It may feel like consumer 3D printers are still a new technology to use, but the reality is very different. Just a few years ago, your 3D printer would have been disassembled, partially put together by some squishy guys in a warehouse. Now, the typical mainstream 3D printer product is as polished and shiny as any other consumer electronic device you can throw a credit card at.
Prices are also plummeting, meaning those on a frugal budget can make a decent amount, affordable 3D printer. However, that is not what we are looking at here. The printers listed here are the ones that have driven the industry far beyond the printer-conscious consumers.
Their features, capabilities and quality represent a giant leap over the mostly homemade machines of the early days. So, take a look at four of the best 3D printers you can buy in 2019.
Da Vinci Color
XYZprinting has really made a name for itself over the past few years. Their printers are always innovative and have a good selection in the product range. For example, their da Vinci AIO products also include a 3D laser scanner, turning the printer into a sort of 3D copier.
Although FDM printers have become quite mature, most are still limited to single color printing. Dual or multi-extruder models can be used for easy multi-color printing. One for each extrusion head. However, if you want a suitable full-color 3D object, there aren’t any consumer products that can meet this task.
Import Da Vinci Color. This printer is like a real step forward in technology. It combines FDM 3D printing with CMY ink printing technology. The end result is a system that can color the outer layer of your print however you want. So you don’t have to hand-draw your prints anymore! The Da Vinci Color feels like the beginnings of the sci-fi duplicators we imagine could be 3D printers.
It’s also not a one-trick pony. There are plenty of high-tech features under the hood. Today, Wi-Fi is offered on high-end models, but it also features a neat magnetic print bed and a sophisticated auto-calibration system.
The 7.9 x 7.9 x 5.9-inch print volume might be a bit tight for some, but the vast majority of users will be perfectly satisfied with such a large space. The only real gripe is that the 100-micron maximum resolution is a bit grainier than the 20-micron resolution on the da Vinci Pro. If the price of Color is too dark for your health, then yes Mini version of the printer is now available for pre-order.
Flashforge Creator Pro
Flashforge had a good thing with the original Creator model. This is new Creator Pro The model takes what’s great about the original and the dial in terms of quality. Better (and more expensive) materials have been chosen for the Pro, making it sturdier and more attractive.
You get aviation aluminum that’s guaranteed not to warp under heat, and a metal frame instead of wood. The new metal construction and guide bar assembly are both geared towards precision and reliability. On top of that, the cavity is built in insulation, so that the ABS (it also supports PLA) stays cool.
This is also a dual extrusion printer, which opens up all the possibilities. Yes, you can use filaments of different colors for two-color prints, but much more of a concern is the ability to have different material grades for the holders and the final product.
This is a no-frills printer that knocks out clear, high-quality prints than most others in this price bracket. Speaking of which, the Creator Pro originally launched at a hefty price tag and has seen a consistent drop in price, now almost half of what the original card was.
It’s already a strong competitor at the full price point, but at the time of writing, you’d be hard-pressed to find something good for so little.
LulzBot Taz 6
Despite the silly name, LulzBot Taz 6 is anything but a joke. This is an advanced open source, open space 3D printer. It has a massive 11.02” x 11.02” x 9.8” build volume and an equally high price tag.
However, it is not overvalued by any measure. This is a SERIOUS printer that is reliable enough to run continuously in factory settings. Indeed, Lulzbot really does do this, with 150 printer parts being fed into the printer the end customer buys.
Although there is no WiFi connection, you do not need to connect the Taz 6 to the computer. It supports SD card printing, which means you only have to go through the model files to get started.
Maintenance is also kept to a minimum, with self-leveling and self-cleaning features, making this a very convenient machine to own.
Of all the impressive things about the Taz 6, the printhead tops the list. The printer is modular, which means you can upgrade or modify your existing printer to support dual-material printing and a long list of print materials, including wood and composites. Metal alloys, nylon fibers and printing materials have not been invented yet. That’s some serious future proof and makes the fat price tag much more reasonable in this context.
Dremel Digilab 3D20
Dremel is one of the leading power tool manufacturers in the world, so trying out a desktop 3D printer would make a lot of sense for them. The Dremel Digilab looks definitely part, with pleasant metal finishes and enclosed building spaces.
There is absolutely no pre-assembly, making this one of the most consumer-friendly 3D printers on the market. Since this printer does not have a heated platform, you are limited to PLA material. That might not be a bad thing, as Dremel is presenting Digilab as a high-quality desktop printer.
PLA tends to be used for models that need better detail and overall finish, not those that will actually be used for actual parts. This focus on PLA means Digilab is tailored to that material, making your prints more likely to appear the way they are intended.
Dremel claims that the 3D20 is the most reliable 3D printer on the market, backing it up with their test mode. Of course, we have no way of verifying the reliability claims, but Dremel has a reputation for making reliable tools. This is why the brand is such a favorite among builders and manufacturers of all stripes.
Other quality of life features include a full-color touchscreen display and the ability to print from an SD card. That means Digilab can work independently of the computer, with a very user-friendly interface.
The only potential drawback is the 9” x5.9” x5.5” build volume. If you want to print models larger than this, you’ll have to look elsewhere. If not, this is probably the best “hotspot” desktop printer you can buy today.
The time now is
The standard material deposition 3D printer is now ready for prime time. There’s no reason to hesitate to pull the trigger when it comes to desktop 3D printers anymore. While there’s still a lot of innovation ahead, the next generation of 3D printing won’t be on your desk any time soon.
This means waiting doesn’t make much sense. If you buy a modern 3D printer now, it will remain relevant for years to come, until they figure out how to bring true multi-material printing to the home market. If you’ve always wanted a 3D printer, 2019 is the best time to buy one. Interesting!