best commercial professional 3d printer

Commercial & Professional 3D Printer Buyer’s Guide 2021 (Under $10,000)

Commercial 3D printers are changing how small businesses manufacture, how designers create and iterate, and how schools, healthcare professionals and engineers work. 

These professional 3D printers, more expensive than standard desktop 3D printers but less than $10,000+ industrial 3D printers, allow small businesses to be more effective than ever in prototyping and improving their products.

This article focuses on highlighting the best commercial 3D printers, also known as prosumer 3D printers, production 3D printers, commercial grade 3D printers, or high end 3D printers, that are capable of producing professional-grade parts at decent scale, but cost less than $10,000. We therefore categorize commercial 3D printer price as up to $10,000, with no low end price provided it meets professional and small business 3D printer requirements.

What to expect in a commercial 3D printer?

Commercial grade 3D printers can take many forms: some need an FDM 3D printer that can 3D print PEEK or Ultem filaments, create extremely precise prototypes, or create multi-colored architectural models. 

On the other hand, you may need a professional resin 3D printer to create ultra smooth resin prototypes for dental, aesthetic prototypes for items like sunglasses, and much more.

You may also be looking for a professional SLS 3D printer — though they often cost more than $10,000 — for high quality PA12 prototypes, functional parts, and various useful parts for engineers and designers.

Generally however, you should expect the following from a professional 3D printer:

  • Commercial grade 3D printing performance: such as powerful heated chambers in FDM 3D printers for tougher material printing and systems for consistent and accurate printing.
  • Wide material compatibility: with heated beds and extruders that can reach high temperatures for printing tougher filaments like Nylon, PC, PP, and perhaps even Ultem or PEEK.
  • Fast printing and workflow: the best 3D printers for small businesses not only print quickly (at least twice the speed of desktop printers), but the entire workflow — from CAD software, to slicing, to printing, and then to iterating again — needs to be efficient for overall rapid prototyping.
  • Very accurate: where resin 3D printers and SLS printers have advantages are in accuracy and surface finish. Resin printers can reach precisions that FDM printers cannot, so for precise and intricate models, such as characters for films or games, or wax molds for casting into precious metal jewelry, they’re ideal commercial 3D printers. SLS 3D printers require less post processing as they do not print with supports, making them ideal production 3D printers for ready-to-go prototypes made from Nylon.
  • Large printing area: commercial 3D printers should have large enough build areas to support either large prototypes, or the printing of multiple small parts simultaneously, as a scalable production 3D printing system. 3D printers for commercial uses we recommend are typically larger for effective batch production 3D printing.

Our commercial 3D printer comparison sorts low to high price, making recommendations on the best 3D printer for business, for production, and many other 3D printers for different commercial uses.

Prusa i3 MK3S+ — low cost commercial 3D printer for small businesses on a budget

With a price of under $1,000 you’d expect the Prusa i3 MK3S to be limited to standard consumer uses like printing fun models from Thingiverse, or fun basic 3D printing projects. However, it excels far beyond this, functioning as one of the best 3D printers for small businesses if you’re on a tight budget.

It can’t compete with higher end 3D printers in some areas, like size of build area, but it’s a fantastic commercial 3D printer for standard size prototypes in materials like PETG, ASA, Nylon, PC, PP, HIPS, and carbon fiber filaments.

Prusa 3D printers are known for their reliability and with an above 200mm/s travel speed, it’s fairly quick for the price. These factors, combined with precise 50-micron minimum layer heights, make it a great overall commercial 3D printer for professional and precise prototype production. 

For those looking for a larger 3D printer, a 3D printer for materials like PEEK, or more precise resin 3D printers, keep reading.

prusa i3 mk3s+ entry level professional 3d printer

Ultimaker S3 — accurate commercial 3D printer for high quality prototypes

The Ultimaker S3 follows the incredibly popular Ultimaker 3, and is an effective production 3D printer for small businesses and engineers capable of fantastic 20-micron resolutions. It can extrude composite filaments from either of its extruders, and can easily print soluble filaments with the dual extruder for easier post processing. 

Ultimaker created and develop Cura, the world’s most loved 3D slicer, but also offer more professional 3D printer software as part of their Enterprise packages for commercial 3D printing needs. These premium 3D printer options include the ability to open CAD files in Cura, unlimited storage of your parts in their digital parts library, as well as integrating 3D modeling software like SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor into your workflow with their plugins. All these make for an efficient commercial 3D printing workflow for quick and effective iterating and part production. 

The touchscreen is easy to navigate, and WiFi connectivity makes it quick to access and print your files remotely in their digital library.

As a professional 3D printer, Ultimaker serve not just 3D printers for small businesses, but also huge clients like Volkswagen. The German multinational used Ultimaker 3D printers to produce over 1,000 parts, remarking on the productivity and ergonomics of Ultimaker’s printers.

The only factor affecting the Ultimaker S3’s usefulness as a full professional grade 3D printer is the build volume size, which could be larger. However, Ultimaker also offer the S5 for larger print needs, so read on for more information on this.

ultimaker s3 commercial 3d printer

Ultimaker S5 — all-round excellent production 3D printer

The Ultimaker S5 is the big brother of the already very powerful S3, and a commercial grade 3D printer for high quality engineering parts and accurate prototypes.

