We have spent years using a lot of different 3D printers, but we still remember what it was like to be a beginner. It can be daunting so we want you to find the best 3D printer for you, especially if you have a limited budget. Here are some of our favorites for you.
A great way to start learning
The consensus on a lot of 3D printing groups on Facebook is if you want a cheap printer that'll give you amazing prints get the Ender 3 Pro. I had mixed feelings about older Ender models, but the company seemed to iron out all the kinks.
The larger build volume is a godsend if you're looking to build larger designs that you can't split, like cosplay armor, but the extra build space also comes with a larger machine. You will need a dedicated work-space for the Ender 3 Pro and a little patience to get it working properly but once you have it dialed in it's a real gem.
Great for beginners and experts
When it comes to resin printing Elegoo is a name you can trust. I have a Mars that has been running pretty much every day for the last year and nothing has gone wrong with it yet. Resin printing is a little more difficult than FDM printing and requires more accessories to get right. It is totally worth doing though.
If you are a beginner but you want to print hyper-detailed models then the Elegoo Mars 2 is a great way to start and will continue to be excellent as you work your way up in the hobby.
Try your hand at exotic materials
You may not have heard of it, but Qidi Technology is a Chinese company that makes fantastic printers. I have one, and it delivers impressive prints consistently while giving you room to grow as a maker.
The print volume is not massive — around 270x200x200mm — but the ability to print cool materials like carbon fiber makes it an excellent choice, especially if this will be your only printer.
It's small but mighty
Sometimes the only thing stopping you from starting a hobby is the cost. The Anycubic Photon Zero is not just cheap, it is insanely cheap for a resin 3D printer.
While that price comes with the cost of print size — you can only fit about 5 miniatures on the bed — It's a great place to start if you are figuring out whether you want to spend a lot of money on the hobby.
Entry level is a good level
It's a good idea to start small and cheap then work your way up when you're getting into any hobby. Sometimes that means you get really bad devices or machines that you have to spend hours fixing just so you can get it to start working, but that is not the case here. All of the 3D printers in the list will work really well out of the box, and will only get better the more you tinker with them.
If you are looking to get into FDM printing for cosplay and the like, then the Ender 3 pro is an excellent starter machine. The dialed-in results can often outperform printers that are hundreds of dollars more expensive.
If you are looking to print miniatures or you want something with amazing details the using a resin 3D printer like the Elegoo Mars is your best choice. I adore the Mars and use multiple machines to make models all day long.