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Resources3D Printing Design25 Best 3D Printer Upgrades in 2022
3D printer. Image Credit: Shutterstock.com/Alex_Traksel

25 Best 3D Printer Upgrades in 2022

Discover some of the best ways to enhance your 3D printer and improve its performance.

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
August 23, 2022
 10 min read
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3D printers are becoming more and more popular as they become cheaper and easier to use. As technology evolves, even the best 3D printers can be improved with upgrades. Upgrading is a great way to get the most out of your machine and extend its useful life. Perhaps you have an older model that you want to keep up to date, or you're looking to improve the performance of your current printer. With so many different parts and upgrades available, it can be tough to know where to start.

This article will discuss 25 of the best 3D printer upgrades that you can buy in 2022.

1. Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card-sized computer that can be used for various projects, including 3D printing. It can be used to remotely control your 3D printer, stream live video of your prints, or even turn your 3D printer into a networked device. A Raspberry Pi costs around $269.99.

2. Smoke Detector

A smoke detector works in conjunction with an alarm that alerts an individual of fire or traces of smoke that may be coming from an electronic device. Most printer hot ends reach temperatures upwards of 500 °C. Having a smoke detector handy will be helpful in detecting any dangerous conditions. They typically cost around $15. The location of the detector and its sensitivity are important determinants when choosing a smoke detector.

3. Adhesive

Adhesives, such as Scotch glue sticks, are used to attach 3D printed objects to the build surfaces or printing beds. The use of an adhesive will ensure firm contact during the duration of the printing operation. A good adhesive costs about $2.50 on Amazon. When choosing an adhesive, consider the surface to which the object is being attached.

4. Nozzle

Nozzles are used to dispense the filament during 3D printing. Nozzles come in a variety of sizes and can be made from different materials. The nozzle size determines the speed of extrusion. The larger nozzles print faster, while smaller nozzles print more accurate details. Nozzles cost about $15. When choosing a nozzle, consider the size needed for your specific part being printed.

5. Enclosure

An enclosure is a box or chamber that can be used to enclose your 3D printer. It is among the best 3D printer upgrades because it protects the printer from dust, dirt, and other contaminants. Different types exist, but a photography tent enclosure typically costs around $40.

6. Belt Tensioner

A belt tensioner is a useful device that helps to maintain the dimensional accuracy of objects during printing. It keeps the belts tight and free of slack. A belt-tensioner replacement costs around $15. For a DIY belt tensioner, download all the necessary files from Thingiverse (a website where open-source hardware designs of all sorts can be accessed) and print the design.

7. LED Lighting

LED lighting can be used to illuminate 3D prints to improve visibility as well as to help cure UV-sensitive materials. LED lights typically cost around $15. When choosing LED lights, consider the type of light, the color of the light, and the intensity of the light that will meet your needs.

8. Extruder

An extruder is a device that is used to extrude filament during 3D printing. Extruders come in a variety of sizes and can be made from different materials. Extruders typically cost around $90.

9. Filament Dryer

Many filaments absorb significant amounts of moisture from the air, which reduces print quality. As such, this device has been added to the list of the best 3D printer upgrades. It helps to improve the quality of the 3D prints by removing moisture from the filament before 3D printing takes place. Filament dryers (also called dehydrators) typically cost around $90. 

10. Corner Bracket

A corner bracket is a device that supports the corners of the 3D printer's frame. Corner brackets, when properly fixed, can help to maintain the dimensional accuracy of the printed object. To get one, simply download the files from Thingiverse and print. When choosing corner brackets, ensure they hold the frame together.

11. Spool Holder

A spool holder is a device that is used to hold filament spools during 3D printing. Spool holders help keep the filament spools organized and free from tangling. You can also print your own spool holder by downloading all necessary files from Thingiverse. Design a holder that can hold the filament in place.

12. Webcam Mount

A webcam mount is a device that holds a webcam during 3D printing. Webcam mounts help to improve the quality of the 3D prints by providing a clear view of the build process. A webcam mount can be 3D printed at home by downloading all the necessary files from Thingiverse. When choosing a webcam mount, consider the size of the mount and ensure it is strong enough to support the camera.

13. TL Smoother

A TL smoother is a device used to smoothen the surface of 3D prints. These typically cost around $10. TL smoothers are used mostly with FDM printers such as the EasyThreed desktop FDM 3D printer. Always check the smoother for compatibility with your 3D printer.

14. Fan Duct

A fan duct is a device used to channel airflow during 3D printing. Some thermoplastics like PLA, in their liquefied state, need proper cooling as soon as they are extruded from the nozzle. To get one, simply download all necessary files from Thingiverse and create one. 

15. Build Surface

A build surface is a platform that is used to support 3D prints during printing. Build surfaces can help improve the quality of your 3D prints by providing a flat, level surface for printing. Build surfaces typically cost around $25. 

