Three-dimensional (3D) printers have been around for several decades, but they are just now hitting the market with affordable models for use at home, school, and work. Some of these designs are perfect for kids because they are beginner models that are simple to operate and understand. We feature the best of these simpler designs on this page for your review. The 3D printer is also known as additive manufacturing and desktop fabrications, but they mean the same thing. A 3D printer uses printing technology to create a three-dimensional object from a computer-generated model. In order to print something with one of these printers, you must first think of an object you want to print and then get a 3D model of that image as a 2D file to print from. Then you can begin to print your object. With most of the printers we have here, the 2D files are free from the manufacturer’s site by means of a downloadable App you can use. Hundreds of various objects are available on these sites for children to experiment with and enjoy.
If you have heard of 3D printers, but are not really sure how they work, we will explain it simply. If you were going to print a flat image in 3D, a special material would be needed, not just regular toner or ink. During the first printing, the different material lifts the image higher than the file surface. If you put this same page back through the printer again, then an additional layer would be printed on top of the other one but raised. The image is lifted every time it is put in the printer. After doing this hundred of times, the 2D images becomes a 3D object. This printed model can be held in the hand. This is what a 3D printer does. It forms layer upon layer of printing material, known as a filament until the computer-generated 2D model is a physical object in 3D.
We feature the ten top 3D printers for kids on this page that were greatly rated with positive reviews and the ones that buyers purchased the most. All of these models are easy for children to use and come fully-assembled, except for two. These two are do-it-yourself kits that must be assembled when you receive them, thus providing an added enjoyable, mental activity for kids. Here are our top choices for the best 3D printers rated and reviewed for kids in 2018.
Our Picks of The Best 3D Printers for Kids Rated &Reviewed in 2018
Criteria Used In Evaluation of the Best 3D Printers for Kids
Easy for kids to operate, understand, and put together
These printers are all easy to operate and put together, in the case of the do-it-yourself printers. The included instructions and user guides make this complicated process of printing simple and understandable for children. The 3D printer can provide a wonderful learning and scientific experience for kids to observe and interact with. Just watching one of these printers create a 3D object from a flat computer image is remarkable and mind-boggling. Children should be at the forefront of this technology in order to take it a step further for their generation
Works well, is durable, and creates 3D objects
The majority of reviewers have tremendously stated that these printers work well, are durable and long-lasting, and creates superb 3D objects. They would purchase the product again and are completely satisfied with their purchase. Some customers have stated that they have printed all of the hundreds of 3D objects available on the manufacturer’s websites with their purchased printers and they are happy.
From reputable companies that are professional 3D makers
Well-know manufacturers of 3D printers that have been in business for years are the makers of these 3D printers. Companies such as Monoprice, FlashForge, and XYZprinting are some of the best makers of these models. These companies put the expertise of their products in the designs they offer you for fun and enjoyment. All of these 3D printers come with guarantees or warranties backing the item for your satisfaction.
The best-rated and most-purchased 3D printers online
Each product on this list is the best 3D printer according to buyers online. They are also the most frequently bought 3D printers as well. The reviews and ratings overwhelmingly choose these items as the ones that have pleased consumers. We choose our item list based on these facts from customers just like you who want the best product for their money. We diligently sort through all of the product descriptions and feedback from reviewers to come up with this list of the best 3D printers for your review.
Helpful hints on 3D printing and downloadable programs:
The main focus of 3D printing is to make something you cannot get anywhere else. It can be used to replace parts and items that you lose or want that cannot be found, such as the back of a remote control for an appliance. Missing parts or pieces to games and toys can be replaced by printing them with a 3D printer. For instance, if you lose several pieces of your favorite Monopoly game or Chess game, then you can easily replace them with a duplicate piece you print. The possibilities are endless as to how 3D printers can and will help us in the future.
Before you can print anything with your new printer, you must find a 2D image from computer software or software programs. Using your computer and these programs, you can create thousands of objects. One of the best programs is Tinkercad. It is very user-friendly and perfect for beginners to 3D printing. A few other free programs where you can get ideas and models of objects to print as Google SketchUp, 3DTin, and Autodesk 123D. it is also possible to download files from the Internet for your objects. These are either free or they charge a small fee. Some of these are Yeggi, Pinshape, and Thingiverse. Thingiverse is a hugely popular site for 3D object models.
Information on 3D materials:
For beginner 3D printing, two filament materials will be used mostly in your objects. These are ABS and PLA. These are known as thermoplastics because once they are heated and reach a particular temperature, they become bendable and soft. Once these substances cool down after you have made your object, they will turn into hard material again. It is at this point that you can hold the object you created with your printer. Both of these filament materials are obtainable in bags of 2.2 pounds. This amount can make plenty of objects.
ABS filament material is a plastic that is petroleum-based. It is more suitable for interlocking part-objects or complex pieces because it is more flexible and stronger than PLA. It is good to replace such building parts like LEGO bricks. It does take longer for this substance to cool down than PLA, so it could result in objects that may warp in the cooling process. Because it is petroleum-based, it does give off a nasty odor when it is being used.
On the contrary, PLA material is made from the natural ingredient of cornstarch. It cools down fast, so it is good for beginners to use, plus warping issues are minimized. The finished object will warp, however, if this substance is heated too much. Unlike, ABS filament, PLA is not good for objects, like LEGOs, that have pieces that connect or lock together.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How long will one spool of filament last (1kg)?
A: A reviewer answered this question stating it would make up to 2.2 pounds of items.
Q: Are these printers noisy?
A: Yes, they are. Customers say they got used to the noise quickly though.
Q: Can you put two colors in at one time to make objects with two colors?
A: No, only one color can be loaded at a time, so products will be all one color, whatever you make.
Q: Can hollow pieces or products be printed?
A: Yes, most printers can print hollow pieces. However, the proper settings must be correct for the filament type you use, plus there may be supports that are removable to use. They come with the printed item.
Q: What do you do to add more filament if it runs out in the middle of a project?
A: CURA lets you know how much to use for a given project before you begin, so just make sure you have enough before you start.
Q: What is the ideal way to remove the item from the printing bed? Do you let it cool off first? How do you remove extra filament stuck in the pipe if you want to print with other colors?
A: You could use a flexible putty knife. You must heat the extruder then guide the extruder backward to move the filament from the extruder.
Q: Just to get an idea of how much filament is needed for certain items, how much filament would be needed for an average-sized chess piece?
A: With one kg, you could print an entire chess set and lots more.
Q: Do these printers come with the design software?
A: No, you must download the 3D design software from Autodesk.
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