The American Manufacturers of FDM 3D Printers Under $5000
Even as additive manufacturing continues to expand worldwide, it is undeniable that the largest market for 3D printing is the United States. Indeed, the country regularly tops the list for not just the largest installed base of 3D printers in the world, but in the number of 3D printer manufacturers. We have already told you about the manufacturers of metal 3D solutions, but now we want to turn to polymers. More specifically, given the large number of manufacturers of polymer 3D printers in the USA, in this listing we take a closer look at all the American manufacturers offering desktop 3D FDM printers, focusing on those that cost less than $5000. Stay tuned for the next in the series, looking more closely at composites and more industrial solutions.
MakerBot was one of the first 3D printer manufacturers to come out of the RepRap project in 2009. Since MakerBot and Ultimaker merged to become UltiMaker last year, questions have arisen about what would become of each specific brand. Well, that has been answered in the case of MakerBot as the company has been rebranded to become “the only 3D printing ecosystem dedicated to education.” The Sketch series from the company are both under $2500 with two options available, the standard and large. As the name suggests, the Sketch Large 3D printer enables the printing of larger classroom projects with a build volume of 220mm x 200mm x 250mm (8.66in x 7.87in x 9.84in). It also costs more at a starting price of 2,399, compared to $1299 for the base model. The printers also come with software that will “make 3D printing in the classroom easier than ever before” as educators can access lesson plans and create personalized curricula for their students.
Founded in 2012, Airwolf 3D is a California-based company specializing in large-format FDM printers for industrial, professional and educational use. The company features two lines of printers, EVO and AXIOM, both of which possess multiple models of varying sizes, single and dual extrusion with direct drive, and specific desktop models for education. One of the company’s newest releases is the EVO 2X, designed for commercial use with an enormous 24” x 12” x 22” build volume. In addition to 3D printers, Airwolf 3D also produces its own line of filaments. One of its most prominent offerings is its own patent-pending, water-soluble support material, HydroFill, which is compatible with ABS, PLA and nylon, and is made of environmentally friendly material. They also produce their own high-quality ABS filament in-house (including MG94) and polycarbonate in addition to their own Wolfbite adhesion solution, available for ABS, PC, PLA and nylon. Their website features a wide range of easily accessible aid materials as well, from troubleshooting tutorials to user manuals and how-to guides for each machine.
Dremel, under its DigiLab brand, is yet another company offering 3D printers specialized in education. Since the Dremel DigiLab brand has been licensed to 3PI Tech Solutions, users now will need to buy filaments, printers and all other offerings from the brand. But not to worry, the popular printers of the company are still available. Namely, the 3D40-FLX and 3D45 3D printers can be bought starting at $1,499 and $1999 respectively. Though education was always a key issue for Dremel, it seems that all the printers are geared to everything from first-time users to advanced users with features like flexible build plates, all-metal, clog-resistant extruders that heat up to 230°C for the 3D40-FLX and 280°C for the 3D45. This allows for printing with polymers like ABS and Nylon. Making these great solutions for schools and professionals alike.
Lulzbot is a company founded in 2011 that specializes in FDM machines and equipment. Lulzbot machines have a wide range of uses and can be found in STEM classrooms, hobbyists’ desks, professional studios and industrial zones. The company sells a range of FDM printers with a build size of 160mm x 160mm x 180mm to 282 mm x 582 mm x 287 mm in its smallest and largest printers, respectively. They also sell parts including various tool heads that can upgrade their machines with increased quality and precision. Education is a prime focus for Lulzbot, which in addition to supplying classrooms with 3D printers, also features a wide range of freely accessible lesson plans online that allow kids to learn about new topics and print useful objects while following along with the curated course plan. The company also features an active community of Lulzbot users and educators available for advice, collaboration and support.
At this point, you have probably noticed a pattern. Many of the American manufacturers offering FDM 3D printers us under $5000 are geared towards education, such is the case for Robo. Though sold now under Boxlight Inc, the parent company, Robo offers the Robo E3 and E3 pro-FDM printers. Both printers come with the MyStemKits integrated 3D printable STEM curriculum for K-12 and a 2-year warranty and including a 2-hour online training by EOS education. They also both have a heated print bed, filament run-out detection and more. However, they differ in size, the Robo E3 has a build volume of 150 x 150 x 150 mm (or ~ 5.9 x 5.9 x 5.9 inches) while the Robo E3 Pro offers 250 x 280 x 300mm (~ 9.8 x 11 x 11.8 inches). The Robo E3 Pro also has a higher print temperature, 300°C vs. 250°C, making it able to print with more than just PLA and ABS. The company notes it is compatible with PLA, ABS, PVA, HIPS, PETG, TPE, PP and much more.
