Complete Guide to the Best 3D Printer under $500 in 2017
For those of us who don’t have thousands of dollars in our bank account but do have a keen interest in the growing technology of 3D printing, things might have seemed hopeless even a few years back. Fortunately, as this world-changing technology advances it’s becoming available at cheaper and cheaper prices all the time. If you’re looking for the absolute best 3D printer under 500, you’re in the right place.
Now, you shouldn’t expect something that’s going to be able to make precision machinery in this price range, but for most of the household uses that people love 3D printers for a careful choice can easily allow you to gain access to a whole new level of convenience.
If you’re just beginning to get into this technology, you’ll want to keep in mind a couple of factors when selecting one of these excellent printers. The most important of these is the resolution, which is usually measured in microns(µm). The lower the better, as thinner layers will allow you to make more detailed pieces.
Almost any 3D printer in this price range is going to be an FDM, or fused deposition manufacturing. These types of printers lay down thin layers of heat fusable plastics in order to create an item from a 3D model.
You’ll also want to keep in mind that there’s a ton of different software available for these devices, and not all will come with proprietary software. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the best on the market, and hopefully we’ll be able to help you find the best 3D printer under 500 that will suit your needs.
Best 3D Printer Under 500 Comparison Table
Build Volume (mm)
While the build volumes are still on the smaller side and still quite a few kits to assemble, similar to the best 3D printer under 300, there is a lot of quality here for under $500. Here is a more extensive breakdown of the best 3D printer under 500.
The 5 Best 3D Printers Under $500
The Flash Forge Finder is probably the best 3D printer under 500 around. It comes with its own software, pre-assembled, and is quite user friendly. If you’re totally new to this sort of thing, the Finder comes highly recommended.
It has a resolution ranging from 100µm to 500µm, and a color touchscreen to help you control it with an intuitive interface. It does lack a heated build plate though, so you’ll want to choose your materials carefully in order to avoid any warping in your final product. For the novice, this one is an absolute godsend.
This FDM printer is a great option with a fairly large printing area of 10.6”x8.3”x7.7”. The resolution can be varied from 100µm to 400µm as well, allowing you to select the thickness of the layers you need in order to make your project a reality.
It will require assembly when it arrives though, which makes it a bit harder for beginners to use. You’ll also need to decide on what software to use when you order this one, the HICTOP is a great option for those who already know their way around technology and want to get into 3D printing at a low cost, though.
The Monoprice Maker select is a fantastic option for those with no previous experience with 3D printers but a bit of software experience. It requires minimal assembly, and it has a resolution of 100µm which can keep it competitive with higher priced printers. It doesn’t come with proprietary software though, so you’ll need to be able to select what you need.
It has all of the features you need, the main drawback is a small printing surface that isn’t enclosed. This isn’t much of an issue, but make sure not to touch the plate or your model before it’s done cooling. It’s also compatible with all popular operating systems, including Windows, OSx, and Linux.
If you’re handy with technology already, this product from Alunar might be exactly what you’re looking for. The only real issue is that it might be a bit difficult to assemble, but they’ll send you a link with your printer to a video showing you exactly how.
You’ll definitely be doing some extra work with this one, but for the price it’s composed of high-quality parts and you’ll definitely understand the whole process once you get it working. If you’re the type who’s willing to tinker with their devices in order to make sure that everything goes just right though, give this 3D printer a closer look.
For those who want a 3D printer that works fine right out of the box, you could do a lot worse than the Da Vinci Jr. It’s not perfect by any means, but it just might be the best entry level 3D printer you’ll be able to find anywhere. The print resolution is great for the price, ranging from 100µm to 300µm.
The one drawback is the lack of heated plate, making it unsuitable for printing with ABS plastic, you’ll be limited to PLA while using this unit. If you’re a student or want to introduce a child to 3D printing though, this stand-alone device might just be the absolute best way to do it.
As you can see, you don’t need to be flush to afford a quality 3D printer. The main thing you’ll need to be aware of at this price point is that the better printers will require assembly and some software knowledge. If you’re the type that loves to tinker, you can end up with a fantastic 3D printer for under $500 though.
The pre-assembled printers in this budget range are more suited for students and children than anyone who’s actually interested in a more utilitarian use for their printer, though. The Da Vinci Jr., for instance, is a great little printer if all you want to do is make plastic toys and it’s completely stand-alone, but you’re limited to a single type of plastic which can be a bit of a bummer for those who want to make parts for machinery.
The model from Alunar really is an exceptional printer, but it can be difficult to assemble and will require some research on the part of the purchaser. It’s a great introduction to the world of 3D printing however, once it’s assembled you’ll have an intimate understanding of the whole technology from start to finish.
We hope that we’ve opened your eyes up to a world of possibilities you hadn’t considered before. The technology is advancing rapidly, which is great for those of us with a thin pocket book, and even the cheaper models can provide nearly endless utility and entertainment. If you’re considering getting into 3D printing, pick the model that’s suited for you and order it. It’s an amazing journey, and one that can be both eye-opening and useful.
Product Images Sourced From Amazon.com