Best 3D Printer For Architects – 5 GREAT Options! For many people, it makes a lot of sense to look for the best 3D printer under $400 than to get a more expensive model. It seems obvious that some in an architectural firm (most likely the architects) would see the need for the best 3D printer for architects these days. In fact, even architectural students today recognize the value of these 3D printers for their studies. This post, it’s photos and table include links to products on other websites. If you purchase something through these links we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. CLICK To Our FULL Product Reviews Nowadays, these 3D printers have become a lot more affordable, so they’re now a lot more accessible to students. These also prove terrific investments for various architectural firms. How the Best 3D Printer for Architects Prove Their Value Even a simple 3D printer can work wonders for architects. Here are some ways that the best 3D printer for architects can make your job a lot easier. Impressing Clients This is its most important job, which is why generations of architects have been making models of their designs way before 3D printers became popular and accessible. It’s just that with the 3D printer, you’re able to put in the details more accurately. You can print out buildings with houses, and even print out topographical maps to show hills and trees nearby. These architectural models are certainly more effective in communicating your designs to your clients than any sort of 2-dimensional paper plan. Faster and Easier You’re able to print out your building and house models a lot more quickly than with traditional model-making techniques. Those old techniques can take weeks to finish, while you’re able to finish a print job overnight. It’s really a lot easier too. Easy Changes When your client sees your designs in model form, they may propose changes to features they don’t really like. Making changes to a traditional model will take a lot of time and effort, and sometimes you just have to start over. But with a 3D printer, you just edit the design and reprint the edited model, and you’re done. You can also print out a larger size if you need one, and it will still have the accuracy you want. Factors to Consider From all these 3D printers available these days, which of them qualify as among the best 3D printers for architects? Print Precision The best 3D printer for architects must be able to showcase your design abilities. That means it should print out your model buildings and houses with great accuracy. So, look for a machine with great stability, because a wobbling 3D printer just leads to print mistakes. Large Print Volume An architectural student may be content with a smaller print volume, especially when just starting out into 3D printing. But you need something substantial when you’re already an architect. That way, you’re able to print out models of larger buildings. Even while you print houses beside it to show off the size and magnificence of your designs. Ease of Use If you’re an architect or even an architecture student, you don’t have time to fiddle with fussy machines. All your time must be spent on studying and creating architectural designs. That means your 3D printer must be a simple tool, so you can get on your actual job. Wide Range of Filament Materials If you’re an architecture student, you may be content to use a single filament type (like resin or PLA) for all your architectural designs. But you may have architecture designs that PLA or resin can’t recreate properly. So, it’s best if your machine can work with a range of materials. That way you can be sure that you’re able to flesh out those super fine details you only imagined in your plans. Best Printer for Architects: Top 5 Reviews If you’re looking for the best 3D printer for architects without wasting your money, you should start with our list of top 5 picks: 1. Creality Ender 3 3D Printer “Great for Architecture Students” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Let’s start with a printer that’s so affordable that even a college student majoring in architecture (and neck-deep in student loans) can get it. This is one of the most popular 3D printers around, and you’ll find it mentioned by many as the best 3D printer for architects 2018. It’s not just because it’s so affordable, either. It’s also very easy to use, since it’s designed to meet the needs of students and kids. You do need to get your own 3D modeling program, but that’s something all architects need anyway. Assembly This can take a while to assemble, even though some parts are already preassembled. It doesn’t help that the user manual is basically useless, and you’re better off relying on YouTube videos to demonstrate the whole assembly process. If you’re an expert on 3D printing already (meaning you’ve used 3D printers before), then you may need an hour to get this done. With absolute newbies, maybe 4 or 5 hours for the assembly will be more realistic. It’s not that it’s complicated, but it just takes a while. Simple Use Once that tedious assembly process is done, everything else is a lot more straightforward. You’ll need spools of the PLA filament you need, and you’ll have to get that separately. You then level the bed, load in the filament, and then print out the test file. The SD card that comes with the purchase will come with the slicer software you need. Printing Performance The results you get with the test file will make you feel like it’s all worth of