What are the Odd Things To Look For in a Personal 3D Printer
Fabbaloo posted on July 17, 2014 |
Suppose you’re shopping for a personal 3D printer, like many folks seem to be doing these days. What features do you look for beyond the normal specs? 

The thing is, these days there are a tremendous number of personal 3D printers available. It’s almost as if a new company markets a new machine every week. Or sooner. How can you tell them apart?

It’s become difficult, because most of these recent machines fall into the same kind of specifications window. They all seem to have an extruder or two, robust frame, smooth mechanicals, build volume of at least 150mm per side, possibly a heated bed and more. What are the features that are not so standard? Which bells and whistles could be interesting? We came up with a short list - one that we’re certain you’ll like to add something to as new features emerge. 

  • Color Touch panel: Typical machines have an LCD status panel and a few mechanical buttons, but a feature we like to see is a software-controlled color LCD touch panel that provides clear information and controls. 
  • Auto calibration: Every 3D printer’s success depends utterly on being properly calibrated, but most people don’t like the extra work required to get it done. However, a rare few machines offer automated or even partially automated calibration. Not only will you save time, but you’ll also get better prints.
  • Generic materials: This isn’t actually a new feature, as the first machines always used generic filament. But today, an increasing number of machines require more expensive proprietary material cartridges, making the ability to accept generic material an increasingly special feature.

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