3D printers can virtually print anything you want in 3-dimension. They can be used for a wide range of purposes.
One of the factors that determine if a product is bought is the price. So how much is a 3D printer?
This article has all the answers to that question and more.
Want to know how 3D printers work, click here to find out.
Cost Overview of the 3D Printers
Like many products in the market, 3D printers also have different types. As a result, 3D printers’ prices depend on its type.
An average 3D printer is priced at about $700, with the cheapest costing about $200. On the other hand, high-end 3D printers cost about some thousand dollars.
One thing many are afraid of when they hear of 3D printers is how expensive they think the printers are. Well, they used to be at a point. However, late in 2014, the cost of 3D printers began to fall significantly.
The price which you’ll get a 3D printer ultimately rests on what your purpose is for getting one and your budget. You can’t get a high-end 3D printer with an entry-level 3D printer budget.
So without further ado, let’s look at the types of 3D printer we have.
Types of 3D Printer
Here is a simple rule to keep in mind: The higher the product, the higher the price. That’s very simple, isn’t it?
You need to remember that because there are five main types of 3D printer and they get more expensive as you climb the quality ladder.
The types are:
- Entry-level 3D printers
- Hobbyist 3D printers.
- Enthusiast 3D printers
- Professional 3D printers
- Industrial 3D printers.
Below, we are going to discuss each type of 3D printer and what they can do as well as their price range. This should give you an idea of what to expect and which of these types is suitable for you.
Entry-Level 3D Printers
This category of printers is as their name implies. They are designed for novices. These printers serve as introductory course novices need to learn when it comes to 3d printing technology.
They can perform basic 3D printings, but they have a lot of limitations.
These limitations include the size in which they can print. A high percentage of entry-level printers cannot print more than 3-4 inches in length, width and height.
They also cannot use more than one filament. This limits your choice of material to print with.
Besides, these printers can be slow and noisy when printing. The quality of the printed item isn’t impressive either as they aren’t precise.
You also have to take extra care of them as they are not known to be durable. (What did you expect from a $200 3D printer?).
Taking care of them isn’t so easy especially when you’re responsible for assembling the parts of the printer. And this can be somewhat difficult based on the model you bought.
So what is their price range? Many entry-level 3D printers cost about $200 to $400.
If you are a beginner and you are wondering which 3D printer to start with, allow us to recommend the FlashForge Finder.
Check out these 10 best cheap 3D printers for beginners video below.
Hobbyist 3D Printers
Hobbyist 3D printers are for a hobbyist. (Oh wow, that explains a lot). Well, that’s how some folks might explain it, but we’ll do you one better.
Hobbyist 3D printers are designed for those that have basic experience and knowledge of 3D printers. These set of people are very much interested in the 3D print technology and desire to create more complex models.
This type of printers is more capable than entry-level printers. You can print bigger models than that which entry-level machinery allow. However, they are still limited to 5-6 inches dimensions.
Apart from the above, these machines print faster and have the option of using more print materials. This allows you to get inventive with your models.
These printers possess software that allows them to auto-level and clean, which brings about more precise prints.
Despite hobbyists 3D printers being better than entry-level 3D printers, they are still limited somewhat. It is advisable not to use them for an extended period of printing and do not use them frequently as well.
What is the price range for hobbyists printers? You’ll find these printers cost about $300 to $1500.
The QIDI Tech I is a highly recommended hobbyist’s 3D printer among the lot out there.
Enthusiast 3D Printers
Enthusiast 3D Printers are for those who want to take their 3D printing to another step or a level higher than hobbyists printers.
What can these enthusiast machines do?
First of all, they have a stronger and solid build. They are designed to be more user-friendly.
These printers can print 3D models of size 8-12 inches in any dimension. And these models can be printed with more materials to choose from. Some of these printers, however, will only use certain brand filaments.
Enthusiast 3D printers print at a faster rate than hobbyists printers and they do that more quietly.
We should mention that although printing at faster rate feels like an advantage, it might not produce the best of quality.
Slower printing tends to be more precise especially for 3D printers in this category. We advise you to choose slower speeds instead of fast speeds.
Despite their proficiency, these printers are still limited. They cannot deliver professional quality models.
Also, you will end up repairing and maintaining them frequently if you use them often and for extended periods.
How much do enthusiast 3D printers cost? You can find them from $1500 to $3500.
The LulzBot TAZ 6 3D Printer is a perfect example of an enthusiast 3D printer.
Professional 3D Printers
This is the category where you’re really out for business. It means this is not just a hobby or is it something you are passionate about.
A professional 3D printer is bought to help you make more money. Unless you already have a lot of money and you just needed to spend it on something.
These machines are great for printing models that can be used for project presentations and all the serious board office meetings. They are also used in universities and robotic clubs.
They are perfect because they can print models of size 12 inches in all dimensions. They can make use of a range of print materials; this includes texture, and colors.
Unlike enthusiast printers that might falter while printing at fast speeds, professional 3D printers deliver high quality at faster speeds. They can also be used for an extended period without any problem.
Because these printers do not come cheap, you need to make sure you know a good deal about the product. Read reviews and manufacturer’s description of the product.
How much do they cost? They cost about $3500 to $6000.
A professional 3D printer we recommend that serves a wide range of purposes is the Fusion3 F410.
Industrial 3D Printers
Unless you are an industry or you are running one, you have no business with this category of 3D printers. These printers exist for industrial business only.
Even a good number of industries stay clear of this category because they cost a walloping amount of money; maintenance fee inclusive.
A good number of professional machines recently have been competing with industrial 3D printers. This is another reason not many go for this category of printers.
Industrial 3d printers deliver the highest print quality of all categories. They are durable as they are built with a lot of metal. They have custom print modes and other user-friendly features.
Apart from price, a major limitation of these printers is the availability of print material. These materials can be very costly; some cost more than enthusiasts and even professional 3D printers.
If you want to get these printers you need about $20,000 to $100,000 depending on the model. Some even cost more because of additional charges.
The Stratasys Fortus 250mc is a perfect example of an industrial 3D printer that is made for heavy-duty 3D printing.
Now you know the price range of the major types of 3d printers. However, while making your choice, also put the cost of the following into consideration: Filaments (printing material), software (not in all cases), maintenance, and electricity.
Make sure you calculate all the above for the particular product you want to purchase. Else you might end up paying more for an enthusiast printer than what you would for a professional 3D printer.
If you have further questions, let us know in the comments section below.