It’s Here, Finally: Make Magazine’s Annual Guide to 3D Printing
Every year since 2012, Make Magazine assembles a team of 3D printing experts to test the latest and greatest consumer 3D printers. Since the first issue in 2012, the Make Magazine Annual Guide to 3D Printing has become a reference in the industry: not only is it a most comprehensive 3D printer buying guide but it also contains plenty of information on the latest developments around 3D printing accessories and the industry in general.
We from 3dprintingforbeginners.com had the pleasure and privilege to take part in this year’s Make Magazine 3D Printer Shootout. For the 2015 Shootout, Make had assembled a team of fifteen testers who spend four days in Youngstown, Ohio putting the 23 FFF printers and 3 SLA 3D printers through their paces.
The following FFF 3D printers have been tested:
- Ultimaker 2
- TAZ 4
- Printrbot Simple Metal
- Ditto Pro
- Type A 2014 Series 1
- Afinia H480
- Felix 3.0
- Zortrax M200
- Da Vinci
- Airwolf HD, HDX and HD2X
- Replicator 5th Generation
- Print-Rite Colido
- Powerspec 3D Pro
- Idea Builder
- SeeMeCNC Orion
- Ultimaker Original+
- Bukobot 8 v2 Duo
- Bukito v2
The following SLA 3D printers have been tested:
- Form 1+
- Projet 1200
- B9 Creator v1.2
The testing is very comprehensive in the sense that it does not stop at just testing print quality: for every printer the testers need to live through the user experience of any normal buyer. This covers the unboxing, the machine and software installation, the first print but also support calls and trouble shooting (if required).
In order to get to balanced reviews, every tester is encouraged to work with multiple machines. For us that meant that Michel ended up working mostly with the different Airwolf models while Yves spend his time on the Felix 3.0 and the Ultimaker Original+. Here are some impressions from the testing in Youngstown.
Needless to say that such testing does not only require good preparation but also a lot of follow-up work. Since the actual testing in August, the team has been busy with putting their thoughts and experiences on paper. Test prints have been evaluated, test results have been compared and the printers have been ranked. All of this work has now culminated in the latest Make Magazine, issue #42.
While you’ll need to buy the magazine to get the complete test results, Make has released a free sneak peek at the top 10 performing machines. You can request the PDF by submitting your email here (Edit: PDF no longer available).
What makes this issue of Make magazine all the more interesting is the fact that the editiors did not only publish the ranking of the 3D printers but also the testing methodology that was used to test the machines. Andreas Bastian, a 3D printing research scientist at Autodesk who was part of the test team, developed a set of 3D models specifically designed to test very specific functional characteristics of 3D printers. Each one of the models probes the printer on a single aspect of print quality on aspects such as dimensional accuracy, surface finish, overhang capabilities, deposition control and so forth.
If you are looking to buy a new 3D printer, or just want to get an idea on where consumer 3D printing technology is headed then we can only recommend that you get a copy of the latest Make Magazine. This is simply the most comprehensive and elaborate 3D printer buying guide there is.
Do you have any questions about the Make magazine 3D Printer Shootout 2015? If so, feel free to ask in the comments section below.