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A Guide to The Best Open-Source 3D Printers in 2020

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3D printing wasn’t very popular since the beginning and it has been a few years that it has gained such recognition. One of the major reasons that have largely contributed to its growth is the availability of the open-source printers.

The printers developed as open-source devices let users contribute to the upgrades of the printer while the industry evolves to fit the needs of the consumer in current space.

With huge names targeting to exploit the opportunities tangled with the open-source ecosystem, one can easily find the best open-source 3D printer with so many options out there.

Manufacturers are herding to create awesome 3D printers involving open source technology to help users make most of it.

Taking into consideration some of the most basic expectations of users such as reliability, support, value for money and many others, companies have come up with some of the best offers. There are plenty of choices for users, however, on the other hand, making it difficult to choose one.

There are printers that provide consistent quality prints every time. Then, there are those that are easy to set up and operate. Manufacturers have also come up with budget-friendly machines.

Hence, making that one decision when buying a 3D printer isn’t very simple. Some users find it frustrating to go through different options, finally getting even more confused.

It is better to suffice your options to the most popular 3D printers and the ones that are tested and verified by the users. This can help you end up with a reliable option, no matter which one you choose.

How to Choose the Best Open Source 3D Printer?

Before we proceed with the list of best 3D printers from open source technology, let us look for parameters that would help you choose the one that you need.

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Ease of Operation

3D printers are often difficult to tame. With that said, 3D printers have a steep learning curve. However, there are manufacturers that try best to ensure that they provide the easiest way to operate the 3D printer.

In the case of open source technology, most of the manufacturer base their decision of design on the quality of the print, forgetting about the ease of use.

Making it difficult to include beginners in their prospective buyer’s list. But not all companies do that. Even some open-source 3D printers are easy to operate. They have an automated calibration system and intuitive UI, letting users focus on other important parts of the 3D printing workflow.

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Print Quality

Although every 3D printer manufacturer wants to introduce the best quality prints through their machines, there is always the choice of technologies and budget that creates the difference in the performance.

It is difficult to provide all the latest features while keeping the budget low. However, with 3D printer kits, one can save some bucks on the printer cost and get a competitive enough 3D printer.

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Value for Money

This is something that every customer looks for. No one wants to buy an expensive 3D printer that does not justify its cost.

Also, users do not prefer wasting even little on a budget 3D printer that does not work at all. The listed feature must work, otherwise, the printer cannot be considered worth the price tag.

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Support

Apart from all the technical specifications, users must also consider checking the quality of support that the company offers.

Starting from the warranty terms to the offsite support, everything must be included when assessing the printer’s worth. A machine can go wrong anytime, even if it is the best in the market. Lack of technical support would only lead to a waste of money.

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Reliability

Either it’s an open-source design or it’s not, reliability is something that every customer looks for. What if the 3D printer works for a few days and stops performing as it was earlier?

Or, what if, the 3D printer you purchased stops working every now and then? Also, if it is not able to consistent results, it’s not reliable. So, check for the same and find out the online communities to know more about the popularity of the 3D printer in terms of reliability it offers.

There could be many other reasons to assess which one fits for the best open-source 3D printer as per your needs. But research before you makes the final choice.

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List of Best Open Source 3D Printers

Depending on what you are looking for, you can keep the options short and easy to decide. Here is a list of some of the most popular and reliable open-source 3D printers that have huge online backing.

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Anet A8

Anet A8 3d printer

If the budget-friendly 3D printer is your concern, nothing can beat Anet A8. Dubbed as the best 3D printer among the lowest cost category, this open-source 3D printer is a real charm.

You can count this 3D printer being incredible value for money. The printer provides decent performance and above-average print quality. However, it would require a lot of tuning from your end. The better the settings optimized, the best results it will provide.

The printer comes in a kit option. This means that you may have to work for days to assemble the parts together. It is not for those who wish to print right after unboxing the printer. Those who like tinkering with screws and wires may find the experience of setting the printer, enthralling.

However, you do learn a lot about the basic design of the printer when installing the machine for the first time. The open-source design lets you make the modification and access those done by other users as well.

It serves a massive community which increases its reliability even further. The printer has been considered a huge hit among the intermediate users. Beginners can also utilize the affordability of the machine, if ready to invest efforts in learning the setup of the 3D printer.

It offers 220 x 220 x 240mm of print space which is another nice feature. It supports many filament types including ABS, Woodfill, PLA, Nylon, and others. The aluminum base provides stability to the prints. This FDM 3D printer is promising and comes for less than $200.

