Archives December 2019

Lulzbot Taz 6 Review – Everything You Should Know About It

Lulzbot Taz 6 Review

The 3D printing industry has come on leaps and bounds in recent years. While the concept has been around for decades, it is only recently that it has become an option for consumers to purchase a 3D printer and there are many models now available to buy. Even though they aren’t exactly cheap, many 3D printers aren’t completely out of most peoples’ budgets either.

The opportunities that come with 3D printing are exciting and may potentially solve many problems in the future, but this doesn’t mean that they will not be used by companies for 3D printed objects that may leave many people jobless.

Today, we’re going to have a look at one 3D printer, in particular, the Lulzbot Taz 6 3D Printer. If you are interested in 3D printing and the possibility of purchasing a new 3D printer, check out our Lulzbot 3D printer review and find out if this printer is totally for you…

Lulzbot Taz 6

We’re going to have a look at the many features of Lulzbot printer below but these are the main specifications of this wonderful 3D printer. If you are completely new to 3D printing you might find our glossary of 3D printing terms useful.

Build volume

11” x 10.8” x 9.8”

Print speed

200 mm/s

Filament types

ABS, PLA, HIPS, PVA, Exotics, PCTPE, PC-ABS, Alloy 910

Filament diameter 

3mm

Extruders

1 with the option of an additional extruder

Connectivity

USB, SD card

Warranty

1 Year

Our score

8/10

Latest price

Click here find the latest price

Features:

The Taz 6 3D Printer comes packed with a wide range of great features and in this review, we’re going to go through the most important ones with you.

Design

With a minimalist industrial styled design and built from extruded aluminum, the Taz 6 isn’t radically different from previous models from an aesthetic point of view.

It does feature various upgrades through. The automatic print bed leveling system is one. It detects its level by using four metal discs situated at the corner of the 3D print bed. This means that the print bed doesn’t need to be set manually and the calibration of the printer is a lot easier and more straightforward.

Polyetherimide (PEI) is the 3D Print material that covers the print bed and it is able to reach 248 degrees Fahrenheit.

Setup

While the overall set up of the Taz 6 is pretty straightforward, you do have to carry out some of the processes yourself. This includes setting up the base of the printer as well as installing some screws for the print head and connecting cables. It isn’t wildly complicated and all the information you need is there for you to follow.

It should take about an hour or to properly get the 3D printer setup. The software is easy to install and it is just a case of plugging in the USB cable or SD card ad adding the flexible filament.

Interface

The Lulzbot Taz 6 comes with an LCD screen where you control the printer and you can also use Cura which is an open-source software too.

The interface itself is very straightforward if you are used to 3D printing and while it looks simple it allows for you to control many powerful features of the device. It is located in the upper left-hand corner of the printer itself and allows for easy access.

If you are upgrading from your first printer to this 3D model then you’ll find the interface very user-friendly and fairly straightforward to use. It is certainly one of the better ones out there and doesn’t make this overly complicated either.

Printing materials

The range of printing materials that Lulzbot Taz 6 is able to work with is impressive. You can use 29 types of filament with this printer and these can be purchased directly from Lulzbot.

You will be able to use 3mm filament that has been provided by any supplier. We should put a note of caution here though because if any issues arise from using materials that haven’t been provided by Lulzbot will not be covered by your one year warranty.

There are certain materials that Lulzbot recommended you don’t use with Taz 6 such as carbon fiber filaments as this may cause damage to the extruder. The wide range of materials that you can use with this model also means that you can keep the overall cost of 3D printing down. You can opt for more budget-friendly materials than some other Lulzbot desktop 3D printers out there.

Print Process

The control screen makes the print process pretty easy. You can move the printhead, set temperatures and extrude filament with some simple steps. The one thing that the process doesn’t necessarily show is a lot of feedback. While you do get the percentage complete bar and some technical information about the process, you don’t get a significant amount of data.

That being said, I think it is one of the most user-friendly and straightforward print processes for a 3D printer. It is a fairly hassle-free experience using this 3D printer which hasn’t always been the case on other models I have used. OK, there are some failed prints due to a number of reasons but this is definitely the exception as opposed to the norm.

One other thing to be wary of is the noise. It isn’t deafening but it does make various sounds so it is just something to consider in terms of where you are actually doing the printing. As it is a desktop printer you might want to have a think about where you put it in your home.

Print Speed

The good thing about the Taz 6 is that you can quickprint profiles in no time. Although if you want high quality then this will obviously take longer and it all really depends on what you are printing and how long it’ll take. I’ve found that it is actually one of the quickest 3D printers available at the minute. Really it all depends on what it actually is that you are printing.

I found that a low-quality print of the 3D Benchy model took just less than one hour to complete. A medium quality print took slightly longer while the high quality preset on the printer did it in around 1 hour 20 minutes. The finished 3D model was great and while you can certainly tell the difference between the quick speed and high-quality finishes, the Taz 6 passed the test admirably.

Print Quality

There are different quality settings to the Taz 6 that I’ve touched on above.

Even the quick print and low-quality models are very good and while they need some clean up they still get very good pass marks. The 3D Benchy model came out well on all the different speed and quality settings while the Gear Bearing that has many intricate details were produced to a high standard as well.

Are there better 3D printers out there that will produce higher quality? Sure, but for the cost of the Taz 6, I think it definitely offers a high-quality print for its price.

Pros of Lulzbot Taz 6

There are several advantages that this 3D printer has over some of the others out there at the minute.

Seamless 3D printing with good quality – The Lulzbot Taz 6 is one of the quickest 3D printers available in its price range. While you have a range of quality and speed options, it is able to produce small intricate models in a short space of time. They will require some cleanup and finishing but even at the fastest print speed, they come out well.

Setup is easy due to the new automatic bed leveling – while previous models meant that this has to be done manually, with the Taz 6 you benefit from automatic bed leveling. It means you don’t need to do this yourself and instead, it relies on four metal discs to do this for you. The setup process only takes about 60 minutes too.

Supports many materials – By being able to use 29 types of filament, you have a wealth of options to choose from for your 3D printing. It also helps keep the cost down too as you will be able to purchase more affordable options for this printer than you would with other models.

Help and support – Lulzbot has one of the best support systems for 3D printer users. This includes tutorials and a range of materials to help you. They are also in the process of setting up a Discourse too so you can get in contact with them easily and you can still browse through their forum.

Cons of Lulzbot Taz 6

While I think that the Taz 6 is a great printer and perhaps on the higher end of the Lulzbot desktop 3D printers price scale, it is still pretty affordable. It does have a few drawbacks that I need to make you aware of.

Noise – It might not be the loudest 3D printer available but it doesn’t exactly run on stealth mode either. The printer makes various noises throughout the process and it is just something to keep in mind.

No wireless connectivity – While the Taz 6 uses both USB and SD card functionality, there is no wireless connection available. It means you can’t print directly from a smartphone or a tablet device for example.

Alternatives to Try

Creality CR-10

If you are looking for a more basic model and one that doesn’t take up as much space as the Lulzbot Taz 6 then the Creality CR-10 is an option.

It has a build area of 11.8” x 11.8” x 15.7”. This 3D printer has a more budget-friendly price too so if you can’t afford to splash out on the Tav 6 then you may want to consider this printer. You won’t get the same capabilities as the Tav 6 and it doesn’t have the same level of performance but it is a good 3D printer nonetheless.

Read our Creality CR-10 review to find out more.

Zortrax M300

Another alternative to the Lulzbot Taz 6 is the Zortax M300. It is a bigger 3D printer with a build area of 11.8” x 11.8” x 11.8” although it will cost you more money. One downside to this printer is that it doesn’t offer open source hardware which can limit what you can do with it. If you want a bigger 3D printer then this is an option but it has several limitations compared to the Taz 6.

While this 3D printer has USB and SD card capability, it does not feature WiFi so you can’t print directly from a smartphone or a tablet.

Final Thoughts

Overall the Taz 6 is a significant step forward from the Tav 5 and if you are eager to pack your first 3D printer away and go for a better model then this certainly offers this.

It has a wide range of features that allow you to print high-quality models. While they may take a bit of touching up it still offers something that is better than many of the other printers in its price bracket. This printer isn’t the cheapest out there but it isn’t completely out of most peoples’ budgets either.

