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How to pick the right 3D printer, even on a budget

(TECH NEWS) With hundreds of options to sort through and thousands of different accessibility options, the search for the perfect one can be daunting. Stop agonizing! We are here to save you.

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3d printer

Exhaustive options

Are you searching for the right 3D printer? With hundreds of options to sort through and thousands of different accessibility options, the search for the perfect one can be daunting. To help shorten that search and get you printing in no time, the good people over at 3D Hubs created a comprehensive 2016 3D Printer Guide using reviews from verified 3D Printer owners that have years of 3D Printing experiences.

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For the “enthusiast”

These are most suitable for hobbyists, designers, and some small businesses. Users should select from this category if they are looking for a reliable machine that can produce high quality prints consistently. Furthermore, these printers are straightforward, without all the frivolities of other printers, allowing for flexible upgrades and various modifications.

This category includes: MakerGear M2, Lulzbot Taz 5, Deltawasp, Creator Pro, Ultimaker 2, and Witbox, all of which have several things in common.

Build quality is one, offering users various bodies made out of steel, aluminum, and other durable materials. Precision and material options are also pros for most of the printers in this category. However, past users have complained about the ease of use, or lack thereof, for these printers since most will need some type of engineering background to use these machines successfully. However, all of these 3D printers have awesome support communities, and customer service teams that are dedicated to answering any questions you have, and trying their best to eliminate the learning curve.

If you want to plug ‘n’ play

Printers in the Plug n’ Play category are said to be the easiest to use and provide the luxury of being ready to use straight out of the box. Highlighted because of their reliable print qualities, low failure rates, and great customer service, this group of printers is awesome for light 3D printing needs and quality-conscious beginners.

Included in this category are the Zortrax M200, CEL Robox, Beethefirst, and Lulzbot Mini – all closed system printers admired for their dependability.

These smaller 3D printers made the cut because of their industrial reliability without the industrial size and cost. In addition to reliability, users also choose these printers for their ease of use, convenience, and precision. Although the size of these printers are beneficial in making printing easier and more precise, the size can be a hindrance. Because these machines are so small with closed systems, users are limited to the size of printing they can do, so anything too large is out of the question. But, because they already come assembled and don’t require the same engineering background as the aforementioned, these are great for beginners or anyone that wants precise 3D prints without wasting time on set up.

For peeps on a budget

If you are a student, a small business owner, or an experimenter, these printers are sure to get the job done without costing you a fortune.

The Craftbot, Printrbot, Up Mini, and Creator all cater to the financially frugal involved in 3D printing. Starting as low as $599 (and no more than $1000) users are able to select a printer specific to their goals while saving upwards of $600 dollars. Aside from the extremely attractive price points, these printers boast easy-to-use systems with awesome customer service in case any issues arise.

But, with the good comes the bad, and these printers are no different. Even though they are awesome for our pockets, there are some less-than-stellar qualities including lack of material availability, build quality, and speed. However, as a former broke college student, I can tell you those cons don’t seem that bad so long as I can save money.

For the brave DIY soul

For the adventurous creative who thinks “straight out of the box” printers are for the fainthearted, and would rather get their hands dirty with these difficult to assemble machines, the Rostock Max, Prusa Steel, Mendel90, and Ultimaker can be built in labs and garages across the world.

According to the reviews, users love the expandable and upgradable capabilities the most, while their second love is the large and supportive community that helps kit assembly go by smoothly and free of complications.

Alternatively, some users complain about the amount of time it takes to assemble (30+ hours), along with the prior knowledge necessary for proper assembly, such as basic electronic skills. But for those with that hands-on nature, the time it takes to assemble isn’t a surprise and electronic skills are likely part of a slew of other technological skills that make assembly a breeze.

Liquid resin printers

Rsesin-based printers use an optical power source to cure liquid resin into a solid object. These kinds of 3D printers are definitely more expensive and require additional post-production work. However, the print quality and precision are unmatched with other 3D printers. Unlike the others, resin printers are ideal for professionals and serious hobbyists who need accurate prototyping and high resolution parts.

