The CraftBot PLUS is sub $1000 3D printer (check here for the latest price) that came into reality thanks to its Indiegogo campaign back in late June 2014. It is a fairly large 3D printer with all the basic features needed to print in many materials and in a fairly large build platform.
It is marketed as an easy to use, starter 3D printer with huge potential, as it was developed from the ground up to allow both new and advanced users to take full advantage of this 3D printer. CraftUnique promises a plug and play experience butgives the user full control of every aspect of the printer.
The fact that this 3D printer can print in such large volume, while still being relatively straight forward to use, puts it in a special category as this somewhat cheap 3D printer can outperform many high end printer that are priced way higher.
In the following sections we will list the core features of the CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS as well as the Pros and Cons. At the very end you will find the final summary of this 3D printer with an overall rating.
Core Features of the CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS
Printing size: This 3D printer might look small, with a size of 400 x 460 x 450mm ( approx. 16″ x 18″ x 18″ ) but it is using all of that space to its full potential, offering an impressive build volume of 250 x 200 x 200mm ( approx. 10” x 8” x 8” ).
Printing Accuracy: Thanks to its 100 micron/layer resolution, this 3D printer provides very high precision and high quality prints.
Heated and Removable Bed: Now this is a feature we don’t see very often even in high end 3D printers. The big print bed is heated and easily removable.
A heated bed is used to make sure the model sticks to the build platform during printing, as well as prevent warping for some hard to print materials such as ABS. It is also removable, allowing for easily removing the printed object and cleaning of the bed.
Material support: Officially, CraftBot PLUS support a wide range of materials, such as PLA, ABS, NYLON and any other exotic material, although it should be noted that it might be tricky to print in flexible materials.
Color LCD Touchscreen: While this is pretty much standard in every 3D printer now a days, a color LCD touchscreen it is a welcome addition, offering a simple user interface, giving the user the ability to change simple or more advanced settings, view the status of the prints and even change settings while printing.
CraftWare: CraftUnique is using a proprietary slicing software for its CraftBot PLUS 3D printer. This reassures that the printer and the software are bided together to work as smoothly as possible. CraftWare also offers many simple settings for beginners but has the ability to change into advanced mode, where a plethora of information and settings are revealed for the more experienced users.
USB connection: This printer has a single USBport to load models into the 3D printer. Another great addition is the included pendrive, which comes with a test model already loaded in so you can test the printer immediately after setting it up.
Customer Service: Custom service is most of the time not mentioned in the 3D printing market, but CraftUnique promises excellent support, with stuff that has in-depth knowledge on the technology and the product and are always there to help.
This is especially useful to people new in the 3D printing world who want to be reassured that in case of a problem, they will have help from the company itself.
The following are the key specifications of the CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS 3D printer.
Printing Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Build Area: 250 x 200 x 200mm ( approx. 10” x 8” x 8” )
Layer Resolution: 100 microns (0.1mm)
Printing Speed: 50-200 mm/s
Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
Position precision: X,Y: 4 micron, Z: 2 micron
Max Extruder Temperature: 446°F (260°C)
Max Platform Temperature: 230°F (110°C)
Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
Product Dimensions: 400 x 460 x 450mm ( approx. 16″ x 18″ x 18″ )
Pros of the CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS 3D Printer
Performance: It is no secret that this 3D printer works beautifully. Its a very capable printer, that can print very complex objects, and doing so without sacrificing quality and resolution.
The whole construction is made out of aluminum and plastic, providing excellent durability and stability during high speed prints. All in all, the CraftBot PLUS delivers exactly what it promises.
Heated and Removable Bed: It is a feature many who use other 3D printers wish they had. Not only is the bed heated, allowing some complex and especially big items to be printed with materials such as ABS, but it is also easily removable, allowing the user to quickly remove the printed object and clean the platform without the fear of ruining the calibration of the printer.
Slicing Software: As mentioned above, CraftBot PLUS ships with its own slicing software called CraftWare. It is an excellent piece of software, providing all the basic settings for beginners to get the printer stared, but also more advanced and detailed settings, for the more experienced.
It is also able to generate standard G-code, so other open source 3D printers can use it and leverage its features.
Community: The community plays a major role in the success of a 3D printer. CraftUnique has a big and growing community all over the world, with people contributing and helping each other. This printed was voted as the best plug and play 3D printer on the market by 3D Hubs, a huge community of 3D printing enthusiasts.
The community, combined with the excellent support of the company make the whole experience of owning the CraftBot PLUS a breeze.
Price: This printer is not cheap. But it is also not that expensive for what it offers. It has some great features, a huge build platform and is able to print in many materials. Starting at $1099, you do indeed get a great bang for your buck.
Cons of the CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS 3D Printer
No On-board Memory: Having no on-board memory to offload the 3D models mean that in the event that a USB drive looses connection, or the computer that is connected to send models crashes, the print job will stop.
Many 3D printers offer a few gigabytes of onboard storage, to allow the user to offload the files to the printer itself, reassuring that the 3D printing process will not stop because of external connections.
Printer Bed Issues: While the majority of the problems regarding the print bed of the original CraftBot were fixed in the new CraftBot PLUS, some users are still reporting some small problems, mainly the platform not being able to stick to the model that is being printed.
This is mostly seen while printing in ABS material. While with proper care and cleaning of the print bed these problems can be avoided, it is still something that could cause a big and complex print to fail if not configured properly and extensively.
Some Alternatives to Consider
While the CraftBot PLUS is definitely a worthy 3D printer and offers many features without skimping on the quality, there are some other 3D printers on the market that you might want to have a look at.
1) LulzBot Mini 3D Printer
This 3D printer costs a bit more than the CraftBot PLUS, but it has been regarded an excellent 3D printer providing more or less the same features. It is a high performance desktop 3D printer for everyday users.
2) Flashforge Dreamer Dual Extrusion 3D Printer
The Dreamer is also a very well and respected 3D printer and comes at the same price as the CraftBot PLUS. Its biggest advantage though is the inclusion of a dual extrusion print head. This means that you can print using 2 different materials at the same time.
The CraftUnique CraftBot PLUS is a high quality, high performance 3D printer for both beginners and more advanced users. It is able to produce some very high quality prints while being very easy to use. The quality of the printer combined with the companies support and the everyday growing community, this 3D printer is very good choice for anyone who wants to get serious with 3D printing.