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The world of 3D printing has exploded over the past decade, and that includes personal printers. This rapid expansion has been accelerating so quickly that it can be difficult keeping track of the market, what with technological advancements occurring near daily combined with the power of Kickstarter. This will serve as an informative guide to the popular and the up-and-coming desktop printers that are under $10,000, with most being less than $5,000.
We’ve divided the page into the following sections: 3D printers that come fully assembled, 3D printers that come both assembled and in kit form, 3D printers that only come in kits, and 3D printers that are just out of Kickstarter in preorder status. In addition, we’ve included some filament extruders at the end.
Desktop 3D Printers, assembled
These 3D printers come only fully-assembled, with no kit available.
Afinia - Afinia’s H Series won Make Magazine’s Best Overall Experience Award for its simplicity and consistent high-quality prints. Cubify - Cubify’s Cube was voted Easiest to Use by Make Magazine, probably partly because it has wi-fi, and it's now on its second generation, which has better resolution. CubeX adds features and power. FlashForge - FlashForge is a China-based company, but according to Amazon reviews the printers are high quality. Formlabs - Instead of fused deposition modeling (FDM), the Form 1 uses stereolithography (SLA), producing higher quality than most personal 3D printers. Imagine - The Imagine 3D printer is syringe based, so it can print with any substance that’s like cream. Isis3D - Isis3D aims to set a new standard for RepRaps, designed to be rugged, precise, and easy to use by incorporating heavier gauge rods, a pre-leveled bed, and pre-calibrated KISSlicer Pro. According to them the bed will never need to be leveled. Leapfrog - Leapfrog produces two sturdy 3D printers constructed with high-quality parts, the Creatr and Xeed.. LulzBot - LulzBot offers pre-assembled, open source 3D printers at affordable prices. Maker Geeks - Maker Geeks ships 3D printers, hardware, kits, and filament with free shipping from a Missouri warehouse, though the printers are assembled in China. Makerbot - MakerBot successfully commercialized the RepRap with the Thing-o-Matic, and now the Replicator 2 is one of the most popular 3D printers on the market. Personal Portable 3D Printer (PP3DP) - Though it’s a strange company name, the Up! Plus won several awards from Make Magazine, including Easiest to Use and Best Overall Experience. The Up! Mini is also quite popular. Seraph Robotics - The syringe-based Fab@Home can print with any substance with a cream or gel-like viscosity, like silicone, cement, biomaterials, and edibles such as frosting and cheese. Solidoodle - Solidoodle focuses on providing 3D printers that are affordable and sturdy enough to stand on (please don’t try this at home), and the third generation is one of the largest for the price. Type A Machines - The Series 1 won Make Magazine’s Best in Class Midrange award.
Desktop 3D Printer Kits (with option to buy assembled)
These 3D printers are sold either as a kit or assembled by the vendor.
Airwolf 3D - Selling RepRap inspired printers, the Airwolf 3D mission is “to make and sell a superior product and to promote the open source philosophy in the personal 3D printer community.” Boots Industries (Rostock) - Founded in 2012, Boots Industries operates out of Quebec, Canada, selling 3D printers and high-quality filament. Buildabot - Seemingly based on the Wallace RepRap, the Buildabot Revolution from York 3D Printers features an aluminum frame and T2.5 pulleys for maximum rigidity and smooth operation. Deezmaker - The Bukobot was funded on Kickstarter, and Deezmaker has since opened a retail store and hackerspace in Pasadena, California. Bukobots are upgradeable. Also, Deezmaker has the new Bukito at Kickstarter. Felix Printers - Felix 2.0 has a newly designed print bed that more evenly distributes heat, and the construction was further simplified. MakeMendel (Rapidbot) - While it’s true of most, some 3D printer companies are a bit more forthcoming about the fact that their printers are essentially RepRaps, and MakeMendel is one of them. MakerGear - MakerGear is also a vendor of RepRaps, originally selling a Prusa Mendel kit. Now the M Series is their printer of choice. Portabee - The Portabee is minimalist in both parts and size, so it's easy to assemble and it's portable. Printrbot - Printrbot offers affordable kits and pre-assembled printers of various sizes. Tinkerines - This Vancouver-based company focuses on form and usability with their C-shaped printers.
