Best Direct Drive 3D Printer [Top Picks]

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This article will talk about extruders (mainly Direct Drive Extruder) and discuss some very good direct drive printers.

You might have heard that extruder is the core of a 3D printer. The extruder is the object attached to the filament and printing knob. It has the role of melting and pushing filament to the final model. It extrudes the filament in liquid or semi-liquid form, adhering to the amount needed.

The capability of the extruder is the key to printing clearly, with precision, and maintaining leveling. Let’s study the extruders in detail.

What is a Direct Drive Extruder?

There are mainly two types of extruders in the market used in FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printers, Direct Drive Extruders and Bowden Extruders. In Direct Drive, Extruders are connected to the hot nozzle end and directly push the filament. It’s that all the filament processing instruments are placed at the print head. It has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Direct Drive Extruder favors high quality. It helps better extrusion as the filament is easily pushed through the nozzle. Lower Moment of Inertia needs less torque, and hence a small motor also works. The retraction is simple, and a wide range of filaments is supported. The accuracy is maintained here due to the easy movement of filament.

But the weight it gains creates issues. The print head gets heavy and reduces speed. The wear and tear are more often; the print head is also tougher to clean as you sometimes need to unscrew the extruder parts. So maintenance is higher. 

Also, Direct Drive printers give you more filament options and high quality. Now you might have some idea about what is direct drive 3D printer. That said, I brought you these 5 best direct drive 3D printers to buy one from.

Review Of Best Direct Drive 3D Printer

1.   Fokoos Odin-5 F3 – Best Budget Direct Drive 3D Printer

Best Direct Drive 3D Printer

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The Odin-5 F3 by Fokoos was launched in April 2021. It is an open frame type, gives a printing area of 235 x 235 x 250 mm, and has some very useful features.

This 3D printer comes 99% assembled and is even foldable. There are 4 screws to fit in and 2 cables to insert. You can assemble it in 3 minutes. Being foldable, it can be carried too while traveling.

It has an integrated dual drive extruder and minimized nozzle clogging. This one works with a good range of filaments, such as PLA, PTG, PTU, and metal and the 3D prints are quite durable.  The filament change is easy with filament break detection.

Odin-5 is a reliable and long-life product. The design reveals dual Y and Z-axis models and has a full metal frame with a decent bottom space. Heat dissipation is well managed, and the vibrations tend to zero. Printing speed goes up to 150mm/s and still maintains 0.1mm high precision.

Talking about drivers, it has the TMC2208 Stepper module and STM32 control chip that enables silent printing. Users can install modules like Bltouch, Wifi and even share source code.

The best feature is its foldability, making your printer handy. Liked the idea of quality printing at different places? Go for this direct drive 3D printer. 

Highlights:

  • Unique foldable design
  • Comes with smart filament break detection
  • 3.5-inch HD touchscreen
  • Comes 99% pre-assembled
  • Lifetime technical support

2.   FlashForge Creator Pro2 – Best Direct Drive 3D Printer For Durability 

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The 3D printer creator pro 2 by Flashforge was launched in October 2020. It offers a printing area of 200 x 148 x 150 mm. It can behave as both open and closed type systems. Like, when going to print with PLA, open the doors and remove the top cover. At the same time, closing the doors and putting on the top covers help print with ABS.

This high quality 3D printer has a dual-independent extruder and gives you mirror or duplicate mode printing options and dual-color or dual filament printing. You get more precision and design options using the feature. It is time-saving too.

Steady and rapid power heating prevents warping and facilitates easy removal of models. The printer has an anti-scrap design to avoid scrap residue. The supported filaments include PLA, TPU, PETG, ABS, etc.

It has a touchscreen display for operation and does SD Card printing. On the side, there are handles for easy handling. The printer comes with 24 hours exceptional service, a 1-year warranty, and lifetime technical assistance.

This product works for industrial, architectural, and tool design. The dual extruder feature is helpful and works great. Go for it if you have the demand.

Highlights:

  • Anti-scrape design
  • Come with different printing modes
  • It supports multiple materials
  • Efficient heating bed

3.   Kywoo Tycoon Max 2.0 – Best Value For Money Direct Drive 3D Printer 

Best Direct Drive 3D Printer

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Kywoo launched Tycoon Max 2.0 in August 2021, but it has already got some fan following. This is one of the newest 3D printers that is open-framed and offers 300 x 300 x 230 mm printing. The printer is a high-end one with mostly automatic functions.

It has the newly designed gantry structure, Double X-axis & Y-axis bars, and a linear guide sturdy structure. The accuracy and precision are wonderful; movement is quick and resistant to wear and tear. Moreover, the Integration of the latest 32-bit TMC2208 Motherboard makes the print completely silent.

Assembling is easy, you just need 4 screws and 4 wire connections. The printer is good for beginners too. Also, being equipped with Direct Drive software, it prints effectively. Supported filaments include PLA, TPU, PETG, ABS, and HIPS.

Talking about connectivity, the WIFI function with the Slicer Software enables wireless control. There is an option for a USB cable or SD card with wired connections. Additionally, it features the latest auto-leveling, auto feed-in-knob, resumes print, and filament run-out detection.

