Video

3D printing experts at Protolabs share how to best leverage 3D printing during product development for both plastic and metal components. Additive manufacturing is often used for rapid prototyping as well as production of complex components with internal channels, fine features, and geometries too difficult to manufacturing with traditional processes like CNC machining and injection molding.

Industries are rapidly replacing injection molding as well as other processes such as CNC milling, as the most popular alternative for production runs of a small size and speedy prototyping. 3D printers are able to create extremely complex and detailed parts, as well as large models, making them ideal for prototyping and high-quality parts production.

What's the average price for an industrial 3D printer set you back?

The price of industrial 3D printers depends on the type and kind of printer you're using, as well as the type of product you're planning to create or build as a prototype.

There are 3D printers that are resin like The Formlabs 3 that sell for $3,499 and can create industrial-quality pieces for industries like dental, education, medical as well as jewelry as well as others like those from the Ultimaker S3 or S5, Makerbot Method, Intamsys Funmat HT and other models that are able to cover the consumer 3D printer market.

Beyond that the cost of machines can range between $10,000 and $100,000, like 3-D printing machines that use FDM such as BigRep Studio, BigRep Studio, and Markforged's Metal X metal 3D printer and high-end industrial 3D printers like the ones offered through EOS, Carbon 3D and Desktop Metal that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

We've suggested lower-end industrial 3D printers that start at $3,000 to $6000 and higher-end commercial printers.

What is the best way to choose what industrial 3D printer to purchase?

There are many aspects to take into consideration, including:

  • Size Take into consideration the size of the industrial 3D printer in terms of volume (maximum size of components it can print) and the size of the entire area that the printer covers. There may not be enough area to house the printer or require the extra built volume.
  • 3D printing There are several different technologies in 3D printing that we discuss the various technologies in our free 3D printing ebook. Do you value inexpensive part printing or a highly detailed surface? These are the factors that determine what technology you require and the type of industrial 3D printer to purchase.
  • Material to print Are you planning on 3D printing polymers, such as ABS, PLA and Nylon? If yes, you can choose among 3D printing, FDM (all three) or the SLS (Nylon). If you're planning to 3D print materials made of metal like the aluminum as well as titanium and titanium, you'll need to purchase the DMLS, EBM or Binder Jetting or another 3D printer made of metal.
  • Speed Some kinds of 3D printers print more quickly than others even with similar technology. 3D printing using DLP is generally more efficient than SLA and Delta 3D printers generally speed up than Cartesians.
  • Do you require a skilled operator, costly, complicated and high-end industrial 3D printers usually require a skilled operator in order to ensure that the printing process runs smoothly and the proper temps are kept. This can add costs, but might be required to create prototypes and should be kept in your mind.
  • Different 3D printers come with different levels of accuracy, resolution, and precision. Resin 3D printers are more precise as FDM 3D printers as well Material jetting printers boast some of the most impressive resolutions of any industrial 3D printer that is in the marketplace in the present.
  • The ability to print in full-color Certain 3D printing techniques are limited to one color, based on polymer/metal resin, filament or powder while others print in full color , such as the Binder Jetting as well as Multi Jet Fusion.

The most reliable industrial 3D printers we would recommend.

Based on our recommendations and guidelines Based on our recommendations and criteria, here are some industrial 3D printers that we would recommend. If we can, we've provided alternatives that are affordable for small and medium-sized enterprises which do not cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Raise3D Pro2 Plus -- Great affordable yet large industrial 3D printer

  • Build volume: 305 x 305 x 605 mm
  • Price $5,999 -Price: $5,999

Raise3D offers two models: two models: the Pro2 along with Pro2 Plus as well as the Pro2 Plus as industrial FDM 3D printers with incredible quality, reliability and flexibility as well as both models of the Pro2 Plus offering a larger 605mm Z-axis to accommodate larger parts, compared to The Pro2's 300mm.

The printer is able to print at 100 micron resolution. It also has an industrial build plate that can stop part warping and an enclosed chamber to ensure that printing conditions are uniform. This double extruder allows multi-material printing, for example support printing or any rapid prototyping, which requires two colors.

