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14 Expensive 3D Printers in 2024

Xomety X
By Team Xometry
May 15, 2024
 20 min read
RECENT STORIES
Mark Osterman, VP of Technical Sales and Pre-Sales Engineering
June 7, 2024
 3 min read

3D printing has come a long way in the last decade. While a lot of focus is usually given to consumer-grade printers in the $1,000 and less range, some expensive, specialized printers are worth taking a look at. These printers all bring industrial-grade performance and build quality to the table, with high print temperatures, multi-material printing, and incredible accuracy being some of the standout features that come standard.

In this article, we take a look at 14 expensive, specialized 3D printers available in 2024. We look at their specifications, capabilities, and price, where available, as well as answer a few frequently asked questions about expensive 3D printers.

1. Black Buffalo 3D

Black Buffalo 3D specializes in large-scale 3D construction printing technologies. Their NEXCON™ line of 3D construction printers is designed to meet the demands of the construction industry by providing a more efficient, cost-effective, and resilient building solution compared to traditional construction methods. These printers are the result of a global partnership with experts in mechanical engineering and construction and are capable of printing structures up to three stories high. These printers are designed for on-site construction, allowing for the printing of residential and commercial structures. Unlike traditional methods, NEXCON™ printers can complete buildings faster, with a stronger and more resilient output. The system features a modular gantry design for flexibility and a customizable track system for scalability across various project sizes. The optimized nozzle design ensures quality and ease of use, while the printers operate at the maximum speed allowed by law to ensure rapid project completion. Furthermore, Black Buffalo 3D uses proprietary ink that enhances the strength and durability of the constructions. Prices are available on request to contractors on their website. 

2. Formlabs Form 3

The Formlabs Form 3 series is a collection of resin printers (stereolithography, SLA). There are four printers included in this series: Form 3+ (standard), Form 3L (a large-format 3D printer), Form 3B+ (advanced desktop 3D printer designed for healthcare), and Form 3BL (large medical devices and anatomic replicas at full scale). These printers are known for their exceptional detail and surface finish, due to their advanced Low Force Stereolithography (LFS) technology. This technology minimizes the forces applied during the printing process, which allows for the production of highly detailed and smooth prints, setting it apart from traditional SLA printers. The standard version, Form 3+ comes with a build volume of 145 x 145 x 185 mm. 

PreForm®, the accompanying software, enhances the user experience by simplifying the printing process with features like auto-orientation and auto-support, despite being slower on detailed models on less powerful computers. The printer supports STL and OBJ file formats. The setup is straightforward, featuring a responsive touchscreen and multiple connectivity options (Wi-Fi, USB, and Ethernet) alongside the proprietary resin system. This closed system supports a wide range of Formlabs' proprietary resins, offering over 20 material options, although it limits the use of third-party materials. The basic model (Form 3+) has a starting price of $2,499. The Form 3BL, which is the most advanced in the Form 3 series has a starting price of $13,000. 

3. UltiMaker S3

The UltiMaker S3 3D printer is part of UltiMaker's esteemed “S” series. It features dual-material printing capability, advanced print cores for precise material handling, and automatic bed leveling with a heated, removable glass sheet for optimal print quality. It comes pre-assembled with a build volume of 230 x 190 x 200 mm. Its semi-enclosed space with a glass door maintains stable temperature conditions, crucial for sensitive materials. With Wi-Fi connectivity for easy print-job management and compatibility with a wide range of filaments, the S3 is designed for flexibility and ease of use. The filaments that are compatible with this printer include: PP, TPU, PVA, PLA, ABS, CPE, PC, and nylon. Its dual-extrusion system allows for the creation of complex models with support structures or in multiple materials. The UltiMaker S3 is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems. The recommended slicer for this printer is UltiMaker Cura® and the file types supported by this printer include: STL, OBJ, 3MF, BMP, X3D, GIF, PNG, JPG, G-code, and UFP. You can request a quote on the company website for this printer. 

