Archives March 2019

Polaroid Nano Review [2021]: Is It The One For You?

Surprised to see a camera company jump into the 3D printing arena?

So were we, but it does make a certain kind of sense, especially for Polaroid. The company started all the way back in 1943 when the company’s founder, Edwin Land, first invented instant photography.

They got famous for the prints that came out of their cameras and developed on their own within a matter of minutes. Now they’ve rolled out their first 3D printers in 2016 as they transitioned from their world-famous portable instant cameras and film to printers designed to plug into your computer and go.

Their pivot to a growing market from one that’s been dying ever since the first iPhone came out has proven to be a smart move, and Polaroid isn’t letting its second wind go to waste.

As pioneers in instant photography, the company has deep roots in front-facing technology.

They partnered with Environmental Business Products to bring their printers to life, premiering four new models under their Nano range at the International Consumer Electronics Show in January 2018: the Polaroid Nano Mini, the Polaroid Nano Plus, the Polaroid Nano Glide, and the Polaroid Nano Duo.

All are currently available on Polaroid’s website directly, or through third-party sellers like Amazon, so we’ll be talking about the specific features on each one and guiding you through the process of whether each model is worth its price. Spoiler alert: get your money ready now. These are all excellent.

Polaroid Nano 3D Printer
Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Overview of the Polaroid Nano 3D Printer

The Nano range of Polaroid 3D printers debuted in January 2018 at Polaroid’s CES booth. They’re all the same squared-off shape with thick frame borders that evoke both the signature style of its white-margined photos and its lined rainbow logo.

You can get each in a small range of colors, but good luck trying to find the more popular ones like green. A little shopping around might help you find what you want.

Polaroid Nano Review

Nano Series Pros and Cons

Polaroid Nano Pros

  • It may seem superficial to focus on the decorative parts of something whose function is essentially dependent on what’s inside, but that’s part of the fun with these printers. Since Polaroid’s distinct aesthetics permeate throughout the whole range of its products, you’ll feel like you’re in 1975 even when you’re working with the most modern technology the company has to offer. And we count that as a good thing. It’s also an indicator of Polaroid’s attention to detail and quality that holds over the entire line.
  • Each of the Nano 3D printers have more than one way to connect to whatever device you’re using for your print designs, which makes them a breeze to transfer to different work stations, share with other users, and print multiple types of projects from the same printer (although not at the same time; sadly, the technology isn’t there yet).
  • The motors in all of these printers are also super quiet while staying powerful enough to not skip out on you. We can’t stress enough how exciting this is for use in shared spaces. If you’re looking for a 3D printer to use in a classroom or other shared space where it may have to be left to its own devices to finish a print while you or someone else moves onto another lesson or topic, these Nano series printers are amazing. You’ll be able to set it and forget it until you’re ready to scrape your object off that bad boy’s printer bed.
  • And the print quality gives you more reason to trust these Nanos on their own. Although their print areas may be small, the finish they produce makes for virtually seamless layers. These all use the most common filaments for 3D printing, most notably ABS and PLA. Note that your finish quality may fluctuate slightly depending on whether you are using one of these filaments, as recommended by the company, or if you’re using different types. Emphasis on “slight,” though, as all four of these printers have consistency on lock.
  • Beyond their sleek looks, the frames on these bad boys serve a great practical purpose, too. Yes, the open cube with arms at each corner gives you more room to show off that color, but they also make for incredible stability. With smaller printers, the amount of back and forth movement generated by 3D printing has less space to stretch out in, so the whole frame may shake more than a larger printer that can absorb the motion better. However, Polaroid has solved this with the sturdiness of its Nano frames, so feel free to print as intricately as you want without worrying about the printer yanking itself out of place.

Polaroid Nano Cons

  • It’s easy to forget that these printers aren’t the solution to absolutely all of your 3D printing needs. But whenever you forget that just look at their name – these Nanos are indeed small and have the restricted printer space that comes with the territory. You won’t be able to print a life-size Batman helmet with any of these. But Polaroid does have other options if you want to go bigger.
  • Polaroid’s quality comes with a literal price. The single-nozzle Nanos stay within the midrange of larger printers (about $350 – $400; see our specs table below for details per model), but if you want a dual extruder, prepare to pay almost two grand. Just remember that these are fully built printers and not kits, which means you’re paying for the professional construction job as well.
  • These printers aren’t hard to buy, but it is difficult to find thorough reviews on them. (That’s where we come in!) If you want to read more than our opinion on their performance, you’ll have to do a deep dive into 3D printing nerd forums, which you may already be familiar with as part of your routine buying decision anyway.

Model Specifics

Before we get into the pros and cons of each model, here’s a table that lists their attributes so you can compare them all in one place.

 

Nano Mini

Nano Glide

Nano Plus

Nano Duo

Printer size

18.8 cm x 18.8 cm x 19.8 cm

25.9 cm x 25 cm x 25.9 cm

27.9 cm x 27.9 cm x 27.9 cm

45 cm x 35.8 cm x 55.9 cm

Print area

7.9 cm x 7.9 cm x 8.9 cm

11.9 cm x 11.9 cm x 11.9 cm

11.9 cm x 11.9 cm x 11.9 cm

30 cm x 22.4 cm x 32 cm

# of extruders

1

1

1

2

Filaments

PLA 1.75 mm

PLA 1.75 mm

PLA, ABS 1.75 mm

PLA, ABS, wood, TPU, metal

Printer weight

1 kg

1 kg

6.2 kg

6.2 kg

Max printing temp

230 d C

230 d C

230 d C

230 d C

Nozzle diameter

0.4 mm

0.4 mm

0.4 mm

0.4mm

Layer resolution

100 – 200 microns

100 – 200 microns

   

Print speed

10 – 40 mm/sec

10 – 40 mm/sec

   

Software

Polaroid Prep

Polaroid Prep

Polaroid Prep

Polaroid Prep

Connectivity

SD card

SD card

SD card

SD card

Cost

$349

$479

$549

$1849

Nano Mini

This is the smallest of Polaroid’s 3D printers, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s got no power. Its light weight makes it perfect for individual, personal use, and its unobtrusive size makes it great for using and storing in places you might not have thought could hold a 3D printer.

Aimed at beginner users, the Nano has a one-button control on the printer itself, which keeps things extra simple: use the SD card provided to transfer your design from your computer to the printer, then press the button. Boom, you’re printing.

It doesn’t come with any frills, which makes it easy to understand, and its smoothed frame doesn’t make it inviting for many add-ons, so remember this if you’re looking for a printer that can handle a more complex workload.

But the finished quality is excellent, and this makes a great first-time printer for all age ranges that are old enough to work with 3D printing equipment in general. It won’t frustrate those who are learning about the process, keeping them engaged and producing something worthwhile for their efforts to encourage them to up their skills.

Nano Glide

Polaroid Nano Glide

Its larger build area makes the Glide a good step up from the Mini while staying in the compact size range. It’s also got more bells and whistles, meant to take your 3D printing to another level without adding any confusion.

Its sliding print bed allows for nuanced adjustments to your printing surface, as well as a way to remove your finished object from the printer without overreliance on scraping tools that might damage surfaces. The two most useful upgrades from the Mini both let you worry less about leaving the printer to do its thing while it prints and you have to attend to other things.

First, its filament sensor alerts you when your material is getting low. That’s such an intuitive piece to a major problem that we’re not sure why they’re not standard in all 3D printers yet.

The Glide’s is worth a special mention because it works, and it works well, bringing the printing to a stop until you’re able to heed its warning and refeed filament. That means it’s smart enough to not waste power or lose its place when filament runs out. Great for printer management.

Also, the Glide has child safety doors, which are basically extra gates that go around the open parts of the printer so that no one can stick their hand into the printing area while the printer is heated or moving. It’s a crucial element if you’re looking for a 3D printer to use in educational settings, or places where unsupervised kids might come across it.

Nano +

Polaroid Nano Plus 3D Printer

The + has all the features of the Glide, and ups it on tech. With an LCD screen, the + gives you more options and control once you’ve gotten off the computer. It’s also got wifi connectivity and a smartphone app you can use for remote control, which makes it perfect for people who don’t have time to sit around and stare at their 3D printers all day (so, everybody!). Combine this with the quality that’s standard in these Polaroid printers, and the + gives you the perfect mobile setup.

Nano Duo

Polaroid Nano Duo 3D PRinter

So all this sounds great, but the printing areas are just a little too small and … singular for your taste? Enter the Polaroid Nano Duo, the line’s biggest and extruder-iest option.

You’ll pay twice as much for this one as for any of the others, but you’ll get twice the nozzles for double the material possibilities. The printing area is bigger as well, so don’t worry about trying to fit two extruders’ worth of filament into project space for one.

All this extra room is on top of the great technology from the Mini, Glider, and +, so you get the crowning collective glory of Polaroid’s 3D printing game in the Duo. And you’ll still be able to fit it in between all your other gear, lift it with one hand, and feel safe leaving it printing for however long it takes your projects to complete.

Polaroid Nano Alternatives and Competitors

Polaroid certainly is not the first 3D printing company to target the micro format 3D printer industry. Here are some other small format 3D printers we’ve tested and reviewed:

Final Thoughts on the Polaroid Nano Series

In conclusion, Polaroid took their new job very seriously and passed that attention to detail on to the users. You’ll be able to use any one of these printers in the Nano line whether you’re just getting started or have been 3D printing for a decade.

They all truly small enough for personal use, which is something a lot of printers like to claim but few can actually back up. And fewer still can also boast a robustness that makes them excellent for repeated, continuous use, but Polaroid definitely puts its money – or yours – where its mouth is. If you’re looking for a stylish way to save lots of space, noise, and trouble in your 3D printing operations, Polaroid is a great place to go.

Polaroid Nano 3D Printer
Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

MakerBot Method Review [2021]: Worth it?

MakerBot has started 2019 with a 3D printer that is dressed to impress. Its Method model became available just this year, and it’s designed to eliminate the gap between desktop and performance 3D printing.

They wanted to make a printer that would combine industrial speed and precision with desktop accessibility, and while the Method’s pricing doesn’t lend this model quite as much broad appeal as MakerBot is aiming for, the printer itself is an impressive piece of technology.

It’s technically not immediately available, but if you like what you see, you can put a preorder in with MakerBot and be one of the first to experience its majesty in person later this year.

MakerBot was started in 2009 on a philosophy of open source and has been on the cutting edge of new 3D technology since their beginning; they were the first comp any to present a 3D printer at the Consumer Electronics Show in 2010, and the first to introduce a great 3D printer with wifi printing capabilities in 2014. Stratasys acquired the company in 2013.

Why go with the MakerBot Method? | Matter Hackers

Professional grade, fast, and excellent quality assurance repeatability make the Method a stand out performer in class. Yes, it's pricier than some but well worth it for regular, dedicated 3D printing shops.

Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

MakerBot Method Overview

MakerBot has thrown everything you know about 3D printer design out the window to make the Method. It looks like a science testing chamber from a movie set in the near future – instead of a horizontal-based open plan like the majority of desktop 3D printers, this one is longer than it is wide with a closed printing chamber in the middle.

It’s all sleek corners and smooth surfaces straight from science fiction, but the printer bed is instantly recognizable and fun to watch as well. This is all meant to give individual designers and engineers a 3D printer that is compact enough for personal use but fully capable of delivering a standard industrial performance.

MakerBot Method Specifications 

Printer size

43.7 cm x 41.3 cm x 64.9 cm

Maximum print size

Single extrusion: 19 cm x 19 cm x 19.6 cm

 

Double extrusion: 15.2 cm x 19 cm x 19.6 cm

Printer weight

29.5 kg

Extruder

Dual Performance

Dimensional accuracy

+/- 0.2 mm

Layer resolution

20 – 400 microns

Build surface

Spring steel build plate with grip surface

Supported filaments

PLA, PVA, PETG, etc.

Connectivity

WiFi, Ethernet, USB

Power requirements

100 – 240V/4A, 50 – 60 Hz/400 W max

Why go with the MakerBot Method? | Matter Hackers

Professional grade, fast, and excellent quality assurance repeatability make the Method a stand out performer in class. Yes, it's pricier than some but well worth it for regular, dedicated 3D printing shops.

Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

MakerBot Method Pros and Cons

Pros

MakerBot Method Print Quality

The Method 3D printer is truly impressive. MakerBot promised a lot with this one, and it looks like it has delivered. First on the “awesome” side is the print quality, which is the crowning achievement of this machine.

MakerBot designed this to bridge the gap between professional and personal 3D printing, and anybody who makes prototypes as part of their business process will be able to use these products in whatever capacity they need. It boasts a dimensional accuracy more precise than most of the other 3D printers out there period, much less any of the other desktops available.

