3D Printers are among the progressive innovations that have helped businesses around the world to a great extent. Once treated as a jewel due to their overwhelming price, they have become quite a common thing now.
Several companies manufacture affordable 3D printers that can do almost everything that a pricier version offers. You can buy an affordable 3D printer for as low as $200.
However, if you’re looking for a robust printer that is reliable and can help you every day, you will have to spend a little extra. At WFH Adviser, we have picked some of the best 3D printers under $500.
Here are the best 3D printers under $500 that you can buy.
Creality Ender 3 Pro is the most potent and popular printer available in the market. This printer revered for its overall print quality and easy usage is available for half the price.
It offers superior print quality which is one of the prerequisites when choosing from the best 3D printers. When printing in the ABS, the machine needs minor adjustments.
The machine offers a smoothly finished product with PLA but the ABS prints lack a smooth finish and also luster.
Creality Ender 3 Pro is easy to use and takes an hour to install correctly. You can operate the printer with the software provided by the company or use Cura – a third-party software.
It has a slicer that works better with third-party software that helps the machine to separate the printed model from the spool.
To cool the polymers after printing, Ender 3 Pro comes with a single layer cooling fan. It also has a spool holder on the top that can be used to mount an entire roll of the spool.
Looking for some superior printing experience? The Anycubic Mega X can help you out. It has an amazing print quality and an unconventional printing appearance.
With the Anycubic Mega X, you get a sizable print volume of 300 x 300 x 305 mm. It is big enough to print a full-sized helmet in a single print.
It comes with an all-metal frame along with a compact chassis that gives it a sleek look. This unique build makes sure that there is no unwanted movement in the printer and the machine lasts longer.
After you set up and configure the 3D printer, you will barely find any reason to move it.
The 3D printer features Anycubic’s Ultrabase which allows the machine to produce high-quality prints. You can use any filament with ease without having to worry about any kind of quality compromise.
If you are using a 3D printer for the first time, the simple design and the easy to operate system can be a great way to introduce yourself.
Several features make Creality Ender 3 3D relevant in the market. First, it comes in 220 x 220 x 250mm dimension which is ideal for small scale printing. You get a heated build plate that is quite similar to BuildTak.
The filament pathway of the printer is quite tight and makes printing with flexible materials easier. Another notable feature of this product is the power recovery mode that enables the machine to resume printing in case of a power failure.
You can print with almost anything on this machine. It is compatible with ABS, PETG, PLA, exotic and flexible filaments.
Assembling the Creality Ender 3 3D printer is very easy and takes very little time if you follow the instructions provided in the manual. It doesn’t look any different from a high-end printer once you perfect the calibration.
A common problem with this printer is the uneven base which causes the printer to wobble. However, you can solve this problem by sticking a wedge under it.
The FlashForge 3D-FFG-ADV3 is a simpler version of the FlashForge Adventurer 3. It has the same design but comes with fewer features.
To make it price-friendly the company has removed the built-in camera and filament run-out detection. This increases the number of efforts required to use the machine.
The 3D-FFG-ADV3 has numerous connectivity options such as Ethernet, Wi-iFi, and USB connectivity. You can also manage the machine remotely with FlashForge’s cloud service. Such connectivity features are hard to find at this price.
Removing the printed design off the bed becomes a challenge in most 3D printers as the plastic sticks to the bed and has to be removed with a scraper.
You won’t face this problem in the 3D-FFG-ADV3 as it comes with a removable and flexible bed which makes the printed design pop right off.
FlashForge 3D-FFG-ADV3 works with almost zero sound. If you are working from home, the way this printer functions, will not create any problems for your work.
ANYCUBIC Mega S offers an upgrade to the i3 S alongside a set of new features. It catches attention with its All-Metal frame that gives it a simplistic and sleek design. You can use the touchscreen interface on the base. ANYCUBIC has given the Mega S a build volume of 210 x 210 x 205mm.
The Ultrabase heated bed sticks to the plastic and holds it until the printing job is complete. Furthermore, it is designed to release the print model quickly so that you don’t damage the model after printing.
You can order a semi-assembled printer from the company if you don’t wish to get into the hassles of building the printer. Some of the important features of the machine include power recovery mode, filament run-out signal, and a spool holder.
ANYCUBIC has upgraded the extruder on the Mega S enabling it to work seamlessly with TPU.
The FlashForge is a great 3D printing system as it offers superb performance irrespective of its size. It gives you a build volume of 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9inches. Your 3D model is printed in an enclosed box of the machine.
You can remove the heated print bed to procure your final product or to replace it with spare overtime.
It has a uniquely designed extruder that is detachable and is made from stainless steel. The extruder heats up to 392°F in 50 seconds. To keep the print quality maintained for a longer time the company has included a buckle design nozzle that is easy to replace.
It supports different filaments such as PLA, PLA Color Change, high-speed PLA, meta filled, ABS, and wood-filled. The automatic filament feeder lets you load the spool with ease.
Meanwhile, it has an enclosed built-in filament cartridge that works in sync with the automatic feeder for seamless printing.
The machine has a touchscreen interface that helps in navigating through the menu and also keeping track of your print job.