Kywoo provides a year of warranty with lifetime technical support. You can also get replacement parts delivered whenever needed.

Overall, I can it as the ideal direct drive 3D printer that is very stable and of industrial-grade quality. The price is good following the features, and you must go for it if you can.

Highlights:

  • Beginner-friendly setup
  • Automatic hands-free bed leveling
  • Wifi function
  • 3.5 inch Touch Screen
  • Has a powerful & silent inner chip

4.   Sovol SV01 Upgraded 3D Printer

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SV01 was the first printer of Sovol. It was launched in June 2019 and gave 280 x 240 x 300 mm a printing area.

This open frame type printer comes 95% pre-assembled. It has several semi-assembled parts and takes about 20 minutes to get fully installed. The printer features the Dual Z-Axis design and the widened X-Axis frame that maintains high stability and improves precision and accuracy. The frame is made of full metal aluminum.

This direct drive extruder 3D printer helps you with faster retraction and better extrusion. The motor is lighter, and the extruder supports a good range of filaments such as ABS, TPU, PLA, and others. The printing quality is maintained even at high speed. The flat glass plate doesn’t allow wrapping and helps easy removal of the model.

The power supply is built-in, and Meanwell certified, making it reliable. There are no power surges, and the stable power supply allows quick heating of the heat bed. The printer pauses whenever the filament runs out, power issues occur, or temperature exceeds and resumes after sorted.

Sovol provides professional customer service. All products are shipped directly from manufacturers to customers and get lifetime technical assistance from the company.

Good for light workloads and a fair offer. So this 3D printer direct drive is worth giving a shot!

Highlights:

  • This printer is 95% pre-assembled
  • High quality 3D printer
  • Meanwell power supply ensures a steady supply of power
  • The glass plate is removable
  • Thermal runaway protection

 

5.   Artillery Sidewinder SW-X1 V4 3D Printer

Best Direct Drive 3D Printer

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Artillery Sidewinder X1 is an open-frame printer launched in April 2019. It gives you a printing area of 300 x 300 x 400 mm, which is quite large. It is a fabulous printer in its price range. Let’s take a look at its features.

The printer also arrives 95% assembled when delivered, and installation is easy. This 3D printer direct drive extruder ensures high quality, especially for flexible filaments. Stability is taken care of by 3 inductive sensors, high precision limit switches, and the dual Z axis system.

Also, the in-built power supply ensures a stable power supply. The leveling knob is made larger for easy leveling. The printer is very stable and can print up to a speed of 150mm/s.

The heat bed is quick; it heats up to 80°C in just 2 minutes. It is made up of smooth glass and has runaway protection, not a fear that if the board or SSR malfunctions, the bed will not heat up endlessly. The adhesion of materials to the print surface is strong, and removing the printed model after completion is also effortless.

There is an option of filament runout and power loss detection. The printer pauses and saves your print. Your print resumes when the issue is fixed. Moreover, the print is silent even at high speeds. The replacement of lead screws by the belt-driven system helped a lot.

These are a lot of features and a good offer. Just go for the best direct drive 3D printer if it matches your requirements.

Highlights:

  • TFT touch screen control
  • Large leveling knob
  • Rapid heating AC heat bed
  • Detects filament runout

Direct Drive Extruder vs. Bowden Extruder

Let’s see how direct drive Bowden extruder differs from each other. 

They both are the type of FDM Extruders. The difference lies in their extruder-nozzle setup. As I mentioned, the extruder is installed to the hot end in a direct drive. Whereas in the Bowden setup, the extruder is attached to the printers’ frame, and the filament is passed to the hot nozzle end through a PTFE tube.

Talking about its pros and cons

The best direct drive extruder is mounted on the print head. So the motor pushes the filament through the nozzle easily, and thus you get fewer extrusion-related issues. Also, you don’t require a powerful motor to get the printing process going.

Not only that, this type of extruder can support a wide range of filaments.

Whereas 3D printer Bowden extruder doesn’t have that weight at the print head. It supports high speed. The prints are more precise and clear due to less vibration.

You will require a more powerful motor as the print needs to be pushed all through the PTFE tube. To avoid tension, retraction is slower, and so is the response rate. You will also get a limitation to compatible filaments to print here. So comparing both, we can conclude that direct-drive 3D printers are the best.

Conclusion

These were the five best choices for direct drive printers. I tried to give you options for all requirements possible. There are basic, medium, and high-end printers, some open-framed & others closed-framed. I tried to be short with the features; go to the links and check them in detail if you wish. I hope it helps! Keep printing!  

Yash Mittal

Warm Greetings, myself Yash Mittal. I am an engineering student at USAR (Indraprastha University), Delhi. I have a keen interest in 3D printers and had been working with them for almost 2 years now. My journey started with 3D printers in the Tinkering Lab at my school, I used to explore and print in my free time. Then I got a 3D printer at my home and exercised the printer detailings. My college even offers me a wider range in the field of 3D printers with the opportunity to work full-fledgedly on high-end 3D printers. 3D printers are fascinating and I wish to help you with my gained knowledge. I brought you all these articles to help you choose the best one out there. Keep printing!