7 Best Open Source 3D Printers | Customize Your 3D Printer

Are you considering buying an open source 3D printer? Do you need to know more about it?

Open source 3D printers are becoming more and more popular today because you can tweak them to work the way you want them to operate. They are usually cheaper and customizable.

However, they might not be the best option for beginners because they usually require some knowledge or experience. But if you are willing to learn and you are interested in working on a machine that you can upgrade or modify an open source 3D printer is the best choice.

If you are into open source hardware or open source 3D printing software, get an open source 3D printer. For novices, do not worry because I am here to help. Let’s explore the best open source 3D printers together and find the top brands available on the market.

Best Open Source 3D printers

Open source 3D printers are very attractive to those who enjoy customizing and upgrading their machine.

Working with open-source 3D printers offers you unlimited potential and limitless upgrades. So, if you are into this type of machine, here are the best 3D printing machines to get!

1. Anet 8

Anet 8 is a budget and popular cheap 3D printer based on the Prusa i3 design. It is one of the most popular DIY 3D printers in the market. It’s in the low-end of the pricing range which makes it among the top choices especially to those who want to start 3D printing but are on a tight budget.

When it comes to the design, it is not different from other Prusa i3 clones on the surface level. It has an Open-framed design that most people will instantly recognize. The 3D printing material used in the frame is housed in an acrylic frame instead of aluminum.

Since Anet 8 is cheap you can’t expect it to be perfect. Acrylic frame is a red flag to most people since plastic frames are known for being less stable and a lot more fragile than all-metal frames. Also, since it has an open design its electronics are exposed.

A8 is not loaded with a lot of features – the thing doesn’t even have an actual power switch, which means the only way to power it down is to unplug it. But it is fairly easy to assemble because it includes the necessary hardware. However, if you are a complete novice with no prior knowledge or experience, you might find the assembly complicated and challenging.

But do not worry, the assembly instructions are easy to comprehend and follow. The entire assembly process can take six hours to 12 hours. If you are busy and can’t sit down for long hours, no worries, you can stretch out the initial setup to several days or an entire week!

Anet A8 has a large build volume which means you can print more complex 3D models. It has an open filament system and offers two connectivity options — USB connection and SD card.

Overall, it’s reliable, accurate, and a cheap 3d printer. It comes with with a fairly large build volume, so it’s a good value for money, so I highly recommend it.

Pros

• Affordable price


• Self-assembly


• Excellent 3D printer for beginners


• Soldi build frame


• 3D printable upgrades


• Large print volume


• Heated print bed


• High-quality printing performance


• Includes all tools needed to assemble

Cons

• Rake many hours to assemble the printer


• Electronics included are not of the highest quality


• Acrylic (plastic) frame


• Modifications recommended


2. Creality Ender 3

Creality’s name is from their motto “Create Reality, Achieve Dreams” so it’s pronounced ‘cree-ality not ‘see-reality’. It is basic but offers you a solid experience making it a great entry-level open source 3D printer for beginners.

Creality Ender 3 is another popular 3D printer because it is low-cost and fairly easy to set-up because it is pre-assembled. Beginners will surely love it because it only requires very few steps to make it work.

Creality designed this with BuildTak-like build plate and power recovery mode capabilities. It also uses V-slot wheels in aluminum profiles for linear movement delivering smooth and precise operation.

Another reason many purchase Ender 3 is due to its massive community support. Plus, it has plenty of upgrades and mods to go around. In fact, it’s one of the best open source 3D printers under $200.

Ender 3 is affordable and delivers great quality prints for its price! If you want to get a 3D printer from Creality, you should consider it.

Pros

• Patented Bowden Extruder (against blockages)


• Heatable printing plate


• Low-noise


• Various filaments usable


• Excellent print quality


• The anti-power failure function


• Won’t slip

Cons

• No automatic leveling of the printing plate


• Printing bed uneven


• Axles must be retrofitted


• Slightly wobbly base plate


• Possibly unclean results when using ABS filaments


• Cabling of the power supply inferior


3. Creality Ender CR-10

Creality CR-10 is a large format 3D printer. It is reliable, accurate and affordable. 3D printer users love it because of its ability to produce flawless prints on a very spacious heated bell.

