So you want to buy a 3D printer.

The appeals are obvious: Manufacture anything you want out of plastic, right on your desktop. There's no cause to go to the store to buy something that was made in China, put on a boat, loaded onto a truck, and placed on a shelf.

3D printers can make nearly any object you can dream up by laying down small layers of plastic on top of each other. People around the world use them to make everything from artwork to practical everyday items.

3D print a fork. 3D print a whistle. You're limited only by your imagination, and you can get started by printing innumerable things people have already designed and uploaded for you to experiment with.

But before you can do any of that, you need to figure out which printer is right for you.

New Matter MOD-t — $279

Easily the most affordable 3D printer for consumers out there, the MOD-t features a reimagined design to reduce the number of parts it needs to function. The company behind it, New Matter, ran its pre-orders through IndieGogo, and those who got in at the ground floor were able to scoop them up at a surprisingly low $200.

Pre-orders have since ended, so you'll have to spend a little more money to get your hands on one, but this printer is perfect for those who want to dip their toes in the 3D printing pond without breaking the bank. It performs at a level comparable to much pricier 3D printers.

Check it out here »

MakerBot Replicator —$2,899

MakerBot is easily credited with being one of the first companies to mainstream the idea of consumer 3D printing. It's made a number of 3D printers available over the years and its Replicator is from the company's fifth generation of products, so you know it's been tweaked and refined many times over.

The MakerBot community is especially strong — users frequently upload and share the digital files necessary for others to create 3D models at home on their own devices by way of a site called Thingiverse. (And you don't even necessarily need to own a MakerBot product to take advantage of it!)

Check it out here »

Printrbot Simple — $349

You'll have to put it together from parts, but that's why this one's so affordable (and is arguably why it's appealing to those who want to get their hands dirty and learn their printer from the inside out).

Considering its low price point and the fact that you have to assemble it yourself, this might just be the perfect printer for someone who wants to know everything about 3D printing.

Check it out here »

Printrbot Simple Metal — $599

Maybe you just want to get printing right away. Consider the Printrbot Simple Metal, effectively playing big brother to Printrbot Simple.

Its auto-leveling build platform (the part where it actually creates what you want it to create) means you have far less calibration to do before manufacturing your own objects, and it arrives already assembled.

Check it out here »

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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SEE ALSO: The Most Interesting, Non-Obvious Things You Can Make At Home On A 3D Printer