CHOKING HAZARD -- Small parts. Not for children under 3 yrs.
Printrbot Assembled Metal Simple 3D Printer, Black, PLA Filament, 1.75mm Ubis Hot End, 6" x 6" x 6" Build Volume
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Specifications for this item
|Part Number||Assembled Printrbot Simple|
|Number of Items||1|
|Model Number||Printrbot Metal Simple ASM|
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The Printrbot Metal Simple fully assembled 3D fused-filament-fabrication printer has a black powder-coated all-metal construction with open platform for fabricating parts up to 6 x 6 x 6 inches (H x W x D) using 1.75-mm PLA thermoplastic filament (sold separately). The frame is made from steel and aluminum for durability, and it has a black powder-coated finish to protect against wear. The printer head moves on the Y (backward and forward) and Z (up and down) axes, while the print bed moves on the x (left to right) axis. The steel and aluminum print bed is warp resistant and includes an auto-leveling probe that works with the user-chosen computer software to provide a level print surface. The hot end has a maximum resolution of 100 microns and includes a fan to help solidify the molten filament as it is extruded onto the print bed. The printer uses open source software and connects to the computer using the included mini-USB cable. Using an SD card (sold separately), the printer can be disconnected from the computer after initialization for untethered printing during long print jobs.
The guide rails have a 12-mm diameter for stability and have linear bearings for smooth vertical movement of the print head. The GT2 belt and aluminum pulley system facilitates precise movement of the print head. The NEMA 17 stepper motor meets the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) standard ICS 16-2001. The printer includes a sample spool of PLA (polylactic acid) filament.
|Compatible filament material||PLA|
|Filament size||1.75 mm|
|Maximum hot-end temperature||270 degrees C (518 degrees F)|
|Maximum resolution||100 microns|
|Maximum build volume||216 cubic inches|
|Maximum build dimensions||6 x 6 x 6 inches (H x W x D)*|
|Heated or ambient bed||Ambient|
|Connection||Micro-USB (included), SD card (sold separately)|
|Untethered printing||Yes. Requires SD card and computer hookup to start print job before untethering.|
|Supported operating system(s)||Windows, Mac, Linux|
|Software||Open Source. Repetier-host and Slic3r recommended.|
|Input format||Stl, G-code|
|Nozzle diameter||0.4 mm|
|Power requirements||12V (60 watt) laptop power supply|
|Overall dimensions||15 x 11 x 12.5 inches (H x W x D)*|
*H is height, the vertical distance from the lowest to highest point; W is width, the horizontal distance from left to right; D is depth, the horizontal distance from front to back.
Fused filament fabrication printers build prototypes and parts directly from computer-aided-design (CAD) data sources by stacking layers upon layers of molten material. The print material is provided in filament or wire form and is fed through an extruder within the print head, similar to how ink is used in a standard printer. A printer with a single extruder can print using one filament at a time; a printer with dual extruders can print with two different materials or colors at the same time. The thickness of the printed layers can be customized for each print, but the thinnest layer that a printer can lay is called its maximum resolution. Choosing to print using very thin layers will create parts with more detail, but will typically take longer to print. To lay the material in the correct way, the print head and bed typically move in a combination of X-axis (left and right), Y-axis (forward and backward), and Z-axis (up and down) movement.
Printrbot manufactures desktop 3D printers and accessories. The company is headquartered in Lincoln, CA.
What's in the Box?
- Printrbot Metal Simple 3D printer (assembled)
- 12V (60 watt) 5 amp laptop power supply
- Power cord (3-ft. length)
- Micro-USB cable (34-in. length)
- Sample spool of 1.75-mm PLA plastic filament
- (2) wood wrenches
- Auto-leveling spacer
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Perhaps I'm lucky, but this thing has been working near perfectly from the moment I took it out of the box, with no additional calibration whatsoever. I simply plugged it in, followed the setup guide from the printrbot website, and started printing.
There are a few minor things to note: My printer was quite accurate right out of the box, but the calibration objects I print are off by about 0.5mm in various dimensions. At the moment I'm not printing anything that requires precision, but as I get more into it, I'll need to figure out how to fix this. Second, many of the online setup guides were written for the wooden printrbot that has a 100mm x 100mm bed. You'll need to change the settings in your software to 150mm x 150mm so that it fully uses the print bed. Third, just as a sidenote, the bottom of the printer has some rough metal on it and it can scrape your desk/table if you don't put something underneath it. Printrbot might consider putting rubber feet on the bottom in the future.
As a more general comment to those who have never used a 3D printer before: Know that they are more involved and require more babysitting than a "regular" printer (inkjet / laser). It will take some time to learn how to set this up, configure and calibrate it, and use it. However, once you're comfortable with it, printing is easy. (Also: Be sure to buy some blue painter's tape and cover the bed with it.)
Probably the most carefree consumer 3D printer on the market currently is the Ultimaker 2. But the price of $2500+ and long shipping times from Europe, as well as the closed (proprietary) nature of the extruder system made me decide to look for something else.
Printrbot Metal Simple satisfied all my criteria:
- Open Source design: Printrbot is part of the RepRap movement for open source printers. Which means there is a vibrant community with great support available. Also tons of upgrades available and ensured long term support. Replacement parts tend to be very affordable and readily available. The same parts are shared among multiple printers from different manufacturers for instance.
- Solid and simple design. Printrbot Simple Metal feels solid, there is no wiggle, the thing is built like a tank.
