LOOKING FOR INSPIRATION? WE HAVE SOME SUGGESTIONS
So here we are in the last month of another year, and Christmas is nearly on us again. Hopefully you’ve all been out picking up presents at the Black Friday sales, to avoid that last-minute Christmas rush. Oh, you haven’t? Well, don’t panic. There’s still time to avoid that and get some thoughtful and appropriate gifts bought. Of course choosing a thoughtful gift is the hard part, but if you think your friend, child or significant other might like a 3D printer for Christmas, we’ve done the hard work for you! Read on and check out our 2019 Christmas printer picks.
Smart kids love making things, and making things is what 3D printers are designed for. Of course they might be too technical for younger children, but you can get a printing pen that works on the same principles. If you have a steady hand, the Da Vinci pen from XYZPrinting can produce some amazing creations – or just add new hairstyles to dolls and action figures. At just under £65 it’s a good intro to additive manufacturing, and its non-toxic PLA filament is ideal for kids.
For older and more tech-savvy kids the Da Vinci Nano, also from XYZPrinting, is an attractive option. It’s simple to use, comes fully assembled – so no struggling to put it together under the tree while impatient offspring pester you to hurry up – and it includes a library of ready-made projects to print as well as software to design your own. At around £260 it’s great value for what you get.
There are a few things a beginner’s printer needs to have. It’s got to be easy to use; too steep a learning curve doesn’t exactly build enthusiasm. Simple assembly is another essential, because new users want to print, not put together a pretty complex device. Affordability is important, or course, but so is performance and capabilities. An entry level printer won’t have all the features of a high-end one, but it does need to give a new enthusiast some room to grow.
One that we think ticks all these boxes is the Anycubic I3 Mega. This comes almost fully assembled – you just have to mount the frame to the bed and control unit. The frame itself is an impressively sturdy metal item, the bed has a very uniform and effective heater, and with a massive 210x210x205 print volume it isn’t limited to tiny projects. In fact for its £249.99 asking price this printer packs in a lot of capability. It can be fed a wide range of filaments, including wood as well as the more common PLA and ABS, and it has a range of features to make it easy to use. Auto pause if the filament breaks or runs out, one-click restart after power loss and an easy-to-use touchscreen interface mean its proud owner can focus on making great designs instead of struggling with a balky printer.
For a real enthusiast, performance is king – and the Dremel 3D45 has it in spades. It’s compact and easy to use, but under the user-friendly façade is a high-precision print engine. Working with PLA, ABS, nylon and PETG, the 3D45 can print layers from 300 microns all the way down to 50 microns, giving highly detailed, precise prints. Its build plate has semi-automatic levelling and heats to a maximum of 100°C. Build volume is a respectable 254x152x170mm. This printer also has a range of other features not found in cheaper ones. There’s an internal camera, so you can monitor your print jobs from anywhere. It also has an RFID system that works with Dremel filament reels; the printer can automatically detect what type of filament you’ve loaded and set itself up for that, as well as monitoring how much is left on the reel. Finally it comes with a generous suite of software, and projects can be loaded by ethernet, wifi or a USB stick.