As the prices of 3D printers dropped dramatically the last years, it might be a good time to look into a desktop 3D printer.
I remember my first 3D printer was about 1500 EUR, and now days you can buy one for less then 200 EUR.
That is not only good for people with smaller wallets that always wanted to 3D print , but also for people who might have never thought of owning a 3D printer.
Maybe you are a student, maker, designers or an artist and are willing to invest some time and money into 3D printing-For fun, small project or as a experiment.
Or maybe you have kept an eye out on the 3D printing and makers movement, but didn’t want to spend over 1000 Euro/Pounds for a 3D printer.
Basically-3D printing is a bit more affordable these days-for (almost) every one.
Which 3D printer ?
On a industrial level there are more types of 3D printers, but for this post I want to focus on desktop FDM or SLA (resin) 3D printers.
There are two different kind of 3D printers for home and office use FDM and Resin.
FDM are the extrusion type 3D printers that melt plastic together, and Resin printers solidify a resin to a solid object.
FDM printers can be found for a few hunderd dollars/Euro’s.
A quite popular budget brand is creality.
If you have some parts laying arround, and you know someone with a 3D printer,You can even build one your self, there are loads of open source designs available.
Have a look at the Rep Rap page-This is where the open source 3D printing movement began.
Another inspirational design is the Cherry 3D printer.
SLA 3D printers.
A resin printer works with toxic resins, so is best to use in a industrial setup, or dedication workshop-not home.
A very attractive budget SLA printer is the Any Cube.
And yes, there are also open source designs available for Resin 3D printers.
An interesting forum :
What haven’t much changed, is the design and data generation for 3D printing.
3D printers are still very picky, and the 3D data needs to be perfect.
This is a learning curve, but can be overcome.
The design software.
If you want to make your own 3D designs, you will need some design software.
If you are on a budget, there are some free Proprietary and open source versions out there-see my blog post.
As i’m a big supporter of open source projects and stand alone, non web based software, I would recommend Blender for creative 3D modelling, and Free cad for Parametric modelling.
The Slicing software.
As your 3D design needs to be translated to something that your 3D printer understands (Gcode), you will need what is called a slicer.
I use a payed version called Simplify 3D, there are how ever good free, and according to some people, better slicers on the market then Simplyfy 3D.
Cura is made by Ultimaker, but is supported for other 3D printers as well.
Slic3r is around for a while, and Joseph Prusa made it’s own, improved version (Fork) based on this slicer.