Best Cheap 3D Printers Under $1000: My Top 3 Picks Of 2017
Here I want to help you pick a 3d printer that’s under $1000. Depending on what you’re looking for, I have picked three of the best printers under $1000. I chose this printers because of characteristics they have like high quality prints, long lasting printer, reliability, amazing customer service, easy to use, and the ability to print with many different types of materials.
The first 3D printer I picked and my favorite out of the three is the QIDI TECH 1. It’s a popular printer used in classrooms, also used by hobbyists and beginners. This printer fits all users and comes with awesome features. My second pick is the QIDI TECH X-ONE and it’s also the cheapest out of the three. It is a strong and an amazing printer, good for someone who is trying to get into 3D printing with a lower budget.
Lastly, I chose the HICTOP Creality CR-10. This printer has the largest max print size out of the three. It can produce huge prints and with amazing print quality. It is also very customizable. If you’re looking for a lighter printer that can print in really big scales then this is the printer for you.
If you want to see more lower budget options check out my article best cheap 3d printers under $500
- 1)QIDI TECH 1
- Key Features of the QIDI TECH 1
- What is a Dual Extruder?
- What is the advantage of the QIDI TECH 1 being fully enclosed?
- What slicing software can be used with this printer?
- Is there a difference between the QIDI TECH 1 and the Flashforge Creator Pro?
- What would be beneficial to get with your 3D printer?
- What is the best print filament to start with?
- What add ons/modifications can you make to the QIDI TECH 1?
- 2)QIDI TECH X-ONE
- 3)HICTOP Creality CR-10 3D Printer
- My Verdict
This is one of the most popular printers in the market, which is no surprise as it is an amazing printer and comes with everything you would want in a 3D printer. A unique feature is the dual extruder, that lets you print with two different color material at the same time. It is also a fully enclosed 3D printer making it safe for kids and pets around the house.
The QIDI TECH 1 produces beautiful high quality prints, and is known for being a strong and long lasting 3d printer. Also it’s beginners friendly and easy to use. I would highly recommend it to anyone.
Key Features of the QIDI TECH 1
The QIDI TECH 1 comes with two extruders. This lets you print with two colors, making your prints more colorful and nicer looking.
Enclosed 3D printer
This printer is fully enclosed, this reduces the chance of errors and gives you a better chance of successfully printing what you want.
Full Metal Frame
In the printing process there is moving parts that causes vibrations, with the full metal frame that the QIDI Tech 1 comes with it helps to make the printer more stable. The reason you want a stable strong frame is so your printer lasts longer by withstanding the vibrations made by the moving parts.
The company performs an extensive quality test of your printer before shipping it to you. This is really nice to have and a way to make sure your printer works properly before you get it.
Amazing Customer Service
If for some reason you have any problems or questions, QIDI customer service will generally answer your email within 24 hours. You can also call them and very nice people will help you out from China.
They give their customers a one year warranty. This includes any issues you have with the printer within the one year. If for example something is broken or breaks they will send you a new replacement part.
What is a Dual Extruder?
First a extruder is the part of the printer that heats up to melt the printing material. After the material is melted the extruder then pushes out the melted printing material in layers, which cools down making your print.
With two extruders you can make two color prints with really cool effects. So you would have different color filament in each extruder, and you can make your print a two color print. This is an awesome feature feature to have, a lot of people 3D printing really like it. I have even heard of people experimenting with two different types of materials to make one print.
What is the advantage of the QIDI TECH 1 being fully enclosed?
QIDI TECH 1 is a fully enclosed 3D printer. A lot of other 3D printers are open concept 3D printers. When I say fully enclosed, what am saying is that the inside where the printing happens is completely shielded from all sides.
Being completely enclosed protects the printing process from being affected by air drafts and change in temperature. Only a controlled environment and ventilation is created by the printers fan. This is a really good feature to have because a lot of the printing materials, are very sensitive to temperature changes created by air drafts.
Air drafts can cause temperature changes in the print, which can cause errors and deformations while cooling down.
What slicing software can be used with this printer?
There are a lot of softwares that can be adapted and used with the QIDI 1. They all work differently and have different advantages.
Most people will start with the Replicator G/Makerware software, which comes with the printer and is designed for it. So it is free and is made for this specific printer. This software is really easy to use and produces really good results.
Simplify 3D is a very popular software that is used by many users with many different 3d printers. It has been made so you can use the same software, with many different types of 3D printers by selecting the printer you’re using at the time. Many people like this because they can learn this software, then use it with their printer and other types of printers they get in the future. It is hugely customizable and is a big help with the slicing process before printing. Overall, it’s a much better tool but it not free like the softwares that comes with the printer.
Is there a difference between the QIDI TECH 1 and the Flashforge Creator Pro?
This is a question that constantly comes up with a lot of people looking for a 3d printer. They are searching for a printer, and they see two printers that seems to look identical to each other but with different names and prices.
The QIDI TECH 1 is a lower costing “almost identical replica” of the Flashforge Creator Pro. They are almost exactly the same but with small differences. First off, the biggest difference people notice is the price, the TECH 1 is about 200$ cheaper than the creator pro making it a very attractive option.
