What 3D Printer do you use in your classroom?

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Hi all, I teach 3D Design at Downers Grove North High School in Illinois and am looking at getting a new 3D printer. We current have a Stratasys Uprint printer that works pretty well, but are looking into getting a new one. Which 3D printers would you recommend using in your classroom? I would really appreciate some recommendations. Thanks.

We use a Makerbot replicator 5th gen (Unreliable) and 3 Makerbot replicator+ in our university engineering lab.
The Replicator+ have been very reliable but they are not cheap.
I had a head fail on me - a software issue I think and makerbot were prompt at replacing it.
I like them because I can get spares fast and the head just snaps into place.
Unlike the 5th gen, I think I have calibrated the bed on the +'s once in two years!
I have only used PLA up to now but have just ordered an experimental head which I will try with other filament materials.
I tend to agree with one of the others in this thread. I might go for quantity over quality for a classroom. It can be frustrating for students to not have a machine on hand immediately. I have had students printing 24hr parts. That means that printer is not available for anyone else for a day!
If you have time and staff to tinker then build a bunch. If you want plug and play buy something like a Makerbot but be careful which model. Some of them are not reliable. Same with other manufacturers.

Hi we use a bee soft 3d printer in our primary school, we have a after school 3d club running. (uk)

I currently run 3 different Airwolf 3D printers.
The lowest end model is the AXIOMe
Mid-range is the AXIOM
Highest end is the AXIOM Dual Extruder

When we made rockets from scratch this year, I had the students design their own nosecones in 123D Design, and printed them all out. We dipped them in acetone to weld the layers together better, and added some weight to keep the center of gravity in front of the center of pressure.

Our district just sent us a new Dremel 3D40 edu kit - pretty good printer. I prefer it over the Makerbot Rep 2X - it is much quieter than the Replicator, tighter tolerances/better dimensional accuracy, and PLA is much less toxic than ABS for classroom use. The included lessons and models are so-so in terms of being useful, not sure it's worth getting the "education" version - though it did come with two build platforms, lots of blue tape and Dremel's black tape which is more durable.

Currently we are using a MakerGear M2. It has been a great printer and a workhorse for our engineering department and our student research projects.


I am currently running 3 Makerbot Replicator 2's 4th generation 3d printer. The first one I purchased through a grant 3 years ago it has hundreds of hours of run time and has been pretty bullet proof. All 3d printers require maintenance and a little trouble shooting from time to to time. The other two Replicator 2's are a little over a year old and are running fine. Makerbot has been very good to me when I have had issues and I have never had to pay for a replacement part. Makerbot's Tech. Support has bee outstanding and their service has been prompt. One of my newer machines fried the mighty board when I attempted to update the firmware, I do not have the makercare protection program, and makerbot replaced the $400 part for free. That is impressive customer service!

  The printers that I run do not have smart extruders although I am getting a 5th gen Replicator 2 to borrow for a large project that I am working on with multiple classes and we will see how it goes.  I have found the Makerware software to be excellent, intuitive, and very reliable.  I also use netfab to fix and check any errors that can be tough to find in student work.  

My two cents is that if you are going to be running large batches of student work you need at least 3-5 printers depending on the part sizes that you are printing.  Last year alone I ran about 250 projects maybe more? Many of the projects had 2-4 hour print times.   Print time critical (there are only so many hours in a day) and a nice feature of the makerbots is the SD card so that I do not need to tie up a computer to run a printer.  

Eric Schoembs
Design & Technology Teacher
Edmunds Middle School
Burlington, VT

We use our own school RepRap delta printer Molestock
(More info: http://www.e-mole.cz/molestock
Its construction is robust and kids can borrow the printer - this is great motivation for them. The printer is still perfectly functional even after three years of operation.

