As 3D printers have become more affordable and hit the consumer market, hobbyists and enthusiasts the world over has been looking to get their hands on one and start their own projects too but there’s a huge range of different products on offer – larger projects often require more expertise with examples shown at of some world leading projects, but it’s also surprising what some of the smaller home printers are able to do too. So, when looking for a 3D printer, how can you be sure you’re choosing the right one, and what else should be kept in mind too?

Choosing the right style

There’s quite a wide range of different 3D printer styles out on the market for exactly how the printing takes place – most commonly used by hobbyists are the Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) printers which push out hot material known as filament to build the models, others use vats of resin including Digital Light Processing printers, SLA printers, or SLS printers which use powder instead of resin. Some of the options may not be as accessible on a budget, so knowing what to look out for and the different styles of printers sets a good goal post early.

Printer specific features matter too

Not all 3D printers are built the same and many will come with a huge range of different high-quality features – for most, one of the more important things may simply be the print area as volume matters, but other features may also include dual filament support, heated glass beds, and touch screen interfaces that make navigating through the printers’ options much easier too. There are plenty of different high-quality features to look out for that will bump up the price, so decide which are the most important ahead of time to keep expectations measured.

What type of item is being printed?

There’s also quite a large margin in what the different kinds of printers can actually handle too – are you looking to print more simple objects that can serve as a replacement part or similar, or looking to create something more artistic with more detail. Some will also print in material that’s more fit for outdoor use whilst others are more suited for indoor use too – so knowing exactly what types of items will be printed ahead of time will also be important to ensure the best quality.

Prices are coming down all the time and new options are hitting the market as 3D printing is becoming more consumer friendly so don’t be afraid to shop around and keep an eye out for the best possible deals, there may be some surprising bargains for some of the more capable printers on a regular basis.