While I would like the Taz 6 to have WiFi connectivity and perhaps be slightly less noisy, these aren’t major complaints and don’t really detract from how good the printer is overall.

With the Tav 6 you get:

  • An automatic print bed leveling system
  • Ability to use 29 types of filament
  • Easy to use UI with open source hardware
  • High-quality prints with good speed

I really recommend the Lulzbot Taz 6. Overall I would rate it as a solid 8/10. It offers everything you need in a desktop 3D printer and if you can afford the price it is hard to go wrong.

FAQ’s About the Luzbot 3D Printer

Does the Taz 6 support laser engraving?

Potentially. While the Taz 6 doesn’t have laser engraving functionality built-in – such as the Bibo 2 – it is an open-source platform. You can buy different extruders that can potentially be adapted for laser engraving with this 3D printer but it isn’t a standard feature.

Where do I get guides and support material?

Lulzbot has a wide range of support print material that you can use to get the most out of your 3D printer. The printer comes with a start guide and user manual which will get you off and running and if you head over to the Lulzbot website you will find a lot of information.

They also have various support options such as email and phone while they are moving onto a Discourse for further support.

Is this 3D printer open-source?

Yes. Lulzbot is an open-source platform so it means that there are many possibilities for developing and making the printers even better than they are out of the box. Many 3D printers don’t have an open-source design so you are quite limited to what you can do with it if you want to extend its functionality.

How many print speeds does it offer?

The top print speed for the Taz 6 is 200 mm/s. There are various print speeds and qualities that you can choose from with this 3D printer although it is recommended that you keep it between 30 – 50 mm/s to get the best results.

Recommended Reads:

Buccaneer 3D Printer Review – Just Another Kickstarted 3D Printer?

Pirate 3D is among the many 3D printing companies that were made possible by the many enthusiastic users on Kickstarter.com. Their Kickstarter campaign began just a couple of years ago and since that time has raised over $1.4 million from over 3,500 different backers.

While many 3D printing companies have enjoyed success on Kickstarter, Pirate 3D’s statistics rank among some of the most successful campaigns ever in the 3D printer space.

The printer is called the Buccaneer and is designed for beginner to intermediate users that want an easy to use 3D printer without having to make a large investment. It is priced well below $1,000 which makes it affordable 3D Printer for intermediate 3D printing enthusiasts and beginners who are trying things out for the first time.

While many 3D printers have been brought to market in this very same way, results can vary quite a bit. Raising money for a great idea is one thing, actually manufacturing a quality printer and delivering on customer expectations is quite another. Now that the Buccaneer is actually out on the market, we decided to have a look for ourselves and see what this new budget style 3D printer can offer.

Design and Appearance of the Buccaneer

Design: The design of this printer is a bit of a mixed bag, as sometimes things look a bit better than they actually are. The printer does have a very nice look to it that is sleek, modern and smooth. It actually looks a little more upscale than some 3D printers that are considerably more money. However, once you get up close and personal with the unit you will realize that looks can be somewhat deceiving. The initial design plan for this printer was for the enclosure piece to be constructed from high-quality aluminum, but I guess this aspect of the design did not make it all the way to the factory floor.

Construction: On the finished product, the enclosure piece is constructed of polycarbonate and then molded around the unit’s frame. The frame appears to be solid and made of stamped steel, so no issue there. However, the polycarbonate is basically a cheap way out and really takes away from the structural integrity of the printer. In a couple of words, it feels and is cheap and unstable. It is a little surprising that the enclosure was not damaged during the shipping process. On a good note, I suppose, they did do a nice job of securely packaging the unit and it arrived without any damage at all.

Enclosure: Once you get past the actual construction of the enclosure piece, its appearance is nice and sports a brushed aluminum look. While many 3D printers come with the inner parts partially or fully exposed, not the Buccaneer. The enclosure fully wraps around the unit hiding all of the internal components. In fact, it would be hard for anyone to tell that it is a 3D printer at all without a much closer inspection. The sleek and modern appearance are by far one of the best design aspects of the printer as many budget style printers look just plain rough like you just pieced it together in your backyard.

Printer Bed: However, the upside of the printer’s appearance also has a downside, because it tends to not be very user-friendly when you are trying to perform printing operations. Since the printer bed is covered from view by the enclosure you are not able to see what is going on when printing functions first begin. With a printer that does not have a heated build plate, it is very important to make sure the foundation of your design begins properly. The Buccaneer makes that a bit tough to do in an easy way.

Features and Printing

  • Poor Delivery on Features: Right upfront we should say that the planned specs and features of this printer changed quite a bit from what was originally listed on their initial Kickstarter campaign to what was finally actually offered on the production unit. On top of the enclosure change mentioned above, the printer was also supposed to include a heated build plate and have the capability of using both ABS and PLA. Unfortunately, those specs never made it onto the final model, which is disappointing. For a more thorough autopsy of what went wrong, check out this article.
  • Price Point: If there is one area the Buccaneer excels in it is simplicity, which is a plus for a printer that is designed as a budget style unit intended for beginners. The setup process is painless and easy to accomplish. In fact, it is so simple you don’t even have to press a power button to get it started, simply plug the 3D printer into a power source and it powers up automatically. Of course, this means you have to remember to turn it off by unplugging the unit too.
  • Ease of Use: There are no complicated controls to learn about on the printer itself, all functions are controlled through your computer once you connect it to the Buccaneer via Wi-Fi and utilize the system management software.
  • Compatibility: The printer is compatible with Windows, Android and iOS devices but oddly does not play well with OS X systems. The whole wireless concept is nice in theory but in practice, it actually does not work very well. The connection utility seems to have a bug and can act very sporadic at times. Even more annoying, there is no option for using an SD card or USB cable as the Buccaneer has no available ports. So it is wireless or nothing.
  • User Interface: The entire user interface is as basic as it gets, which is both good and bad. While the Wi-Fi connection utility is buggy, the system management software is not and seems to run smoothly.
  • Resolutions: You can turn, rotate and change the size of designs in an efficient manner using the software and choose resolutions between fifty and three hundred twenty microns. The range of resolutions is fairly impressive given the price point of the printer.
  • Print Speed: If you aren’t too hung up on quality and can live with the lower resolutions then the Buccaneer can bang out designs much quicker than we thought it would. Overall, the printing speed is above average taking all things into account.
  • Print Quality: The printing quality is nothing to write home about and just okay, nothing too exciting and no major issues. However, one annoyance is due to the lack of a heated bed you must always use a raft as a base for each product you print. Of course, this adds time to printing projects and increases the amount of filament used.
  • Calibration: The auto-calibration functions seemed to work perfectly and automatically adjusted before each project. Not having to mess with manually calibrating the build plate is a nice advantage on a budget printer.

Features – Summary

  • 50-320 microns
  • Build volume: 130 x 96 x 139 (millimeters)
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • PLA Only
  • No heated bed
  • Nozzle: 0.4 mm
  • Simple user interface
  • Easy setup
  • Fast 3D printing capability

Wrapping Up – Overall Recommendation

I was not overly impressed with the Buccaneer and actually not impressed at all. Anytime you promise high-quality specs upfront and then move to a cheaper design on the final product it is not a good sign.

The price is certainly right as it gives many 3D printing beginners a chance to own a 3D printer at a very low cost (see here for latest pricing).

However, with all of the various issues, bugs and quality problems, we think you can probably find a better overall value than the Buccaneer. If you have very low requirements for quality then it might be worth a look, but buyer beware on this one as it might be disappointing.

However, I’d recommend checking out our buying guide on the best 3D printers if want something better.

Ultimaker 2 vs Cubify CubeX Duo – Which is the Better 3D Printer?

Ultimaker and 3D Systems are two of the major players in the 3D printing industry. Both of these companies offer several different models and choice of accessories for your 3D printing needs and have an excellent reputation for providing value.

I decided to compare two of the most popular units available, the Ultimaker 2 and the Cubify CubeX Duo. Let’s see what each unit has to offer and perhaps the areas where they might be lacking a bit.

Ultimaker 2

This Ultimaker 3D printer is a good match for either professional such as engineers or artists or individuals who desire higher quality 3D printing capabilities. The unit has received above average marks by many experienced users who have used it for both personal and commercial purposes. The Ultimaker 2 is compatible with several different types of filament and can handle printing designs that require a high level of detail. Resolutions down to 0.02 mm are possible, the unit is able to handle an acceptable level of volume type printing projects and is very efficient overall.

