How Does 3D Printing Work?

If you’ve ever seen the TV series DCs Legends of tomorrow, you might be able to get an overview of how 3D printing works.

This futuristic fictional show used a device fashioned by the AI 'Gideon' aboard the Waverider to virtually create anything from food to clothes.

3D printing or additive manufacturing is quite similar to Gideon's contraption.

Instead of manipulating subatomic particles to render three dimensional objects as , 3D printers “print” out materials in successive layers to form an object.

What is a 3D printer?

3D printers are the Generation X machines that can produce everyday objects from ceramic cups to plastic toys, and more. You could even make human body parts, and 3D printers are even used today to make compnents of jet engines - so yes, the possibilities are endless.

​How Does It work?

3D printers use the printing technology in a unique way. While you may want to compare it with the traditional form of printing, it isn't exactly so. Here is how it works.

​Modelling

This is done by making a 3D printable model of the object you want to create. This can be achieved using one of the following methods:

  • A 3D modelling application such as the computer
  • aided design (CAD) program
  • A 3D scanner
  • A plain digital camera and photogrammetry software.

​Printing

​The 3D printer will build up one layer of the 3D model at a time, starting from the bottom, and repeat the process till the model is built in real time - something we know of as fused depositional modelling (FDM).

The 3Dprinter will create a3D CAD drawing into something real - by adding in sectional layers, where the 2 prints sit on top of the other.

Also Read:

How Much Does 3D Printing Cost?

By now, 3D printing has made the rounds everywhere — almost everyone has read about it in the papers, on blogs or seen it on TV.

But How Much Does it Really Cost?

Broadly speaking, this depends on several factors such as:-

  • Technology and the material used
  • Size of the object
  • Orientation of the object in the printer
  • Volume of the printer
  • Others things being printed at that time
  • Cost of the printer
  • Cost of finishing and post-finishing and
  • If the machine used is yours or you are ordering it from a service.
  • The cost of the 3D printer will also depend on the brand name that you are ordering from.

 

The Top Factors that Determine the Pricing

Let’s delve deeper into the factors associated with its pricing to help you understand better.

3D Printer:

3D printing has varied requirements depending on how it is being used. A layman in his garage has fewer needs than a technical university prototyping electronics or a school using it as a teaching aid.

While exposed printers cost as little as $140, there are several other factors that could add up to the cost, viz., the overall running cost, the impact on your IT administrators etc.

Enclosed desktop 3D printers suitable for the use in Education sector are roughly around $2000 to $3500.

Materials:

3D printing materials are also known as filaments.

Their price is governed by their type, quality, weight, diameter and color. Their costs can vary widely, ranging from $10 per spool to $160 per spool.

 

Modeling Software

3D modeling software, also known as CAD (Computer Aided Design) programs, can cost into the hundreds or thousands of dollars with features for professional designers. However, the beginner can use the following free tools:
– TinkerCad- OpenSCAD- AutoDesk’s Fusion 360.

In addition to these direct costs, the following indirect costs could also affect the pricing of your 3D printing project:- Maintenance & Service- Print Management Software- Administration costs

How Can I Cut my 3D Printing Price?

Depending on whether you print your parts at home, or you use an online 3D printing service, there are very different ways of cutting the 3D printing costs.

Here are some ways you can save on 3D printing:- Buying your own printer- Selecting the appropriate material- Using or modifying a free design- Using free 3D modelling software- Reducing your print size- Using an online 3D printing service

Thus, although it can be a tad expensive, there are ways to make 3D printing as accessible and affordable as possible.

In fact, if you see the lower end of 3D printers today, you could get one even below just $500!

Also Read:

10 Best Cheap 3d Printers To Buy in Your Budget

Even few years back the idea of 3D printing seemed almost impossible- how can you create a real physical object just from an image file?

​The mystery has been solved and 3D printing is emerging as the next hot topic in the world or printing.

There are thousands of printers available in the market each making a different claim. The price of the printers has also dropped and you can get a 3D printer under 500 dollars easily.

With so many cheap 3D printers in the market, it almost seems impossible to know which one to buy, especially if you are a newbie. To help you out, today we are going to review the top affordable 3D printers from various brands.​

So without further delay, let us disclose the best budget 3D printers of the time-​

Best Budget 3D Printers Under $500

 ModelRatingPrices
Monoprice select mini3.9Check Price on Amazon
Monoprice 13860 maker3.6Check Price on Amazon
Monoprice Maker Select Plus3.6Check Price on Amazon
XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer3.4Check Price on Amazon
FlashForge 3D Printers4.4Check Price on Amazon
ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3 DIY High Accuracy CNC Self Assembly3.5Check Price on Amazon
QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer4.6Check Price on Amazon
Mod-t 3d printer3.7Check Price on Amazon
JGAURORA 3d Printer Prusa i34.0Check Price on Amazon
da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro4.2Check Price on Amazon

Looking for the best 3D printers that you can buy? We take a look at some of your best options, keeping in mind all that you need – from your budget to your needs.​

1. Monoprice Select Mini

Monoprice select mini

Monoprice brings the best budget 3D printer which offers amazing quality of printing. It’s perfect for beginners for its no hassle approach to printing and comes ready to spring to action.