Because of its unique method of printing, there are only two printers that made the cut for this category: Form 1+, and B9Creator. Though these printers are smaller than the other printers on the guide, they pack a mean punch by providing the highest quality objects anyone has ever seen from a desktop 3D printer. One user was so astonished by the B9Creator that he compared it to a “$80K professional DLP printer.”

Aside from the brilliant quality, these printers also have a supportive community and customer service foundation. The only major issues with these unique printers is the price point, starting at $2,799, and the material availability, since it can only work with resin. But for those who appreciate unmatched flawlessness every single time, the price may be worth it.

Pick your poison

Whether you are a beginner at 3D printing or a seasoned veteran, this guide is sure to help you find the perfect printer for your needs. Head to 3DHubs for a detailed description for all twenty of the printers that made the list, including their prices, specifications, and a list of pros and cons. Happy printing!

#3DPrinter

Lauren Flanigan is a Staff Writer at The American Genius, hailing from the windy hills of Cincinnati, with a degree in Marketing from the University of Cincinnati. She has escaped the hills, and currently resides in Atlanta, where you can almost always find her camping at a Starbucks strategizing on how to take over the world.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Pingback: Emerging technologies that executives absolutely MUST be aware of - The American Genius

  2. Shab Bhat

    March 7, 2017 at 11:04 am

    Thank you for the information. we are a 3D printing service Company and we use SLA 3D printers and they work with liquid resin and i must say quality, resolution and details of the object is great but sure they are very expensive unless you are into some serious business. We are looking into 3D metal printers and hoping to get some good printers soon and start with 3D metal printing too.

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Earbuds that are noise cancelling hit the market just in time for the holidays

(TECH NEWS) There are no shortage of earbuds on the market, however, Nuheara’s noise cancelling, bluetooth earbuds are sure to top everyone’s wish list.

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Noise cancelling earbuds are efficient for blocking out the world around you – when all you want to hear is your music and nothing else. However, for those who want a smaller, sleeker alternative, Nuheara is the perfect fit.

Nuheara are wireless audio earbuds that are customizable to your hearing needs. Even though they have the same power as noise cancelling headphones, they can be adjusted to amplify or minimize sound based on each situation.

You can choose to blend the sounds of the streets and your new favorite album in order to be aware of the world around you. The earbuds are ideal for any situation.

The noise cancelling earbuds use SINC (Superior Intelligent Noise Control) technology, which lets every user create their custom hearing experience.

There are numerous times when it’s hard to hear because of the noise around us. This may be in crowded restaurants, concerts or even when you’re at home trying to avoid the noisy neighbor in the apartment above you.

The SINC technology applies a frequency filter to sounds you choose to hear or want to avoid. Additionally, the left and right earbuds have their own settings, so that they can be customized individually. Everything is customized through the app, so it’s up to each user to decide!

Prior to founding Nuheara, Justin Miller and David Cannington worked in the oil and gas companies creating industrial strength hearing headsets.

The feedback they received during these experiences paved the way for inventing Nuheara. People wanted a sleek headset that they could wear in everyday life, not just at their job.

The earbuds will set you back a few hundred bucks, but they come with accessories like a battery charger, carrying case and 8 different silicone tips. The battery charger provides three full charges. Nuheara earbuds are also sweat and water resistant, but they are not yet waterproof.

As wireless headphones, Nuheara are also compatible with most Bluetooth connected devices. The earbuds also use tap-touch control to make hands-free phone calls, control music and adjust settings.

There is no need to connect Nuheara to external devices to use their noise cancelling capabilities.

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Turn your FAQ page into a chatbot without knowing how to code

(TECH NEWS) An easy way to add a chatbot to your site and automate some of your work is through this new simple tool that doesn’t require any tech know-how.

