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on February 13, 2013
Having owned another brand of 3D printer, and researched many others, this printer is hands down great! Fast prints with low resolution, slow prints with high resolution, easy to use software, telephone tech support. The print quality is very good. The software is easy to use. Wonderful. The first and second prints were absolutely great, and they keep being great (dozens so far)! This printer does the best job of documentation, tech support, everything you need. If one does a simple web search on getting ABS plastic to stick when printing, even so, again this printer does a great job with that as the supplied print platform holds the part well while printing.

The printer can be set to print fast (fan flap open or not) with 0.4mm layers, or super high detail with fan cooled 0.15mm slow printed layers. I printed great 28mm models for my 13 year old son, and now he is using it to print his stuff. Impressive detail. As a parent I couldn't be happier. I also print housings for work as fast as they can print, with repeatable great quality. Holds mechanical shapes well. Holes print very well. No post drilling required as the holes print properly! Strong accurate parts.

If you have never printed with a 3D printer before, you might find issues with 3D printing. My only issue, is ABS plastic printers have a tenancy to warp larger parts right where they attach to the build platform. I am experimenting this ABS warping issue, (but this is an issue with all sub ten thousand dollar printers). I have tried many things. So far I found that the supplied printing base works very well,(but parts when printing can come loose). For this price point this is a great printer. (As I understand this, this issue goes away with PLA plastic, but PLA does not have as high a working temperature if one wants to use the parts for real things. PLA gets soft at 60C, and ABS takes at least 110C to get soft, a big deal with parts that might sit in a hot car, or get truck shipped.) Even so, this printer can print PLA!

Update 2/28/2013 Experimenting with part warping where it attaches to the build platform. Works for no warping at all!
A 2mm raft thickness works, (and is truly needed to fully level the build platform).
Keep the fan on. It makes great parts this way, and the rafts are easier to remove.
The only thing that I have found to work (to prevent wapring) is using the ABS/Acetone paint on the supplied FR4 fiberglass build surface they provide. (When applying the paint, remember the holes, and make sure you paint this on something that will not be harmed. I use a glass plate as a backing during painting.) The included documentation tells how to make the ABS/Acetone paint. Then purchase more clips (they supply six of them) and hold the fiberglass build surface fully along the front and back sides (remembering to leave clips off each corner where the nozzle can come down and hit them). I paint this slurry on before each build. The holes in the fiberglass are fully filled with ABS, and a very thin coat in on the top. It is real work to get the part off when done, but the supplied two inch wide putty knife works very well to remove the part. The build surface is very stiff with the holes filled with ABS. Using this I have not had any of the printed parts warp.

The things below were tried and do not work very well, in descending order.
1) I found that the supplied printing base works OK, but parts when printing can come loose, and the supplied build surface with holes can and warp. It is somewhat flexable, and the parts warp even when attached (and can pull up if no ABS/Acetone paint is used).
2) Kapton tape with ABS/Acetone slurry on top holds to the printed part super well to the Kapton, but the parts generally pull the tape up and warp.
3) 3M Blue painters tape (no slurry), as is, holds the printed part super well, but the parts usually pull the tape up and warp.
4) ABS/Acetone painted on glass held the parts, but the parts pulled up and warped.

If your application can tolerate some warping, then
Blue tape on glass seemed easiest. (about $20 for six glass 5.5" by 5.5" plates from a local glass shop) Just replace tape when needed.
The supplied build platform with the holes worked very well most of the time.

All in all, a truly great 3D printer.
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on March 2, 2013
my company bought me this to prototype parts for our business. Very easy setup and I disagree with the reviews that say you can't get the platform level: by definition, a plane is defined by three points (there are three screws to adjust the level); it just takes patience. I'll cut to the chase: take the ABS "raft" pieces or any misprints you have so far and add them to 2 or 3 oz of acetone in a Mason jar (or other glass container). Lightly "Paint" (i.e. prime) the FR-4 boards with the acetone/abs mixture (be sure to use a natural brush-horsehair or China bristle). Attach the FR-4 board and preheat for at least 15 min. I have had very good results with this technique so far (i.e. no warping or lifting on the corners like I was experiencing with a plain FR-4 board). I also built a "heat shield" out of a liquor case box to retain the heat (cut holes/slots where needed for the reel/line and "viewports" sealed with clear packing tape).
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on March 4, 2013
Afinia has made an awesome product. Make magazine was right when they said best "out of the box" experience. I was making beautiful parts with it in no time. If I could give it 6 stars I would, particularly in light of my experience with other machines - Read on....

