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3D Printer Specifications

Printer Type

The most common 3d Printer types are:

FDM:Fused Deposition Modeling
SLA:Stereolithography
SLS:Selective Laser Sintering

The majority of desktop 3d printers are FDM printers.

Print Volume

Specifies the maximum size of objects the printer can print. You still can build larger objects by printing multiple parts of the final object and then glue them together.

Heated bed

Specifies if the printer comes with a heated bed.

Heated bed is a warmed surface that keeps the base of the printed object from unwanted cooling and shrinking. Heated beds are usually built from glass, ceramics, or metal.

Using a heated bed you can usually get better quality builds with materials such as ABS and PLA.

Number of Nozzles

The number of nozzles the printer is shipped with. The "nozzle" or "extruder" is the part of the printer that heats up and extrudes the printing material. With a multinozzle printer, you can print multicolored objects.

Maximum number of Nozzles

Some printers can be extended with more nozzles then they are shipped with. This is the maximum number of nozzles the printer can operate with.

Assembled

Specifies if the printer is fully assembled by the manufacturer, or if it is a Do It Yourself kit that requires further assembling.

Layer resolution

The minimum layer thickness that the printer can lay down. The smaller the resolution number is, the better is the printing quality. The resolution also depends on the material used. The given resolution might not be possible with all materials.

Print Speed

Specifies the "Maximum Print Speed" as given by the manufacturer.

This indicates how fast the print-head can move while it is laying down material. Sometimes also called the "maximum build speed". This maximum speed is usually not the speed at which you should print. The optimal print speed often is around 40 mm/s even when printers often can print at 150 mm/s or more.

The print speed is not to be confused with the "travel speed" which is the speed at which the print head can move while not extruding material. And also not to be confused with the "Print volume per second" which indicates how fast the printer can extrude material.

How long a print takes, very much depends on the model you are printing. For FDM printers, there is no formula that takes the size of an object and tells you how long it will take. Because the details of the object matter.

Open Source

Specifies if the printer hardware is open source.

Material Diameter

Specifies the diameter of the material the printer can use.

Common diameters are 1.75mm and 2.85mm.

Nozzle diameter

Specifies the diameter of the nozzle the printer uses.

The nozzle diameter is not to be confused with the diameter of the filament.

The standard nozzle diameter is 0.4mm.

Software included

Specifies if the printer ships with software.

Some printers can also use open source sofware for 3D modeling. Popular open source programs are Cura, ReplicatorG and Repetier Host.

Connectivity

Specifies how the printer can be connected for printing and configuration. Common options are:

USB
SD-Card
Ethernet
Wi-Fi