CubeX Duo

The Cubify CubeX Duo is widely known as one of the better 3D printers available on the market. The unit is primarily for home users or users that need professional style 3D printing that does not extend quite to the commercial requirements of larger printers. It is capable of extremely high resolutions, comes with dual printing heads and is approximately $1,000 less than its newer version, the Cubify CubeX Trio. For those who are interested in high-quality 3D printing, the CubeX Duo is worth considering.

Getting Started

CubeX Duo

The Cubify CubeX Duo comes with software called Invent and is compatible with Windows and Mac based operating systems but does not work with Linux. The unit does not connect to your PC via USB cable as it uses the available SD card input as the primary source of data input and transfer.

You can use PLA or ABS filament types with this printer but to utilize ABS properly, you will need to purchase an additional heated printing bed as an accessory. The Invent software overall is easy to use and most experienced 3D printers and even beginners will find you can learn your way around in just a few minutes.

The printer is relatively heavy weighing almost eighty pounds but it is hard to argue with the extremely rigid and sturdy construction of the unit. Simply by feeling how the parts come together and the overall solid feel you can tell it is made to last.

Ultimaker 2

The Ultimaker 2 has a relatively easy setup process that consists of only a few steps before you are ready to begin your first 3D printing job. When you first unbox the unit, you simply need to connect it to a source of power and then begin downloading the printer’s system management software.

The unit does not include an auto-leveling function so you may need to manually adjust the leveling of the print area before starting your first project. However, it is not hard to accomplish this task in just a few minutes and Ultimaker provides clear instructions on how to do so. The Ultimaker 2 has an available SD card slot making it possible to use the unit as a standalone printer with no USB connection but it comes with a USB connection as well.

Features and Printing Operations

CubeX Duo

The CubeX Duo offers some of the best resolutions of any 3D printer in the same price range and category. As you might have guessed from its name, “Duo”, the printer comes with dual print heads as opposed to the Trio which has three. The Duo can print products up to 9.5 inches in height and printing times can vary widely depending on the resolution and detail involved. Projects that are extremely detailed with high resolution can sometimes take as much as 10 hours to complete. Given the size capacity and quality of print, this is actually not all that long to wait compared to some other models that do not even offer comparable quality. Resolutions down to 100 microns are possible with the CubeX Duo making it possible to produce very high-quality 3D printed products.

“The software and mechanics of the printer work well together as we did not have any issues with failed printing jobs or having to start over due to some type of error, which can happen often with other models.”

The unit has an LCD screen which allows you to control printer functions with ease once you get accustomed to efficiently selecting options on the screen, it tends to require more pressure than other on-screen type control panels.

While the software is easy to use and printer functions overall seem to be relatively error-free, the Invent software is a bit limited in what features it offers. You adjust resolution and scale design sizes but it is not possible to adjust temperatures or to make many other customizations.

Features

  • Excellent high-resolution prints
  • Software very easy to learn and to use
  • Simple but limited adjustments and customizations
  • Printing speed better than most other models in its category
  • Uses .stl file types
  • ABS or PLA compatible
  • You can choose the active printer head
  • Compatible with Windows and Mac but Linux
  • Printing height up to 9.5 inches
  • Resolutions down to 100 microns are possible

Ultimaker 2

This 3D printer comes with Ultimaker’s proprietary system management software called Cura. The software is included free of charge and may be downloaded for various operating systems including Windows based systems, Mac or even Linux. You can make many types of adjustments to print designs using the software such as scaling the size and moving the design in various ways. Additionally, you can import .obj files along with .stl files.

The layout of the user interface is relatively simple which limits the number of selections, keeping things easy to navigate and learn. Although, the software does allow users a surprising amount of customization choices which is always welcome when working with a large variety of 3D printing designs.

“Resolutions are possible all the way down to a minimum of only 0.02 mm which results in higher quality printing and better overall finished products.”

This is especially true when compared to many other 3D printer models in its category.

Another nice touch is the software displays total estimated printing job times both before the job begins and while in progress. For larger jobs the times can sometimes not be very accurate but overall it is a nice feature to have while working with different designs.

Features

  • Professional quality printing
  • PLA and ABS compatible
  • Impressive printing speed when using lower resolutions
  • Dual print heads
  • Noise level is not ideal
  • A good fit for both professionals and hobbyists
  • Printing dimensions-9 x 8.7 x 8 in.
  • You may make corrections in-process

Downsides

CubeX: The CubeX Duo software is a bit more limited than what is ideal for a printer in its price range. We would like to see more customization features possible and the ability to work with designs in additional ways.

Ultimaker 2: The noise level when using the Ultimaker 2 is less than ideal and may become a problem if you are in an office area or home area that needs a relatively low level of disruption. It certainly is not at a totally unacceptable level like a loud stereo but it is unquestionably noticeable and could disturb those who are close to your working area.

Final Verdict: Ultimaker 2 vs CubeX Duo

Ultimaker 2 3D Printer
Price Disclaimer
While currently the Ultimaker 2 costs a little more than the CubeX Duo we think it is probably worth the extra money, especially if you plan to use the unit on a frequent basis.

If you are new to the 3D printing world then you may want to save a few dollars and will find the limited functionality of CubeX Duo acceptable.

However, for those who are more experienced, the Ultimaker 2 is probably a better choice.

Robo 3D R1 Plus vs MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen – Which is Best?

robo 3d plus vs makerbot replicator 5

3D printers have been fascinating the hobbyist and technology buffs for several years now. When they were first offered for sale to the general public, most models were still a bit rough around the edges and unrefined. The capabilities of 3D printers are pretty amazing, even when they first arrived on the tech scene.

There have been a vast number of predictions about just how advanced 3D printers will become and perhaps more interesting when they will be able to perform certain tasks. Many of those issues still remain to be settled. However, the 3D printers offered for sale now are light years ahead of the models offered a few years ago.

Two Very Different Roads to Success

Robo 3D is based in San Diego, California and first began in 2012. The company was formed by a group of university students who came together to design a 3D printer with the intention of offering a cheaper alternative to the marketplace. Their quest to produce the R1 began on Kickstarter.com with a goal to raise just under $50,000 to get the company started. They ended up receiving a total of over $649,000 and became one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns on record.

MakerBot Industries began in 2009 and they call New York City home. MakerBot got its start with a total of $75,000 in funds raised from private investors. Just two years later, a venture capital operation invested ten million in MakerBot and not too long after that in 2013, Stratasys Inc. acquired MakerBot in a deal that was worth a reported 400 million. Needless to say, the rise of MakerBot into the ranks of influential 3D printing companies has been nothing short of amazing.

Both companies have achieved incredible success and offer quality products well received in the marketplace. We had a look at a 3D printer model from each of these companies and will give you the run down on exactly what they can do, can’t do and what to expect. Let’s have a closer look.

Robo 3D R1 Plus vs MakerBot Replicator 5th Generation

The Basics

Robo 3D R1 Plus

MSRP: $799.99 (see here for latest pricing)

Warranty: 6 Month Warranty Covering Replacement Parts and Manufacturer Defects

Manufacturer: Robo

MakerBot Replicator 5th Gen

MSRP: $2899.99 (see here for latest pricing)

Warranty: 6 Month Warranty Covering Replacement Parts and Manufacturer Defects

Manufacturer: MakerBot Industries

Features and Operation

Robo 3D R1 Plus

  • Auto Calibration
  • Micro SD Print Capable
  • Parts Replacement Warranty-Six Months
  • 300g Spool of Blue filament Included
  • Ships Fully Assembled
  • Improved Linear Motion Functionality and Control Rods and Linear Bearings
  • Rod and Bearing Upgrades
  • Can use PLA/ABS/LAYWOOD/Specialty Filaments
  • Including Spool Holder: Dimensions 15 x 22 x 18.25 inches/38.1 x 55.88 x 46.35 centimeters
  • Single Head
  • 10 x 10 Bed with Heated Surface
  • 10 x 9 x 8 Large Build Volume
  • 4mm Hexagon Metal Nozzle;
  • 75mm Filament
  • Plastic Injection Molded Parts
  • 8im8uu Bearings Provide Precise Movement
  • Five Nema 17 Motors
  • 12v 30amp Power Supply-Good for 115v/230v
  • 100 Micron Resolution

The R1 Plus comes fully assembled and ready for use with just a few easy steps in the setup process to get the unit configured properly. Once you start printing you may have to spend some time making adjustments to different settings with some trial and error, but getting the unit powered up and ready to go is not an issue.