up to this point. It only takes about 5 minutes for the hot bed to reach 110 degrees C (230 degrees F). The level of the print precision is amazing. You can most likely see a lot of fine details that you can really use for your 3D architectural models. Build Volume This can print models that measure 220mm on each side of the base, with a maximum height of 250mm. That’s about 8.7 inches on each side, and up to 9.8 inches tall. This can even resume printing in case there’s a power outage in the middle of the print job. What We LikeVery affordableSome parts are already preassembledStraightforward setup processComes with SD card containing slicer softwareAmazing print precisionGood build volumeResumes printing after power outageEasy enough to useNot So GoodSetup still takes many hoursInstructions are poorOnly uses PLA 2. FlashForge 3D Printer Creator Pro “Uses Lots of Filament Materials” Our Rating: 4.0 Buy From Amazon This is a lot more expensive than the Ender 3, but at least you have lots of freebies with your purchase. You get the following: 2 spools of filament, 1 kilo each, and you get a random material and color2 spool holders2 filament guide tubes2 spare blue platform stickers3 wrenches in different sizesAn unclogging pin2 spare Teflon tubesAn extra leveling knob2 screws (M3x8)M3x6 screwTurbo fan ductUSB cableInjected PC top cover16GB SD card, with FlashPrint and RepligatorG software, along with user manual and test files The freebies aren’t the only reason why it’s listed by many as the best 3D printer for architects 2018 “best of” lists, but they sure don’t hurt Print Capacity This can print up to a volume of 8.9 inches by 5.8 inches by 5.9 inches. You have a layer resolution of 100 to 500 microns, with 11 microns along the XY and 2.5 microns along the Z-axis. 2 Extruders With 2 extruders, you’re able to work with a wide range of filament material types. It also helps that you have an enclosed chamber that you’ll need for materials like ABS. The filament materials you can work with include: ABSABS ProConductive FilamentElasticFlexible FilamentHIPSMetal Filled FilamentPearlPETGPLAPLA Color ChangePPPVATPETPUWood Filled Filament Plenty of Improvements With the FlashForge Creator Pro, you get features that aren’t in the previous models. The extruder wiring router can now efficiently protect the wiring from wear and tear. The platform adjusting screws are larger, so they’re easier to use. The injected PC (polycarbonate, not personal computer) top cover is in a single solid piece, so it’s now stronger and also better at regulating temperature. The front door has also been redesigned so you get better access to the prints inside. What We LikeComes with slicing programsDual extrudersWorks with a wide range of filament materialsNice printing qualityNot So GoodIt’s quite noisyBetter to use Simplify3DLoading filament is not easy 3. ANYCUBIC MEGA X 3D Printer “Best 3D-Printer at this Price” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon At least this is much easier to assemble, since it comes in just 2 modules. All you have to do is to set the 3 cables and 12 screws in, and you’re set. The build quality is terrific, and it’s safe to use. It even comes with a long list of certifications, like UL, CE, FCC, RoHS, and EN. All these are good reasons why many architects consider this as their best 3D printer for architects 2018. Easy Use Leveling here takes a lot less effort, thanks to the larger leveling knob. You reduce the effort by 60% and you can just push with a single finger. The 3.5-inch TFT touchscreen is also very user-friendly, with lots of helpful functions but it works simply enough. Terrific Print Quality First of all, the build volume is quite huge, and it can’t be matched by maybe 90% of the other 3D printers out there. You can print a building model that measures 11.81 inches on each side of the base, with a height of 12 inches. So, you can print a large mall to scale, along with smaller houses beside it to show off the size of the building. Fewer Mistakes Shaking during the print process is one of the most common causes of print failures. But the design here minimizes this particular problem, because of the solid 1-piece frame with an all-metal body. The Y Axis Dual Sideway Design also boosts the platform stability, leading to greater printing accuracy. The Z-axis double screw motor design also offers greater accuracy (and improved durability too) to minimize printing mistakes. Improved Titan Extruder This is designed with greater torque, which makes the feeding of the filament material a lot smoother. It doesn’t jam often, and it works with many types of filaments. These include: PLAABSPETGTPUWoodHIPS What We LikeEasy assemblyLarge print volumeRigid metal frame minimizes wobbles and print mistakesY-axis design with integrated guide rail stabilizes the platformZ-axis double screw motor design more durable and accurateWorks with many filament typesTerrific print qualityNot So GoodThere’s still a learning curveOpen design causes odorQuite heavy 4. ANYCUBIC Photon S 3D Printer “Tailor-Made for Architecture Students” Our Rating: 4.5 Buy From Amazon Okay, comparatively speaking this is a compact machine. The 3D printer itself measures 230mm by 200mm by 400mm, which is9 inches by 7.9 inches by 15.7 inches. These are the measurements of the machine itself, so the print volume is much smaller. You can only print models that measure up to 4.5 inches by 2.6 inches by 6.5 inches. That’s not bad for architectural students, and it makes a