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Test: best affordable 3D printers reviewed and rated
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Solid Results: tests the first wave of affordable 3D printers for the home. Sun Lee

This article was taken from the October 2013 issue of Wired magazine. Be the first to read Wired's articles in print before they're posted online, and get your hands on loads of additional

Both printers claim to "just work" out of the box. so we tested using default (http://formlabs. It prints by drawing a laser across a tray of liquid photosensitive resin. head-to-head trial to print the same design. printing software. printer controls and hardware. easily and exactly handling the precise geometry of the bracelet.content by subscribing online ( Score: 8 formlabs. but previously too expensive for desktop printers. and degree of post-processing faff.smooth. beautiful design Tired: Lengthy post-processing step Cost: $3. Form 1 The Form 1 is unique among low-cost 3D printers for its use of stereolithography. fine and detailed.88 Minimum thickness: 0. We chose a custom-created bracelet from design studio Nervous System (n-e-r-v-o-u-s. a printing technique popular with industrial machines. requiring the model to be cleaned in alcohol. We judged on ease of setup. the Dutch-built Ultimaker has (for now) the finest U The Form 1 is unique among low-cost 3D prin stereolithography Sun Lee . Setup was swift.025mm Layer thickness of bracelet print: 0. Print quality was very impressive -.1mm Ultimaker Heralded as one of the fastest and highest-resolution desktop and the platform rises up as each layer is made -. which the light solidifies. print quality and speed. featuring Specifications Time to print bracelet: 2h 5m Material used: 19ml clear resin Cost of print: £1. The Form 1 has a long post-processing stage. Solid Results: tests the first wave of affordable 3D printers for the home How we tested We tested two professional-end desktop 3D printers in an outof-the-box. The laser is directed from beneath by two mirrors.299 (£ for our model.circules. thin and thick sections so as to judge the machines' multidimensional print resolution and finish quality.forming the model upside down. akin to developing a film negative. and our design was quickly loaded and autooriented with the intuitive Preform software. Wired: High-res print.

com (http://i. but it couldn't quite match the print quality. online services let you upload a design and have it printed to the highest spec.materialise lets you view and scale your file alongside instant price quoting for a wide range of materials.materialise.003.1mm (the Form 1 can also go finer).layer-thickness of its Sculpteo French designers Sculpteo offer iOS apps for customisable 3Dprinted smart-phone cases. i.materialise Best of the (http://ultimaker.699 (or €1. large support community Tired: Stringy-quality prints Cost: €1. we set the bracelet print at its "high quality" setting of 0. Orders take a few weeks. Print in anything from multicoloured plastics to ceramics to titanium. including ceramic. silver and titanium.materialise. Score: 8 i.31g PLA filament Cost of print: 41p Minimum thickness: 0.194 as a kit) [£1. With a little calibration. Using the PLA filament supplied by Ultimaker. too. or those looking to have their prototypes printed in new materials on industrial machines. Customer service is excellent. This resulted in a print time comparable to that of the Form 1 printing at 0.02mm Layer thickness of bracelet print: 0. respectively] Score: 7 ultimaker.4-millimetre layer thickness (though it can go finer).com) Specifications Time to print bracelet: 2h 30m Material used: 11. Documentation across the web was helpful. Here are three of the best. helping to ensure your designs are fit to print. i. it was ready to go within 30 minutes. mugs and other objects with a U The Ultimaker is heralded as one of the fastes desktop printers Sun Lee j VIEW GALLERY (#) 6 items . thanks to its unrivalled community of 3D tinkerers. Wired: Cred. but the results are worth it.431 and £1. The Ultimaker uses a process of "fused filament fabrication" -melting and extruding plastic filament through a fine nozzle.4mm *** Mail-order 3D printing For those not ready to invest in their own printer.

but there's a good range of existing designs -. from movies and televisions.customisable library designs (good for gifts) that require no CAD. Score: 6 sculpteo. or your own -. to auto-stereoscopic computer screens.are good (http://shapeways. Score: 6 (http://sculpteo. and the prints Shapeways Shapeways has a slick site. though you have to wait for uploads to be processed. The web services are better. Whether we like it or not. Equivalent designs tested with other services were more READ NEXT TECHNOLOG Y (/magazine/archive/20 Andrew Daw printing's h (/magazine/ printings-he $ START THE CONVERSATION t READ MORE ON 3D (/TOPICS/3D) 3D technology. NATE LANXON'S BLOG Why Jackass 3D is important for 3D cinema (/news/archive/201011/02/jackass-3d-cinema) G AMING TECHNOLOG Y 3D printer constructed inside Minecraft (/news/archive/201312/19/minecraft-3d-printer) Now you can build eternity from the comfort of your own browser (/magazine/archive/2014/01/play/infinity3d) . 3D is here to stay.simple but buggy interface. and users aren't able to customise the design online.and a shop front for selling your own.

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