3D Holiday Gift Guide – 3D Printer Upgrades
The holidays are here and we’re sure there are 3D printers and accessories on your list. This guide combines some of our favourite printers for all price ranges as well as accessories like filament and build surfaces.
These are some of Pinshape’s top rated printers based on community feedback on the 3D Printer Pages. We realize not everyone can splurge for a $3000 printer as a Christmas gift so we’ve broken this up into two price ranges – over $1000 and under $1000
The Form 2 is a high resolution desktop SLA 3D printer and is the #1 rated 3D Printer on 3D Printer Pages. It’s a great machine for prototyping and model making and excels in both accuracy and detail. If you’re interested in the Form 2, check out the Form 2 printer page for reviews and more details.
Lulzbot TAZ 5 & 6
Lulzbot’s TAZ 5 is the top rated FDM printer on Pinshape and Lulzbot recently came out with a newer version, the TAZ 6. This printer received high ratings for value and build quality and allows you print with a wide range of 3D printing materials. To learn more, check out the TAZ 5 3D printer page.
Prusa i3 MK2
Josef Prusa released the plans for the Rep Rap Prusa printers several years ago and now creates his own kit and pre-assembled machine. This printer has been getting excellent reviews and is widely considered one of the best values for the price.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus
The Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is one of the top rated printers under $500 on 3D printer pages. It’s a plug and play printer that doesn’t take a lot of tinkering so it is great for a hobbyist buying their first printer. It comes with a heated build plate and works with most materials.
There are all sorts of new 3D printing materials being created seemingly every month so it’s hard to decide which to try next! Here are some of our favorites that we think would make for a good gift this holiday season. If you want to learn more about 3D printing materials for multiple applications, check out our 3D Printing Materials Guide for more information.
If you’re buying for someone who has an SLA 3D printer, they might be looking for new material to play with. Formlabs has a suite of resins for a wide range of applications. Standard resins are great for printing sculptures and visual prototypes, whereas the newly launched engineering resins like tough and flexible are great for prototyping or printing models that require specific mechanical properties.
Check out their resin page for more detail or order a free sample print to check out the material for yourself!
Protopasta HTPLA – Special Edition Aromatic Pine, Aromatic Cinnamon, and Glitter Flake
Proto-pasta has created a small batch of special aromatic pine holiday filament. As the names suggest, aromatic pine and cinnamon filaments will make your house smell like the holidays! If you’d prefer something with a bit more sparkle, then the glitter flake filament is a must. Check out this yoda we printed with it!
Yoda in Proto-Pasta’s Glitter Flake HTPLA
FormFutura Wood Filament
We played with Formfutura’s coconut and pine filled filaments a while back and not only do they smell great, but they also print well! You can also have some fun with post-processing by sanding it down and staining it. For a full tutorial on post processing wood filament check out our wood finishing techniques blog.
T Rex Skull in Formfutura Coconut and Pine
Similar to wood filament, you can print with filament that has metal particles in it which creates some pretty sweet effects. We printed these low poly Pokemon in Colorfabb Bronzefill and oxidized them with Ammonia as well as a Salt and Vinegar Mix. For full instructions see our tutorial on post processing with metal filaments.
Low Poly Pokemon by Flowalistik in Bronzefill
If you’re looking for a gift that will take your prints to the next level, there are a few simple tools that will do the trick! For a more detailed look at these tools and how they work, check out our blog on the Top 5 3D Printing Tools. Here are some of our favorites:
3D Printing Bed Surface
The top two 3D printing bed adhesives we’ve had a chance to use are Buildtak and PRINTinZ, both of which attach to your print bed to help things stick to the build platform. Some also flex to help remove models after they’ve finished printing. No more tape and glue!
Simplify3D 3D Printing Software
We asked the Pinshape community which 3D slicing software was the best and they voted for Simplify3D. Although there are a lot of other free alternatives, for $149, it gives superior print results and is fairly easy to use. It has features like precise control over retraction and manual support structure placement that gives you greater control over your print settings. To learn more about mastering slicer settings, check out our blog 3D Slicer Settings for Beginners – 8 Things You Need to Know.
3D Printer Controllers
3D printer controllers allow you to access your 3D printer remotely and streamline the printing process all from your computer. The Rasberry Pi is a great server that can run popular hosts like Octoprint and Repetier Server.
Tom Salanderer created a great video on how to get started with this:
Sanding and painting parts after they’ve been printed can go a long way! Just take a look at this before and after pic of a Teeku model by Morena Protti:
She used Liquitex Gesso primer and Sta-Wet palette but there are lots of other brands out there ranging in price and quality. For a glossy finish after painting, we’ve use XTC-3D with some of our projects and it worked quite well!
This Einstein bust was printed in wood filament and stained, then coated in XTC-3D to give it a glossy finish.
There’s plenty more 3D printing tools out there that are useful to have around, but this is a list to get you started. If you have a friend or family member who is a 3D printing enthusiast, we hope this guide will give you some inspiration or ideas on what they might like as a holiday gift.