The Institute of Digital Dentistry’s 

3D Printer Awards 2023

Hello and welcome! Here at iDD we have been doing our annual intraoral scanner awards for some time and given the state of digital dentistry as it stands today, we thought it would be also good to recognize the best in the 3D printing space, thus without further ado, welcome to the iDD 3D Printer Awards! 

The whole idea of this is to promote and celebrate the leaders in the industry for what they are doing. 3D printing has come a long way from when we started printing 7 years ago at our clinic. Now it is one of the biggest hype topics in dentistry.

So who is the best? Which companies should you keep your eyes on as we dive into 2024. Find out below!

Each award was decided by our team of digital dentists and technicians who have been using this tech for years. The People’s Choice Award was decided by our community. 

Let us begin with the 2023 iDD 3D Printer Awards!

Best All-purpose chairside 3D printer - SprintRay Pro 55S

Awarded to the dental 3D printer providing the best combination of print speed, precision, reliability and special features for chair-side use in 2023.

This may come at no surprise but what Sprintray has done to chairside 3D printing is similar to what CEREC did for chairside milling. Completely revolutionised it and put it on centre stage for everyone to take note.

Sprintray offers argubably the best chairside printer solution. Not just printer. The Sprintray Pro 55S is an excellent machine not because it is the fastest or most open. But provides the best workflow.

When coupled with a Procure and Prowash, this system just works and works so well. The company also has invested a ton of money into their cloud solution, offering the only completely cloud-based printer CAM software that is used to run the printers.

Adding to that they have a design service and AI-driven CAD service all built into the software. So a dentist can scan, use the software to design a host of different indications, get an STL back and get ready to print.

It truly is an incredible chairside system overall - hardware, software and workflow. And now with their new releases it seems like its just getting better...

2nd Best All-purpose chair-side 3D printer - Ackuretta SOL

Awarded to the dental 3D printer providing the 2nd best combination of print speed, precision, reliability and special features for chair-side use in 2023.

Ackuretta Sol is the second best here. It offers an affordable option for those who are priced out of the Sprintray premium. The company also provides a total solution - a good printer, curing machine and wash. 

Ackuretta does a lot of similar things well. Great and easy to use printer. A dentally focussed software that is intuitive and straight forward to use and an actual workflow from start to finish.

Why SprintRay takes the top spot here, is that they make a lot of their own resins. And a lot of those resins seem to be gold standard for many restorative indications. 

In saying this, Ackuretta is much more of an open printer and works with a lot of resin manufacturer's such as Rodin. In this way Ackuretta provide a low-cost printer that is very capable of printing almost every indication quite well. Another great option for those who want to get into chairside printing.

Best all-purpose lab 3D printer - Asiga Pro 4K
2nd place - Nextdent 5100

Awarded to the 3D printer delivering exceptional print quality, resolution, build volume and workflow to excel as an advanced dental lab solution in 2023.

This was a close call and honestly if anything it is a tie between Asiga's Pro4k and NextDent's 5100 - both excellent printers in their own right for a lab.

Both these machines are fantastic DLP printers but have slightly different niches. The NextDent 5100 is a speed demon. One of the fastest printers on the market and one of the few that allows consistent stacking of models that actually works via the software.

Asiga Pro 4K is not as fast, but where it slightly edges out the NextDent is the platform size - which is important for labs no doubt. And also the huge library of resin options available.

The NextDent has some excellent resins but is closed. The only resins you can use are NextDent ones. Thankfully most are quite good, but if you want to print Keysplint Soft - you cant.

Whereas the Asiga boasts over 500 different resin profiles that can be easily downloaded from their website and used on their printer. Once again, both excellent lab printers, but the Pro 4k is argubably the better all-rounder.

Fastest 3D Printer on the Market - UniZ NBEE
2nd Place - Nextdent 5100

Awarded to the 3D printer with the fastest print speeds available while maintaining precision and reliability.

The UNIZ NBEE is the fastest printer on the market. No doubt about it. This printer can print models as fast as 13 minutes which is quite incredible.

The NextDent 5100 at second place is also no slouch. Printing models and most indications in under 20 minutes. Thus it is also a speed demon.

The difference in these printers to consider is build quality and reliability. We have been using the NextDent 5100 for years and overall, it works very well. It is one those printers that you know will just work. At least in the past 5 years we have been using it. 

I would say between these two incredibly fast printers both are great, but NextDent edges out the UNIZ slightly for reliability thanks to its build quality and being a little more reserved with its rambunctious speed. 

If your top priority is speed alone - check out the UNIZ NBEE

Easiest Printer to Delegate - Formlabs 3B+

Awarded to the 3D printer delivering exceptional ease-of-use and consistent performance.

The FormLabs 3D printers were once the champions of dental 3D printing. Now although the industry has shifted quite a lot in the past few years to faster DLP printers, one thing the Formlabs team do well is ease of use.

The Formlabs 3B+ is one of the easiest printers to operate right out of the box. For starters, hate it or love it, resin cartridges make the entire process very simple. Choose the right resin and put it in the printer. That is it. No mixing, no mess and the printer will keep the resin tray topped up as long as the cartirdge has resin in it.

