3D printing has changed how we manufacturing parts and create prototypes, and now you can learn how to do it in the comfort of your home without costing you tons of money.
Here are the best 3D printers for beginners to get through the learning curves as fast as possible before moving onto something more advanced.
MakerBot Replicator+ [Best Overall]
Why Use This One – The MakerBot Replicator+ offers better speed, good quality, quiet print performance for beginners. It’s by far the best professional grade printer out of all other options.
30% Boosted Print Speed – Considerably faster print speed than its predecessor (175 mm/sec print head travel speed & 15 cubic mm/ sec)
TOUGH Material Supported – 2X the impact strength of ABS for high durability prototypes. Significantly less warping and curling than ABS without the need for heated build plates
PLA Supported – Most used bioplastics in the world. It’s eco-friendly, and extremely affordable for beginners
Better Print Adhere Grip Surface – Reduced print warping and curling, and the printed part is easier to remove with the new bendable Flex Build Plate
Included 1 PLA Spool – Get started right away right out of the box
Ultimaker S5 [Best For Large Volume Print]
Why Pick This One – Much bigger size for printing something big [ 330 X 240 X 300mm] and it integrates seamlessly with slicer Cura 3D software that can print a wide range of materials for a good quality. It’s by far the best next to the MakerBot for beginners, professionals and creative designers.
Wide Range Of Materials – It prints fast and supports 2 color printing, dissolvable support and with moving parts
Easy To Load Material – Faster to load and unload material after every print. Significantly reduced filament breakage when sitting idle for extended periods
No Leveling Required – All professional printers should have it, and this one does. It saves times and prevents many failure points when building the first layer of every print
Built In Cloud System & Camera – Team member can send print jobs to the printer online or move file through USB stick. Also check the status of the print while you’re away like a home security system
Included 2 PLA Spools – Get started right away right out of the box
Anycubic Photon [Best Resin Printer]
Why Use This One Over Others – If you’re a talented scale modeler and know how to work with resin parts, this printer will take your project and artistic skills to the next serious level. It’s unbelievable what this printer can do for its price.
Insane Mind Blowing Detail – Use this to build highly detailed miniature display models to bring them to life
Prints Better & Costs Way Less – Make better resin parts up to $1 – 3 a piece on your own for parts you can’t find on scale modeling online stores.
No Print Mold Line – 3D printed without mold line. No trimming or filing required
Amazing Customer Support – Things breaks, the company will take care of you at no charge. It’s a great start for a beginner
Prusa I3 MK3S+ [Best Mid Grade]
Why Give This A Try – Starting at $749 you get a newly designed printer with new bed leveling probe and minor design tweaks to improve the print quality starting from the very first layer.
Added Auto Bed Leveling – SuperPINDA Fully-automatic Mesh Bed Leveling process to ensure 100% spot on first layer (Must have for good print)
High Speed Print (200mm/s) – Super silent fan even in the normal printing mode, the MK3S+ is quieter than most 3D printers on the market
Fast Software Setup – Just download and and have it up and running in minutes
Pre Assembled – It’s ready right out of the box, or buy kit version for much cheaper price
Anycubic Mega Zero 2 [Best Budget Option]
Why Beginners Should Start Here – For just under $220, this simple FDM printer is a solid place to start for beginners. It’s easy to use, less frustration and affordable
Sets Up In 20 Mins – Follow the instruction to put it together! Simple and quick with tools provided
Heated Print Bed – Parts will stick while you print until it’s finished, and works with many other types of filament
Manual Bed Leveling – Tweak it, play around and learn the importance of print bed quality before moving onto an advanced printer
Ultra Simple – No fancy bells and whistle to lower the price. Just send a simple 3D model to the print and start printing
Buyer’s Guide – What To Look For
Which Is Right For You?
Before buying any 3D printer, the 3D drafting (CAD) skill is needed to get the most out of your 3D printer. It’s important to understand that a modern 3D printer can do a lot as long as the 3D model is properly configured for print.
For a beginner just wanting to test out what a 3D printer can do should buy a good printer within your budget, and that’s generally under $200 – $400. If you decide that it’s not something you want to delve deep into, no significant amount of money is lost.
For a beginner who genuinely enjoys DIY projects and other engineering related tasks, and see themselves with a very clear vision what they want to do with the 3D printer, then we recommend buying a mid tier printer around $700 or up to $2000.
As the complexity of the design increases, a high end 3D printer is a much better buying decision to give you the result without having to bang your head against the wall.
Auto bed leveling is what every professional 3D printer should have. It’s the platform where the first layer of the print is layered. It set an spot on location for the first layer to generate after calibrating the entire bed from all corners to ensure it’s leveled.
Generally speaking, entry level 3D printers have manual bed leveling so a beginner can understand the important of plate leveling for the most precise 3D print. When it’s time to move onto an advanced 3D printer with auto leveling feature, it will be appreciated.
Most 3D printers are relatively quiet, but it can drive a person crazy in the same room with for many hours before the print is complete.
The average decibel range of 3D printers is around 40db-55db due to the fan, similar to a but it can get a lot quieter with some basic techniques. Fans also make a portion of the noise of 3D printers, similar to a laptop fan on high blast.
Picking the right material for your specific design is important. Here are 6 mechanical properties to consider when you print a part.
- Heat deflection temperature – Temperature induced deformation under stress
- Elastic modulus – Material stiffness
- Impact strength – Withstand drop and shock
- Tensile strength – Withstand tension
- Elongation – Withstand stretch and bend
- Creep – Deformation over time
Learn more about them in this guide on our site.
There are plenty of 3D software to use for creating 3D models for print.
Some are complex and some are easy. Any 3D printer user should learn 3D drafting because it’s an important skill to have for making successful 3D parts.
For beginner, we recommend:
- Blender (it’s free)
- Fusion 360
For skilled up to advanced, we recommend:
- 3D Max
The learning curve for 3D printing varies based on what you want to create. If you’re starting from zero, and would like to learn everything, the first step is to understand how to use a 3D drafting software to create the part, and also prep it for the 3D printer.
As your skill level increases, learning material science can help you pick the right material for the right applications.