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3D printer comparison

The 3D printer comparison guide

When a company considers investing in an industrial 3D printer, of course they want to do a 3D printer comparison. 3D printers come with a wide range of features and different specifications, which means that the 3D printer price can vary hugely. The big difference often comes down to the specific construction parameters of both devices.

What is the difference between 3D printers? Where is it based upon and how to do a 3D printer comparison? When you are looking for the best solution for your business, it is worth understanding a little more about 3D printers. We summed up the main criteria to consider when comparing 3D printers.

Key take-aways

The more features you desire, the higher the price of the 3D printer will be.

 When you are new to 3D printing it is best to buy a more advanced system that is easy to handle and maintain. When it comes to getting a 3D print right, there can be a huge array of features on the list of settings.

You need to consider beforehand what materials you want to use as that can have a detrimental effect on the cost.

How to make a good 3D printer comparison?

For businesses looking for a viable option that can deliver results, an FDM printer offers the perfect solution. It is competitively priced and can deliver results efficiently and effectively. Choosing a 3D printer depends on your business’ unique needs and budget. When you are looking for the best 3D printing solution for your business there are some questions you want to ask yourself. We summed them up for you.

Person doing a 3d printer comparison on size by looking at a large size 3d printer

3D printers come in a number of different sizes depending on the needs.
The industrial 3D printer price can vary considerably based on build size. This means, when you want to get most out of your budget, you first have to consider first your requirements regarding the build volume. The bigger the printer you need, the more you will pay for it. Of course if you have a need to print large objects and want to do so in an economical way, then a large volume industrial 3D printer that can print a large object in one process is always the best option. Also when you want to print large batches of smaller objects this is your best choice.

The storage of the 3D printer will also play a part in determining the cost. It could mean that you, for example, need a warehouse transporter or mobility system if you want to move the printer around.

2. How high do you want the quality of your 3D prints to be?

When designing exquisite models for FDM printing, you may want them to be as detailed as possible so that you can truly see the expertise put into it. That's why you need to consider a few features in your 3D printer comparison so you know beforehand your 3D printer can handle even the finest details.

Benchy which is used as a standard to compare the 3d printing resolution

Resolution

If you want your output to have as much detail as possible, you need to do a comparison on the 3D printers resolutions. The lower end printers will have a lower resolution while the higher end will deliver a higher resolution. Opting for a printer with a lower resolution will mean that the 3D printed layers are thicker which will use more material and result in a lower quality finish.

> The higher the resolution, the more detailed your object will be. This is measured in microns; a high resolution of 10 microns is a layer thickness of 0,01 millimeters.

Person doing a comparison on the software settings of 3d printersare settings of a 3d printer

Parameters/settings

When it comes to getting a 3D print right, there can be a huge array of features on the list of settings. When you are doing a 3D printer comparison you need to consider all of them. This can include things such as extruder (nozzle) temperature, layer height (resolution), printing speed and the distance between the main print and the support, not to mention the heated build platform temperature. The list needed for a good 3D printer comparison can be considerably long.

We do have a 'rule of thumb' for you which can make your 3D printer comparison easier. Industrial 3D printers often come with preconfigured software settings, which includes the specific parameters required for certain filaments. They make it possible to print at the highest of quality, while ensuring that the right parameters are in place to help create a successful print. In the case of consumer 3D printers, they often not come with the correct parameters, as they are lower in price and designed for users who want to spend more time tweaking the printing process.

A print bed of a 3D printer which is an important feature to consider when choosing a 3d printer

First layer adhesion

There are also some differences in specifications concerning the first layer adhesion. The first layer is the most important one. When the layer is uneven or the adhesion to the build plate is not sufficient, the whole 3D print can fail. To ensure a good first layer there are some handy features like automatic build platform compensation whereby the build plate is leveled automatically. Also a heated build platform will help, as this will improve the adhesion of the layer. Don’t want to deal with glue or hair spray for sticking the prints to the bed? Then a PEI build plate is advisable, as it requires no preparation in starting the 3D print. Of course all these features influence the price so when you do a 3D printer comparison, consider first what you really need for your projects.

comparing 3d printers on resolution

Process automation

When it comes to printing a complex object, additional features such as automatic build plate calibration or out-of-filament detection, will become a useful option. When a 3D printer doesn’t have this, there is a lot to think about, that means that the print time increases and the chance of errors is higher. That is why this is an important option to consider when choosing between 3D printers.

