6 Replies Latest reply on Jan 13, 2015 8:43 AM by Justin Harwell

    Best multipurpose 3d printer and scanner.

    Justin Harwell

      The local library is trying to get a CAD set up going. They got a technology grant, and was needing to find a good multipurpose 3d printer, and possibly a scanner, to start teaching classes. My hands on experience is limited to only one printer and to be honest it was a bit of a Frankenstein. So what kind of 3d printer and possibly a scanner would you recommend for a broad range of usage? Budget wise wanting to keep the mill below $3000 and below $1000 for the scanner.

      So far I am leaning to MarkerBot  and Cubify systems, they stay in budget and seem to do a great job in the learning system.

      I realize most people on here are most likely working with the higher end stuff, however budget being what it is they need to keep it simple, we talking starting people out. Any advise would be great.

        • Re: Best multipurpose 3d printer and scanner.
          Robert D.

          I would suggest a bigger budget. lol

            • Re: Best multipurpose 3d printer and scanner.
              Jesse Robbers

              There are some desktop size printers that claim certain resolution among other things that look good but you may need to go up to $6,000 for a printer. Form Labs looked good, there were some others using ABS FDM that had equal to and some better resolution than a larger much more expensive FDM printer ($25,000 - $30,000) from Stratasys. I have zero experience with the smaller desktop printers. Not sure about their quality or prints, quality or longevity of the printer, nor what the support or warranty issues might be like for a smaller purchase.


              For a scanner, you're going to need to spend more than $1,000. NextEngine is about $3,500, give them a look. We've just ordered this and will receive it soon.

            • Re: Best multipurpose 3d printer and scanner.
              Outcast Studios

              i have worked extensively with makerbot for years. i suggest the replicator for a cost in your budget,it works great with solidworks .stl files. their proprietary software is buggy but adequate you can use any slicing software though down the line once you feel comfortable. as for scanning ,their desktop scanner retails for somewhere around 1200 bux i believe, but its limited in scale to objects that are less than a foot tall. the build lines are an issue but for what youre describing it sounds like a good intro level set up ,good luck!

              • Re: Best multipurpose 3d printer and scanner.
                Justin Harwell

                Thanks for all the input, and for those looking at this with the same question, here is an edited version  of what I told the person over the library about what I found. I took out the special educational discounted price that some of the makers will give you, if you want to know just email the manufacture and ask. Prices and details will change over time, and if anyone has anything to add please do so.


                First on my list is a new start up called Zesus 3D printer

                It can scan, print, copy, and fax! Easy to use the scanner is of the same high quaility as the MakerBot Digitizer.

                The software does not have much in the way of positioning and slicing.

                Has a  resolution of 100 microns (200 & 300 options available for faster prints), and a self leveling print bed.

                Filament (PLA) - $49 - 1KG spool

                Zeus - $2,499 - Print Area 8.0 x 6.0 x 5.7in  - Resolution of 100 Micons

                scan 9x5in


                MakerBot offers discounts for educational institutions.

                To do this they will need:

                name of library, your name, phone number, shipping address, and email

                I recommend the Makerbot Replicator, starting price is $2,899 before discounts, anything larger does not have others things you will most likely need, such as ethernet, usb stick connection, camera, assisted leveling (tramming), and most importantly the LCD interface.

                The printer does create some very minute bend lines, but I think the replicator and scanner would be the best for what you want to do.

                The Scanner called MakerBot Digitizer is small yet user friendly.

                There is also MakerBot Academy which  has joined with Donors Choose .org to help educational institutes pay for the machines where you make a post and get donors to donate.

                One major downside the "smart" extruder is known for clogging, a lot.

                To compare for your self go to: http://store.makerbot.com/compare .

                The Cartidges for it are $48.00 for 2lb

                MakerBot Replicator    - $2,899 - Print Area 9.9 X 7.8 X 5.9 in - Resolution of 100 microns

                MakerBot Replicator 2x - $2,499 - Print Area 6.3 x 9.8 x 5.9 in - Resolution of 100 microns

                MakerBot Mini          - $1,375 - Print Area 3.9 X 3.9 X 4.9 in - Resolution of 200 microns


                MakerBot Digitizer - $799 - Scan Area 8x8 in  - Resolution of 200 microns











                3dsystems has a great 3D printer called Cubify

                Said to be the easiest printer to operate, their printer has been rated top scanners for beginners by tomsguide.

                The Sense 3d scanner is a handheld scanner and lets you well scan really big things and has a great reputation.

                The company even has a museum and library kit, as well as smaller kits. http://www.3dsystems.com/education/education-bundles/3dlab

                They also have the CubePro starting price is around $2,799. They do not offer educational discounts but you can contact www.tecedu.com they are an educational re seller for them or try look into the kits http://cubify.com/en/Products/PrintPacks.

                The cartridges are about $99 dollars a piece, and those cartridges are proprietary and getting the expensive cartilages at low budget might be an issue.