The Robo R1 Plus comes with an automatic leveling feature that helps you easily calibrate the machine. In addition, there are settings available within the software that allows you to make adjustments to calibrations as well tweak other system settings. In fact, you can even adjust the resolution to between 0.1 to 0.3 millimeters. Once you have the unit calibrated, it prints very accurate designs and while it is not the fastest 3D printer on the planet, it is better than many other models. However, it is certainly not built for high volume commercial projects so realistic expectations are important.

The print bed is much larger than many other 3D printers in the budget category, which we found to be a big advantage while using the printer. The finished parts do require a bit of clean up as they may have small strands that need to be clipped and trimmed, but overall the operation is excellent for a printer in the under $1,000 price range.

You can read our full take on the Robo R1 (not the “Plus” version), right here.

MakerBot Replicator

  • Vol. 25.2×19.9×15.0 centimeters/9.9×7.8×5.9 inches
  • 7,522 Cubic cm or 456 cu. In.
  • Technology-Fused Deposition Modeling
  • Layer Res: 100 Microns
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
  • PLA Filament Two Lbs. Spool
  • Diameter of Nozzle-0.4 mm
  • Glass Build Platform
  • STL, OBJ, Thing, MakerBot File Types
  • Connectivity: USB & Ethernet
  • Operating Systems
  • Windows 7 or newer
  • OS X 10.7 or newer
  • Linux

The setup process for the MakerBot Replicator feels almost like setting up a home computer. Once you take the unit out of the box, you plug it in and press the power button. In just a few seconds, the display lights up and begins to walk you through the various steps. You will want to have an internet connection readily available as the first step the printer does it run through an update process.

The extruder that comes with the MakerBot Replicator is a bit interesting as it attaches to the printer assembly via magnet. While it is a bit different the connection seems to be sturdy and hold up just fine throughout printing operations. Although, one known issue is the extruders have a tendency to get clogged, which can create a bit of an inconvenience.  Due to MakerBot’s warranty conditions, you cannot open the extruders without voiding the warranty. Therefore, if you get clogged extruder, it must be sent back to MakerBot for replacement and not repaired locally.

The MakerBot provides a lot of flexibility and some unique features such as the built-in camera that allows you to snap photos of print jobs in different stages and share them online. The unit provides a very nice quality print, but it is fairly loud and not something you would want to use in close proximity to others. The setup is easy, print quality is good and the extra features like the camera are a nice touch.

Verdict: Makerbot vs Robo 3D

The MakerBot Replicator and Robo R1 Plus are both nice printers, but they are in two very different price categories. With the R1 Plus priced at approximately $800 and the Replicator at approximately $2900 the expectations in performance should be significantly different. The Replicator certainly feels a bit more refined out of the box in terms of construction as well as fit and finish.

However, when it comes down to print quality is it worth another $2,000? In our opinion, probably not. The print quality is acceptable and the unit does have some extra features but just not enough for us to justify a price difference of quite that much.

Of course, it is also important to keep in mind the R1 Plus is a rather exceptional model when compared to the competition. It would give almost any other model a run for its money in terms of best value. If we had to choose we would say keep a few extra dollars in your pocket and buy the R1 Plus.

Zortrax M200 Review – Checking Out the Zortrax M200

review of the Zortrax M200 3D printer

The M200 began like many of the 3D printers available on the market, as a Kickstarter.com project. It wasn’t quite as successful as some other Kickstarter campaigns that have raised millions of dollars but Zortrax certainly has a lot to be proud of by raking in almost $180,000 in funding by the end of 2013.

The unit has a modern look with plenty of eye appeal and while it looks large it only weighs about 29 pounds. It is not necessarily designed to be a portable style unit but due to its light weight you can easily transfer it between rooms or locations without much effort.

Getting Started with the Zortrax M200

The printer feels like a high quality unit from the moment you take it out of the box. It has a very rigid and sturdy metal frame and all of the attached components feel structurally solid. The fit finish is above average as the edges are all aligned properly and are smooth to the touch. When you receive the printer, it comes in several parts that need to be assembled. However, it is a relatively simple process that should not take long, even for those who are experiencing 3D printing for the first time.

The M200 comes efficiently packaged in its box along with several other parts included such as a power cable, filament guide, filament holder, SD card reader, safety glasses, and the unit’s build plate. One thing to note is the power cord is not very long, so if you have a relatively long distance to reach your power source then you may need an extension cord.

Additionally, safety gloves are included in the box which might confuse some inexperienced users. However, the build plate can get quite hot during use and it is always recommended you wear safety gloves to avoid injuries or burns. Zortrax also includes a set of additional tools that can be quite useful for making adjustments while 3D printing with the M200 like a small cutting knife, spatula, nozzle key, pliers and tweezers.

One item that is not included, which we found to be a bit strange is no USB cable. While most people probably have one or even several around the house, this still seems like a bit of an oversight that Zortrax should address.

3D Printing Operations and Features

  • Easy Set Up: Once you have the printer assembled and ready to go getting started with your first 3D printing process is easy. Once you power the unit on it is just a matter of loading the filament and then waiting for the single extruder to heat up to the required temperature. Once the extruder is at the appropriate temperature you simply feed the filament into the extruder and you are ready to begin your first 3D printing project.
  • Desktop Design: The fact that the unit’s size is a good fit for almost any normal or even small sized desk makes it convenient to perform 3D printing projects in almost any location.

  • Quality Prints: Once you start a printing job it doesn’t take long to notice the exceptional quality this unit is capable of providing. One of the more interesting features offered by the M200 is you can actually download designs for spare printer parts from the Zortrax website and use your M200 to 3D print them. Keeping a few spare parts on hand and the ability to print them yourself is quite convenient and a nice additional feature.
  • Helpful Support Forums and FAQs: If you have any questions or run into problems while 3D printing, Zortrax also provides a complete support and help section on their website as well as a user forum that can be very helpful when trying to troubleshoot certain issues.
  • Proprietary Software: The M200’s operations are controlled by proprietary software called Z-Suite which we found very easy to use and control the printer with.  A few issues have been reported in user reviews while using the software with Mac operating systems but the Windows version seems to work well and without too many errors. The software gives you complete control to import designs, rotate them, scale them and move them around to suit the needs of your project. Navigation is easy and finding the commands required to complete a printing job from beginning to end is easy.
  • Custom Settings: Additionally, Z-Suite offers a fair amount of customized settings such as splitting a printing job in two parts if you need to create a larger product with a design that will not fit into a single run.
  • Compatible with a Variety of Filaments: Several types of filament are available for purchase on the Zortrax website although the printer comes with a spool of ABS you can start with. However, the printer is compatible with the available Ultrat, Glass and Hips filaments as well.

  • Comes with Calibrating Build Plate: The M200 offers a choice when it comes calibrating the build plate, manual or auto-calibration. Some experienced users may want to choose the manual option if they have a very detailed printing project that requires fine tuning but we found the auto-calibration process to be very exact and effective. The unit can even readjust as it is printing the first several layers of a product if it senses this is needed.
  • Relatively Consistent and Repeatable Results: This unit is designed to accommodate a wide range of 3D printing needs and is capable of handling even the most demanding projects. One of its strong points is consistency of quality as it can produce a high volume of dependable and accurate products on a long-term basis. The many customized settings that can be adjusted offer a level of flexibility you can’t get with other models in its category. Spending a few minutes getting to know the advanced features and settings available within the software will serve you well, as many advanced settings are offered. These can make a small but important difference when printing very detailed products.

Features of the m200 – At a Glance

  • Weight-28.7 pounds
  • Operating Temperature 60° to 95° F
  • Connectivity SD Card or USB Cable
  • Filament-ABS, HIPS, Glass, Ultrat
  • WiFi Capable
  • Proprietary Management Software> Z-Suite
  • 7.87 x 7.87 x 7.28 inch Build Area
  • .stl/.obj/.dxf Compatible
  • 400-800 Micron Resolution
  • 75mm Filament Diameter

Downsides (Cons) of the M200

We were very impressed with the overall results achieved when using the printer for several different printing jobs and believe it is capable of providing high-quality 3D printing even for those who need a commercial style 3D printer.

