Top 6 Features to know before buying an FDM 3D Printer

5 Mins read
Flashforge 3D printer for beginners
Above: Flashforge 3D printer for beginners/Source: Flashforge

3D Printers have brought a new revolution to the manufacturing Industry. They have almost endless possibilities about the things they can create. So, if you are a beginner and are thinking about buying an FDM printer or running any business which makes use of this technology, you need to consider the right features that an efficient FDM 3D Printer should have.

Let’s have a look at them!

What is an FDM 3D Printer?

The FDM 3D printer is an excellent technology developed in the 1980s. Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) is the most common type of 3D Printing. It uses an additive manufacturing technique to heat and melt a plastic known as a filament, winded over a spool roll into liquid. This liquid then gets extruded over a base known as the Build platform.

 In a typical system, the 3D Filament is added layer by layer until the required model comes into being. The thin layer hardens and cools quickly as the process goes on. While using this type of 3D Printer, the Printing of material begins with the bottom layers and builds up.

What are the uses of an FDM Printer?

FDM 3D printers are widely used in Industries as well as homes for a variety of purposes.

The FDM 3D Printers for hobbyists can be used to create food storage items, trinkets, and toys, whereas the Professional 3D printers are used by small businesses and large Industries for purposes such as prototyping, modeling, printing functional parts, and the list goes on.

Which Features to look for when buying an FDM 3D Printer?

When buying an FDM printer, there are many aspects that you would need to look into before you make a final decision. Here is a list of top features that you should definitely consider!

Printing Noise

An essential factor that you should know before buying an FDM 3D Printer and definitely one which you can’t ignore is 3D printer noise. None of the machines are silent, but a few are relatively quieter. The average noise varies around 55-60 dB. However, the more upgraded ones generally have less than 50 dB.

You can also limit the noise through a few basic techniques. Fans of 3D printers make a lot of noise, and this issue can be handled by lubricating them or changing them to silent fans. Also, you can add stepper motor damper & silent stepper drivers to lessen the hassle.

Build Size

Buyers should consider the build size before buying an FDM 3D printer
Above: Buyers should consider the build size before buying an FDM 3D printer/Source: Flashforge

While buying an FDM 3D Printer, you’d think about how much physical space you would get!

The Build volume in 3D Printing refers to the space dimensions on which an FDM printer can produce the model. For an average consumer, small to moderate size might do; However, if you need to create huge prototyping models or create multiple pieces for joining them into a larger one, you would need to look out for 3D Printers with a larger build volume.

Now, you might be thinking of opting for the 3D Printer with the largest build size in the budget. However, keep in mind that there is no advantage of a larger one over a small volume. In fact, the smaller Printer guarantees more accuracy and fewer chances of deformation. Whereas, the professional 3D Printers are equipped with high quality with larger build size at the expense of hefty cost.

So, when considering, you should choose the build size carefully that meets your product size requirements.

Connectivity options

For Printing through a 3D FDM Printer, you would require sending a 3D Printable File. You can do this in several ways. Most 3D printers own a USB slot for connection or an SD card slot for plugging in the SD card. In this way, you can print more reliably.

In addition, the latest FDM 3D printers are now equipped with Wi-Fi and Ethernet technology, which allows networking without cables. This is something you should definitely look for when buying a 3D Printer.

Printing Speed

Speed is an important factor to consider while Printing. This is one feature that you should know before buying an FDM 3D Printer If you are utilizing the 3D Printer for fun, then it’s definitely not an issue. However, 3D Printers for Business require you to consider the speed. If you have smaller print work, then the impact of faster speed would be negligible, but on the other hand, in larger projects, swiftness can result in fewer finer details and cause issues such as ringing, vertical blanding, or ghosting artifacts.

On the other hand, if the printing speed is pretty slow, it can lead to stringing.

Nowadays, the new high-quality printers are able to meet up the quality with high speed too.

It also depends upon the type of material. E.g., PLA can print pretty quickly, whereas others would require slow speed to prevent printing defects.

So, it is important to consider a 3D printer that fulfills your speed requirements by adjusting it accordingly without compromising quality.

Single or Dual Extrusion

Flashforge Dual extruder system
Above: Dual extruder system/Source: Flashforge

One thing not to ignore when choosing your FDM 3D Printer is its number of extruders.

A single extruder basically prints with one Filament at a time. It is simple, fast, and efficient requiring minimal cleaning. Industries usually prefer it due to its ease of use. This is also perfect for beginners to get practical with a single nozzle.

On the other hand, Dual Extruders are pretty complex. They work with two nozzles, and you can use two different 3D filaments. They increase dynamism and work with multiple colors. It got stronger prints and a great level of popularity in vehicular & anatomical domains.

So, depending upon your personal preference, you should carefully select between the two.

Precision and accuracy

Buying a 3D Printer that prints in high resolution are essential. However, it is not mandatory that it is highly accurate and means great precision. Accuracy refers to hitting the target metrics, whereas precision is more focused on repetitive actions.

So, it is necessary to look for that FDM printer that is precise as well as hits near the desired spot on the Print bed.

The FDM 3D printers usually have a precision of ±0.2 mm, but the high-quality ones can also possess a precision of ±0.1 mm.

Final Thoughts

When buying an FDM 3D Printer, you need to list your preferences, demand, and uses. The above-mentioned 3D Printer Features rank among the top considerations when choosing your ideal model. You should carefully look into each feature and then decide which model is overall most suitable for you within the budget so that you make the most out of it!

About Manufactur3D Magazine: Manufactur3D is an online magazine on 3D printing. which publishes the latest 3D printing news, insights and analysis from all around the world. Visit our 3D Printing Education page to read more such informative articles. To stay up-to-date about the latest happenings in the 3D printing world, like us on Facebook or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Manufactur3D is an Indian Online 3D Printing Media Platform that reports on the latest news, insights and analysis from the Indian and the Global 3D Printing Industry.
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