05. BQ Witbox 2
The BQ Witbox printer is nice and big. With a DIN-A4 (21x29.7cm) print area offering up to 20cm in height, youcan print large-scale objects or multiple parts at thesame time.
This is a heavy, sturdy printer that offers good use of both metals and hard plastics. LED lights illuminate the whole platform too, and this is the first printer to come with a locking door.
The machine is well-supported with manuals and videos that can be viewed and downloaded from the company’s website, including plans to print spare parts for the machine – a very handy and economical way to maintain the machine.
The software is quite advanced, with many options and settings to get to grips with, so unlike other printers here, it will take some time to sort through all the options to get the part you need. A real plus is the large build area, making this more for the serious hobbyist.
Witbox’s large print area is a fantastic advantage, but it has a bulky build and isn’t particularly user friendly.
06. Projet 1200
- Type: SLA
- Material cost: $490 for a 10 pack
This is a very nice printer, even the packaging feels well designed and put together. The Projet 1200 is a very sleek and small machine, and given it’s an SLA and not an extruder that’s a big compliment.
It’s so neat and well designed you can pretty much put the Projet 1200 anywhere. This is one of the lightest and most compact printers in this group test.
The Projet 1200 has a UV curing oven built into the right side of the machine so there’s no need for a separate unit.
The software is very user friendly and gives you the option to auto generate supports or manually make them, this is a great function when it comes to making parts.
The downside is that the build platform is tiny, limiting what you can build. I think it's best suited to be used for jewellery designs and miniatures. The print quality is fantastic, and supports just rub off parts and leave a good finish.
One of the most popular SLAs for studios. The quality is superb, but the small platform constrains what can be built with this printer.
07. Form 1+
Like Projet, this is an SLA machine so is a step above the Extruder printers rated here, but comes in slightly cheaper than the 3D Systems' machine.
The Formlabs Form+1 is a solidly made, attractive bit of gear and looks great on the desk, taking up a pretty small footprint considering its abilities.
This stereolithography based printer offers exceptionally high quality for the price, enabling details as fine as 25 microns. This means that the lines often seen on other printers are invisible here.
A quick start guide is provided and using the software to scale, place and orient your model, as well as set up supports, is very simple indeed.
The printer uses standard .stl files, and upon import it will scan your model for faults and attempt to repair them for you if they exist.
Formlabs has great support too, replying swiftly, they offered extra advice, sent files to diagnose where I’m going wrong, and looked at my own files. All in all, one of the best all-round printers on the market and well worth the extra investment.
08. Micro 3D
- Type: Extruder
- From $349
- Material cost: $14
M3D hopes that The Micro will be the machine that finally brings 3D printing to the masses. "The Micro's retail launch represents the culmination of two and a half years of refinement and fine tuning, ensuring we have a strong and reliable 3D printer for enthusiasts, professionals and everyday consumers to enjoy," explains M3D CEO Michael Armani. "People are waiting to discover 3D printing and we're here to help."
Despite the bargain-basement price, The Micro is all the printer that most homes will want when they are starting out on their 3D printing journey. It features a 50 micron maximum resolution, a 4.3×4.3 inch print bed, and a high-end extruder that can handle a wide range of different filament types.
Additional contributions from the Creative Bloq staff.