                CubePro - $2,799.00 - Print Area 10.75 x 10.75 x 9.5 in - Resolution 100 microns

                Cube 3  - $999.00   - Print Area 6 x 6 x 6 in  - Resolution 70 microns !


                Sense 3D scanner - $399 - Scan area is 118.11 x 118.11 x 118.11in! - Resolution of 635-900 microns (not good on small objects)





                The Soliddoodle is another great machine. Good quality prints with resolution up to 1mm and reasonable price.

                The APS filament starts off at $43 dollars a roll.

                They have special offers for educational institutions that are really worth looking at called "Solidoodle U" http://www.solidoodle.com/index.php?route=information/education to contact them just email  education@solidoodle.com

                Soliddoodle 4 - $599 (for educators $549) - Print Area 8" x 8" x 8"  - Resolution of  100-300 microns



                Da vinci is a scanner and a printer and really good for educational situations.

                For that price and the fact that it is a scanner and a printer, it is a pretty good deal.

                Keep in mind the Filament cartridges are not interchangeable with other brands and I think that is where they make up the price.

                I have heard some complaints about the software for the machine, and that the scanner is useless.

                You cannot buy from the company direct so I suggest buying from studica.

                Da vinci duo3d- $649.99 - Print Area 7.874 x 7.874 x 7.48in - Resloution of 100 - 400 Microns

                Scan area is 5.9x5.9in - Resolution of 250 microns





                Peachy Printer is a new start up that prints and scans starting (unassembled) at $100.

                However if you want the top of the line preassembled its $1000.

                Technically they are only doing pre-orders, and I have seen many companies get way to backed up doing only pre-orders and not delivering in the same year they should have.

                Peachy Printer - $100.00 - Printer Area 36 x 36 x 192in - Resolution of 200 Micron




                Formlabs is a compact and quiet and works off liquid resin, for this reason more effort is required to get the job done, then printers that use plastic filament. I heard that the quality is good and it has a larger print area than many printers in its price range.

                If your a school or library you can contact them directly and see if they can help you out if budget is the issue.

                As awesome as it is the resign price may be the downfall in the longterm.

                Resin starts as $149 for 1L.

                FormLabs 1+ - $ 3,299  - 4.9 × 4.9 × 6.5 in - 25 -200 microns



                Flux 3dp is a printer, scanner and engranving machine.

                The design makes it easy to asseble and it is a great tool for the price.

                Technically they are only doing pre-orders, and I have seen many companies get way to backed up doing only pre-orders and not delivering in the same year they should have.

                Flux3dp - $749 - 6.7 x 7in - Resolution of 200 microns

                scanner - 5.5 x 3.3in




                Micro is compact 3d printer, that is a fresh startup.

                Technically they are only doing pre-orders, and I have seen many companies get way to backed up doing only pre-orders and not delivering in the same year they should have.

                Micro 3D - $349 - Print Area of 4.6 x 4.2 x4.4 - Resolution of 50-350 microns



                Ultimaker 2 I have heard mix reviews, and that it is hard to learn but once you do it is suppose to be amazing.

                It does offer good quality and has a large print area.

                Ultimaker 2 Go -$1450 - Print Area  4.72 X 4.72 X 4.53 in - Resolution of 200 microns layer

                Ultimaker 2   - $2499 - Print Area  9.0 X 8.8 X 8.0 in - Resolution of 200 microns layer



                Most 3d printers and CAD programs offer tutorials with the product as a standard, and

                There is are really great books out there as well.






                CAD software, and software for the printer can require some pretty powerful computers. For example the Makerbot requires a CPU equal to Intel i5 or greater.

                Here is a list of computers that should run what you need and not overcharge you.



                Lenovo ThinkStation P300 - $656.10 - http://shop.lenovo.com/us/en/workstations/thinkstation/p-series/p300-sff/

                *Dell Percisiont 1700- $679 - http://www.dell.com/us/business/p/precision-t1700-workstation/pd

                HP Z230 WORKSTATION - $869 -http://www8.hp.com/us/en/campaigns/workstations/z230.html

                Asus Intel i7 desktop- $869 - http://www.studica.com/us/en/ASUS/intel-core-i7-4770s-commercial/bm1ae-i7477s008b.html

                Orbital c750 - $995 - https://orbitalcomputers.com/workstations.php?gclid=Cj0KEQiA8rilBRDZu_G8hszXraoBEiQABlB9Y4MKZsX97E7gMHipcQIsvC4OrCsAkYj2Hs4c6qx5SNAaAod_8P8HAQ

                * Orbital C1000- $1,395 - https://orbitalcomputers.com/workstations.php?gclid=Cj0KEQiA8rilBRDZu_G8hszXraoBEiQABlB9Y4MKZsX97E7gMHipcQIsvC4OrCsAkYj2Hs4c6qx5SNAaAod_8P8HAQ