you are looking to do, the difference between a good $1K printer and a $5K printer is minimal.
For your needs, you'll want to print in ABS or PLA (plastics). With filament. There are also a couple of options to print in more durable Nylon and even wood-pulp.
The $3K-$5K printers are going to use resins and print in a SLA or DLP process. The parts have more fine-detail, but they are far less durable, have to cure, and often warp or become brittle as they age. Plus, the resin itself is toxic (which curing resolves).
Our company once had a line of desktop printers and when I did user testing on them, the Ultimaker's always scored the best. I personally like the Ultimaker 3, but they also have a 4 and 5 model - which haven't really made much improvement.
At that price point I'd agree Ultimaker is a fine choice
If you have $30K plus I would buy a Stratasys FDM F123 printer. Simply more accurate, more reliable, better throughput, you'll get better parts.
The new Makerbot Method is interesting (they are owned by Stratasys). It has a heated chamber and could be a very good printer. But at $6k+ it's beyond the price point.
So all that said, I'd go with an FDM printer, specifically an Ultimaker.
Part of the USA Today Sports Media Group
BigBlueInteractiveSM provides news, analysis, and discussion on the New York Football Giants. This site is owned and operated by Big Blue Interactive, LLC. If you
have any questions or comments about this website, please see our contact information page.