16. Stepper Damper

A stepper damper is a device used to reduce vibration during 3D printing. This qualifies to be listed among the 3D printer upgrades because it dampens or reduces the noise produced by the machine. Stepper dampers typically cost around $10.

17. E3D V6 Hot End

The E3D V6 hot end is responsible for melting the filament before it is extruded. The E3D V6 hot end can help improve the quality of the 3D prints by providing better temperature control. An E3D V6 hot end typically costs around $60. 

18. ABL Sensor

An ABL (automatic bed leveling) sensor is a device used to measure the height of 3D prints. ABL sensors can help to improve the quality of the 3D prints by providing more accurate measurements. An example of a 3D printer that comes with an auto-leveling sensor is Labists 3D printer. ABL sensors typically cost around $40. When choosing an ABL sensor, you should consider the size and accuracy of the sensor, as well as the compatibility with the 3D printer.

19. Bed Leveling Knob

A bed leveling knob is a device used to adjust the level of your 3D printer bed. Bed leveling knobs help improve the quality of your 3D prints by providing a more consistent surface. Download all necessary files from Thingiverse and print one out. When choosing a bed leveling knob, consider the size of the knob and ensure it fits well with the wing nut.

20. Quality PTFE tubing

PTFE tubing facilitates the easy movement of the filament to the extruder. Quality PTFE tubing typically costs around $12.

21. Wire Strain Relief Bracket

A wire strain relief bracket is a device used to support the wires/cables of a 3D printer. It keeps the wires in place, greatly reduces fatigue caused by printer movement, and keeps them from coming into direct contact with the hot printer bed. Download all necessary files from Thingiverse and print out a suitable version. Ensure the wire strain relief bracket holds the wires firmly in place.

22. PSU Covering

A PSU covering protects the power supply unit (PSU). This might as well be among the DIY box mods parts. A convenient PSU covering can be designed with a 3D printer. Download all necessary files from Thingiverse and print.

23. 32-Bit Control Board

The capability of a 32-bit control board is enormous. It controls all the logical processes in 3D printing. Some of them include but are not limited to regulating temperature, analyzing G-code files, and motion control. The higher processing speed also allows for faster printing. A 32-bit control board typically costs around $60.

24. Multicolor/Multi-Material System

With a multicolor/multi-material system, the print can come in a variety of colors or designs. Multicolor/multi-material systems typically cost around $300 on Prusa Research. 

25. Unique Extruder System

Unique extruder systems give 3D printers the option of printing other materials other than the conventional filament material. Among them are chocolate extruders and pellet extruders. A CNC milling machine can also be mounted on the printer for cutting and engraving objects. Thus, the printer becomes an all-in-one manufacturing device. Unique extruder systems typically cost around $300 on ChocoL3D. When choosing a unique extruder system, check for compatibility with the 3D printer.

What Is a 3D Printer?

A 3D printer is a machine that creates three-dimensional (3D) objects from a digital file. The printer uses additive manufacturing processes to successively build up layers of material to create the desired object.

For more information, see our 3D printing guide.

How Do You Know Which 3D Printer Part To Upgrade?

When it comes to upgrading a 3D printer, it's important to consider which parts will best improve the performance of the machine. Depending on your specific needs, an upgrade of the extruder, nozzle, bed, or filament may be important.

For more information, see our guide on the parts of a 3D printer.

What Are the Best Extruders for 3D Printers?

Some of the best extruders for 3D printers include the E3D V6, Bondtech BMG, and Prusa i3 MK3. These extruders are known for their high quality and performance.

What Is the Cheapest Way To Upgrade a 3D Printer?

One of the cheapest ways to upgrade a 3D printer is to switch to open-source software. Open-source software is often free or very low cost, and it can provide significant performance improvements.

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading a 3D Printer?

There are many benefits of upgrading a 3D printer, including improved performance, increased speed, better print quality, and more options for filaments and materials.

Why Should a 3D Printer Be Upgraded?

A 3D printer should be upgraded for various reasons. If the printer is an older model, upgrading can help to keep it up to date. Additionally, upgrading can improve the performance of the machine and give one access to new features and capabilities.

Is It Expensive To Upgrade a 3D Printer?

Yes and no. The cost of upgrading a 3D printer will vary depending on the specific upgrades chosen. Some upgrades, like switching to open-source software, can be very affordable. Others, like buying a new extruder, can be more expensive. Ultimately, the best way to save money on upgrades is to focus on those upgrades that will best improve the performance of your particular machine.

Summary

This article reviewed 25 upgrades that can be done to improve the capabilities and performance of a 3D printer.

Xometry provides a wide range of manufacturing capabilities, including 3D printing and other value-added services for all of your prototyping and production needs. Visit our website to learn more or to request a free, no-obligation quote.

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Xomety X
Team Xometry
This article was written by various Xometry contributors. Xometry is a leading resource on manufacturing with CNC machining, sheet metal fabrication, 3D printing, injection molding, urethane casting, and more.