Top 5 Cheap 3D Printer Kits under $500

It’s a big misconception that it is expensive to start with 3D printing. When you have a tight budget and you want to start your journey into learning 3D printing, cheap 3D printer kits can be a great starting point.

Do it yourself

When jumping into the 3D printing world I believe it’s a good idea to assemble a kit yourself to get a basic idea of how they are built and how 3D printers function. While following the instructions and putting the parts together you’ll gradually learn all the terms and vocabulary associated with 3D printing which will make it easier to solve problems in a later stage.
There are a lot of under $500 cheap 3d printer kits out there but we will focus on the top 5.

There are a few things to keep in mind when comparing these kits:

Materials used for the frame

It may appear that these kits all consist of the same materials, but please keep in mind that when assembled look at things like the rigidity and weight of the printer itself. 3D printers have quite a few moving parts and can shake quite a bit, especially at higher speed prints. You need a little weight to keep your machine into place and not find it vibrating itself off the table and onto the floor.
You must also be cognisant of a flimsy frame as this could lead to distorted and skewed prints. For this reason I prefer solid heavy frames made of wood or metal. With that in mind some printers will use a metal frame but is so thin that it really provide nothing in terms of rigidity. A good metal frame that is considered tough will range from 3.0mm to 6.5mm in thickness.

Extruder driver

It’s a good idea to check what kind of filament extruder the kit contains. Is it a bowden extruder or a direct extruder? Direct extruders are placed on the moving parts of the printer. The heavy stepper motor of the direct extruder slows down the printing speed and can take down the print quality.

Why bowden extruders produce higher quality prints than direct drivers is perfectly explained in the video below. Video credit: Tech2C