If you’re looking for a new toy, then a 3D printer can be an awesome choice. Not only are they fun to use for the first few times, but they can actually be quite useful, especially if you enjoy making things for around the house.
But generally, 3D printers are considered to be expensive and unaffordable for the majority – this was, until a few years ago. Nowadays, 3D printers are increasingly popular and with that, comes more options for those looking at getting a cheap 3D printer. Generally, even at the budget end of the market, 3D printers are going to cost a couple hundred dollars. But within that price range, which is the best option? Well, here are a few of the best options currently available.
Best 3D Printer under $300
Anycubic Mega 3D Printer
- Large build volume: 210 x 210 x 205Mm
- Plug and play with user friendly screen: complete the assembling with 8 screws, then start to play through a 3.5-Inch tft touch screen
- Anycubic ultra base: Anycubic patented heat bed, super adhesion, smoothly lattice bottom surface. Easier to take off 3D-171 by hands, so you won't need masking tape and glue stickers any more
Out of all the 3D printers that are currently available, the Anycubic Mega is one of the better options, if not the best. It’s available at just under $300, and let me give you a few reasons why you’ll want to consider this model.
The main thing that stands out about the Anycubic Mega is the print quality itself (tip – set it to extra fine for better results). Considering it’s price, it delivers a really decent end product. The machine itself feels high quality and if you look at the reviews online, you can see that it’s been long lasting for the majority of people. As well as this, it’s extremely easy to use and it’s fast and responsive! Not only is it fast in terms of creating things, but it’s also very simple and quick to use the menu and settings on the printer itself.
For beginners, you’ll be glad to know that it comes with a comprehensive manual that explains exactly what you need to do to get it working. It also has a few spare parts too, which is another important factor. The only negative thing that I can think about this model is that there aren’t as many upgrades for it in comparison to other 3D printers.
However, if you’re looking for something simple to use, but still high quality, then the Mega is probably the right choice for you.
Creality Ender 3 3D Printer – Best Cheap 3D Printer
- Resume Print: Ender 3 has the ability to resume printing even after a power outage or lapse occurs.
- Easy and Qucik Assembly: It comes with several assembled parts, you only need about 2 hours to assemble 20 nuts well.
- Advanced Technology: Upgraded extruder greatly reduces plugging risk and bad extrustion; V-Slot with POM wheels make it move noiseless, smoothly and durable.
If you’re trying to save as much cash as possible but still get a working 3D printer, then you’ll want to look at the Creality Ender 3. It’s an upgrade on the older models, and for the most part you can find it at less than $200, which is a real bargain for it’s price.
One of the best things about the Ender 3 is that because it’s one of the bestselling 3D printers around, it has a strong following and community behind it. You can easily find some of the best upgrades for the Ender by browsing online, as there’s a lot you can do for a budget 3D printer. It’s also very quick to put the Edner together, which is great for beginners. However if you are a beginner to 3D printing, then I’d advise that you take a little time to put it together, as any mistakes can be annoying to change later.
So for those on a tight budget, the Creality Ender 3 is the best choice. It has a decent enough print area for it’s price (220 x 220 x 250mm), it comes with some spare parts which will undoubtedly come in handy, and it’s extremely easy to use for beginners.
FlashForge Finder 3D Printer
- Slide-in build plate allows printed objects to be easily removed
- 3.5-Inch full color touchscreen with intuitive icons makes for easy operation
- Sturdy, plastic alloy construction ensures stable prints
If you’re looking for something a little more compact, then you might want to consider the FlashForge Finder. It’s another good option for those that want a 3D printer that works well, although it’s not without its flaw in my opinion.
The main selling point of the FlashForge is that you can connect it in a variety of different methods. You don’t need to use cables – it can work completely through Wifi, which is pretty impressive. It also has a decent print quality, which is obviously one of the most important things you’ll want from a 3D printer.