Its layer resolution is also top notch, thin enough to create a surface invisible of any gradient to the naked eye thanks to the vertical layer uniformity and cylindricity. This type of print finish is what you need for industrial pieces and prototypes, where friction between parts means an eventual breakdown of the whole machine; or if you just really want to impress the people who will be dealing with your end products, especially when they’re paying customers.

MakerBot Method Print Repeatability

The Method may not have the physical space to print dozens of copies of a prototype at a time, but its repeatability makes it great for duplicating precisely what made your design great in the first place. You can save any combination of commands, methods, or settings you create in the brain of the printer itself, which means you can go back to that best-selling design and print another whenever you want, you can save different preferences for different projects – the possibilities get close to endless.

MakerBot Method Print Speed

If you don’t have the space to print multiple copies at once, one way to make up for that is how long it takes to print each object. MakerBot boasts the Method prints at twice the speed of other printers, which individual professionals can definitely use to their advantage.

The Method can print so fast because it’s got dual performance extruders. These are powered by a dual-gear system with a 19:1 gear ratio and that magic number means three times the push force of a standard 3D fused deposit method printer.

Also, the thermal core is up to fifty percent longer than a typical nozzle, which makes its extrusion both quicker and smoother than typical hotends. The listed print speed of 1 +/- 0.2 or 0.02 mm per mm traveled does indeed make it about twice as fast as your typical desk model.

MakerBot Method Printer Stability

With all this speed and power, you might expect a lot of self-made movement from the Method. Fortunately, MakerBot has already thought of this and planned accordingly. The ultra-rigid metal frame runs the full length of the printer, which absorbs any wiggle the printing movement might produce. That’s how the Method can print so fast with such great accuracy.

MakerBot Method Printer Control

MakerBot gives you the power to finetune almost everything about your printing experience with the Method.

First, there’s a heated circulating chamber that lets you control the temperature of every stage of your print. MakerBot calls this full active heat immersion, and it helps parts cool at a controlled rate for higher dimensional accuracy, better layer adhesion, and stronger parts.

Next up is the spring steel build plate, which is situated inside the build chamber. It detaches from the printer with an easy pop-out motion, allowing you to retrieve your finished project in the open air without worrying about banging your elbows on supports. And it goes right back in whenever you’re ready to print next, so you’ve got portability AND instant readiness on your side every time.

Yet another point where you can make the Method do exactly as you want is the 5 in (12.7 cm) touchscreen control mounted to the top of the printer frame. It’s about the size of a smartphone, and it acts much in the same way as well. You navigate through a variety of settings with your finger, or stylus if you’re fancy, and as we briefly mentioned above, you can save your preferences to your heart’s content. The UI is amazingly intuitive, and it shows you status updates on print jobs while guiding you through all the choices.

Printer Details

In addition to its general sleek profile and intuitive controls, the Method also hosts a few clever details that you never knew you needed until you had them.

Like the dry-sealed material bays that hold your filament as you print. This is basically a drawer situated underneath the build chamber that encloses the filament into its own humidity-controlled environment. The printer lets you monitor the environment in there without having to open it to physically check (and also potentially messing up any balance you may have wanted to keep), which is crucial for water-solvent materials that depend on specific moisture control levels to stay stable enough to print with.

There’s also the Smart Spool, where you mount your filament. It shares information via RFID chip so you can see the filament type and color and how much is left on the spool without having to open the section.

And to top it all off, the Method has a built-in camera that connects to MakerBot’s Print program and mobile app so you can monitor your print from anywhere.

MakerBot Method Printer Ease of Use

The Method is essentially a printer you can plug in and use immediately; this massively streamlines the process of designing to prototyping. It automates everything from setup to maintenance, so even if you have little to no experience setting up 3D printers, this one will be a breeze for you to start.

It adds the user-friendliness of a much more basic printer to its industrial prototyping quality, making it perfect for the market of individual professionals who want their own printing station for their work. That’s who MakerBot had in mind, so if you’re in that market, you’re getting the best of both 3D printing worlds.

Bonus pro: improved printer software. MakerBot has kept working at its Print software so it’s now compatible with 25 of the most popular computer-aided drafting programs, which means you can design in any of those programs you want and print directly from them without a hitch.

More CAD options mean more personal control and variation, so choose what you want and go to it! MakerBot’s Cloud Management platform also lets you share your designs and collaborate with anyone who has access to the program.

Cons

MakerBot Method Price

At around $6,499 (check here for latest pricing), this is not the machine for beginners, or anyone needing to 3D print on a budget. If you are looking to make the plunge into 3D printing by yourself for a hobby that won’t regenerate revenue to make up operations costs, go in a different direction.

However, if you’re looking for a printer with industrial capabilities in the footprint of a desktop; if you’re a company dependent on individual prototyping; if you’re an engineer or designer who depends on high-quality prototyping and can swing the startup cash; this point may not matter. Also, MakerBot has a payment plan that may help you convince any funders who are on the fence (including yourself!).

MakerBot Method Weight

At over sixty pounds, this printer does not leave much room for physical adjustment once you get it in place. 3D printers aren’t equipment you want to be constantly moving around in general, but if you’re searching for something portable to bring with you to multiple demonstrations, or if you’re going to be printing in one area and storing in another, think about getting something lighter.

On the other hand, a heft to it means this printer will stay grounded and exhibit less wiggle than those with more open designs, so you’ll have to figure out what kind of trade-off you want to make.

Proprietary material

Don’t get us wrong, MakerBot is not trying to chain you to their products by making them incompatible with any third parties – you can use whatever you prefer for your filament brand. But one downside of the Method is that it does work best with MakerBot filaments. That’s certainly not the end of the world, as MakerBot makes a lot of quality stuff, but it does limit you to their product line if you want to ensure 100% of its promised quality.

A big part of that is because of the Method’s unique market area. The first machine to jump into a niche is by design going to need materials that aren’t widely available yet; and fortunately, the Method is not so specialized that using your favorite PLA or ABS spools is going to turn into a complete disaster. But until someone else jumps on their bandwagon of desktop 3D printers that can handle professional-grade jobs, going full MakerBot will be your best bet.

MakerBot Method Alternatives

All this being said, there ARE other 3D printer options available in a comparable class. We’ve reviewed and copared some of them below:

Final Verdict: MakerBot Method Review

If you’re in any sort of need of a personal 3D printer that makes professional-level prints on an individual level, the Method is perfectly tailored to your process. It’s way up there in price if you compare it to all the other desktop 3D printers out there.

However, when you consider that buying a Method means you won’t have to wait to use a communal industrial printer, when it means you won’t have to readjust your CAD measurements from a 3D printer meant for other dimensions, when it means you’ll have complete control over the entire printing process of your professional prototypes – the Method is for sure worth it.

MakerBot says they spent over 220,000 hours testing this printer out for reliability, subsystem, and quality, and you can tell with every aspect of the experience.

They’re calling the Method a performance printer, and its dedication to the market gap of professional desktop 3D printers has earned its keep with its plethora of unique features. And oh boy, that printing quality – if that doesn’t convince you that MakerBot has dreamed up something special, truly nothing will.

Why go with the MakerBot Method? | Matter Hackers

Professional grade, fast, and excellent quality assurance repeatability make the Method a stand out performer in class. Yes, it's pricier than some but well worth it for regular, dedicated 3D printing shops.

Check Price Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

The Best 3D Printing Conferences to Add to Your Calendar

Best 3D Printing Conferences to Add to Your Calendar

With the increasing popularity of 3D printing, it’s no surprise that there are conferences all over the world, boasting a variety of exhibitions, professionals, and tools in the 3D printing market. 3D printing is innovative, and the evolution of the techniques has grown considerably and continues to do so.

If you’re looking for a 3D printing conference to add to your calendar, chances are you’ll find one on this list that’s close to home. You can pursue a variety of topics in additive manufacturing and 3D printing including the mathematics involved in the design process, the technology used, and the industries involved.

We want to make planning you trip to one of these events a little easier. We know it can be a daunting task trying to figure out which is best for you. We have compiled a list of some of the best and most unique 3D printing events around the world in 2019.

While this is by no means a definitive list for all 2019 events it is a great starting spot for you. All of the events below are a great place to gain insight, knowledge, and even network in the 3D printing industry with like-minded individuals and companies.

Where will you go in 2019? Let’s take a look at some options.

Asiamold

asimold

March 10-12, 2019

The Asiamold 3D printing conference is held annually in Guangzhou, China and is an important marketing and trading venue for players in the mold and die industry. It gets a lot of attention from experts all around the world and is an influential exhibition intended to highlight modern solutions in the ever-evolving manufacturing market in China.

Guangzhou is easily accessible from within China and overseas. Once in Guangzhou, you can reach the Asiamold facility via public transportation and enjoy a variety of accommodations with Asiamold travel partners. Because the event is so large, there is always someone on staff to help you with your travel arrangements.

AMForum19

March 14-15, 2019

The 3rd Additive Manufacturing Forum 2019 is in Berlin, Germany. It’s Europe’s leading conference and exhibition for additive manufacturing, growing in a number of participants year after year. This cross-industry program is user-oriented and supported by a number of prominent groups including Airbus Group, Deutsche Bahn, 3yourmind, and Stratasys.

This year’s conference includes over 700 participants from the aviation, railway, automotive, medical, engineering, mechanical, and science industries. More than 60 exhibitors will be featured in the innovation exhibition with 26 keynote speeches, 4 open discussions, and 2 panels. Enjoy pre-networking events and a champagne reception.

Additive Manufacturing Users Group Conference

additive manufacturing users group expo 2018

March 31-April 4, 2019

Held in Chicago, the AMUG Conference brings the global community together to accelerate advancements and education in additive manufacturing and 3D printing. Engineers, managers, designers, and educators come together to share best practices, expertise, challenges, and relevant application and developments in the industry.

The five-day conference is packed with workshops, presentations, competitions, and food. Enjoy keynote speeches, technical sessions, hands-on training, and showcases. When booked in advance, you can also purchase all of your meals, evening activities, and the awards banquet as part of your ticket.

3D Printing Event 2019

April 16-17, 2019

This year, the Netherlands will be hosting a 3D printing event with five dedicated conferences and an exhibition that all focus on 3D printing and manufacturing. Learn all about 3D printing from initial design to end product.

While it is certainly important in the continued development of 3D printer technology, the focus of this 3D printing event is the Value Chain. The design, engineering, material choice, and the post-processing phase are important as well. There is also an entire section of the conference dedicated to the future of 3D printing.

Ceramics Expo

ceramics expo

April 30-May 1, 2019

The Ceramics Expo in Cleveland, Ohio is meant for engineers who are decision-makers in the automotive, medical, aerospace, electronics, energy, industrial, and communication industries. It’s a free event, often highlighting speakers from prominent players in these industries like Lockheed Martin, Corning, Ford, Kyocera, and more.

You can learn more about technology development and implementation solutions, cost reduction, and manufacturing. You may also learn how to improve your own processes or gain insights into the ceramic materials market. Discover the latest innovations in R&D and look into the future of performance, application, and efficiency.

Rapid + TCT

May 21-23, 2019

Where: Detroit, United States

Event website: https://rapid3devent.com/

Who can attend: Everyone is able to attend RAPID + TCT, but it will cost you. Currently, prices range from $75 per attendee to $1,400 depending on the level of access you desire. The low end of that spectrum will get you an exhibit-only pass whereas the high end will get you access to the full conference and a workshop package. Visit the event website to learn more about the pricing and what is included at each level.

Who will be there: Some big names have already announced their plans to attend RAPID + TCT this year. A few that we are eager to see what they have for us include HP Inc., Stratasys, Desktop Metal, GE Additive, TRUMPF North America, Titan Robotics and Cincinnati Inc.

What is it: The largest 3D printing event in North America. It is held at Detroit’s Cabo Center where the world’s leading 3D printing companies come to demonstrate and show-off their latest innovations and technologies. Attendees will have the opportunity to get hands-on at over 300 exhibits and network with over 6,000 3D printing industry members.

Why you should go: RAPID + TCT is a very unique experience given its vast coverage and ability to bring together industry-leading companies and professionals from all areas of the 3D printing supply chain. If you want to see the latest and greatest in technology achievements, this event is for you. If you want to network and find opportunities to grow your business, this event is for you. If you are just curious, or a fan, and want to know more about 3D printing, this is the event for you.

SIAM Conference on Computational Geometric Design

June 17-19, 2019

People interested in the geometry and mathematics behind 3D printing designs will enjoy this conference in Vancouver, Canada. If you enjoy 3D printing but would like to know more about applying mathematical methods to your projects, the SIAM Conference covers applications in geosciences, medicine, architecture, biology, and art.

Topics of discussion may include curve and surface design, CAX, reverse engineering, geometric algorithms, solid modeling, graphics and computer vision, robotics, and scientific visualization. It helps facilitate communication between government and industrial users, developers, and academics.

AMPM 2019

conference

June 23-25, 2019

Phoenix, Arizona is home to two different 3D printing seminars, the first of which is AMPM2019. This conference focuses on metal additive manufacturing and features experts presenting the latest technology and developments in the metallurgy field. The second conference, called POWDERMET2019, is very similar.

