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What Sets an Industrial 3D Printer Apart from a Hobbyist 3D Printer?

3D Printing is a popular and valuable technology in the hobbyist, design, and industrial worlds. As a dramatic departure from the traditional subtractive manufacturing technique, both at-home and industrial 3D Printers employ an additive manufacturing approach to create 3D objects layer by layer.

As a result, 3D Printing allows for quick prototyping, durable small-batch end-use parts and efficient tooling applications whilst lowering material and labour costs for both commercial and consumer applications.

But deciding on 3D Printers can be complicated, as there are various models available on today's market – with each model offering unique features, positives and negatives depending on the user's application. Significantly this article will dissect the few major distinctions between consumer desktop printers and lab-level industrial 3D Printers.

Hobbyist & Industrial 3D Printers: Ease of Use & Accuracy

Though home 3D printers are perfect for printing a few things like Baby Yodas. On a larger scale, hobbyist 3D Printers have print limitations (typically with tolerances of ± 0.5 mm), require frequent calibration, and frequent maintenance. For example, it's common a user will have to reprint once, twice, three, or four times to get the 3D Printing 100% precise.

Thus, most home 3D printers can provide acceptable print quality; however, the results achieved are highly dependent on the abilities and experience of the person running the printer, and end-print models often take additional processing time.

Professional industrial 3D printers, on the other hand, are designed for reliability, speed, performance, and large batch printing. Even today, users of industrial 3D printers don't require tons of complex training to operate the machine as most machines are so highly automated, they can run independently from the user.

While hobbyist 3D desktop printers are not far behind, industrial 3D Printers facilitates the printing of complex structures and allows for a smoother surface unmatchable to the hobbyist models. Industrial 3D printers deliver high accuracy mass printing with a minor error tolerance of up to ± 0.15 mm.

Hobbyist & Industrial 3D Printers: Applications

Although the ease of use of desktop and industrial 3D Printers differ, it is important to understand when the hobbyist desktop printer may be utilised more successfully than the industrial versions.

Most home 3D Printers are insufficiently robust for fast prototyping in industrial applications. Hobbyists and home users who want to produce replacement parts, personalised goods, toys, and ornamental objects are the target market for desktop 3D Printer. Thus, if you want to make a prototype, you may utilise a desktop 3D printer with a print accuracy of approximately 1 to 0.5 mm.

In contrast, industrial 3D Printers offer almost an endless supply of industry applications currently utilised in the aerospace, defence, medical, consumer goods, automotive, and architectural industries. If you want to create an object with the best dimensional accuracy, repeatability, particular material characteristics (such as high strength, temperature and chemical resistance etc.), and large dimensions (more than 200 x 200 x 200 mm), you will need to utilise an industrial 3D Printer.

Hobbyist & Industrial 3D Printers: Cost

The cost of desktop 3D printers and industrial 3D printer prices are a significant distinction when choosing between the two devices. With the growth in popularity of desktop 3D printers, the cost of owning and operating a hobbyist printer has dropped substantially. But as a buyer, you must not only consider the cost of the machine, but by the materials and maintenance, it requires. For example, well-made, better materials are less expensive because they tend to be replaced less often.

Furthermore, the best 3D Printer for you should be determined by which printer will save you money in the long term. For example, there is a way to save money in the long term by spending more initially, with the Markforged Mark Two.

Designers and engineers will use the Mark Two to substitute machined aluminium tooling with stronger parts for a fraction of the cost. Incorporating commercial 3D Printing with unique continuous carbon fibre reinforcement and distinctive software with flexible parts that are ready to use right away and have up to 26 times the strength of normal 3D printing products like ABS.

Thus, the best 3D Printer price depends entirely on what you wish to achieve. For factory and production manufacturing, High Accuracy, large format printers would best suit. For engineering designs, you'll need to decide if a higher performance printer is worth the extra few thousand dollars. For smaller-scale shops like jewellery designers or sculptures, resin SLA printers can produce fine and intricate details.

Why Choose a Consumer/Personal/Hobbyist 3D Printer?

Consumer 3D printing seeks to mimic the professional 3D printing experience on a smaller scale and for a lower price. For basic applications, where a user has the luxury of time and tinkering, these are a great way to get your feet wet with 3D printing.

When used in a professional environment, however, these printers may provide somewhat underwhelming results. Due to the limitations of personal/hobbyist 3D Printers, these businesses will eventually need to switch to a professional FDM 3D Printer.

Why Choose a Professional/Industrial 3D Printer?

When you upgrade to an Industrial 3D Printer, one of the biggest improvements you'll notice is the simplicity of usage. These printers are intended to be trade tools, and as such, they are meant to function perfectly right out of the box, set up to operate with the proper material immediately, so the user doesn't have to worry about print failures, part performance, melt temperature, build tray preparation, etc.

Sourcing Commercial 3D Printers and 3D Printing Materials at Emona

Over the last few years, 3D Printing has advanced tremendously. As a result, the consumer 3D printing sector has expanded, offering various low-cost choices for enthusiasts and home users.

Professional 3D printers, on the other hand, continue to improve in terms of speed, dependability, and quality. As a result of these developments, the 3D printing market is anticipated to expand at a rate of 20% per year.

Hence, the potential of 3D Printing is still in its infancy; in the coming years, almost all industries and companies will use the technology to enhance their manufacturing and supply chains. Emona Instruments caters for a range of budgets, functions and technologies, suitable for R&D professionals, production lines or the classroom.

Whether you are looking for high-quality electronic test and measure instruments, test and tag instruments, state of the art 3D printers, 3D printer accessories or engineering teaching & research equipment, Emona supplies only globally trusted manufacturers. Emona caters for a range of budgets, functions and technologies, suitable for R & D professionals, production lines or the classroom. 

From Markforged Carbon Fibre Composite and Metal 3D Printers printing in stainless steel, tool steel, copper and Inconel, through to Formlabs SLA 3D Printers printing resin, the Emona team are ready to help with expert advice and benchmark sample part printing. Contact the Emona team for more information or technical support on (02) 9519 3933, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.emona.com.au/markforged.

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