Which 3D Printers and Accessories Make the Best Christmas Gifts
Updated: November 2018
A 3D Printer is an excellent choice of gift for you to give this Christmas. It will open up a whole new world of creativity for your loved one.
In fact, 3D printers are set to be one of the most popular gifts in 2018.
3D Printing is a hobby that gives the gift of creativity, engineering ingenuity and problem-solving. And they are far from being a toy or a gimmick, when you gift 3D printing this Christmas you will be giving someone a gift that keeps on giving.
Children and teens will be especially pleased if you give them a 3D printer this Christmas. Young people are well aware of the exciting opportunities 3D Printing can offer them. Schools are teaching them about it, and they will have seen interesting objects and toys created by 3D Printers shared on their social media.
If you have someone older in mind, then 3D Printing is an equally good gift. All you will need to do is avoid the 3D Printers that are aimed at younger users that limit some functionality for safety.
Whether the person you’re buying for is a newcomer to 3D Printing or they’re a seasoned pro. They will always be grateful to receive accessories such as filament and tools.
Buying a 3D Printer as a Gift for a Child
Almost all kids will get lots of enjoyment from using a 3D Printer. But those who get the most from it will be the ones that already have hobbies that revolve around something creative or practical.
3D Printing is all about turning your ideas into real life objects. These can be objects designed for their aesthetic appeal like art or crafts. Or they can be functional objects like cell phone cases or a stand to hold your headphones.
3D Printing is also great when it compliments your existing hobby. For example, a lot of people who like gaming also like to make miniature models of their favorite gaming characters on a 3D Printer. They can then paint them and put them on display.
If the person you’re buying for already has an artistic flair they will take to 3D printing quickly. It will allow them to see their creations come to life quicker than any other method. From jewelry design to sculpture there are almost no limits to what you can create on a 3D Printer other than your imagination and skill.
From jewelry design to sculpture there are almost no limits to what you can create on a 3D Printer other than your imagination and skill.
Dremel is well known for their power tools because they produce reliable, easy to use products that people trust across the USA. Their 3D Printers are no different, offering the same reliability and ease of use.
The 3D45 is the latest model in Dremel’s range that is specially designed for children and teens to use. In fact you can find Dremel 3D printers being used in many schools through the country.
You can be confident leaving older kids and teens to use it on their own. With a full enclosure to keep curious hands away from moving parts and an extruder that is guaranteed not to clog. The 3D45 is a joy to use right out of the box.
There are plenty of features on the 3D45 that make it stand out above the crowd. It has wi-fi connectivity so connecting it to your existing PC or Mac is hassle free. It also has a built-in HD camera, so you can monitor the progress of your prints from anywhere and create cool videos of your 3D prints in action.
Dremel 3D printers only use their own brand of filament, which ensures you’re always using a safe and high quality filament. The filament spools and printer have built in RFID detection, so the printer can automatically apply the best settings every time you switch to a different material.
As you’d expect, customer service from Dremel is fantastic. The 3D45 comes with 1 year of warranty but also infinite customer support. So you have the great piece of mind knowing that if anything should go wrong, help is only a phone call or email away.
The FlashForge Finder was one of the first home 3D Printers that you can genuinely call ‘plug and play.’ Since its introduction, the Finder has become one of the most popular 3D printers for home use.
It seamlessly connects to your home Wi-Fi network and any kid will think it looks very impressive sat on their desk.
The included FlashPrint software makes setting up your first prints easy while allowing your children freedom to try more advanced settings as their 3D Printing skills grow.
The Finder accepts any brand of PLA filament so your kids can experiment with different colors and blends to create exciting models that appear to be made of metal or wood.
Here is my full review of the FlashForge Finder.
Buying a 3D Printer as a Gift for a Beginner
3D Printers make a great present for your loved one or a friend. If the person you’re buying for already has a practical hobby like DIY or woodwork, or they have a flair for creating arts or crafts, a 3D printer would be an ideal gift for them.
Lots of people are starting their own business with a 3D Printer. If your wife has always wanted to design their own jewelry or your Dad is a budding inventor, then they will almost certainly get a lot of enjoyment and use from a 3D printer.
