3-D printing can revolutionize your prototyping and design process by allowing you to realize computer models as actual objects in space with incredible precision and speed. There are a dizzying array of commercial 3-D printers on the market, each with their own unique selling points. Features to look for include multiple extruders for more printing options, heated beds for high-temperature materials and sheer print volume.
1. Fusion3 F306 Commercial Grade 3D Printer, Single Extruder with 1 Year Advanced Exchange Service: Amazon, $4,962
This powerhouse Fused Filament Fabrication 3-D printer boats an impressive cubic foot of printing space, an all-metal print head and a multi-zone heated printing bed to keep high-temperature materials stable. The proprietary extruder system has over 10,000 hours of reliability testing under its belt. Software comes included, and the printer is compatible with all major operating systems. This purchasing option includes the one-year advanced exchange manufacturer warranty.Buy now.
2. MakerBot Replicator Z18 3D Printer; Amazon, $6,490
This cavernous 3-D printer is cloud-enabled and offers USB, Ethernet and Wireless connectivity in order to fit any workflow. The Replicator is designed to integrate with existing MakerBot hardware and software and is designed for professional use. Be aware that this product is designed for experienced users of 3-D printers and has a steep learning curve. However, if you need to fabricate large object, the Replicator excels.Buy now.
Wanhao 3D Printer: Amazon, $1,995e
This large 3-D printer is remarkably affordable. It features a single extruder, a print resolution of twenty microns and can reach print speeds of up to 300 millimeters per second. Great for professional model builders and designers, the Wanhao printer is made with a steel exoframe for strength. The only downside is the lack of heated bed, which restricts this printer to PLA printing.Buy now.
4. Fusion3 F306 Commercial Grade 3D Printer (base six month warranty): Amazon, $3,975
The Fusion Three without the advanced warranty coverage. This high-speed machine can reach printing speeds of 250 millimeters per second without losing an ounce of print quality. The Fusion Three boasts one of the largest printing volumes for its price and market segment, making it a value-packed option for the serious at-home printer or for a company that does not have outsized printing needs.Buy now.
5. Fusion3 F306 Commercial Grade 3D Printer, Dual Extruder: Amazon, $4,975
This is the dual-extruder version of the Fusion Three. The dual extruders allow you to print at different resolutions simultaneously, or with multiple colors or densities. This opens up your models to whole new levels of detail, artistry and functionality. Get all the great features and design of the Fusion Three and add the powerful advantages of a dual-extruder design.Buy now.
6. Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder 3D Printer: Amazon, $1470.47e
This entry-level printer is an incredible value for the price. The Leapfrog Creatr features dual extruders for multi-color printing and a heated print bed to allow it to print high-temperature materials. The only thing it gives up in comparison to its larger competitors is size: the printing volume, while not small, is not nearly as large as some of commercial-grade printers on this list.Buy now.
7. Stacker 90-002 500 Four Head Desktop 3D Printer: Amazon, $6,999
This four-head printer has an impressive print volume that can be extended to an outstanding 24 inches, and the four-head design allows for simultaneous printing of up to four objects. Print the same object in different materials or colors at the same time! The Stacker uses a universal filament rail that accepts any filament on the marketing, saving you money over designs that require proprietary filaments.Buy now.
8. JGaurora A-8 Industrial 3D Printer: Amazon, $2,600
This elegantly designed commercial-grade printer features a large printing volume and a 50-micron resolution for fabricating objects with precision. The heated glass bed allows for the use of high-temperature materials such as ABS plastic, and the metal design is both good looking and sturdy. The control panel is gorgeous and very easy to use and will have you fabricating high-quality projects and prototypes in no time.Buy now.
For those who require large prototypes in-house, the MakerBot Z18 is the product to choose. However, if your needs are more compact, the Fusion Three with dual extruder is an excellent choice due to its detail, durability and speed. For those just getting into 3-D printing, there is no better starting point than the Leapfrog Creatr.