There are a couple of small differences you would not see in the pics. On the motherboard of the Flashforge a bigger ATmega 2560 chip is installed, as for the QIDI TECH 1 it comes with the smaller more standard chip. This allows flashforge to put larger files of firmware in their chip. This doesn’t affect the performance and is not really needed for the current firmware. Another small difference is also that with the QIDI TECH 1 you can unscrew the transparent side panels, with the flashforge it’s already in place.
What would be beneficial to get with your 3D printer?
First, I would suggest buying more printing filament. The printer comes with a small amount of printing material, mostly intended for testing and calibrating your printer. If you really want to start printing I recommend buying printing filament at the same time as your printer.
Now you also want a Glue stick and blue painters tape. You would put the blue tape on the printing bed,this helps the print stick to the surface better and it’s also easier to remove the print after. On on blue tape you can add a layer of glue from the glue stick, this is also a way to help the print stick well on to the surface giving better results.
Lastly, I recommend sandpaper of different grit sizes. The sandpaper is to make the surface of your print nice and smooth, also to sand down any anomalies made. You could also get some paint and brushes to give your print some nice colors.
What is the best print filament to start with?
All three printers am reviewing have heated beds and the ability to change the temperature of the extruders, so they are able to print with pretty much any material out there such as PLA, ABS, WOODS, Flexibles, Nylons and other exotic materials.
I suggest to start with PLA filament, which is the most popular printing material used. It’s a environmentally friendly biodegradable material, that is really easy to print with. It’s not delicate like a lot of other materials, super easy to use and you’ll normally get very good prints.
What add ons/modifications can you make to the QIDI TECH 1?
There are certain small things you could add to improve your printing experience. I would add a glass plate, that goes on top of the printing plate. This helps with getting the right adhesive between the plate and printing material, so you don’t have to use glue stick and printing tape on the plate. The glass also protects the original heated bed, and it also becomes a removable plate that you can take out for when having to remove the print from the plate.
When it comes to modifying this 3d printer, there isn’t too much you could easily modify. It isn’t really made to be modified like a DIY kit. It’s already an amazing printer and very complete, so there isn’t much I would recommend to modify anyways.
2)QIDI TECH X-ONE
QIDI TECH X-ONE is an incredible printer for the price, consistently producing amazing prints. A very strong and long lasting printer. It’s ready to go out of the box, so you can start printing right after you get your printer. It’s interface is very easy to use and intuitive so it a great 3d printer for a beginner.
QIDI gives an amazing warranty of 6 months, with a very quick responding, helpful and nice customer support. I would recommend this printer for someone who is on a lower budget, but still wants a high quality long lasting 3d printer.
Key Features of the QIDI TECH X-ONE
Like the QIDI 1 this 3d printer also has a very strong fully metal frame and structure. Most of the printer is metal so its is very durable. This is really good so it lasts a long time and can sustain all the movement made by the moving pieces.
The heating bed is a really good feature for a printer to have. This allows you to print with many different types of materials, without it you can only print with PLA. It also raises the quality of the prints by giving it even heating and even cooling during the print.
This printer produces very smooth high quality prints. It is also very consistent and reliable.
The printer comes with 6 month’s of warranty. During the 6 months the company promises that if any parts break or something goes wrong, they will take care of replacing the parts and free repairs.
Can you make your QIDI TECH X-ONE fully enclosed?
Although this printer looks fully enclosed from the picture, it is actually open from the front and sides. No transparent panel is enclosing it completely like the QIDI TECH 1, the first printer in this review.
Yes you can make the QIDI X-ONE fully enclosed quite easily. What you can do is measure the sides and front openings, then go to your hobby shop or hardware store and get plexi-glass panels cut the size of the openings. With the plexi-glass you would then cover the openings by screwing the panels in, or having some sort of bracket so you can take the panels off.
Although if you only use PLA you don’t really need an enclosed system. If you use materials like ABS which are very delicate to temperature changes, then its very good to have. Again, having an enclosed system protects your prints from temperature changes made by air drifts, while the print is cooling down.
How is the QIDI customer service?
Their customer service is one-on-one where you can call or email them. They normally answer within 24 hours and you can ask them for help or any question you may have. They are very friendly and help!
With their promise to change any part that breaks within the warranty, you can feel comfortable that you will be taken care of by their customer service.
Are there online communities for the QIDI 3D printer?
Yes there are quite a few helpful communities for this printer. A really good one worth checking out is in thingiverse. There are many discussions that are helpful, with other people using the QIDI TECH X-ONE. You can also see print designs that have been made for this printer by clicking (things) beside topics.
Also on Facebook the there is a QIDI TECH group where you can check out what people have printed and are talking about.
Is this printer already built?
This 3d printer is actually already fully built, calibrated and tested when you receive it. It is ready to print right out of the box and does not require any piecing together. You can start printing and having fun with your printer right away!
What materials can you print with this printer?
Because you have a heated bed and the extruder has a large heating range, you can print with many different types of materials. The materials you could print with include PLA, ABS, Flexibles, Woods, Nylon, ULTEM, PET, HIPS and more.
