If you are reading this text you are probably thinking of buying a 3D printer, or maybe you have already purchased one?

In any case, you will encounter many new terms and opinions about what is right and what is wrong.

At 3Digital we have been selling printers and filament since 2022. During this time, we have gathered a lot of knowledge from our customers and by using the printers ourselves. If you are an old user, the tips and tricks we write here should not surprise you, but if you are a new user, we hope we can help you along the way.

Some quick tips before buying:

Try to understand what your needs are. Will you be using the printer for hobby use or is it meant to be a professional printer?

At 3Digital you will find a wide range of printers in all price ranges. Everything from affordable first-user machines to advanced industrial-capable printers.

As an amateur user, perhaps a cheaper printer is right for you?

"I should have bought a better printer from the start"

We usually recommend that new customers buy a cheap printer to start with and find out if it's right for you. The other option is to choose something a little more advanced and a step up in price range.

It's very common for people to buy something "in the middle", only to find out a few months later that they want something even better.

What are you printing and what are the prints for? Is it for home use and "fun stuff"? So you can focus on an entry-level printer that works well with PLA and PETG.
At 3Digital you can find many PLA and PETG that meet most needs and work perfectly with most printers.

“What? PLA is PLA, no matter where I find it”

Although a filament is called PLA, there could be huge differences. There are many "cheap" filaments on the market. It doesn't have to be a bad filament just because it's cheap, far from it. But many of the cheaper brands often come from factories where it can be difficult to trace the source of the raw material and the environment for workers is not up to par.

Almost all the raw material comes from a few large manufacturers in the world and is then sold to a filament manufacturer as pellets. The filament manufacturer refines the pellets into filament.
All filament sold through 3Digital comes from the Netherlands, Slovenia, Italy and in some cases China (where the factories are audited). All research and development is carried out locally and is managed by a team of 16 plastics experts.

It is these people who create all the new “recipes” that end up as finished filament.

PrimaSELECT PLA and Tough PLA are an excellent example of taking a very high quality raw material and then adding several improvements to create a new and even better product. PLA is normally very brittle and breaks easily. Thanks to an added "impact modifier", a PLA with totally different characteristics is produced. Much stronger than regular PLA, but just as easy to print.

Would you like to know more? Read our filament guide

Nowadays 3D printers for home use can be found in almost all price ranges, but those between 200 and 800 euros are the most popular. There are many different printers to choose from in this range.

Please note that printers in this range often come as DIY kits or partially assembled, and you need to put some time and effort into them. This obviously doesn't matter if you have any technical interest or are used to assembling things. Even if you aren't, there will always be clear instructions on how to assemble the printer.

"I don't want to have to make a lot of complicated settings"

Another thing to keep in mind when choosing a printer from the lower end of the price range is that you need to be prepared to fiddle with the settings more to find the best one. For some this is the charm, for others it is simply annoying.

Of course there are exceptions to the rule and the Prima Creator P120 is a good example of this. In this case you can get a very affordable printer, ready to use more or less right out of the box. The trade-off you get with a printer like this is that it's a little smaller than the others. We think that's a good thing since this is a perfect "second printer" when the time comes and you want to upgrade to a larger printer.

When you move up in the price range up to 800-3000 EURO, you get a much more mature and more developed printer. This could be a brand new model from a well-known manufacturer or an older model that has been updated for many years. FlashForge Creator Pro is a printer that has been in our range for 5 years but has been continuously updated and was easy to modify. Most printers have a much shorter lifespan, so lasting 5 years is very good. This model has now been replaced with Creator Pro 2.

With printers like this you still have to do some settings manually, but everything is much easier to understand and the printers come pre-assembled, ready to use. The printers in this range are printers you can grow and develop with.

When we reach prices of 3000 and above there are big differences compared to cheaper printers. These printers are often used by power users and for small to medium industrial use. Printers in this group often have one or more extruders for use with different materials.

Please feel free to contact us if you need assistance choosing the right printer.

Regardless of which printer you purchase, there are a few things you can keep in mind.

"How do I know what accessories I need to get?"

  • Make sure your printer has a heated build bed. It's nothing absolute, but it makes everything easier, especially if you want to use other types of filament except. If you want to use for example PETG or ABS, you need a heated print bed. The build plate should be capable of reaching temperatures of 100°C. Also check that you have a power supply that can handle these effects.
  • Check that there are spare parts and support available. This is especially important if you buy a printer from a website that you don't normally purchase items from.
  • For most printers, test pieces are included, sometimes an entire roll. Keep in mind that the included filaments are often of lower quality than those you will (likely) purchase in the future, and in many cases do not provide an accurate picture of your printer's full potential.
    That's why we always recommend purchasing 1-2 rolls with your printer. Then you will have a good reference point. Check out our filament guide here
  • To make your print really stick to the build plan, we recommend using some type of adhesive, such as PrimaFIX. This product will help you with a few different things. PrimaFIX activates when the build plate reaches 40°C and the print will adhere very well to the build surface. Once you have finished printing and allowed it to cool, the adhesive will deactivate and "release" the print.
  • It's always helpful to have an extra set of nozzles in case the included nozzle gets clogged (which always happens at the worst possible time). In most cases it is possible to repair the nozzle, but it is a long and very annoying operation. Prima Creator nozzles are often higher quality than the nozzles included with the printer. They are available for most printers on the market and are also available in different materials. If you buy them in sets of 4 they are also very affordable. If you don't know which nozzle to use with your printer, contact us and we will help you.
  • A cleaning kit doesn't cost much but it's an item that's easy to forget and very useful when you need it.
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