3D printer kits can be fun as well as save a little money by building your own. Feeling a little overwhelmed by the options? Here’s a breakdown of several 3D printer kits for sale – who makes them, how much they cost, and the time it will take to build them. And if you ultimately decide that building your own isn’t for you, many of these we offer fully-built options of the same models.
Airwolf 3D printers
Airwolf 3D printers has two kits – a standard model (named V5) and an XL version. Both come with the same nozzle and accuracy (0.4mm). The difference comes with size: the $1895 XL is 21 x 18 x 17.75 inches and can build objects up to 12 x 8 x 7 inches. In contrast, the cheaper V5 (only $1295) is 18 x 19 x 16 inches and can build objects up to 7.7 x 8.3 x 4.4 inches. The V5 is also the fastest to ship out of all the kits, requiring zero extra lead time. The XL only has a 10 day lead time, also making it one of the faster-to-ship printers.
Buildabot 3D Printer Kit
Buildabot’s Revolution 3D Printer Kits costs about $1,500 (or £999 since the site is based in England). It’s a fairly basic machine, though because of the exchange rate it is one of the most expensive for American customers. It measures 15.3 x 17.3 x 20.9 inches with an 8.3 x 8.3 x 6.3 inch build envelope. Buildabot printer kits has a decent resolution of 0.1mm and a sturdy aluminum frame. It uses 1.75mm PLA filament, and it takes three to five weeks for delivery.
Deezmaker is quite the Kickstarter success story, spinning their initial funding run into four separate models, ranging in price from $850 to $1495. On the cheap end, we have the Deezmaker Bukobot printer like Mini Green, a compact and environmentally-friendly little printer that uses much less power than other models. The build envelope is 5 x 5 x 5 inches, and it uses PLA filament. There is a larger option for an extra $100: the Bukobot 8 Green, which has a build envelope of 8 x 8 x 8 inches. Unfortunately, with success and popularity come long lead times; it will take up to 12 weeks before your model is shipped.
The other two models, the Bukobot 8 Vanilla and Bukobot 8 Duo, are $1199 and $1495 respectively. The Vanilla is exactly like the Green, only it has a stronger power supply for faster printing, and it will work with ABS plastic along with the PLA. The Duo is Deezmaker’s foray into the world of dual extrusion printing – meaning it prints with two extruder heads at the same time. This method is faster, allows you to print in multiple colors without changing filament spools, and is very experimental. Deezmaker warns on their site that dual extrusion printing isn’t for beginners.
Another company with multiple options, Felix 3d printers sells both version 1.5 and version 2.0 of its printer. The older 1.5 has a slightly smaller build envelope and takes longer to assemble, but is about $200 cheaper than its newer counterpart. The 2.0, on the other hand, costs $1300 (or 999 euros) and takes four to nine hours to assemble. It fits a 10 x 8 x 9.25 inch build envelope into a 17 x 19.5 x 21 inch machine. (The 1.5 only has a 9.25 x 8 x 7.8 inch envelope in the same space.) Plus it has one of the finer resolutions on the market (0.05mm) making it great for highly-detailed prints.
See Me CNC 3D Printer kit
The Rostock Max printer is unique in that it has a circular build platform, measuring at 11 inches in diameter and 14.75 inches of vertical building space. This model is by far the best for tinkerers, as it has many places to upgrade and add your own modifications. The base model starts at $999, and takes 15 hours to completely assemble. It also comes with its own LCD controller, so you won’t even need to hook it up to your computer to begin printing. See Me CNC also has a short lead time; your kit will ship in fewer than 10 days.
Not quite the cheapest (the Bukobot beats it by $50), Tinkerine’s Ditto printer at $899 offers solid features for a great price. Its 7.5 x 7 x 8.6 inch build envelope is comparable to Airwolf’s V5 or the larger Bukobots, and the Ditto’s birch plywood body is as sturdy as any of the aluminum frames. The resolution is fairly standard – between 0.1mm to 0.25mm – so while it won’t be able to print super-intricate designs it will handle most jobs just fine. A heads up to Apple users, though: This printer’s software only works with Windows 7. According to the site, a Max OS X version is coming soon.
The ultimaker 3d printer kits are practically all bed-space. The 13.7 x 13.7 inch unit has an 8.5 x 8.5 x 8.5 build envelope. And it has the finest resolution out of all of them, measuring in at .0125mm. Unfortunately, this precision will cost you $1550 (1194 euros), making it the most expensive printer featured here. And unlike some of its European competitors, Ultimaker will only ship out metric parts.