CR-10 has been out since 2016, yet it hasn’t lost its popularity and still is a favorite when it comes to 3D prints with large print volumes. Not to mention, large prints are very fun to work on.

Creality CR-10 is very similar to Prusa-13 but much more affordable and beginner-friendly. It is easy to assemble because it is already semi-assembled. You can just put the frame with brackets and bolts together and do the writing for the stepper motors. Another good thing with

CR-10 is that it has updated its bed leveling nuts to larger ones for finer control. Also, it has a simple design and only a few moving parts which makes it easier to troubleshoot. It also has a removable glass print bed.

Overall, CR-10 is affordable and user-friendly which makes it a great open source 3D printer for beginners.

You might also be interested in our reviews on the 10 Best Large 3D printers.

Pros

• Easy handling


• Quick to set up


• Useful for beginners


• Moderate price

Cons

• Needs large space


• Aligning the bed is cumbersome


• Heating time takes relatively long


• Unfavorable placement of filament


4. Snapmaker 2.0

Snapmaker 2.0 a modular 3-in-1 3D printer that unlocks your full creative potential from 3D printing to laser engraving, cutting, and CNC carving. Snapmaker 2.0 is smarter, faster, larger, and more powerful than ever before. That’s not all, it is also tough, durable and flexible!

It started as a Kickstarter and open source community, it became an instant hit to those who want a multi-functional tool because it has interchangeable modules that you can change just like changing lenses on a camera. It’s a 3D printer that can switch to a laser cutter and then to a desktop CNC.

For CNC carving, it has a router to create precision 2.5D and 3D objects. It offers a faster speed and larger working space compared to the original model.

It also caters to a wide variety of printing materials you find in daily life are laser engravable or cuttable, including paper, plywood, leather, acrylic, cardboard, fabric and even food like cookies and coconuts. Also, since you are looking for an open source 3D printer, you will love it more because it has a modular design that you can upgrade and customize.

There are a lot of great things to say about Snapmaker because it is more than just a 3D printer. It does more, so it is packed with more powerful features compared to the other open source 3D printers on our list.

You can also check our 5 Best 3-in-1 printers review here.

Pros

• Modular design


• High resolution


• Large workspace


• Easy to assemble


• High-precision


• Wi-Fi connectivity


• Power loss recovery


• Auto-leveling


• Lot of adds-on (enclosures, light, hand wheel, emergency stop button, camera)

Cons

• Loud


• Native CNC carving can still be improved


5. Prusa SL1

Prusa SL1 is a resemblance of the Original Prusa i3 printers and is also labeled as Open Source which signifies compatible support for third-party resin with no proprietary vats, resins or. FEP films. It is well fitted with the quality of 3D printers. Also, since it is open-source, you have to build your own scratch, assemble the kit or buy one expertly pre-built by Prusa research.

SL1 is well-suited with a broad range of different resins with lower cost and better maintenance. It has a resin level sensor situated in the resin bed known as the tank. It helps determine the maximum quantity of polymer into the tank and provides a notification about resins if it is running slowly or needs a refill for better compilation and simulation.

It also comes with an impressive cooling system and vapor releasing system because good airflow is very essential for a 3D printer. It also comes with smart features, including a full-color LCD touch screen and the G-codes can be uploaded with the help of a USB flash drive.

Prusa SL1 is more refined, less forgiving but the quality is closed as you get to injection molding and therefore favored by jewelers, modelers and dentists because of the high quality detailed durable finish.

Overall, Prusa SL1 is a great option for an open source 3D printer because it is designed to save you from hassle and time by saving your progress so it can resume after a power outage. It is also very smart because it pauses when the filament runs out, so that the print doesn’t fail and can detect when the filament clogs.

