3D printing is all the rage at the moment. The ability to design or download an object and watch it form in front of your eyes is a very appealing thing to a lot of people.
Up until a few years ago, printing physical objects in the third dimension was something that was just out of reach for the average consumer, with entry-level commercial machines costing tens of thousands of dollars. One day in 2005 a professor at the University of Bath in the UK decided to change the 3D printing world forever.
Dr. Adrian Bowyer, a senior lecturer in mechanical engineering at the University of Bath decided to tackle the problem of an affordable and hobby sized 3D printer. He began the RepRap project which quickly caught fire and spread across the internet. Now eight years later there are a multitude of hobbyist level 3D printers on the market and each comes with its own unique set of pros and cons.
In this guide I am going to attempt to help you make sense of it all and hopefully guide you towards purchasing the best 3D printer that suits your needs. For the sake of simplicity, I am only going to focus on fused filament; additive deposition based 3D printers as they are the most popular style in the hobbyist market at the moment.
Before we get started we need to determine what kind of "Maker" are you? On the next page we will cover the different ways you can obtain a 3D printer of your own. Let's get started!