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Best Of 2018

The Best 3D Printer Your Money Can Buy in 2018

What would you make if you could build anything you wanted? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie but 3D printing is real. In the past few years, it’s been used to produce everything you could dream of including gadgets, toys, jewellery, food, and yes – body parts. Even NASA are big fans!

What is 3-D printing?

Good question. 3-D printing also goes by the name “additive printing”. It takes a three dimensional digital model and then prints a physical object by adding thin layers of material one by one. Initially, 3D printing was highly specialized tech used to manufacture complex parts at a fraction of the normal cost. Now this mind-bending technology is available to anyone.

How do I buy a 3D printer?

As you can imagine, there are A LOT of 3D printers on the market. Models vary on price, build and size. Some machines can handle hard materials like metal while others cannot. To help you make your choice, we have taken two of the most popular brands and compared them with each other: The Lulzbot TAZ 6 and the MakerGear M2. If you want to buy one, I recommend you check out special offers at Amazon.com

1) LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer

There’s a lot of things I like about the LulzBot TAZ 6. It’s easy to use, reliable and sturdy. That makes it ideal for beginners and professionals alike. It offers a print area of around 11in x 11in x 10in, which is larger than most comparable models. You’ll definitely get value for money by being able to make lots of small prints or one very large print instantaneously. The next great thing about this 3D printer is that it comes with open source software. It means you never have to pay for software or upgrades (!). That’s important to avoid those pesky creeping costs… It’s also got decent speed so you can do mass-printing in a jiffy. The machine is built from a mix of aluminum and metal parts so this is a sturdy beast that will print at full throttle.  This makes the Lulzbot ideal for modern school environments where students can have fun making their own prototypes.

Now for the not-so-great. This is a big machine so you’ll need to have ample space in your home or garage to operate it properly. Be prepared to do some DIY assembly on arrival. Also the print quality isn’t the best if you’re printing in bulk. That’s something to bear in mind if you’re looking to do professional grade printing.

Verdict: This is a very good 3D printer. Yes, it requires setting up but that was super easy even for a total novice, thanks to the simple manual. Using the software to create your bespoke designs is fun and straightforward. For opensource software this is pretty advanced, allowing you to select between normal and expert mode for full customisation. You’ll even receive tips based on your materials. The print quality is decent, especially if you specify your settings. But, I did find that if I printed a bunch of items at once the quality wasn’t razor sharp. Overall though, if you’re looking to do a ton of printing fast, this printer is dead on reliable.

Specifications:

  • Self-leveling, self-cleaning and comes with an integrated power supply
  • 280 mm x 280 mm x 250 mm (11.02 in x 11.02 in x 9.8 in) build volume enables large prints, or many small prints at once
  • Maximum temperatures of 300°C (572°F) for the hot end and 120°C (248°F) open a world of material possibilities
  • Modular tool head carriage design allows plug-and-play with different print heads for growing selection of 3D printing filament materials
  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer

Usually ships in 24 hours & Free shipping
Last update was in: May 20, 2018 1:00 am

$2,500.00


2) MakerGear M2

First things first: I LOVE the black, futuristic design of this 3D printer from MakerGear. As with the Lulzbot, this printer is solid. The frame is constructed from steel and cast aluminum parts that are perfect to withstand heavy use. The machine is ready to use straight out of the box so you don’t have to mess around like with IKEA furniture. Once the machine is set up, I would even go so far as to say that this machine feels sturdier than the Lulzbot. I see the difference when I go to print. The print bed on this machine is secured by four points. That makes it easy to level and you don’t have to do any manual z-compensation or “auto-levelling” to get a good result. Similarly to the Lulzbot, the MakerGear offers open source software. Like I mentioned earlier, this is a big win because it gives you much more creative freedom. You should still take the time to learn the machine inside out and to get your settings tuned up just right.

The drawbacks? Honestly, hardly any. If I nitpick I’d say that the fans could be more effective. This is a beast of a machine so if your room isn’t ventilated, you’ll get very hot. Also the M2 shakes a lot during short moves. It’s not dangerous as long as your machine is on a proper surface. Another thing you will want to know is that the build area is noticeably smaller than the Lulzbot. So if you’re looking to go big with your designs, that machine will be more up your street.

Verdict: If you’re a professional and find that the Lulzbot print quality is a little hit and miss, I say go for the MakerGear. The same goes if you’ve already owned 3D printers in the past and are looking for an upgrade.

Specifications:

  • 8″ x 10″ x 8″ (XYZ) Build Envelope
  • CNC Machined Precision Hardware On A Rigid Fabricated Steel Frame
  • Open Source Electronics And Firmware
  • Works Out-Of-The-Box With ABS, PLA, PET, Flexible And More
  • Product
  • Features
  • Photos

MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer

Last update was in: May 20, 2018 1:01 am

$1,825.00

The Gadget Nerds

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