Let’s face it: while we may say we put more emphasis on value over price, most of us will look at the price first anyway. That’s no different with 3D printers, although up until recently the idea of “cheap” in this market was still well north of $1,000 – likely not your definition of “cheap.” Thankfully, things have changed. While we’ve had some noticeable failures in this market segment (We’re looking at you, Peachy Printer), sub $1,000 3D printers that are actually not junk are indeed a reality.
Budget-friendly models such as the Monoprice Maker Select Mini and the M3D Micro have ushered in a new era of 3D printing which nearly everyone can afford with a little savings. These new low cost 3D printers have also put downward pressure on higher end models, so we’re even seeing some high end printers drop down closer to $1,000 too. Our point? 3D printers are no longer strictly reserved for the diehard.
Budget-based 3D printers aren’t without setbacks, though. Even the best of them can be loud and prone to the occasional software bug, or require expensive filament and procure high maintenance costs no amateur hobbyist should have to contend with. That said, there’s never been a better time than now if you’re just looking to try your hand at 3D printing, even if you will want something more capable down the line. And trust us, once you get started – you eventually will.
Robo 3D R1 +Plus
Why should you buy this: It has all the important features you need in a filament-based 3D printer, and it sells for well under $1,000
Who’s it for: Beginner and intermediate users
How much will it cost: $669 (less for refurbished models)
Why we picked the Robo 3D R1 +Plus:
It’s really difficult to find a sub $1,000 printer that has a large build area, a heated bed, a stable frame, and an extruder that can handle lots of different materials. Near impossible, honestly. Robo’s R1+ is really the only one, unless you buy a kit and put everything together yourself. Therefore, if you’re looking to get the most bang for your buck, the R1+ is the way to go.
Most printers in this price range have build areas that are no larger than 6 inches in length/width/height — but the R1+ boasts a build envelope that is 10 x 9 x 8 inches, which is pretty damn spacious. This means that not only can you print bigger parts — you can also fit more small parts on the build plate, which cuts down on production times.
This build plate is also heated, which helps prevents the extruded filament from cooling, contracting, and warping the shape of your printed object. This feature is crucial (especially if you’re printing with ABS), drastically reduces your chances of getting a misprint, and eliminates the need to print with a raft, which uses up additional filament.