3. How fast do you want your object to be finished?

3D printer moving fast which can be an important feature to consider in comparing 3d printers

When using a 3D printer, you probably want to see your finished object as soon as possible. That is why it is important to consider the speed when you make a 3D printer comparison. It will determine the type of printer you require. The less expensive, lower end printers often print at a speed of 100 millimeters per second while the more expensive printers can deliver several pounds of materials per hour.

> When a 3D printer has a printing speed up to 200 mm/s, it means that an object of 100 grams can be finished in less than 1 hour.

4. Do you want to be able to use multiple materials?

If you plan to use one material then you can opt for a basic Industrial 3D printer, which means that you can opt for a less expensive printer. If you want to print with a number of different materials then you will need to look at a printer with more functionalities, affecting the price. As described before there are a few features like a closed chamber and heated build platform which are required to be able to handle the more demanding filaments. The materials that are being used, mostly determine the costs of 3D printing. A lot of professional 3D printers can only print with their own brand of materials, obligating you to buy a particular brand. Check this carefully when you are doing your 3D printer comparison. With 'open filament systems' you have more freedom and can choose your own preferred filament supplier.
If you want to print with a number of different materials then you may want to choose a 3D printer with more functionalities.

Closed chamber which is an important feature to consider when choosing the best 3d printer

Closed chamber (enclosure)

For those businesses that need the use of more demanding (high-performance) materials, the 3D printer should have an enclosed chamber. This makes it possible to print at a temperature that is higher and stable which is a requirement for certain print materials. When a 3D printer doesn’t have a closed chamber, there are more temperature fluctuations during printing. Therefore you can only use a limited choice of print materials and you have to compromise on the quality of your prints as well.

Dual extruder which is one of the important considerations when comparing 3d printers

Single or Dual extrusion

When you are doing a 3D printer comparison you should also consider the number of printing nozzles. If you will print with one material during a print job, then one nozzle will be fine. But if you want to print with more than one material during one print job, you will need more than a single extruder.
When you are printing with one material, PLA for instance, it is sometimes difficult to break the supports away from the model. This can cause damage and leave traces that can prove difficult to remove. If supports are printed using a different material to that of the main model, for example water-soluble (PVA) material, it often makes it easier to remove it and reduces the risk of damage and chipping. In this case you need to choose a 3D printer with two extruders (dual head).

Filament which is one of the important considerations when comparing 3d printers

Open filament system

When doing a 3D printer comparison it's important to know that the materials that you are planning to use, mostly determine the costs of 3D printing. A lot of professional 3D printers can only print with their own brand of materials, obligating you to buy a particular brand. With 'open filament systems' you have more freedom and can choose your own preferred filament supplier.

5. How much support do you need?

Service level agreement as being an important consideration when comparing 3d printers

If you need assistance purchasing a 3D printer then you will need to consider this as part of the overall cost. You might need help with setup, maintenance and even technical support because you never know when you might need it.

Using a 3D printer is great when it works but if you have problems or need support with queries, having the support there when you need it provides peace of mind. So when doing your 3D printer comparison make sure to check the support level by phone, email and/or live chat.
Paying for a higher level of support could be worth it if you are relatively new to 3D printing, but if you are comfortable to deal with any problems yourself then you could make savings. In some cases the purchase of a 3D printer can also include a Service Level Agreement (for free). Besides the warranty this will provide extra services and other benefits during a certain period of time.

6. How long do you want your 3D printer to last?

Person comparing nozzles of 3d printers

We understand how difficult it is to do a good 3D printer comparison. Often new 3D printing technologies hit the market. When you choose a a 3D printer that is modularly build you can add new technologies (for instance a better print head) to the printer and you will stay up to par with everyone else in the industry! As is possible with any machine, some parts of it can malfunction or get worn over time. When a 3D printer is modular build, it is easier to maintain.

7. Where are you going to put your 3D printer?

Person sitting at a desk comparing 3d printers on laptop

While doing your 3D printer comparison you will also have to think about the size and shape of the printer in order to determine whether it will fit into your desired space. The size of large 3D printers can vary and they can often be deceiving so it is important to make sure that the printer is perfect.

