- Professional Grade Desktop 3D Printer
- Printing volume 210x297x210mm (~8.25x11.7x8.25in)
- Fully metallic Hotend capable of temperatures up to 315ºC
- Compatible materials: PLA, ABS, Flexfill, PVA, HIPS, Composites (Wood, etc.)
- Heated bed with temperature reaching up to 110ºC, Large touchpad control screen
BCN3D Sigma Technologies Sigma Independent IDEX Dual Extruder Professional Grade Desktop 3D Printer Fully Metal Frame ABS, PLA, Wood, Flexible
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Specifications for this item
|Number of Items||1|
|Item Weight||38.0 pounds|
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Hands down, this is the best dual-extrusion, Professional Grade, Desktop 3D Printer on the market today. Large touchpad control screen The BCN3D Sigma is outfitted with a large built in touchpad and an SD card reader. This allows for easy printing without being connected to a computer and also allows for some nice visual cues for the calibration process. Your creations with dimension The BCN3D Sigma is a 3D printer with two fully independent extruders. It also comes with the third generation BCNozzle, a fully metallic hot end capable of reaching temperatures up to 315ºC. With its large printing surface (DIN A4) reaching up to 110ºC, a 50 µm minimum layer height and its aluminium chassis, the BCN3D Sigma is able to print every object you might set your mind on with very high detail. The independent extruder system allows for multimaterial or multicolor 3D printing. Thanks to this feature, the user can combine the characteristics of different materials and obtain highly detailed prints. The printing volume is 210x297x210mm (~8.25x11.7x8.25in) will allow you to print some pretty sizable objects in a single print. In addition, the flat glass printing bed is magnetically attached in a no-interference mounting scheme that allows for the bed to be removed when you change prints and replaced without requiring recalibration. BCN3D Sigma works with BCN3DNozzle v3, a fully metallic Hotend capable of temperatures (up to 280ºC) during hours, thanks to its hardness. Its standard nozzle is of 0,4 mm and it can work at a minimum layer high of 50 µm.
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First, the pros:
- Independent dual extruders are fantastic for dual material prints. I do a lot of complex and/or delicate prints that require extensive dissolvable support structures in order to print properly. I'd never go back to a system with multiple extruders on the same print head again.
- Bed leveling and calibration routing is spot on. I've never had a print on this machine fail due to failed first layer adhesion as a result of leveling problems, and I've used it down to 0.05mm layers with a first layer of only 0.1mm.
- The design is reasonably solid, yet the use of aluminum for the chassis keeps the overall weight manageable in case you need to move it from time to time
- Better than average reliability, as compared to my Makergear M2 and Mankati Fullscale XT Plus (this is not my first printer...)
- Hot end purge waste bins with integrated nozzle wipers all but eliminate the need for prime pillars
Now the cons:
- Noisy! 1/16 microstepping makes this thing a noisy buhweeee, buhwoooo, weee, weee, weee monster if you have it in your office or general living space. I have to shut my office door when leaving it run at night and can still hear it from the bedroom, which is upstairs and down the hall
- Minor build quality / assembly issues. Things like 3d printed parts that weren't designed with proper clearances, minor component fitment issues, etc.
- Poor material choice for the build plate. I've had two experience thermal failures, more details will follow
- USB connection powers the controller and the front panel, so if you keep it hooked up to a raspberry pi running a print server such as octoprint or repetier server, its always partially on
- filament path has a lot of resistance. The filament makes a complete loop coming off the reel going down, looping back up through the extruder, then reversing direction again in the bowden tube to the head. More to follow on this
- For USA customers, tech support and replacement parts can be delayed due to the time zone differences and international shipping.
Elaborating a bit more, I've made a few changes to the stock machine that I consider to be necessary.
First, I have built an enclosure that prevents drafts from getting into the build chamber. Since I mostly print with ABS, this is a necessity to prevent print quality issues such as warping, layer separation, and failure to adhere to the build plate. I tried the printer without this and ABS is simply unusable without it. A lot of the parts I print need to be tough and heat resistant beyond what PLA will allow, so this was a necessary modification. One challenge when enclosing this printer is the fact that the sweeping curves that make the case look neat are also a pain when you have to cut and bend acrylic to match those curves and provide a reasonably tight fit.