4. MakerBot Method X

The MakerBot Method X is a high-performance desktop 3D printer that brings industrial-grade capabilities to the table. It's designed to meet complex 3D printing needs, enabling the production of working prototypes, manufacturing tools, fixtures, and end-use parts with precision and ease. Method X has a dual-extrusion system, which can reach temperatures up to 300 °C, and a heated build chamber that can maintain temperatures up to 110 °C.​ 

The setup process guides users through installing extruders and materials, facilitated by a touchscreen interface. Method X supports a wide array of materials including: ABS, ASA, PVA, PA, and even specialized composites, such as nylon and ABS carbon fiber, and comes with a humidity-controlled filament storage chamber to keep materials in optimal condition​​. It has a single-extrusion build volume of 190 mm x 190 mm x 196 mm and supports 25 CAD file types. MakerBot provides its slicing software, MakerBot Print, and CloudPrint, for print preparation and remote printing. While some bugs and crashes were noted with MakerBot Print, CloudPrint offers a reliable alternative with the latest features ​.

In terms of post-processing, Method X facilitates easy part removal thanks to its flexible, magnetic print bed, although care must be taken as the adhesive film on the build plate may be prone to damage. For materials requiring soluble supports, such as SR-30 material, a heated alkaline solution is needed to dissolve supports, which may require additional post-processing equipment​. The retail prices for this printer start at $3,666.18 and are available on MakerBot’s website. 

5. Raise3D Pro2 Plus

The Raise3D Pro2 Plus is a large-format 3D printer that caters well to professionals who want to print big projects. It features a dual-extrusion system capable of reaching temperatures up to 300 °C and a heated build chamber. Its massive build volume of 305 × 305 × 605 mm enables the creation of large or multiple pieces in a single print job​, which is one of its distinguishing features. This printer is equipped with a variety of user-friendly features, including an intuitive touchscreen interface for easy operation, an on-board camera for remote monitoring, and an air filtration system to ensure a safe printing environment. Its fully enclosed build area not only stabilizes temperatures but also enhances safety and print quality by minimizing external interference. The Pro2 Plus is compatible with a wide range of materials, supporting everything from standard filaments like PLA and ABS to more advanced materials such as flexible and composite filaments​. The current price for this 3D printer is $3,999.

6. Stratasys J750

The Stratasys J750 3D printer is recognized for its remarkable full-color, multi-material printing capabilities. It utilizes PolyJet™ technology to produce parts with microscopic layer resolution and accuracy down to 0.014 mm. The J750 has a build volume of 490 x 390 x 200 mm. The printer enables the creation of complex geometries and thin walls using a wide range of materials. This printer can print with up to six different materials in a single print job, offering over 360,000 colors to choose from. It also offers texture mapping and color-gradient features. Its features cater specifically to producing realistic medical models by mimicking the look and feel of human tissue and organs, enhancing surgical planning and educational tools. The price of this printer is given to customers upon request on their website. 

7. 3D Systems Figure 4

The 3D Systems Figure 4 Standalone is designed for low-volume production and rapid prototyping, offering high accuracy and durability with industrial-grade materials. It supports a variety of materials, including: rigid, durable, rubber-like, and biocompatible, within a closed system. The printer features a build volume of 124 x 70 x 196 mm and a resolution of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels, capable of building rates up to 100 mm/hr. This printer is mainly used to create parts for the electronics, medical, and consumer product industries. The printer offers cloud connectivity and is only compatible with Windows 7 and newer. The software used by the printer is 3D Sprint®. The printer is considered to be one of the more affordable high-end printers. The price can be requested on their website. 

8. Zortrax M300 Dual

The Zortrax M300 Dual is a dual-extrusion 3D printer designed for large-volume printing with a build volume of 265 x 265 x 300 mm. It can produce industrial-quality 3D models with intricate details. A key feature of the M300 Dual is its LPD Plus technology, which uses two nozzles and a double hot-end system for dual-material printing. This technology can be used to print complex geometries with water-soluble supports, enabling the creation of models that would be challenging to produce with single-extrusion printers.

One of the M300 Dual's standout features is its blackout response system, which allows the printer to pause and resume printing from the same spot after a power outage, minimizing the risk of print failures. The M300 Dual supports a wide variety of filaments, including third-party materials, in both single- and dual-extrusion modes. Zortrax offers the Z-SUITE® inCloud software, which is designed to prepare models for printing and offers functionalities such as: raft-free printing, rotation optimization, and replication. The software allows you to control your printer from anywhere in the world. The printer also comes with Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity. The software also includes features tailored to metal-filament printing, like improved support structures and automatic scaling to compensate for material shrinkage. The cost for this printer is $5,090. 

