• M Aerospace RTC

What to consider when buying a 3D printer?



If you are looking for a printer, it is important to know how 3D printers differ from each other, so that you can choose the one that best suits your needs. A wide variety of styles can be used by a particular audience or type of print.

Before buying a 3D printer, some specifications should be considered. If you already know the features you want in your printer, you don't need to know this information, but it will be helpful if you're a first-time 3D printer owner.

Getting an optimal printer will depend on how you plan to use it, that is, you must first have established the project for which you will use it. For example, for a school purpose, you would purchase a printer that is easy to set up and use, requires minimal maintenance, and has average print quality. In design and other professions, it would be best to get one that provides surface-quality prints. In companies involved in short-run manufacturing, a printer with a large build area will be necessary so that several objects can be printed at once. Now that you have the project set up, here's what to consider:

printer type ‎You must first choose a printer where your printing process fits the plan you have in mind. There are different printing processes, among them, there are three most common types, which are suitable for users with different levels of experience. The first is Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM), which is based on heating and extruding a polymeric filament, this process is the most economical and suitable for amateurs. The second process is stereolithography (SLA), where ultraviolet light is used to photo-polymerize a photosensitive liquid. The third type is powder layer melting (SLS), in which powder is melted into a flatbed using lasers.

supported materials ‎Each type of printer handles different materials, it is important to choose a machine that can print the material you want to use in your projects. The most common materials in 3D printing are PLA (polylactic acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene), they are thermoplastics and are known for their low cost, ease of use, and versatility. You should know that while many 3D printers will accept generic spools, some companies' printers use proprietary spools or cartridges.


Other materials used in FDM printing include materials, such as TPU, TPE, HIPS, PC, NYLON, ASA, PP, PETG, and PVA.‎ Each material has a different melting point, so the use of these materials is limited to the printers designed for them.‎ If you want to use non-metallic powders such as polyamide or alumina you should choose a printer with an SLS process. For metallic powders, DMLS technology is used. Another type of material would be resins where technologies such as polyjet and stereolithography (SLA) are used.

Resolution The resolution of a 3D printer is an indicator of its print quality. A lower resolution results in better details in the print. Resolutions of up to 50 or 70 microns can be found in high-quality printers.


Printing area

Confirm that the build area of ​​a 3D printer is large enough for the type of parts you want to print. The build area determines, in three dimensions, the most prominent part size that can be created on a given printer. The build area on most common 3D printers varies between 6 and 9 square inches, but on some axes, it can vary by a few inches.

platform type It is considered a good platform when the part adheres to it during printing but allows the part to be easily removed after printing is finished. a prevalent configuration is a heated glass platform covered with blue painter's tape or a similar platform. In this configuration, the part sticks reasonably well to the tape and is easy to remove when printing is finished.

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