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If you’re trying to find the best desktop 3D Printer or an industrial 3D printer, it’s critical to consider your product needs, budget, and revenue goals.
The best 3D printer for your business should be easy to use, affordable, offer quick printing times, increase throughput, and improve productivity.
So if you’re interested in staying up-to-date with the latest developments in 3D printing technology–and the best 3D printer options for this year–keep reading.
Table of Contents
Desktop vs. Industrial 3D Printers
Before choosing the best 3D printer for your products, it’s important to understand the key differences between desktop and industrial models.
Desktop 3D printers are best for the rapid prototyping of small products to optimize workflows right in your office. They’re either fused deposition modeling (FDM) 3D printers or those that use resin-based vat polymerization. The latter include stereolithography (SLA), direct light processing (DLP), masked stereolithography (mSLA), and its subcategory lubricant sublayer photocuring (LSPc). These use a programmable light source to selectively cure part layers in a vat of photoreactive resin.
However, not all FDM or vat polymerization printers are desktop printers; they offer industrial-grade technologies as well. When most people think of industrial 3D printing, they think of powder-bed fusion and metal 3D printing technologies, but this is not always the case. In addition to the advanced technologies, industrial 3D printers also include Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Vat Photopolymerization or Resin 3D printing.
Today’s industrial 3D printing is highly reliable and consistent, has a high resolution, can print with engineering-grade materials, offer high-speed printing, have an ecosystem of materials and software supporting the 3D printer, have a large build volume, require little maintenance, and have foolproof safety features.
Industrial 3D printers are designed for large-scale production and are mainly used in manufacturing operations. The printer’s ability to create complex items from various materials using multiple techniques is a major plus for industrial setups. The cost of these printers can be quite expensive, but the results they offer often justify the investment.
Best Desktop 3D Printers
1. Nexa3D XiP
Nexa3D makes ultrafast 3D printers for designers, engineers, and manufacturers who need to develop and create the products of tomorrow. One of Nexa3D’s fastest printers is the Nexa3D XiP high-performance printer.
The XiP combines a compact footprint with a large build volume and fast print speed to deliver high-quality prototypes for any desktop. It’s patented under Nexa3D’s Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing (LSPc) technology, which has successfully solved the historical speed vs. quality problem. This technology addresses common concerns over usable power, image homogeneity, heat buildup, layer separation, and resin replenishment cycles during the build process.
The Nexa3D XiP printer also has a build time of about 87 minutes, which allows parts to print up to 10 times faster than other leading 3D printers on the market. XiP is also affordable, with printing packages starting at $6295.
If you are looking for speed, precision, and reliability, the XiP printer is the right choice for you.
- Allows users to print at speeds of up to 180 mm per hour.
- Large build volume of 4.8L.
- Provides ultimate flexibility to materials needed.
- Easily upgradeable.
- Easy to operate.
- Open material platform (ability to use with third-party resins).
- Comes with in-built wash packages for post-process.
- Produced from aluminum materials, making it recyclable.
- Modular design.
- It’s best for professional printing, not hobbyist printers.
Best for: Prototypes and production-grade applications for engineering, dental, and other industries.
2. Formlabs Form 3+
The Form 3+ is a desktop 3D printer with solid print quality and an optimized workflow. The desktop 3D printer offers user flexibility including its software and support for multiple materials.
The Form 3+ is popular for its operation and low use of resources, making it ideal for those who want a user-friendly device. However, users still need to properly understand its in-built software, PreForm, to get the most out of the printer.
- One of the most popular desktop 3D printers on the market.
- Offers good print quality and an optimized workflow.
- Relatively affordable.
- It may take some time to understand its software.
- Slow print speeds.
- Not a modular design: once one component fails, you have to replace the entire printer.
- Closed material platform so you must use Formlabs branded resins.
Best for: Users that require user-friendly desktop 3D printing technology to produce prototypes.
3. Creality Ender 3 V2 Neo
The Creality Ender 3 V2 Neo is a desktop 3D printer with reliable results and quality. The device has several features that make it accessible for new users, including its CR touch auto-leveling and quiet print technology. However, it uses FDM technology, which can be less accurate than other technologies like Masked stereolithography (mSLA) and its subcategory lubricant sublayer photocuring (LSPc).
- A budget-friendly option for beginners.
- Auto-leveling and quiet print technology.
