From B&H Website

From B&H Website

Please know that I wear the badge  “Tech Nerd” as a compliment. Myself, I have a the pictured wireless 3D printer sitting in my office at home. I call it research. My family calls it a problem. :)

I digress. A teacher recently asked me for advice on how to pick and choose a 3D printer for her high schooler. I started my reply to her, but I realized it might be worth posting in my blog, just in case anyone was facing the same decision. I’ve done some editing of the email, but it generally went like this:

Samantha, It’s great that your high schooler is wanting a 3D printer. There are so many options out there, compared to 10 years ago when it was Makerbot or bust, for the most part. Certainly, there are many build-from-a-kit printers, as well as order-all-the-pieces and build projects, but it might be best to stick with one that’s already put together so he can concentrate on printing, not fixing.

Here is a list of printers that are ranked and mostly available on that might be of interest –
One thing to be concerned about is viability and support from these 3D printer companies. Over the past few years, I’ve seen several go out of business, which means that their printers don’t have support after the company folds. That’s a risk that might make sense to stick with well known companies, but that also increases prices.
Other things to consider:
  1. Will the printer be for just tinkering or eventual real, useable model creation?
  2. What will the size of your printed objects be?  Our 3D printers can print 8x8x8 inch creations with just one color at a time
  3. Most do it yourself printers have the ability to upgrade their products to create larger build plates – allows for expandability
  4. Do you care about proprietary filament printers? It may cost a bit more, but depending on your build volume, you might not notice the price difference
For some reason, I was drawn to XYZ printers – They were one of the early companies to come out with 3D printers that were almost affordable. My builds have been pretty solid, and about the only thing I notice different from our school’s 3D printer builds is that you have to lay down a layer of glue stick goo on the masking tape-like base provided base or the filament won’t stick. It’s also a bit harder to pry off the plate when it’s completed.
There are several models made by XYZ that I’ll point out here. I have the orange one (second one below) for my own personal use:
  • cheapest, ready to go printer I can find
  • 5.9x.5.9×5.9 builds – at the top of the mini-sized builds
  • Decent footprint – would fit on a student-sized desk
  • Proprietary filaments with a chip (You can’t buy off the shelf filament)
  • Looks like it was made by Crayola for kids (It kind of is for kids, but who cares?)
  • No wifi printing
  • Can’t build large objects
The orange printer I have is now on sale at B&H Photo for $189 GREAT PRICE FOR A READY TO GO WITH STARTER FILAMENT –
  • It has all of the pluses and minuses of the above printer, but it can be set up to print wirelessly. A spool of filament costs $20-$25, though sometimes they have sales on their website
Da vinci printer 1.0 – $239 – – From the xyz website. Don’t know how long that will be at that price, but it is an older version than the two above.
  • Use any filament out there
  • Upgraded printhead, better quality
  • 5.9x.5.9×5.9 builds – at the top of the mini-sized builds
  • Decent footprint – would fit on a student-sized desk
  • Can’t build large objects
  • One color at a time
  • A bit older technology means it might not be supported for much longer
I hope this makes things easier vs more confusing for you and your child. Let me know if you have any questions.3dprinter
Rick (MS Tech Nerd)
Perhaps, some of this information will be interesting to you. If not, you got to read martian or greek for the past 3 minutes!

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