Best DIY 3D Printers

Your guide to choosing the best do-it-yourself type 3D printer.

Top 5 budget friendly DIY 3D printers

Imagine being at the grocery store buying ice cream. What you went there for is not available so what do you do now? Do you buy the next best flavor, or do you buy two different kinds and mix them together? Similarly when picking out a 3D printer, what fits your needs? What is the right balance of features for you?

Do you buy cheap and later purchase add-ons, or do you buy a 3D printer which already includes enhanced features?

Ultimately, “It’s not about making the right choice. It’s about making a choice and making it right.” -J.R. Rim

The following factors went into consideration when rating the 3D printers:

Our Top 5 Picks

Best DIY 3D printers

1.) Creality Ender 3 Pro
Best low budget for beginners

Official Creality Ender 3 V2 Upgraded 3D Printer Integrated Structure Design with Carborundum Glass Platform Silent Motherboard and Branded Power Supply

Reasons to Buy
  • Large community
  • Easy assembly and use
  • Fast warmup time
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2.) Creality CR10
Editors choice for DIY add-ons

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Reasons to Buy
  • Large community
  • Large print capability
  • Many available add-ons
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Great base product with room for upgrades

61ebHXpcyjL. AC SL1000

Reasons to Buy
  • Very fine high quality prints
  • Stable structure
  • Silent motherboard
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4.) VOXELAB Aquila
Best base product with some updates


Reasons to Buy
  • Very simple to use
  • Built in auto resume
  • Removable glass bed
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5.) Anet A8
Runner up product with some updates


Reasons to Buy
  • More stable than its predecessor
  • Pre-assembled or self-assembly options
  • Removable glass bed
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The best and worst 3D printers cannot be ranked, as their performance depends entirely on the situation presented. In this article we dive into all the different factors to determine what is the best 3D printer for your needs. The purpose of using a 3D printer should also factor into the decision making.

You don’t want to buy a large scale printer if you are wanting to print miniatures with fine detail. You also don’t want to purchase a basic model if you prefer to invest in a printer with built-in auto calibration (bed-leveling).

So, what aspects of printing do you care most about?

Why do you want it

Things can be costly so why not create or fix things on your own, right? Depends on the situation. If you are fixing things you could save loads of money compared to what the actual product could cost. Or, depending on the hobby, printing things can cost you more money. But, owners of 3D printers can make money.

Expect to make many mistakes at the beginning so start practicing on smaller items. There might be a lot of costs upfront while starting out, but once you get through the learning curve you will be in good shape. Do your research on what are the costs, what are the best materials, how to design and use CAD.

It will be in your best interest to determine which 3D printer is best for you so compare features, how large is the community , ease of use, size, etc…

What are you going to use it for

Should you use 3D printers to fix things around the house? Maybe create functional items that solve a problem? Or, do you want to print objects for décor, arts and crafts? Sometimes it is just easier and cheaper to print out a custom item if something were to break around the house.

However, 3D prints are prone to deform in high heat if left untreated. Depending on the material, consider curing or annealing the 3D printed object or coating with an XTC-3D finish. You can get very creative when using 3D printers to fix things or make arts and crafts.

What are you going to use it for

In addition to arts and crafts it could be fun to create figurines of your favorite action figure or build terrain and buildings for your train set. Many hobbyists have come to love creating 3D prints as the possibility for creativity is endless. Many people are using larger 3D printers to even create wearable items for Halloween or cosplay.

However, pay attention to material, layer thickness and speed of print. Depending on the desired texture or size of the print you should consider which printers are best based on size or ease of use. If your desired prints are smaller scale with fine detail you may consider a resin 3D printer. Check out our Top five lists for large 3D printers or resin printers.

Many CAD models of action figures and household items are available for free download or small price to download on Thingiverse. You may also contact us if you would like us to create the CAD file or just make some further customization on an existing CAD model.

What are you going to use it for (Make money)

Maybe you want to make money printing and selling arts and crafts or make gifts for your friends and family. Maybe you want to start selling custom prints on Etsy or your local community. If you are quite the entrepreneur, make prototypes or test prints for your business?

Keep in mind sometimes a print can go wrong if the layers are too thick or the heat of the nozzle is not at the recommended temperature for the material. You could run into structural issues if the print is missing support structures or infill thickness is not enough. Therefore, it will benefit you to review the design in a good slicer program.

It may also be worth creating a practice piece before printing out the final product. To better understand the requirements and limitations of CAD modeling, check out our CAD Modeling Guidelines.


Since the dawn of 3D printers, back in the 80s, 3D printing has become much more affordable these days. However, pricing varies depending on the scale of printing and features enhanced. Entry level 3D printers may cost under $300. Hobbyists and enthusiasts may be willing to spend $300 to $1,500 on a 3D printer. Industrial grade 3D printers can run upward toward $800,000.

Is it worth purchasing a $1,000 3D printer if you are not planning on using the 3D printer that often? When determining how much you are willing to spend, ask yourself what material you want to work with, what size of prints you will be printing, and what factors are the right balance for ease of use.

