As 3D printing is becoming more popular, 3D printer prices are becoming more affordable. But in a few years’ time, a great many number of brands have entered the market, all of them offering different models, addressing different needs, at very different prices. In order to find one’s way in the 3D printer price jungle, let’s split the market into three categories of printers - upmarket, plug and play, and entry-level - and review notable models for each category.
Upmarket 3D printers prices
Upmarket 3D printers are the preferred choice for 3D printing enthusiasts, putting a focus on print quality and reliability over other concerns such as ease of use and support. 3D printer prices in this category range between £1,000 and £2,000, sometimes more.
LulsBot TAZ 5 3D printer price
LulzBot is one of the most respected 3D printer makers on the market. The LulzBot TAZ 5 is a relatively large printer at 298mm x 275mm x 250mm, and is shipped with an exchangeable extruder system, a built-in heated bed, and several customisation options. Prices start at £1,500.
This 3D printer comes in a box design, with a fully lit open-front and translucent sides. The resolution of this model is pretty impressive, with a print accuracy of 20 microns. This 3D printer’s price is quite hefty, starting at £1,800.
Developed and built in Spain by BQ, the Witbox offers the largest build volume in its category at 297 x 210 x 200 mm. Resolution goes up to 50 microns, and the key benefit is that both the hardware and software used are open-source, so many user-developments can be endeavoured. Prices start at £1,400.
Plug and play 3D printer prices
Plug and play printers are easy-to-use, reliable printers which can be operated straight out of the box. They represent a good choice for new adopters of 3D printing technologies, with relatively simple needs. Prices are usually around £1,000.
The LulzBot mini features an auto-levelling bed, an all-metal hot-end and a self-cleaning nozzle. The minimum layer height is 50 microns. Starting just under £1,000, this model is considered a very good deal not only for the asking price, but also for the running costs.
Designed by CEL in Portishead, Sommerset, England, the Robox can print at 20 micron resolution in a 210mm × 150mm × 100mm closed build chamber, using dual nozzles and a proprietary extrusion system. Developers be warned though, all software and hardware are also proprietary. This 3D printer’s prices start at £999,00.
The all-aluminium Zortrax M200 can also print out of the box, any object made of ABS, HIPS or ULTRAT and which can fit in its 200 x 200 x 185 mm build area. Using an automated platform levelling system, its resolution is 90 microns. Prices start at £1,800.
Entry-level 3D printers
With prices starting at around £400, these entry-level printers are the most affordable 3D printers, but not necessarily the least advanced.
Printrbot Simple Metal
The Printrbot Simple Metal does not use a box-design, and can only print with PLA (ABS support exists as an option), it still boasts an auto-levelling probe and a decent build volume or 150 x 150 x 150 mm. Prices start at £450.
This other model from Flashforge can use ABS as well as PLA, and has a respectable build area of 225 x 145 x 150 mm. It uses open source hardware and software, so it supports user developments. Starting at about £700, it can perfectly be used to print prototypes.
The UP Mini by UP3D has a rather small build volume of 120 x 120 x 120 mm, but has a closed enclosure design and perforated heated built plate, and is compatible with both ABS and PLA compounds. It’s therefore a very pleasant surprise that prices of this model start at only around £400.