The machine is compatible with various kinds of filaments like PLA and ABS and also plays well with materials like wood and metal composites. There is a heated aluminum bed for doing casting the prints and a fan keeps things cool.

Monoprice Select Mini is worth every penny of investment you make and great for small projects coming with a lot of useful features.

Monoprice Select Mini Features:

  • USB connectivity and Micro SD card support means you can start printing right out of the box
  • Convenient handling with quick release steel gear filament feeder
  • The nozzle cooling fan maintains proper temperature for the machine
  • Compact and small design making it easy to store and operate
  • Comes fully assembled from the factory and doesn’t need any setup
  • You get a sample filament to try out your first project right after you open the box
  • Smart LCD panel displays the vital stats you want to access
  • Supports both PC and Mac platforms
  • Product ships with a one year replacement warranty to ease any apprehensions.

​FAQ's

Question: What dimensions can you get with this affordable 3D printer?

Answer: The specific dimension that you can get is 4.7″ x 4.7″ x 4.7″.

Question: Can I use more than one color for the printer?

Answer: It is not possible to print in more than one color. It comes with only one extruder and prints in a solid color.

Question: Is it safe to use wooden filaments for this low cost 3D printer?

Answer: Use a low temperature and extended retraction to get the best results in case of wood filaments. And yes, it’s safe to use them.

Question: How much can I print with a kg of filament?

Answer: It will be around 2.2 lb of items, approximately.

Pros

  • Best 3D printer under 500 giving you good quality prints
  • Lightweight and compact with a small footprint
  • User friendly navigation options with simple menus
  • Works smoothly without any disturbing noise
  • Supports a wide range of filaments including PVA, ABS, PLA, metal and wood composites.

Cons

  • The sample filament is too short to do a complete project
  • The printing speed is not very fast compared to expensive models
  • The print size is small which makes the machine useful for beginners and enthusiasts.

2. Monoprice 13860 Maker

Monoprice 13860 maker

Another great performer in the entry level cheap 3D Printers is the Monoprice Maker Select V2.

It comes ready to print and requires minimum of setup which involves tightening some screws. It is equipped with a heated plate that can print thermoplastic materials like PLA, ABS, XT copolyester and other materials. Slower cooling materials like ABS and others can be printed accurately thanks to the same heated plate.

The product comes with a 2 GB micro SD card which is preloaded with sample 3D models so that you can start experimenting right away. The low cost 3D printer supports the use of both commercial and open source software.

Monoprice 13860 Maker Features:

  • It comes fully assembled and ready to print with everything you may need
  • The large heated plate of 8 x 8 inches with a vertical spacing of 7 inch gives you the freedom to go for large sized projects and complex prints
  • Supports Mac, Windows, Linux, and software like Simplify 3D, Repetier and Cura
  • Micro SD card slot makes it possible to print directly without connecting it to a workstation
  • This affordable 3D printer is based on one of the most successful 3D printer kits out there
  • The control panel and the power brick are built separately from the main body of the machine

​FAQ's

Question: Can I use cheap 3D Printers like this to print in high temperature?

Answer: Normally the printer would not exceed 230 degrees for printing, but it can handle up to 260 degrees.

Question: Does the model ship with dual extruders like in other expensive models?

Answer: The printer is a 3D printer under 500 and does not have dual extruders.

Question: How long does it take to assemble the printer and begin printing?

Answer: You need to use some screws to set up the base and the frame and plug in the motors. The areas are marked with clear instructions which get the job done in 5 minutes.

Pros

  • The large print area of 8 x 8 x 7 inches gives you room to print larger objects with ease
  • Comes with one year replacement warranty so that parts are replaced for free
  • Setting up printer is quick and hassle free

Cons

  • Some users reported the cooling fan bearing to be noisy which was solved by lubricating the parts
  • The separate control units and main frame can be a bit difficult to carry around

3. Monoprice Maker Select Plus

Monoprice Maker Select Plus

The products from Monoprice keep coming back to our list of reviews. Here is another great performer in the 3D printer under 500 category, and one of the best budget 3D printer.

The Select Plus is based on the earlier model of Maker Select 3D printer and comes with new features and improvements. It is a sleek and stylish machine which is compatible with all types of filaments starting from basic ones to metal or wood composites.

The wide heated build plate and makes room for larger projects and offers a wide range of extruder temperature. The open frame design makes working on the affordable 3D printer hassle free and simple.

