The Under $1,000 category is where the competition for 3D Printers really heats up. This is the market that manufactures are really targeting as it's the segment where 3D printers have price tags where manufactures can make profit and add premium add-ons, whilst be still building cheap 3D printers that the mass market will buy. In this market segment ABS is a realistic option as is a solid enclosed design, multiple extruders and serious performance.
Again with this price range, you will have a couple of choices to make. Firstly, you have a size choice - Do you buy a printer than comes with a larger printing bed meaning that you can print larger objects. Larger objects can be good news, especially in my case, as I like to print iPhone 5 & 6 cases however with some printers you have to run them slower given they will spend longer printing and can have tendency to overheat. Your second choice is whether you go for a brand new 2014/2015 3D Printer that will come with all the latest features and program or do you go for a slightly older model that will come with many more features, but they will not be refined as much as the latest models.
Whatever you decide, make sure that you do your research, what is right for you is not always right for me given that I probably want to print different objects with my printer than you will with yours. Either way, here are my thoughts on the best 3D printer available in 2015 based in the current selection of printers.
Best 3D Printer Under $1,000 2016
Scroll to the bottom of this review page and you will see out top three printers of 2015, however with it being 2016, we have a major update and of all the printers that we have tested over the last year, really only one 3D printer that we can recommend being the QIDI Technology Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer. The QIDI printer is made in China, however it comes with both great performance, an easy to use operating system and more importantly a price tag well under $1,000.
QIDI Technology Dual Extruder Desktop 3D Printer
The QIDI Technology Dual Extruder 3D Printer entered the market in later 2015 and offered for the first time seen on the market place at this price range, a metal enclosed structure, dual extruders and fantastic printing speed. The online reviews are great with very few negative comment and even the forum posts all seem to be positive. For this reason we got the credit card and out bought one to use at home. We are not disappointed in the slightest and have used this model extensively over the last year or so to design some fantastic objects, statues and toys.
Ordering the printer is quick and easy and arrived boxed and semi built meaning that from opening the box to building your first print can easily be achieved in a couple of hours. Once you open the box, the first thing you will notice is the aluminium structure gives the printer it’s strength. Building the printer is quick an easy and most importantly does not require any specialist tools as everything is included. Once you have built the printer, plug it in a switched in on, your next job is to calibrate the extruder to ensure that it prints straight, and the distance between extruder and the bed. In past printers that we have both recommended and used ourselves calibration has taken hours, however with the simple calibration knobs it now takes a matter of seconds.
The printer has a printing size of 8.8 x 5.7 x 5.9 inches which is big enough to print hobbyist items whilst at the same time using a heated printer bed which helps to stop warping when using either PLA or ABS (the QIDI supports both materials), while the enclosed design means that you don’t have to have specialist ventilation to print in ABS. The printer prints with a layer thickness of between 0.1-to-0.4 mm, with a Nozzle Diameter of 0.4mm whilst 140 degrees C can easily be reach in the printer bed and the hottest we have seen for the extruder is around 280 degrees C. We also love the dual extruder feature meaning that you can print in two different material types or even different colors. The printer supports both the software Replicator G and Makerware, whilst allowing you to print from an SD card or with a USB connector.
Overall we love this printer - It’s easily the best 3D printer under $1,000 and really unless you have money to burn for a top of the range industrial printer, its one of the best printers on the market. One point to make, the printer does come with fantastic instructions giving you a step by step instruction on setting up and dealing with any problems with your printer, however they are located on the SDcard and placed inside the SDcard slot in your printer.
Best 3D Printer Under $1,000 2015
XYZprinting Da Vinci 2.0
- Desktop Model
- Enclosed Design
- ABS & PLA
- 6 X 8 X 8 Inch
UP! Mini 3D
- Desktop Model
- Enclosed Design
- ABS & PLA
- 5 X 5 X 5 Inch
- Desktop Model
- Not Enclosed Design
- ABS & PLA
- 7X 7 X 5 Inch
UP! Mini 3D Desktop Printer
The UP Mini 3D printer is a second generation printer that comes with an all-metal enclosure and prints in both PLA and ABS using filament cartridges. The metal enclosure not only ensure that the printer looks the part but also has the added benefit of helping to reduce any temperature fluctuations during the print and help to reduce the odor which honestly is pretty bad especially when printing using ABS filaments.
