It’s no secret 3D printing can be an expensive hobby to get into, so you might be wondering if it makes sense to buy one, and if so, which 3D printer should you buy? With printer sales already being advertised and prices dropping on last year’s models, the Black Friday deals are a great time to buy your first 3D printer.
Before you dive in, you’ll want to do a little research to make sure the printer you buy is going to be a good fit for the type of 3D printing you want to do. If you’re looking for recommendations, you can read through our list of the best 3D printers selling for under $500 and Black Friday sales will almost certainly drive those prices even lower.
While 3D printer prices have been steadily dropping, the price of post-processing equipment is another factor to consider when buying a printer. If you’re using a filament 3D printer, you likely won’t need much equipment. However, a resin 3D printer will require multiple additional purchases that make your total printer package cost higher.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know before buying a 3D printer for Black Friday, and be sure to check out our Black Friday 3D printer deals hub for all the best offers (we’ve also collected some of our favorite deals at the bottom of this page too).
What’s the difference between resin 3D printers and filament 3D printers?
Image 1 of 4
Resin 3D printers and filament 3D printers are two different technologies that both utilize different specialized materials to produce printed parts.
Resin 3D printers use a liquid photopolymer (commonly referred to as resin) that is hardened, layer by layer, to create detailed 3D prints. Resin is messy and can be dangerous to handle, so specialized equipment is necessary to wash and cure printed parts so they can be safely handled. Parts made on a resin printer can be highly detailed (like the models made on the Anycubic Photon Mono X 6K), but are often brittle and delicate.
Image 1 of 4
Filament 3D printers use a heated nozzle to deposit filament onto a build platform, almost like a hot glue gun that is moving in three dimensions. This style of printer can create strong, durable parts that require little post-processing, but the dimensional accuracy and resolution are usually lower than comparably priced resin printers.
When thinking about what style of 3D printer you’re interested in, it’s worth thinking about the post-processing. If you want a printer that allows you to pop models right off of a build platform and into a shipping box, a filament printer would likely be a good fit. If you don’t mind the clean-up and demand the absolute highest-resolution possible, a resin printer would be a great choice.
How much do 3D printers cost?
Less expensive 3D printers typically have smaller build volumes, software with fewer features, and lower resolution printing than more expensive machines. Always make sure you are comfortable with the build volume (max. build size) of a 3D printer before purchasing, as that’s a specification you aren’t able to easily change.
An inexpensive FDM (Fused deposition modeling) 3D printer can run between $199 and $399, while larger models with more advanced features can be purchased for $999 and up. On the lower end, printers like the Elegoo Neptune 2 (opens in new tab) can usually be found for around $200, and Black Friday deals could possibly see that even lower. The massive Anycubic Kobra Max (one of the best 3D printers on our review list) lists at $750, but holiday promotions may reduce the price to even less – the Anycubic Kobra Max is currently $529. (opens in new tab) on their website ($40 off the original price tag).
Inexpensive desktop resin 3D printers can be found for as low as $149, while models with higher resolution and a larger build volume are typically in the $499 to $699 price range. The Elegoo Mars range of resin printers are great, and the company is currently offering the best price on Elegoo resin 3D printers. (opens in new tab). The larger build volume and higher resolution Anycubic Mono X 6K is a larger printer with a retail price of $529 but was recently put on sale for just $309, making it a printer worth keeping an eye on when Black Friday deals kick off.
Is build volume important?
Build volume is typically defined as the XYZ dimensions of a printer, and refers to the maximum available dimensions of a printed part on any particular axis. When you’re thinking about buying a printer, you’ll want to think about the size of typical things you want to print. If you mostly print small board game miniatures but occasionally want to make one large model, it may make more sense to buy a smaller printer and print the larger part in pieces instead of purchasing a larger printer with an underutilized build volume.
Resin printers with smaller build volumes typically are capable of higher resolution, while larger build volumes offer a slightly lower resolution in exchange for the increase in available size. Filament printers with a large build volume tend to print more slowly than smaller volumes, as the build platform and other parts of the machine are typically larger and heavier.
Should you buy a 3D printer on Black Friday?
There’s never been a better time to get involved in 3D printing, and Black Friday deals make 3D printers even more affordable. With 3D printer prices starting at $150, it’s easy to buy a machine and the accessories you need while staying within almost any budget.
If you’re interested in large format 3D printing for making large models, printers like the Anycubic Kobra Max offer a huge build volume and can be easily assembled by novice users. In addition, they don’t require much additional specialized equipment to clean up printed parts. Currently on sale for $569 (opens in new tab)the Kobra Max is a printer you’ll want to keep your eye on this Black Friday.
If you are looking to make ultra-high resolution 3D prints and aren’t afraid of the typical resin 3D printer cleaning workflow, the Elegoo Mars 3 Pro 4K (opens in new tab) resin printer can be found for under $250 and a Wash/Cure station (the Elegoo Mercury Plus (opens in new tab)) can be found for right around $100. Just add some gloves, cleaning supplies, and isopropyl alcohol and you’ll have all you need to get started.
If you’re interested in buying a 3D printer this Black Friday, be sure to read through our list of the best 3D printers available to check the latest Black Friday deals prices and look for holiday promotions. With multiple reviews available right here on Space.com, it’s easy to find great Black Friday 3D printer deals.