Ultimaker - For being a kit, the Ultimaker performs well, winning Make Magazine’s Most Accurate, Fastest, and Best Open Hardware awards.
Desktop 3D Printer Kits (kit only)
The 3D printers come only in a kit. No option to purchase assembled.
3Drag - Futura Elettronica assembles the 3Drag kits with extruded aluminum frames and perforated aluminum carts for stability and mass reduction. B9Creator - The Kickstarter-funded B9Creator is a DIY stereolithography kit that produces very high-quality prints. Maker’s Tool Works - The MendelMax 2.0 uses a linear rail system and replaces many printed parts with aluminum plates for better accuracy and longevity. MakiBox - MakiBox was crowdfunded on Makible.com to offer the most affordable 3D printers on the market, starting at $200 for the A6 LT without a heated bed. SeeMeCNC - SeeMeCNC sells RepRap Huxley kits and the delta style Rostock kits, as well as laser cutters. Trinity Labs - TrinityOne’s MendelMax Pro was reviewed by Make Magazine, but the Aluminatus is a step up in quality and size.
The 3D printers in this section have been successfully crowdfunded through sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo, and are accepting preorders from the public.
AIO Robotics - AIO Robotics designed the ZEUS to eliminate shipping involved with product development and prototyping; it does that by operating as a 3D faxer with scanning and copying capabilities. Blue Eagle Labs - The Blue Eagle Labs team has developed a cheaper, better Kossel. With a large build volume, small footprint, and autocalibration, the Clear will stand out at its price point. DeltaMaker - Intended to be attractive with a low footprint, the DeltaMaker also delivers quality. Eventorbot - This is a completely open source, steel frame printer with a build volume of 10” x 8” x 6”; all the plans are available. Ez3D - The Ez3D team wanted to create a 3D printer that is easy to use, affordable, and powerful; the Pheonix has its own software with a print recovery feature, a large build volume, and a warranty. FABtotum - Italian engineers are to thank for this extremely innovative piece of machinery. Going beyond 3D printing, the FABtotum is a personal fabricator with CNC, milling, engraving, and 3D scanning. gMax - The gMax was designed by an architect who became tired of being limited by the build volume of his Prusa. Hyrel 3D - The people at Hyrel 3D wanted a higher quality 3D printer with more functionality, so they built it. Inventapart (Rigidbot) - Designed to be expandable, upgradeable, and affordable, the RigidBot raised over $1 million on Kickstarter. OpenBeam (OpenBeam Kossel Pro) - Based on the delta configuration, the Kossel Pro is larger and is constructed with OpenBeams and no printed parts for better precision and longer life. Pirate 3D (Buccaneer) - The Buccaneer is intended to bring 3D printing into the mainstream with its ultra-sleek look, wi-fi and cloud-based software for slicing and adding supports, and ridiculously low price. re3D (Gigabot) - The Gigabot ties with the SUMPOD MEGA for the largest build volume of 24" x 24" x 24". Robo 3D - The Robo 3D is seemingly designed to compete with the MakerBot Replicator 2 by having a smaller footprint, a larger build volume, and the same 100 micron print quality. Zortrax - To make 3D printing accessible for everyone, the Zortrax M200 is designed to be attractive, affordable, and easy to use with the included ZSuite software that serves as an intuitive GUI for slicing, placing, and scaling models.
Extrusion Bot - The Extrusion Bot converts filament pellets into spooled filament at a fast rate while also automatically spooling it. Filabot - Toss in scraps of bad and broken prints, milk cartons, and bottles -- pretty much any plastic -- and useable filament comes out onto a spool. Filastruder - The Filastruder converts filament pellets into spooled filament, saving makers thousands of dollars long term.