Best 3D Printers for Families

Boy fixing printer
(Image credit: Future)

The  Snapmaker 3-in-1  fabricator is a fantastic machine for a family to start their 3D printing adventure. Because of its modular design and the availability of other fabrication systems at purchase, your family can learn 3D printing, laser etching, and CNC milling all from one machine!

Learn together

Snapmaker 3-in-1

(Image credit: Amazon)

Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer

A printer with a lot of variety

The Snapmaker has such a variety of uses. It's perfect for a family who wants to learn about fabrication and how to build a machine from scratch. Speaking from personal experience, it's one of my son and I's favorite printers to use together.

Who should buy this 3D printer?

When you have adults and kids who are interested in the same things, it pays to encourage those interests. If you have a family that wants to try out 3D printing, as well as other fabrication mediums, then this is for you. The 3-in-1 system gives you a scope for a wide range of projects to share with your family.

Playing and Learning is key

What makes a 3D printer good for a family? It needs to be easy to use by a vast range of ages, as well as hold the interest of any person long enough for them to want to continue the hobby. It also needs to have a learning curve, so as the children and adults continue to learn the tasks you can do with it, their skill increases.

The Snapmaker 3-in-1 checks all these boxes and more. The design of the machine is modular so putting it together was simple enough for my 12-year-old to do on his own. It even has standard RJ45 plugs to connect everything into the main computer board. He made light work of screwing everything in, also checking with a spirit level to make sure everything was straight (he didn't really need to of course, but I wasn't going to stop his fun), then attaching all the cables in the right order. The look on his face when the printer started up the first time was worth the price of admission.

The greatest gift that the Snapmaker gives you is variety. When you buy the Snapmaker, it comes with three tool heads, called modules, that allow you to use different fabrication techniques. While the main module you'll want to use is the 3D printing one — it works amazingly well and every print I tried came out almost perfectly — there are also two others: a laser etching tool and a CNC milling tool. While the CNC milling can probably wait until your kids are slightly older, the laser etching is perhaps one of the most fun tools we own as a family.

With the ability to burn a 2D picture onto a vast variety of materials — we've burnt onto plastic, wood, leather, and even denim so far — the laser etching tool allows children to explore other ways to be creative and opens up your Snapmaker to more uses than just the 3D printing. Keeping kids interested is a massive part of family time, and the Snapmaker will help you do that, especially with its different modules for different kids.

Alternatives to the Snapmaker

While the Snapmaker is our first choice there are other interesting 3D printers that you may want to look at. A personal favorite of mine is the Flashforge Creator Pro. The enclosure makes it great for keeping small hands safe. The Creality Ender 3 pro is another excellent choice as it is endlessly customizable and you can spend hours together tweaking it to get the perfect print.

Safe and enclosed

Flashforge creator pro

(Image credit: Amazon)

FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro

Double the nozzles, double the fun

The Flashforge was one of my first printers and taught me a lot about what kind of materials you can use, and what temperatures you can print at. The enclosure not only helps you print high-temperature filaments, but it also keeps your children's hands safe from the nozzles.

Having two nozzles is another great addition that gives you and your family a chance to try new and interesting combinations of colors and materials. It's all about learning and fun when you are doing it as a family.

Great value

Ender 3 pro

(Image credit: Amazon)

Creality Ender 3 Pro

A tinkerers paradise

The Creality Ender 3 has long been a fan favorite for its low price point, high quality, and the ability to tinker with it to achieve amazing results. Building something with your family is one of the best things you can do to bond and there are a plethora of 3D printable parts you can make to improve this machine.

That's right you can use your 3D printer to print 3D printed parts to make it print better. It's Printception!

It's a snap!

With easy to learn software, excellent instructions on how to build it, and three separate modules to keep those kids hooked, the Snapmaker is the top pick for you and your family. The 3D printing part of the Snapmaker is up to the challenge of teaching your family about the hobby. But with the extra modules, it expands upon the 3D printing, giving your family more outlets to be creative. 

I think that is my favorite thing about this machine. My son and I always have lots of creative ideas, and the Snapmaker let us bring those ideas to life.

James is a nerd who loves all things techy, gadgety, and fun. He has written for a huge array of sites for the last six years, with special emphasis on 3D printing, mobile phones, video games, and board games. He is an expert researcher and uses a battery of tests and measures to figure out the best products available in any given market.