Best Cheap 3D Printer In 2017

2017 is the Year of Affordable 3D Printing

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 - White Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament MicroSD Card Preloaded Printable 3D Models
da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer ~ 6"x6"x6" Built Volume (Includes: 14 300g PLA Filament, 49 3D Design eBook, 10 Maintenance Tools, XYZmaker Cad 3D Software, PLA/Tough PLA/PETG)
QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D Printer:X-one2,Metal Frame Structure,Platform Heating
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/Exotic
PLA
PLA/ABS/TPU/Exotic
Build Volume
4.7" x 4.7" x 4.7"
5.9" x 5.9" x 5.9"
5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
100 microns
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Wifi/USB
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Outstanding value for money and helpful community of owners
Easy to use out of the box, great for kids
Reliable workhorse with excellent customer service
Dylan Recommends
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 - White Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament MicroSD Card Preloaded Printable 3D Models
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/Exotic
Build Volume
4.7" x 4.7" x 4.7"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Outstanding value for money and helpful community of owners
Buy Button
da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer ~ 6"x6"x6" Built Volume (Includes: 14 300g PLA Filament, 49 3D Design eBook, 10 Maintenance Tools, XYZmaker Cad 3D Software, PLA/Tough PLA/PETG)
Filament Type
PLA
Build Volume
5.9" x 5.9" x 5.9"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
Wifi/USB
Verdict
Easy to use out of the box, great for kids
Buy Button
QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D Printer:X-one2,Metal Frame Structure,Platform Heating
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/TPU/Exotic
Build Volume
5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Reliable workhorse with excellent customer service
Buy Button

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:44 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

This year 3D printers aimed at the home market will reach an all-time low. 3D printing popularity has grown enough for companies like Monoprice to offer machines at near the cost of manufacture and instead focus on making profits on consumables like filament.

This makes 2017 a great year to get started in 3D printing as there are some excellent printers available at bargain prices and these prices are unlikely to drop significantly further as they are near to the cost of manufacture.

3D printing has followed a similar pricing pattern to most new technologies. Like smartphones or tablets before, as their popularity has grown we’ve seen them move through three distinct phases:

  • 1 – Initially used only by business and industry.
  • 2 – Tech minded people who don’t mind putting up with a few bugs to get the technology into their hands.
  • 3 – Multiple companies in competition launching ever cheaper and improved products to average home users.

The last couple of years were a turning point for affordable 3D printing with Phase 3 well and truly here. Multiple companies launched 3D printers that are as easy to operate as an iPhone or iMac.

Last year it was still cheaper to buy a 3D printer that arrives as a kit you have to assemble before being able to actually print.

But even that will change this year, as companies like Monoprice update their already excellent range of affordable 3D printers. With upcoming models like the Delta Mini being offered at $150, there is little for you to save by buying a 3D printer in kit form anymore unless you want the challenge of constructing it yourself.

My Choices

I’ve narrowed my selection right down to what I think are the three best value 3D printers currently available. I won’t include kit printers because I believe the printers I’ve chosen offer equal or better value without the hassle of assembly.

And I’ve set my maximum budget at $500 because this is more than enough to get you a very good 3D printer. If you pay between $500 and $1000 you don’t really gain much in value. Over $1000 I think is a stretch to call ‘cheap’! I want to show you the best value 3D printers for your money.

Best Cheap 3D Printer – Monoprice Select Mini V2

SALE
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 - White Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament MicroSD Card Preloaded Printable 3D Models
1,394 Reviews

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:44 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The Monoprice Select Mini is a game changer with its price tag costing less than the average Android handset.

With this model, Monoprice have opened up 3D printer ownership to anyone who is even slightly curious about the technology.

Just a year ago you would have to fork out over double the price for an equivalent pre-built model with comparable print quality.

The reason this is such as good value 3D printer is that it has the flexibility of a much higher model.

Features

With most budget 3D printers you are limited either by virtue of the tech used or by the manufacturer locking you into their brand of consumables. But with the Select Mini, you can use any filament brand you like, any software and most filament material types.

This allows you to experiment with many aspects of 3D printing to work out what you need so you can make a good decision when you decide to upgrade to a better machine.

Why it’s Cheap

Of course, there’s no such thing as a free lunch and there are reasons for the Select Mini being so cheap.

Firstly, although you can build with filament types other than the most popular PLA, it will take some repeated tries and a bit of ingenuity before you’re successful.

This is because the heated bed does not have quite enough oomph to provide the ideal high temperature required.

