My main goal is prototyping so print quality is most important to me. What would be some models to consider in my price range?


The Lulzbot Taz 6 would be good. I use two Taz 5’s and a mini and they have all been very reliable and consistent. They also have a great variety of materials they can print.


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Google “3D hubs printer guide” and take a look at the printer reviews and prices submitted by Hubs who use them.

Doesn’t seem to have many models above $2000

How is the print quality of the Taz? The 3DHubs guide shows “print quality” as a con for the Taz5

Its good for me. It also won Make Magazine as Best Overall Printer


A little more than what you might want to spend, but Gizmo 3D Printers with resin and a projector start at $3600 and you can print continuously at 1mm per minute with a projection area of 70mm x 39mm with the standard machine. That print speed can be upgraded to 3mm per minute with a projection area of 110mm x 62mm. An area of 325mm x 183mm can be printed at 0.5mm per minute

Hi, I would get a Zortrax, no doubts. If interested wecan print a sample.


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could you give more details on what exactly you are looking for?

- Materials

- Nozzle size and temperature

- Primary application (what type of prototypes : engineering parts, figurines, jwellery etc.)

-Build volume.

will be able to give a good answer with these parameters.

You could always make your own! With $2500 you can have a VERY large printer. I purchased some ballscrews from ebay cheap for the z and y axis of a self designed printer. Along with some 2020 aluminum extrusions from openbuilds and readily available hotends from ebay, you can have a printer with almost invisible layer lines. Of course it helps that i have a laser cutter and cnc available for any kind of custom plates that needed to be cut.

What build area does your prototyping require?

For FDM type of printers I would say the Ultimaker 2+ (extended). The upgraded material feeder made the whole machine very reliable. I’m printing almost daily (mostly prototypes) with it since 4 months now and it never clogged, skipped layers or whatever and hits 95% succesfull prints I guess. The remaining 5% would also be good if I made the right settings in Cura, so it was not machine failure. It handles a lot of filaments (I did some succesfull experiments with flexible materials and Colorfabb XT, HT, NGEN) but I mostly print PLA. Bed levelling is easy and the whole machine has a nice build quality and reliable sense to it. Print quality and precision is very very good, if you want to print slowly that is.

There are printers for sale with better specs at a better price, but from what I have seen they do not have the same print quality as the Ultimaker. The fact that Ultimaker has it’s own software package (cura) which is optimized for it, makes the whole experience a lot smoother and without hassles I guess.

You can also consider the BCN3D Sigma, while it’s promising on paper I have not yet seen it make prints of equal precision as the UM2+. Also it’s a lot more noisy :wink:


I think there shouldn´t be a discussion, Zortrax is beyond any other competitor for this budget :slight_smile:



would defiantly recommend the Zortrax. Have a Formlabs too, in terms of quality the formlabs is great. Also feasibility for formlabs is much better. If you design your prototypes to fit FFD requirements, Zortrax can provide great Quality.

Zortrax M200. Pretty fast, reliable, great value for the money. I use it (primarily) for prototyping, too. Z-ULTRAT is really great material…

With that budget you really should consider the Ultimaker 2… you’ve got a few choices in that price range at the moment but stretching to the Ultimaker 2 Extended plus would be my advice. You could always forget the plus and upgrade to an Olsson block yourself… easy upgrade. Having said that the main downside of the Ultimaker is no dual extrusion for support material but it makes up for that with it’s higher quality results.

It’s also definitely a plug n play type printer… however you will still have to get your hands dirty at some point along the line… but community support is also second to none. One bit of final advice is DO NOT buy a 3D printer which has it’s own filaments (proprietary)… always too restrictive if you want to experiment with new materials regarding prototyping.

Good review here…

Much luck


Take a good look at the Tiertime UPBox. I run one and it has been a breeze to operate, produces good prints and has a fairly large build volume. If some curious person hadn’t opened the lid, let the heat out and warped the part, my first print would have been sold to a customer - not bad for a Friday evening “impulse” purchase…

Zortrax is a proprietary printer isn’t it… good but you can only use their filaments… zero restrictions required in my opinion…

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I would recommend the Zortrax M200. Look at the stats in 3D Hubs and see the great number of reviews that has been posted. This is an no non sense machine that performs right out of the box. Perfect for prototypes. The filaments are not that expensive for the quality you get and makes up for the failed prints you would spend your cheap filament on with other printers.

Just what I was about to post, its hard to say what is the best, the “best” for what?

Do you have any existing experience with 3D printing?

Are you mechanically minded or do you need something plug and play?