The main difference between the S3 and S5 is the larger print volume, a major improvement for those looking for a 3D printer for their small business capable of large prototype printing. It still features the same workflow options, dual extrusion, 20-micron layer heights, and trademark reliability and and precision.

However, you can also turn the S5 into a scalable production 3D printer with the Ultimaker’s S5 Pro Bundle for another few thousand dollars. This bundle adds both a spool holder and top filter. The material handler can hold up to six filament spools, and can automatically change them in and out for different uses as well as protecting filaments from moisture that would deteriorate print quality and protect them from dust, with the environment control filtering out fumes.

The Pro Bundle turns the S5 into the complete commericial 3D printer, able to print continuously, accurately, large parts — everything except super high grade material printing like PEEK and Ultem.

ultimaker s5 and pro bundle
The Ultimaker S5, alongside the S5 Pro Bundle with material holder and environment control add-ons.

Formlabs Form 3 — precise professional 3D printer for accurate resin parts

The Form 3 is sold as a professional quality 3D printer at desktop prices, building on the Form 2’s stellar reputation with incredible resolutions and able to create parts you can barely see the individual layer lines on. 

Featuring their LFS (low force stereolithography) tech, layer spot clarity, as well as consistency, surface quality and better translucent material printing are some of the improvements made to the Form 3.

For production engineers looking for a workhorse production 3D printer that can go non-stop, the Form 3 is more than capable, with data on ongoing print performance constantly relayed and alerts if print performance changes so you can make alterations.

You can print in standard resins, or castable wax for jewelry casting, as well as specialized biocompatible commercial grade 3D printing resins for dental uses — which you should instead get the Form 3B for. 

Their PreForm software makes preparing your prints easy, and if you’re looking to scale up to a 3D printing factory with multiple printers Formlabs have specialized consulting teams to help, and offer software for managing multiple 3D printers simultaneously.

formlabs form 3 commercial 3d printer

Raise3D Pro2 Plus — large production 3D printer for small businesses

A true workhorse production 3D printer, the Raise3D Pro2 Plus can work 24/7 without much issue. Able to reach 300°C extruder temperatures, printing with filaments ranging from HIPS, ASA, PP, PVA, flexible filaments like TPU and TPE, Nylon, glass, carbon fiber, metal and wood filled filaments is no problem. 

As well as the huge build volume and wide material compatibility, the Raise3D Pro2 Plus also offers great precision, with up to 0.01 mm layer heights and 5-micron repeatability. You can change the nozzle out to a smaller or larger one depending on whether your project favors speed or precision. 

The large 7-inch touchscreen simplifies your workflow and makes it easy to switch settings or choose your model to print — made easier by Raise3D’s visual model selection previewer. And, if during printing you run into any problems with the power or any other error, the printer can resume from whenever it was stopped without issue.

Marking itself as one of the best 3D printer for business uses, it has some of the largest print areas, as well as an aerospace grade build plate offering excellent adhesion, durability, and preventing warping that can affect or ruin prints — as well as making prints easy to remove. It’s all fully enclosed, so you can effectively maintain and control the chamber temperature to minimize warping and prevent fumes from spreading.

If you want the workhorse benefits of the Raise3D Pro2 Plus, but don’t need the extra Z-axis height building, you can save a couple thousand dollars by going with their standard Pro2 model instead, with a 300mm maximum print height instead of the Pro2 Plus’ 605mm.

raise3d pro2 plus production 3d printer

Intamsys Funmat HT Enhanced — professional 3D printer for PEEK & Ultem printing

For those looking for a specialized PEEK and Ultem 3D printer, the Intamsys Funmat HT Enhanced is the best professional 3D printer for PEEK that’s in most small business’s budget. Costing $6,000 rather than the $20,000+ commonly seen among commercial 3D printers for PEEK, the Intamsys Funmat HT is a great entry-level production 3D printer.

With 90°C constant chamber temperatures, a 160°C heated build plate, and 450°C maximum extruder temperatures from its all-metal hot end, printing PEEK, PEKK, PPSU and Ultem are no problem. However, if you want to use it for printing PEEK as well as more standard plastics you can also do that, with interchangeable nozzles for different printing plastics like PLA and ABS, PC, Nylon, ASA, and more.

Therefore, the Intamsys Funmat HT is a great entry-level production 3D printer for high performance polymer printing. It can automatically level itself with its four advanced drivers offering great precision, and the industrial build platform quality and design features PEI film and glass ceramic materials for great durability and minimal deformation during printing — as well as being safe to use with biocompatible materials like PEEK that may be used to print medical or dental parts.

With PEEK’s extensive use in medical parts, electrical engineering, aerospace, dental, Ultem’s industrial uses, and PPSU’s medical applications, the Intamsys Funmat HT capitalizes on 3D printing’s fastest growing material segment, but at a low price. Intamsys sell their own Ultem and PEEK filaments, and overall, the Funmat HT Enhanced is one of the best 3D printers for small businesses looking to print high performance plastics to either create parts for other companies, or iterate in-house.

intamsys funmat ht enhanced professional 3d printer peek
The Intamsys Funmat HT Enhanced is an ideal professional 3D printer for PEEK without breaking the bank.