Aug 8, 2018

3D Printer Under $100 – Does it make sense to buy one?

If you are looking to buy a 3D printer under $100 you may ask yourself if it makes sense to buy one... but we are here to help. In this article, you'll find short descriptions of three popular sub $100 3D printers and finally, the pros and cons to the question.

Startt: A Sub-$100 3D Printer Kit

To give you some insight into cheap, sub $100 3D printers, we’re going to going to kick things off with a fairly well known 3D printer DIY kit that retails for $99.99. It’s called the “iMakr Startt”, and its goal is to make 3D printing even more accessible and fun to the people who are newbies in the 3D printing world. 

One of the most important things about a 3D printer under $100 is the build quality of the printer itself and the electronics that are inside the printer. The Startt is an attractive machine thanks to its sub $100 price tag, but it’s biggest cons are its lack of frame rigidity and its fairly small build volume. Despite these drawbacks, the iMakr Startt prints rather well, considering its price tag. 

The iMakr Startt has a few more pros, one of them being that all the tools you need to assemble the printer are in the box. It comes with a fairly good set of assembly instructions that even include free start guides in the form of videos on YouTube. iMakr provides ten free 3D printable designs from their STL repository “MyMiniFactory” to customers too, as they say, kickstart their journey into the 3D printing world.

If you want to read more about the iMakr Startt, click right here.

101Hero: Fully assembled, Ready to Use

The next printer we’re going to look at is called the 101Hero 3D printer. It had a sub $100 price tag back in 2017 when it was released, but today the price tag climbed to $104, but still it’s around $100 so we’re going to express the pros and cons of this printer. 

Just as the iMakr Startt, the biggest cons of this and mostly all sub-$100 3D printers are the build quality of the printer itself, the electronics inside and the rather small build volume. 101Hero is cheap thanks to the smart engineering that enabled the use of extremely cheap components for this printer, but hey, it works.

The stepper motor of the 101Hero is a very cheap component that can be found for around $3 from China. It is used in 3D printing pens which is not the best solution, but it works and prints OK. 101Hero comes in multiple colors such as blue and yellow and it’s case feels rather cheap, obviously. The 101Hero 3D printer comes fully assembled, and it’s pretty much ready to use straight out of the box.

You can check out the 101Hero here.

Kodama Obsidian: Is this the Best Printer under $100?

As you may know, Kickstarter is full of cheap 3D printers and the one we’ll describe is called the Kodama Obsidian. You can pre-order one today for $99 through Kodama’s Kickstarter campaign which can be found here

One of the first things you’ll notice about the Kodama Obsidian is it’s sleek, minimalistic design, and to be honest, we really like that. The basic Kodama Obsidian costs just $99 and it is a great choice for newbies in 3D printing.

The build volume is surprisingly big for a sub $100 3D printer and the design of the X and Z axis rods is obviously borrowed from Ultimaker’s 3D printers. The Kodama Obsidian is a sub $100 3D printer that has a lot to offer and we think it may be one of the best if not the best sub $100 3D printer available to order/pre-order today.

If you want to find out more about Kodama’s Obsidian 3D printer, click right here.

The Final Verdict - Is a Sub $100 3D Printer Worth the Money?

Buying a 3D printer for $100 or even less sounds great, but you need to keep in mind that most cheap 3D printers generally use cheap components which may not be very durable and we would suggest you lower your expectations when ordering one.

The answer to the question that is in the heading of this article isn’t that simple. If you are really interested in 3D printing and want to get a 3D printer but you are very tight on budget, we would suggest you to try one of those sub $100 3D printers and see how it goes. But if you have a bit more flexible budget, we recommend you not to immediately buy one of the cheap printers just because the price is very attractive. In fact, we think that it would be a good decision, if you have the budget, to look into some more expensive printers (price range: around $250 ) because then you’ll get better quality components and a better printer overall, in most cases.

The final answer is that yes, $100 3D printers are, most often, worth the money, especially for people with very tight budget and if you are planning to buy one, make sure your expectations aren’t very high and prepare to experience frustration because as we said, cheap printers usually come with cheap electronics that may not be very durable so they may break after some time. Buying a sub $100 3D printer can be a great but also a bad move, it all depends on the product you choose and what your expectations are for a printer that is that cheap.

License: The text of "3D Printer Under $100 – Does it make sense to buy one?" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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