writes copy 23 Nov 2017

3D Hubs 2018 3D Printer Guide: Top Choices in 3D Printing for Reliability Quality Cost

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Amsterdam-based  3D printing service 3D Hubs often hears the question, “Which 3D printer should I buy?” The company is certainly the right one to ask, given that it works hard to connect 3D printer users with the proper technology for their projects, and also  conducts research throughout the year so its users will have helpful data compiled in one place to help them decide which 3D printer they should be using or buying. Released today, the 3D Hubs 2018 3D Printer Guide is now in its fourth year of existence, and is the most comprehensive edition yet, showcasing what 3D printer users say are the most highly rated machines on the market.

“It’s been great to see so many machines performing so highly in this year’s guide, it’s a real testament to the industry that a large portion of users are having their needs met,”  George Fisher-Wilson,  3D Hubs Communications Manager, told 3DPrint.com.

“Even with some of the machines in the guide for a third or fourth year, it really shows a well-engineered machine will continue to impress. Congratulations to all of this year’s winners and the teams behind the printers. And of course one final thank you to our community for helping to create the guide and their continued contribution to the community as a whole by taking the time to give their feedback to others.”

According to 3D Hubs, the average rating of the winning desktop machines has gone up, as desktop 3D printers become ever more professional and reliable. 668 different 3D printer models were reviewed for the guide this year, which  is based on 10,154 reviews  from verified 3D printer owners – over 1,500 more than last year’s 3D Printer Guide, making this the most extensive guide yet. Other criteria that comprise the 2018 edition include:

  • 6,353 years of 3D printing experience
  • Over 1.48 million 3D prints

The following parameters were investigated by the greater 3D Hubs community to help rank the 3D printers:

  • Print and build quality
  • Reliability and ease of use
  • Print failure rate
  • Customer service and community
  • Running cost and value
  • Software

The guide this year includes  14 3D printer models, judged on a scale from 1-10, in five individual 3D printer categories, starting with Prosumer.

The advanced desktop 3D printers in this category are for professionals that need exceptional build quality. Because the target market for this category has different needs, more of an emphasis has been placed on print quality and reliability than on ease of use. For the second year running, Ultimaker topped the list, as its Ultimaker 3 Extended tied for first place with a 9.2 rating. The UM3 has been completely overhauled since its Ultimaker 2+ predecessor, offering dual extrusion with soluble support, auto-bed leveling, and WiFi connectivity. It also has an extra 10 cm of build height, as opposed to the Ultimaker 3, and was given the Individual Attribute award of “Best Customer Service” in the 3D Hubs guide.

As one UM3 user put it to 3D Hubs, “If you desire to design, click & print with ease, the Ultimaker 3 is for you.”

California-based Raise3D made its 3D Printer Guide debut this year with its N2, which tied the UM3 for an overall 9.2 rating in the Prosumer category. 100% of the users who reviewed the N2 recommended it to others, thanks to its fully enclosed design, all-metal hot end, and excellent build quality. It also won the “Highest Print Quality” Individual Attribute award in the guide.

Two other options were listed in this year’s Prosumer category:

Form 2  '“ Down a little in the ratings from a 9.0 last year to an 8.8 this year, the desktop SLA Form 2 offers users extremely accurate prints and is easy to use, but lists build volume and price as cons.

Markforged Mark 2  '“ This is the company’s first time making the 3D Hubs guide, and the innovative Mark 2, rated an 8.8 and good for creating functional engineering parts and prototypes with a short lead time, takes home three Individual Attribute awards – Most Reliable Machine, Lowest Print Failure, and Highest Build Quality.

We’re moving right along to the Workhorse 3D printer category now, for users who require 3D printers that can work nonstop with minimal failure. The  open source  Original Prusa i3 MK2S, previously listed in the Budget category,  has hit a major milestone this year – it’s now the highest rated 3D printer, with an astounding 9.3, in the history of the 3D Hubs guide; it was also awarded Highest Rated Software and Best Community.

The MK2S has a slightly larger build volume than other desktop 3D printers, at 250 x 210 x 200 mm, and comes with the MK42 heated bed, w

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