From a negative perspective, the FlashForge is quite significantly smaller than the other 3D printers I’ve listed. It’s around 50% smaller than the Creality Ender and the Anycubic, which is a massive drawback in comparison and will limit your abilities to build larger things. The Flashforge is also a bit more difficult to set up, especially when you compare it to the Ender 3, which you can set up really quickly. So although it’s not the worst option out there, it’s more suited to those that have used a 3D printer before.
- ADIMLab_Gantry-S 3d printer includes:
240X240mm hot bed
High Adhesion Building Platform
32bit main board
Metal MK8 extruder
scraper, tweezers, Plugging needle, screwdrivers and other tools for assembling
4G SD card
12864 LCD Display
All V-Slot Rails
- Partially Preassembled kits, 30-50 minutes finish assembly, supply videos for every steps on youtube
all All V-Slot Rails and 2040 frame make moving stable and the structure stronger
Supply the Auto leveling and WIFI upgrade methods(just supply the method, not default)
- 32bit Mother board with MOS module, Main frequency 72MHZ, Fast running speed, Equipped with: SD card upgrade configuration firmware, configuration file to adjust drive current, Support power Resume, filament detector;
Upgrading and Optional : WIFI, Auto leveling
The last entry to the list is the ADIMlab Gantry, which provides another alternative to the ones I’ve already mentioned. Is there a massive difference between this model and the models I’ve already talked about? No, but it does have a few differences.
One of the best things about this particular model is that it’s really fast at printing, even if you compare it to other more expensive printers. If speed is extremely important for you, then this might be a good choice for you. You will have to put this printer together yourself however, which is relatively normal for a cheap 3D printer, but can be a little confusing if you’re a beginner.
Overall, this is undoubtedly another good option if you’re looking for a cheap 3D printer that works well. It is quite cheap, and sometimes you can find it on sale, which is something to look out for online.
What to Look for in a 3D Printer
If you’re going to purchase a 3D printer, then before you do, you’ll want to know exactly what it is that you should be looking for. So, here’s a quick run through of the things that you should consider before purchasing a 3D printer.
FDM over Resin
For those on a budget, an FDM 3D printer is going to be the better choice. There are many different types of printer, but under $300, you’re only going to find these two different types. Whilst a resin printer works by using a laser to solidify the resin itself, an FDM printer works by heating the thermoplastic filament, which then layers plastic as you’ve instructed. This is the better choice for beginners, so all of the printers listed here are FDM.
Another thing to take into consideration is the size of the 3D printer itself. Depending on what you’re after, different 3D printers will tend to come in different sizes. Much if this will depend on just how much space you have on your worktop, which is another important factor of buying a 3D printer.
The price aspect definitely has to come into play – this is especially true if you’re a complete beginner. If you have a little more cash, then you might want to consider opting for something higher quality. But at novice level, $300 is a good amount to spend on a 3D printer. This way, you can see if you’re really going to use it to it’s full potential.
What’s the 3D printing process?
If you’re new to 3D printing, then you’ll want to know the process behind it. Usually, I like to break down the 3D printing process into 5 different sections.
- Design (CAD) – the initial part of creating an object for 3D printing is actually designing the object yourself. Depending on how you’re going to create the object – you might scan it, but generally you’re going to use CAD software to design the product yourself. When you’ve designed your object in CAD, then you’ll have to convert it to STL.
- Check errors – After you’ve created the object itself, you’ll then need to check that it doesn’t have any errors before you print it. You can check out some of the best STL software tools here, which will enable you to check for any errors.
- Slicing – Before you can actually print your object, you’ll need to slice it – in laymans terms, this is essentially helps to enable your 3D printer to understand the design. Don’t worry, these are usually free downloads online (slic3r.org is a good place to start!).
- Printing – Then, you’ll have to print the 3d object yourself, which is another part of the process. The printer will use the slices and layer them down to form your object, which can take a while – but all you need to do is sit back and relax!
- Finish – When the object is printed, you have the option of finishing your object off, or you can leave it as it is if you’re happy with it.
Overall, a 3D printer can be a great addition to your household. Although a lot of people still think they’re not a necessity (and they’re not), 3D Printers can often be a worthy addition to your household – especially if you like tech stuff
Last update on 2019-05-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API