A 3d printer is an excellent acquisition to have if you are a hobbyist or in the engineering sector. 3D printing technology is a game-changer that allows you to create shapes and forms that would prove challenging for any other home technology. There are several 3d printers in the market, each coming with unique, appealing factors. The Ender 3 Filament FDM 3d printer is one of the standout printers. It comes with standout features, like simplicity, a heated print bed, many optional add-ons and durability.
While the Ender 3 3d Printer and variants are excellent, the AnyCubic Mega Pro, FlashForge Adventurer or the Artillery Sidewinder X1 are superb alternatives. Each of the alternatives is more expensive than even the Version 2 of the Ender 3 filament FDM 3d printer, but each has compelling reasons to consider them.
Let’s first have an in-depth look at the Ender 3 Filament FDM 3d printer.
Introduction to Ender 3 FDM 3D Printer
- Ender 3 Original – https://amzn.to/3sKronL – Amazon Affiliate Link
- Ender 3 v2 – https://amzn.to/3ujlmLw – Amazon Affiliate Link
The Ender 3 printer is manufactured by Creality. It is a cheap, entry-level printer with many standard features that you’ll want for a filament FDM printer. It is good technology and has an entry price under $300 USD (and for the original model, closer to $200 USD. The prints are very good for just about anything home use could need. If you’re looking for layer-line free prints, however, I recommend going with a resin DLP printer instead (due to the difference in technology allowing for thinner layer lines).
Why the Ender 3 FDM 3D Printer Is a Great Option
Here are some of the features of this 3D printing utility that makes it an excellent choice.
The Ender 3 is user-friendly, whereby even beginners can use it without much of a hassle. It has a simple structure, and you can easily assemble it and get printing within an hour of receiving it. You’ll have to level the build plate (see my article here on how to do that). Its operation is simple. Find an STL file to print, slice it using the free Cura Slicer software, and transfer the file to the printer using the supplied memory card. Select it in the easy user interface screen, and select print.
The complexity comes in getting the settings just right to make the best possible prints. Researching good settings (called print profiles) for your slicer can be a slow process, and tweaking from there can also take time. But once you find a good set of settings for what you want to print and the filament you want to print with, you keep it and don’t change it. It’ll work well from then on.
The Ender 3 (in any of its forms) is an excellent acquisition for preteens and teens who want to get into the hobby of 3d printing.
Another thing to love about this Ender printer is that it is lightweight, weighing 15.53 pounds. Its lightness makes it easy to manage, further topped up by its small dimensions that allow it to rest atop your desk. The printer won’t take much space.
Resume Print Technology
The Resume Print technology comes to the aid of your project if you have power outages. While many printers will stall or have a clog up, the Ender 3 will continue to print where it stopped, once the power is restored and you select resume.
Alternatives to the Ender 3 FDM 3D Printer
From the few highlighted attributes, you can see why the Ender 3 3d printer manages to stand out. Despite the excellent features, other printers can contend with it for the best 3d printer position. Let’s look at some of the best picks. Each has a similar print area to the Ender 3, and each can handle PLA, PLA+, PETG and (with an enclosure – not included) ABS filaments.
1. ANYCUBIC Mega Pro FDM 3d Printer
- https://amzn.to/2QZS6Lk – Amazon Affiliate Link
Versatility is the right word to describe ANYCUBIC Mega Pro FDM 3d printer. It is a good alternative to the Ender 3 printer due to its solid performance and ease of use. It has a self-leveling build plate that makes it even easier to get going faster, and with better prints, right out of the box.
Besides printing, you can use this printer in laser engraving with an optional laser engraver head. If you are a hobbyist or a DIY enthusiast, you will love this extra edge of functionality.
The ANYCUBIC Mega Pro FDM 3d printer supports multicolor printing (by pausing for a filament change), further showing off its flexibility. It is quiet, meaning it won’t be a nuisance when running, much quieter than a stock Ender 3, for example. This 3d printer has a sensor that stops the print before you run out of filament, so you can reload and continue, instead of ruining the print.
The Resume Print technology will have your back when there are power outages. When the power is back, the printer resumes the project from where it stopped.
- An easy-to-use printer.
- You can use it for laser engraving.
- Silent operation.
- The printer supports multicolor printing.
- The Resume Print technology.
- Safe power supply.
- Precise printing courtesy of Smart Auxiliary Leveling.
- The bed may have warping issues.
2. FlashForge Adventurer FDM 3d Printer
- https://amzn.to/3sOVIO4 – Amazon Affiliate Link
FlashForge Adventurer FDM 3d printer is another good option to look at when looking around for a new 3d printer. It is an excellent utility for hobbyists due to its lightweight and compact size. It weighs around 27-pounds, making it easy to handle, more so when moving it around.
This printer’s nozzle heats fast, achieving 200-degrees Celsius in 50-seconds. It is detachable, meaning maintenance is far less hassle. The FlashForge Adventurer is compatible with PLA, PEARL, PLA color change, metal, and wood-filled filaments. The nozzle can heat easily for any of these higher temperature filaments.
- Lightweight and compact design.
- An interactive 2.8-inch touchscreen.
- The printer is compatible with many filament materials like PLA, ABS, and PEARL.
- The nozzle heats fast.
- The detachable nozzle makes maintenance simpler.
- Quiet operation due to modern motor drivers.
- Replacement parts are pretty hard to come by except from the manufacturer, and these have been reported as being slow in getting sent out.
3. Artillery Sidewinder X1 3D Printer
- https://amzn.to/2PLqjgZ – Amazon Affiliate Link
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 3d printer’s appealing factor is its stability. This feature ensures that you have perfectly shaped figures, precise in edges and measurements. It is a fast-heating printer, translating to a quick printing process.
The ultra-quiet stepper drivers bring a quiet operation even when it works at high speeds. If you run out of filament material, you will receive an alert, and the printer will pause automatically. It will also pause if there are power outages, and will resume when the power is back and proceed from where it stopped.
The Artillery Sidewinder X1 3d printer is an aluminum build, as such, it is robust and durable.
- Stable and silent operation.
- Fast printing process.
- It alerts you in case filament runs out.
- Resumes where it stopped after an electric interruption.
- It is durable.
- Low power consumption.
- Some have experienced jamming issues after continuous use.
3d Printer Alternative Verdict
The Ender 3, or any of its variants, is still a solid choice for a new 3d printer for your home. For an alternative, though, with more polish or better features straight from the box, consider the AnyCubic Mega Pro, FlashForge Adventurer or the Artillery Sidewinder X1.
Is the Ender 3 a good 3d printer?
Yes, absolutely. The original Ender 3 is a very good entry level printer. It works well, is open source, and the aftermarket for upgrades (including ones you print on your Ender 3!!) are plentiful. And it’s cheap! Most models are below $300 USD, and some basic models can be found on sale for under $200 USD.
Is SLA stronger than FDM?
SLA or DLP resin printing is a different technology to FDM filament printing for 3d printers. SLA or DLP use UV light to harden liquid resin. FDM melts filament through a hot nozzle, melting it. When it is deposited, it cools and hardens in place. Currently FDM filament prints are quite a bit stronger than SLA or DLP resin prints, especially in a “drop” test. SLA or DLP prints tend to shatter more easily.