If you want to try out complex projects or want more details in your prints, then this is the best Low cost 3D printer in the market.​

Monoprice Maker Select Plus Features:

  • Avoiding the practice of cheap 3D printers, this one reaches you fully assembled from the factory with pre-calibrated settings
  • Supports PC and Mac workstations and all popular printing software
  • User friendly touch screen for easy controls
  • MK10 extruders ventilated with cooling fans
  • Heated build plate allows use of various filament types
  • Sturdy build with heavy duty bearing components
  • USB connectivity and slot for SD card printing

​FAQ's

Question: What is the specific dimension and weight of the 3D printer?

Answer: The accurate dimension of the product is 20 x 19.5 x 11.2 inches. It weighs around 29 pounds.

Question: Is the printer known to make considerable noise while printing?

Answer: It is not at all noisy and can be used without any tension.

Question: Can I use metal composites to print with this model?

Answer: It is not advisable to use this printer directly for metal composites as it can damage the nozzle head. You can replace the nozzle with metal hot end ones to do it safely.

Question:​ Does the printer support transparent printing?

Answer: You can use transparent filaments but your nozzle head may need a replacement faster.

Pros

  • Wide printing area perfect for large scale and complex prints
  • The compact design makes it space saving to fit on any table
  • Easy to navigate touch screen with simple controls

Cons

  • Setting up the printer can take some time especially for beginners
  • You need to upgrade nozzle to print materials like wooden composites or transparent filaments

4. XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer

XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer

The da Vinci Jr. 1.0W is one of the marvels in the 3D printer under 500 dollars section. It is full packed with features and comes with smart intuitive functions which give you top quality prints each and every time.

The affordable 3D printer doesn’t compromise in looks and sports a killer design. The Wifi connectivity ensures that you can connect and print from any corner of your house.

The unique auto calibration ensures that you do not need to carry out any manual adjustments. The printer only used non toxic PLA based filaments and ensures that you always get eco friendly prints without harming the environment.

XYZprinting da Vinci Jr. 1.0w 3D Printer Features:

  • Equipped with 9-point auto calibration system that intuitively adjusts the level of the print bed with the Z axis
  • Uses XYZprinting’s non toxic bio-compostable PLA filament produced from natural elements
  • Send 3D printing files wirelessly from PC, Mac and smartphones using Wifi connectivity
  • Can print in high resolutions from 100 to 400 microns giving great quality results
  • A simple LCD displays the printer settings for convenience
  • The product ships with free design and printing software from XYZprinting
  • Comes with fully enclosed non heated print tray

​FAQ's

Question: Do you get any sample filament with this low cost 3D printer?

Answer: You will get a free filament worth 300 g from the manufacturer.

Question: Can I get good quality prints using fast settings on this printer?

Answer: The quality can suffer when you use fast speeds to print your project. If you need details and are handling a complex print, it is advisable to use slow settings for best results.

Question: Where is the product manufactured?

Answer: The best budget 3D printer has been manufactured in Thailand.

Question:​ Will I be able to use third party PLA filaments for printing?

Answer: By default, the engineering of the printer prevents you from using any other PLA filaments other than XYZprinting’s ones.

​You can perform a hack to remove the restriction, though!

Pros

  • Really affordable when you consider all of the features and functions making it value for money
  • Unlimited email and phone support provided with one year warranty
  • Fully enclosed printing area for better security
  • Built-in LCD display for convenient navigation

Cons

  • Customer service is not very responsive
  • It requires regular maintenance
  • Reports of update failure of firmware have been encountered

5. FlashForge 3D Printers

FlashForge 3D Printers

If you are sick and tired of cheap 3D printers and are ready to invest a bit more, the Falshforge Finder may be the right choice for you. It is still in the category of 3D printer under 500 dollars and gives amazing quality prints.

Coming in a box style enclosed design, the printer will be apt for beginners and enthusiasts alike.

The affordable 3D printer accepts only 1.75 mm PLA filaments with a build volume of 140 L x 140 W x 140 H mm.

It also features Wifi connectivity so that you can work from anywhere you want without the hassle of wires and cables.

FlashForge 3D Printers Features:

  • Easy bed leveling thanks to the semi automated bed leveling feature
  • Supports Mac OS X and Windows versions like Vista, Windows 7 and 8
  • Noise free operation ensure no one is disturbed
  • Files can be transferred to the 3D printer using Wifi, flashdrive or USB cable
  • In-built filament management function which alerts you when you are low on filament
  • Comes with intuitive color touch screen and slide-in build plate for greater convenience
  • Heated parts are safely enclosed inside the box structure of the printer

​FAQ's

Question: What is the weight of the printer?

Answer: The total weight of the product is 24.2 pounds.

Question: Can I get information about the length of the power cable?

Answer: The printer comes with a 3 prong power cable which measures 36 inches in length.

Question: How fast can the printer chalk out a project?

Answer: It can take from 30 minutes to 1 hour to print something depending on the nature and complexity of your project.

Question:​ Can I use wood or metal PLA for printing?

Answer: You can use both to print and get flawless results. But you may need to replace the nozzle head for better longevity.