Secondly the unboxing process is one of the most seamless on the market. The entire onboarding is done very well via the on-screen instructions and everything can be ready to print within about 10 minutes

Finally the software. Preform Dental, the dental version of the Formlabs software is one of the easiest to use software on the market. It doesn't look intimidating and does most of the work for you within a click or two.

Formlabs doesnt have speed but it is a consistently reliable printer that just works and is easy to delegate to any of the staff.

max output in a compact footprint - Asiga Max UV
2nd Place - Sprintray Pro 55S


Awarded to the 3D printer delivering exceptional print quality and speed while taking up the least amount of space for its class in 2023.

When comparing footprint to what the printer does, it is hard to beat the Asiga Max UV. This thing is tiny!

Just like the Pro 4k (larger lab version), the Asiga Max has access to all the resins its big brother has but at a much smaller size. The drawback is the platform. It can fit 2 models, 2 splints etc but anything more than that and you will be printing vertically.

However given how accurate and how beautiful it prints. For the compact foot print award it is hard not to give it to the Asiga Max.

Second place is the Sprintray Pro 55S. Another excellent printer, with a range of different build platforms. It is faster than the asiga and offers some of the best restorative solutions on the market. Yet it is bigger. 

Both are excellent printers to sit on your bench. 

Best value 3D printer - Shining 3D L4K

Awarded to the dental 3D printer providing the most features, reliability and performance per dollar spent on an initial purchase and operation in 2023.

Here lies the economical options, and for this category we had to name 3 printers which all come with their different pros and cons, and prices. Accufab L4k by Shining 3D, Phrozen Sonik 4k and Ackuretta Sol.

The top spot goes to the Shining 3D L4k. Although it is not the cheapest printer out of the three (actually the middle), it offers a larger resin profile (from the company) than the Phrozen (cheapest one out of the three), a much bigger build platform, it is faster and has an entire workflow with a wash and a cure. Overall a great printer with one ugly omission - no heater.

Then comes the Phrozen Sonic 4K. As mentioned above, a tidy little unit that has a lot of different resin options, and a heater built in but no wash or cure by the company. And frankly it is a bit slow if you use the companies build platform.

Lastly the Ackuretta Sol, also a nice product that comes with a wash and a cure. The Sol doesn't have a resin heater which is again, a bit of a negative, and notably costs the most out of the three.

If you are considering the cheapest possible 'dental' printer, I would look into one of these 3.

Innovators in Advancing Dental 3D Printing - SprintRay
Second place - Ackuretta. Third Place - Asiga

Awarded to the 3D printer company that brought the most new ideas and advanced technologies to dental 3D printing over the past year.

3D printing has been absolutely booming in the past few years. Although the industry has a whole has done a great job pushing this forward, we wanted to highlight a few of the leading companies and innovators in the past year.

First and foremost - Sprintray. This company takes our top spot for the "Innovators in Advancing Dental 3D Printing" award. I think it is clear why. This single company has been instrumental in the paradigm shift of 3D printing in the dental office. They have pushed out a ton of releases in the last year to keep pushing the boundaries further and further. New printers. New build platforms. New software and a ton of resins. I think it goes without saying that this is also a company that made 3D printed final restorations a big topic now in dentistry.

Second place goes to Ackuretta. Another great 3D printing company that I believe is key in keeping the perception that LCD printers can be fantastic machines. Although DLP is the golden child of dental 3D printing, Ackuretta continues to release affordable and extremely well built LCD machines for the dental office. They too have been lauching a few cool innovations in the past year - notable they are the first company in the world to come up with the idea of different sized build platforms. Now this has become a norm.

Lastly is Asiga. In the past year the biggest innovation I saw that changed the industry was the Ultra Gloss resin trays. Which other companies are now also copying. This is a genius invention that helps improve the lustre and general shininess of clear resins. It seems like it will be a common feature of 3D printers in the future.

Best 3D printer software - SprintRay
Second place - Formlabs

Awarded to the company with the easiest to use and most advanced user interface.

The Sprintray software - Rayware - is voted the top 3D printer software for good reason. All the features.

Now although 3D printing CAM software is quite a high standard across the entire industry, the reason Sprintray wins this award is that it does so much more than just making importing printable objects and starting prints straightforward.

The software has a fully CAD design service built in, which is genius. The biggest barrier of CAD/CAM remains the CAD for clinicians so this helps bridge the gap. This can either be AI driven or via their own design service. Click a button, order what you want like a splint design and it will be ready to print.

The software also has moved to be completely web-browser and cloud based which is great foresight from the company.  

Honourable mention to Formlabs Preform Dental software. Also a fantastic and incredibly easy to use software with presets for all dental indications. The one thing it is missing is CAD.

Best In-Class Resins from 2023

What would be a celebration of 3D printer companies and their products without talking about resins. 

Below is a rapid fire list of all our favourite resins from 2023 for each specific indication.

What are yours? Comment at the end.

And that's a wrap! Once again thank you all for participating in our People's Choice Awards.

Big congratulations to all the winners. To stay up to date with everything digital dentistry, check out our blog here!

For those looking for training in this exciting field of dentistry, click here to learn more about our iDD online academy. 

Lastly:

Now For the People's Choice Awards.

We invite you to vote for you favorite 3D Printer of 2023:
 


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