Let’s say you’re looking for a 3D printer. It’s to be used in a professional setting so it has to be capable of creating high-quality prints. You’ve checked the budget, though, and realized there’s no way you’ll be able to justify spending tens of thousands on a top-of-the-line 3D printer.
This would be a problem, except we’ve found just the printer for you. It’s called the BCN3D Sigma, and while it costs a little more than some, it’s actually pretty reasonably priced considering everything it offers. Take a look at its specifications below, and keep reading for a full, in-depth review.
|Supported Materials||PLA, ABS, Nylon, PET-G, TPU, PVA, Composites|
|Connectivity||USB, SD card|
|Build Volume||8.2 x 11.6 x 8.2”|
One thing immediately stands out about this model: it has two extruders. This is fairly rare, even among high-end printers, but it has real implications on your printing speed. Further, you’ll be able to use two materials (or two colors) at the same time, for more complex prints. That’s a good start!
Here’s the thing, though: the Sigma is absolutely huge (18.3 x 17.3 x 26.5”) and weighs 46lbs. You’re definitely going to need a dedicated printing space but this large frame does come with a silver lining: it allows you to create some extremely large models.
We were pleased to see that the LCD screen is larger than average, and the user interface is clean and uncluttered, which makes for a less frustrating experience. While this printer might come with several advanced features, it certainly looks easy enough to use, even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.
This printer supports a huge array of different filaments, including water-soluble support materials – a must for anyone looking to create more advanced models. It’s worth noting that the 2.85mm filament is a little unusual, but at the very least, you can use any brand you’d like.
Overall print quality is excellent and only improves at slower speeds. You’ll find the Sigma creates smooth curves, sharp edges, and even handles more complex shapes reasonably well. Some post-processing may be required in cases where the colored layers are particularly thin, but otherwise, there’s very little additional work.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room: a default print speed of 50mm/s. This is lower than average, but bear in mind both extruders have this speed. This gives you an effective 100mm/s, which can, of course, be increased further at the cost of print quality.
There’s a lot to like about the BCN3D Sigma. Take the enclosed case and heated bed, for instance. These are both designed to ensure a consistent temperature and reduce the likelihood of a failed print. There’s also a swappable hot end in case you’d like to print something at a higher resolution.
This printer even includes real-time monitoring and a filament sensor that warns you when you’re about to run out. You can choose to print multiples of the same model simultaneously, or dynamically create a mirrored version, which is ideal if you’re planning on small part construction.
Really, our only complaint in this department is the lack of Wi-Fi connectivity. We understand that sometimes, manufacturers have to compromise, but realistically, this printer is designed for rapid prototyping, and it’s much quicker to send a file wirelessly than it is to load it onto a USB stick.
This print currently retails for about $3400 US Dollars. Although this effectively prevents any small-scale enterprises from obtaining one, it’s actually on the lower end of what you’d expect to pay for a professional printer like this. It’s a drop in the bucket for large design firms, for instance, and will pay for itself in no time.
Running costs are about average. On one hand, you can save money by using a third-party filament, but on the other, dual-extrusion printers always have higher material waste. Obviously, you can expect filament costs to rise if you’re regularly printing with more advanced materials, but unless you’re constantly printing, you can expect to spend less than $100 a month.
Realistically, you’ll have to decide for yourself whether this printer is a good fit for your business or not. It does provide good value for money, but if you’re worried about month-to-month running costs, there’s likely an alternative that would suit your needs better.
BCN3D provides exactly the level of support you’d expect from a premium printer company. Its support area has online user manuals for each of its printers, maintenance tutorials, open source files, and upgrading guides. There’s also the option to browse a user forum or submit a ticket for help.
The warranty is a little strange, however. You’re protected for two years if you live in an EU country, or a year if you live elsewhere. This is a little disappointing for firms based in the United States, but a year’s coverage still isn’t bad; just make sure your technicians familiarize themselves with the hardware in case of any issues later.
If you have a question prior to purchase, you can also reach out to BCN3D without having to register. The team monitor their emails Monday through Friday, from 9-5 CET (3AM-11AM EST). Sure, you might have to get up a little earlier, but that’s a fair trade for round the clock support, isn’t it?
BCN3D Sigma Review
Overall - 8.6/10
Ultimately, the BCN3D Sigma is a powerful and versatile 3D printer that’s ideal for those looking to turn ideas into reality quickly. However, its large size and high price point make it unaffordable for all but well-established companies.
After spending his youth hanging out at his local hardware shop, it was no wonder Justin decided to become a computer engineer. When he’s not working, he enjoys riding his Honda across the picturesque Montana farmlands.