Pros

  • The plastic alloy material of the body is durable and sturdy
  • Wireless printing and transfer with Wifi connection
  • Comes with an intuitive user interface
  • Advanced features like slide-out print bed and quiet operation
  • Great quality prints makes it one of the best budget 3D printer
  • Easy maintenance saves time and effort

Cons

  • The PLA filament is the only type you can use to print
  • Some users reported that the bed and extruder started to malfunction after a few months

6. ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3 DIY High Accuracy CNC Self Assembly

ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3 DIY High Accuracy CNC Self Assembly

This one is not really for beginners and newbies to 3D printing. It is a DIY 3D printer kit, which means you have to assemble and set it up yourself.

It should not be a tough job for someone who has experience with such projects and the step by step instructions and tons of youtube videos provide all the guidance you needs.

All the parts and quality of the materials is top notch developed with environment friendly practices.

It is not just another low cost 3d printer, the results and performance is going to amaze you. You will always get smooth printing experience with high levels of precision required for complex projects.

The Alunar affordable 3D printer can be used for business, education of pursuing your hobby.

ALUNAR 3D Desktop Printer Prusa i3 Features:

  • Option of pausing while printing is going on
  • The 0.4 mm metal nozzle makes it durable and last for a long time
  • Comes with an updated mainboard and high quality power supply
  • Imported step motor which can work uninterrupted for 1000 hours
  • Heavy duty brass nut and lead screws make the product sturdy
  • Easy to read LCD screen with 5 key user friendly controls
  • Supports wide range of 3D filaments through a heated build plate and extended band of extruder temperatures
  • Maximum print size of 8.66 x 8.66 x 9.06 inches makes it possible to go for complex and large scale prints

​FAQ's

Question: What is the nozzle head made of in this printer?

Answer: You get a brass nozzle by default which is shipped with the product.

Question: From where can I access the assembling instructions for my printer?

Answer: You will find the manual loaded in the SD card or download it from the internet. You can also watch and follow Youtube videos to set up your printer.

Question: Can I connect the 3D printer with my Mac platform?

Answer: You will need to download the drivers from the manufacturer website to successfully print using your Mac platform.

Question:​ Does the product ship with a spool holder?

Answer: Yes, you are provided a spool holder to assist you in operating your printer.

Pros

  • One of the best self assembled 3D printers which gives high quality prints with great details
  • Comes with a lot of features that makes printing effective and easy
  • Easy to set up following the instructions of the manual and videos
  • Made with durable material which lasts for a long time

Cons

  • The extruder thermostat has been found to malfunction after few months of use for some users
  • It can be challenging for a beginner to assemble and use this product

7. QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer

QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer

It is a mid price level affordable 3D printer that has proved itself worthy of being in the list. It is durable being built of metal parts and comes in a metal housing. It has a minimalist look and can blend in with your workplace easily.

There is a SD card provided with user manual, tutorials and test files and you can use the same to store and print other objects.

It has a 6 months warranty and according to users, one of the best budget 3D printer in the market.

QIDI TECHNOLOGY X-ONE 3D Printer Features:

  • Heated aluminum build platform comes with metal supports and compatible with PLA and ABS filaments
  • 6mm thick CNC machined aluminum alloy build plate ensures pure flatness
  • High quality 10mm guide road for precision and smooth printing
  • High tech precision extruder provided with extra turbo fan for superior cooling
  • Intuitive menus with an easy to operate 3.5 inch full color touch screen for better controls
  • Proprietary developed Qidi Tech mainboard with M 3 series chips
  • Comes with top notch 10mm 10MK nozzle for great print quality

​FAQ's

Question: Can I connect the low cost 3D printer using wireless connection?

Answer: No, you have to either use the USB cable or transfer printing files to the SD card for printing.

Question: Can I store the files in directories on the SD card and use them to take multiple prints?

Answer: You are allowed to store as many files as you want on the SD card and get prints. The list of files show up on the display and you can select specific ones. But you must keep them on a main directory and not in separate directories. It does not read sub-directories.

Question: Can I use it right out of the box?

Answer: You need to calibrate the bed before you can start printing. It is also suggested that you check if all the screws and parts are securely fastened.

Pros

  • Metal build ensures the printer is stable and free from vibrations
  • It is very easy to level the build plate which is also quite durable
  • Once leveled, the plate stays in place for multiple printing sessions
  • You get 1 kg of free PLA filament with the product which is more than other brands
  • The touch screen is responsive and intuitive
  • Tool kit provided for maintenance and repairs
  • Responsive customer service with prompt resolution of issues

Cons

  • The printer is a bit bulky and needs some space on your desk
  • Some users encountered feeder jam while unloading the filament
  • Z axis motor creates a bit of noise when it adjusts itself before printing

8. Mod-t 3d Printer

Mod-t 3d printer

Launched by a promising startup, the 3D printer under 500 dollars comes with a lot of features. It sports a sophisticated look with clean design and straight lines and the main unit is housed inside a transparent box.