While you might not call this your average U.S. company (since the company was actually founded in 2015 in Shanghai, China), but we thought it might be pertinent to include Raise3D in the list, due to the presence it has built up in the states. Indeed, Raise3D now has three ‘global headquarters’ around the world, with one located in Irvine, California. Raise3D has become known for its high-quality and rapid FDM 3D printers, its IdeaMaker slicing software, and high-speed filaments as well as its own line of metal 3D printers. The company has even recently announced its first foray into the resin 3D printing market in November 2023.
Raise3D possesses a wide range of FDM/FFF printers from their own industrial line like the RMF500, capable of printing composite, high-quality, end-use parts, the Pro 3 series of dual-extruder FDM printers, and the E2CF – a desktop 3D printer capable of printing carbon fiber filament. And that is to name but a few of their extensive catalog. Increasingly, Raise3D’s claim to fame has become its Hyper FFF® technology which is capable of printing at speeds up to a staggering 350 mm/s. The company hopes that this technology will increase the productivity of its users without any sacrifice in quality.
Matterhackers, founded in 2012, is an Orange County-based company that is best known for its sale of 3D printing materials and tools. But did you know that the company has its own 3D printer as well? The Pulse series from Matterhackers are fully assembled and customizable 3D printers starting at under $1000. The current offering is the Pulse XE – NylonX Advanced Materials 3D Printer is described as a reliable workhorse FDM 3D printer. It is compatible with advanced materials while still boasting easy setup and bed–leveling. It can print up to 20 microns of fine resolution and has a hotend that can go up to 290°C. An inexpensive 3D printer that is made in the USA.
Stacker is a Minnesota-based, American 3D printer manufacturer. The company currently features three of its newest large, industrial-grade 3D printers that highlight their safety and quality components, such as the advanced thermal runaway feature on the F285 printer. In addition to the safe and efficient F285, the company also features the S4, unique in its ability to print four objects at once with a quad-print head configuration in standard or XL formats. Stacker prides itself on the quality and durability of the constructions of its machines, which are made from high-strength steel and powder coated for environmentally friendly durability. The result is a machine with extremely high precision with respect to the printer chassis and building jig, for instance.
Now for one of the few non-cartesian 3D printer manufacturers on the list, DeltaMaker. As the name suggests, DeltaMaker offers Delta FDM 3D printers with the DeltaMaker Pro, currently in pre-production, being the latest FDM 3D printer with all its models currently under $5000. It has been designed to have a spacious build area but is easy to transport as it’s easy to set up and stow after use. Its build area is greater than 18 inches in diameter and the machine can be adapted to build heights between 12 and 32 inches. The company also offers the DeltaMaker 2, DeltaMaker2T and DeltaMaker 2XT which differ in height. The company boasts increased build volume in a compact design as well as other key features like the inclusion of Simplify3D software, a removable build plate and built-in Wi-Fi access points.
Albuquerque-based ShapingBits has previously stated their desire to help push the bounds of additive manufacturing, and while they have been quiet for the past few years, they do have three FDM printers on offer. The first, the 3FXTRUD 20 UNO, features a fifth-generation hotend and 200mm x 200mm x 175mm build area while their other two printers come with a dual extruder and larger build volume. All printers are capable of printing with a variety of materials, including PLA and a wide range of thermoplastics. It should be noted that their third, largest, and most versatile printer, the 3FXTRUD 30 DUO EXTMAT, is only available for pre-order and we were not able to find much information regarding the expected release or updates related to the machine. Feel free to enquire further on their site if you are interested in learning more.
Rounding out our list is PolyPrinter, a 3D Printer manufacturer out of Midlothian, Texas. The company features a line of FDM 3D printers with an enclosed build space, heated build plate, webcam monitor and automatic filament runout sensor. The build volume-named line of PolyPrinters runs from the single-extruder, 229 x 229 x 299 mm model 229 up to the dual-extrusion model 456dx with a build volume of 456 x 229 x 229 mm. PolyPrinter takes quality one step further by applying it to their own service, as they offer additional new customer training, machine installation and on-site service for their customers. This, coupled with an optional warranty seal PolyPrinter’s image as a consumer-focused company aimed at facilitating education and expanding additive manufacturing into new businesses.
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