The 3D printer you will get depends on your needs and your budget. You should search for the category that fits your needs to make everything easier for you. The price, features, size and capability of a 3D printer will differ for each category, but how much does a commercial 3D printer cost? 3D printers are evolving and that’s good news because you could get a better machine for a reasonable price. Here’s what you can expect from each category.
Industrial and Business 3D Printers
Industrial and business 3D printers are usually offered for $10,000 or higher. These printers can print materials like metal and carbon fiber. The printing processes differ significantly and often include Binder Jetting, FDM, SLS, and SLA. These printers are quite large and may be sold as standalone units.
Some industrial and business 3D printers come in several large units. One can be used for sintering and other units for sintering and printing. These printers are mostly used for functioning components and prototypes. Industrial and business 3D printers may be used to manufacture commercial items.
These printers may become more expensive in the future. Regular maintenance checks should be expected when you have these printers. You may also need to use a certain set of materials produced by the manufacturer. These materials are already included in the cost of the printer.
However, you should also know that industrial printers are one of the most limited in materials and functions. As such, industrial printers are suitable for industries and businesses that only need a particular set of materials and have the resources to maintain the printer continuously.
Performance and Professional 3D Printers
Performance and professional 3D printers can be found in the $1000 to $10,000 price range. These printers are ideal for precision manufacturing as they can print all kinds of materials on an hourly or daily basis. You will find multi-capable printers that can also function as laser- cutting or laser engraving or CNC machines.
Most of the printers this in this range are already assembled out of the box, so you don’t need to put them together on your own. The printers are already calibrated or may automatically calibrate themselves once set up and activated. However, performance and professional 3D printers are hard to calibrate on your own because they often work with only compatible modifications. These modifications are available as aftermarket parts.
The print sizes are large, and precision is also honed. It’s common for performance and professional 3D printers to have enclosures. The list of materials that these machines can print is also larger. Manufacturers focus on user-friendliness and interface. They equip these machines with Wi-Fi capability, touch-screen, and better software.
These printers should produce exceptional print quality. Defects are few and rare. Since these printers come with enclosures, noise is considerably reduced. Larger models, however, may still produce some noise. The noise level varies significantly between printers. For instance, printers that use large mobile gantries such as FDM printers are quite loud because these machines have a lot of moving parts. Laser-based and SLA printers are normally quite.
Performance and professional 3D printers are known to have reliable customer service in case of breakage or malfunction. You don’t need to worry because such problems rarely happen. The cost of materials for larger performance printers and SLA printers, however, can be fairly expensive. These printers are only compatible with materials produced by the original manufacturer.
Hobbyist and Entry Level 3D Printers
Hobbyist and entry-level 3D printers are offered for $300 to $1000. These machines are ideal for hobbyists and beginners because their features and reliability can provide most of their needs. Print volume, quality and speed affect the price of the printer. Higher quality printers will definitely come at a higher price.
These printers are ideal for frequent use. Users can also expect high quality prints from these machines on a regular basis. Some hobbyists and entry-level 3D printers may need to be assembled and calibrated. You don’t need to worry because these machines usually need only minor repairs and calibrations in order to work properly for a long period of time.
Build volumes are higher as well. The largest build volume of such machines is 500 mm³. The noise level is usually within the 50-decibel range, and the quality of the print is normal. Even when you have to print complex designs, you can expect the result to be good. Hobbyist and entry-level 3D printers can print at a speed of 300 mm/s.
The printing capability of these machines is also higher. Most hobbyists and entry-level 3D printers can print a wide range of materials without calibrations. These machines are capable of printing everything from ABS to PLA and PETG. You can also print exotic materials like wood, metal infill plastic and flexible.
Budget 3D Printers
Budget 3D printers are offered for $100 to $300. These printers are ideal for DIYers who want a cheap machine that they can use to print custom parts. Budget 3D printers are often offered as kits that you have to assemble. These printers can be modified to extend and improve their functions. If you have the patience and time to upgrade your printer, then budget 3D printers are a good option for you.
Just remember that these printers may need to be adjusted as they may not function perfectly right out of the box. You may also need to repair and calibrate budget 3D printers quite often if you don’t upgrade some components.
The functionality of budget 3D printers is frequently limited in various ways. One of these is the fact that few materials can be printed without any modification. The print volume is also quite small, and the print quality is low. Budget 3D printers are also noisy and the print speed is approximately 100 mm/s.
Just keep in mind that the printer’s cost is only one part of the entire 3D printing cost. You also need to pay for filaments, maintenance, electricity, or software. Consider these factors as well when choosing a commercial 3D printer.