It is also not a set it and forget it model. There will be times when it just doesn’t do what it should. You will need to investigate why this is with a bit of Googling and maybe some basic DIY skills get it working again.

Verdict

Is the Monoprice Select Mini the Best Budget 3D Printer for Me?

Yes:

  • If higher price tags are all that is stopping you from buying a 3D printer
  • If you don’t mind getting a hex key out and tightening a handful of bolts

No:

  • If you want a 3D printer that is ready to go straight out of the box with no tinkering
  • If you just want to plug and play with no problem diagnosis

The Monoprice Select Mini is outstanding value for money. Just a year ago a 3D printer of this ability would be over twice the price. There is now no excuse to not try out 3D printing for yourself.

Need more convincing? Check out my full review here.

Best Budget 3D Printer for families – XYZprinting da Vinci miniMaker

da Vinci miniMaker 3D Printer ~ 6'x6'x6' Built Volume (Includes: $14 300g PLA Filament, 49 3D Design eBook, 10 Maintenance Tools, XYZmaker CAD 3D Software, PLA/Tough PLA/PETG)
124 Reviews

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-24 at 23:26 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


The daVinci miniMaker is a little more than the Monoprice Select Mini but what you get is a printer that needs much less attention to make successful prints. Free of the need to tinker it’s much closer to being a plug and play model.

In fact, all that’s required to get up and running is to remove all the copious amounts of tape that secure it during transit and then load in the filament.

Unlike the Monoprice Select Mini, calibrating the build plate is almost a fully automatic process, you just need to follow the instructions the software walks you through, which basically amounts to pressing a button when told.

Features

For a budget family oriented 3D printer you get a good selection of features. SD card slot and onboard storage are all included. These allow you to effortlessly upload your files to the printer and then walk away to let it do its thing without having to leave a laptop or PC permanently connected.

What’s missing from the Mini, and hence the reason for the cheap price tag, are a few premium features that are standard on most other 3D printers.

There’s no LCD screen, in fact, there are no controls on the printer itself other than a pause button and a colored LED that changes color to tell you if the printer is on, off or having a problem.

Everything is controlled remotely on your PC/Mac/laptop via the included XYZware software which is quite intuitive and helpful for beginners but will begin to show its limitations when you start to understand the need for more advanced supports and temperature control.

Don’t be put off by the use of the word ‘mini’ in many of the budget 3D printers. The size of the build volume is more than enough for most uses. The da Vinci mini prints objects up to 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches.

When you do want to build something beyond the limits of the printer’s build volume you can simply split the part up into several pieces to build separately and then glue them together once finished.

Why It’s So Cheap

The daVinci miniMaker is aimed at beginners and more specifically children and teens. That’s not to say adults can’t get a lot out of this little machine, it just means it has some limitations:

The included software is very intuitive and makes it easy to get your first print going but eventually, once you’ve gone through a few reels of filament, maybe after 18 months of regular use you will realise it’s missing advanced features like freedom to put supports wherever you want and you’ll be thinking about upgrading.

Comparison

The daVinci MiniMaker is clearly designed as a family 3D printer. You don’t need any DIY skills to get this printer setup or to keep it running reliably. It really is plug and play.

It’s also noticeably more compact than the Monoprice Select Mini. At just under 15 inches in each direction, it can fairly easily find a space on most desks.

In terms of part quality, there’s very little to differentiate. The Monoprice is a little quicker to build.

Where the Monoprice Mini Select and da Vinci Mini really differ is the flexibility of software and filament that the Monoprice offers.

Verdict

Is the XYZPrinting daVinci MiniMaker the Best Budget 3D Printer for Me?

Yes:

  • If you want a plug and play printer.
  • If you just want to print with PLA filament.

No:

  • If you want to print with ABS or other filaments.
  • If you’d rather save $50 and do some DIY problem diagnosis.

There’s nothing like a frustrating series of failed builds to dampen enthusiasm, and buying the da Vinci Mini with its easy setup and great reliability record is a sure fire way to avoid this.

The da Vinci Mini is a great first 3D printer and I enthusiastically recommended it for children and teenagers in particular.

Best Budget 3D Printer – QIDI Technology X-One 2

QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D Printer:X-one2,Metal Frame Structure,Platform Heating
266 Reviews

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-24 at 23:05 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Features

I’d never normally start a review by complementing the box the product shipped in! But special mention has to go to the effort Qidi make in ensuring this printer reaches you safely. Copious amounts of dense foam and anything that could move is strapped down very securely with tie wraps.

