There are many personal 3D printers available today and it can be quite difficult to choose. We found a way to help make a choice.
Literally hundreds of different personal 3D printers can be purchased today from web sites, clubs and even national retailers around the corner from your home. Since most of the public doesn’t have much deep knowledge of 3D printing equipment, it makes choice hard. Sometimes it ends up simply picking the machine that’s on the store shelf, one you read about or perhaps it’s one your friend talked about.
None of these are particularly good methods of choosing expensive equipment, yet that’s what happens. It’s possible to read reviews, but again, those are often superficial and sometimes even sponsored by the manufacturer, so they may not be totally objective.
You really don’t know a machine until you’ve used it extensively. So what we need to find is a way to exercise new machines to find their strengths and weaknesses, and then make a decision.
As it turns out, there is a type of place that does this: certain 3D printer resellers. Not all of them, mind you, but some.
We examined one reseller, iMakr, who might fall into this category. This operation provides several different services beyond simply selling equipment, including a 3D print service.
A popular reseller such as iMakr is constantly asked by manufacturers to carry their product, and the company frequently receives sample equipment. So what do they do? They install the new gear on their 3D print service production line and push prints through them far more than any reasonable person would on their own.
As a result of this testing, they likely know everything important about operating the machines they encounter. Then they make decisions about which products to carry on their limited product shelf.
Thus, by examining the products sold by such a company we may gain some slight insight into the reliability and salability of some 3D printer products, particularly if the company previously sold them and no longer does so.
Of course, more factors than mere performance and reliability go into the decision to carry a product or not. For example, a manufacturer may choose a specific retail channel for distribution and thus a reseller may not even be able to carry that equipment.
This is not a perfect method by any means, but for those of you who don’t have access to deep information about 3D printer options, you might check out what’s being sold. And what’s not being sold. Find out which equipment they actually use.