The UP Mini 3D printer prints objects up to 5 X 5 X 5 Inches and comes ready to print straight out of the box meaning that as soon as you have it set up, connected to your computer you can basically start printing.
The software included with the Up Mini works well and potentially you can use this, however we still prefer to use the open sources software Reptailer, save our design as an STL file and then use the included printer software which works with both Windows or Mac computers to read the STL file and print our design.
Printing is quick and easy however other than a on/off switch on the machine, you have no other controls meaning that you will need to leave you computer running whilst you print your object. For a 4inch model that was designed quickly, printing took around 3 hours and whilst the unit can be set to print faster the quality reduces quickly. Overall the UP Mini is a fantastic 3D printer
Overall the UP Mini is a fantastic 3D printer
RepRap Prusa Mendel Iteration 2 Complete 3D Printer Kit
The RepRap Prusa Medal 3D Printer is a very similar printer to the Printrbot Printer that we thought was one of the best cheap 3D printers in the market, although this printer, whilst slightly more expensive and comes with more usable features is a very similar printer. Again the RepRap comes in the form of a kit meaning that you will need to put together your 3D printer from scratch,
however this does mean that you will fully understand how it works and therefore be easily able to fix any problems that your printer develops over time. Building the printer is really not difficult and should not take you more than a couple of hours.
The RepRap printers design is very minimalistic meaning that is does not come with an enclosed printing area however it does allow you to print object as large as 7 X 7 X 5 inches which means that you can easily fit your latest smartphone cover design to be printed and will allow numerous other small and medium sized designs.
Once you have built your printer, connected it too your computer and calibrated your device you can either use many of the open source printing software's that are readily available or simply download STL files from “Thingiverse” and use them to directly print objects using your printer. One thing to note is that because this printer is not enclosed, its both slightly noisy and can be smelly especially if your printing with ABS materials, so make sure that you use it in a well ventilated area.
XYZprinting Da Vinci 2.0 Duo 3D Printer
We reviewed the Da Vinci 1.0 in our best under 500USD section and were totally convinced it is one of the best cheap 3D printers on the market right now, however the Da Vinci 2.0 is the second generation printer from the same come that has replaced that model. Again we “borrowed” this model as whilst I would love to buy it, I really want a slightly bigger printer and thus for me I am happy with my Da Vinci 1.0 as a desktop 3D printer and then will buy a slightly bigger printer as well.
The Da Vinci 2.0 comes with a fantastic enclosed design meaning that you can use this printer indoors and is one of the best desktop 3D printers on the market right now. The printer is easily controlled using the buttons on the machine meaning that you don’t have to run your computer alongside the whole time and even though the printing tray is slightly smaller than the previous model, its still a very respectable 6 X 8 X 8 Inches means that you can stil print out those important (in my case anyway) iphone 5 covers.
One major improvement of the second generation model is that it comes with Two Extruders meaning that you can print in two colors at the same time. This is a major development which whilst might seem small, its something that can easily separate a good designed object from a great designed object.
The version two printer is designed as ready to print out of the box printer which is almost true, however often you will need to do some calibration yourself using the instructions provided which is a little fiddly, but if you have had any experience of 3D printing you will know that nothing if perfect and everything requires a little tinkering with to get it to run right. Once setup we printed the Elephant Model off Thingiverse quickly and easily without any issues using the software that is included within the machine, however you can still use open source applications for slicing and creating your object and then simply import them directionally into the XYS software to print or even use the massive massive cloud library with thousands of 3d models already designed for you allowing you to simply download and either alter them to your own specifics or just print them straight away.