Although they have been around in some form since the 1980s, 3D printers - devices that create three-dimensional physical objects from digital design files - have been gaining popularity in recent years. There are now a multitude of 3D printers available to purchase ranging from affordable to expensive. Instructors in higher education are still finding new ways to use the printers to produce prototypes and models. An article on 3ders.org attempts to categorize some of the many printers on the market in its 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide.
The guide currently covers 23 popular 3D printers and their capabilities in four categories:
- Category 1: Budget/Entry-Level 3D Printers ($300-$800)
- Category 2: Enthusiast/Mid-Range 3D Printers ($800-$2,000)
- Category 3: Enthusiast-to-Prosumer Premium 3D Printers ($2,000+)
- Category 4: SLA / DLP Resin 3D printers
It also includes considerations when choosing a 3D printer such as:
- Technology used
- Build volume
- Printing materials needed
- and more
Take a look through the 3D Printer Buyer's Guide and see which one fits your needs in terms of functionality, materials needed, and cost effectiveness.