- Unbelievable Value. There aren't many printers that can compete with quality of the product and end results in this price range. It's just a perfect 3D printer to start your forae into 3D printing with.
- Easy calibration. Even when you change the brand of painters tape you're using to protect the bed the thickness might change and you need to calibrate your 3D printer again. Printrbot calibration is easy and quick. Thanks to the inclusion of the auto leveling probe. I am able to calibrate my printer accurately each time for consistent results. One of the other printers I was considering LulzBot TAZ could use this system. In the end it's another reason I decided to go with Printrbot instead.
- Available upgrades. Within the first hour of owning the printer I was printing its upgrades. It felt great! Visited thingiverse and printed a filament spool holder.
Printrbot isn't without its issues however. Missing features like a power switch, or a better placement of the connect cables, also an LED strip or a light on top of the extruder arm would have been nice. However these are all nice to haves and can easily be added on as part of the upgrade process. The important part is that Printrbot didn't skimp on essentials. The extruder, and the construction of the printer feels incredibly solid. And despite these shortcomings one still comes away with a feeling of getting an incredible bargain when using this 3D printer.
The printer has a heating bed upgrade available for $99. The bed upgrade also requires an upgraded power supply. But for me personally I only print PLA, and I really have no need for ABS or different types of materials. PLA is the easiest to work with and it just requires you find the right tape. I have great results with ProTapes Pro Scenic 714 Crepe Paper 2".
EDIT: Review after a few months of use.
I have been using the printer for the past 2 months, pretty much every day. Now that I have things "dialed in" it prints better than ever. I did run into a few issues along the way, so I will comment on these.
- Power supply. The power supply it ships with is a bit on the weak side. Mine actually failed, so I picked up a Supernight 12A 10A power supply to replace it with, which seems to be working great. Recommended upgrade for $15 bucks.
- I did have one partial clough, due to using low quality filament. To clear it I just upped the temp to about 210 C and ran the extruder through software to clear the hot end. Like with anything you have to use good filament, I have great results and no issues with Hatchbox filament sold here on Amazon so I am sticking to it for now.
- Octoprint. Highly recommend using Octoprint. Basically you just need a Raspberry Pi (any will do), a wifi dongle or ethernet connection to your network, and to install a web app called Octoprint. Octoprint acts as a 3D print server, it's easy to setup and very easy to use. Highly recommend it since it provides nice stats, and it allows you to manage your prints remotely via wireless connection. It also isn't dependant on your computer in case you have to reboot in a middle of a print.
Still think this is the best purchase one can make to get into 3D printing. I love my Printrbot Metal Simple! I have been so addicted to 3D printing that I am actually now building my own 2nd 3D printer. When it comes to price / performance / ease of operation, it's the best you can get.
For reference, I have an engineering background and have never used a 3D printer before.
I was keen to get started so I assembled the kit (rather than returning it). Assembly took me four hours. There were a lot of parts, I had a plastic compartment case to help keep everything in order. Fortunately, nothing missing - in fact there were spares left over.
The instructions were online (so a big screen near your workbench would be handy). Nothing printed save the bill of materials. The instructions sufficed. A few details were missing which required some deduction on my part. For instance, the hardened shaft rails came in two sets with two lengths. A very subtle difference, but when it came to assembling the bed I picked up the wrong set. Having to go backwards and fix something like that is a nuisance. Additionally, the instructions for setting the height of the z-axis sensor was too "buried" within a mass of instruction pages. It wasn't in the instruction video, which was the most intuitive place for it. I had to hunt it down - after crashing the head into the bed. Hey, "sometimes you gotta run before you can walk".
Hardware wise, the only problem I had was with the fan. There was poor contact between the wire and the plug. I had to do some troubleshooting to figure that out. Tried another fan I had spare to make sure the problem wasn't in the mainboard. After I figured it out, I cut the plug off and put another one on. Another delay, but fan now works.
The software took some getting used to. More deduction was required here. Pressing the right buttons to get the interface to look the same as the instruction video. The logging screen was collapsed and I needed to bring it back to read the command inputs. I believe the software looks slightly different on PC compared with Mac. Another nuisance/impediment when you're hoping to get started quick.
I had pre-ordered some filament separately to get started, but a small roll was included. What wasn't included was blue painter's tape. I discovered (from the instructional videos) that to preserve your bed's surface, taping over with painter's tape was the standard practice. This would have been nice to have out of the box.
The printed articles weren't as immaculate as I'd hoped. However, they fall within reasonable expectation which is to say they are quite dimensionally tolerant but for a few small blobs here and there that can be sanded/filed off. I expect with some fine tuning and experience, some of these imperfections can be minimised. The printed layer thickness was 0.1 mm. Sounded small to me at first, but it is a noticeable surface roughness - to touch, visually acceptable though. Printing can take a long time. So even if the layer resolution could go finer than 0.1 mm, I'd have to think carefully whether I'd want to up the print time.
I gave it 4 stars because the final product itself is quite a sturdy one. I believe I will get some good use out of it. PLA turned out to be quite rigid so I'll be making all the brackets and adaptors I've been wishing I had. Design wise, the Printrbot is quite minimalistic which I'm fond of; easy to maintain if I need to. So for the price, the utility to be gained from such a device can be considerable.
I took away one star for the aggravation. Overall, when I buy a new product, I want to make sure everything works as soon as possible since I may need to put in a warranty claim. Here, it took a while for me to determine that everything worked as it should.