It doesn’t have dual extruders (which is to be expected with a small desktop unit like this), so be aware that this might limit the complexity of your projects. In particular, you won’t be able to effectively print in multiple colors/textures at the same time.

Overall, it’s not the most impressive 3D printer based purely on the specs. It does deliver consistent results, however.

Purchasing the additional side covers that are available for just under $100 (see here) may help avoid a few minor printing flaws as a result of uneven heat and unexpected drafts if you are in an open area. At a price of around $2,000 these should probably be included in our opinion, but overall a minor issue.

Final Verdict – Worth the Sticker Price?

The M200 is an exceptional printer in both design and functionality providing excellent printing quality for hobbyists and for those who need a 3D printer for commercial use as well.

There are very few flaws we found with the printer such as a shorter than ideal power cord, software issues when using a Mac based computer and the side covers that are not already included.

However, regardless of those minor problems the consistency in quality 3D printing and the ability to completely customize designs rule the day with this unit. I highly recommend this unit for those who are looking for flexibility, quality and advanced capabilities. You can check this listing for the latest pricing on packages.

Zeus 3D Printer Review – My Take on the “All in One”

zeus printer reviews

Several years ago, the 3D printing industry caught the attention of many and looked full of promised to revolutionize the marketplace for consumers. While there have been some amazing developments in the 3D printing world recently, most of its influence has been limited to tech enthusiasts, hobbyists and those connected with the industry. That may slowly be starting to change though, as 3D printer manufacturers have intensified their focus on developing products that can merge the gap between the average consumer and the niche market.

The company behind the Zeus All in One is AIO Robotics out of California. The company was officially founded in 2013 and one of their primary goals is providing greater 3D printing exposure to the broader global marketplace. In fact, they identify this as a primary goal on their website.

AIO Robotics – About the AIO Robotics Mission

AIO Robotics has been actively engaged in efforts to reduce the barrier of entry to 3D printing technology and products for several years. Making 3D printers a viable option for even the average consumer was part of the motivation behind their development of the Zeus All in One 3D Printer.

Development of the Zeus began as a Kickstarter campaign, and while many other 3D printer Kickstarter campaigns failed, the Zeus project captured the attention of those familiar and unfamiliar with the 3D printing industry. At a quick glance, it’s easy to understand why the Zeus gained momentum on Kickstarter, as it combines technology already very familiar to consumers with cutting-edge 3D printing and scanning functions.

Let’s have a closer look at the Zeus All in One 3D Printer and see what it has to offer. Perhaps this is the 3D printer model that will finally connect with the average consumer and break down the barrier to the 3D printing world.

Introducing the Zeus All in One – Overview of Operations & Features

  • Push Button Print + Scan Solution: The Zeus offers a relatively unique design as it combines 3D printing and scanning capabilities with simple push-button copy and fax functionality. This is an important design element because it uses technology already familiar to consumers and pairs it with 3D printing functions. The unit operates as standalone hardware and does not require a connection to a computer, which is quite different from most other 3D printers.
  • Completely Self Contained: Typically, 3D printers utilize CAD files on a laptop or desktop computer to facilitate printing operations. The Zeus is completely self-contained and has a 1.7Ghz Exynos quad-core processor onboard as well as a seven-inch touchscreen control panel for easy operation. Not having to rely on an outside source to control operations is a significant advantage for this unit and gives it a leg up versus other 3D printers in its category.

  • Cutting Edge Tech (SLT): 3D printers have always pushed the edges of technology a bit, but recently they have reached even new heights and are really starting to do some things that are hard to believe. Some of the stuff is straight out of the movies. AIO designed the Zeus with a feature called swiping laser triangulation (SLT). Utilizing SLT technology, the Zeus All in One unit can scan an object that is a maximum of five inches tall and nine inches in diameter. Once it completes the scanning process the data is saved either in the internal memory or Micro SD card.

Who Needs a Driverless Car When You Have Teleportation?

  • Remote Printing: With the data available either internally or via micro SD, you now have two options. You can run a print job and have the Zeus print the object or you can use an internet connection to print the object to a remote location, 10 miles away or 1,000 miles away! I am very in-tune with the technology world and its recent advancements, but the ability to 3D print to a remote location on demand is very cool.
  • Slower Scan: While this is a very interesting feature, to say the least, the scanning process is quite slow and even very small objects can take more than thirty minutes. Not a huge downside for those who are familiar with and have worked with 3D printers before but perhaps it would be for people that are not as experienced.With the exception of a slow scanning process, the rest of its operations appeared to be efficient and smooth.
  • Clean Interface: The user-interface is clear and uncomplicated, in fact, probably easier to understand than many modern office copiers.
  • Attractive Price Point for Industrial Grade Experience: Besides being a self-contained unit, the second big advantage the Zeus offers over other 3D printers is print quality versus price. It offers excellent print quality that is comparable or better than many other machines in its category. In some cases, the quality is even on par with some industrial 3D printers that are five or times the price. Overall, it could run you as much as $3,000, but I’ve found it for significantly less here.
  • Optional Maintenance Package: AIO makes ownership easy by offering an optional maintenance package which includes one year of repairs and it covers parts as well as shipping.

Specifications of the Zeus

Build: 8.0 x 6.0 x 5.7″

 

PLA Filament

 

Fax from One ZEUS to Another

 

Enlarge & Reduce Capable in Duplication Process

 

Speed-Min. 40 mm/s & Max 160 mm/s

 

1 Extruder

 

80 Micron-0.08 mm Resolution

 

Speed-Min. 40 mm/s & Max 160 mm/s

 

Filament 1.75 mm Diameter

 

Color Touchscreen-7 Inches

 

Enclosed Build Area

 

Two 2.0 USB Ports

 

Scanning Volume Maximums: 5″ Ht. x 9″ Diameter

 

Standalone Unit-No External Operating System Needed

 

Supports Wi-Fi

 

Windows/Mac/Linux Compatible

 

Print File Types

STL/AIO

Exported File Types

PLY/OBJ/STL/AIO

Internal Storage

8GB + available 16 GB Micro-SD slot

Optional Maintenance Package

AIO offers an optional maintenance package for the Zeus All in One 3D Printer that includes 12 months of repairs, includes shipping costs and covers all parts. This is a nice addition and makes owning the unit hassle free, especially when you are learning way around for the first few months. It’s an affordable 3D printer that comes at a cost of the package is $350.

Shipping

AIO currently offers shipping within the United States only.

Final Recommendation

Overall, the Zeus All in One from AIO is impressive and it offers some unique features you don’t find with every 3D printer on the market.

The print quality is above average and matches or exceeds most other units in its category; in some cases it even equals the quality of units that are much more expensive. The swiping laser triangulation with the ability to 3D print to remote locations via an internet connection offers all kinds of amazing possibilities that make your imagination run wild, besides it’s just cool.

In addition to the above, the fact that the unit is completely self-contained and can operate without depending on an outside operating system is a big plus. When combined with having copy, fax, scanning and 3D printing functions all in one unit, it makes a nice package. The machine is straightforward and easy to use, which is aided by the simple layout on the seven-inch touchscreen panel. Functions are clearly marked and it is simple to navigate through the various screens to find what is needed.

If you are interested in a 3D printer that offers a total package, easy operation and high-quality results, then the Zeus is worthy of a spot on your short list of considerations. It is not quite as fast as a few other models but makes up for it in other areas. Overall, the unit is a solid value and we would consider a measuring stick for other units in its category. Be sure to check out this listing for the latest pricing discounts.

 

A Complete TwoUp 3D Printer Review – What’s New?

review of the twoup 3d printer

Quintessential Universal Building Device, Inc. (also known as Q3D) is an innovative company that got its first big break on Kickstarter.com. Their campaign on Kickstarter rose over $400,000 in funds and created quite a stir among 3D printer enthusiasts and even those who were interested in experiencing 3D printing for the first time.

They have developed and produced several models of 3D printers for sale and have found a niche in the marketplace by providing low-cost 3D printer kits with quality printing capability. The model promoted in the Kickstarter campaign was the OneUP 3D Printer and their first product offered for sale. Since then, they have added two additional models to their product lineup, the TwoUp and ThreeUp.

