Our vendor, BigRep, has put together a very useful checklist of 6 things you need to consider before purchasing a large format 3D printer.
There are several factors to consider before purchasing a large format 3D printer. Since there isn't a 3D printer that will fit every single application that you may have, it is important to understand what these application(s) are before considering your purchase. When purchasing a large printer, you also need to understand that the printer will take up quite a bit of space and will have electrical requirements. But it is just as important to think about your usage, the material requirements, software required, how the print will be supported and, obviously, the budget.
So here are the top 6 considerations before purchasing a large-format 3D printer like BigRep.
- Application: The first and most basic question to ask yourself is “what do I want to 3D print and why?” Understanding this basic question first will help you identify opportunities and where you can benefit most from a large-format 3D printer.
- Materials: When you compare materials that you will print with, you should consider if you want your system to be a closed or open-source 3D printer. Closed systems require you to only use that printer’s material and locks you out of using 3rd party material. An open-source system allows you to use any material within the specs of the printer.
- Space and Environment: Large-format 3D printing means big 3D printers. The obvious question is, “do you have the space for it?” BigRep 3D printers work great on the shop floor, in labs and offices, and more. Depending on the environment where the printer will sit, you might want to consider whether you will require a climate-controlled room. Will humidity be a factor in the space? Are there particles floating around from other equipment? What material will I mainly be printing with? These factors can influence the outcome of the print. If the 3D printer is in a lab that is enclosed, then you can probably get away with an open frame system.
- Software: Almost every equipment manufacture has its own software that will set up the part to be built and sliced but some 3D printing companies are also open source and allow you to choose any slicing software. This comes with both advantages and disadvantages. Maybe you already have a software you are familiar with and want to continue using it. The software that comes with the printer, like a BigRep 3D printer is pre-loaded with profiles for materials and settings for the printer, making it very user friendly to start prints quickly.
- Local Support: Having local support is often an invaluable asset to any 3D printing company. Ask for references, talk to customers who are using the printers and understand their experience working with the company and if the level of service makes or exceeds your expectations. When you invest in an industrial large-format 3D printer, you expect the level of support to match the price tag of the printer. For BigRep and a few other 3D printers we represent, you can count on our support.
- Budget: Investing into a large-format 3D printer requires more than just what is mentioned above, but one of the most important questions to ask is, “what is my budget?” Try to be open when it comes to purchasing, because if you only have a certain dollar amount to spend but then that purchase a lower cost option that becomes more of a headache than an investment, was it worth it?
You can read the full details on each consideration on their blog.
Our teams can be very helpful to help you evaluate what your needs are and whether you need a large format 3D printer or if you do, you have the space for it. Please send an email to email@example.com to set up a consultation.