With all the available 3D printers nowadays you can start out with a basic 3D printer and buy add-ons as you go. Consider a brand with a large community so you can ask questions to other owners. Check out our top five DIY 3D printers or top five 3D printers with all the bells and whistles.


There is a large variety of materials which can be used for prints. And, with the advantage of combining fillers to produce different polymer types, new materials are being tested everyday. But what is the best material for your 3D printing needs? Don’t just use any material as some filament or resin may ruin your 3D printer or distort the quality of the object you are trying to print.

Different material properties require different temperatures and speed for the best quality. Look at your owners manual to see what is recommended for your 3D printer. And, check out our chart on 3D filaments to learn about the different material properties and printing requirements. Can’t stress this enough, pay attention to the material properties and the material specs best for your 3D printer.


Whether you are setting up your 3D printer for the first time, or prints are going wrong, or you are having hardware problems with your 3D printer there are many online communities sharing these same experiences.

Many owners of 3D printers simply use social media to reach out for help or share photos of their prints. Creality, for instance, has a large community of users, but with the 3D printing community growing many general topics on 3D printing can be found regardless of brand.

But without connecting to an online community can you rely on written instructions or video tutorials? Is the 3D printer you want known for good customer service? You may discover some brands are lacking in these areas. So, join a community! Things will go wrong so having a large community is a great advantage to carry you a long way thru your 3D printing journey.

Print Size / Design

There are a number of factors to think about when printing models. For large prints is the design durable? Is there enough thickness for the outer layer? How much infill is being used? Are there enough support structures in all the right places?

A model printed too thin will cause the layers to spill over or over-extrude causing a bigger mess. Or, the finished print will soon warp thereafter. Engravings too close to edges could cause the filament to miss areas. No support structure may cause the 3D printer to spill or print a plate of spaghetti.

Depending on the material used, experienced users will suggest making your wall thickness at least 1.2mm thick on small prints or minimum 5mm thick for wearable items. Infill is important too. For non-functional items you are okay with printing 20% or less infill. For heavy use items, consider using 40 to 100% infill. And, check the slicer program for any potential gaps.

There’s also a 45 degree print role. Check out our CAD Modeling Guidelines to learn more about the requirements and limitations of 3D printing.

Print Volume / Speed

Controlling the speed of your 3D printing, along with the level of thickness, will greatly determine the quality of your 3D printed object. There is a balance depending on your desired outcome. Fine or or coarse layer height quality. Are you wanting to print objects with fine details such as on a figurine, or just want to print out something functional such as to repair a part on a fixture.

Printing too fast, or with too much heat in the nozzle, will create a mess. Printing an object slower and at .04 mm thick will produce a smooth finish, but the time might take 15+ hours to print. So, pay attention to recommended speed and temperature based on the material properties and the 3D printer specs.

Check out Prusa’s Chart on 3D filaments to learn about the different material properties. If the determining factor for your decision on a 3D printer is to produce quality prints on faster 3D printers then consider the delta printers.

Ease of Use

Not all 3D printers are easy to use. Certain brands just have better assembly instructions and a better community to reach out for help. Some low cost 3D printers may be more challenging to start out with, but upgrades can improve ease of use. Keep in mind some 3D printers have been known to cause more problems than what owners realized until they experience the problem first hand.

Therefore, it may be worth investing in a second generation 3D printer of a specific brand or a pro version. These printers typically have upgrades to parts that have been known to be problematic in the first version. For example after manufacturers of the Ender 3 found to have many issues with stability so they introduced a Pro version with upgrades to improve safety and stability.

We also suggest checking reviews to see what problems previous owners have run into.


Depending on your handyman skill level or your level of patience additional built in features should factor into making a decision on a 3D printer. Buying a low budget 3D printer may allow you to quickly get started with making quality prints. However, you will run into problems soon enough, but this way you can budget your spending by buying only the specific upgrades you want.

In other words, you can buy a base model 3D printer such as the Creality Ender 3 or CR-10 and be okay for a while. You may then realize what parts you would like to upgrade, such as auto calibration. On the other hand maybe you would rather purchase the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 which has a ton of upgrades already built into the 3D printer.

Are you the kind of person that likes to fiddle with hardware? Then a low budget 3D printer will suit you.

Bottom Line

So, what 3D printer suits you most? Do you want a low-budget DIY 3D printer or would you rather start out with all the best built-in quality parts? What features should you consider up-front? Maybe it is just the size that matters to you, or maybe having a quiet 3D printer really matters to you.

Maybe you want to print quality detailed miniatures, therefore a resin printer is best for you. However, working with resin can be a messy job and more post-processing work is needed. Some printers have built-in auto calibration, but some open-source 3D printers allow room for auto calibration upgrades.

Many factors go into choosing the best 3D printer to suit your needs. See our guide to 3D printer features to improve your quality and experience.


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