To help you buy a 3D Printer as a gift, I’ve chosen models that are quick and easy to setup. There’s nothing worse than not being able to play with your presents on Christmas Day!
I’ve also chosen printers that have enough capability and functionality to keep their new owner interested well into the New Year and beyond.
3D Printers that can print large objects with a variety of materials are ideal as a gift for adults. These two features ensure that the lucky new owner won’t be limited in what they can print.
Here are the 3D printers I personally recommend as making ideal gifts:
The Ender 3 is at the budget end of the market but it’s quickly become one of the most popular 3D printers ever designed. It simply offers unbeatable value for money.
Because of the its great price and quality it has developed a cult following of proud owners, and you will find plenty of them willing to give you help and advice in the Ender 3’s own reddit community r/ender3.
The Ender 3 is a partly assembled 3D printer. This means it is shipped in a flat-packed state and you’ll need to carry out about 20 minutes of minor assembly before you can start printing. Fortunately, this is simply a case of bolting the two halves of the frame together using the bolts and hex key provided, and then connecting some electrical wires, which are all labeled to make sure you plug the correct cable into the right socket.
The print quality on the Ender 3 is really impressive, right out of the box. And there are plenty of upgrades you can print yourself or buy to make it even better.
The FlashForge Creator Pro is a real workhorse of a 3D Printer. It’s a dual extruder printer that comes packed with all the features you could ever want.
Setup is easy and due to its auto-leveling, fully enclosed chassis and general reliability your loved one can be 3D printing within minutes.
With the capability to reliably print both PLA and ABS filament as well as exotic blends, it will keep even the most adventurous designers happy for years to come.
Because the Creator Pro is so highly regarded, it has built up a strong online following. So support, hints, and tips from an extensive online community are only a few clicks away.
Here is my full review of the FlashForge Creator Pro.
CR-10’s are rapidly becoming the go to 3D printer for anyone new to the hobby. They are fantastic value for money and work well right out of the box.
There’s a great community around the CR-10 family of printers, with users creating how-to guides and videos and offering all the help you could ever need to get the most from your CR-10.
The Hictop Creality CR-10 also offers a much larger print size than probably all other 3D printers at this price range. This makes them a great choice for people who want to print large objects like cosplay props, or terrain for war games.
There’s lots of room to upgrade the CR-10, its simple design allowing you to easily swap out components so you can tailor it to your liking. And with its ability to print most filament types it will be a long time before it’s outgrown.
Buying a 3D Printer for an Enthusiast
For 3D printer enthusiasts, the Ultimaker 2+ is the gold standard in 3D printing that we all aspire to own.
There’s no 3D printer that can equal it for quality of prints or reliability of the printer itself. The high level of detail the Ultimaker 2+ can achieve makes it a perfect gift for anyone that likes to print detailed models like gaming miniatures or cosplay props.
If you’re buying a 3D printer as an upgrade for someone who is already experienced with the hobby then there is no doubt they will thank you for this upgrade as it will take their printing abilities to another level in terms of quality and reliability.
The Sindoh 3DWOX 1 is one of my favorite 3D printers of all time! As soon as you take it out of the box you can see it oozes quality.
Unlike most other 3D printers, the 3DWOX is true plug and play. If you have no desire to improve your printer with upgrades and tweaks and you just want it to work then this is the 3d printer for you.
Changing filament is a fully automatic process. You simply load in a cartridge, much like a paper printer, so there’s no fiddly threading through narrow holes. You can also use any non-branded filament so you’re not locked into using Sindoh’s own product.
And it features a flexible metal bed plate that means you don’t need to experiment with glues and tape to make your print stick, while it’s also easy to remove you print when it’s finished.
The 3DWOX 1 is packed with features such as an integrated camera that allows you to watch your print from any room using the 3DWOX mobile app.
One of the main features of the 3DWOX 1 is its completely enclosed design, which makes it whisper quiet and quite suitable for leaving on at night without disturbing you.
It also has HEPA filtration to give you peace of mind that you won’t be breathing in anything harmful or irritating when printing.