Q3D has had a clear intention from the very beginning, to expand the availability and practical use of 3D printers to users around the globe. This intent or mission has had a direct effect on their printer designs and engineering, as they are committed to offering low-cost 3D printer options that still offer quality printing and a high degree of functionality. Between the Kickstarter.com campaign and the initial reaction on the market to the OneUp, it is safe to classify their efforts as a success.

Anytime a company offers a follow up model to an initial product that was successful it can sometimes have hard time meeting expectations. Q3D has claimed the TwoUp is every bit as good as their first offering and in many ways even better. Let’s take a look in this TwoUp 3D printer review and see what it can offer to the 3D printing world.

The TwoUp-3D Printer – Getting Started

The TwoUp is designed as a kit, meaning if you purchase this 3D printer it will arrive at your door with the everything you need to get up and running, but you will need to build the unit using all the components included in the package.

Depending on your familiarity with technical designs and experience with building items such as this, the degree of difficulty can vary quite a bit from person to person. Some have reported their build process was easier than expected and others have reported the exact opposite.

If you are somewhat technically inclined, I would not let the build experience of other users sway you too much. A lot of the build experience comes down to the skills of the individual.

However, one thing we noticed in our research that gave us a small amount of concern is the many reports from users about holes not aligning properly, mismatched parts and a general lack of uniformity in the parts provided, the instructions and certain elements that make all the pieces come together.

The degree of the problems appeared to be minimal as these issues did not prevent the printer from being assembled or working properly. But, you should not have an expectation of perfect quality. At a price of approximately $280 (see here for pricing data), I suppose a few things like this should be expected though.

Features and Functions

Print Quality: Q3D has claimed the TwoUp matches or exceeds the print quality of some printers that cost twice as much or even more, and they are right. 50 microns is very good for a printer in this price range and the TwoUp does an efficient and quality job. It certainly isn’t the right model for large commercial projects that require top notch quality and fast production, but that is not its intended purpose or price category.

Build Area: It comes equipped with a very nice build area measuring 6.89 in. x 6.89 in. x 4.92 in. and it ranks right up there with printers that have build areas of similar size but cost considerably more.

Connectivity: The printer has a USB connection that allows you to easily connect to a PC of your choice. Additionally, it is micro SD capable which allows you to be a bit more mobile and extra functionality.

Process: You need a little patience to first setup and get the printing function of this 3D printer working properly. Once you are finished with the actual building process of the unit, it will take you a few attempts to get all the settings rights in order to effectively be able to print a good quality design as intended. Part of this will depend on how much experience you have had in the past working with 3D printers as small tweaks in various settings can make a big difference in the quality of the product printed.

Noise: The printer does generate a significant amount of noise while printing. It is not at levels that will exactly shake the earth, but significant nonetheless. Therefore, it is probably best to ensure you use the unit in a workshop, basement or another area that will keep others from being disturbed.

Speed: Additionally, while the quality of printing tends to be as good or better than models that may be priced in higher categories, the printing process does tend to be slow. If you have worked with other 3D printers then you may be well aware that generally it is a slow process, even a bit slower with a printer in the $280 price range.

If you are expecting the TwoUp to print new designs every few minutes then you will most likely be a bit disappointed. However, if you can appreciate the value in the quality of print versus the cost of the printer then you should not have many frustrations.

TwoUp Features At a Glance

Approximate Price $280 (see here for latest) DIY Kit Requires Assembly
Filament 1.75 mm in Diameter Larger Build Area vs. The OneUp Model
6.89/6.89/4.92 Build Area Fused Filament Fabrication
PLA Material Easy to Setup
Optional Bed with Heating Capability Easy to Begin Your First Print
Does Not Include Enclosure Resolution=50 Microns
High-Quality Printing Tech Support Offered

 

Pros of the TwoUp

The biggest advantages of the TwoUp 3D Printer are the large build area, high print quality and overall ease of use. The unit overall is very easy to build and operate even for those that may have never worked with 3D printers before. It may take a little time and patience, but Q3D did a very nice job of producing a printer that a beginner can get up and running in just a few hours.

As stated above the print quality far exceeds what you would expect of a printer in this price range, which makes the TwoUp a good value by most measuring sticks.

Cons of the TwoUp

It’s tough to find too many faults with a 3D printer that is under $300 and actually prints good quality designs. However, if we must choose a couple of negatives, then it would be the noise and printing speed. The noise is loud enough you need to pay attention to where and when you use the printer. Additionally, the slowness of the printing could become frustrating if you have plans for any type of volume type work to be done.

Overall Recommendation – Worth the Investment?

By all accounts, this is a very nice 3D printer and provides an excellent value to consumers. It is probably a printer that is best for beginners or moderately experienced 3D printing enthusiasts. More experienced users will probably require a bit more performance out of a printer unless they are looking for a fun project to toy with in their spare time.

If you are new to the 3D printing world, then have a look at the TwoUp 3D printer, it might be exactly the right unit to use break into the 3D printing world for the very first time. Be sure to check out this listing for the latest pricing information.

Further Reads

Flashforge Creator X Review [2020]: What’s New with the X?

Creator X reviews

FlashForge Creator X improves on its former self and offers several improved features, which make owning the 3D printer much more attractive to a wider audience.

The old FlashForge Creator model was actually very popular among 3D printing enthusiasts, as it was offered with an attractive price point and provided quality printing work as well.

The old wooden box style frame of the Creator has been replaced with a new and improved metal frame for the Creator X. The frame is much more resilient to wear and tear while also providing better overall structural integrity.

The platform has been improved as well and now comes equipped with a durable high-temperature resistant plate made of aluminum. Perhaps one of the most important characteristics of the plate is the sturdy 6.3 mm thickness, which helps prevent warping and other types of damage during heating procedures.

Additional functionality and convenience are offered with the addition of powerful LED lights that surround the printing area. As mentioned above, the structural integrity of the Creator X has been much improved and not only with the addition of the metal frame.

The designers went a step further and reinforced several points on the machine with fittings for the corners as well. It only takes a minute or two of working with the improved model to feel the significant difference these upgrades have made.

The Creator X sticks closely to its operational roots by remaining compatible with ABS and PLA, while also sporting double extruders and spools. You can check out my original review of the Flashforge Creator here.

Our Pick
NEW: Get the Flashforge Creator MAX Instead

The latest Creator iteration is the MAX, and it's MUCH BETTER. The same quality aluminum frame as the X, but with an upgraded (easy to use) keypad display AND improved overall reliability.

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

Getting Started with the Creator X

When you order a new gadget or piece of tech machinery, many times it is easy to completely miss noticing how the company packages the item for shipping. There is nothing worse than waiting several days for your new toy to arrive, only to open the package and see that it was damaged in-transit.

The reason I make a point of this with the Creator X is I noticed how well it was packaged. It was tightly secured, had plenty of buffer material around the exterior and overall was well protected against accidental drops or mishaps during the shipping process.

flashforge creator x review

Once you remove the unit from its packaging, there are a few small tasks to take care of in order to get it up and printing. The dual extruders need to be attached to the unit, which is easily completed with the provided screws. Additionally, you will need to install the software you plan to use for operating the unit. It comes with an installation CD, but there are several types of software selections you can make depending on what you are most comfortable with.

What’s Improved with the Creator X?

One of the very noticeable conveniences with the improved Creator X is you no longer have to periodically tighten miscellaneous screws like you did with the old model. The old Creator model’s wooden frame would loosen up relatively easily and needed to be tightened up quite frequently.

Additionally, no more keeping a flashlight at the ready to check on the progress of your work, the new powerful LED lights around the build area provide plenty of visibility for tracking progress. The unit comes with a single spool of ABS filament and one spool of PLA as well to get you started. The colors are selected at random so it may be a good idea to order some additional filament in the colors you prefer when you order the Creator X.

However, the two provided spools are enough to get you up and printing so you can see what the Creator X is capable of doing.

3D Printing Operations Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Excellent quality printing especially for a relatively inexpensive unit
  • ABS printing very easy and smooth
  • ABS filament works well with the tape and build area plate
  • Prints faster than other choices in the same price category

This unit is often compared to a competitor 3D printer, the Makerbot 2X (see full review here). The Makerbot is about $1,000 higher in price but does not come near the type of print quality that the Creator X offers. The printing function is smooth and I would not consider it fast by any means, but also not near as slow as some other models in its category.