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faqbot chatbot

Reduce your workload and personalize customer service engagement with Faqbot, the tool that turns your online FAQ into a customized chatbot.

Co-founded by Denny Wong and CEO Mathis André, Faqbot uses machine learning to streamline frequently asked questions into a handy chatbot pal.

Based on your existing FAQ content, Faqbot builds a database that learns from every conversation to improve responses. Faqbot can also be used to automate sales and lead generation.

You get to design the conversation flow, mapping out a custom path to guide users to a desired outcome. Set predefined choices or free text, customize the bot’s responses, and determine what leading questions the bot should ask.

For example, on the Faqbot site, I was given two pre-set choices to click after each response from the bot. Clicking “Thanks for helping” gets the polite response “You are welcome! ;-)” complete with an old-school emoji featuring a nose.

If you select “not my question,” Faqbot uses its general response to any unanswerable question: “Sorry, I’m a chatbot. I am constantly learning and have answers to frequently asked questions. Thank you for leaving your email and we will get back to you shortly.”

Choose your own responses based on already defined FAQ or come up with new messaging to better engage and inform your customers as needed. The free text option is also available if customers wish to continue asking questions.

Of course, I had to try out some less than frequently asked questions. When I asked Faqbot “are we friends?” it kindly replied, “Absolutely. You don’t have to ask.” So I’m smitten.

However, when I tried to take it to the next level by asking “Do you love me?,” which seems to be the internet’s favorite way to harass a bot, I got the “Sorry, I’m a chatbot” response.

That’s okay. I’ll recover. Faqbot isn’t here to love, it’s here to answer questions.

You can easily install the chatbot by either copy/pasting the snippet of codes directly into your webpage, or connect Faqbot to your company’s Facebook page. No coding skills required.

Pricing is based on number of users per month, but all levels include the same service offerings of FAQ database management, messaging interface, a ticketing system, and DIY guided conversation flow. You can try out Faqbot free for 14 days by signing up on their site.

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Tech News

This note-taking app is perfect for the creative mind

(TECH NEWS) The newest app for note-taking could be a tremendous asset for a very specific type of creative that tools like trello and evernote fall short on… not all apps work for all people.

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milanote

If you’re like me, you’ve had many phases in your idea-having, note-taking life. There was the AP History period, where I decided the quality of my notes would be judged based on the tininess of my handwriting and the number of innovative abbreviations coined. There was the “song collection” period, in which I wrote down song and band names with reckless abandon, on any scrap of paper or non-paper within reach, and promptly scattered the scraps everywhere. There was the post-it era, in which every single idea was carefully documented on a “Sticky Note” that tiled over my Windows desktop and was impossible to find thereafter.

And then, there was Evernote, and Trello, and I thought my evolution was complete. I had neatly organized “Notebooks” and “Cards” and I felt very structured and efficient and spiritually done with my note-taking journey.

But a whisper of rebellion called out to me. It sounded musical, colorful, whimsical. It asked me whether I wouldn’t like to liberate myself from those neat lists and stacks, let my ideas flow, visualize my thoughts?

It introduced me to Milanote – the note-taking app truly made FOR images, not just tolerant of them.

Milanote markets itself toward creatives: “For the research, thinking and planning behind your next great piece of work.”

But the strengths of this app could benefit anyone who could use a more freeform space to collect their thoughts. A blank page resembles a peg board, and users can add images, notes, links, and more in any configuration their hearts desire. You can also link any elements together with a web of lines, or leave them on their own.

This could be a great app for early-stage brainstorming and planning, when you need to play around and be flexible.

Milanote can be collaborative, like Trello, or individual and personal, like my always-evolving grocery list in Evernote. Milanote currently works in any web browser, and iOs and Android apps are coming soon.

For up to 100 notes, Milanote can be yours free of charge. More than that, though, and you’ll have to pay $9.99 for the pro version.

Something tells me infinity should cost much more, but the organic, customizable concept is something to hold on to.

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