Whether you want to take a dive into the hobby or you’re looking to start someone off on the path to being able to create their own 3D prints, Black Friday is an excellent time to score solid deals on these traditional very pricey pieces of hardware.
Here are a few great deals I found happening this weekend.
My first 3D printer isn’t really a 3D printer at all, but a laser cutter with which you can create parts to assemble 3D objects. You can also create gift tags, etch acrylic, leather, and metal, or create your own custom board game pieces. I like Glowforge Plus because its web-based interface is easy to use (no third-party software to download) and lets you easily add your own designs. There are a few caveats, however. The Glowforge Plus is big. Like “I hope you have a free wall in your home” big. And you’ll also need to make sure you have good ventilation to the outside. You can get an air filter from Glowforge, but to maintain the best indoor air quality, you’ll want to vent outside – laser printing creates a lot of smoke. With the technicalities out of the way, printing on the Glowforge is fun and satisfying. I can already forsee needed to create a materials budget so that I can build a custom Catan board, new holders for my hobby paints, and more. If a Glowforge sounds like the kind of crafting tool for you, then this is the weekend to get one. The Plus is $5,000 off right now and the Glowforge Basic and Pro are also on sale on the Glowforge site for hefty discounts. It’s still rather expensive, but it’s the lowest cost of entry for Glowforge that you’ll see all year.
If you have a dedicated 3D printing fan on your wish list, then you’re going to want to jump on this deal. For Black Friday weekend, you can get the Elegoo Mars UV printer on Amazon for $249, that’s 25% off the normal price. The Elegoo is an impressive package. From unboxing to assembly to first print, it took me maybe 15 minutes, and that’s only because I was going slow and taking pictures of things as I went along. The Elegoo Mars is self-balancing, so there’s none of the extensive manual balancing process that you see with other 3D printers. The touchscreen LCD is nice, allowing you to control everything right from the printer. It comes with Chitubox slicing software which slices models quickly and lets you hollow them out to save resin. I do wish the onscreen system had a few more options, but if you know what you’re doing, then the lack of options won’t scare you. The hardware itself is a bit noisy as well. If it’s on, then the fans are running, whether it’s printing or not. Still, it’s a full-fledged resin 3D printer for under $300. That kind of value is rare.
Prusa SL1 and CW1
Out of the printers I’ve had the opportunity to test, the Prusa SL1 is my favorite so far. The build quality is solid and the components feel more like an industrial item than an appliance. The setup procedure is meticulous. The system the Prusa SL1 is built on is more like a tiny touchscreen computer. The high-res LCD touchscreen provides full color images for every step of the setup process. For a 3D printing newbie like me, the Prusa SL1 is a solid choice. There are tons of onscreen options available and a lot of handholding to ease you into the printing process. The prints it produces are crisp and clean. And I really appreciate the little extras that Prusa includes in the box, like a drip-tray to catch waste resin when you’re removing a print. I can’t wait to start slicing my own nerdy models with the included software and printing them up for game nights. At $1,699 pre-assembled, the Prusa SL1 isn’t cheap, but this Black Friday weekend, you can get free international shipping (which is a big savings) and a free bottle of their orange resin. If you’re willing to spend a little bit more, I’d highly recommend adding the CW1 to your order. With Prusa’s washing and curing machine you can wash excess resin from your model while it’s still on the print bed, then dry and UV cure it in under 10 minutes. Since resin is a toxic substance, cleaning it up can be a real hassle. This makes the process (nearly) painless. For $400 more, it’s worth the investment.