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A Comparative Analysis of Desktop 3D Printers and Stratasys Industrial Printers


The emergence of 3D printing technology has revolutionized manufacturing and design across various industries. Two prominent players in the 3D printing market are desktop 3D printers and Stratasys industrial printers. This article aims to explore the key differences between these two types of printers concerning materials used, printing accuracy, surface smoothness, overall performance, and more.
desktop 3D printers VS Stratasys industrial printers

Materials Used:

One of the primary distinctions between desktop 3D printers and Stratasys industrial printers lies in the materials they can handle. Desktop 3D printers typically support a limited range of materials, such as PLA (Polylactic Acid) and ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). On the other hand, Stratasys industrial printers offer a significantly broader array of materials, including engineering-grade thermoplastics, like Nylon, Polypropylene, PEEK (Polyether Ether Ketone), and even composite materials with enhanced mechanical properties.

Printing Accuracy:

The level of printing accuracy is a crucial factor for producing high-quality prototypes and end-use parts. Stratasys industrial printers generally excel in this aspect due to their advanced hardware and precise engineering. These machines employ sophisticated technologies like laser calibration and closed-loop feedback systems, ensuring exceptional dimensional accuracy and reliable print consistency. In contrast, desktop 3D printers may have limited calibration capabilities, leading to lower printing accuracy.
PC-ABS - FDM 3D Print

Surface Smoothness:

Surface finish is another important consideration, particularly for parts that require post-processing or aesthetic appeal. Stratasys industrial printers often deliver superior surface smoothness due to their fine-tuned print settings and professional-grade extrusion systems. Additionally, the ability to print with support structures that are easier to remove allows for cleaner surfaces on the final printed part. Desktop 3D printers, while continually improving, may struggle to match the smoothness achieved by their industrial counterparts.
Stratasys 3D Printing Accuracy

Print Volume and Speed:

Stratasys industrial printers are designed for large-scale projects, offering a significantly larger print volume compared to desktop 3D printers. This advantage enables the production of more substantial parts or multiple smaller parts in a single print job. Additionally, industrial printers often boast faster print speeds, allowing for efficient manufacturing of prototypes and end-use parts in commercial settings. Desktop 3D printers, while suitable for smaller projects and hobbyist use, are limited in print volume and may require longer printing times.
FDM Large Format 3D Printing

Overall Performance:

When considering the overall performance of these two types of printers, Stratasys industrial printers stand out for their reliability and robustness. They are built to endure extended hours of continuous operation, making them suitable for industrial environments. Furthermore, industrial printers often come with advanced features like automated bed leveling and filament monitoring systems, minimizing downtime and material wastage. While desktop 3D printers have made significant advancements in recent years, they may still be more prone to mechanical issues and require more frequent user intervention.


Undoubtedly, one of the significant factors affecting the choice between these two types of printers is cost. Stratasys industrial printers are considerably more expensive than desktop 3D printers due to their advanced capabilities and larger size. However, the return on investment is often higher for industrial printers, especially when used for commercial production, where their speed, precision, and material options justify the higher upfront cost.
Desktop 3D printers and Stratasys industrial printers cater to different user requirements and applications. Desktop printers are suitable for hobbyists, small-scale projects, and educational purposes. In contrast, Stratasys industrial printers offer a higher level of performance, printing accuracy, and material versatility, making them the preferred choice for professional applications, prototyping, and industrial production needs. Consideration of the specific project requirements, budget, and intended application will help users make an informed decision on which type of printer to invest in.