I owned a Makerbot Replicator 2 for several months before returning it. Many issues, many bad prints, many broken things. I would strongly recommend avoiding it.

Bought a replicator 1 dual extruder thinking that I was experiencing startup issues with the new rep 2. It arrived with a broken thermocouple that rendered it inoperable - once this was fixed (worked around) the extruder would not extrude. Returned it, too. My experience with makerbot was lousy, I think the engineering on the machines (I am a mechanical engineer) is pretty bad - I mean, thoughtlessly, inexcusably bad in some cases. Unless they change their ways, all the private equity in the world won't save them, not with better products out there. Don't believe me? Look at the discussion boards for Makerbot, look at all the problems and work-arounds and user-submitted fixes. I couldn't find the equivalent for the Afinia, and now I know why. Because the thing just works.

My strong recommendation is to purchase a piece of borosilicate glass to go on the build platform (You can get on Amazon as well) and follow Afinia's instructions for making and painting on the ABS/acetone mixture. Once this was done and the platform leveled out (which is a pain, I'll admit), I'm printing perfect models with no peeling and no raft. If you use the included perf-board, you are going to probably have problems with lifting (I did.) - But, this is the same with every FDM machine out there.

If you want a hobby, get another machine. If you want to make parts, get the Afinia. Case closed.
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on January 31, 2013
This machine is possibly the best you can get for the money and it does pretty much work well right out of the box but with some flaws to deal with that are pretty obvious. First off, the temperature control for the base is pretty whacked, the temperature probe is right next to the heating unit so the only place the base reaches the proper temperature is the little chunk of metal between the heating element and the probe. The edges of the platform are rarely much above room temperature cutting your effective printing area to pretty much the very center of the base and according to my thermometer even it is 20 degrees cooler than it should be. This exacerbates the next problem.

The base plate is not straight and level. In fact it is impossible to square up the base using the leveling screws because the damned thing is basically round. Each of the four corners droop like a willow tree's branches, placing it on a piece of glass shows each corner is 1mm above and one corner is up 2mm. When the base is heated, it makes it even worse. I'm not the only one with this problem as a bunch of folks on various forums are complaining about not being able to level the base correctly with three screws. You can get the center and three corners pretty close but one corner will be way off. If you are looking for any sort of precision with it in this condition, forget it. Printing anything larger than 2" x 2" will likely peel away from the base, maybe ruining the print, maybe not.
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on December 19, 2013
I got this printer last year for xmas and was thrilled. Being a 3d artist I had multiply ways to explore this emerging technology. Before I even got through a whole roll of material, the lifter motor broke. So I was able to send it in. It took close to 3 months to get this turned around. I didn't have the chance to get back into printing with it all fall and just recently tried to calibrate the machine for the first time since getting it back. It failed to print the calibration print. After talking to tech support, he told me most likely the gear and motor shaft needed to be glued again,but it was discovered that the print head belt slipped off the gears. Reinstalled the belt and every time the head moves to the left, the belt migrates inward. They are sending me a new belt, in case it is warped, but there is more.

I reinstalled the belt and did a print. The tray belt tension spring is contacting the internal ribbon guard, the tray contact switch is also sagging and has been rubbing on the top of the gear. This causes the print to smear with every pass. There is no way to fix this as the mount for the switch is made from ABS and it not secure. The gear and motor shaft are also not properly bonded, like the issue that tech support thought was the issue with my print head gear. I am though out of the warranty window now so doubt I'll get any support even though I haven't even run a whole roll of material through the machine. The gears should be indexed with the motor shaft to prevent slippage, the motor shaft should also have a snap ring on the outside to prevent gear travel and the gears themselves should be flanged to prevent belt migration.

In closing, this product is poorly designed and with enough elbow grease, AKA access to a machine shop, I'm sure I'll get it to where it should be. It is just disappointing to have a known issue be allowed to continued even after a warranty repair. Hopefully there is a redesigned model coming out, because this one misses the mark.
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on July 2, 2013
I purchased one of these on a grant I wrote for my high school. I've been using (playing) with it for a few weeks now and it really did work great right out of the box. Ease of use is great, even all the tools (gloves, clippers, metal scraper, etc...) are all included.

