What is the best cheap 3d printer?

What is the best cheap 3d printer? I want a 3d printer that has good quality and a good build size but I don’t want to spend much money. My school has dozens of 3d printers that they made from a kit, but we also have a 2.5K Makerbot. I want one for my personal needs.

Any suggestions?

For easy expansion later on, I would go for a cartesian style printer. I have a delta style printer and while it has a large build area, upgrading it to dual extrusion was a pain and one nozzle or the other may snag on the prints. You can look around and find designs for a bunch of 3D printed parts. There are a number of designs that may use wood boxes and such as the structural components too. Make sure to choose electronics and motors that will do you right later on. If you get something that will not support two extruders, you will need to upgrade your controller when you want to convert to dual extrusion.

@NathanielStenzel I honestly know nothing about 3d printers.

You only get to choose 2 things out of that list. If you want large and quality, it’s not going to be cheap. If you want large and cheap, it’s not going to be quality. If you want quality and cheap, it’s not going to be large.

So no. No suggestions here. You’re asking too much.

What are your goals and requirements?


Are you prepared to buy a kit printer to save money, and spend time learning about it as you build and calibrate it? Or do you want a pre-assembled and calibrated printer?

Do you want to consult with the online community when you have issues to solve, or just call a helpdesk?

What is your budget?

Excellent kit printers, like the Prusa i3 Steel, can be bought for about USD$500.

Also excellent pre-assembled printers can be bought, for example from @Printr_bot , for more money of course , but with customer support.

Both the Prusa i3 Steel and Printrbot printers have excellent community reputations, but there are hundreds more options to suit must people.

In my opinion, printers far below $500 tend to be rubbish and are not worth anything.

@Paul_Gross Well my school bought dozens of kits for 400$ each and they work really well. I wanted something cheaper so it wouldn’t break the bank, after all I’m only a high school student.

@ThantiK Guess I would go with good quality and medium/small size

Check alibaba/aliexpress for kits of the reprap models.

@Ben_Martin If you want to go very cheap (below $400), then you will need to think more creatively.

How about trying this: Go half-and-half with a friend who is also keen to learn 3D printing, and just buy the kit from your school.

Take advantage of the school’s bulk discount pricing, and the knowledge and support available on-tap at school.

Perhaps you might feel it is better to be a part-owner of an excellent 3D printer than a full-owner of a useless piece of junk.

Maybe talk to some teachers and students and find out the school and students can print the parts and order the bits to make more printers? Find out who else wants to get a printer. Team up with them all. If there is not a club at school for 3D printing and perhaps CNC milling, maybe you could get one started.

Buy aliexpress,amazon(or any store online) kits (hotend,extruder,board,steppers, vitamins are easy to obtain at electronic parts shops) print the parts at existing 3D printer,assemble, print!

Inspire yourself with 2016 3D Printer Guide http://3dhubs.com/best-3D-printer-guide and skip painful and sometimes even dangerous cheap kits from Asian stores. If you want to have famous Prusa i3, buy it from its constructor (http://prusa3d.com) with full documentation, trusty electronic and full support for beginners. It’s fine and mighty printer.

PS: I use Printrbot Simple Metal and it’s decent printer for start. And even better with available upgrades (bigger heated bed etc.) which you can choose later.

My first printer was a long Term project, buy the electronics first and start by understanding the firmware. Next buy a basic frame for a printer, say a prusa i3. Then when you have money buy the Bits and pieces, like rails, extruder, bearings, hotend aso. You still pay a certain amount of money, but get a working printer in the end. If you have someone with a printer, start with a smartrap, which is a low budget printer but good for beginners. The rails,bearings and other stuff can be used for the next printer.

Is this a safe buy? https://www.3dprintersonlinestore.com/full-acrylic-reprap-prusa-i3-kit

Acrylic ages and cracks…or so I hear.

And how about this one? http://pages.ebay.com/link/?nav=item.view&id=281754389506&alt=web

First of all stop looking for printers, which have wood or acryl as their main frame. These materials make problems from the beginning or over time will for sure make problems.

Look for printers, which have metal frame.

I personally would recommend you to look at the bq Prusa i3 Hephestos printers. The frame of older one needs some work for stabilization and then it will print pretty ok. Also it can be outfitted with a heat bed. Hephestos 2 on the other hand does print as good as a Zortrax printer and even prints any flexible filament without any issues. And it is damn fast at the same time but also more expensive. A heat bed is not yet available for it (I am working on it as I have one now).

If you want something very cheap search for tarantula 3d printer at aliexpress. That is very cheap and has metal frame. Also a Wanhao i3 printer should be good.

If you are looking for a cheap printer I will suggest you my design, the M Prime One: http://mprime.io/m-prime-one.
Other suggested options are also very good (bq Prusa i3 Hephestos), but maybe this design is what you are looking for.

I bought a Geeetech and it is still serving me well over a year later. However, if you can, stick with a metal frame. They are more stable (in general) and will hold up better giving a better overall result.

Avoid acrylic frames. Acrylic is too soft, and not very durable. Cracks will appear if you bump it around or print too quickly, and those cracks will tend to propagate right through the acrylic. It has a poor reputation as a 3D printer frame material.

If the printer’s frame is soft and wobbly, meaning it has poor stiffness, then the resulting prints will have really obvious uneven surface ripples. The only way to avoid that is to print really slow, but who wants to wait hours just for tiny parts to print?

Frame stiffness is a key factor in determining the quality of 3D printer output. The stiffest of the common fame materials is steel, used in the Prusa i3 Steel and in Printrbot’s latest range, and in so many other 3D printers.

I own a Printrbot Simple Metal, made with 3mm-gauge folded steel plates (I bought it as a kit). It has a very stiff frame and prints pretty quick - at least it’s quick enough for me.

Steel is actually an excellent choice for frame material. It’s fairly cheap, while being by far the toughest and stiffest of the common 3D printer frame materials.