3D printer holiday gift guide ๐ŸŽ

What 3D printer to buy for Christmas? ๐ŸŽ…

Choosing the right gift to get for the holidays can be a tough task. The good thing with 3D printers is that they can make a lot of different people happy: kids, hobbyists, engineers, designersโ€“ thereโ€™s not much room to go wrong.

A 3D printer kit in itself can be a great DIY project gift for those who like to build things and understand how they work. Even if they can be a bit of a challenge sometimes, 3D printer kits can be assembled by beginners or advanced users.

Plug-and-play 3D printers require less patience. Thousands of decorations, toys and other useful objects can be 3D printed with the press of a button. Some 3D printers are designed especially for beginners and are even more axed towards simplicity and safety.

However, as simple as they can be, plug-and-play 3D printers arenโ€™t exactly suited for younger kids. Other 3D solutions exist, like 3D printing pens. To make it easier on Santa (๐Ÿ˜‰), weโ€™ve made a special โ€œ3D printer for Christmasโ€ selection of some of the best 3D printers in various categories:

  • 3D printing for kids
  • Plug-and-play 3D printers
  • DIY 3D printer kits

This holiday gift guide covers products with prices ranging from under $100* to under $800*.

*MSRP (Manufacturer Suggested Retail Price)

Holiday gift ideas: DIY 3D printer kits ๐Ÿ› ๏ธ

DIY 3D printer kits are one of the best ways to learn about 3D printing. Users get to know in-depth how their 3D printer works, and how to maintain it.

Itโ€™s a jolly feeling to see something that you built by yourself actually works and creates things!

DIY 3D printer kits under $500

Anet A8, 3D printer for the holidays under $300

Anet A8 ($220)

This is one of the top-rated budget 3D printer kits on the market. Itโ€™s pretty easy to assemble, requiring five to ten hours to do so. The Anet A8 is a great 3D printer for beginners willing to spend time on it for tweaking.

Pros
  • Very good price-to-performance ratio
  • Easy 3D printable upgrades
  • 4.7/5 metascore
Cons
  • Time investment (assembly and adjustments)
FLSUN Delta Kossel DIY, 3D printer holiday gift under $500

FLSUN Delta Kossel DIY ($220)

FLSUNโ€™s Delta Kossel DIY is another favorite on the budget 3D printer kits market. Like the A8, this 3D printer will need users to input time and efforts, but the resulting 3D prints are worth it.

Pros
  • Very good price-to-performance ratio
  • Automatic bed leveling
  • 4.1/5 metascore
Cons
  • Time investment (assembly and adjustments)

DIY 3D printer kits under $800

Original Prusa i3 MK3, 3D printer gift for the holidays under $300

Original Prusa i3 MK3 ($749)

This DIY 3D printer kit is made by Prusa Research, a manufacturer led by the original creator of the open-source Prusa i3 model. The MK3 is one of the most praised 3D printers on the market, and is known for its reliability and precision.ย The Prusa i3 MK2 earned four awards from 3D Hubs and Makezine.

Pros
  • Customer support
  • Magnetic bed with swappable sheets
  • 4.7/5 metascore (MK2)
Cons
  • Time investment (assembly)
SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX, 3D printer holiday gift under $1000

SeeMeCNC Rostock MAX ($749)

This delta-style 3D printer, made in the US, is another favorite among the 3D printing maker community. The Rostock MAX V2 won itself three awards, and the V3 earned an additional two awards. SeeMeCNC’s Rostock MAX offers a large build volume, for bigger 3D prints.

Pros
  • Automatic calibration
  • Optional dual extruder
  • 4.4/5 metascore
Cons
  • Time investment (assembly and tweaking)

Plug-n-play 3D printers for the holidays ๐ŸŽ„

Plug-and-play 3D printers for Christmas may be a more suitable option for those with less patience. They work right off the bat and require little maintenance.

Plug-n-play 3D printers under $500

Monoprice MP Select Mini, 3D printer for the holidays under $300

Monoprice MP Select Mini ($220)

The MP Select Mini is a best-seller on Amazon, with over 800 reviews. It is relatively small, but offers great value for its price range. The Select Mini is compatible with a wide range of filaments including PLA, ABS and specials.

