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Reprint Your World: Choosing a 3D Printer

In the not-so-distant past, the sole idea of printing and ore replicating real physical objects out of raw material seemed quite fantastic. Today, 3D printers are becoming common household appliances, standard equipment in factory shops, universities, engineering and prototyping companies, schools that have STEM projects, and medical laboratories alike.

But what 3D printer to buy for your specific business? To answer this question, you need to have an idea of the tasks you will be handling with the printer, take into account the necessary functions, size, and type of device. Let’s figure it out.

Why Buy a 3D Printer in the First Place

The main advantage of 3D printing technology is that it can be used to create a part or thing of any shape and configuration. And it's not just about plastic DIY crafts. Today, 3D printers in Australia and all over the world are widely used by architects and designers in the automotive, aviation, and aerospace industries.

With their help, medical prostheses, parts of human organs, and even parts of rocket engines for launch vehicles are reproduced.

 

Benefits of 3D printers:

  • Rapid prototyping – the ability to design, manufacture and test a part in the shortest possible time.
  • Flexibility – no extra tools, mold, die, or clamps are required to make a part. You can use multiple materials and mix colors, textures, and mechanical properties.
  • Flexibility – since there are is no expensive tooling involved design changes can be done immediately if/when required
  • Competitive edge ─ companies can release products faster. 3D printing allows you to physically demonstrate a new product and conduct cost-effective market testing without the risk of large investments.
  • Material design and testing – often you can test the physical prototype and fix flaws by simply modifying the CAD file.
  • Quality – 3D printing allows for step-by-step assembly of the product, which guarantees a sturdier, more reliable design.
  • Smooth operation – every detail manufactured can be closely monitored so that errors can be detected in real time.
  • Lower production risks – the technology allows prototypes to be tested before investing in a product.
  • Accessibility – 3D printers are widely available in a wide price range, features, and sizes.
  • Stability – with 3D printing, there is no need to operate energy-intensive factories, there is much less waste generated and the materials used are recyclable.

Which 3D Printer to Buy: Main Types of Manufacturing

Product development can be based on three major methods:

  1. Subtractive manufacturing – a process in which all excessive material is continuously removed from a solid block.
  2. Injection molding ─ production by injection of heated material into a mold.
  3. Additive manufacturing- the creation of 3D objects by adding material layer by layer.

The latter approach offers many outstanding benefits, which is why more and more companies in a wide variety of industries are using additive manufacturing.

What to pay attention to when choosing a 3D printer

All types of 3D printing devices can be roughly divided into two major categories: FDM and SLA. The first assumes the layer-by-layer creation of an object from a plastic filament or pellets. The filament is melted and extruded through the nozzle and deposited on to the working platform where it cools and solidifies. The platform is lowered to a thickness of one layer most commonly 50-500 microns. The process is then repeated until the final 3D model is built. The FDM technology allows you to quickly print durable, three-dimensional objects of any shape in high detail.

SLA is the technology of sintering a photosensitive resin under the beams of a digital projector or a laser. When the resin hardens, the platform is lowered to form the next layer until the object is complete. Such printers are capable of very accurately reproducing objects of high complexity. The usual layer thickness is up to 200 microns.

Yet another approach is powder printing. A fine powder is applied to the surface and melted by a laser (a process called selective laser sintering SLS) or thinned with a solvent. The advantage of this method that it can be used with metals and glass. It is the most expensive 3D printing method.

When choosing an industrial 3D printer, look for the following features:

  1. Ability to print engineering materials. These are PEEK, ULTEM® (PEI), polycarbonate, or carbon fiber reinforced materials. In most cases, special conditions are required. For ULTEM/PEI, it is advisable to have a heated print chamber with a temperature of at least 70°C. Others require hardened drive gears, special work plates, or nozzles.
  2. A large, actively heated chamber with metal parts allows ABS to be printed at higher temperatures, increasing the sturdiness of products by 20-30%. The size of the build volume determines how large or how many parts can be printed at a time.
  3. Printing speed. High speed reduces print time and improves development/production speed.
  4. Dual extruder system. A dual extruder system allows printing support materials out of different plastic that can be water-soluble.
  5. Service time. Auro bed leveling function reduces setup and start-up times. Advanced systems have the ability to quickly change modules or nozzles.
  6. The total cost of ownership. A 3D printer should cut, not generate costs. You should check if the manufacturer permits the use of third-party materials in order not to lose your warranty. Some of the manufacturers have chipped filament and/or expensive replacement parts.
  7. Safety. The temperature inside the chamber can reach 100°C, and the nozzle melts the material at almost 500°C, it is recommended to have the doors with automatic lock.

The ideal solution is to use a 3D printer, software, and materials recommended by the same manufacturer.

Costs of 3d printers

The range of prices is pretty wide – from $100 to infinity. Thus, 3D printers may cost about the same as in the capital. But don’t forget to add the cost of consumables. Before you buy a device, it is important to decide on future tasks ─ you will be printing for fun or for more serious purposes. For instance, support for multicolor printing significantly increases the cost of a printer.

The Up and Tiertime models, some of the most popular in the educational environment, range from $1,100 to $6,500 in price. At the same time, the products comply with strict standards. For example, UP BOX+ 3D Printer has a HEPA filter, incandescent sensor, power stop function, automatic platform leveling and height detection, industrial design with internal steel chassis, and 100-micron print resolution!

Flashforge Adventurer 3 costs only $670. The device has a closed case, active fans, Wi-Fi functions, automatic filament feeding, support for SD cards, USB printing, and a color touch screen.

Aurarum Sirius large-scale 3D printer costs $19.5 thousand. At this price, the device features automatic bed leveling, Meanwell universal power supply, and a Bondtech extruder with a door. Duet3d Wifi controller with 5 '' touch screen can be conveniently controlled from a mobile phone.

Aurarum's customized 3D printers cater to any need. The cost of products depends on the size. These are the cheapest 3D printers in Melbourne as the manufacturer is based in Knoxfield, VIC.

Where to Buy 3D Printer Equipment?

A local Australian manufacturer will provide better support, software updates, and warranty service.

Before you buy – pro tips:

  1. Order a sample of the product created with the desired model;
  2. Learn how fast it was created and how much the whole production cost;
  3. Clarify the total ownership costs, support and maintenance conditions, warranty specifics, etc.

The printer is often supplied with consumables out-of-the-box. The software is usually bundled or available for free download.

3D printers are still just entering the homes, but at Aurarum, we are confident that they will soon be in every home and in every production. Contact us and start using the technologies of the future today!