The three-day conference has six events presenting the best networking opportunities and more than 100 exhibitors with equipment, powder suppliers, and processing suppliers. The cutting-edge R&D presented at the AMPM2019 conference provides one of the world’s leading forums for metal additive manufacturing.

Formnext

Where: Frankfurt, Germany

When: November 19 – November 20

Event website: https://formnext.mesago.com/events/en.html

Who can attend: The event is open to everyone. You need to go to the Formnext website to secure your ticket for this years event. You will also find information to become an exhibitor if you wish to display your products and technologies. You can also find maps of the exhibition grounds to start planning your trip to Formnext 2019.

Who will be there: The list for 2019 exhibitors is scheduled to be released in June. Last year some of the attendees included 3D Systems GmbH, HP Inc., GE Additive, InssTek, Inc., and over 600 others.

What is it: A four day event that has over 600 companies from all around the world. Formnext is a leader in bringing together some of the greatest minds and innovators in the worlds of additive manufacturing, 3D printing, and tool and mould making. The event combines these three massive industries to showcase the some of the best ideas and products that will lead the next generation in manufacturing and the product development process.

Why you should go: One of the largest international shows in the world, Formnext will surely blow you away at the vast size and number of new and innovative products, ideas, and companies that will be on display. In 2018, the event had almost 30,000 visitors from over 30 countries. This is the place to go if you want to see where these industries are heading to next.

3D Food Printing Conference

food printer

June 27, 2019

This 3D printing conference in the Netherlands is all about the food. It’s a two-day event dedicated to learning about smart farming, healthy nutrition, and vertical farming. Because 3D printing technology is making its way into the food industry, it will be a critical part of how people interact with food.

There’s still a lot of required research to make these ideas mainstream, but this conference aims to take big steps in the right direction by putting on seminars about food industries and components that will be influenced by 3D food printing technology.

Faraday Discussion

July 3-5, 2019

This Faraday Discussion in London covers Understanding and Reconstructing Biointerfaces with 3D Soft Nanolithography. Mechanics and biology are both driven by interfacial dynamics, yet the industries rarely talk to one another. The idea of this Faraday Discussion is to bring these industries together for conversations surrounding how they can work together to tackle challenges in the industry.

Advances in 3D nanolithography, organic and macromolecular chemistry, and surface characterization will require cooperation from experts in many fields. By providing a forum where they can facilitate discussions for the betterment of these ideas, they can make progress in the field.

Sim-AM 2019

sim am 2019

September 11-13, 2019

The Second International Conference on Simulation for Additive Manufacturing is in Pavia, Italy. As additive manufacturing evolves, this conference aims to bring to light some of the benefits of 3D printing and manufacturing for those who have interest.

The main topics of the conference include CAD to part chain, material modeling, innovative application, multi-physics, and multi-scale simulation, simulation for different additive manufacturing technologies, shape and topology optimization, and validation and verification. You can attend lectures, general sessions, invited sessions, industrial workshops, and round tables.

AMM 2019

September 18-19, 2019

Poland is home to the 3rd Edition of Additive Manufacturing Meeting covering 3D printing in both industrial and medical applications. This international event addresses individuals and institutions involved in the development and implementation of additive manufacturing technologies. They intend to build a common platform for the exchange of experience and knowledge in both fields.

In the past, this conference has involved 145 participants, 12 partners, 24 talks, 3 workshops, and a networking session. It is a two-day conference conducted in English with the main focus of the panels being 3D printing implementation in medicine, industry, and R&D. There will also be a young scientists’ poster session.

AMCTURKEY 2019

amcturkey

October 11-12, 2019

This additive manufacturing conference in Istanbul, Turkey focuses on the importance of digitalization, Industry 4.0, and IoT processes as the next generation of manufacturing technologies. As additive manufacturing replaces traditional manufacturing methods, there are several industries affected.

For transformation in these industries to take place, scientific research and R&D studies are critical, and experts from these industries need to come together. The goal of the first Additive Manufacturing Conference (AMC 2019) will be to do all of these things and more.

Symposium on Graphene and 3D Printing Technology

October 30-31, 2019

The Symposium on Graphene and 3D Printing Technology provide a platform for the sharing and exchange of ideas, knowledge, experiences, and research in the arena of graphene and 3D printing. Because technological innovation is an enabler of development in lower or middle-income countries, this conference held in Tokyo, Japan reaches some of those demographics.

The theme of the 2019 event is “a novel approach to atomic assembly and emerging technologies.” Members from around the world will learn about 3D printing, graphene, advanced materials, energy technology, and two-dimensional materials. They will enjoy presentations, a wealth of information, and networking opportunities with world-renowned speakers, diving into the most recent developments and techniques.

These aren’t the only conferences involving 3D printing and other related subjects. There are plenty of opportunities worldwide to learn and share experiences in an environment that fosters the correct conversations and a desire to further the development of these technologies.

If you want to attend a 3D printing conference, this year is a perfect time. There are hundreds of them spanning the globe, bridging many industries, and focusing on a variety of topics that may be of interest to experts, professionals, and hobbyists alike.

3D Printing Europe 2019

Where: Berlin, Germany

When: April 10 – April 11

Event website: https://www.idtechex.com/3D-printing-europe/show/en/

Who can attend: This event is open to any individuals who register through the event’s website. A pass will get you access to all co-located events in Berlin and the website offers group discounts if multiple individuals are attending from one company. Pricing ranges from about $100 to $3,000 depending on the level of access you want. Head to the event website for more information.

Who will be there: While this event is not as large as Formnext in Frankfurt, you will still have the opportunity to see a wide range of companies. Some of these companies are PiezoTech Arkema, Sysco Machinery Corporation, AFELIM, and Dorey Converting Systems.

What is it: Another large conference held in Germany, this time it is in Berlin. 3D Printing Europe will have over 200 exhibitors set up and expects to see close to 3,000 attendees. Be sure to head towards “Demonstration Street” once you are there. As I am sure your could guess by the clever name, this is where the event will house a variety of interactive products, prototypes, and new technologies.

Why you should go: This is a great 3D printing specific event in Europe. It focuses on end-user case studies and opportunities with demonstrations on how you can incorporate the technology into your company or business idea. You will get the full spectrum of 3D printing processes and materials on display.

Inside 3D Printing

Where: São Paulo, Brazil, Seoul, Korea

When: June 10 – June 11 in Brazil, June 26 – June 28 in Korea

Event website: https://inside3dprinting.com/

Who can attend: Any interested in 3D printing can and should go. There is a FREE pass to the Seoul event and the paid passes are either $190 or $290 depending on how much you want to do. The Brazil event has similar pricing minus the free pass. You can find more information and discounts by purchasing through the event website now.

Who will be there: Some exhibitors you will see in Brazil are 3D Criar, Alcateia Group, AMS, UP3D, and many more. While if you attend the Seoul event, some exhibitors in attendance will be Createc, AMKOREA, 3D Real Form, Prototech, Shining 3D, and even more.

What is it: One of the largest 3D printing and additive manufacturing event series in the world. It takes place in Brazil and South Korea at two different times in order to attract individuals, companies, and creators from everywhere. Attending either event will give you access to conferences, demos, and talks from industry leaders, and some of the best companies, designers, and innovators in the 3D printing and additive manufacturing industries.

Why you should go: Being in attendance at either location gives you full access to see the newest product, services, and companies launch. You can use it as a networking event to help fundraise and source investments if you trying to start oor grow your own company given each event houses thousands of attendees.

Some other events you can look into:

3D Printing Industry Awards 2019

Where: London, United Kingdom

When: June 6

Event website: https://3dprintingindustry.com/news/3d-printing-industry-awards-2019-nominations-open-145071/

3D Printing USA 2019

Where: Santa Clara, United States

When: November 20 – November 21

Event website: https://www.idtechex.com/3D-printing-usa/show/en/

Additive Manufacturing for Car Body Engineering 2019

Where: Bad Nauheim, Germany

When: April 2

Event website: http://www.automotive-circle.com/Conferences/Additive-Manufacturing-for-Car-Body-Engineering-2019

AeroDef Manufacturing 2019

Where: Long Beach, United States

When: April 30th – May 2

Event website: https://www.aerodefevent.com/

BIG IDEAS for UV+EB Technology Conference

Where: Redondo Beach, United States

When: March 19th – 20th

Event website: https://bigideasconference.com/

Business & Technology Insight Forums

Where: Boston, United States

When: May 8 – May 9

Event website: https://www.idtechex.com/forum-boston/show/en/

EASTEC 2019

Where: Springfield, United States

When: May 14 – May 16

Event website: https://easteconline.com/

INDUSTRY, From Needs to Solutions

Where: Barcelona, Spain

When: October 29 – October 31

Event website: http://www.industry.website/

Maker Faire Miami 2019

Where: Miami, United States

When: April 6 – April 7

Event website: https://miami.makerfaire.com/

PMTi2019 — Powder Metallurgy and Additive Manufacturing of Titanium

Where: Salt Lake City, United States

When: September 24 – September 27

Event website: https://www.mpif.org/Events/PMTi2019Conference.aspx

Polymers + 3D

Where: Houston, United States

When: October 31 – November 1

Event website: http://www.poly3d.org/

Polymers for 3D Printing 2019

Where: Düsseldorf, Germany

When: December 11 – December 12

Event website: https://www.ami.international/events/event?Code=C1004

WESTEC 2019

Where: Long Beach, United States

When: September 24 – September 26

Event website: https://westeconline.com/

The Best Wood Filament for 3D Printing [2021]

The Best Wood Filament for 3D Printing

If you’ve gotten bored with thermoplastics and are looking for a new way to experiment with your 3D printer, wood filaments are a great direction to take.

These are filaments that mix wood pieces together with a more conventional 3D print filament such as PLA filament so the wood can be manipulated like more flexible filaments despite its inherent rigidity. The mix is usually about 70% polymer to 30% wood fibers, and you can buy spools of it just like any other filament on the market.

They’ve been around since 2012, beginning with polymers mixed with sawdust, but those resulted in products that looked more like cardboard, so the filaments quickly evolved.

Here’s a quick summary if you are in a hurry…

List of the Best Wood Filaments for 3D Printing

  1. TimberfellBest Premium Wood Filament
  2. Laywoo FilamentsBest Budget Wood Filament
  3. ColorFabbBest Color Wood Filament
  4. MG ChemicalsBest Durable Wood Filament
  5. HatchBoxBest Fine Wood Filament
  6. EasyWood – Best Wood Filament for Different Wood Types
  7. AFINIARunner-Up
  8. HestayRunner-Up
  9. Torwell 3DRunner-Up
  10. RS ProRunner-Up

Wood filaments give your finished object the look, feel, and even smell of a wood carving, complete with the grain and color fluctuations you see in the hearts of trees. They take on the properties of whatever wood you use as well, such as the extra sturdiness you may be looking for beyond plastic.

One type of wood filament contains a piece of coconut mixed in with the wood, which gives the finished product a distinct look that you won’t be able to find anywhere else.

3D Printing Wood Filament

If you don’t like the finish you end up with, it’s just as easy to stain your 3D project with whatever wood varnish you want as it is to stain your coffee table, bookshelf, or any other object made of pure wood. You can also sand down rough edges or printing mistakes or carve finishing details with a knife or wood burning kit; the possibilities are vast and don’t end once you turn off your printer.

How to Work with Wood Filaments [3D Printing Wood]

However, wood filaments are not for those who are new to 3D printing. Wood filaments are finicky to work with and require much more manipulation and monitoring than entry-level thermoplastics. A wooden filament will reward you with beautiful, unique objects, but first, you have to learn how to treat them:

  • Use a larger extruder nozzle to 3D print. The recommended size is 0.3 mm or larger, which helps the dark chunks in the wood filament flow through without clogging up. This may result in larger layers than you want, but you can sand down the product until its finish is as smooth as you want, so don’t let that keep you from heeding this advice.
  • Remove the filament from the printer when you’re not using it. The wood filament can burn if left unattended in a printer nozzle that hasn’t cooled down yet, or stopped for some reason, and this will result in a nozzle clogged with blackened, hardened wood. If you’ve already learned this lesson the hard way, run a cleaning filament through your extruder. They’re easy to find and inexpensive, a must have if you’re going to work with wood. Just in case.
  • Find the right temperature. A lot of 3D printing enthusiasts manipulate the finish of their wood filaments by using a higher temperature than recommended for printing. The higher the temperature, the darker the wood, but that’s because the higher printing temperature is essentially burning the wood as it goes through the extruder. There’s a very fine line between a different finish and a burnt filament, so only attempt this if you have the time, patience, and knowledge to do it safely. And if you’re worried, print at the recommended print temperature, then paint the finished object with whatever color stain you want. No fire hazard necessary.
  • Use fast printer speed and high layer heights. Yes, these steps will result in more wobble on the Z axis and chunkier layers than you might want, but they’ll keep your wood filament moving through the extruder. Less time in the extruder means less of a chance for the wood to ignite, and less of a chance you’ll have to clean up that mess. Just make sure your printer is secured for as little frame movement as possible, and sand down any layers that don’t meet your standards.
  • Use higher retraction. Wood filaments and wood material are runnier than normal PLA when they are flowing through the heated larger nozzle. This will lead to material drag if you don’t adjust how fast the material comes out of the extruder, so make sure you adjust to the recommended retraction setting rather than leaving it as it was from working with the previous material. Retraction speed and distance will both make a difference.