9. BCN3D Sigma R19

The BCN3D Sigma R19, priced at approximately $2,995, is a professional 3D printer known for its dual-extrusion capabilities and versatility in printing with a wide array of materials including: PLA, nylon, PET-G, ABS, and TPU. It offers two Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) printheads that enable printing two models simultaneously or using two different materials in one print. With a build volume of 210 x 297 x 210 mm, it accommodates sizable projects within a compact footprint suitable for professional environments. Despite lacking Wi-Fi connectivity, its user-friendly interface, facilitated by a touchscreen display, ensures ease of use. The Sigma R19 is designed for long hours of operation without compromising on print quality. It supports STL, AMF, and OBJ file formats and is compatible with Mac, Linux, and Windows operating systems. 

10. XJet Carmel 1400C

The XJet Carmel 1400C is a cutting-edge ceramic additive manufacturing system that can produce high-quality, complex geometric designs at high productivity levels. It uses NanoParticle Jetting™ (NPJ) technology to deliver parts with unmatched detail, accuracy, and surface finish without compromising on build speed. This system features one of the industry's largest build trays (500 x 140 mm build tray, 200 mm build height) and ultra-fine 10-micron layer thickness. The system also supports high-grade ceramic materials like C700 Alumina and C808 Zirconia. The Carmel 1400C has a substantial footprint and requires specific power and air pressure to operate. It integrates with Autodesk Netfabb® software which streamlines the production process from design to final output. The price for this printer can be requested on the company’s official website. 

11. Voxeljet Vx4000

The Voxeljet VX4000 is the world's largest sand 3D printer, offering unparalleled build volume and precision. It utilizes Voxeljet's binder jetting technology, allowing for the efficient creation of large-scale molds or multiple small-series components within its massive 4,000 x 2,000 x 1,000 mm build space. The system is designed for industrial use, capable of continuous operation in demanding multi-shift environments. Its bidirectional printhead technology ensures rapid production without sacrificing detail or quality, making it a powerful tool for a variety of industries requiring large or complex sand molds. The price of this printer is available upon request on the company website. 

12. Markforged Mark X

The Mark X by Markforged is a top-tier 3D printer designed for creating strong parts with precision. This 3D printer is designed to produce parts with the strength of aluminum, thanks to its unique fiber-reinforcement technology. The printer operates with advanced sensors to ensure parts are built as designed, and it supports a variety of materials, including carbon fiber, Kevlar®, and fiberglass, enhancing the strength and functionality of printed parts. It prints at a layer height of 50 microns and has a build volume of 330 x 250 x 200 mm. In terms of the printer's cost, you can get in contact with the supplier on their website. 

13. EnvisionTEC Perfactory® Micro

The EnvisionTEC Perfactory® Micro is a high-resolution 3D printer designed for professionals requiring detailed and precise prints. It makes use of Digital Light Processing (DLP) technology. The printer connects via USB, functioning similarly to a desktop printer, and comes with a starter kit including software and material. The printer has a build volume of 100 x 75 x 100 mm. The Perfactory® Micro costs around $10,000. 

14. Optomec Lens 860

The Optomec LENS 860 series is an advanced metal additive manufacturing system that can handle both non-reactive and reactive metals. The series offers four primary configurations: Additive Open Atmosphere System for non-reactive metals like stainless steel and tool steel, Hybrid Open Atmosphere System for seamless additive and subtractive manufacturing processes, and two Controlled Atmosphere Systems designed for working with reactive metals such as titanium, ensuring high-quality material output through a hermetically sealed build chamber.

The LENS 860 machines are built upon a high-performance vertical machining center platform, which allows for larger build volumes and enhanced power capabilities, suitable for manufacturing mid- to large-size parts with exceptional metal quality. These systems are capable of performing under open or controlled atmospheres, accommodating a broad range of metal types with precision.