The company claims that any average person can set it up and start printing in 20 minutes.

It is indeed easy to use and one of the best cheap 3D Printers to be used at school or home.


Mod-t 3d Printer Features:

  • Equipped with wireless network connectivity so that you can print directly from mobile, tablet and computers
  • Fine prints with resolution of 50 microns can be taken for detailed projects
  • Supports eco-friendly PLA filament
  • Comes with sleek design and easy to use web interface
  • The transparent protective cover keeps your prints safe and the noise levels down
  • The removable build platform features easy parts replacement and no preparation
  • Servo motors are high quality delivering great performance all the time

​FAQ's

Question: What is the size of the print area?

Answer: The total print area is 6 x 4 x 5 inches or 150 x 100 x 125 mm. You can print parts separately and piece them together to create big objects.

Question: Are there any controls or touch screen on the printer?

Answer: The main unit of the printer only houses a power button. All the controls are performed from the desktop or other devices.

Question: What is the period of warranty on the printer?

Answer: You get a warranty period of 90 days from the date of purchase.

Question: Does the model use a heated print bed?

Answer: It does not come with a heated print bed.

Pros

  • Sleek and attractive printer which is guaranteed to win some looks
  • You can use software like Cura to take your prints
  • Auto calibrating and leveling works like a charm
  • High success rate in printing due to considerable print adhesion
  • Easy to use and operate
  • You can really start printing within 20 minutes of unpacking itEasy to use and operate
  • The company has an excellent customer service

Cons

  • The printer can be noisy if you remove the transparent cover
  • There are no controls on the printer itself
  • The print carriage does not have a manual control to address issues while printing

9. JGAURORA 3d Printer Prusa i3

JGAURORA 3d Printer Prusa i3

Coming in a simple and durable build with almost all metal parts, this low cost 3D printer can be used for various purposes from education to industrial.

​The model features a heated print bed and capable of offering resolutions of up to 100 microns.

You can use a computer or the 8 GB SD card that is delivered with the printer. All the instructions for setting up the affordable 3D printer are loaded on the SD card.

That being said, it is a DIY 3D printer kit and you have to assemble it itself before you can print anything. It should not be a difficult task if you have some technical know-how and can be done in a few hours.


JGAURORA 3d Printer Prusa i3 Features:

  • Supports PLA, ABS and even high grade filaments like wood or nylon with its heated print bed
  • Prints can be taken using a SD card or computer
  • Patented MK8 extruder system delivers high resolution and improved filament extrusion
  • High quality thread rod motor and screw rod for high precision printing
  • Imported bearings ensure smooth printing without disturbing noise
  • Printing platform controlled by knob which is more convenient and accurate
  • Top standard motor for accurate XY axis position and improved printing
  • The LCD display makes it possible to use the printer for standalone printing with SD card

​FAQ's

Question: Does this printer have auto bed leveling?

Answer: It does not have automatic calibrating option. You must level the printing bed yourself before taking a print or changing filament.

Question: What is the build volume of the printer?

Answer: The build volume of the printer is 200 x 200 x 180 mm.

Question: What is the maximum printing temperature for this printer? Can I use it for ABS filament?

Answer: The printing temperature of the printer ranges from 180 degrees to 250 degrees C. You can use ABS filament with the heated print bed and get fine prints.

Question: What operating systems are supported by it?

Answer: It is compatible with Windows 7, 8, XP and Mac OS X.

Pros

  • The metal build and frame makes it a sturdy structure for smooth printing without vibrations or tumbling
  • The assembly process is straightforward and simple for most people
  • You get high accuracy and great quality prints with high success rates
  • Comes with 6 months warranty

Cons

  • Some users found the assembling instruction confusing
  • There can be some leveling problems with the print bed

10. Da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro

da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro

The da Vinci Jr. Pro model packs many features from expensive 3D printers and turns out to be a great 3D printer under 500 dollars. Looking like an object straight out of a science fiction movie, the printing bed and main parts come in an enclosed box housing a LCD panel and the controls.

​Both beginners and experts can take advantage of the sensor driven print bed leveling which is done in a jiffy.

The alumni print bed makes it possible to take fine quality prints at high temperatures by distributing the heat evenly.

You can start printing instantly using the free 3D printing software from the company.


Da Vinci Jr. 1.0 Pro Features:

  • On board displays and control gives greater convenience
  • Uses PLA filament made of non chemical substances, also supports third party filaments
  • Revolutionary wind duct design for great printing experience
  • Proper feeding of filament using the auto-loading filament function
  • The nozzle can be upgraded to 0.3mm for intricate and complex prints
  • You can print at fine resolutions of 50 microns
  • 9 point auto calibrating feature accurately adjusts the print bed for optimum accuracy and positioning
  • Comes with UL safety certification for tension free printing
  • Compact and stylish design

​FAQ's

Question: Can it handle filaments other than PLA?

