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Buy a 3D Printer

Buy a 3D Printer
Date: 4/21/2023

1. Determine the type of printer that will work best for what you want to do.  There are two major types of 3D printers.  SLA (Resin) and FDM (Filament)

2. Determine the build size you will need.  Each 3D printer has a limit to the height, length and width based on their build plate and the height of the printer.  

3. Determine the cost.  In considering the cost, remember that you may be able to buy one used.  However, I highly recommend that you witness it actively printing to be sure it works properly.

4. Determine the features you need and want.  Some features are considerably more expensive.  Sure it is nice to get everything you want, but sometimes to keep it affordable you need to focus on what you need first.

The best printer to get is the one that will do what you need it to do and you can afford.

Resin 3D printers, also known as stereolithography (SLA) or digital light processing (DLP) printers, use a liquid resin that is solidified by a light source, such as a laser or UV light, to create three-dimensional objects.

The resin used in these printers is typically a photopolymer, meaning it hardens when exposed to light. The printer works by shining a light onto the resin, which causes it to solidify and form the desired shape, layer by layer.

Resin 3D printers are often preferred for creating highly detailed and intricate objects, such as jewelry or dental implants, due to their ability to produce high-resolution prints with smooth surfaces. However, they typically have a smaller build volume than their FDM (fused deposition modeling) counterparts and can be more expensive to operate due to the cost of the resin and the need for post-processing to remove excess resin and cure the prints.  You will need a sonification unit to wash the print and a UV light to cure the resin.

FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) 3D printers use a process in which melted thermoplastic material is extruded layer by layer to create a three-dimensional object.

The printer starts by heating up the thermoplastic filament, typically made of materials such as ABS, PLA, or PETG, until it reaches a semi-liquid state. The melted filament is then extruded through a nozzle and deposited layer by layer onto a build platform, following the design specified in a 3D model file.

As the melted material is extruded, it quickly cools and solidifies, creating a solid object. The build platform moves down incrementally after each layer is deposited, and the printer continues to build up the object until it is complete.

FDM 3D printers are popular due to their relatively low cost, ease of use, and ability to create large prints. They can be used for a variety of applications, including prototyping, tooling, and manufacturing. However, FDM prints typically have visible layer lines and may require post-processing, such as sanding or painting, to achieve a smooth surface finish.

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