Organizations must be up to date on the latest design and manufacturing trends to stay competitive. New techniques have the potential to save organizations significant time and money. However, when implementing these new processes, organizations must consider how they will impact their current processes and consider where they want to go in the future to make the best long-term decisions.

Why 3D Printing?

3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, has become a common manufacturing method for all types of organizations. It allows organizations to quickly prototype parts at a fraction of normal costs and create better products faster.

What to Consider

In order to select a 3D printer that will fit your organization’s needs, its important to understand the different types of 3D printing methods available as well as each of their pros and cons. Once you have selected your preferred method you must also consider the following to find the right 3D printer to fit your needs:

  • Material preference
  • Part finish, resolution, and strength
  • Printing accuracy and speed
  • Post processing
  • Safety
  • Total cost of ownership

3D Printing Methods

Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) and Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM)

FFF and FDM are the most common 3D printing methods. This method uses a filament of thermoplastic or composite material to print designs layer by layer. The filament is fed from a coil, through a heated printer head, and deposited as dictated by the design. The resulting parts are typically hollow or have low density despite their strength.

FFF and FDM printing methods are the same. FDM is simply the trademarked term utilized by Stratasys. FFF was coined to provide the industry with a way to discuss this method without having any legal constraints.


  • Strong parts for tooling fixtures/jigs (similar to aluminum)
  • Can be used in any environment
  • Water soluble supports
  • Large material variety
  • Inexpensive materials ($22-50/kg)
  • Clean and easy

  • Printing accuracy only down to 50 microns

The FFF method is typically used for prototyping and modeling.

Selective Laser Sintering (SLS)

Selective laser sintering lays down plastics in powder form layer by layer over the entire part and then a laser is used to melt the material in specific areas for binding. By laying the powders down in cross layers and then melting them together, parts tend to be stronger and have isotropic properties.


  • Highly detailed
  • Can print multiple parts at once
  • Can reuse materials
  • No supports required
  • Strong parts

  • Expensive materials ($50-100/kg)
  • Expensive machines (start around $100K)
  • Messy post processing (can cost an additional $30K-$60K)
  • Can’t inspect parts until they are done printing

SLS-printed parts are extremely strong and have isotopic properties.

Stereolithography (SLA)

This 3D printing method is similar to SLS printing, as it uses a laser to selectively bind specific parts of the design. It differs in the fact that the 3D printing material starts out as a liquid, typically resins, instead of a powder. SLA printing also produces strong parts, but the combination of the laser binding and molecular makeup allows them to be isotropic and fully dense.


  • High accuracy and detail
  • Nice surface finish
  • Fast printing (CLIP or CDLM)
  • Inexpensive machines (industrial models start at $16K)

  • 3 stage post processing (clean, support removal, cure)
  • Materials/resin expensive ($110-330/kg)

SLA printing creates strong parts that are fully dense and isotropic.

German RepRap 3D Printers

German RepRap offers a variety of 3D printers that utilize mostly the FFF 3D printing method. However, no matter what material you want to use, German RepRap has a printer to fit your needs.

All German RepRap printers are designed with an open-source material methodology. That means that as long as the material comes in the form required for the 3D printing method (filament, powder, liquid) it can be used with the printer. This gives you significantly greater flexibility and long-term possibilities as you aren’t locked in with one vendor for all material needs and can continue innovating as new materials are created.


The X400 is an ideal printer for the industrial manufacturing of large single parts or precise batch printing.


  • Price: $14,999
  • Build size: 350 x 400 x 310 mm
  • Resolution: 10 mm
  • Speed: 10-20 mm/sec.
  • Printing method: FFF
  • Materials: Open materials including PETG, PLA, ABS, TPE, Zytel glass filled nylon, Zytel carbon filled nylong, DuPont Hytrel, PVA, etc.
  • Industrial components: Auto bed leveling, filament tracking system, touch screen interface, dual extruder, ventilation for materials and components



The X500 is designed for continuous printing with materials that require a high temperature. It is perfect for organizations looking to utilize future material developments.


  • Price: $41,999
  • Build size: 500 x 400 x 450 mm
  • Resolution: 02 mm
  • Speed: 10-15 mm/sec.
  • Printing type: FFF
  • Heated bed: 120°c / 248°f
  • Heated chamber: 80°c / 176°f
  • Nozzle temp.: 450°c / 842°f
  • Materials: Open materials including PEEK-CF, ULTEM, Nylon (PA), PA-CF, PA-GF, ABS, PLA, PVA, PPS-ESD, PETG, HiPS, TPE, Carbon 20, Zytel Carbon, Zytel Glass, Hytrel, etc.
  • Industrial components: ceramic printing bed, auto bed leveling, filament feed control, duel extruder, touch display


The X1000 provides the most advanced industrial 3D printing capabilities. Parts are extremely precise and can be printed one at a time or in large batches.


  • Price: $59,999
  • Build size: 1000 x 800 x 600 mm
  • Speed: 10-150 mm/sec.
  • Printing type: FFF
  • Materials: PETG, PLA, ABS, TPE, ABS, Zytel glass, Zytel Carbon, DuPong Hytrel, PVA
  • Industrial components: CO2 fire safety suppression system, dual extruders, heated bed, locking build chamber, variable filament contact control, WIFI compatible, touch display

German RepRap 3D Printers: Unlimited Possibilities

The open-source material availability on German RepRap printers provide nearly unlimited possibilities. Besides having the ability to utilize a range of materials now, you will be able to use new materials in the future without having to purchase another printer. Give your organization the flexibility to start innovating now and in the future.

Interested in purchasing a German RepRap 3D printer? Contact us today.