Woodfill 3D PRinting

Types of Wood Filaments

Now that you know what to look for, let’s talk about the varieties of wood 3D printer filament that are out there. There are three general varieties available:

  • Regular woodfill is the basic variety that is polymer blended with pieces of traditional varieties of wood fiber and wood particles such as oak, maple, or birch. It has the scent and visual properties of the dominant wood variety blended into it, and although it does smell burnt when you 3D print with it if you’ve got your temperature settings correct it will be a stable material throughout the printing process.
  • Bamboofill. This is a polymer blended with bamboo wood fibers, which is more sensitive to temperature and extruder clog than standard woodfill. This means you’ll have to make sure you clean your nozzle thoroughly before and after every print with bamboofill, and you won’t get as wide a color variety as with regular woodfill, but you’ll be rewarded with a smooth print endowed with the flexibility of its blended wood.
  • Corkfill is slightly porous and a much darker color than bamboofill or regular woodfill filament. It has the finicky properties of bamboofill while letting you print something more lightweight and rigid at the same time.

3D Printing With WOOD

Wood Filament Companies

Finally, it’s time to choose where you want to buy your woodfill for 3D printing wood. There are a number of companies that put out quality wood filament for 3D printing (approved 3D printing filament). Here are our favorites:

Timberfill. These woodfill 3D printing filaments are made of 100% biodegradable sources, which means you’re doing something good for the planet while leveling up your hobby. Timberfill also gives you a relatively large selection of wood colors. You can pick from cinnamon, light wood tone, rosewood, and champagne, all of which display natural variations that you can mix and match to your content. This filament is more expensive than most of the others you can find at $51 per spool on MatterHackers here, but its variations and environmental friendliness makes it worth it.

Laywoo Filaments. The OG of woodfill, literally – this German company’s founder Kai Parthy invented wood filament for 3D printing in 2013. Lay Filaments sells a light cherry type, which means you can experiment with temperatures to create different colored finishes. It also sells a flexible wood filament that’s one of a kind and super useful for those who are just starting out with wood filaments since there’s more give to work with. You can find these filaments on MatterHackers here for around $35, but realize that they’re sold in bundles that are less than standardized full spools. You’ll get about 100 grams from most sellers, so do some math to figure out if that will really be the best bet for you.

Laywoo-D3 Filaments | Matter Hackers

At print temperature LAYWOO-D3 is less viscous than PLA or ABS, a few extra steps can help improve your printing experience: Adding extra extrusion to the beginning of your print will help prevent dry extrusion during the initial layers. Increasing the retraction setting of your part during slicing will reduce 'leakage' while the hotend is moving between sections (especially over open areas).

Check prices Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

ColorFabb. This company based in the Netherlands offers standard woodfill, bamboofill, and corkfill; ColorFab’s strength is its variety on offer. One spool of woodfill from them costs $49.99 at MatterHackers here, but the quality you’ll get makes it worth it. However, keep in mind that ColorFab’s woodfill filaments are not for beginners. Their high quality and relative expense mean you want to be sure you know how to deal with the unique problems of woodfill before you buy any.

MG Chemicals. These guys use poplar for the wood particles in their wood filaments, about 25% mixed with PLA (a hybrid wood PLA). Poplar wood particles are larger than other wood filaments, so make sure you have a nozzle that can open to 0.4 mm to prevent any clogging. If you burn up any filament in the extruder, it will be harder than usual to scrape out because of the size of the popular pieces. This is a great woodfill to start with. It’s as sturdy as any other standard wood filament while being as much of a bargain as its thermoplastic cousins ($31.45 per spool), and MG Chemical gives you free shipping if you buy a few spools at once. So stock up on whatever filament you need, and throw in a wood filament spool for fun to see how it works for you. Check out the latest prices on Amazon.

MG Chemicals Dark Wood 3D Printer Filament | Amazon
$23.78

MG Chemicals ABS 3D printing filaments are made of high purity Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene pellets. They resist higher temperatures and offer great machinability, flexibility and strength making it the preferred choice of engineers and professionals. 

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
05/16/2021 05:10 am GMT

HatchBox. This company has quality control on lock. That means their wood filaments are less likely to clog your extruder because they have gotten the tolerance down to +/- 0.01 mm from the expected diameter; so the filament you buy will all be within a hundredth of a millimeter of the advertised diameter. This is crazy good compared to the standard +/- 0.05 mm tolerance. So if you’re looking for a material that can be more forgiving of your mistakes because they don’t tolerate their own, try out Hatchbox wood filament. Their wood filaments go for $34.99 per spool (check latest prices on Amazon here).

HATCHBOX 3D Printer Filament | Amazon

Hatchbox PLA is a green-friendly choice that can be used with many styles of printing to create strong, smooth and glossy prints in a variety of bold colors.

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

EasyWood. This company has even more options, in willow, pine, olive, ebony, cedar, birch, and even coconut. These boast a 40% wood particle content, and if you can’t decide which one you want to start with, there’s a sample pack you can buy for $18.01. Full spools of EasyWood varieties are $31.13 (check latest on Amazon here), making them a good bargain for any projects you want to experiment with.

EasyWood 2.85mm Cedar 500 Gram PLA Filament | Amazon
$52.99

EasyWood is a wood-filled PLA-based filament which is gravimetrically filled with approximately 40% grinded wood particles.

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
05/16/2021 05:10 am GMT

AFINIA. These guys offer a major bargain wood filament. It costs $15.99 per spool, and it’s available at the Home Depot, so if you’re looking to get started with wood 3D printing right away, you totally can. It may not have the array of variations some of these other brands do, but it does have great customer reviews, and it comes in 200 g spools, so we’re naming this one best value.

Hestay. This company only has one finish of wood filament, but it comes in three different diameters: 1.75 mm, 2,85 mm, or 3.0 mm. While 1.75 mm is the recommended diameter for beginners, if you’re brave and/ or know exactly what you’re doing, experimenting with larger filament diameters can give you some unique results. Just make sure you have an extruder that can handle the larger ones if that’s what you get. These spools are $42.29 and come from the Netherlands.

Torwell 3D. Want to save the planet while 3D printing? Torwell uses recycled wood as 35% of its blended filaments. The other 65% is high-grade PLA, and that ratio results in an easy, smooth 3D printing process. You can choose either 1.75 mm or 3.00 mm with the confidence that both will act the same for you. This company is based in Australia, so if you don’t live near that part of the world you may have to wait out a slightly longer than average shipping time, but according to their customer reviews, Torwell works hard to make sure that doesn’t become a major issue. Just remember they can’t make the clocks go any slower, order in plenty of time for your project needs, and enjoy their great customer service if you need anything from them.

RS Pro. These folks sell a filament in “tropical wood” color. What does this mean? A small but noticeable spectrum of variation speckles that translate from the spool to your finished object without detracting from the overall shade. If you can’t picture that, think of how tree bark is almost never all one uniform color; this woodfill reflects that beautifully. It’s $20.75 per spool and acts like your standard other wood blend filaments, so check out this variety for subtle depth to your finished color.

Final Thoughts on Wood 3D Printers

There you have it – all about 3D printing material with woodfill blends. Although this is a tricky filament to get right, it’s well worth it to master.

You’ll be rewarded with finished projects that look like you spent years learning how to carve wood; and when it’s finished, the 3D wood filament is actually very forgiving, since you can sand it and paint it with whatever kind of varnish you like. So get to know your printer temperatures and try out this unexpected yet easy blended filament.

How to Find the Best Titanium 3D Printer [2021]

How Find Best Titanium 3D Printer

So you’re looking for a 3D printing material that is strong enough to build objects that endure punishing tests on a regular basis, yet precise enough to make intricate, one of a kind jewelry. You’ve tried a few different thermoplastic combinations but just aren’t getting the exact combination of qualities you need for your wide range of projects.

Where do you find such a combination of strength and delicacy? Look no further than 3D printing with titanium, a process that infuses all the metal’s strength into a printable alloy that’s great for virtually all of your small to medium sized object needs.

What is Titanium?

Titanium is a silver transitional metal, which means it’s an element that has a partially-filled d subshell. Translation? Its outermost electron orbit isn’t filled to capacity, so it can bond with other elements by sharing their electrons. That means it plays well with others, and with certain ions, it can get an electrical charge.

It’s got low density and high strength, which means it can hold a lot without getting bogged down in its own weight, and it’s resistant to corrosion in salt water and chlorine, among others. Also, its lustrous finish makes it shiny. We always count that as a plus.

How Do You 3D Print With Titanium?

For 3D printing, titanium requires more consideration and preparation than other metal alloys because of its strength and other physical properties. While you can spin other metals onto spools of filaments and use them more or less like traditional 3D printing materials such as PLA or ABS, titanium requires different 3D printing equipment. Specifically, titanium requires lasers.

Yes, you read that right: titanium is metal in more than the literal sense. To wrangle it into your 3D printing projects, you have to utilize an additive metal fabrication process called direct metal sintering.

The design process is no different than with your usual computer-aided drafting program. In fact, you can use whatever 3D design program suits your fancy as long as it’s compatible with the titanium 3D printer – and most of them are. Most 3D titanium printers accept the same design file extensions as standard 3D printers, so the only part you have to worry about here is making your design fit your imagination.

Titanium 3D Printing

But here’s where 3D printing veers down a different path than your traditional thermoplastic creations. Because of its properties, titanium 3D printing needs a specific type of printer called a DMLS machine. Although this type of machine does the same kind of work and produces the same kind of 3D product as fused filament fabrication and fused deposition modeling, it gets there in a different way that requires the design to be uploaded into the machine itself instead of hooking the machine to your computer to transfer the file.

After you’ve gotten your design set and loaded into the DMLS machine, the machine will use a powerful optic laser to do the building. This laser fires into a special chamber on the DMLS machine that. Within this chamber is a platform that dispenses the building material – in this case, titanium powder – into layers; basically, the laser melts the powder into a liquid that is then shaped into the layers by the blade. Sound complicated? It is one of the more involved types of additive fabrication processes, but the good news is, once you’ve finalized the design and fed it into the machine, the DMLS does all the rest.

Some 3D titanium printers use a variation on the DMLS process called electron beam transfer (EBM), which is very similar but uses a concentrated beam of electrons instead of a laser. Both processes use a localized melting process (that’s what the focused energy of the lasers and/or electrons are for) that takes the titanium from a powder to a solid that can be manipulated into layers that are easily shaped and adhered to each other. Science!

What kind of equipment do you need to 3D print with titanium?

Unlike a few other metal alloys, titanium can’t be used as a regular 3D printing filament, and that means you need a specific type of printer in order to utilize its 3D printing potential. You need a DMLS machine in order to perform the specific type of laser-tastic process we talk about above. And did we mention you also need a laser? That will be included in the DMLS machine, but we’ll use any excuse to talk about lasers.

EOS DMLS Machine

The DMLS machine will also include a build chamber that is specially calibrated to handle the DMLS process, which means it has to be tough enough to contain extremely concentrated beams of energy. Again, this is pretty much an automatic given with any DMLS machine you’ll purchase, but check on the strength of the build chamber before you buy just in case.

One more piece of special equipment that you’ll need for titanium 3D printing is the titanium itself. Instead of buying string-like filament by the spool, you’ll be buying titanium that’s been ground into a fine powder so the DMLS machine can do its thing. This is easy to find with DMLS equipment, and if you want to use something besides titanium, you can find other metal alloys in the same DMLS ready medium.

What Are The Pros of 3D Printing With Titanium?

3D printing with titanium has a lot of good features to take advantage of. Here are a few key ones to remember:

  • All in one process. Although 3D printing with titanium does require its own specific machine, a DMLS machine does everything except design your product for you. That makes 3D printing with titanium ideal for producing prototypes and test parts, and if you’ve spent any time trying to make things work, you know how much time prototyping and testing can save you in the long run. DMLS machines produce 3D printed objects without any special tooling requirements, so you don’t have to worry about additional equipment or processes when you’re getting your printing done. And that is not only a time saver but a sanity checks as well.
  • Level of detail. The process of DMLS produces the best details you’ll ever get from 3D printing. The layers are easily arranged – the laser (or electron beam) cuts a much more precise line of material than traditional 3D printing extruders, so this makes it ideal for tiny details that require a lot of finesse. You can add flourishes to designs that would not have otherwise been able to support that level of structure. This is great news for industries that rely on small to medium sized parts to be readily available and accurate, like dental, medical, and aerospace constructions.
  • Ease of producing prototypes. But you don’t have to be an astronaut to reap the benefits of 3D printing. If you need any sort of replication to try and tear to shreds, 3D printing with titanium makes that cost-effective and, dare we say, easy. You won’t be able to print on an industrial scale, but what you can print will be exactly what you need to see if anything needs adjusting before you print the real deal. This will save you so much time and money that you’ll wonder why you didn’t add this step to your routine earlier.