Second, I have replaced both extruders with BondTech units. This change was largely induced by enclosing the printer. THe problem I ran into with the factory extruders is that when they are operated in a printer that is fully enclosed, the additional heat buildup that helps with the printing process causes the extruders to operate at a higher temperature. This heat is then transferred into the extruder head and softens the surface of the filament just enough that slipping and grinding become an issue. Since switching over to the Bondtech extruders, no more issues.
Last, I am in the process of switching over to E3D hot ends. This change is being made as a result of two issues. First, the stock extruder nozzle has a tendency to pick up bits of purge filament form the waste hopper and drag it onto the print. Second, sourcing nozzles in a pain. The change to E3D resolves both issues because nozzles are readily available and the introduction of E3D's silicone hot end cover will eliminate having a large exposed hotend surface to pick up the filament scraps.
Having said all that, I'll dive into a few more technical details regarding things that BCN3D needs to work on.
First and most important, they need to switch to borosilicate, unfrosted glass build plates. I've had two of the build plates experience thermal failures while printing. One shattered, leaving glass pieces all through the printer that I had to vacuum out, the other cracked a bit more gracefully and only caused a failed print. The combination of the type of glass being used and the frosted surface is a recipe for thermal failure because not only is the material unsuitable for repeated thermal cycling, but the frosting effect of etched glass substantially weakens it as well. The end result is a catastrophic failure. I'm in the process of making my own build plates from 3/16 borosilicate glass to use with this printer.
Second, the stepper drivers are not only noisy, bet they exhibit an engineering flaw that causes microstepping to not work properly, resulting in the steppers jumping to full steps instead. This causes an issue that you BCN3D is aware of this issue and is supposed to be updating the design of the stepper drivers early in Q1 2017 to resolve this. The new driver design is available on their github site and I have seen them do side by side test prints of models that I have sent them and the new drivers will fix this issue and the corresponding "zebra stripes" issue.
Third, the extruder cooling fans turn on with the printer and are noisy. Having looked at the prototype hot end interface boards on the BCN3D github site, it would appear that BCN3D is aware of this and an updated motherboard and hot end interface boards look to be in the works but I haven't been able to confirm any proposed release date from the engineers at BCN3D.
Fourth, the hot end thermistors don't have cold junction compensation and the interface is near the hot end. If you are running the machine in a full enclosure, this means that the hot end temperature reading isn't terribly accurate when the interior of the printer has warmed up. I've proposed changes to include a cold junction compensation chip on the hot end interface boards, but do not know if BCN3D engineers will address this.
I'll mention minor firmware bugs / annoyances, but not get into any specific detail as this is really a constantly changing issue. I will, however, say that the most serious issues appear to have been resolved and the USB issue that was part of another review isn't present anymore. I print exclusively over usb from a raspberry pi running repetier server server, so trust me that USB works.
In summary, I still consider this to be a decent printer for the price. BCN3D's willingness to publish all of the design files, schematics, and source code really makes this an excellent printer for enthusiasts and folks that like to tinker. It has a few issues yet to be resolved, but the folks at BCN3D have been working to resolve problems as they are discovered. I believe that if I were to write another review based upon using a printer manufactured later this year, it would be a lot shorter and many of the issues I've mentioned will no longer be present.
A a beautiful 3D printer to look at and to have in your household, this is something to be celebrated and enjoyed, not left in a dim garage, only of it wasn't so noisy like most 3D printers, but a plexiglass enclosure would do wonders, and don't let its beauty fool you, it's dependable too.
Assisted bed calibration with a huge removable glass bed is a dream, although to fully enjoy its benefits I suggest buying one or two extra to keep your printer pumping plastic, I suggest having two extra with one of them having a buildtak sticker.
Being based on an open source platform and using standard gcode and I/O protocols means this printer is easily upgradable, and most importantly, hookable to OctoPrint! which is a cheap, and arguably, the best remote control and monitoring solution for 3D printers, now I chat with my Sigma via Telegram :) (Google: Octoprint Telegram plug-in.)
The independent dual extrusion is by far one of the best of the market. The LCD touchscreen is a huge help as it guides you through all the steps.
3D printers are not for everyone. They have improved a lot in ease of use but you still need to learn how technology works and how the printer is made.
Very cool printer. You can get impressive results.