Pros

• Complete ecosystem with the CW1


• Minimal setup


• Comprehensive build guide (if you get the kit)


• Slick design


• Compatible with third-party resin


• Replaceable carbon filter

Cons

• Relatively small print bed, for the price


• Washing turbine (CW!) does not function properly


• Slicer estimated time is inaccurate


• Supports sometimes lose adhesion to bed at fingers


• Bed raising not possible mid-print


6. Lulzbot Mini

Lulzbot Mini is a high-performance desktop 3D printer that is perfect for makers, designers, engineers, architects and anyone looking for an easy-to-use desktop 3D printer.

It is open source and very easy to use because it was built to work straight out of the box. Also, is easy to set up, has no complicated assembly process and has a user-friendly and straight-forward operating system. In fact, you can make it work in just 15 minutes after unboxing.

If you are a beginner and do not have enough knowledge and experience about open source systems but want to get a Lulzbot Mini, no problem, because you’re sure to get the support you need. Once you get the hang of it, you will love Lulzbot Mini even more because it is open source and open and free for anyone to improve upon.

There is a diverse community collaborating on the Lulzbot Mini and all other Lulzbot products which promises a better product rooted firmly in the needs of innovators.

Overall, Lulzbot Mini is a reliable and easy-to-use printer, which makes it great for anyone from beginners up to advanced users.

Pros

• Supports a wide range of materials


• Outstanding print quality


• Easy to use


• Fast and quiet performance


• Removable heated print bed with dual surfaces


• Automatic bed leveling system


• Professional printing out of the box


• 0.5 mm nozzle for a variety of applications


• Solid frame

Cons

• Uses its version of Cura


• The build plate a little small


• Limited build volume


• Has to be connected to a computer


• More expensive than many comparable models


7. Formlabs Form 3

Formlabs Form 3 is a high-end stereolithographic (SLA) printer that uses a laser to zap liquid resin into a solid form. It is high-quality, low hassle but expensive compared to other open source 3D printers. But if you have the budget, this open source 3D printer is very much worth it!

It has an impressive build volume with laser and optics under the resin tank in a sealed package called the Light Processing Unit that keeps it from dust. When it comes to its performance, it produces an excellent quality print with fine details and smooth finishing with organic curves and surfaces when the fastest print setting is used. The layers of the print were barely visible even on the fastest 25-micron print setting.

The assembly depends on your experience. For complete novices, it may take between 10 t o17 hours to make it work. But if you are determined to make it, you can surely pull it off. Others with knowledge and experience find it very easy to set up.

It has an excellent touch screen that allows you to control the printer directly giving you access to all of the features available. This is best for small and medium businesses in need of a high-detailed workhorse. This is a great value for money because it is reliable and consistent and delivers high-detail prints.

Check also our 10 Best Resin 3D printers here.

Pros

• The print speed is fast as compared to its predecessor


• The surface quality is improved


• Controlled monitoring is available


• Price is decent when compared to the other SLA printers


• Advanced SLA technology coined as Lower Force Stereolithography


• Closed body, hence safe

Cons

• Need support structure for prints


• Post-processing requirement


Conclusion

Open source 3D printers are great options for those who want to work around their machines. If you are the type who wants to customize your 3D printer, tweak and upgrade it, this is your best option. These printers give you the chance to work on different materials and a variety of software. You can even upgrade its look!

The best thing about open source 3D printers is that they are usually affordable but highly-customizable. Most of them need to be assembled and set up, so others, especially beginners, are not drawn to it. But, hear this out, some are pre-assembled and when you get this type of printer, you will have endless opportunities to upgrade it. Thus, you don’t need to buy a new one as you improve your 3D printing skills. An open source 3D printer can grow alongside you!

If you wish to learn more about 3D printers, please check our homepage.

Related:

Best sites for STL 3D printing files, Learn more about FDM 3D printing, Best Cosplay 3D Printers

References

  • 3dsourced.com/3d-printers/open-source-3d-printer/
  • pick3dprinter.com/best-open-source-3d-printers/
  • opensource.com/tags/3d-printing
  • techradar.com/best/best-3d-printers
  • prusa3d.com
  • techradar.com/reviews/original-prusa-sl1
  • 3dsourced.com/3d-printers/open-source-3d-printer/
  • 3dinsider.com/anet-a8-review/
  • total3dprinting.org/top-5-best-open-source-3d-printers-for-2017/

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