There are many technical specifications to consider when deciding which 3D printer to buy in 2021. This manual also takes into account the practical side, not just the technical specifications.
For home use, the size of the printer you purchase is important. Check that the outside dimensions of the printer fit the table or desk where you plan to place it. Moving the printer when it is level and working properly is not a good idea. So make sure he’s out of the way.
Also check the build volume or the maximum size the printer can create. This is the tradeoff as a larger build volume is usually the same as a larger printer. There are some designs available that will maximize the amount of printing without making the printer too large.
Another practical thing to think about is noise. 3D printers run for hours to build smaller parts as well. A noisy printer can be a problem in a stud, bedroom, or living room. All of the 3D printers I’ve seen make some noise, but some are particularly noisy. Before purchasing, request a demo of the printer in a quiet environment.
All home 3D printers should be able to print PLA. PLA is a good environmentally friendly material for hobby and home printing. The advantage is that an open frame device can easily print PLA, so the printer should be cheaper.
ABS is an engineering plastic that has long been used to make housings and other plastic parts. ABS is a very strong plastic that can withstand heat better than PLA. You will find that PLA parts deform in warm environments such as cars when ABS printed parts are still working properly. The problem with the high heat it takes to print ABS is that you need a fully enclosed 3D printer to control the heat around the part as it cools.
Flexible materials. If you want to print flexible or rubbery materials, you will need a specially designated printer. The extruder design is different to allow printing of these materials. Before you buy, make sure to check that the printer can do it.
Some printers only print with supplies purchased from the same company that made the printer. To do this, they even insert electronic chips into the material cartridges. Stay away from these. You want to be able to purchase material from any supplier online or locally. Do not be tied to a specific manufacturer when buying material.
Availability of spare parts
3D printers break and some parts like bearings are considered consumable parts. Make sure that the printer you purchase is well supported and that the replacement parts are easy to obtain.
Home 3D printers are often based on freely available open source designs. Even some of the cheapest 3D printer are based on proven designs. These printers are great because replacement parts are readily available. Many printers also use some 3D printed parts in their designs. This is great because over time you can print your own replacement parts from freely available designs. If something breaks you can just take one of the parts you printed and replace the broken one. It’s also possible to make some simple upgrades by printing alternative parts for your printer.
This is another consideration, although it is not that important if you are not selling any printed items but are only printing for a hobby or home use. The minimum layer height and nozzle size influence the print quality. Most printers allow you to change the nozzle size. Smaller nozzles take a lot longer to print the part, but the quality is better.
The minimum layer height is specified for a specific printer. The smaller the minimum layer height, the better you can print. The great thing about the layer height is that you can set it to any value that is larger than the minimum in the software. This means that you can print quickly by increasing the layer height and then make a quality print by decreasing it in the settings. If you want high quality prints, make sure you get a printer with a very small minimum layer height.
Check out the control system and how it works. Most home printers in 2021 should have their own control system. You should be able to transfer that G code Files to the printer and let it print. Here, too, an open source control system is better because spare parts are freely available.
If you find a printer that needs to be connected to a computer full-time to print, it can be a problem. You can’t move your laptop to another location when it needs to be connected full-time and can be connected for many hours for a print to complete. As I said, you shouldn’t encounter this problem anymore, just be aware of it.
Have fun with your 3D printer. 3D printing at home can be a lot of fun and you will learn a lot about design, software control systems, and electronics if you devote yourself to this hobby.