When you first see the Qidi X-one 2 there are two things you’ll think: This is built like a tank and, wow that’s an interesting color for a 3D printer! This looks and feels more like an industrial printer than a consumer one.

Initial setup and bed leveling is easy with the touch screen menu guiding you to each point on the bed. You can easily be building your first part within 30 minutes.

Leveling paper is included which is a nice touch I haven’t seen on any other printer in this price range. This simple addition helps to improve the accuracy of your bed setup by compensating for the expansion of the nozzle that will be seen when it reaches working temperature. The alternative being to use feeler gauges on fully hot nozzle which is a good deal more tricky.

The LCD touch screen on the printer is very intuitive and clear with a very nice responsive touch and it even shows a preview of the part you’re printing which is something usually seen on much higher end 3D printers.

The highly regarded Cura software is included, giving you the freedom to use any other slicing software you choose and the printer can accept standard g-code and obj files so you can easily print ready-made objects from repositories such as Thingiverse.

Part quality is as good as you can get on an FFF printer. The resolution of the mechanism and the rigidity of the chassis and build plate really help to achieve the best possible and consistent results out of all these budget 3D printers.

Why It’s So Cheap

It’s made in China! I think that’s the only reason because it’s impossible to criticize any physical aspect of the machine. However, it must be said the support you can expect from Qidi is absolutely top notch. They are very active in forums and replying to reviews and seem to provide users with friendly, helpful proactive advice within minutes which is more than many of the US branded companies manage.

Most other 3D printers are also manufactured in China but have a US or European distributor that gives that consumer peace of mind.

Comparison

In terms of features, the Qidi X-One2 is very similarly matched to the Monoprice Select Mini. Where it differs, however, is the X-One is a workhorse of a 3D printer. You can reliably print PLA, ABS and TPU parts for years without a problem. So your time will be spent 100% on printing parts rather than wasting 20% on diagnosing problems.

Unlike the Monoprice Select Mini and the da Vinci Mini, this is not just a beginner’s 3D printer that you will want to be upgrading in a years time.

Whilst not the most important feature, the Qidi is definitely the least homely looking of the budget 3D printers. And weighing in at around 40 lbs you may struggle to find the right space for it.

Verdict

Is the QIDI X-One 2 the Best Budget 3D Printer for Me?

Yes:

  • If you don’t want to risk outgrowing a more limited 3D printer.
  • If you want to try ABS and TPS filaments.

No:

  • If you just want a cheap taster and plan to upgrade later.
  • If you don’t want to print anything other than PLA.

The Qidi X-One will last you many years. Not only is it one of the few budget 3D printers built physically strong enough to do so. It also has more than enough features and flexibility so you’re unlikely to want to upgrade to anything else soon, unless you want to move on to dual extrusion or SLA printing.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 - White Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament MicroSD Card Preloaded Printable 3D Models
da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer ~ 6"x6"x6" Built Volume (Includes: 14 300g PLA Filament, 49 3D Design eBook, 10 Maintenance Tools, XYZmaker Cad 3D Software, PLA/Tough PLA/PETG)
QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D Printer:X-one2,Metal Frame Structure,Platform Heating
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/Exotic
PLA
PLA/ABS/TPU/Exotic
Build Volume
4.7" x 4.7" x 4.7"
5.9" x 5.9" x 5.9"
5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
100 microns
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Wifi/USB
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Outstanding value for money and helpful community of owners
Easy to use out of the box, great for kids
Reliable workhorse with excellent customer service
Dylan Recommends
Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer v2 - White Heated (120 x 120 x 120 mm) Build Plate, Fully Assembled + Free Sample PLA Filament MicroSD Card Preloaded Printable 3D Models
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/Exotic
Build Volume
4.7" x 4.7" x 4.7"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Outstanding value for money and helpful community of owners
Buy Button
da Vinci Mini Wireless 3D Printer ~ 6"x6"x6" Built Volume (Includes: 14 300g PLA Filament, 49 3D Design eBook, 10 Maintenance Tools, XYZmaker Cad 3D Software, PLA/Tough PLA/PETG)
Filament Type
PLA
Build Volume
5.9" x 5.9" x 5.9"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
Wifi/USB
Verdict
Easy to use out of the box, great for kids
Buy Button
QIDI TECHNOLOGY New Generation 3D Printer:X-one2,Metal Frame Structure,Platform Heating
Filament Type
PLA/ABS/TPU/Exotic
Build Volume
5.5" x 5.5" x 5.5"
Layer Resolution
100 microns
Connectivity
USB/Micro-SD
Verdict
Reliable workhorse with excellent customer service
Buy Button

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:44 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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