Titanium 3D Printing Pros and Cons

What Are The Cons of 3D Printing With Titanium?

Although it’s a great process that can benefit your 3D printing immensely, 3D printing with titanium does not come without its drawbacks. We’re discussing them here so you can figure out if any of them override the good parts for you.

  • Cost. We list this as a con for a fair number of 3D printers and new innovations in the field, but most of those are relative to each other. Generally, 3D printing is pretty cost inclusive. However, we need to emphasize that 3D printing with titanium is decisively not. When we say it’s expensive, we mean that a DMLS machine will cost you more than a mid-level car – starting at around $25,000 for a beginner. ‘That is objectively too much money for something you’re not sure you’ll need or like to use, so unless you are positive you are going to 3D print in titanium enough to justify this cash layout, think really hard about buying your own setup. Of course, the bright side to this is that DMLS machines are self-contained, which means once you buy the initial setup, you’re good until you need more titanium material to print with.
  • Print size. One tradeoff for the exquisite details that you can get 3D printing with titanium is that you aren’t able to scale these to a bigger size. DMLS machines only have enough space to print small to medium sized objects, which is why they’re so great for parts that need precision. But if you’re looking to 3D print some massive structures, you’ll have better luck with more traditional printers that are specifically built with big printer beds.
  • Z-axis mistakes. Because of how DMLS machines manipulate layers, it’s easier for mistakes to show up in the Z-axis than with traditional 3D printer extruders. The technology, although great at keeping attention to details on the Xs and Ys, is not refined enough to be perfect, and a little uncertainty on layer height movement is the most obvious way this manifests itself. However, this can be fixed by a careful design process and by keeping an eye on the DMLS machine as it prints; if you’re seeing something start to go bad, stop the printer and readjust.
  • No pause and save mechanics. The smarter class of traditional 3D printing extruders let you pause in the middle of your work, either voluntarily or not, and come back to the rest of it later in the same spot without you having to adjust much if anything. But again, those sweet lasers that let us geek out about how many wrinkles we can add to our timeless wizard 3D figurine, or how fine we can make the gears for a new dental drill, don’t have a pause mechanic that let you get your titanium 3D printing done in different chunks of time. Make sure your time and your power source are both spotless and able to go through the whole process you need for your object.
  • Surface imperfections. Titanium is generally a smooth alloy to work with, but because DMLS machines print with such precision, it may be difficult to notice a tiny surface imperfection that will cause problems later on down the chain if you’re 3D printing titanium as the first step in a multistep manufacturing process. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to reprint, though, especially if the imperfection is small enough in the area. You can just buff those out, we promise.
  • File format conversion. While you can design your 3D printed object on any computer-aided drafting program you’re most comfortable with, DMLS machines do have to convert that file to its own extension, which is an extra step that may make you impatient but is necessary. And that also means you can’t make adjustments to the design file on the fly. A good piece of advice in general for 3D printing with titanium is to make sure you’re 100% positive of your design before you print. That will decrease the chances you’ll have to deal with the issues we talk about above.

What is the verdict on 3D printing with titanium?

If you can get past the enormous startup cost to buy your own DMLS machine, or if you’re able to rent time on someone else’s, 3D titanium has a lot of perks. They stem from the material itself – its strength, its luster, its ability to conduct electricity – and from the DMLS process, which uses a nontraditional extrusion method that lets you print excellent details.

If you’re in the business of manufacturing small to medium parts for delicate instruments, or if you are in an industry that relies heavily on prototyping, you should consider 3D printing with titanium. The self-contained processes and level of work you can get from DMLS machines make it totally worth it if you’re in need of leveling up your 3D printer.

Best Carbon 3D Printer Guide [2021]: Carbon Fiber 3D Printers

You’ve mastered the basics of 3D printing, and now you’re looking for something more interesting, more challenging.

You’ve run the gamut of materials, know exactly how to fine-tune your temperatures, and have your computer-aided drafting game down to an exact science. You’ve even impressed your friends and loved ones with tasty chocolate creations they never thought were possible to get from a machine.

Where do you go from here?

Dive deeper into the science of your process by 3D printing with carbon. It may sound intimidating, but guess what – it’s so much like 3D printing with any other materials (additive manufacturing), you’ll be a genius at it in no time.

We’re here to help you find exactly what you need to know to get started, including how to find the perfect equipment to get the best results available from this wonder material.

But first…. these are the best carbon 3D printers for 2021:

  1. Fusion3 F410: Best Overall for Carbon Fiber 3D Printer   
    Fusion3 F410 | Amazon
    $4,999.00

    Updated for 2019, the Fusion3 F410 3D Printer has been designed to provide customers with performance and durability rivaling industrial printers at a fraction of the cost.

    Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
    We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
    05/16/2021 05:10 am GMT
  2. Makerbot Method Carbon Fiber: Most Affordable Carbon Fiber 3D Printer 
  3. Raise3d Pro2 Plus (with one of these nozzle replacements):  Best Large Format Carbon Fiber 3D Printer 
  4. Ultimaker S5 (with this nozzle replacement): Best Open Source Carbon Fiber 3D Printer  

The Carbon Material Explained for 3D Printing

Carbon itself is the building block of life. Its abundance (as the fourth most common element in the universe) and its unique ability to form polymers at common Earth temperatures makes it super versatile. You see examples of it every day from the graphite in your pencils to the diamonds in your jewelry.

Carbon’s isotopes – the different kinds of materials it forms when bonding with other molecules – are all highly resistant to chemical reactions, requiring high temperatures to react even with oxygen.

Uh oh, you’re thinking. My 3D printer doesn’t sound like it’s up to that challenge. But don’t worry – the material you’ll be working with is a mixture of carbon and thermoplastics, designed to perform perfectly in the 3D printing process. Carbon filament is blended with those thermoplastics to make sure it can be melted to just the right consistency for the type of weaving manipulation your printer’s extruder will be doing.

And there are a lot of advantages to printing with carbon filaments. Here’s the rundown:

Carbon Fiber 3D Printing Pros and Cons

Pros of Carbon 3D Printing

  • Carbon fibers in filaments make the material extremely strong and stiff. That also makes them much lighter and more dimensionally stable, which means they won’t experience the shrinkage that’s typical of many 3D printed materials once they cool off. The carbon fibers in the filament help with that, holding the shape of the form better than PLA or ABS on their own.
  • You don’t have to fiddle with your printer settings or memorize any other special settings just for carbon mix filaments. They’ll work with all your standard temperatures – that’s the thermoplastics molding the carbon’s behavior for optimum performance in the specific environment of a 3D printer.

Cons of Carbon 3D Printing

  • On the other hand, carbon mix filaments are extremely brittle. That means you have to be careful during the time between when it finishes printing and when it cools down enough for its intended use. It also means you have to be careful getting your finished project off the printing bed; let it cool down completely before you attempt to get it off because otherwise, you risk cracking it. That sounds counterintuitive based on the strength of carbon filaments, but its strong resistance to shrinkage means it doesn’t have much give at all, and give is what makes other filaments easier to manipulate. So be careful when you’re moving your carbon filament creations off the printer and into the real world.
  • The same stubborn properties that make carbon great for strength and structure take a toll on the 3D printer you with it. The brunt of that abuse is taken by the part that spends the most time manipulating the filament. Because of its abrasiveness, carbon will tear up your extruder if you don’t take the right precautions. The stiffness in its fibers will scratch the inside of your nozzle as well as clog it pretty heavily, even when mixed with the more pliable thermoplastics that form the basis of those filaments. Make sure your rig is ready for all this before you start experimenting, or your 3D printer will be useless and unresponsive by the time you’re ready to get serious.
  • Another danger of using carbon mix filaments in an unprepared 3D printer is the oozing. Because carbon filaments contain a lot of small fibers that won’t melt at the extruder temperatures, they’ll clog the nozzle as we talk about above, and a clogged nozzle means weird patterns of tinier holes for the part of the filament that does melt to leak out of and go anywhere except in the pattern you want. If you’ve ever tried to get frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream from a pump that’s struggling to deliver your treat, you’ll get the idea of how a 3D printer nozzle clogged with carbon can splutter out an unwanted mess if you don’t take measures to prevent that.

If you’re now thinking that printing with carbon filaments sounds like more trouble than fun, don’t let us discourage you. Carbon is a great material, and fortunately, there are easy, definite, and affordable measures you can take to make sure none of these cons mess up your 3D printing experience with carbon. Here are some tips on what you can look for, what you can add, and what you should make sure is in place before you begin your journey with this fussy but worth its molecule.

The Carbon Fiber 3D Printing Process

Mechanical Properties Preventative Measures

You don’t need any specialty 3D printer to use carbon filaments (although really cool strides have been made using carbon to do the printing itself), you just need to look for these specific traits to make sure they’re available in the equipment you’re looking at.

If you’ve already got a 3D printer and don’t want to get a whole new one to accommodate your new filament, you can make modifications to your current rig, too – those are sold as separately as you need them, and a few are just settings you can change without learning or buying anything new.

Whatever your level of expertise, you’ll be able to buy, find, or adjust however you need to work with carbon, and you’ll be reaping the rewards for as long as you need them.

  • Make sure the printer you want to use has a heating bed temperature of 45 – 60 degrees Celsius. You don’t have to use an enclosed heating area; an open one will actually help your creations cool down a little faster (ideal for more rapid prototyping), so don’t worry about that part. The heating bed temperature is an important detail.
  • Extruder nozzle temperature of 200 – 300 degrees Celsius. This is pretty standard for any of the base filaments that you will find mixed with carbon, so you will likely not need to look for anything unusual in this area.
  • However, you DO need to make sure you get hardened steel nozzle. A lot of the time, the carbon fibers in the carbon mix filaments is harder than the brass nozzles that are the typical finished surface for most 3D printer nozzles. Trying to 3D print with stock nozzles could, therefore, cause irreparable damage. So upgrading to a hardened steel hot head will prevent that from ever becoming a problem. But hardened steel nozzles are also less heat conductive than brass, so in order to compensate for that AND keep your hot head from getting scratched, you may have to increase your nozzle temperature as much as 40 degrees Celsius. Check the specs for your hardened steel head and that will tell you the adjustments you need to make.
  • Alternatively, you could use your part cooling fan. This is another necessity while using carbon filaments because you’re dancing on a fine line between temperature manipulation and keeping your surfaces safe from that abrasiveness so common in carbon fibers. This is also an easy part to add to your machine; some 3D printers even come with instructions on how to 3D print that as your first project. To counteract the lesser heat conduction of your hardened nozzle, you can run your part cooling fan slower to help the filament flow easier.
  • Yet another adjustment that makes the extruder’s job easier with carbon mix filaments is increasing the nozzle diameter. 0.2 mm – 0.4 mm is the most common size range, but anything between those parameters will encourage more clogging than is practical to deal with in carbon filament printing. Bump up your nozzle diameter to 0.5 mm to drastically reduce the chance you’ll have to deal with this issue. Since the unmelted carbon fibers have a whole extra millimeter to move, they’re much less likely to clog. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but anyone who’s dealt with 3D printing knows it’s the tiny details that count.
  • You also need to check your retraction settings. Since the carbon fibers in your filament won’t melt and you need to keep a close eye on any clogs, reducing your retraction distance – or even eliminating it altogether – can reduce the distance in which a clog can build up. Less distance means less tubing for the filament to move through, which means it has less time to slow to a stop and clog everything. And 3D printing companies are already on this issue – the Simplify3D brand has a setting that lets the nozzle stay within the interior area of the extruder so there is little to no retraction. All you have to do to turn this on is go into your advanced settings and turn on the “avoid crossing outline for travel movements,” and many other printers will have the same option somewhere in their settings. Look at the user’s manual online before you buy to make sure the model you want has this critical feature.
  • If the nozzle still seems to clog on you immediately (after the first layer or two), try changing your layer height. If it’s too reduced for the first layer (layer adhesion), the nozzle may be close enough to the printing bed to cause back pressure that can cause the fibers to build up and clog because they don’t have enough space to get out.
  • Additionally, slow your print speed down for more consistent results. A slower print speed puts less pressure on the nozzle, and if small clogs start to form, the extruder will be more likely to be able to push them through before they get big enough to cause issues. Reduce your print speed by anywhere between 25 and 50%, and watch your results to make sure they’re getting better.
  • One more way you can ensure your carbon fiber filament has the easiest time possible getting through your printer is to make sure you use a guided filament path. The carbon fibers in your filament rub against every sharp turn and corner you have between your spool and extruder and the element’s brittleness can cause it to snap on these types of edges. If you use gentle curves instead, you’ll keep your carbon filament intact and its flow smooth to where it really needs to go – onto your project. You can find PTFE guiding tubes specially made for this, or you can get a 3D printer that has a short, straight, direct path from its spool area to its extruder.