The unit offers excellent flexibility and performs well in a wide range of areas that is pleasantly surprising for a 3D printer in this price range. Beginners and experienced 3D printers alike will enjoy working with the Creator X and will have plenty of options at their fingertips with this unit.

Cons

  • PLA filament not as easy to work with as the ABS
  • PLA filament has recurring issues sticking to the build area, although heating helps

Sometimes difficulty working with PLA and getting it to cooperate is not necessarily the fault of the printer. It can also be due to inexperience of the user or not having the settings properly configured.

For whatever reason, we just found the Creator X struggled a bit more than perhaps some other models when working with PLA. In all fairness though, it is probably not a 100% fair assessment as we had limited time and mostly because these processes are so dependent on getting specific settings correct.

Our Pick
NEW: Get the Flashforge Creator MAX Instead

The latest Creator iteration is the MAX, and it's MUCH BETTER. The same quality aluminum frame as the X, but with an upgraded (easy to use) keypad display AND improved overall reliability.

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

Key Features – At A Glance

Retail Price Approximately $1,200 (see here for live pricing and deals) Dual Extruders and Spools
Measurements out of the box 320 x 467 x 381 mm LCD Display and Directional Controls
Diameter of Nozzle .4mm Max Volume of Build-Five Liters
MicroSD Card or USB Connection Included Installation Software CD: ReplicatorG

 

File Types STL/Gcode/x3g Tools and Spare Parts Included
One-Piece Motherboard 1.75 mm PLA/ABS Filament Compatible

Warranty Information

The FlashForge Creator X is produced by a company based in China and after having a look around at several review sites and other resources they appear to do a good job of customer service and taking care of problems that may occur. Additionally, they offer a 3-month warranty that protects you against product defects. They will replace any defective parts within three months of the purchase date at no cost to the customer and offer technical support as well.

A relatively large sampling of websites from across the 3D printing industry indicate a high level of satisfaction with the Creator X and there does not appear to be any design issues that are constant across the model line.

Overall Recommendation – Is the Flashforge Creator X Worth the Improvements?

The Creator X offers a great value with excellent performance and flexibility. The printer is suitable for those that are new to 3D printing and just want to have a first experience, as well as for more experienced 3D printing hobbyists or tech junkies.

The fact this unit does not arrive as a kit that needs to be manually put together is plus and the setup is relatively easy and painless. As with all 3D printers, there is a bit of a learning curve when learning how to work with the different filaments and features of the unit, but that is to be expected.

Overall, this is a moderate – but significant – step up from previous Flashforge models.

I have no problem recommending this unit as a good value, quality product and user-friendly 3D printer. If you are looking for a first experience or perhaps to make a move up from an entry-level 3D printer, then the Creator X should be on your very short list of top considerations. Be sure to check out this listing, where I’ve found it discounted recently.

Our Pick
NEW: Get the Flashforge Creator MAX Instead

The latest Creator iteration is the MAX, and it's MUCH BETTER. The same quality aluminum frame as the X, but with an upgraded (easy to use) keypad display AND improved overall reliability.

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

Further read:

Mojo 3D Printer Review – The Starter Package

mojo starter package review

Stratasys has been involved with the 3D printing industry for over 25 years and has been one of the most influential companies in the 3D printing world. They are a relatively large company and operate in multiple industries such as healthcare delivery solutions, aerospace, the automotive sector, and even education.

Despite the size of the company, they continue to remain aggressive and continually look for new opportunities to acquire other operations and develop new products. In fact, they purchased MakerBot just two years ago in 2013 and continue to actively seek acquisitions in other sectors as well.

They consistently have tested the limits of possibility in the 3D printing industry since 1994 when they introduced the very first thermoplastic that could be used with 3D printers. About eight years later, they unveiled the very first 3D printer with a price tag of under $30,000. They are clearly considered a leader in the 3D printing market and offer a wide range of products and services with a reputation for quality and innovation.

In the following Mojo 3D printer review, we’ll break down the key “pros” and “cons” of the device.

Stratasys Unveils the Mojo 3D Printer

Among their many products is the recently released Mojo 3D Printer, a high-quality printer designed to offer professional grade 3D printing in a unit that is sized to fit on a desktop.

The Mojo offers a wide range of capabilities with a focus on ensuring accurate printing for prototypes and concept products, a good fit for many designers and engineers.

This 3D printer is not designed for those who are new to 3D printing and just looking for a unit to learn the basics of 3D printing. It is intended for use in a commercial or industrial capacity and claims to offer product quality that is similar to what injection molding can produce.

Whether or not it actually holds up to those claims may or may not be another story. Let’s take a look at the features and benefits of the Mojo 3D Printer and see what kind of value and production it can offer.

Overview & Features of the Mojo 3D Printer Starter Package

Manufacturer: Stratasys

Model: Mojo 3D Printer Starter Package

MSRP: $6,000 (see here for latest pricing)

The Mojo 3D Printer is the size of a normal desktop computer printer with measurements of 25 x 18 x 21 inches and weighs in at just over sixty pounds. In fact, if you placed it on a store shelf with traditional desktop printers it looks very similar.

The Mojo Starter Package comes with all the components and supplies needed to achieve optimum printing results, unlike many other 3D printers that really only reach their potential if you use add-on components or replacement parts. The unit comes fully assembled and does not require a lengthy or complicated setup process. The initial setup is actually very similar to a traditional desktop printer, simply plug it in and run the system software for auto configuration.

While some 3D printers only come with a heated build area, the Mojo has a fully enclosed chamber that is heated. This assists in keeping the temperature of the printing environment at exact specifications which helps improve the print quality. The Mojo uses FDM Technology which prints products using heat and applying layers of thermoplastic filament one by one. This method is very effective for creating products that are very detailed or have elements of their design that are particularly complicated to print.

FDM provides excellent detailed printing but has other benefits as well, such as ease of use and it provides a very clean printing process. Additionally, it helps produce components with a high degree of structural integrity and the process is relatively quiet which makes the Mojo a perfect fit for office environments or design studios. The printer is capable of producing products that are both structurally and mechanically sound, which means you can print objects that have moving parts such as a chain.

The software that comes with the printer is called Print Wizard and is a very user-friendly piece of software that controls all aspects of controlling the printer and printing process. It allows you to choose up to nine different colors, gives you 3D views of your product and the graphical user interface is intuitive and easy to navigate.

The Mojo is a unique package that offers professional grade 3D printing that is capable of producing fully functional prototypes and a wide range of products with excellent quality. It is fully capable of operating as a main printer on a daily basis and you do not need any custom ventilation or a specific work area, it can simply operate on your desktop like any other printer would.

Mojo 3D Printing Operations Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Top notch professional grade 3D printing quality
  • Smooth and precise printing operations
  • Surprisingly fast, quiet and accurate printing from such a small unit
  • No odor; ideal for an office setting

For printing prototypes and detailed designs the Mojo can hold its own compared to any other printer in its price range. The printing action is smooth, precise and surprisingly fast for such a small unit. There is no requirement for special ventilation and the printing process is relatively quiet compared to other 3D printers, so this unit is ideal for a professional office setting that needs to print prototypes or similarly detailed products.

Cons

  • May struggle with high volume printing on a long term basis
  • Heavy workloads may require frequent maintenance
  • Locked in high-priced print material from manufacturer

The tradeoff for enjoying the small size of the Mojo is it may not hold up well if you are consistently printing large volumes of products. Because the unit is the size of a desktop printer that means all of the internal parts have to be smaller as well. While there are not any direct quality issues reported about the Mojo, it is just a fact of life that smaller parts are probably a bit less sturdy than some larger printers have and are not going to hold up as well over the long-term.

Key Features of the Mojo

Max Dimensions of production units 5x5x5 Inches Prints Up To Nine Colors
ABS Plus Thermoplastic Comes w/WaveWash 55 Cleaning System
Compatible with Windows XP,7,8,10 Weighs 60 LBS.
Max Layer Thickness 0.178 mm Total Dimensions 25x18x21 Inches
FDM Technology Control Panel w/3D Product Views
Print Wizard Software 1 Year Warranty

Warranty Details

The unit comes with a one-year warranty that covers the parts and labor required to repair the unit back to its original operating condition. You can also opt for an extended warranty through Stratasys as they offer several options.

