How to buy a 3D printer? Ultimate guide for non-tech buyers

You can have various reasons to buy a 3D printer. The technology has many possible uses in many fields of life. A 3D printer will help you in your university studies, in prototyping for your company or simply in your hobby as a creator. You don’t have to be an expert or an engineer to use it. So, how to go about buying a 3D printer and be satisfied with it?

Analyze your needs

There is a wide selection of 3D printers available. They differ in price, types of technology used, materials used for printing, technical specifications, and ease of operation. This might make your choice seem difficult. Sure, if you buy the cheapest self-assembly product available, you could be disappointed and terrified both with how difficult it is to use as well as how low the quality of the model is. Fortunately, choosing the right device can be much simpler.

How to buy a 3d printer
Image: Zortrax M200 3D Printer

First of all, you need to consider what you’re going to use your printer for, how often you’re going to be 3D printing, and what materials you’re going to use. You should also consider how large and how technologically advanced your 3D models will be. Don’t forget your financial limits as well. All of this will make your search for the printer faster. You can also be helped by experts.

The material is key

Filaments, that is the stuff which our 3D printer uses to print, are extremely important. This is what the quality of the objects and their characteristics depend on. So, let’s choose a 3D printer which will give you the possibility to use more than one type of material. In Zortrax 3D printers a number of filament types are used, each with different characteristics.

Z-HIPS, for example, has a matte texture and is very resilient to deformation during printing. Z-GLASS has a translucent structure to allow for creating prototypes of projects imitating glass. These materials are sold on dedicated spools, which makes installing them in the 3D printer very simple. No expert knowledge required.

Image: Choice makes the best decision. Discover Zortrax M Series materials: Z-ULTRAT, Z-HIPS, Z-GLASS, Z-PETG, Z-PCABS, Z-ABS, Z-ESD

If you’re not tech-savvy, choose a plug & play printer

Some 3D printers are complicated from the get-go. Sure, maybe it was cheap, but assembling it is nothing like assembling furniture from a certain Swedish store. That’s way it’s much better to buy plug & play 3D printers.

In the case of Zortrax 3D printers you get a complete device with dedicated tools. Just unbox it and start 3D printing.

Select your software or use the software provided

Perhaps you still remember the times of Windows 98 or Windows XP, when buying a traditional inkjet printer or reinstalling your OS meant hours wasted on searching and installing drivers. This nightmare might happen to you again if you buy a no-name 3D printer. That’s important when you buy a 3D printer.

Zortrax printers, on the other hand, are a shining example. They come with the dedicated Z-SUITE software package for converting 3D files into models along with options such as changing the filling of the model, splitting objects, setting the speed of printing and selections of the filament profile.

You also have unrestricted access to the Zortrax Library, a database of 3D models where you can find interesting, ready-for-print projects. You can have your first model ready in a few clicks.

Size does matter

The workspace is one of the characteristics which will dictate what we can 3D print with our device. You should analyze this issue before you buy a 3D printer, especially if you want to use the printer for prototyping in your company or for other commercial applications. Most desktop 3D printers have relatively small workspaces and can only print small objects.

This is there the new Zortrax M300 comes in, with its workspace of 300 × 300 × 300 millimeters. This build volume is one of the largest in its class while still retaining a relatively low price. A workspace like this lets you 3d print a motorcycle helmet as one element. With smaller devices you need to connect the parts, which consumes time and effort.

How to buy a 3d printer
Image: How to buy a 3D printer?

Buy a 3D printer

3D printer for your small company, industry or university – already possible and easy. A 3D printer in your home doesn’t have to be just a vision of the future. You can have one now and don’t really need to know a lot about modern technology. You can have a specialist design your 3D models, use a database of models or learn how to do it yourself with your own printer.

A Zortrax M200 3D printer costs under 2000 dollars together with dedicated software, a spool of filament and necessary tools. Filament cost starts at just over 20 dollars. You can buy a 3D printer from the manufacturer’s website or from authorized sellers and resellers. Once you unbox the printer, you can commence 3D printing immediately, because starting it up is not much more complicated than starting up a new phone or tablet.