The Best Products to 3D Print Carbon Fiber Filament

Now that you know all about what to look for in a 3D printing set up that you can use for printing with carbon fiber filament, here are the best rigs we’ve found to help you set it up.

  • Matter Hackers 3D printing company marketplace makes a huge range of 3D printing nozzles that give you a great range of nozzle diameters as well as finishes that are great for working with abrasive materials. Their prices vary and let you experiment without breaking your budget or needing to find space for a whole new machine. They even offer a “pro pack” of six different nozzles, all up to carbon printing standards, and the tools to switch them out.
  • Instructables has a great tutorial on how to add a 3D print parts cooling fan to your 3D printer. You can find this starting at under $10 on Amazon – just make sure to read the reviews before you buy to ensure you’re getting what you need for your specific types of projects.
  • Prusa Research offers a selection of quality 3D printers that either already has larger printer nozzle diameters, or are fitted to accommodate them.
  • Fusion3, RoboxPro, Raise3D Pro2 Plus, MakerBot Method Carbon Fiber, and MarkForged 3D Printer all offer 3D printers that are built inside and out to deal with strength printing from tough filaments like carbon, with industrial 3d printer grade results. They vary in their specifics and price ranges (although prepare to pay more than what you would for a printer not optimized for special material), so you can find your perfect match when you want to start from scratch.

Looking for a way to easily print with carbon 3D filament is not as difficult as its reputation.

If you’re looking to add carbon 3D printing filament to a 3D printing business or hobby that’s already active, you can modify your current machines to accommodate; if you’re just getting into the game and want to jump right in with carbon filaments, you’ve got lots of choices for printers that give you everything you need in one place.

We recommend easing in and seeing what works best with your personal preference – try it, you’ll like it!’.

Fusion3 F410 | Amazon
$4,999.00

Updated for 2019, the Fusion3 F410 3D Printer has been designed to provide customers with performance and durability rivaling industrial printers at a fraction of the cost.

Buy at Amazon.com Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
05/16/2021 05:10 am GMT

Further Read on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Material (Composite Material 3D Printing Technology)

The 3D Printing Glossary of Common Terms and Acronyms

3D printing has a language of its own, meant to convey the specialty tools, materials, and processes that are unique to its world. It’s a great way to explain details that don’t have an equivalent word or phrase in common usage, but it’s also confusing if you’re new to any of it.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy guide for you to use, whether you’re trying to wade your way through a sea of internet tutorials or writing your own instructions for others. Check out our categories below for any help or inspiration you might need.

Parts

Extruder

A lot of 3D printer users consider the extruder the most important part of their setup, and with good reason. The extruder is where the material is fed into, heated up, and moved within the X, Y, and Z axes to print the layers of your object.

They are heat sensitive, requiring both a minimum temperature to keep the material flowing smoothly and maximum temperature to stop from burning the material or overheating themselves.

Within the whole of a 3D printer, the extruders are often identified by how many are attached to the frame. Single extruder printers are the most common; they have one extruder and usually work with only one color or type of material at a time.

Double extruders have two, and on the rare occasion, you will see some of the larger models have triple extruders. The extruders can work independently of each other or in concert.

X, Y, and Z axes

These are the planes of space that your 3D design will occupy. The X axis is the side-to-side, the Y-axis is the up-and-down, and the Z-axis is the depth. If you’re having a traumatic flashback to high school geometry class, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help deciding the measurements during your design phase.

The axes on the 3D printer are encompassed by the area that the extruder nozzle can reach to print, limited by the printing bed’s dimensions and the maneuverability of the equipment that moves the extruder along these axes. Your extruder moves through these via motors in the nozzle and extendable arms that are attached to the printer frame. It’s really fun to watch!

3D Print Bed

Printer Bed

This is an area of your 3D printer you will need to maintain especially well because this is the area that will be the literal foundation of your prints. The printer bed is where the extruder anchors the first layer of the filament to establish the base shape of the object. It’s a flat plane at the bottom of the frame, with the extruder posed above it. Most are adjustable, and that is a crucial aspect of printing.

If your print bed is not flush, your objects will start crooked, and there’s not much you can do besides start over. All 3D printers come with instructions on how to level the printer bed for your initial build; some have auto leveling capabilities that mean you don’t have to mess with it between prints. But, we do have experience with those you have to constantly adjust, especially print beds that come from cheap DIY printer kits.

A good print bed is also key to the stability of the whole printer, and a wobbly printer bed can knock everything out of whack. Its temperature control and grip surface are key to your final project as well; the wrong temperature and/or surface area means you’ll be wrestling your object off the print bed and stand a greater chance of damaging it and your project. Choose your printer bed wisely.

Fused Deposition Modeling

Process

  • FFF. This is an acronym that means “fused filament fabrication,” which describes the 3D printing process because the material (or filament) is melted enough to be manipulated and stick together for built layering onto a base. Fused filament fabrication is the proprietary phrase for it, from the company that invented it (Stratasys Inc.) Stratasys originally trademarked “fused deposit modeling,” but switched to a different phrase when 3D printing became more mainstream so users could discuss the process without worrying about legal infringement issues.
  • FDM. This acronym means “fused deposit modeling,” which is the same process as FFF. The only differences are that this phrase is not copyrighted, so 3D printer enthusiasts can use it for anything. It covers the same exact ground as FFF, so remember those can be used interchangeably in whatever instructional materials you may access.
  • Post processing. As mentioned in the printer bed entry, you’re not done 3D printing once your extruder has stopped. After the object is done being printed, you have to get it off the printer bed without damaging it. For quality printers, this is usually as easy as letting the object cool for a time – either on its own or with the help of a fan, whichever will work with your time and patience. Some objects, or printer beds themselves, require a little more effort in the form of specialty scraper blades. Those, obviously, require very careful precision to keep from scratching the printer bed, the object, or yourself (gloves are for sure recommended). Once you’ve taken the object off the printer bed, you can add more finishing touches such as varnishes, further sculpting, or any details you weren’t able to print.

3D Printing Software

Software

CAD

Short for computer-aided drafting, CAD is a catch-all term for the software you’ll be using to create your 3D printing designs. There are a lot of options out there. Many of them come from programs that were originally designed for 2D drafting needs such as architecture and have added 3D components as those computer capabilities have come online. AutoCAD is the most famous of these and has become an industry standard for anyone who wants to learn to draft in a professional setting.

There are plenty of other CAD programs that have sprung up especially for 3D modeling and printing as those have grown into their own processes. And if you’re not planning on 3D printing for your livelihood, don’t worry, because different CAD software has learning curves that vary as much as 3D printers themselves.

You also don’t have to drop a lot of money for a CAD subscription, either, and some printers come with their own programs that are just as good as any you can get independently. Just be honest with yourself about your skill level, and you’ll find the perfect software to get you using CAD in no time.

Open Source

If you’re familiar with other types of computer jargon, chances are you know that “open source” means someone has shared their code for free on the internet so anyone who wants to use it can and can make modifications to their heart’s content.

3D printing lends itself to this type of software because of its DIY fan base, so if you’re struggling with any company software, check out open source options. Not only are they free, but their transparency helps users understand the process, and see where they can individualize it.

STL Files

This is the extension for 3D printing design files. It’s an abbreviation for “stereolithography,” and that’s because it’s a type of computer-aided drafting that uses triangles to build the 3D forms.

First used in the AutoCAD system, it’s become standard on almost all 3D printers, and if you need to, you can convert other CAD file types to STL easily with software available for free or low cost on the internet.

3D Printing Materials

Materials

Filament

This is the stuff that you will print with. It’s a thread wound from some sort of thermoplastic (sometimes with other materials mixed in), stored on a spool. The spool is fitted to the printer so that the thermoplastic thread – the filament – is fed through the extruder, which heats up the filament and basically weaves it into your finished object layer by layer. If you’ve ever watched a sewing machine at work, the process is about the same, and the 3D printer filament plays the same role as the thread.

There are a lot of varieties of a filament to choose from, depending on your own skill level, your printer’s capacities, your wanted finish and hold, and lots of other factors you should consider before choosing one:

  • PLA. The most common type of 3D printing filament, PLA stands for polylactic acid. It’s a thermoplastic made from corn starch or sugar cane, which makes it non-toxic and biodegradable. For 3D printing, it’s stretched into filament thread and wound onto spools for easy storage. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and you can find it mixed with a lot of other materials as well; it makes a great base filament. Its relatively low print temperature makes it easy to print with since it has a much smaller chance of clogging or burning in the extruder nozzle. It also makes a smooth surface finish for your 3D printed objects, giving a level of surface detail beyond what other common filaments can achieve. It comes in two diameters: 1.75 mm, and 2.85 mm.

  • ABS. This stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is another thermoplastic that is created like PLA but uses a different kind of plastic – ABS filament uses the same kind as Lego bricks and is engineered for strength. Its combination of Acrylonitrile, Butadiene and Styrene polymers makes it shatterproof, scratch resistant, lightweight, and affordable, and its relatively low melting point makes it good for home 3D printing. However, it doesn’t have the detailed ability of PLA, it gives off a bad smell when it prints, and it needs a heated printer bed. You have been warned.

  • PETG. This is the acronym for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified, a filament that is gaining traction in the 3D printing world for its properties. Although its makeup means it’s only available in clear and is not able to be color modified, it outscores PLA in durability. It’s also safe to sterilize and use for food. It’s not biodegradable, but you can recycle it by melting it down and turning it back into filaments (or other plastic materials). PETG doesn’t require a heated bed to work with, but it does perform better with one, and it’s soluble in acetone.

  • Eutectic Metal. This is a type of metal that is mixed in a specific way so that it has a lower melting point than its original form. This is how metals are mixed into filaments suitable for 3D printing; if you had to run your 3D printer at the temperature it takes to melt pure iron, for example, you would burn up all of your equipment before you got anywhere. The use of eutectic metal in 3D printing filaments gives users access to the metal’s general qualities while making it easier to work with.

  • HDPE. This stands for high-density polyethylene, which is the dense kind of plastic used to make plastic bottles. It’s used in 3D printing because it’s easy to dye and mold, and it’s also useful for printing supports because it’s soluble in limonene. So if you print the majority of your object in ABS or PLA and your supports in HDPE, you can dissolve the supports without doing anything to the rest of your material. It’s a great filament for designs that have a lot of details that are spaced out or overhanging other areas; you can basically defy gravity once your print job cools.

Going cold into 3D printing can be intimidating, but don’t let all the acronyms and formal terms scare you off. Words are powerful, and being able to label something gives you a better understanding of how it works, especially specialty information that can’t be translated any other way.

Learning them will give you power over what you want to do as you find more ways to improve your creation process. With a little bit of study, you’ll be able to navigate your way through whatever you need to do. Use our guide to translate what you want to do into actual processes and soon you’ll be able to hold the proof of your blossoming knowledge in your hand.

How to Find the Best Chocolate 3D Printer

Best Chocolate 3D Printer

With Valentine’s Day on the calendar every February, everybody’s thoughts naturally turn towards chocolate this time of year – even within the 3D printer world. Believe it or not, chocolate is a fairly common 3D printing material for those who like to mix things up. You can use it almost exactly like you would any other material, with just a few tweaks to make its unique properties work the way you want. And even though there are plenty of other filaments that you can use to store food and eat from, nothing beats combining two hobbies into one unexpected joy that you can literally taste!

How does 3D printing with chocolate work?

Making shapes with chocolate has traditionally been limited to what you can make with molds and melted down molten chocolate. Because molds are a process that carves the shapes out of the material poured into them, old-school chocolate making is just like industrial subtractive manufacturing and comes with all the same pitfalls. Can’t afford all the equipment you need up front? Need to make changes to your design once the mold is completed? Don’t have the time it takes to perfect everything, so you don’t have to change your design mid-process? Tough. You’re out of luck with any sort of traditional chocolate making.

Chocolate 3D Printing

But 3D printing, as an additive process, gives you a lot of advantages that let you experiment with your chocolate. Since you are adding material through layering, you don’t have to stay within the geometric confides of a mold; since you are basically drawing the design into 3D space, you can also change it a lot easier than if you were depending on a mold. It isn’t practical for mass producing chocolate, but if you want to make your own intricate one of a kind creations for fun or profit, 3D printing with chocolate may just be your best bet.

What are the pros of 3D printing with chocolate?