Specific technical specifications such as: build volume, laser power, and material compatibility vary across the different models within the series. The LENS 860 series is particularly useful for applications requiring the repair, coating, or complete fabrication of complex metal parts. These printers are available at a starting price of under $250,000, which makes high-quality metal additive manufacturing more accessible to a wider range of industries, including: aerospace, energy, and life sciences.

What Is a 3D Printer?

A 3D printer is a device that creates three-dimensional objects from digital models through an additive process, layer by layer. Unlike traditional manufacturing methods that often require cutting away material to shape an object, 3D printing builds objects directly from a computer-aided design (CAD) file, adding material only where needed. This technology enables the production of complex shapes and structures that would be difficult or impossible to achieve with conventional methods. 3D printers work with a variety of materials, including plastics, resins, metals, and ceramics. They are very versatile and find use in industries ranging from manufacturing, aerospace, automotive, healthcare, art, and more. 3D printers are used for prototyping and testing, customized production, and innovative solutions in a wide range of fields, and the technology is growing at a rapid pace.

What Factors Should You Consider When Buying an Expensive 3D Printer?

When investing in an expensive 3D printer, several critical factors should be considered to ensure the purchase meets your specific needs and provides value for money. The factors to consider in buying 3D printers are:

  1. Print Quality and Resolution: High resolution and print quality are key in 3D printing, especially for applications requiring precise details, such as: in the medical, dental, aerospace, and jewelry industries. Evaluate the printer's layer height and XY resolution to understand the level of detail it can produce.
  2. Build Volume: The size of the build platform determines the maximum dimensions of the objects you can print. Consider the size of parts you plan to print and ensure the printer's build volume meets your requirements.
  3. Material Compatibility: Different printers support various materials, including: plastics (PLA, ABS, etc.), resins, metals, and ceramics. Consider the materials you need for your projects and ensure the printer can handle them. Additionally, the availability and cost of these materials can affect ongoing operating expenses.
  4. Printing Speed: Speed is crucial when it comes to production capacity and turnaround times. However, faster printing can sometimes compromise print quality, so find a balance that suits your priorities.
  5. Ease of Use: Look for user-friendly interfaces, reliable software support, and features like auto-calibration that can make the 3D printing process more efficient, especially if you're working in a fast-paced or high-output environment.
  6. Technology and Features: Different 3D printing technologies (FDM, SLA, SLS, etc.) have their advantages and limitations. Consider the technology that best suits your needs. Also, look for advanced features like dual extrusion, soluble supports, heated build plates, or laser-sintering capabilities if your work requires them.
  7. Software Compatibility: The 3D printer should be compatible with the software you intend to use for design and slicing. Some printers come with proprietary software, while others are compatible with a range of third-party applications. Ensure the software meets your needs for design flexibility, ease of use, and feature set.
  8. Total Cost of Ownership: Beyond the initial purchase price, consider ongoing costs such as: materials, replacement parts, and maintenance. Some printers may have a higher up-front cost but lower long-term operating expenses.

What Part of a 3D Printer Is Usually Expensive?

The most expensive parts of a 3D printer often include the printhead or extruder assembly for FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printers and the laser or projector system for SLA (stereolithography) or DLP (Digital Light Processing) printers. In FDM printers, the extruder assembly is critical as it handles the precise melting and deposition of the filament material. It consists of various components like: the nozzle, heating element, and motor, which must be highly accurate and durable to withstand the demands of continuous printing. For SLA and DLP printers, the laser or projector system is key to curing and solidifying resin with high precision. These components are costly due to the complexity, precision manufacturing requirements, and the technology needed to achieve fine details and consistent performance over long periods. 

Is Upgrading a 3D Printer Expensive?

Yes and no. The cost of upgrading a 3D printer can vary significantly based on the extent of the upgrades, the type of printer, and the specific components involved. For minor upgrades, such as replacing a nozzle or adding a glass bed, the expense can be relatively low, often within the range of a few tens to a few hundred dollars. These kinds of upgrades are typically aimed at improving print quality, and reliability, or expanding the range of materials that can be used.

On the other hand, more substantial upgrades, like installing a dual-extrusion system, or adding advanced features such as auto-leveling or enhanced cooling systems, can be considerably more expensive. These upgrades might cost several hundred to over a thousand dollars, depending on the printer’s make and model, the upgrade's complexity, and whether it’s officially supported by the manufacturer or requires third-party or custom-made parts. Other upgrades, such as switching to open-source software can be relatively inexpensive, and in some cases, it can even be free of charge. 