If you already have an exotic material in mind that you want to use, and you are wondering if your 3d printer has the ability to print it. First, check the temperature range of your heating extruder, then make sure the printing material you’re getting is within your printers heating range. This is to make sure your extruder can actually melt that material for printing. Another check would be if your printer allows you to change the temperature settings of the extruder. Some printers have set temperature settings that only allow you to print with PLA and/or ABS.
As I mentioned before, I would recommend to start printing with PLA just because it’s so easy to print with. Although with this printer you could also easily print with ABS even if you are a begginers.
3)HICTOP Creality CR-10 3D Printer
If you want to make very big prints then the HICTOP Creality is the printer for you. It produces amazing results and the max size of the prints are just impressive. This printer is also a lot more customizable and can be modified the way you want.
I would say this printer is made more for hobbyists, as they can play around with it and make it their own. It is also consistent with quality and produces beautiful prints. You really can’t go wrong with this printer.
Key Features of the HICTOP Creality CR-10
Huge Print Size
The HICTOP Creality CR-10 has a maximum print size of 11.8”x11.8”x15.7”. To give you a perspective of how big that is, you would be able to print a full sized basketball and still have space in all directions. You can also upgrade to have a maximum print size of 19.6”x19.6”x19.6”. With the upgraded size,you could print two full sized soccer balls side by side and have a lot of room going up. This is a much much bigger printing size than most 3d printers in the market.
This is an awesome to be able to print just one print is such a big scale. This is an advantage if your thinking on printing big things, because in general one printed piece is stronger than many glued pieces. With other printers what you could do is print many parts and put them together, if you would want a big print.
Only a few parts have to be put together, which can be done in 10 minutes. Normally 3d printers that look like this are kits and generally take hours to build with many pieces.
The HICTOP 3d printer also comes with a heated bed like the other two printers. This increases the quality of the finished print, and also allows you to print with many types of materials.
This also comes with a glass plate, this improves the adhesion between the print and plate. This is important for the printing process to go correctly. Without the glass plate, you can put blue tape and glue stick to improve adhesion. You can also remove the glass plate from the printer, so that after you print something you can remove the plate to more easily be able to remove the print.
Tested before it’s shipped
The company tests your printer for 2-4 hours before it’s shipped. This is to make sure everything is working perfectly. Also to check that the prints are high quality and consistent.
Really good customer support. They answer any questions you may have if you need help or if you need a piece replaced. Currently you can only email them but they have a quick response time.
Is a I3 DIY kit and a CR-10 3D printer the same thing?
This are two different types of printers but have a lot of similarities. Both look almost exactly the same and are built really similar. The I3 DIY kit type of printer is a do it your-self type of printer, where you have to put it all together and that takes around 4-8 hours. As where the Creality CR-10 is already built, and you just put some things together taking around 10 minutes. This seems to be the main difference of a already built printer vs a kit that you have to put together.
Another difference that is quite obvious is that the Creality CR-10 is that you have a much bigger max print size than any I3 DIY kit i have seen in the market. Besides this two main differences they work the same way and looks very similar.
What modifications can be done to the HICTOP Creality CR-10?
There are quite a few mods you could do although it takes time, and tinkerings with your 3d printer. First, you could mount a filament runout detection sensor, this is so while printing if you run out of filament your printer pauses and waits till you feed more filament to keep going.
Another really cool feature you can add is auto leveling, with this add on you won’t need to manually level your 3d printer. There are many videos on youtube of mods you could do to this printer.
You can also make your Creality CR-10 an enclosed 3D printer. What you do is get plexi-glass a bit bigger than the dimensions of your printer, glue all the panels together, sides and the front. For the back you open a opening where the fan is for some ventilation.
What is the advantages of an open source 3D printer?
The CR-10 is a open source 3D printer,this simply means you can use different softwares and modify them to your needs. Printers like this where also made with the intent of being easily modded, for hobbyists to play around with and upgrade their printers.
Open source 3D printers give you a lot more flexibility and room to customize your printer, so you can do a lot more with them.
Is this HICTOP Creality CR-10 the original or a replica?
This questions pops up a lot, many people want to know if this is a replica or the original. Because the original maker is Creality, which is a different company than HICTOP. Infact yes this is the original made by Creality and sold by HICTOP. Creality gave permission to HICTOP, to sell their original CR-10 using the HICTOP brand name.
So when you get the printer you’ll see Creality printed on the printer, this is because it’s exactly like the original just sold through HICTOP. The only difference is the software that this printer uses is written by HICTOP.
Depending of what you’re looking for and what type of user you are, I have picked three printers that I believe fit all users. All three are high quality, reliable, long lasting , easy to use and easy to put together.
My top choice is the QIDI TECH 1, it comes with everything you would want, including a dual extruder so you can print with two colors. It is also enclosed for temperature control and safety. Beings one of the most sold printers in the market and used by all types of users.
Then you have his cousin, the QIDI TECH X-ONE a cheaper and simpler version with less features. But still an amazing printer for beginners. The third printer, is the HICTOP Creality with the ability to make the biggest prints and is also widely customizable. This features make it perfect for hobbyists looking for a impressive printer, that they can modify.