- Lightweight and easy to use.
- FDM technology isn’t always as accurate as other 3D printing technologies.
- It lacks an inbuilt patented 3D printing software.
Best for: The Ender 3 V2 Neo is best for new users that want to use FDM technology.
4. Ultimaker S3
Ultimaker S3 is a desktop 3D printer for professionals offering precision and fast printing speeds. The S3 has an open material platform that enables users to work with various materials and sizes, including nylon, polycarbonate, TPU, and PETG. It’s equipped with swappable 0.4-to-0.8mm nozzles that allow users to get the necessary resolution for their parts.
- Swappable nozzles offer flexibility in terms of resolution.
- Its open material platform allows for a broad range of materials and sizes.
- The semi-enclosed design ensures consistent temperature during the printing process.
- It prints metal parts.
- It is relatively expensive compared to other desktop 3D printers on the market.
- It has limited connectivity options for other devices and networks.
Best for: Best for professionals who require metal printing.
5. PRUSA Mini+
PRUSA Mini+ is a desktop 3D printer that uses FDM technology and comes with an integrated automatic calibration system that helps to ensure good prints. The Mini+ also uses an open filament system, making it easy to use various materials like ABS and PLA.
- Fully enclosed frame to protect prints from drafts and dust.
- Lightweight and easy to set up.
- Unable to achieve high-quality surface finish since it’s a filament-based printer.
- Limited customization options for parts.
Best Industrial 3D Printers
The industrial 3D printers below are some of the best on the market:
1. Nexa3D NXE 400Pro
The Nexa3D NXE 400Pro is a top-tier industrial 3D printer designed for professionals who require speed and precision in their printing. The photopolymer 3D printer boasts an unprecedented 17L build volume, delivering ultrafast speed and throughput without compromising its print accuracy.
The NXE 400Pro industrial 3D printer has an inbuilt patented Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing (LSPc®) technology that delivers the required accuracy and tolerances with a superior surface finish for any mSLA 3D printer. Also, the NXE 400Pro industrial 3D printer has one of the best use cases across various industries like automotive, aerospace, and more.
- Ultrafast photopolymer industrial 3D printer.
- Unmatched 17-liter build volume (270 x 155 x 400 mm).
- Best in its class for print speeds (6.5x faster than other SLA and DLP technology).
- LSPc light engine delivers uniform, high power, and distortion-free image to ensure part-to-part accuracy and uniformity.
- A self-lubricated membrane that prevents delamination forces and enables fast print speeds.
- This is also a professional printer (not for hobbyists).
Best for: Production and on-demand manufacturing and functional prototypes.
2. Nexa3D NXE 200Pro
The Nexa3D NXE 200Pro is an industrial-grade 3D printer designed for professionals, designers, engineers, and manufacturers who require ultrafast, accurate, and affordable prototyping and manufacturing solutions.
Also powered by LSPc technology, NXE 200Pro comes with a 200mm z-stroke, perfect for building smaller parts and enabling downstream processes for semi-continuous production. This industrial 3D printer has a 4K LCD screen, which offers uniform exposure and process control with high power/irradiance for beautiful, functional parts and can print up to 6.5x faster than traditional SLA and DLP 3D printers.
- Ultrafast photopolymer 3D Printer.
- An unmatched 8.5-liter build volume (270 x 155 x 400 mm).
- Uses Masked Stereolithography (mSLA) technology.
- Prints up to 20 flat models in 30 minutes.
- Its LSPc light engine delivers uniform, high-power, and distortion-free images to ensure part-to-part accuracy and uniformity.
- Validated dental workflows with Keystone resins.
- It has a slightly smaller build compared to its NXE 400Pro counterpart.
Best for: Engineering, medical applications, as well as prototyping and production-grade applications.
3. Nexa3D QLS820
The Nexa3D QLS 820 is another advanced 3D printer from Nexa3D. With the highest part throughput in its class, this thermoplastic 3D printer is a quad laser system that offers unprecedented production capabilities designed with automation and scalability in mind. It’s about 60% faster than the existing industry standard – with double the average packing density.
The QLS 820 takes 3D printing to a new level, producing up to four times the throughput of traditional laser sintering 3D printers and other polymer powder bed technologies. QLS 820’s smart automation removes pain points in capacity utilization and downstream labor intensity and can print about 8 liters per hour at a 20% job density rate.