Answer: No, you can only use bio-composite PLA filament made from non toxic materials.

Question: Where can I get the upgrade for the 0.3mm nozzle head?

Answer: You can purchase the upgrade replacement separately from the website of XYZPrinting.

Question: Do I need to make any modification or tweak to use third party filaments?

Answer: The Da Vinci Jr. is designed to be compatible with third party filaments without the need of any modifications or adjustments.

Question: Can I replace the printing bed with a heated bed to print with ABS?

Answer: It is not possible to replace the in-built printing bed with a heated one.

Pros

  • The most easy to operate among all cheap 3D printers
  • Auto print bed leveling makes it convenient for anybody to use it and delivers accurate prints
  • Great for beginners who want to start printing right after taking it out of the box
  • You will not get any disturbing noise during the printing
  • The enclosed design protects the objects being printed and keeps your children at a safe distance from hit and moving parts

Cons

  • You do not get a heated printing bed
  • The sample filament provided with the product is of low quality

A Complete Buying Guide for Cheap 3D Printers

Looking for a 3D printer under 500 dollars can be a difficult task if you don’t know what to consider. Buying an affordable 3D printer does not mean you have to compromise on quality.

You just need to consider the following things-

Determine your Purpose

You must first decide what you want to use the printer for- as a hobby or using it at school. You can also find a low cost 3D printer which can have some professional uses but they are rare.

These types of budget 3D printers are perfect for beginners and enthusiasts and you should look for professional models if you want it for industrial use.

Print Speed and Resolution

​Different brands and makes come with different printing speeds and resolution. Unlike a normal printer, resolution of 3D printers is measured in microns depending upon the thickness of the layers.

The lower the count of microns, higher is the precision of the printer. It can create more fine layers delivering a higher level of detail.

The speed of the printer will depend upon the nature of your project and the type of filament being used. It generally takes more time to take a print of a detailed object.

If you are looking forward to print a project with lot of precision, then you need to go for higher printing speeds. Generally the resolution and printing speed can be adjusted for best results.

Types of Filaments

Filaments act as the ink of traditional image printers. It is the material which is used to carve out the object by the printer. PLA is the most commonly used filament type made from biodegradable and starch based materials.

ABS is stronger and more resistant to heat and best for printing objects which can meet some rough use. Various models support different filaments and you need to choose one that is suitable for you.

Ratings and Reviews

The internet is a great place to find genuine reviews from customers and ratings given by experts in the industry. You need to adopt some caution to identify the true one, but with practice it gets easy.

Check out tons of reviews from every source to determine the quality and performance of cheap 3D printers. Do not go for a printer which has very low ratings or a lot of negative reviews.

Bottom Line

We have listed the best budget 3D printers that can be purchased right now. All the features, pros and cons of each model have been listed for your convenience.

You can follow our buying guide and reviews and pick the perfect low cost 3D printer for yourself. Each printer has its own set of unique features and can help in your project in different ways.

So without any waiting further waiting let us wish you best of luck for your affordable 3D printer shopping.​

Qidi Tech Dual Extruder 3d Printer Review

qidi technology dual extruder desktop 3d printerAn image speaks a thousand words and if it’s in 3D then I bet it speaks more. For a long time we could not have 3D images unless we created them by hand. If we wanted them colored, then we had to spend many hours and cover our hands with all sorts of colors as we tried to get the right shade.

Fortunately, the 3D printing has changed all that. That is why in this detailed 3D printer guide we look at the Qidi Tech 3D Printer, which is a dual extruder 3D printer.

3D printing is useful in schools, businesses and if you can need it, home projects. You can create awesome 3D images that you would have heard to pay a fortune to create a few decades ago.

What is more is that 3D printers such as the Qidi technology dual extruder desktop 3D printer print objects that are perfect in color and shape. While in the past users had to part with thousands of dollars to get a 3D printers, the Qidi 3D printer is available for less than a thousand dollars.

If you are conscience about the environment or any concerns regarding compliance of this printer, then here is some more good news. It is FCC compliant; that is it passes the requirements set by USA’s Federal Communication Commission on its class of products. It is CE compliant, which means it is approved for use in the European Union and best of all, it is environmentally safe. It contains no hazardous chemicals neither were any chemicals used during its manufacturing process, RoHS.

Well, next in this Qidi 3D printer reviews are the benefits you can expect to get from this printer. We look review each one of the by looking at its features and the ease of use of those features. We will also look at the advantages this printer has over the other 3D printers that cost more but perform similar functions. We will also establish why it comes at such a good price without compromising on quality and performance.

Qidi Technology Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer Reviews & Features

Quality Aluminum Plate

The dual extruder 3D printer’s has its plate made from aviation grade aluminum plate. The plate has been tested during production and before shipping to make sure it remains stable even under extreme operating conditions.