Qidi Tech 3D X-Pro is amongst the few printers that offer a dual extruder system at this price range. Its dual nozzle system allows the machine to print materials like PLA, ABS, and PETG. The direct drive extrusion system allows you to use a 1.75mm filament.
The design is cooled by the “air blow turbofan” circling the nozzles. QIDI TECH 3D X-Pro allows printing with the acrylic panels that stick to the machine magnetically. These panels turn the machine into a chamber that produces superior print results.
It has a heated print bed made from an aviation-grade material. Thus, the print bed can be removed to procure the design. Since its flexible nature models tend to pop off with a slight bend.
The print bed equipped with magnetic panels stick to the machine to prevent movements such as wobble or dislocation.
Finding a 3D printer that can perform all the functions while being in the lower end of the affordable range, is not a challenge but a conquest. Fortunately, the JGMaker Magic Upgraded serves as the best alternative for CEOs managing their office on a tight budget.
It is loaded with features that help make printing seamless. It has an aluminum frame that gives it a sleek look.
With a frame dimension of 450 x 443 x 472 mm and a build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm, you can print all kinds of objects.
Furthermore, you can use filaments of 1.75mm and materials like ABS, PETG, PLA, and Flexibles.
The JGMAKER Magic is compatible with different slicers like Repetier-Host, Cura, and Simplify3D. Moreover, it has a removable print bed that can be replaced with a spare.
JGMaker Magic Upgraded is easy to install, as it comes with labeled screws and a detailed instruction manual.
The SV01 is the first product that was introduced by Sovol. Though it falls in the budget price range, its features are the best in the market.
To begin with, it has a great design that supports the functioning of all components. For instance, the company has added the direct-drive extrusion system which is rare in budget printers.
The direct-drive extrusion is supported by the dual-stepper motor on the Z-axis. Combining these two the machine eliminates wobble during the printing process. It also contributes to adding a smooth finish to the design.
SVO1 offers a commendable accuracy without any adjustments. You may face some retractions and extrusions from the machine that can be improved with minor tweaks.
The machine prints quite well on glass print beds too. This eliminates the fear of design damage due to the plastic sticking on the surface. The 24V power supply helps the machine to design with materials like ABS.
SUNLU was once a filament manufacturer but with the S8 the company entered the 3D printing game. The SUNLU S8 has a build volume of 310 x 310 x 400 mm which is quite sizable and can print objects that are similar to the ones created by Creality.
The machine features a filament sensor that signals you before the spool is about to get over. This enables you to print seamlessly without any problems. With the power loss resume function, you can complete every project even in case of a power outage.
It has a print bed made of textured glass that keeps the design integrity intact. You can use a wide range of filaments such as PLA, wood, HIPS, and ABS. However, the machine works best with PLA filaments.
The machine heats the nozzle up to 80°Celsius within two minutes. It requires a temperature of 110°Celsius to function properly which the machine reaches within five minutes.
3D Printer Buyer’s Guide
With a wide range of options available in the market, it is easy to get confused while making the right choice. You need to understand that every 3D printer varies from the other and sometimes its capabilities are based on its price.
Since the $500 range is closer to mid-tier printers, you might have to compromise on some of the fancy features. However, some essential qualities can make your purchase worthwhile.
The success of your printer’s purchase depends on your understanding of using it. You need to look for features that support your intent of use. Numerous technologies are added to a 3D printer, but finding the ones that support your usage can affect your budget significantly.
Various materials are used for creating a 3D printer. These materials can affect the production ability of a printer and therefore, it is important to consider it before buying the printer.
For instance, the materials used in machines with SLS technology are very different from the ones that are used in FDM technology.
The 3D printer must have sufficient printing space to create the designs that you need. You need to think of the average size of the things that you are going to print before choosing.
If you try to print large designs on a small scale printer, it is a no brainer that you will end up damaging the machine. Buy a normal machine if you wish to produce small items, the large items can be outsourced to commercial-grade printers.
Material availability and cost
The amount of materials supported by a 3D printer has increased in recent times. However, the materials supported by a particular printer might not be supported by the other.
If you want to print designs with a wide range of materials you can buy any printer, but look at the specifications carefully if you are looking for a particular material.
The filaments for FDM machines are found readily around the world but special materials like metallic materials or fireproof polymers are hard to find. Such materials can also cost you a lot.
Should you choose an open or closed frame?
Open-frame printers have an exposed printing area. It gives you the freedom to monitor the printing process and also quick access to the printer bed and extruder.
Closed frames are much safer. If you have kids or pets in the house, the chances of injuries or damages are significantly low. It keeps the odor contained which can be helpful if the room has poor air ventilation. Closed frames are much quieter than open frame ones.
What kind of 3D printer should be considered while buying?
You need to look for a printer that is equipped with the technology to give you the expected results. The printer should be equipped with features that make sure you don’t have to buy another anytime soon. You can choose from these major printing technologies.
- Binder Jetting (BJ)
- Stereolithography (SLA)
- Fused deposition modeling (FDM)
- Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)
- Digital Light Processing (DLP)
- Electronic Beam Melting (EBM)
- Selective laser melting (SLM)
- Laminated object manufacturing (LOM)
- Material Jetting (MJ)
Since you’re looking for small-scale work from home printers, you can opt for printers that are equipped with FDM and SLA technologies.