Plus, its wide-use temperature range, open-source platform, and inert processing atmosphere allow for printing various materials, including PA11, PA12, and polypropylene, as well as PA12 composite materials with glass, aluminum, and carbon fiber billed options. glass, aluminum, and fiber-filled options.
- Powered by quantum laser sintering which delivers high-throughput, premium production capabilities at 8L per hour at 20% packing density.
- Incredible speed, end-to-end traceability, centralized printer management, and real-time data monitoring.
- Modular Material Processing Station (MMPS) enables safe, powderless, and efficient handling of materials.
- Nexa3D QLS 820 software offers fleet management, print preparation, and real-time printer performance.
- Best for very large print volumes, so it may not be a great fit for smaller budgets.
Best for: High volume production manufacturing in a variety of materials. Injection mold tolerances for full production capabilities, including high temp thermoplastics like PBT and PA6 materials.
4. 3D Systems ProX SLS 6100
The ProX SLS 6100 is an industrial 3D printer from 3D Systems designed for large-scale, production-level 3D printing. The ProX SLS 6100 is powered by selective laser sintering technology and has a powder bed with a build volume of 515x610x610mm, making it best for large parts and small series productions.
- Produced by one of the oldest 3D printing companies in the world.
- Large build volume.
- Relatively expensive compared to other 3D printing technology.
Best for: Ideal for dental resin models, splints, impression trays, occlusal night guards, and more.
5. Stratasys F370
The Stratasys F370 is an industrial-grade 3D printer designed for professional use. While it’s good for printing complex parts, the F370 3D printer has a smaller build volume than other top industrial 3D printers. It also uses Fused Deposition Modeling, which can be slower than other additive manufacturing technologies.
- Quiet 3D printing process.
- Open material platform.
- Smaller build volume.
- Limited FDM 3D printing technology.
Best for: Users looking for an industrial FDM printer
6. Markforged X7
Markforged X7 is a carbon fiber 3D printer from Markforged designed for industrial-scale, production-level 3D printing. The X7 has a build volume of 330x270x200mm and is powered by FDM technology, enabling it to print parts with high strength and stiffness. The X7 also comes with onboard Eiger software that allows users to tweak settings like temperature, speed, and layer height.
- Large build volume.
- An inbuilt 3D printing software with various adjustability options.
- High price point.
- FDM technology can have intrinsic limitations.
Best for: Ideal for parts with high strength and stiffness, such as tooling, fixtures, and jigs.
More 3D Printer Picks
For more ideas on the best 3D printers, the following 3D printers have caught our attention:
Best 3D Printers for Beginners
Hobbyists and new professional users often look for affordable and easy-to-use 3D printers that offer great value for their cost. Beginner 3D printers must offer high-quality prints with minimal setup time, hassle, and speed.
Therefore, the best 3D printer for beginners is the Nexa3D XiP which combines a compact footprint and a large build volume to offer a good balance of speed and quality. Other reputable beginner 3D printers are:
- XYZPrinting da Vinci Mini
- Ender 3 Pro
- Creality CR6-SE
- Formlabs Form 3L
- Original Prusa i3 MK3S+
- Anycubic Kobra
Best 3D Printer for Small Businesses
Small businesses looking to scale need improved productivity and throughput at an affordable rate. The ideal 3D printers for small businesses should have quick print times and high accuracy so businesses can quickly produce prototypes for analysis or end-use parts for commercial production.
Nexa3D’s XiP is another winner here. The XiP is capable of full build volume print jobs that last as little as one hour for production applications. You can use 3rd-party materials and have a controlled experience–all for an incredibly affordable price.
Choose the Best 3D Printer for Your Additive Manufacturing Projects
Choosing the best 3D printer–whether desktop or industrial–can and should take some time. The right 3D printer allows you to move from days or even weeks of prototyping and development time to hours or minutes. This means you can enjoy faster design cycles, a quicker time to market, and in some cases eliminate reliance on traditional manufacturing technologies.
And though there’s an array of 3D printers to choose from, we’re confident that ultrafast 3D printing from the Nexa3D XiP and NXE series can change the future of your products and business.
These 3D printers run on the most powerful 3D printing technology, Lubricant Sublayer Photo-curing (LSPc), and offer advanced features that make 3D printing highly accurate at incredible speeds without compromising accuracy.
Ready to see it in action?