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What is the least expensive 3D printer available today? I am looking for something suitable for general use in a home office.

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  • $\begingroup$ How is this opinion based? Good factual answers are possible. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Jun 2 '19 at 22:07
  • $\begingroup$ I disagree that "factual" answers can be applied here. Least expensive questions just take us down the rabbit hole of "recycled printers" made from DVD drives that have a print volume of less than one cubic inch in the name of "$20" in an Arduino and the rest is recycled. $\endgroup$ – Chase Cromwell Jun 2 '19 at 22:15
  • $\begingroup$ I read "available" as "able to be purchased as a complete [kit or assembled] unit", given the casual form of OP's question. $\endgroup$ – R.. GitHub STOP HELPING ICE Jun 3 '19 at 1:04
  • $\begingroup$ It's a shopping question. The stack as a whole bans them. $\endgroup$ – Trish Jun 3 '19 at 6:37
  • $\begingroup$ Monoprice has a Select Mini printer and sometimes lists it in "Open Box" condition for $99. $\endgroup$ – Joel Coehoorn Jun 3 '19 at 13:44
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Depends on your definition of "available" and your definition of "suitable for general use."

The cheapest 3D printers are mostly Kickstarter promises that take a year or more to ship, if they ever do. For example, the Peachy 3D printer Kickstarter just imploded and failed. There have been many other failed low-cost 3D printer crowdfunding campaigns. Another low cost Kickstarter printer, the 101Hero, is ongoing now (May 2016), but most competent observers I've talked to don't believe it will succeed at delivering working printers to all backers at that price point. If they do deliver, it will be painfully low-cost components and the printer will not perform well or last long. Stay away from crowdfunding campaigns for your first printer. At best, you get a beta product with lots of kinks to work out. At worst, you get nothing and lose your money.

For actual products you can purchase today, there's a wide spectrum of quality/cost tradeoffs.

  • Under \$200 there's nothing credible. The Tiko (\$179) might deliver, but post-Kickstarter units are widely expected to cost more.
  • Around \$200-300 you get into low-quality Prusa i3 kits from China. These aren't a great value -- most people end up spending another few hundred dollars on upgrades to get them working reliably and with high quality.
  • Around \$300-400 you can get an ok 3D printer, often with "chipped" proprietary filament so the vendor can make high profits on locked-in consumables. ("Razors and blades" model.) For example, the XYZPrinting Da Vinci Jr is \$350 but locks you into high-cost chipped filament. The Wanhao Duplicator i3 is currently a community favorite for value-for-money at \$399. The Printrbot Play is much higher quality/reliability but much smaller at the same price.
  • If you get up around \$600, a big range of decent printers opens up. But this is no longer the "least expensive" option, so I won't get into it.

If you want to tinker, the Duplicator i3 is a good choice. If you want a machine that just prints, the Play is a good choice. There are other printers and cheaper printers, but most of what you'll find below $400 is going to end up causing pain unless your goal is simply to tinker with printer troubleshooting and upgrades.

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  • $\begingroup$ I can vouch for the duplicator i3 as a good option. I've bought one and the value for money is quite good $\endgroup$ – edosoft May 22 '16 at 11:15
  • $\begingroup$ Just as a counterpoint, my first (so far only) 3D printer was the New Matter mod-T. I joined their Indegogo campaign and, while the delivery was delayed a couple of times, I did eventually receive my printer and it works as advertised. Just wanted to point out that, despite some high-profile failures, not all crowdfunded 3D printers are doomed. $\endgroup$ – TMN Jul 28 '16 at 16:38
  • $\begingroup$ I got the 101Hero, it works reasonably well as expected at this price point. The motors are fragile, getting it calibrated well is a pain, there is no included fan so you have issues when printing spires, and the print resolution is bad. $\endgroup$ – brandstaetter Jan 24 '17 at 8:57
  • $\begingroup$ I ordered the Tiko years ago from KickStarter but they have problems with producing them as they ran out of funds. The first 5,000 Tiko's have been delivered but the rest is delayed indefinitely. They are looking for someone willing to invest in this 3D printer so they can ship all the other printers as promised. $\endgroup$ – Wim ten Brink May 22 '17 at 13:14
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You can get an A8 3D printer on Gearbest at 149$, It's a version of an i3, with easy assemble and pre configured, and it have a suprising good quality.

I thinks is the best price/quality that you can find at the moment. It prints with a good quality by default and you can upgrade it if you need it without spending hundreds of dollars.

http://www.gearbest.com/3d-printers-3d-printer-kits/pp_337314.html

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