ith thousands of different best 3D printer under 300 models available on the market today and that number growing every day, “Which 3D Printer should I buy?” is one of the most common questions we are asked at 3D Hubs.
To answer this question, we reached out to our global community of 3D printing service providers to learn from their experiences and find out more about the 3D printers they own.
With total reviews from over 10,154 verified 3D printer owners having a collective 6,353 years of 3D printing experience, coupled with 1.48 million prints completed on 668 different 3D printer models, the result of our research is the 2018 3D Printer Guide – the most comprehensive 3D printer guide available.
Together with our community, we investigated the following parameters to help measure the user experience of a range of 3D printers: print quality, build quality, reliability, ease of use, print failure rate, customer service, community, running cost, software, and value.
In our 3D printer index you can find an overview of all reviewed 3D printers.
In this guide, we’ve made it easy for you to find 3D printers for five of the most common categories of 3D printing. These categories include Prosumer, Workhorse, Plug ‘n’ Play, Budget, and SLS (selective laser sintering) 3D printers. In total, 14 models made it on our Top 3D Printers list for 2018, and each of these printers has an average of 50 in-depth reviews from experienced 3D printer owners that contributed to their standing on this list.
Printers in our Prosumer category are for professionals looking for a 3D printer with exceptional build quality that can produce high quality parts, reliably. These are highly advanced desktop machines with a variety of applications. Printers in this category are best suited for professional designers and small businesses.
Once again Ultimaker finds itself at the top of our prosumer category with the Ultimaker 3 Extended, coming joint first with an overall rating of 9.2. Released in October 2016, the Ultimaker 3 Extended (UM3 Extended) gives users an extra 10cm build height over the Ultimaker 3 but offers the same functionality.
The UM3 Extended uses swappable “print cores” optimised for build or soluble support materials. This frees up the ability to print geometries that are not possible to print on single extrusion printers that use build material for support. The UM3 Extended also boasts a unique lift switch which raises the second nozzle when not in use so that it does not interfere with the print. Combine this with the auto-bed levelling, the UM3 Extended is a very reliable printer capable of running print after print with little to no maintenance. When maintenance is required, the Ultimaker guides and customer support, not to mention the huge Ultimaker community gets users printing again as soon as possible.
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Using Ultimakers’ free Cura software users can slice models using optimised material profiles and send them to print wirelessly over wifi. After which users can watch their print live from the cura software using the UM3 Extended in-built camera.
As always with the Ultimaker printers, the UM3 Extended package comes in at a high cost of $4,295. Despite this, as with the Ultimaker 2+, 100% of Ultimaker 3 Extended reviewers said that they would recommend their 3D printer to somebody else – beginners through to experts.
In conclusion, Ultimaker has completely overhauled the printer since the Ultimaker 2+ with the UM3 offering auto-bed leveling, dual extrusion with soluble support, Wifi connectivity and more. As one user puts it “If you desire to design, click & print with ease, the Ultimaker 3 is for you.”