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10 Criteria for Selecting a 3D Printer

Expert guidance on how to navigate the maze of choices when selecting a 3D printer

Man looking for a 3D printer at the center of a larger than life maze.

Planning to purchase a 3D printer?  How will you decide which one?  With such a broad spectrum of 3D printing processes, manufacturers, models, and materials, what are the key factors to consider in making that important decision? 

We’ve provided what we believe are the most important criteria to consider (not in any particular order).  For a more detailed discussion, click the link below.

Download PDF with Detailed Descriptions

1.   Application (what you plan to fabricate and for what purpose…prototypes, tooling, end use parts)

2.   Accuracy; Resolution; Surface Finish

3.   Build size

4.   Material (physical properties including strength, heat deflection temp. stiffness, etc.)

5.   Monochrome or Color

6.   Build Speed

7.   Maintenance Requirements

8.   Post-processing Requirements 

9.   Initial Investment

10. Recurring Cost of Ownership

 

While this list is not exhaustive, it covers the big hitters. 

By the way, it’s fairly common in this industry for 3D printer suppliers to provide benchmark parts for free to prospective commercial customers who have serious interest (i.e. not the consumer market). Seeing and evaluating a benchmark part that is relevant to your particular needs can be an important step in your selection process.

Also, while the intangible benefits of owning a 3D printer are important, understanding the Return on Investment (ROI) can also be beneficial. For a simple spreadsheet to help you calculate your ROI, see this post. 

Want to refresh your memory on some 3D printing basics? Click here.

Want to explore some of the leading 3D printers on the market today?  Click here.

We’re here to help. If you have questions, feel free to contact us.

Strategic 3D Solutions offers 3D printers, 3D scanners, 3D printing services, 3D scanning services, and design services.  Looking for solutions? Contact us.

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About the Author : brucereimer

Bruce Reimer is a business leader with over 30 years of experience in five industries: 3D printing, defense electronics, forensics, transportation technology, and agriculture equipment. His educational background includes a BS in Engineering and an MBA.

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