What Are the Benefits of Upgrading to an Expensive 3D Printer?

Upgrading to an expensive 3D printer can offer numerous benefits, including better print quality, higher resolution, and better precision, which are all essential for professional-grade projects and complex designs. Expensive printers often come with advanced features such as: larger build volumes, faster printing speeds, and more reliable auto-calibration systems, which can significantly enhance productivity and efficiency. They also typically support a broader range of materials, including: high-strength and specialty filaments, resins, or metals, expanding the scope of potential applications from models and prototypes to functional engineering parts. Additionally, higher-end models usually provide better durability and longevity, with more robust construction and higher-quality components that require less frequent maintenance or replacement. However, upgrading to an expensive 3D printer can be cost-prohibitive, potentially locking out hobbyists and small businesses due to high initial investment.

How Does the Build Quality of Expensive 3D Printers Compare to More Affordable Alternatives?

Expensive 3D printers generally offer superior build quality compared to cheap 3D printers. They are constructed with high-grade materials and components, leading to greater durability, stability, and precision. This quality extends to their internal mechanisms, ensuring accurate and consistent prints over time. In contrast, affordable 3D printers may use lower-cost materials and simpler designs, impacting their longevity and print precision. While these budget-friendly printers are a good starting point for hobbyists, the reliability and advanced features of expensive printers make them a better choice for professional and industrial use. 

Are There Particular Brands or Manufacturers Known for Producing High-Cost, High-Performance 3D Printers?

Yes, several brands and manufacturers are renowned for producing high-cost, high-performance 3D printers. These companies cater primarily to professional, industrial, and commercial markets. Some of the notable names, in no particular order, include:

  1. Stratasys
  2. 3D Systems
  3. Formlabs
  4. UltiMaker
  5. Markforged
  6. EOS
  7. HP
  8. EnvisionTEC

Do Expensive and Cheap 3D Printers Have Different Maintenance and Operational Costs?

Yes, expensive and cheap 3D printers often have different maintenance and operational costs, primarily due to differences in build quality, technology, and the materials they use. Expensive 3D printers, designed with higher-quality components and advanced features, typically require specialized maintenance services and parts that can be costlier. These printers may use more expensive materials or proprietary consumables, which further increases operational costs. However, their build quality and reliability can mean less frequent repairs over time. On the other hand, cheaper 3D printers might have lower initial costs for parts and materials, but they often require more frequent maintenance and calibration to maintain print quality, which can add up in terms of both time and money. The lower up-front cost of these printers might be offset by higher long-term expenses due to more frequent replacements and potentially higher failure rates, leading to increased downtime and less consistent print quality. 

Summary

This article presented expensive 3D printers, explained each of them, and discussed each of their various features. To learn more about expensive 3D printers, contact a Xometry representative.

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.

  1. NEXCON™ is a trademark of Black Buffalo 3D Corporation, NJ, USA.
  2. PreForm® is a registered trademark of Formlabs, Inc.
  3. ULTIMAKER CURA® is a registered trademark of PIT Ultimaker Holding B.V., Netherlands.
  4. PolyJet™ is a trademark of Stratasys Ltd.
  5. 3D Sprint® is a registered trademark of 3D Systems, Inc.
  6. Z SUITE® is a registered trademark of Zortrax S.A., Poland
  7. NanoParticle Jetting™ is a trademark of XJet, Israel.
  8. Netfabb® is a registered trademark of Autodesk, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and/or affiliates, in the United States.
  9. Kevlar® is a registered trademark of the DuPont de Nemours company. 
  10. Perfactory® is a registered trademark of EnvisionTEC, US LLC.

Disclaimer

The content appearing on this webpage is for informational purposes only. Xometry makes no representation or warranty of any kind, be it expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or validity of the information. Any performance parameters, geometric tolerances, specific design features, quality and types of materials, or processes should not be inferred to represent what will be delivered by third-party suppliers or manufacturers through Xometry’s network. Buyers seeking quotes for parts are responsible for defining the specific requirements for those parts. Please refer to our terms and conditions for more information.

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.