lot of sense since this was designed as a starter 3D printer. For newbie students, this may well be the best 3D printer for architects 2018. Easy Leveling Leveling the bed is always crucial, but unfortunately not always easy. But the way this 3D printer was designed makes leveling the bed a lot less difficult. All you really need to do is to just lower the platform to the screen. After that you’re able to do the “paper test” and tighten one screw as needed and be done with it. Dual Z-axis Rails Wobbling is always a problem when it comes to 3D printing, but the design of the dual Z-axis rail stabilizes the printing bed. The printing bed won’t move while you’re in the middle of a print job. That makes this suitable even when you’re printing large models with extremely fine details. Upgraded UV Lighting The way this 3D printer model works is that it uses UV lighting to cure the resin when you print your model. The quality of the UV lighting here is much enhanced, so you get better print resolution and accuracy. In the previous Photon version, you get a 25W LED array. But this time, it has a 38W LED array. You may be even able to show rough surfaces on walls, and various fine details in your house and building designs. It even prints faster, too. Controls Like with other 3D printers, your purchase includes a flash drive that contains your slicer software. The slicer software here is actually a bit too basic, so an actual architect will really need to get a better one. It also has a very responsive touchscreen interface, and it’s reasonably accurate. What We LikeSimple leveling processDual Z-axis rails stabilizes the machineMore powerful UV lightingFaster printing with better print accuracyCompact and easy to move from one room to anotherNot So GoodPrint models are relatively smallerResin really gives off unpleasant fumesChallenging to remove print from platform 5. QIDI TECH X-max “A Worthwhile 3D Printer Investment” Our Rating: 5.0 Buy From Amazon This is the most expensive 3D printer on this list, but then QIDI calls this their “industrial-grade” 3D printer. This may be too expensive for an ordinary architecture student (unless your parents can shoulder the great expense). But it’s worthwhile enough as the best 3D printer for architects 2018 (and 2021). 2 Extruders You have your choice of extruder to use with this machine, greatly expanding the number of filament material types you can work with. The pre-installed extruder works for the more common filament materials. These include PLA, ABS, and TPU. But you can remove this extruder and put in the B extruder, which works for materials like PC (polycarbonate), carbon fiber, and nylon. 2-Sided Removable Plate The 2 sides of the printing plate have different characteristics, so you can pick the best side to work with your chosen filament material. You can go with the front side, when you’re working with more common materials like PLA, ABS, TPU, and even PETG. The reverse side is for more advanced filament materials, so use this for PC, carbon fiber, and nylon. The plate has a curved surface, plus it’s also removable. These features make it a lot easier for you to remove the finished print model from the plate. 2 Types of Filament Placement You’re even able to place the filament that best suits the material you’re working with. You can set the filament outside for more efficient ventilation, when you’re working with PLA, TPU, and PETG. But you can also set the filament material inside the enclosure, which works best for materials like PC, carbon fiber, and nylon. These materials require a constant printing temperature, which you can only get with a fully enclosed design. Terrific Stability This machine features the more stable double Z-axis design, which is a lot more stable than the single Z-axis option. Stabilizing the machine while printing minimizes the chances of wobbling, which then leads to print mistakes and failures. This works well with the larger print volume here, as you can print model buildings that measure 11.8 inches by 9.8 inches, with a height of 11.8 inches. QIDI Software This also comes with a flash drive that contains the QIDI software. Sadly, this software doesn’t really compare favorably with better options like Simplify3D. At least you get a large touchscreen user interface, and it’s user-friendly too. What We LikeVery stable with fill metal support and double Z-axisAllows for use of wide range of filament materialsRemovable bed plate with curved surface for easier print removalLarge print volumeNot So GoodToo pricey for architecture studentsStill need to get the Simplify3D softwareA bit on the heavy side Best 3D Printer for Architects: Conclusion For the most part, our list offers starter printers to familiarize you on the whole 3D printer usage. It won’t take long for you to get used to how it works. It sure is easy to realize the benefits that such a machine can offer you as an architecture student. But once you’ve gotten used to your 3D printer, you really should consider just getting the QIDI X-max. Value for Money There are plenty of 3D printers which are more expensive than this, but this sure gives you a lot of value for your money. With its large print volume, great print accuracy, and relative ease of use, you can build large models of your proposed architectural designs. It would surely wow your clients (or boss). Regardless of which machine you use, it’s clear that with the best 3D printer for architects, you can really show them what you can do as an architect!