The touchscreen is 7 inches and has an extremely ergonomic user interface and offers useful on-screen visuals when printing. Additionally, should you have issues Raise3D provides tech support from the United States to offer solutions.

The temperature maximum of 300C opens up a wide range of printing possibilities and Raise3D Pro2 Plus Raise3D Pro2 Plus can print not just regular three-dimensional printer filaments such as ABS, PLA, PETG Nylon however, it can also print carbon fiber-infused with metal, as well as glass-infused filaments. It is possible to connect wirelessly with IdeaMaker the 3D printer Raise3D's 3D slicer application to monitor and control printing remotely.

Ultimaker S5 & S5 Pro Bundle

  • Industrial 3D printer build volume: 330 x 240 x 300 mm
  • Price $5,499 for S5 and $9,000 for the S5 Pro Bundle
  • Weight: 20.6kg

Ultimaker made their mark to be the top contender in this market for prosumer printers by launching Ultimaker 3 and Ultimaker 3, winning awards and achieving new levels of achievement. Its S5 was a leap to a price point that was higher and featured a range of upgrades that are essential and higher quality printing.

The price is $5,499 and the Ultimaker S5 increases to the commercial FDM 3D printer pricing range however, it gives you up to a 20-micron resolution for the layer. Amazingly precise and intricate parts and prototypes are printed for testing the functionality and design and form, with partners such as VW, Siemens, L'Oreal and Ford already seeing the benefits of the production process through Ultimaker 3D printers. Ultimaker 3D printers can print high-strength glass as well as carbon fiber filaments, the filaments having particular applications for strong prototypes and parts production.

Its 4.7-inch touchscreen is simple to operate and has been awarded awards for design, and you can print using Ultimaker filaments, or any other third-party 2.85mm filament. The S5 has an open system of filament. A few architects have employed the Ultimaker coupled with the Palette for make multi-colored architectural models.

Ultimaker also offers Ultimaker's Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle that includes an S5 and an Air Manager which sits above the printer, which is able to capture 95% ultra-fine particles. Also, there is a Material Station that is placed beneath the printer. The Material Station holds at least six filament spools, and will automatically change between them based on the type of material or color you wish to utilize.

This allows for more flexible and continuous printing. Ultimaker advertises it as a 24-hour productivity feature. Its S5 Pro Bundle costs around $9,000 and is one of the top-rated commercial FDM 3D printers available.

The Ultimaker S5 Pro Bundle with the Air Manager on top, and Material Handler underneath.

 

Formlabs Form 3 -- best affordable industrial resin 3D printer

  • Build volume: 145 x 145 x 185 mm
  • Price $3,499 -$
  • Weight: 17.5kg

Form 2 Form 2 was already a principal stay in 3D printing for dental use as well as medical device printing for 3D printing jewelry in addition, the Form 3 expands on this further by introducing several important upgrades.

It makes use of Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) to deliver highly high-quality accuracy (up to 25 microns resolution in XY) as well as crisp surface print that is crisp and precise. For those who are in search of the best 3D printer for resin with a greater build size, Formlabs also sell the Form 3L, featuring a much larger 335 x 200 335 x 300 mm print volume.

There is no way that an FDM 3D printer is capable of matching the smooth surface of the Formlabs printing process, which makes Form 3 the Form 3 perfect for precise prototypes . Formlabs provide an illustration of 3D printed glasses on their website - and also for more delicate pieces such as jewelry or dental components, or for custom parts such as hearing aids.

Intamsys Funmat HT Enhancedan entry-level industrial 3D printer

  • Price: $7,499 
  • Build volume: 260 x 260 x 260 mm

The Intamsys FunmatHT comes with two hot ends that are interchangeable based on whether you'd like printing standard filaments such as PLA as well as ABS as well as Industrial 3D printer filaments, such as PEEK or ULTEM. This makes it a versatile device, not just for use as an industrial, or even abrasive 3D printer but a precise 3D printer that can print more common filaments used in everyday rapid prototyping.

With a minimum of 50 microns for layer thickness, small companies and industrial customers will not have any trouble printing precise PEEK Nylon, or any other materials. The Funmat HT provides a viable alternative to 3D printing for 3D print PEEK as well as other industrial filaments. It costs about $6,000, which is a lot lower than the previous Industrial PEEK 3D printers.