The tests include exposure to high temperatures that exceed those of a typical working environment to make sure the aluminum plate shows no signs of deforming or warping.

The tests last for eight hours, which is longer than the actual operation time of this Qidi Tech 3D Printer per session.

Now that is the kind of service that makes you realize you are buying a quality product from a reliable manufacturer.

qidi technology dual extruderElectrical and Circuitry Wiring

Apart from the aluminum plate which is the components that undergoes the most physical stress in this 3D printers, the electrical circuits the next feature to consider.

The Qidi technology 3Dp-qda16-01 used in this printer are wired to prevent damages from static charges as well as wear and breakage when exposed to heat.

That is one area of quality control that most manufacturers are not keen to enforce. That leads to components failing mostly after three or four years of continuous use.

The Qidi Tech 3D Printer Dimensions 

The Qidi 3D printer has a compact construction that makes it a perfect desktop 3D printer. It simply takes no more space than is required, even the package itself is quite compact. The packaging measures about 22″ x 17″ x 22″ or 570 mm x 440 mm x 560 mm. The Qidi Tech 3D Printer dimensions are 18.3″ x 12.6″ x 14.76″ or 465 mm x 320 mm x 375 mm.

When it comes to its weight, it only weighs 46.3 pounds. That is light enough for one person to handle without asking for help. Unless of course you suffer from back problems, in which case most doctors recommend that you should not carry any weight that is more than a few pounds.

What about the size of the object this printer can build or in other times its build size? You will be pleased to know that its maximum build is 9″ x 6″ x 6″ or 230 mm x 150 mm x 150 mm. That is 5 liters of build, which is big by any business model standard. You can therefore be sure that this 3D printer can print most models needed for business, learning, or pleasure.

qidi tech 3d printer reviewsPrint Material

This dual extruder 3D printer can print with PLSA or ABS filaments that have a thickness of 1.75 mm.

What is more is that it gets shipped from the manufacturer with complementary PLA and ABS spools to get you started immediately. That also helps you to know what to buy when you need to replenish your supply.

You can also use the semi-flexible filament TPU and you will not experience any technical or quality issues when you print your models.

However, the Qidi technology 3Dp-qda16-01 does not work best with Ninjaflex filament as it does with PLA, TPU, and ABS. Using the Ninjaflex filament will therefore lead to low quality prints.

Nozzle specs

The nozzle diameter is measures only 0.4 mm and can heat up to 260 degrees centigrade without any drop in its performance. The small diameter makes it easy to print out fine details and create fine curves when printing. That is one of the reasons that the Qidi technology 3Dp-qda16-01 has become so popular with 3D printer users.

Layer Resolution

The FDM or Fused Deposition Modeling used in the Qidi technology dual extruder desktop 3D printer is another feature that gives it an outstanding “layering” performance. The features enable this printer to print layers of 100 to 300 micro-millimeters, and still adjust the thickness by 0.1 mm to 0.3 mm. For the users, that miniature layering culminates to the superior printing that makes each 3D print look like it was cast then polished to give a natural look.

Print Quality

The Qidi technology allows you to have a say on the quality of print you are going to get as well as what colors to use at any stage of the 3D printing. The Qidi printer bed operates with a maximum temperature of 140 degrees centigrade while the extruder hits a high of 280 degrees centigrade.

What is more is that you can adjust these temperatures if you need to do it using the Qidi printer interface or its software. During the printing process, you will not get any disturbing noises apart from the standard user alerts the printer sends.

If you are using PLA to print, you need not worry about ventilating the room more than you do without this printer ON.

However, if you are using the ABS, then it’s best to remember that the printer will emit fumes as soon as the printing starts. Although the fumes are not toxic, it’s best to open ventilate the room to avoid any discomfort.

When printing, you use two color filaments because this is a dual extruder 3D printer. In fact, you can pause the printing at any time to introduce a third or subsequent color in one of the arms. Of course that means that you will have to stop printing with one or the two initial colors.

Accessories

The Qidi dual extruder 3D printer comes with four accessories; the two filament spools, the 3D print removal tool, and a smoothening pen. The sample filaments spools give you a demo of what the printer can do when used correctly with the right filaments. The print removal tool helps you to get the printed sample from the print bed before it sticks. The smoothening pen is used to give a smooth finish to the exterior of ABS filament prints using acetone; not necessary with PLA filament prints necessary. It is worth mentioning hat you have to buy the acetone separately.

Software Compatibility

The Qidi dual extruder 3D printer works on all he three popular operating systems; Windows, Mac, and Linux. MakerBot is the recommended 3D printing software when using the extruder 3D printer. The printer packaging comes with an operation manual, software and sample 3D files for testing the 3D printer. The printer software is easy to install and the operation manual can be opened by any PDF reader as well as web browser. If you want to print the sample files, you can either insert the card in the printer’s SD slot and print from it or you can transfer the files to your personal storage for future use. You may then tether the 3D printer to your computer using USB cable.

