3d printers

3D printers for kids: the best choices and what you need to know

So do you want to activate your child’s creativity, or do you want to bond more with him? It’s awesome! There are plenty of cheap 3D printers out there, but not all of them are good, especially for youngsters, so we’ve found some of the best ones kids can pick up that have ecosystems and accessories to support them at the top. Nurturing a child’s creativity is extremely important, and a 3D printer could help you with that. It would be unfortunate to buy one only to find out it wasn’t what you expected, so here are some 3D printers and accessories that you and your child can enjoy together.

3D printing tips for kids

Safety is important, and when working with 3D printers you work with moving mechanical parts and high temperatures that can easily burn you, so choosing machines and putting systems in place to minimize this will be good for you or your children. Leisure. Enclosed printers will keep curious hands away from moving parts as well as hot parts, and touchscreen interfaces are easier to learn and less likely to mess things up.

But security is not just physical; there will be some unsavory places on the internet to distribute files, so check out this article on how to get started for some of the safest places to find models for your 3D printer. Resin printers require a bit more security than filament machines; with solvents, gloves, masks, etc., it’s best to move on to those once you understand FDM. You can always check out our article on resin or filament 3D printing to see which is right for you.



Solid as a rock:
Prusa Mini+ pencil case

Choice of staff

The Prusa Mini+ kit might not be the cheapest option on this list, but it’s solid and reliable with a decent build volume. With the inclusion of PrusaSlicer and some Prusament filaments, you have a stellar pipeline to help bring your child’s ideas to life.

$349 at Prusa Research


Dremel DigiLab 3D20

A Dremel, yes really:
Dremel DigiLab 3D20

The Dremel 3D20 is a fully enclosed printer with Dremel slicing software allowing you to cut models with Dremel printers in mind, and with their Dremel filament profiles already there, the PLA prints you get from it should be stellar. The printer has a door which, if opened during printing, will stop printing for safety reasons.

$667 on Amazon


Flashforge Adventurer 3

Small box capable:
Flashforge Adventurer 3

Flashforge’s Adventurer 3 is another great enclosed 3D printer, featuring its own slicer and filament with the added benefit of a quick-swap hotend for those times when you get a clog or jam and need to start over.

$449 on Amazon


Elegoo Neptune

The value is out of this world:
Elegoo Neptune 2

The Elegoo Neptune 2 is a printer that has been out of stock for most of its short life because it is so good. A decent large build volume, custom slicer, exhausted filament, and quiet drivers make this a great machine with a fast build time. This will allow your child to print great prints very quickly.

$170 on Amazon


Monoprix Mini Delta

small circular printer:
Monoprix Mini Delta

Sometimes you don’t have the most space or you want to print quickly, and in those cases Delta printers, especially Monoprice’s Mini Delta, are excellent. It has a small build volume, but it’s configuration-free and cheap to get started. Ideal for playing with the youngest.

$180 on Amazon


Snapmaker 2.0 A150

Modular Manufacturer:
Snapmaker 2.0 A150

The Snapmaker 2 series of printers are built like tanks and can transform from a 3D printer to a CNC milling machine or even a laser engraver! Think about project opportunities! The last two, however, require adult supervision. It’s “safety first” when it comes to lasers and grinders. It’s a perfect machine for older kids looking to create something unique.

$1,249 on Amazon

Great accessories to get you started

Magigoo on a LulzBotSource: Windows Central/James Bricknell

But why do you even need accessories? Are these printers not supplied with? Well, not always, and they might not always be the ones you want if they do. A good pair of wire cutters, good bed adhesive, good allen keys can really help. Still, the most useful is a flexible bed. Instead of hacking your bed with this scraper, you wait for it to cool and move the magnet, flex the bed and it releases, nice and easy. Why wouldn’t you want one, especially for the low initial cost?


Hakko flush cutters

Snip Snip Snip:
Hakko flush cutters

While most printers come with a pair of wire cutters, buying a decent branded pair will be great in the long run. Hakko is a well-known and trusted brand, so these trimmers will be with you for quite some time.

$7 at Amazon


Wham Bam flexible plate

Flex and Bend:
Wham Bam Flexible Building System

Not everyone can buy a Prusa with a magnetic flex sheet, so Florida-based Wham Bam Systems started making flexible spring steel sheets for a host of other printers, like the Ender 3 listed here. Magnet, spring steel and PEX sheet; handsome.

$58 on MatterHackers


Magigoo

The right pantyhose:
Magigoo

Every printer has its own build surface, but sometimes PEI, Blue Tape, or BuildTak just aren’t enough. Instead of rushing to Elmer’s Glue, why not try Magigoo, a designed 3D printing adhesive.

$20 at MatterHackers


Buildtak spatula

Go straight into it:
BuildTak spatula

If you can’t have or don’t want a flexible removal sheet then the BuildTak Spatula is an absolute lifesaver, its curved edges mean your child is very unlikely to injure themselves, but the angled handle means you can get enough strength to withdraw. your part safely.

$23 on Amazon


Wera hex keys

Always have the right key:
High quality Wera Allen key

Most printers come with a set of Allen/hex keys, and you might even have your own set at home, but 3D printers are almost all metric and hex, so get yourself a good set that won’t strip and won’t let you hang. The German brand Wera is at the top of the list for us.

$47 at Amazon


Metric socket set

That satisfying ratchet:
MAXPOWER Small Metric Socket Set

While most parts of a 3D printer will be a hex/Allen key, some parts are a socket or require a small key, one of the most important being the nozzle. This set should get you sorted with the majority of 3D printer manufacturers using a 6mm or 7mm socket.

$18 at Amazon

Our best 3D printers and accessories for children

So multiple printers and lots of accessories, while I would recommend buying all the accessories, it would be crazy to recommend buying all the printers! If you’re only buying one, it’s hard not to recommend the Prusa Mini+ kit. Sure it’s not the cheapest, but with it you get a tested machine, with a great support system behind it, a very well tuned slicer, a company that makes their own filament and tests it on their own printers using their own slicer. If you include the PrusaPrinters.org print repository, there’s even a place to find prints, so all your child has to do is enjoy.

Accessories, on the other hand, are worth investing in. A nice pair of wire cutters, a good socket set, a high quality Allen set and the rest will really enhance your child’s experience. Nobody wants to have to do maintenance on their machines, but if you have to, you’d rather have a tool working than strip the head of a screw and ruin your tool at the same time. And as good as the build surfaces are on all the recommended printers, there’s a reason we recommended Magigoo too. Some filaments stick too well, and Magigoo will act as a release layer, and on some, the filament won’t stick well enough, so it acts as an adhesive and a release layer. Clean, right?

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