Digital Trends may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.
New 3D printing technologies remain one of the most exciting and innovative developments of recent decades, even if it hasn’t (yet) sparked the materials revolution many thought it would. It’s nonetheless proven to be a great fit for a variety of great industrial and professional applications, from low-cost home fabrication to medical device design, and as a hobby, 3D printing has become more accessible than ever. To help you get started and to save you some cash, we’ve put together a list of the latest cheap 3D printer deals along with a short guide that gives you the basic information you need before you begin.
Today’s Best 3D Printer Deals
Longer Orange 10 SLA 3D Printer — $180, was $300
Monoprice MP Mini SLA 3D Printer — $200, was $250
Creality Ender 3 3D Printer — $227, was $300
FastToBuy Pyramid A1.1 Titan 3D Printer— $389 with on-page coupon, was $599
Bibo Dual Extruder 3D Printer with Laser Engraving — $799, was $839
How To Choose A 3D Printer
Three-dimensional printers cover a huge range of sizes and prices, with some industrial models capable of printing houses. Such equipment is naturally beyond the needs or means of most people, however, and the vast majority of consumer-grade units are designed to fit on a tabletop. Even these run the gamut when it comes to cost, so it’s worth it to spend some time to track down a cheap 3D printer (or at least a worthy 3D printer deal on a more expensive unit) that can meet your budget while also satisfying your needs.
Modern 3D printers employ one of two manufacturing technologies: Fused deposition modeling (FDM) or stereolithography (SLA). FDM printers are more popular and use a printing medium known as filament. This filament is heated to its melting point and then extruded through one or more printing heads, which move along three axes to create an object layer-by-layer from the bottom up on a heat-dispersing build plate.
FDM printers tend to be the most user-friendly and the filaments they use are also very common and quite affordable, making these cheap 3D printers good for household items and other common projects. Items made with an FDM 3D printer usually have a noticeably striated appearance due to this layer-by-layer building method, but filaments and the printers that use them are improving and growing more capable of handling complex tasks as this technology continues to mature. Most cheap 3D printers you’ll find will be of this design.
Stereolithography, while actually a decades-old technology, is less common due to the greater cost of SLA printers and their proprietary resins (there are a few cheap 3D printers that use resin, but they tend to be on the smaller side). Instead of filament as a printing substrate, SLA printers start with a resin liquid that is hardened via UV radiation as it is molded into the desired shape within the printing chamber. The UV laser is reflected off of mirrors to selectively target the resin that is to be hardened; this is also done layer-by-layer, but in a much different manner than in fused deposition modeling.
Resin-based SLA printers are therefore capable of creating smoother, more detailed, and higher-resolution objects than FDM printers. These resin objects also tend to be considerably more durable. The trade-off here is that SLA 3D printers (and the resins) tend to be more expensive than FDM units, and the proprietary resins are less flexible and messier to work with.
Looking for more great stuff? Find tech discounts and much more on our curated deals page.
We strive to help our readers find the best deals on quality products and services, and we choose what we cover carefully and independently. The prices, details, and availability of the products and deals in this post may be subject to change at anytime. Be sure to check that they are still in effect before making a purchase.Digital Trends may earn commission on products purchased through our links, which supports the work we do for our readers.