Pros
  • Price-to-performance ratio
  • Material compatibility
  • 4.2/5 metascore
Cons
  • Build volume (120 x 120 x 120 mm)
New Matter MOD-t, plug-n-play 3D printer holiday gift under $500

New Matter MOD-t ($299)

California-based New Matter launched the MOD-t on Indiegogo a few years back. The MOD-t offers a simplified, consumer-friendly design with a closed frame to keep small fingers out.

Pros
  • Customer service
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Closed frame
Cons
  • No LCD screen

Plug-n-play 3D printers under $800

Dagoma NEVA, 3D printer gift for the holidays under $1000

Dagoma NEVA ($580)

The NEVA is a delta 3D printer made in France (oui oui!) delivered fully assembled and ready to use. Its design gives room for a relatively big build volume. A very positive point is its ability to pause and resume 3D prints.

Pros
  • Possibility to pause and resume prints
  • Build volume (180 x 180 x 200 mm)
  • 2-year warranty
Cons
  • No heated bed
Flashforge Inventor II, 3D printer holiday gift under $1000

Flashforge Inventor II ($659)

Flashforge is a well-known 3D printer manufacturer that recently launched the Inventor II, an easy-to-use desktop 3D printer. Its door sensor prevents the 3D printer from working when the door and hatch are open.

Pros
  • Automatic calibration
  • Optional dual extruder
  • 4.4/5 metascore
Cons
  • Time investment (assembly and tweaking)

3D printing gift ideas for kids ๐ŸŽ

Although some 3D printers are designed especially for kids, they may not be truly safe or intuitive enough for younger children yet. Indeed, 3D printing is a relatively complicated technology. No matter how simple a specific 3D printer looks, it still bears hot components and fragile electronics.

There are, however, other toys and gadgets to initiate small kids to additive fabrication.

Qixels S3 3D Maker

This toy helps kids create pixel-like 3D objects out of small, plastic squares called โ€œQixelsโ€. The Qixels stick together with good old water. On Amazon, the Qixels 3D Maker has a rating of 4.2/5.

Pros

  • No hot components
  • Low price for hardware and materials

Cons

  • Only makes squared objects
Qixels S3 3D Maker
3D Magic 3D Maker

3D Magic 3D Maker ($29,99)

The 3D Maker solidifies drawings made from a special 3D Magic gel. Creativity is a bit limited though, as it is only possible to create flat drawings or use moulds for real three-dimensional shapes. Users have given the 3D Maker a 3.5/5 rating on Amazon.

 

Pros

  • No hot components
  • Low price for hardware and materials

Cons

  • Need for moulds limits creativity

3Doodler Start

This 3D pen allows kids to draw objects in 3D, although there may be a bit of a learning curve. Changing colors isnโ€™t like switching markers; the filament strand must be replaced each time. The 3Doodler Start 3D Printing Pen has earned itself a 4.0/5 rating on Amazon.

Pros

  • No hot components
  • Low price for hardware and materials
  • No batteries: the 3D pen charges by USB

Cons

  • Learning curve
3Doodler Start

Kid-friendly 3D printers

Some manufacturers have been concentrating on providing actual 3D printing for children (of over 10 years of age, we’d say). One of the most recent ones to date is Toybox Labs, with the Toybox 3D printer. This 3D printer is advertised as very easy to use, and thousands of pre-designed models are available to make it “the toy store of the future”. However, the Toybox is still at the crowdfunding stage and is only available for pre-order on Indiegogo.

Mattel, a famous toy brand, is also on the case with the Thingmaker. This 3D printer was announced in 2016, but kids are still waiting. Same goes for theย Weistek MiniToyย and the Yeehawย 3D printers, both successful crowdfunding campaigns that have yet to deliver on publicly available 3D printers.

It seems that we may still have a few years to go before being able to see real 3D printers for kids. In the meantime, parents can go for the toys seen further above for the youngest. Otherwise, plug-n-play 3D printers could be suitable for adult-supervised activities.

Best 3D printer deals for Black Friday and Cyber Monday ๐Ÿ›’

What’s before holiday season? ๐ŸŽ„ Black Friday and Cyber Mondayโ€“ a.k.a the best days to get great deals on anything a heart desires,
including 3D printers and 3D scanners.

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