Customer Service

Qidi Tecch’s customer service is one of the best that have encountered. In case of any failure in functionality, you will get prompt assistance via mail and live chat. If any spare parts that fail within the warranty period, they will send you replacements earlier than expected. In other words, their customer service representatives are willing to help you no matter what. They also have a technical understanding of their products, so you will not be put on hold for long periods, waiting for answers that are not forthcoming.

What Is In the Package?

  • 1 ABS filament roll.
  • 1 PLA filament roll.
  • 2 filament spool holders.
  • 1 Power cable
  • 1 USB cable.
  • Wiring harnesses.
  • 4GB SD card.
  • Filament tubing.
  • Instructions Manual.
  • Tool Box that includes fasteners and other tools.
  • Technical Specification
  • Connectivity is via SD card/USB Cable
  • Support Software Replicator G/Makerware
  • Input Voltage 110V/230V

Other Qidi Technology 3Dp-qda16-01 Benefits 

Rugged Design

The dual extruder 3D printer has a rugged design that can withstand rough handling during shipping. Unlike most products that arrive broken, the Qidi 3D printer arrives and ready to b set up for its first time use by the customer. The rugged design makes this printer durable as well. Without the rugged design, the high printing temperature would quickly wear down this printer.

Dual Extruder

The dual extruder is a gift to those who have a passion in arts. It allows you to print colored images by mixing filament of different colors. All you have to do is pause the printing at the opportune time to change to a new color filament. I personally find that feature to be awesome.

Connectivity

While this printer is not equipped with wireless connectivity, it can be tethered to a laptop via its USB cable. That is a plus because you will not have to worry about someone accidentally sending a file to his printer. You will also not have to worry about someone complaining why you have connected others to this awesome 3D printer and left others out. If you do not want to use the USB cable, then you can make use of its SD card slot. Overall, transferring printing images to his 3D printer will not be a problem.

Silent Operation

I love it when I know that I can work silently without turning heads of coworkers or getting annoying looks for causing disturbance. That is what this why I am happy to inform you that this is a silent operation printer. Apart from the occasion beeps that alert you of the progress or state of the printers, all else is quiet. Otherwise, it would obviously be unbearable to listen to 6 hours of continuous printer noise when printing a detailed 3D image.

Power Supply

The power supply of this Qidi Tech 3D Printer is rated 215V, which the rating recommended for US appliances. That is important because we need to keep this machine being exposed to high voltages. You need to buy it a voltage surge guard to be on the safe side. It is also smart to use a power distributor that includes a voltage guard. That will act as s secondary safety feature to keep this 3D printer safe in case the power surge protector fails. Overall, it is always best to periodically check that your power surge protection devices are working.

Operation Software

The operation software is easy to use and he interface is intuitive. You will basically be clicking next and accepting whatever is presented on the screen during installation. After that, manipulating the images before printing using the 3D Printing Slicing Software is both easy and fun. If you have dealt with 3D images before, this will be a breeze. If this is your first time, the learning curve will be a smooth one.

Heat Resistant Platform Support

The platform of this Qidi technology dual extruder desktop 3D printer is heat resistant because of the use of high quality aluminum instead of plastic. You therefore get a platform that will not warp and deform the printed image; neither does to add unnecessary extra weight.

Pros

  • l You get full value for your money especially if this is you are just getting started with 3D printers.
  • l Most cheap 3D printers in the market are incompatible with most filaments; this one is compatible with PLA and ABS filaments. That means you do not have to depend on one type of filament when printing.
  • l It’s a dual extruder printer, which makes it possible to introduce a third or subsequent color. That is important when printing multi-color designs.
  • l Any gadget, especially an electronic could misbehave from time to time, their excellent customer service means when that happens, you will not be alone.
  • l Qidi Tech are based in China, you therefore get a quality product at a great price.
  • l Most products are frustrating because the customer service is poor, well you do not have to worry about hat with Qidi Tech products.
  • l You can get help via phone, chat, or email during any stage of use. Whether it’s something to do with installation, printing, or filaments, you can get near instant help.

Cons

  • l If you have not read the manual before you start operating this printer, you may not find the SD slot. The Slot is actually under the rear cover.
  • l This product does not come with an extended warranty as of now, that might be a concern to you if you learn to use it for heavy printing.
  • l The actual warranty last for three months, after that, we hope that will change soon.

Qidi 3D Printer Review Summary

The overall opinion of this printer is high among the experts as well as first time users. Most users rate it higher for reliability and ease of use.

Apart from the fumes when using the ABS filament and difficulty in finding the SD slot for first time users, most would give it a 5 out of 5 rating. Customer Support is also noted an outstanding feature of its manufacturer.

Therefore, I would say that, with the fast art replacement and awesome customer support, you will not have any problem using this product. I would therefore recommend this dual extruder 3D printer to anyone who wants a reliable medium duty 3D printer.