, the little toy would make a wonderful holiday gift.

3D print a fidget spinner

Fidget spinners have been THE trend of 2017 and the chances are you probably have a few of the gadgets knocking about already. In case you want to take things a step further, you can actually print your own fidget spinner. Depending on the type of printer you use, you will need PLA filament, WD-40, 1 fidget spinner bearing (bore diameter 8 mm, outside diameter 22 mm, width 7 mm) and an oil resistant container. Of course, you will also need a computer, printer host, slicer software and, naturally, a 3D printer itself. Find further instructions here.

Phone and PC accessories

For your first 3D printing objects, start with simple plastic objects - but the ones you can also use in real life. A lot of smartphone and PC accessories are easy to make and do not require more than a standard plastic filament and a simple design. You can make a phone or tablet stand, a cable holder, earphone cases and more.

Cooking utensils

Okay, you probably won't be able to 3D print yourself an ice cream maker, but some simple cooking gadgets should be easy enough to make. Try printing a mini citrus juicer (make sure to disinfect the juicer after cleaning as it will be in direct contact with your food), a one-hand bottle opener or a set of measuring spoons.

Just a bunch of cool things

The best thing about 3D printing is that it allows you to make or customize things just the way you want them. Practicality aside, you can 3D print things that make sense just to you and which you probably won't easily find in your local store. Create a slider task reminder (for feeding pets, keeping track of chores, etc), make a cup entirely out of straws (because why not?) or a cheese door stopper.

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