Ask Tough Questions Before Buying a 3D Printer

ringsAs you head to JCK at the end of May and enter into the technology area, you are going to see at least half a dozen 3D printers from different manufacturers offering you the lowest cost printers that can deliver “according to them” all that you need to be competitive and 3D print your designs. It makes sense to guide you through this field of equipment to the right printer that meets your needs and fits your budget. For starters, you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.

So, When you are looking to buy a 3D printer, here is the list of questions to ask:

  1. Is the 3D printer running an industrial projector with square pixels and glass uv optics built for 3D printing or an off the shelf projector using diamond pixels for watching movies for better image blending and plastic non UV optics?
    •  Take note that If you buy the ProJet 1200, you get the $99 pico projector, or the Asiga which gives you the Dell M115 business projector, or the Kevvox which uses the Optima home theatre projector, or the B9 creator which with a vivitek home theatre projector. Projectors in low cost printers are modified by manufacturers to deliver low cost printers that can only survive around 90 days of daily usage. They are designed for visible light not UV light for resin curing.
  2. What materials can the machine run?
    • Only plastic models or castable wax based resin. Yes, they all claim that they have castable resin, but before you buy, please try casting in-house a sample of a real ring from them before you believe their sales pitch.
  3. Can they build with different materials such as high temp for rubber molding and wax based for direct casting or are you limited to one material?
  4. Are you restricted to using their proprietary file format or do you have freedom to print any design in an STL format?
  5. Do they have real live people to support you or are they asking you to email them because they are not based in the USA and support is only available via email?
    • Before you put a deposit on that printer to get their show special, get their tech support phone number, walk 5 feet away from booth and see if you get any one to answer on the other side when you ask for tech support.
  6. What happens if your printer breaks down?
    • Do they have a guaranteed repair turnaround time, and will they build your rings while your printer is in transit or being repaired?

Cheap machine means cheap parts, no service, and no support and worst of all cheap quality output not good enough for the eyes of a jeweler with a loop.

Go with a reputable product that is not cheap but properly priced backed by a company with a first class support team. Go with a professional grade printer designed from the ground up for high end jewelry printing, and don’t forget to ask the tough questions before you buy another cheap printer that will become another coat hanger.

If you want to experience some of the same advantages, contact EnvisionTEC today to speak with a sales representative.

Phone: 1-313-436-4300


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