Molestock 3D delta printer
by ToFe

Hello Ibaca,

I have been using the RepRap Sunhokey Prusa i3 2015 with the acrylic frame for over 2 years and have assembled these onto finished wood and acrylic cases.
I have built a couple of them and the learning experience is great for student for hands on and troubleshooting the printer as well as the basics on the firmware and calibrating to improve quality.
I'm currently assembling packages of the various designs I've used to maximize the quality these printer put out. Also, I plan to put together a class to show people how to build these machines with the basics of 3D printing while having a machine to take home of there own. If this might be of interest, let me know.
I am based in Round Lake Beach, so not too far from Downers Grove High School. ~1hr away, with good traffic.
Pricing would be along the same line as a makerbot and less than a lot of other name brands, while receiving instruction to build your own with upgrades and various resources. Significantly less than the Uprint you already have. This is a great avenue to have multiple printers so more students can be working on projects.
Upgrades would be for high temp filaments (nylon/polycarbonate), flexible filaments (TPU, even with the bowden), high temp heat beds, upgraded belts, stabilizing parts, enclosure for ABS, nylon and other draft sensitive filaments, etc. You could also go to the steel frame for a more robust printer.
There have been great reviews on the TEVO Tarantula as well.
As long as these are set-up right, and calibrated, the quality is very good.
Let me know if you want to talk further. gmail.

I have printed with the Lulzbots, Makerbot, Ultimaker, Delta printers and the one I have got the most life out of is my printrbot simple metal. We teach kids classes with the printrbot plays and find these to be robust. I recommend buying as many printrbot plays as you can as opposed to a more expensive but good printer. When we teach classes, having one or two printers is a bummer. More printers is better for teaching.

I Say go with a Lulzbot Taz 5 or 6. They produce quality prints and are workhorses for the type of usage you are planning. Plus changing out Print Heads for different print styles are a snap.

3D print and build with your students multiple RepRap-s (http://reprap.org/wiki/RepRap_Options)

Hi Ibaca,
you should ask several questions buying a new printer.
I use a German brand multec 200 pro printer, fot different reasons.
One of them might be usefull for you as well.
The Multec printers are "framed" not "boxed" like most of the other printers.
The Vellemann K8200 is very similar.
I did several introductions for 3d printing and it was always good to see prints growing from all sides.
When you use 3d printing in matter of 3d design you might think about production as well.
These framed printers give better insights to the 3d printing principles, than the boxed ones.
You also might think about additive vs subtractive production. The multec and the Vellemann printers offer dremel extensions to be used as cnc mill.

I have a Makerbot Replicator 2X in my room, but I wouldn't buy a second one. It prints ok, not as fine as I've seen from other printers, support HIPS material is useless, and is a bit pricey for what we got in terms of usability, support, etc. Not to mention the closed-source nature.

I am currently using a Dremel 3D40 Idea Builder. This year I am a Dremel Ambassador and sharing how I am using it in my 8th grade US History, technology and broadcasting classes. I am brand new to 3D printing and the Dremel has been easy to use - plug in and use right out of the box. I have done about 30 prints and no issues so far. If you have any questions about Dremel 3D printing in the classroom I would suggest checking out this site : https://3dprinter.dremel.com/education-request or you can contact Rafael Franca directly at Rafael.FRANCA@us.bosch.com You can let them know that I passed along the information on classroom applications.

I will be posting some videos and blog posts this year on our work in the classroom at www.speakingofhistory.com


Eric Langhorst
Discovery Middle School
Liberty, Missouri

We use a Makerbot Replicator 2, but those may not be on the market for much longer. Printrbot has some nice printers, too - they are pretty affordable and offer a variety of sizes. You can also check out Type-A Machines, and Formlabs 2 if you are interested in a resin-based printer.

I have a Printrbot Simple Metal at home. Love it but don't recommend for the classroom. They have some newer models that are boxed in - those might be better.

I have an Afinia 480 that I love and a Flashforge Creator that I have a love/hate relationship with. I love when it works and I hate when it doesn't. My Afinia is VERY intuitive and I feel there is nothing that I can't figure out. If there is, Support is wonderful and prompt. With the Flashforge I use Makerbot software and have to fill in the blanks when something doesn't translate.

I am starting my 2nd year with 2 Flashforge Creator Pros in my classroom and I'm quite pleased with them. They saw a LOT of print time last year and are still going strong. We purchased 4 with a grant (Middle School) and then our High School also purchased one with some contest prize winnings.