3D printers can be used to make a variety of things, from figurines to prototypes, from houses to vegan meat, from bio-printed body parts to prosthetic limbs, and much more. Your imagination really is the only limitation when it comes to 3D printing. As of late, creators are using 3D printers to produce PPE and other safety equipment and playing their part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. With such levels of flexibility, it is not surprising that 3D printers are now widely being introduced in schools design studios and many other industries. In homes, a 3D printer is an excellent tool for fun and creative family time.
If you are looking to buy a 3D printer, then what you intend on using the machine for plays a significant role in determining the ideal printer for you. Students and hobbyists may find inexpensive models, while professional-level users will need printers with advanced capabilities. Bionic Inventor is committed to catering for the needs of creators; whether you are just starting out or looking to upgrade, we have you covered.
CHOOSING THE RIGHT 3D PRINTER
Before talking about where you should get your printer from, let’s talk about the type of printer, you should choose first. As of now, there are around ten 3D printing technologies. The two most suitable technologies for consumer-level 3D printing are Resin and FDM 3D printing.
SHOULD I GET A RESIN 3D PRINTER?
Resin 3D printers utilize SLA or stereolithography. In this approach, a layer of photosensitive resin is exposed to an ultraviolet laser. As a result, it solidifies the liquid resin to take the desired form. The model building platform present in the resin tank moves layer by layer. The laser continues to harden the resin into the desired shape. Every layer is placed over the top of the preceding layer.
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Similar to the FDM 3D printing, models with overhangs require supports, that can be added in a Slicer software. Following a print, the pieces have to be rinsed using a solvent. Often, a UV oven is also used to cure the printed item and complete the post-processing. SLA printed items have smooth finishes and are well detailed. The use of resin 3D printing is steadily becoming common in businesses such as cosmetic dentistry and jewelry for the creation of castable molds.
There are several great options available in the market, depending on your expertise level and budget. Prices of SLA printers ranges from under $250 to over $10,000.
SHOULD I GET AN FDM 3D PRINTER?
FDM is the desktop printing technique that is most frequently used in 3D printing. It involves heating a plastic filament, which is then passed down through an extruder. The extruder places the molten thermoplastic across X and Y-coordinates, as the object takes form layer-wise in the Z direction on the build table.
This kind of 3D printing is a cost-effective way for prototyping and product development. 3D printers are now used in education, many businesses, and industries because it is fast and capable of producing components reliably. They utilize an assortment of unique materials to create the prints.
If you decide to get an FDM 3D printer, you can pick one from over 50 brands. Not only that, depending on your budget, their prices also vary from under $200 to over $5,000.
BUYING LOCAL VS. BUYING FROM OVERSEAS
For the American 3D printing enthusiasts looking to buy a machine, there are four primary sources; Amazon, Online Chinese Stores, Reputable Regional Companies, and some manufactures that supply their products themselves. Let’s take a look at what the most common ones have to offer.
US-BASED REPUTABLE COMPANIES
Chinese retailers and Amazon do not have a wide variety of printers as the US-based stores. Additionally, they lack support to assist you in the buying process and after-sales services. Therefore, if you’re searching for a machine, have a look at reputable companies where you can get a 3D printer and 3D products.
The US-based Bionic Inventor is an official partner with HP, Monoprice, Dremel, Makerbot, and several other major 3D Printing companies. Bionic Inventor has quickly made a name as a reputable store for 3D printers, 3D scanners, filament, software, and 3D printers accessories.
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Shopping with a US-based vendor like Bionic Inventor means you will not have to face the problems like warranty, return, repair issues. With partners located across the US, you will receive a prompt response and resolution of any problems. Bionic Inventor offers free ground freight shipping within the continental United States. You will also be able to track your package after purchase. You can also avail and deals across various models from different brands. As for returns and refunds, customers have up to 14 days to ask for a refund.
Amazon is an excellent source for purchasing 3D printers in the US. They offer fast shipping, have a variety of models in stock, along with the usual Amazon amenities. You can find a lot of budget options on Amazon, along with high-end models. Popular brands such as Anycubic, Creality, FlashForge, and many others are available on Amazon. The variety, in comparison, is not as diverse as the Chinese online stores. Amazon has a great return policy. They usually offer 30-days for all new and unopened items. However, when shopping from Amazon, you don’t get to know about the company selling the products and their after-sales support and services.
CHINESE ONLINE STORES
Much like the Amazon, Chinese Online Stores are well-known vendors. They offer a decent selection of models and brands, as well as 3D printing accessories. Their pricing often varies with plenty of deals and sales. You are likely to find a discounted one if you compare the different stores. One of the significant downsides of ordering from overseas is that your device can get held at customs for quite some time. It can cost you a hefty customs duty to receive them. Customs fees vary by country of origin and the product.
One of the ways to ensure that you don’t face such troubles is to order it from a vendor who has a warehouse in your region. It might cost more, but the risk will be minimized. It is essential to consider this factor that inexpensive options take a lot of time to deliver, and in case you have to return the product, it will be more troublesome and expensive.