  • Translation of skills. The second best thing about 3D printing chocolate (close behind being able to eat your creations) is that it’s so close to 3D printing with more common materials that you can use the same designs and computer-aided drafting programs you feel most comfortable using without worrying about learning a whole new process. Overall, chocolate 3D printers work the same as other 3D printers – they use the same fused deposition modeling process where an extruder head moves around a printer bed and lays down melted chocolate in designated layers which are built into the 3D object and cooled to harden into place.
  • The intricacy of design. With a 3D printer, you’re able to create chocolate designs that would never be possible with the traditional mold method. Even other additive methods such as chocolate sculpture depend on your own steadiness of hand, limiting you to human frailty. 3D chocolate printers let you take advantage of both the uniformity of machine building and your extensive imagination.
  • High resolution and accuracy. The low viscosity of chocolate means that it uses what is called inkjet 3D printing. That means the print head is electrically heated to establish pulses of pressure which push drops of material from the nozzle. This can be used for either a continuous stream, as in when you’re making an all-chocolate creation, or as a way to dollop sections of chocolate onto another creation. Either way, inkjet 3D printing results in amazing accuracy on intricate details. The pulse process helps control the material flow so it can navigate like a skilled chef wielding a pastry bag.

However, there are some fundamental differences that you must be aware of before you decide to melt a few Hershey’s bars and pour them into your current rig. Don’t do that! You’ll ruin your machine and won’t get a result remotely resembling what you want anyway. You do need equipment that is specific to the intricacies of chocolate as a printing material, so read on to find out exactly what you need to know to make your 3D printing process even sweeter.

Chocolate 3D Printing Process

What are the difficulties with 3D printing in chocolate?

  • Working texture. The physical properties of chocolate make it perform a lot differently than your traditional 3D printing filament. Usually, even the most obscure material is mixed in with a thermoplastic, which ultimately allows the material to act more or less like the thermoplastic when it gets into the machine. But chocolate does not, and mixing it into a thermoplastic isn’t an option if you want to enjoy your creation as it’s meant to be. Chocolate is both too soft and not pliable enough to work with a traditional extruder. You have to melt the chocolate to make it flow in the lines necessary for the machine to draw out your design. However, when it’s flexible enough to work with, chocolate also does not have nearly the same hold as plastic does. It doesn’t harden quickly at room temperature, so it makes it more prone to lose its shape due to gravity or other environmental disturbances.
  • Structural delicacy. Chocolate’s unique 3D printing properties result in a material that is as delicate as it is versatile. Because it has to stay in a melted state while being manipulated, it also has to be cooled very quickly as it’s being printed so that the structure has a solid frame to fall back on. That’s especially true if you’re planning on printing chocolate with a lot of gaps or thin areas; if you don’t take the proper amount of care, these areas are vulnerable to snap right off and ruin your structure.
  • Can’t be stored as a filament. Chocolate is also too soft to be wound into the same kind of hard spooled filament that is typical for extruder printing. When you use it for 3D printing, you have to keep the liquid chocolate in a cartridge that is constantly heated to keep it melted so it can run through a syringe that acts as the extruder. This is a messy storage need for something that takes hours to complete its printing, and continuously heating an entire cartridge of material rather than only the material being used in the printing at any given moment is a finicky, energy-sucking process. Make sure you have the time and patience to stick with it.

Chocolate 3D Printed Name

What materials do I need for 3D chocolate printing?

To combat these structural issues, 3D chocolate printers use a paste-like material made from a blend of different kinds of chocolate. Dark, white, and milk chocolate all have different melting properties that make them easier or more challenging to work with depending on your project and the printer you’re using. Each type is structurally chocolate with slightly different structures that render them different allotropes, or variations of crystal patterning in their molecules.

  • Dark chocolate has a higher melting point than milk or white chocolate, between 30 and 32 degrees Celsius. This is because it has a higher proportion of cocoa to milk fat in its mixture. This means that dark chocolate is structurally firmer, but it also takes longer and more energy to melt and maintain the liquidity needed for extrusion. It has a solidifying temperature between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius.
  • Milk chocolate, on the other hand, has more milk fat in proportion to its amount of cocoa, so it will melt around the same temperature range that dark chocolate will solidify. Milk chocolate is also more likely to produce fat and sugar pockets if it’s not melted slowly enough; while that won’t affect its taste, it can affect the structural integrity of what you’re trying to build.
  • White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids at all, but it is made with cocoa butter, so it’s more prone to burning as it’s being melted. It scorches at around 44 degrees Celsius, so be extra careful if you want to use it for your 3D printer. You can mix and match all the types of chocolate for whatever combination of properties you need in your finished product.

3D Printer Chocolate

What equipment do I need?

Although you can outfit a regular 3D printer with several of the necessary details needed to convert it to a 3D food printer, chocolate itself takes some extra considerations, so it’s generally worth it to find a printer that is specifically equipped for the job.

  • Syringe extruder. First and foremost, you’re going to have to find an extruder that works like a syringe dispenser rather than a traditional 3D printing extruder. This is going to be the easiest modification you can make – there are detachable versions you can pop onto your current 3D printing rig, and there are even plenty of open source designs if you want to go meta and print your own printer extruder. However, if you have the rest of the necessary adjustments on your printer and just need to switch out your heating head, remember to find one that is heat resistant to the temperatures you’ll need for chocolate and FDA rated as a surface that’s safe to eat from. This will be easy if you’re working with a premade spout – they know what’s up – but if you’re printing your own, pay attention to the materials you’re using. The money you save will not be worth a broken hot head or plastics poisoning.
  • Material cartridge. Chocolate is a building material that needs to stay liquid while you’re using it, and unfortunately nobody’s figure out a way to liquify only the parts that are printing. And for an added wrinkle, chocolate can’t stay at the correct consistency without constant heating – unlike that frosting you’re eyeing, or mashed potatoes, which are both molecularly stable and liquid enough to run through a food extruder at room temperature. So for chocolate, you have to find a printer that has a material warmer that will keep it at the exact right temperature for 3D printing the whole time you’re using it. That’s easier than it sounds – many chefs and 3D printing engineers alike have wondered about it before you, so there are a lot of options for either a rig to add to your current printer or a printer that’s devoted exclusively towards chocolate. We recommend the latter, not only because it already has all the necessary accessories integrated into its design, but because it was built with chocolate specifications in mind, so you don’t have to worry about your regular 3D printer not being able to handle the adjustments needed.
  • Cooling fan. This is a vital addition to your chocolate 3D printing setup. If you’re shopping for a printer that can specifically print with chocolate, don’t believe it unless it has a fan built in to cool the chocolate as it goes. This isn’t an add-on that would be nice to have, or even just makes the process easier for you – this is necessary to keep your printed chocolate in its shape throughout the printing processes. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a broken mess of a chocolate shell. Cooling fans are such a simple yet complete fix.

Some Final Thoughts: How to Find the Best Chocolate 3D Printer

Because there are a few very specific needs for 3D printing with chocolate, we recommend buying a printer that is made for this specific purpose. There are a lot OF 3D Printers on the market that range from around $500 for a starter kit to around $6,000 for a full-on kitchen approved rig. Just like when you’re shopping for any 3D printer, know your skill level and be realistic about the use you are going to get out of this. Buying a 3D printer specifically for chocolate might sound like an extravagance, and it is if you aren’t going to be using it enough to justify the cost, but if you have any interest in chocolate 3D printing, you should find a chocolate 3D printer you can borrow or use jointly before deciding.

3D printing with chocolate is a great way to expand your 3D printing horizons. It’s a sweet way to test your design skills as well as add a culinary element to your hobby – or business! Although you won’t be able to mass produce chocolate bars on a practical scale or add ingredients beyond variations of cocoa to milk fat, you will be able to craft meticulous, one of a kind edible objects with little more trouble than 3D printing with your favorite thermoplastic. If you’re an aspiring Willy Wonka, coming up with creations that you fear could only be completed in your head, check out the range of 3D chocolate printers out there. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised what a good inkjet extruder and your pure imagination can bring to life.

The Airwolf Evo 3D Printer Review – Is it Worth the Hype?

Airwolf is setting new goals for the whole 3D printer world after they introduced the Evo at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. They’re so confident they’ve changed the game that they refuse to call the Evo a 3D printer, preferring instead the title an “additive manufacturing system.”

Technically, they’re right, since all 3D printing can be considered additive manufacturing – that’s just a fancy phrase for making objects by layering material onto itself instead of carving it out of something. But does Airwolf earn the right to set their machine apart from everybody else’s? Read on to find out!

Introduction

Airwolf Evo 3D Printer

Airwolf has been in the 3D printing/additive manufacturing business since May 2012. Their origin story talks about founder Erik Wolf taking his 3D printer garage tinkering into a full-time company with the help of his wife Eva. Since then, they’ve expanded to include filaments, accessories, and a line of industrial grade 3D printers aimed at those who need a more robust experience than you can typically get from a desktop model.

They’re based in southern California, and in December 2014, they set Guinness world record for most 3D printers operating simultaneously – 159, for those who are curious. Plus each one of those record-breaking printers manufactured prosthetic hands for people in need; Airwolf also partners with various southern California nonprofits for 3D printing education, so they are spreading their enthusiasm to the world.

But, let’s get specifically into their Evo 3D printer. They’re calling it a manufacturing system because they’ve added features that they claim propel it beyond the typically 3D printer experience; with this machine, they’re looking to bridge the gap between desktop and industrial manufacturing of 3D objects. While they’re not the only business to do that, they are one of the first who saw that niche wanting to be filled. And they’re definitely adding some impressive new pieces to the experience.

Technical Specifics

Here are the manufacturing details of the Airwolf Evo:

Print area

305 mm x 305 mm x 280 mm

Printer size

609 mm x 622 mm x 711 mm

Printer weight

60 lbs/27.22 kg

Filament type

2.85 mm +/- 0.10 mm, Metal, Over 40, incl. ABS, PC, PP, Nylons, TPE, TPU

Nozzle diameter

0.35 Heavy Duty, 0.50 Heavy Duty, 0.80 Heavy Duty

Maximum print speed

150 mm/sec

Maximum layer resolution

Above 200 microns recommended

Maximum bed temperature

160 degrees Celsius

Maximum extruder temperature

315 degrees Celsius

Connectivity

USB

LCD screen

18 centimeters, onscreen keyboard

 Now that you know the numbers, let’s get into the details of how this thing actually works.

 Pros

  • “Zombie mode.” This sounds terrifying, but it’s actually a super useful setting that’s officially named Part-Save. It’s the ability to stop printing at any point in the process and save the exact spot in the design where you paused. The Airwolf Evo is smart enough to remember where you left off, and it will start right back as if you never stopped. Although this is not the only 3D printer on the market that is able to save your printing spot, it is one of the smartest to do so. As long as you remember to put the extruder at the same height, it will blend the sessions into a seamless whole that you won’t be able to tell apart once your object is completed.
  • Matrix touchscreen. Intuitive touch screen controls have become the norm in 3D printers at this stage in their development, but Airwolf has taken the existing technology and pushed its usefulness even further with a few simple but drastic changes. First, it’s seven inches, or almost eighteen centimeters, across, which gives you plenty of room to take advantage of its next innovation: an on-screen keyboard. It’s such an easy addition and it takes your navigation skills to another level.f
  • Air cleansing system. A lot of common filaments give off noxious fumes when used for printing, but with the Evo, you don’t have to worry about that ruining your workspace. Airwolf equipped its latest 3D printer with an air purifier that will suck up all the UFP and VOC emissions your filaments can throw at it, and you’ll be able to forget you ever worried about fumes. This is a great feature to highlight if you’re planning on using the Evo in confined areas or places where children will be using it, like a school or library. It will give everyone the peace of mind they deserve.
  • Thermal management. This feature means the Evo will dry your filament as it feeds into the printer, eliminating hours of cool down time at the end of your printing. Airwolf claims this helps manufacture the highest quality parts, so your print will be top notch straight off the print bed.
  • Ability to print metal. Using metal filaments takes a specific kind of printing environment that can be difficult to replicate on a regular basis. But the Evo has you covered – its reinforced extruder nozzles and other various toughened corners are made to withstand whatever battering your material can give it. Airwolf understands that someone who needs an additive manufacturing system is going to need materials heavier than a typical hobbyist, so they’ve readied the Evo accordingly.
  • Build size. Airwolf certainly gives the Evo enough printing real estate to back up the claim that it’s an entire system. You can print up to almost thirty cubic centimeters in volume, which makes this additive manufacturing process great for anyone looking to 3D print on an industrial scale.
  • Multi-material printing. If you’ve ever had to deal with the start and stop of switching between filaments to get a color pattern or material combination, you’ll love the Evo’s ability to print with more than one filament at a time. Usually, dual extruders are temperature controlled together, but the Evo’s are separate, which means you can adjust each to the specific heat each material will need. It lets you optimize the conditions so you get top performance from each one, seamlessly woven into each other. No stopping and starting required.
  • Water solubility support compatibility. The Evo’s numerous special features let you print a wide variety of projects with an expansive list of materials. The most notable of these is its ability to print water soluble filament for support material at the same time you’re printing with another filament. This water soluble filament lets you add it as bracing in areas of intricate detail that may collapse without support before cooling and hardening; once the whole thing, scaffolding and all, is complete, you can soak it in water and pull it out to let the support filament drop away. It’s exactly what you need for designs with a lot of gap detail.
  • Auto-leveling. Making sure your print bed is level before and/or after every single print you complete is a pain but sometimes necessary. Unless you’re using the Evo. Its auto leveling bed will save you hundreds of hours of doubt and measurements as you move from project to project without ever worrying if your foundation is laid straight.