Weight is also important when you want to move it around. Thereby you also have to consider the noise level when doing a 3D printer comparison. Especially if you want to work undisturbed next to the 3D printer.

8. Do you want it to be ‘ready-to-print’ or build it yourself?

comparing 3d printers on installation

When doing a comparison on 3D printers it is important to consider whether you have the ability and the tools available to build a 3D printer yourself. Because in some cases 3D printers are available as ‘Do It Yourself’ kit, for you to assemble. This will save you a bit of money, so can be a preferred option in some cases.

3D printers that are delivered full assembled are often ready to print by arrival. Sometimes this is not possible, for example because of the large size of the printer and shipment restrictions. In that situation the industrial 3D printer manufacturer often offers a service of installation on location. An engineer from the manufacturer will take care of installing the printer on site.

9. Do you already have 3D printing software?

Person comparing the software settings of a 3d printer

When doing a comparison on 3D printing connectivity and software are both two important aspects to consider. You will need to think about the types of software you require so that you can connect to the printer, but also communicate with the machine to tell it what to print. Whatever the needs, connectivity is a crucial part in doing a 3D printer comparison.

The correct software will enable you to create print jobs to the highest of standards and share them with the printer. When doing your 3D printer comparison make sure to check if the 3D printing software, is included in the 3D printer price. When you have created a design in for example AutoCAD or SolidWorks, you can save the design as STL file and import the model in the 3D printing software. After indicating the required settings (print material, resolution, etc.), you can save it as G-code file and transfer it to the 3D printer.

10. How important is the look and feel of the 3D printer?

3D printed object in a large size 3D printer

There is a difference in the look and feel of 3D printers. Each 3D printer brand has its own look so you may want to take this into account when doing your 3D printer comparison. Some printers have extra bells and whistles that are meant to please the eye. Of course, those printers that have a simpler design can cost a bit less while those that are well designed will cost more.

3D printers with a detailed touchscreens will have a higher price than printers with a basic LCD control panel. A screen can provide you a wide range of functionalities, among which the ability to control the machine directly and track print jobs.

We know it is a lot but we will explain you everything you need to know!

We understand that all these features you have to take into account in your 3D printer comparison can be overwhelming for you. Especially when you are just discovering all the amazing possibilities of 3D printing. Just drop us a message here, chat with us or send an email to sales@tractus3d.com and we will explain you everything there is to know about how to compare 3D printers.

Dejano-3d-printing-engineer

Let us make the 3D printer comparison easy for you!

Tractus3D strives to provide the absolute best 3D printers to the communities we serve, at affordable prices. That is why we routinely monitor prices of our competitors to ensure that we have the best offer possible. When you want to do the comparison yourself, you can use these Aniwaa overviews.

Large volume 3D printer comparison

Searching for a good solution to create large and precise objects yourself?
This is not easy as the market is full of different systems and technologies that all claim to be the best. We want to help you and made a large volume 3D printer comparison.

 Build size (mm)Build volume (m3)Closed chamberXY accuracyMin layer thickness Printing speedOrigin
Erectorbot EB 2076 LX6096 x 2133 x 182923.78NoUnited States
The BOX1500 x 1100 x 15002.48YesSweden
Tractus3D T35001000 x 1000 x 20002.00Yes0,02 mm0,05 mm200 mm/sNetherlands
Tractus3D T30001000 x 1000 x 14502.00Yes0,02 mm0,05 mm200 mm/sNetherlands
CoLiDo Mega1000 x 1000 x 15001.50
Yes250 mm/sChina
DeltaWASP 3MT3000 x 3000 x 30001.20Yes0,1 mm0,5 mm150 mm/sItaly
3D Platform 400 Series1000 x 1500 x 7001.05No0,05 mmUnited States
Titan Robotics Atlas 2.0915 x 915 x 12201.02Yes0,05 mmUnited States
BigRep ONE1005 x 1005 x 10051.02No0,15 mm0,15 mmGermany
Fouche 3D Printing Cheetah Pro1000 x 1000 x 10001.00No0,1 mmSouth Africa
Moebyus Machines M31000 x 1000 x 10001.00No0,05 mm90 mm/sSpain
HORI Z10001000 x 1000 x 10001.00Yes0,01 mm0,05 mm300 mm/sChina
Extreme Builder 2000700 x 700 x 18200.89Yes0,05 mm120 mm/sNetherlands
Leapfrog XceL510 x 500 x 23000.59Yes0,018 mm0,1 mmNetherlands
German RepRap X10001000 x 800 x 6000.48Yes0,02 mm0,1 mm150 mm/sGermany
Modix Extra Large 120X1200 x 610 x 6100.45Yes0,01 mm0,04 mm180 mm/sIsrael