The Funmat HT's price and high efficiency have led to it being employed to print 3D-printed aerospace as well as automotive, engineering and medical sector components. It's also used for general R&D and is thought to be a fantastic 3D printer that offers industrial 3D printing at a lower size and 3D printing of some of the strongest filaments, for far lower costs.

Sinterit Lisa -- Entry-level industrial 3D printer using SLS

  • Build volume: 110 x 150 x 150 mm (For TPU)
  • 90 x 130 x 130 mm (for Nylon/PA)
  • Price: EUR7,999
  • Weight: 41kg

The Sinterit Lisa is one of the cheapest industrial SLS 3D printers available, offering all the benefits that come with selective laser sintering without the expense. It is manufactured in Poland; each machine is subject to a "precisely designed calibration and testing procedure" according to Sinterit.

The primary benefit to the 3D printer SLS is that it doesn't require print supports, thus saving time and costs on powder. Printing multiple parts simultaneously using the build platform makes it ideal for companies printing several parts simultaneously or printing several identical parts that are slightly different to see which model is the best. Its Sinterit Lisa can perform all of these tasks with ease thanks to its 0.05mm Axis X and Y precision, and as high as 0.075mm Z-axis accuracy.

Sinterit has developed their own software and also sells accessories such as the Sandblaster and specialized SLS powders. You can print and control using the Sinterit Lisa's 4 inch touchscreen, and also using WiFi and USB.

Desktop Metal Fiber -- Most affordable industrial metal 3D printing machine

  • Price: Requires a Quote
  • Build volume: 310 x 240 x 270 mm

Desktop Metal, now a public company that recently purchased EnvisionTEC with a $300 million deal, offers one of the cheapest ways to begin industrial 3D printing. Its Desktop Metal Fiber System can print PEKK, PEEK, or Nylon using continuous carbon fibers or fiberglass in order to increase the strength of parts.

The Fiber System is an industrial 3D printer and is, however, much less costly than earlier metal printers. It is a combination of FDM-like filaments and metal using their latest Micro Automated Fiber Placement technology using constant carbon fibers. Instead of purchasing it completely, Desktop Metal offers leasing options, with a year-long subscription that saves smaller companies initial costs and makes it much easier to start.

The Fiber blends these durable materials such as PEEK and carbon fibers, resulting in astonishingly robust, but lighter than aluminum parts that are able to withstand temperatures up to 250C. For a 3D printer made of metal, the area of the build is good, particularly considering the cost, especially when compared to the vast majority of industry DMLS 3D printers.

Markforged Metal X - accessible 3D industrial printing steel

  • Price: $100,00
  • Build volume: 300 x 220 x 180 mm

The Markforged Metal X 3D printer is one of the easiest ways to print 3D metal, making it a great alternative to spending hundreds of thousands dollars for the DMLS as well as an EBM 3D printer.

With Markforged's binding powder filament technology it is possible to print using materials such as copper, inconel, copper, and D2 tool steels, and 17-4 stainless steel with PH. Metal X Metal X combines FDM-style filament printing using metal, but similar to the way that desktop metal and Desktop Metal have. This provides an easier way to 3D print metal either to produce parts in-house and prototyping or for a service making metal parts that are reasonable in size.

What are the advantages of using an industrial 3-D printer?

Industrial 3D printers can be used to speed up prototyping, in conjunction with the 3DCAD program to design products (although sometimes CNC machines are employed instead).

3D printers can print miniature versions of the final designs to test their quality or function without making any mistakes, allowing any error to be changed instantly through editing of the 3D model before printing the next one to test. Rapid prototyping is often utilized in the automotive, aerospace as well as medical industries.

Because 3D printing can be described as a method that uses additive production, there's no waste generated from the removal of materials like with CNC equipment. This is what makes industrial 3D printing extremely valuable in areas where saving costly materials is crucial like metallic 3D printing. 3D printers are also able to create parts that have different infill percentages, resulting in light but very durable metal parts that are useful in aerospace and automotive industries, where cutting weight can significantly increase profits.