 Cons

  • Price. The Airwolf Evo costs up to $7,999, and that’s without considering shipping and handling. Granted, that gets you a lot of great machinery, but if you can’t afford the money in the first place, it doesn’t really matter what a great deal this would end up being. Airwolf is definitely aimed at the top of the line hobbyist at the very least, and preferably at users who make some sort of profit from what they print. It is a great investment if you can monetarily justify it.
  • Failsafe positioning quirk. The partial save ability of the Evo is a lifesaver, especially in the quality of printing it offers, and Airwolf uses the same principle to help you save your progress when you’ve run out of material – however, there is a catch. You do have to remember the exact height your extruder was at when you paused your printing; otherwise, your new starting levels will not blend into the old ones and there will be a noticeable drift in your layers. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you’ve had to pause one printing job for an unscheduled emergency and complete something else before you can get back to your first project. Can you remember all that without measuring or writing it down? We’d get in trouble by telling ourselves we’ll totally remember the height, then getting distracted by something else that needs attention to details and messing it up when we get back to it. But if you’re meticulous and keep your own notes, the failsafe mode will help you manipulate changing filaments and clogging nozzle issues.
  • Learning curve. This additive manufacturing experience comes with a handy how-to booklet, instructions for each step, and an online support staff through its store. However, using this equipment is not for the faint of heart. Users who are brand new to 3D printing may be overwhelmed by the possibilities that will make a veteran squeal with glee. It’s very much geared towards those who have tried flimsier setups and want more, so be sure to read up on everything to make sure you’re not missing out on any special feature. Even those who have used their share of desktop 3D printers may be mystified by certain aspects that aren’t typical features on anything except the Evo, so have patience with yourself and utilize the corners of the internet that have figured this beast out before you.
  • Weight. Anything that touts itself as a complete system is going to have heft. To its credit, Airwolf does offset this as best as it can through its strategic use of aluminum on the Evo; that material is the perfect balance between strength and lightness, but it’s not a miracle worker. The Evo weighs in at 60 pounds for the printer itself, and at 150 pounds for shipping weight. This keeps the Evo from being the portable printing factory you might be hoping for. It’s not impossible to move it around, and the initial installation is relatively painless for a 3D printer. Its frame keeps everything sturdy without parts moving around when you reposition it but beware of strain if you’re planning on regularly touting it to different spots. Do your back a favor and invest in a cart if that’s your plan.
  • Exclusivity of software. Airwolf packages the Evo with its own proprietary software, APEX. It’s free, and it’s built on the open source slicing engine Cura, but APEX is what you have to use if you want to use any of Airwolf’s 3D printing machines. The good news is that once you learn it, you can apply it to everything they make, so if you enjoy the Evo, you can branch out without any trouble. Plus it’s free, so if you do purchase an Evo, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice without worrying about paying for a monthly subscription. But you won’t be able to play around with it before buying an Airwolf machine, so if you decide you don’t like it, you might have already invested too much to go back. Study up as best you can, look around the corners of the internet that you most trust (like us!), and try to see what you’re getting into as well as possible before you commit.

Final Verdict

Airwolf has indeed brought a unique product into the 3D printer world. The Evo is basically its own little ecosystem, with a lot of features built-in that seem unnecessary at first glance but actually, do make 3D printing a lot easier as soon as you run into any outside hiccups. And trust us, no matter how prepared you think you are, something will come up that you won’t expect; chances are, the Evo’s already thought of and planned for that.

It fits nicely into the manufacturing space it wants to populate; those who can afford its startup cost and already know their way around intermediate 3D printing software will be in for a great additive manufacturing experience.

Recommended Reads

Raise3D N2 Review [2021]: Should You Go For It?

Raise3D manufactures 3D printers, and the N2 is a crowdfunding success story. The company managed to secure almost $500,000 from 350 backers in November 2015 using a Kickstarter campaign. They have multiple 3D printer offerings that will fit any project, and they offer some of the biggest print volumes available.

When determining which 3D printer to buy, it’s important to research all of the options and familiarize yourself with the features. Consider what type of projects you want to print and your level of expertise with 3D printing before making a determination.

If you’re in the market for a 3D printer and have been considering the Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder, we have the low down on its features, functionality, design, and set up so you can make an educated decision. Read on for all of the details you need.

BEFORE GOING FURTHER: The Raise3d N2 has been discontinued and replaced with the new Raise3D Pro 2.

Raise 3D N2 Overview

Raise3D N2 Bed

The fully enclosed design is also a great feature. Combined with a heated print bed and large volume, the Raise3D N2 is an excellent printer for those who like to use ABS and Nylon material. The Raise3D N2 also allows for the use of PLA as well as specialty filaments like HIPS and PETG.

The Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder isn’t the only 3D printer that comes with an onboard battery backup, but some don’t, so this is a great feature. It assists in the event you have a power outage.

When the battery backup takes over, the printer pauses your current project and uses the battery to store your progress before shutting down. The battery backup isn’t strong enough to continue printing, but you won’t lose your work, so you can pick it up again when the power comes back.

Raise3D also offers a dual-extrusion model called the Raise3D N2 Dual, a model that provides a more substantial print volume of 12” x 12” x 24” called the Raise3D N2 Plus, and a dual-extrusion model with the larger print volume called the Raise3D N2 Plus Dual. All printers come to you fully assembled, so set up is easy.

Features

The Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder has a print volume of 12” x 12” x 12”, which is large enough for most projects. If it’s not big enough for you, you can spring for the N2 Plus with an extra 12” of height. The printer is built with a sturdy aluminum metal frame and fully enclosed in an ABS, polycarbonate, and acrylic case.

This design improves print quality because it traps the heat and maintains a consistent temperature throughout the printing process. It also enhances the safety of the 3D printer by covering all of the heating elements, so they’re not exposed or easy to touch. These safety features make it a great choice for schools and businesses.

It’s a user-friendly 3D printer, another feature that makes it an ideal choice. The 7-inch color display offers a touchscreen, making it easy to learn and control. Beginners will find it easy to use and have complete control over their projects including monitoring and fine-tuning their design throughout the printing process.

Check out our Top 15 Easy 3D Printing Ideas for Beginners.

The touchscreen is also easily accessible via Wi-Fi with a LAN setup, so as long as you’re on the same home or office network as your printer, you can print from anywhere. The Raise3D N2 touchscreen is fully integrated with the print resume feature so you can immediately start your print where it left off in the event you lose power or accidentally shut off the printer.

The Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder comes with a heated bed. Some 3D printers don’t, so this is a great upgrade, making printing much easier and your results much higher quality. The V2 Hot End is capable of reaching 300 degrees Celsius. The printer is compatible with most materials that are currently available, so you have plenty of options for your projects. This includes ABS, PLA, PETG, Carbon Fiber, Nylon, TPU, and TPE. With an upgrade to the wear-resistant nozzle, you can also use Metal Composites.

Raise3D N2 Dual Extruder

Dual extrusion on the Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder is not standard, so if you need dual extrusion, the Raise3D N2 Dual is the best option for you. Using the N2 Dual, you can print in two colors simultaneously or use two different materials at the same time. Pair one material with dissolvable support so you can print more complex designs effortlessly.

Unboxing and Setup

All Raise3D printers come fully assembled, so unboxing and setup is easy. All you need to do is unpack it and position it wherever it’s convenient. Raise3D includes all of the instructions you need to set up the hardware right out of the box. You will find a list of contents as well as all of the tools you need.

They also offer a comprehensive guide to installing the software on your computer, and the instructions are listed online as well for easy reference if you prefer. While it is fully assembled, you will need to unclip the zip ties before you start your first build. Save them for later in case you decide to move or transport your printer.

The accessory bag is located under the build plate, so you can unscrew the Z-axis ball screws with the included hex wrench and remove the accessories for use later. Remove all plastic and foam packaging and gently put the printer components back in place.

After a brief filament holder installation, you can plug in your new printer. The printer will turn on and begin a short startup sequence, and then it will be ready to print. A step-by-step guide to launching your first build will appear on the touchscreen.

Performance

Raise3D N2 Printing

Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder performance is superb. The frame is sturdy, it includes locking casters, and using the touchscreen is simple. While some users have complained that the hot end design can cause some jamming, the Raise3D N2 isn’t nearly as touchy as many other 3D printers.

The versatility of the print materials, as well as the removable enclosure, make the printer easy to work on and monitor your printing progress simple. Other users have complained about a flaw in the feeding filament, that’s an easily upgradable component.

Upgrades

With the release of the Raise3D Pro2 Series, users of the N2 have been anxiously awaiting any upgrades they can get their hands on to improve the functionality and performance of the N2, making it more like the Pro2. After countless hours of development, Raise3D delivered.

Optional upgraded components for the N2 include a dual-extruder, a webcam, silicone hot end covers, and a filament runout sensor. The dual-extruder upgrade allows you to print with multiple materials simultaneously without the need for an upgrade to the N2 Dual model. You can also increase the safety of your N2 with hot end covers, and improve your user experience with a webcam or a filament runout sensor.

Software

Raise3D N2 IdeaMaker

The Raise3D N2 uses ideaMaker software, and it’s included in the purchase of your printer. The printer also contains a step-by-step guide to installing the software on your computer. It is contained on a USB drive, so all you have to do is plug it in to download it. You can install it on as many machines as you want.

It is compatible with Windows and Mac, so you can use whatever machine and operating system you’re used to. Once the software is installed, you can check leveling settings, create designs, or import project designs from your computer into the software. You can also store designs on the USB drive and plug it straight into the touchscreen for printing.

The user interface on the software is easy and intuitive to use. You have options when it comes to configuring your settings and monitoring your builds via the touchscreen or the ideaMaker software installed on your computer.

Price

When it comes to 3D printers, the Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder is one of the more pricey solutions on the market. However, it’s solid construction, large build volume, heated bed, and 7-inch touchscreen make it easy to use, even for beginners. Safety is another huge benefit of using the Raise3D N2 and might be worth the cost if it will be accessible to students or younger users.

You’ll also spend a pretty penny for upgraded models like dual-extrusion and a larger print volume, but the prices are worth it for a quality printer that offers the versatility of print designs and materials.

Support

Raise3D has a huge community of users offering forums where you can discuss improvements, troubleshoot issues, and share experiences. If you can’t find what you need there, they also have online tech support, wiki pages, FAQs, and a support line you can call for help. You can also email them if needed.

Specifications

  • Build Volume: 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches (305mm x 305mm x 305mm)
  • Print Technology: FFF
  • Layer Resolution: 0.01mm – 0.25mm
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm
  • Filament Type: ABS, PLA, PETG, Carbon Fiber, Nylon, TPU, TPE, Metal Composites
  • Printing Surface: Buildtak
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Enclosed: Yes
  • Nozzle Working Temperature: 170 degrees Celsius – 300 degrees Celsius
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm (0.016 inches)
  • Number of Nozzles: 1
  • Moving Speed: 150mm/s – 300mm/s
  • Printing Speed: 10mm/s – 150mm/s
  • XY Axes Positioning Accuracy: 0.0125mm
  • Z-Axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.00125mm

Pros and Cons

Raise3D N2 Pros:

  • Excellent print quality
  • Large build volume
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Offers precision and accuracy
  • Versatile with many options and upgrades
  • Safe and great for beginners
  • Backup battery
  • Enclosed for safety
  • Touchscreen and Wi-Fi enabled

Raise3D N2 Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Software compatibility
  • Large size

The Verdict

The Raise3D N2 3D Printer with Dual Extruder offers versatility in print volume and print materials. It’s easy to use and offers a touchscreen and Wi-Fi for increased compatibility. While it only allows for the use of ideaMaker software, the software is easy to install and use.

This is an excellent printer for beginners because of how easy it is to use and the added safety of the enclosure. While it’s a bit more expensive than other 3D printers, it comes fully assembled, setup is easy, and it’s a great tool for students or the workplace.

The Raise3D N2 offers a fun experience for all users with sturdy, quality construction, a backup battery, and all of the tools and instructions you need to get started and enjoy printing your 3D projects and designs.

Recommended Reads