When you visit technology conventions, you will notice several 3D printers from different manufacturers competing for the lowest prices. A common pitch is that the machine delivers all you need to be competitive with 3D print designs. But your main focus should be to find the right printer that meets your needs within your budget. Here are essential questions to ask when shopping for a 3D printer.
Is the 3D printer running an industrial projector with square pixels and glass UV optics?
Does the device use diamond pixels for watching movies for better image blending?
- Projectors in low cost printers survive about 90 days of daily usage
- Designed for visible light, not UV light for resin curing
- The ProJet 1200 gives you the $99 pico projector
- The Asiga is equipped with the Dell M115 business projector
- The Kevvox uses the Optima home theatre projector
- The B9 creator provides a Vivitek home theatre projector
What materials can the machine run?
- Plastic models
- Castable wax-based resin
- Request an in-house casting sample of a real ring before purchasing
Can the machine build with different materials?
- High temp for rubber molding
- Wax based for direct casting
- Limited to one material
What is the file format?
- Proprietary restriction
- Freedom to print any design in an STL format
What type of customer support do they offer?
- Live customer service you can call
- Email only due to not being based in the USA
- Test the tech support phone number before buying to see if anyone answers
What happens if your printer breaks down?
- Guaranteed repair turnaround time
- Offer to build rings while your printer is in transit or being repaired
Cheap machines mean cheap parts, no service and no support. Worst of all, it means cheap quality output that is not good enough for the professional designer.
Go with a reputable product that is not cheap but properly priced, backed by a company with a first class support team. You are better off with a professional grade printer designed from the ground up for small business and industrial needs.
Don’t forget to ask the tough questions before you buy another cheap printer that will only become another coat hanger.