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Original Prusa i3 MK2

original-prusa-i3-mk2s

Without a pinch of doubt, the Original Prusa i3 MK2 is the best open source 3d printer and most loved among the 3D printing community.

The printer is capable of printing great quality prints while keeping the budget highly affordable. The design is simple and even beginners can understand the 3D printer operation in no time.

The best part is that the manufacturer has kept both the options open. You can either choose to go for the pre-assembled machine, paying some additional cost.

Or, you can stick to the kit version, saving a considerable amount. The kit is available for $699 while the assembled 3D printer is for $899.

The printer does not require tuning from users’ end to provide exceptional print quality. With a decent large build space of 250x210x200mm, the printer can handle different types of materials.

The 3D printer also comes with a heated bed which is highly helpful in accommodating multiple filament types when printing.

It also has a “silent mode” feature that allows the printer to work silently if the overall weight of the printed model is below 400 gms. There are few downfalls too.

The most noticeable is the noise level when not working in silent mode. Also, the users may expect dual extruder with the price point offered.

However, the manufacturer does offer a multi-material upgrade kit with the pre-order. This kit upgrades the printer’s capabilities by adding up to 4 different feeders. Hence, one can print with 4 different colors and materials while connected to one hot end.

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LulzBot Mini

LulzBot Mini 3d printer

This 3D printer is for those who are in regular search of easy to use machines that need little to no tinkering. A lot of people base their selection criteria on how simple the operation of the device is. And, LulzBot Mini goes a step ahead to ensure that the users find working with the 3D printer super easy.

The no need for tinkering also ensures minimal error possibilities. Aleph Objects has come up with a true play and plug 3D printer with this device.

Only after 15 minutes of unboxing, the 3D printer can be used for the first print. All you need to do is connect and start printing high-quality objects.

As the name suggests, the 3D printer offers a small printing space. It has a build volume of 152x152x158mm.

There are various other advanced features that make the device competitive and desirable. It has a self-balancing bed as well as a self-cleaning nozzle. The device is also compatible with a wider selection of filament types.

It also supports third-party filament alongside a heated bed. The all-metal hot-end nozzle allows users to create models using industrial-grade materials.

However, the noise levels are a problem when working with this small printer. This can be handled by using motor adjustments. The major drawback of the 3D printer is that it needs tethering a computer when operating.

There is no interface on the machine. Hence, a computer is needed all the time. The price of the printer starts at $1250.

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BCN3D Sigma

BCN3D Sigma

BCN3D Sigma manufactured by BCN3D Technologies has been able to top every chart because of its highly advanced features. The BCN3D Sigma boasts an overall size of 465x440x680mm with a sufficient build space of 210x297x210 mm.

The 3D printer is designed in a semi-opened frame. The printer comes with a dual extruder and offers a wider range of 3D printing material. and is most admired for its reliability, print quality, and build quality. It is hard to find a better nonstop and reliable printer than this one.

BCN3D Technologies has used a unique and innovative system for the dual extruders using the IDEX (Independent Dual Extruder) design. This allows the two extruders to work independently. Hence, able to accomplish complex designs with ease.

There are certain limitations to the 3D printer. It is noisy as well as it does not have wireless connectivity. Moreover, the large printer size needs an excess of space to fit on the work desk.

However, these limitations are not enough to hide the power of the machine. That is why the 3D printer is very much admired by the users. The cost of the printer is $2795.

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Ultimaker 2 Go

Ultimaker 2 Go

Ultimaker is known to create bigger and features stuffed machines. However, this one is a little different when it comes to portability. One can fit this inside a special backpack provided by the company itself.

Ultimaker 2 Go is designed in a way that can be easily transported, which usually a huge challenge with even the most portable 3D Printers. However, that brings us to the limited print space of 120 x 120 x 115 mm.

But when it comes to performance and reliability, it is no different from its bigger counterparts. You can enjoy the smoother Bowden system that lets you achieve a superb printing quality that Ultimaker is popular for.

You can do a lot of things with this small machine. The price remains affordable and the open-source technology has the perks of it.

You can buy the printer for $1199. Hence, if you are looking for easy to operate and reliable printer, without too much need for bigger printing space, this could be your buddy.

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The Conclusion

Open-source 3D printers are well known for their remarkable benefits. The major of all is the freedom to upgrade the machine as per the need.

The community is well supported from around the world and one can find many users always eager to help each other. Moreover, the low price point makes the 3D printers even more accessible to the end-users.

Either you are an enthusiast, professional or even a home user, if you own the best open-source 3D printer, you can print with limitless possibilities.

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