Beware of using a Cheap 3D Printer for Professional Work

Article by Rod Mackay created/updated April 4, 2019

The Truth about using a Cheap 3D Printer for work and how to get it right the first time with a low cost professional desktop machine

You’re ready to buy a desktop 3D printer to enhance your business. You’ve done your homework and the benefits are clear: freedom of design, faster prototyping and reduced time-to-market, to name a few. The question is, what printer is best for your organization’s needs?

To get professional 3D printing results, you need professional tools. But most people think they can make do with a consumer/hobby 3D printer. They quickly find out, however, that a cheap 3D printer does not meet their expectations.

Cheap 3D Printer Guide

Once upon a time, there wasn’t much choice. Most 3D printers were large and expensive, needed their own separate environment, and a highly trained operator. But that all changed once low-priced hobby printers catering to the “maker” movement entered the scene. These desktop printers offered the allure of 3D printing at an enticing low price.

But like so many things, you truly do get what you pay for. To get the most value from 3D printing, professionals need a 3D printer that comes in not only at a good price point but can deliver quality results. Again and again.

Top five reasons hobby/consumer printers are NOT suited to professional work:

  1. Unable to print parts consistently and frequently: Professional printers will print parts that are within ten thousandths of an inch to the 3D model/STL file. Hobbyist printers are unable to consistently print within that tolerance.
  2. Models have warping: Professional printers have been engineered to ensure the parts do not warp during the build. The parts come off the printers true and without warping.
  3. Model scaring and divots from post processing: Having support material (aka scaffolding for an overhanging build) guarantees build quality. Machines that use the model material as support material produce parts with ‘scars’ on the surface of the parts. Hobbyist machines require a manual process to remove the support structure which leaves divots and scars on the surface of the part where the scaffolding held onto the part.
  4. Monitoring required Professional printers are truly a set it and forget it type of solution. Every night we start prints in our lab at Javelin and we come to the office the next morning to our successful builds. Unfortunately hobbyist machines need monitoring to ensure success. Putting a machine in a workflow where an engineer needs to supervise it simply does not make sense.
  5. Reliability: If your printer does break down, which is frequently with hobbyist machines, who is going to fix it? Probably you and yes it will most likely be during a very busy point in your day. Professional printers purchased from Javelin can include nationwide Canadian coverage so you can rest assured that Javelin will provide the service needed to keep the machine running to maximum efficiency.

It doesn’t have to be a choice between great performance and price

The new Stratasys F120 Desktop 3D Printer provides industrial-grade 3D printing at an attractive price with consistent results that other desktop printers can’t match. Download our 3D Printer Guide and learn how the F120 stacks up against the competition:

  • Learn the truth about Desktop 3D Printers
  • Learn about the latest solution that checks all the boxes
  • Learn how to avoid the ‘low price’ trap

Complete the form below to download our guide and get it right the first time!

Desktop 3D printer guide

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Rod Mackay

Rod has been using 3D CAD software for over 25 years and has trained thousands of designers to use their CAD systems more effectively. Rod is the Javelin Webmaster and is based in Ottawa, ON., Canada.

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