3D printing is an innovative way to create three-dimensional objects. In this process, various materials are joined or solidified together to create the object. This is one of the most rapidly used prototyping and additive manufacturing. The best part is that the object can be of any shape and size and are usually produced using a 3D model or any other electronic data source. Additive manufacturing is one of the electronic data sources. There are many other technologies such as stereolithography STL or fused deposit modeling or FDM. This gives the option to build a three-dimensional object from a computer-aided design or CAD model or AMF file.
While there are many 3D printers available in the market it is always a question which is the cheapest and the best 3D printer which is available? Which printer to buy? Which is the best sub $400 USD printer which is in the market? If you are new to 3D printing you will always want to use a printer which is low on investment and easy to use. If you look at the options available in the market, Wanhao Duplicator i3 is the one answer to this question. The most important factor is the cost of this device and also it gives you the option to print a 200x200x200 mm volume of print. It also has a great print quality out of the box and heated bed. The cost of the printer is under $400 USD and is ready to print. It does not need a lot of effort to set it up and can provide stunning results with minimal work.
There are ways to improve the end results with a little bit of extra work. The printer will need a certain standard tuning. The device will need calibration, frame squaring and the most difficult option called bed leveling. There are many upgrades which will get the printer working similar to other expensive machines. It may need extra financial investment for the additional features. Let us look at some of the reasons which make the Wanhao Duplicator i3 the best printer.
Print cooling fan
This is one of the most crucial upgrades. This is essential especially when you are printing a lot of PLA. The setup of the stock can lack a little bit of the extra effort. The above ducts require 50×15 mm radial fan. It will provide the extra cooling needed for a large amount of airflow compared to the other stock box fan.
Composite plate for the Y axis
There are many people who will confirm that the stock provided by the Y-axis plate is the best and without it, it will be difficult to get the bed level reliably. This feature is worth considering.
Build surface upgrade
Usually, the 3D printers come with a non-milled aluminum plate. However, the Wanhao Duplicator i3 comes with a flat build surface of a glass sheet which is 3 mm thick. The glass is made of Borosilicate also known as Pyrex. It has a low-temperature expansion coefficient. This is always better than the regular tempered glass, however, it is expensive. The regular glass will also work as the heated bed heats slowly. You can use few binder clips to hold the glass as well as allow it to expand and contract when heated. This will prevent the glass from breaking.
The X and Y axis bearings can be changed for better results. They can be replaced by IGUS RJ4JP plastic linear bearings which have a low friction and low maintenance cost for the LM8UU linear bearings which are classic.
The micro swiss full metal hotend is the most favorite upgrade. It allows the i3 to reach temperatures over 250-degree Celsius. This helps the printer to build models from filaments such as Nylon and Polycarbonate. The normal stock hotend is good if the temperature does not exceed 245 degree Celsius. For temperatures above this, the PTFE liner starts to degrade and can produce some bad fumes which can also destroy the model.
After looking at the above options and upgrade features, you can say that the Wanhao Duplicator i3 is a great option. It can be upgraded with ease. The print quality can also be improved with each upgrade. The cost and ease of use also make it a perfect 3D printer at the entry level.