The WaveWash 55 Cleaning System Support

The WaveWash 55 is an integral part of the process for printing with the Mojo. It cleans off the parts once the initial printing process is complete and delivers a refined, clean product. The cleaning system is easy to use, requires no water connection or plumbing of any kind and is extremely efficient. The system uses a water-based solution to dissolve leftover support materials without the need for additional cleaning by hand. Users can simply drop a finished part into the WaveWash 55 and it will produce a clean and ready fully functional product with all support material remnants removed.

Recommendation: Is the Mojo Worth it?

The Mojo is a unique 3D printer that packs a lot of power and excellent print quality into a small package. The quality is on par with other printers in its price range and the size as well as the cleanliness of the print offers some significant advantages.

The printer does have a specific target though, such as engineers and operations that need to print prototype style products. For this segment, the printer offers an excellent value and unique functionality. However, if you need a commercial printer capable of any level of volume printing then you may be better served looking at a different model. If you fit this profile, be sure to check out this listing for the starter package deals

M3D Printer Review – How Affordable is the Micro 3D Really?

Micro 3D printer reviews

The Micro 3D Printer started like many of the products in the 3D printing world, as a Kickstarter.com campaign. However, while Kickstarter campaigns accomplish widely varying results, the Micro 3D Printer was incredibly popular. The campaign raised over three million dollars and had almost 12,000 contributors.

Michael Armani is the founder of M3D and has a background in materials engineering, along with David Jones who was a former software programmer with experience in robotics engineering. Part of their goal in developing the Micro 3D Printer was to offer a unit that is accessible to all consumers from a price standpoint and easy to learn.

The Micro 3D Printer is priced at $349 (check here for stater pack) and offers print quality that is well above average and actually surprisingly good for a very small and portable unit, although it is limited somewhat in the size of products it can effectively produce due to its size.

Introducing the M3D Micro 3D Printer

Getting Started

  1. Setup: The printer arrives efficiently boxed and the initial setup process only takes 10-20 minutes depending on how experienced you are. However, even for those that have never dealt with 3D printers before it is relatively easy and M3D intentionally made sure to keep things straightforward and simple. Easy ownership was a cornerstone of the design process and M3D made it a priority.

  1. Connecting: Once you remove the unit from the box, the setup process involves simply connecting the power cord and a USB cable to your laptop or desktop. After that, it’s just a matter of downloading the appropriate software for your operating system from M3D’s website. The software is compatible with Mac or Windows and they just released a new version that is compatible with an expanded list of Mac and Windows OS versions.
  2. Software Learning Curve: The management software much like most aspects of the rest of the printer is simple. This is both good and bad, as it is easy to learn and navigate but offers relatively few options when it comes to customizing certain aspects of the 3D printing process. However, recalibrating the printer head or adjusting the X, Y or Z axis of a product model is easily accomplished, even for beginners.
  3. Color Options: The Micro 3D is offered in 6 colors that include white, black, orange, green, blue and a very cool transparent color. There is an additional charge for the white or transparent color of twenty-five dollars but at a starting price point of $349 that shouldn’t present much of a problem for most people.

3D Printing Operation and Features

  • Print Speed: One of the downsides of the small size of the printer is it is relatively slow. A product that is 1.5 inches in height and 4 inches in diameter can take approximately four hours to completely print, depending on how much detail is involved. A very detailed product with the same dimensions might take as much as six hours to finish printing.
  • Build Size: The size and price versus the slow printing speed are something to keep in mind if you are thinking about purchasing this 3D printer model. However, for most that are trying 3D printing for the first time or interested in a small sized 3D printer for specific reasons, the printing speed is usually not a big concern. Obviously, there are other models available that offer significantly faster printing speeds but you will probably have to spend two to four times the cost of the Micro 3D Printer for faster printing speeds.

  • Accuracy and Noise: Two characteristics of this small 3D printer that standout are accuracy and the fact that it is surprisingly quiet. In fact, it is one of the quietest 3D printers on the market regardless of size or price range. While many 3D printers make a distinctive and fairly loud noise while printing, the Micro 3D’s print head only makes a quiet whispering noise as it navigates around the printer’s bed.
  • Print Bed: The printing bed offers an intuitive design with the spool of filament fixed underneath the printing bed area, which is convenient. The print bed is removable as well. The build volume of the printer is 4 and 1/3 inches by 4 and 1/5 inches, with an upper build limit of only 4 inches in height. It’s no secret that a 3D printer of this size is going to offer a smaller build area. However, it is something to keep in mind depending on the size of the products you intend to work with.
  • Software: The management software does allow you to scale .stl files either larger or smaller, so it is possible to take a six-inch product and reduce it to only three or four inches while retaining accuracy.
  • High Level of Detail: While the printer is small and, therefore, limited in the size of objects it can print. The printer is capable of printing multiple smaller objects that will fit together to create a larger product. You are only limited by your imagination in this aspect but even very detailed items like gears and gear arms can be printed with suitable quality for a workable product when the parts are put together, which is quite amazing for a 3D printer of this size and price range.
  • Resolution: In addition to above average overall printing quality, this M3D printer offers excellent resolution as well. The surfaces do have a small amount of ribbing but they are smooth enough and you can adjust the thickness of layers from fifty to three hundred fifty microns.

Micro 3D Printer Features – Summary

  • Print bed dimensions 4.33 x 4.20 x 4 inches
  • Adjustable resolution 50-350 microns
  • Ultra-quiet operation
  • Above average print quality
  • Fast and easy setup
  • Management software compatible with Mac or Windows OS
  • Available in 6 colors including a transparent color option
  • Thermoplastic filament-PLA or ABS
  • Price point $349 (or about $449 starter package here)

Micro 3D Printer Drawbacks & Challenges

Even the best products have a few drawbacks or challenges and the Micro 3D Printer is no different.

Not Great of Large Projects: One of the issues with the product is found in its management software, specifically, with the time it estimates printing jobs will take. The software does a good job at estimating small projects accurately but when you deal with larger printing projects that take an extended amount of time it is not accurate at all.  This is not a big problem as after you work with the printer on a few jobs you will get a feel for the amount of time a project will take. However, it is a feature that will hopefully be adjusted or fixed in the future as it would be nice to have accurate times presented.

No Onboard Memory: Another problem is the unit does not have any onboard memory. This means that once you disconnect the USB from your laptop or desktop, any pending or in-process print job is lost. You cannot simply reconnect the cable and expect the printing job to resume where it left off, all the memory is lost and you must start over. Again, this is not a huge problem as this probably would not occur very often but it is something consumers should know before making a purchase.

Other M3D Printer Alternatives

I always like to compare the 3D printers we review against the competition. Depending on what you are looking for, these options might be worth checking out:

Flashforge Dreamer: The Dream is Flashforge’s more advanced and refined 3D printers. It’s designed less for DIY tinkerers and more for professional grade operations where repeat quality and precision is paramount. Read the full review I did here.

Makerbot Replicator: The Replicator 2 is among one of the more popular 3D printers out there, largely because they were the “first to market” with truly professional grade 3D printers. While they do run a bit pricey, they are at the forefront of 3D printing in terms of features and design. The full review is here.

Lulzbot Mini: This is one of my favorite 3D printers out there. It’s not a closed-architecture system, but it is the perfect blend of DIY customization and reliable repeat performance. My full review can be found here.

XYZPrinting Da Vinci Jr: For a truly compact entry-level 3D printer, you can’t beat the Da Vinci Jr. As it sounds, it’s ideal for younger audiences, but also great for enthusiasts looking for something basic and reliable. Check it out here.

Final Verdict – Enough Value?

As a portable and high-quality 3D printer, the M3D Micro 3D Printer is an excellent overall value. If you can deal with the relatively slow printing speed and the other small challenges mentioned above, then there are many things to like about this unit. Additionally, at a price point of only $449 for the starter package, it offers exceptional functionality for a very low cost compared to many other units available in the 3D printing space. If you are looking to experience 3D printing for the first time or you need a relatively inexpensive unit that is portable, then the Micro 3D Printer is a great option.