3D Printing Accessories to Gift at Christmas
The best accessory to give any 3D Printer owner is filament! You can give them a standard PLA filament that anyone would be grateful to receive, in a color of your choice.
Or you can be more adventurous and gift them an ‘exotic’ filament. These are a plastic filament that is mixed with another material.
Blended filaments enable you to print objects that appear to made from materials such as wood or metal. You can even get filament that is mixed with beer or coffee, so it smells like your favorite tipple!
New 3D Printer owners will also need a full kit of tools. When objects have finished 3D Printing, they will need some cleaning to make them look their best. Tools like small files, snips, and a craft knife are ideal for this.
To get the best from their 3D printer, they will also need items that are often used to help the 3D printed objects stay attached to the print bed like glue sticks and Kapton tape.
You can’t go wrong buying a few spools of Hatchbox PLA for a 3D Printing enthusiast.
Filament is like the ink for a 3D Printer. When it runs out, you can’t print anymore. And so any 3D Printer owner will be very pleased to receive some as it enables them to get printing.
Hatchbox is one of the most popular and highly regarded filaments. Any 3D printer owner will be able to find a use for it. The red filament is particularly popular as it’s a much deeper color than most other red filaments that tend to be too orange.
If you’re feeling adventurous in your gift giving then try this wood blend filament from Hatchbox. As with the standard Hatchbox filaments, this one is well-regarded and reliable and will work in most standard 3D Printers.
Objects made using the wood blend filament have a great wood grain look to them. It’s ideal for making statues and trinkets that can be displayed.
This filament makes all 3D printed objects appear as if they are cast in solid silver. It’s perfect for making statues and ornaments that have a head-turning metallic sheen to them.
As with all Hatchbox filaments, this one is reliable to use and works in most standard 3D Printers.
Mitutoyo is the gold standard in Engineering for calipers and measuring equipment, and Engineers treat owning a pair as a badge of authority.
All 3D Printer owners need to accurately measure their prints to calibrate their printers correctly.
The best way to measure 3D objects is with a good quality set of digital calipers.
These are a great gift for any budding engineer or 3D printer owner, and because of their supreme quality, they will last a lifetime.
When you remove a 3D print from the printer, it will need some manual finishing. Build supports have to be removed and any blemishes removed.
The best way to achieve a superior finish is with a good quality set of needle files like this set from Jaway.
It contains a good selection of shapes and sizes and comes in a nice carry case to make it look like a special gift.
This is a great book for beginners to learn the basics of 3D printing. It has some very useful practical advice including a great section on software.
My favorite section is on troubleshooting problems with 3D prints. This offers some excellent practical solutions to the most common problems you may come across when 3D printing. The advice is very clearly written with limited use of technical jargon and can help you avoid or solve most issues.
This is the user manual that should come with all 3D printers!
It’s full of detailed and useful information on all the problems you’re likely to experience when using your 3D printer. From getting the first layer of a part to stick to the build plate to avoiding jagged edges on a print. There’s also a good guide to software.
There’s a comprehensive section on calibration which explains every detail of why aligning your print bed is so important.
Maintenance and improvements to your 3D printer are covered with a guide on the basics like how and where to lubricate your 3D printer to keep it in top condition for years to come.
The Zombie Apocalypse Guide to 3D printing: Designing and printing practical objects by Clifford T Smyth
This book is aimed at people who already have a basic understanding of 3D printing. The object of the book is to show you how to print practical useful items that you can use around the home but these practical tips are written through the tongue in cheek premise of using 3D printing to survive an impending zombie apocalypse!
There’s plenty of practical advice to teach you how to design for 3D printing, optimize your designs for strength and durability and learn basic engineering skills like calculating loading to ensure your parts will be strong enough.
It then offers useful information on optimizing the printing process itself. How to calibrate your printer, how to create quick prototype parts and lots of advice on commonly seen problems.
A really useful and well-written guide to using 3D printing for a practical purpose.
Whether you’re introducing someone to the exciting world of 3D Printing for the first time or buying an upgrade or accessory for an existing enthusiast, these products are guaranteed to be well received.
3D Printing has no limits other than your creativity, and so when you give a 3D printing related gift this Christmas, you will be giving a gift that lasts a lifetime.