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Increasing technology now brings 3D printers from the manufacturing plant to the home and office environment. With these versatile machines, users can easily program them to fit a wide array of needs from small-scale manufacturing to research. They come in various sizes and configurations, including compact models that easily fit on a desktop to large-scale units that need a dedicated workstation. Most machines have Linux, Mac and Windows operating system compatibility, giving users a familiar platform to work with.
Strong Cases for Built-In Durability Staples carries 3D printers with various frame types including wooden, metal and acrylic that provide a sturdy base. Many have an acrylic window that closes while printing is in progress for user safety and to prevent external particles from entering the machine.
Multiple Extruders for Faster Printing Some models come with a single extruder, or printhead, while others have two or three. Printers with two or three extruders often finish projects faster because the extruders continuously feed materials into the machine. Having multiple extruders also helps create colorful items. Each machine has its own technology that determines how versatile it is. Some offer the possibility of printing with two or more colors, or materials at the same time while others can handle only one.
Filament Materials for Multiple Projects Each 3D printer has a different filament capability that determines which materials users can create with. Many work with various plastics including PLA and ABS, while others use LAYBRICK or nylon fibers, and dissolvable materials.
The process each model uses differs as well. Fused filament fabrication, or FFF, uses a thermoplastic material on coils, feeding it through to the machine's extruder head. Fused deposition modeling, or FDM, heats up plastic and fuses each layer together. Selective laser sintering, or SLS, uses lasers and powdered filaments while stereolithography uses UV lighting and liquid materials.
Advanced Functions for Improved Printing Processes Many 3D printer models have touch-responsive keypads and an LCD screen that offers an easy-to-use interface for inputting printing specifications. Wi-Fi connectivity eliminates the need for a direct connection, giving you more versatility when setting up a workspace. Some models have a stepper motor, giving you the option to use the computer to control positioning and speed for precise printing.
The build volume determines how large of an object the machine can create, and some have multiple build volumes to match single, dual or triple extruders. With built-in scanning software in select models, you can skip the specialized computer design software and scan multiple angles of an existing object directly into the printer to get an exact replica. Toolless object removal makes it easy to retrieve finished projects.
High Resolution for Better Quality Models All 3D printers have a specified resolution, measured in microns, where a smaller number means a higher resolution. Select models print in both high- and standard-definition, as well as a fast-print option that lets users choose the quality level.
Whether you're just learning the technology, or you're looking for a workhorse for your business, Staples has plenty of 3D printers for sale and accessories to help bring your visions to life.