Would give it 5 stars except for:

1) The software does not allow one to customize how to print anything. I understand easy-to-use is important, but that doesn't mean one has to disallow other common adjustments. Things I'd like to see:
a) You can't turn off supports, you can scale it way back but it still puts in support where I don't want or need it, even at the "lowest" setting.
b) There is no way to print something entirely "solid" --> useful for tableware, etc... where you don't want any tiny holes leading inside accumulating food/liquid. You can print "kinda" solid, and you can even increase the thickness of the outside coating --> but only on the top and bottom, not the thickness of the sides...
c) There is no way to adjust the size of the "raft" that is printed on... I've had a few cases where I wanted a slightly larger raft and that isn't an option. (Thickness and density can be adjusted..)
d) There is no way to adjust the extruding temperature. The printer is set up to print out their high end "Premium" plastic which is, indeed, nice but I'm led to understand it doesn't do so well on cheaper plastic because it melts at a lower temp. Why can't I fiddle with the temperature of printing then to accommodate this? (*Note that I've printed with their "cheaper" plastic as well with no big problems...)

Don't get me wrong, I don't regret my purchase, but all of the above problems could be fixed by adjusting software... if they did, I would quickly update my rating to a 5/5.
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on February 19, 2013
I have been using 3D printing for many years. I've owned one of these printers (previously called an "Up! printer) for 2 years. I upgraded it to the newest version. For every 2 prints that work, one fails, although this may have been partially due to using inferior old plastic filament. As a result I often find myself endlessly leveling and calibrating the platform and/or unclogging the nozzle. In addition, the building envelope is small - about the size of a coffee cup. Several printers with larger builds are now on the market.

I`d say that most of these consumer grade printers are not quite there yet. Since another professional level 3d printer company still has the patent for a heated enclosed printing environment (important, if not essential for ABS plastic, which will last far longer than the PLA corn starch material), warping and splitting are commonplace. I'd wait awhile before purchasing a 3D printer.

That said, I have read that this is rated as one of the better consumer grade 3D printers on the market.
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on May 24, 2013
After seeing this demonstrated at a trade show with lots of other printers we were impressed enough by the quality in FINE mode and the price to research it more. One day later we ordered one and are waiting for it to arrive.

This will be used for prototype and low volume parts for our company.

I'll update this review after we've printed our first parts.


The package arrived today, minor shipping damage but the printer works fine. The clips that hold the perf-board on are a bit of a pain and if you get them more than just a little on to the perf-board the print head hits them when printing the calibration pattern which uses most of the print area.

I plan to replace the metal table with a longer one with built-in clips that I'll make in our machine shop. This will allow removing the perf-board/glass from the front by just releasing a clamp. It will also just grab the edges so the print head won't have anything to hit.

With the 0.15mm print resolution the output looks very nice, just like I saw at the show.

It would be nice if you could tell it to wait for the table to pre-heat for some amount of time before automatically starting the print. As it is, you need to turn on the pre-heat for "1 hour" and before the hour is up you manually start the print.

You need to be careful to hold the platform when turning off the power or it will drop and hit bottom fairly hard. I saw a note about this so was ready for it.

It's quite quiet running and the ABS odor isn't bad, so we'll be putting this in the office instead of the shop.

Update: I added some pictures above, I see two of them were approved. Been printing a lot of parts, working flawlessly even on a 9 hour print when it was left running overnight.

Edit 2014-01-03: Yesterday I noticed the platform wasn't heating and discovered the connector on the heater had burned up. I took a picture and sent it to Afinia support. I've now got an exchange in progress for both the heater and the board it was plugged into. My cost is shipping the bum parts to them ($6) plus air shipping on the replacement part back to me ($13). Five * customer support!
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on May 27, 2013
This printer is outstanding for the first time user. So easy to use and gives excellent results. Has saved us a lot of money now that we can make our own new ideas and prototypes for our business. Shipped right away and worked just like we thought it would. If you are looking for a 3d printer this is the one.
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on April 7, 2013
This printer falls very short of the mark. Unless you are a die-hard tinkerer who enjoys hours and hours of minute adjustments, failed prints, and concocting your own chemical slurries, stay very far away from this printer.

I have to say that the standards expressed in other reviews are shockingly low. 5 stars for a printer that warps every part over 3 inches? That can only be corrected by slathering a highly toxic and flammable substance all over the $24/pop base plates?

A printer should just work. I have had the pleasure of working with printers that do just this, both in ABS and PLA. Here are some of the more egregious design flaws in this printer.

A print platform that falls with no padding/protection if you turn off the machine.

A set of platform adjustment screws that get just as hot as the platform making later adjustments impossible.

A standard set of print sheets/bases that warp like crazy.

Software that regularly crashes while sending print jobs to the printer.

Software that makes up its own terminology for no-good-reason (e.g. "unload" rather than "delete").

Incomprehensible error messages.

You get the picture. This is not a friendly, simple device. While it may be better than others out there, it simply does not reach a level where it can be called "good."
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