2 large volume 3D printers for comparison

Tractus3D large volume series (T3000 - T3500)

Our large volume 3D printers boast a fast printing speed and a high accuracy. They are perfect for 3D printing large objects extremely accurately and have a good temperature stability due to the fact that the large volume 3D printers have a closed chamber.

Our conclusion when comparing large volume 3D printers is:

✓   Higher quality and more advanced

 Competitively priced 

The T3500 has almost the biggest build size. With a diameter of 1 meter and a height up to 2.1 meters (6.9 feet). This means a building area over 1650 liters!

PEEK 3D printer comparison

Searching for the best solution for creating strong and light weight parts yourself? We understand that you want to have the best value for your money so you have a quick return on investment. We have made a comparison of 3D printers so you can easily compare all 3D printers that are able to print high performance materials.

 Build sizeExtruder tempMax printbed tempHeated chamberXY accuracyMin layer thicknessPrinting speedOrigin
Apium P220205 x 155 x 150 mm540°C160°CYes0,012 mm0,1 mmGermany
SpiderBot 4.0 HT200 x 200 x 180 mm470°C240°CYes0,01 mm0,15 mm120 mm/sFrance
3DGence Industry F340260 x 300 x 340 mm500°C160°CYes0,006 mm0,15 mmPoland
Roboze One+400 Xtreme300 x 200 x 200 mm500°C180°CNo0,015 mm67 mm/sItaly
Tractus3D T850P300 x 300 x 380 mm450°C175°CYes0,01 mm0,05 mm200 mm/sNetherlands
AON 3D AON-M2454 x 454 x 640 mm470°C200°CYes0,025 mm0,05 mm500 mm/sCanada
INTAMSYS FUNMAT PRO 410305 x 305 x 406 mm450°C160°CYes0,15 mm0,05 mm300 mm/sChina
IEMAI Magic-HT-PRO310 x 310 x 480 mm450°C170°CNo0,012 mm0,05 mm150 mm/sChina
3D PrinterWorks HT-5800457 x 457 x 457 mm420°C160°CNo0,16 mmUS
Hyrel 3D Hydra 16A600 x 400 x 500 mm450°C200°CYes0,06 mm0,1 mmUS
VeraShape VSHAPER MED450 x 450 x 450 mm450°C150°CYes0,011 mm0,05 mmPoland
Machina Corp X30 HT300 x 300 x 280 mm500°C150°CNo0,01 mm0,15 mmCanada

2 PEEK 3D printers for comparison

Tractus3D PEEK series (T650P - T850P)

Our PEEK 3D printers boast a fast printing speed, a high accuracy and low weight, making it easy to move them around to any location you desire. The T850P comes with a newly developed heated chamber and provides thermal management to ensure a quality output. The PEEK 3D printer enables to create prototypes out of superior materials such as (Carbon) PEEK, PEEKQ and ULTEM. But conventional materials like PLA and PETG are printable as well.

Our conclusion when comparing 3D printers that can handle PEEK is:

✓   Higher quality and more advanced

 Competitively priced 

whitepaper of 3d printer comparion

FREE Whitepaper: 3D printer comparison guide

Do you want to read receive our whitepaper about how you do a good 3D printer comparison? Just click on the donwload link and you will automatically get the whitepaper for free!

Please ask us for a free test-sample so you can compare it to the quality of other 3D printers.

When you are doing a 3D printer comparison of course you want to see if the quality is high enough for your business. We totally understand that and are more than willing to proof our 3D printers capacities to you. Just give us your name + email address and let us know which printer you are interested in. After that we will come back to you with some questions to find out what you exactly want to produce with 3D printing. You can also chat with us or send an email to sales@tractus3d.com and we will explain you everything there is to know about how to compare 3D printers.

3 3D printed objects to compare 3D printers on quality