Please note that some printers come with all or most of
these upgrades, so they won't be offered on the website.
10. Don't buy a multi-use machine.
Don't buy a 3D printer that can also be used as a CNC,
or a CNC that can be used as a 3D printer. They are two
different machines and have different needs to produce
good results. A 3D printer will require fast movements with
almost no load. A CNC requires mass and can place a
significant load on the machine.
11. Look at the lead time for
Look at the time it takes to get the printer. A longer
lead time indicates a smaller company that is running in
bootstrap mode. That means they take your money, then
order the parts needed to put the machine together. These
companies are constantly playing catch-up. That said, my
M2 had a six week lead time and it is one heck of a printer.
I have seen some companies with lead times of over two
months. Shy away from these.
12. Check out Thingiverse.
Do a search on Thingiverse for the printer you
are researching. If the printer has been available for
a while, this site may reveal problem areas and
upgrades that fix them (or not).
13. Stay away from Kickstarter.
I'm a big fan of Kickstarter, but with things like 3D
printers your money may be tied up for over six months.
There also is no guarantee you will ever get the product,
or the printer will still have kinks to be worked out.
The bottom line is this: If it sounds too good to be
true, it probably is. Do your research because it's a jungle
out there when it comes to 3D printers.
As for my recommendation, if you want to purchase a
quality 3D printer to create prototype parts, look at the
MakerGear M2. If you know you won't ever print anything
larger than four inches or so, then look at the Afinia. SV
SERVO 10.2013 55
MADE IN THEUSA
I will be starting the 3D-printed battle bot series very soon —
hopefully with the November issue. We will use our 3D
printer to create a fighting bot. The only rule is it has to be
printed in plastic. You can see the platform in a video at