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3D Printers
Ack, yuck, you make that sound icky. I don't like the direction Makerbot's gone with some of the newer printers, but the lab @ work seems to like the Z18. Not sure why, the smart extruders don't seem... smart... to me.
I haven't used a replicator, but I've heard nothing good about the 5th gen, or really MakerBot in general after Zachary Smith was forced out, they went closed source, and Bre Pettis took over.  Lot of shadiness in that whole period.

I'm guessing that Savage probably has a Taz of some flavor and/or Josef Prusa's i3 Mk 2.  Those are great printers, and both are open source.

For the interest of those who don't have a printer yet, right now I'm following Thomas Sanladerer's new series on making the cheapest (near) clone of the latter possible without sacrificing too many features or quality.  I don't see a playlist yet, but so far there's Part 1, Part 2   I'm all about cheap, out of necessity, so I might eventually tackle that if his build works well, though space is currently at a premium.  So far, I think the parts have come in between a third and half of what I paid for my printer.

Maybe he'll follow it up with a cheapest Taz clone series...
Printer number second:

Flash Forge Creator Pro

[Image: normal_fashForgeCreatorPro.jpg]

(sorry for the lousy photo)
This is a great printer. As you can see by all the plastic, tools, and debris in the print area, I use it constantly and do a poor job of cleaning up after myself.  (I'm going to have to clean it now, out of shame) The prints are consistently of good quality, the time estimates are accurate and usually a significant amount faster than a number of the other printers. The dual heads are nice. If nothing else when one jams you can switch to the other if you need a print right away and can't take the time to clear the jam. (something that happens to us during competition season) It's versatile, being able to print multiple different plastics on a heated bed.  I wish the print area was a little bigger, but all in all a solid printer.
I keep wondering how this differs from the old one. Can't tell if they "just" changed the case to look like the newer makerbots they were cloning and kept most of the old stuff, or if there're other actual improvements. I'd buy another FF if I needed another printer. (But since discovering the print farm @ work that might be a bit).
printer number third

3D Systems Cube (2nd gen)

[Image: normal_cube.jpg]

Many apologies for this image. I seriously considered not including this printer because of it's current state of disrepair, but I decided to go ahead and do it anyway.  The temperature control for the hot end on this machine failed, and the print head is currently pulled apart for repair. Hence the dangling print head and exposed . . you get the idea.  
The cube was an interesting experiment. It uses cartridges for the filament. I believe this was an attempt on the part of 3D systems to make sure you bought your filament from them. Printers are a one time purchase, but filament you need to buy for the life of the device which makes it a much better income stream.  In the 2nd gen (which is what I have) they even put a chip in the cartridge so it wouldn't print without one and the cartridge tracked how much filament you had used and would tell you when it was time to replace it.  The print volume was small (only 5x5x5) and the slicer and control software that came with the printer doesn't allow for much in the way of adjustment of settings.  The cartridges are considerably more expensive than buying the same amount of filament on a spool.

All of that having been said, I used this printer a great deal prior to the print head breaking. It produced good quality prints and it was fairly reliable.  I could put a print on it and pretty much ignore it until it was done. I used it to print pulleys for robots, spacers, mounting brackets and replacement parts for my other printers. It would print in either PLA or ABS. It had a USB interface, which is much better than the more common SD card. It used this water based liquid glue to adhere parts to the print bed (which was not heated) and the print bed was held on with a magnet so when you were done with a print you could just pull the whole print bed off and submerse it in water, the water would dissolve the glue and the part would pop right off. It was a pain to have to purchase the glue to print, but it was sorta a cool system.

Unfortunately, 3D Systems no longer sells replacement parts for this model and even if they did, they were overpriced. I doubt I will be able to repair this machine and ultimately I will probably strip it for parts and build another printer more suitable for my needs.
Ah, it's so tiny. That warning label is almost as big as it its print bed!
I don't know about the newer Flashforge's, but the one thing I *really* don't like is my printer burning it's connectors. The heated plate wires on the wooden creators are too wimpy and the connectors poorly fitted. I burned up the connector on the motherboard some time ago and replaced it with something a (little) better. I'd intended to replace the power cables as well, but didn't get around to it, and tonight it's burned up the power connector on the build plate.

I noticed the nasty burning plastic smell of the housing. (I thought there was a fire alarm in that room, it wasn't bad enough for that, but I do see the fire alarm's disconnected - guess I'll have to fix that!).
Ok, well that printer's offline, but the other one's still printing so I went ahead and put the fire alarm back in.  (Not sure why it was out).
[Image: Burned_HBP.png]
Burned HBP Printer
Connector too wimpy on older Flashforge build plates, tends to burn up.  The other end on the main board burned up some time ago.
Gearbest sent me a Creality CR-10 and I've been surprisingly pleased by it. I was a bit skeptical, I guess just because it isn't the shape I'm used to. A bit wary of the openness of it and how it'll be heated for ABS, but so far it's doing OK. Printing some little baby groots as a test (I had to do something). It'll be interesting to see how it does with "something bigger" when I get around to it. One advantage over my others is that the print volume is pretty huge. (~30x30x40 cm).
I'm jealous.  People don't send me random 3d printers.  I'm just muddling along with my Maker Select v2.  Smile

Heh, I'm actually not sure what I'd do if I did get a larger printer.  I don't have a ton of space, and my enclosure already takes up most of the spare flat surfaces.  It'd give me a lot more motivation to properly reorganize my living space and get rid of some of the clutter, I suppose.  I've been tempted to build a Hypercube or one of those Mk2 clones I mentioned last time.  (The main reason I haven't is because I still don't think the Mk42 heated bed -- or even clones -- are available.)

Though if Josef Prusa contacted me and said he was sending me a Prusa i3 Mk3 (which was just announced today at Maker Faire New York), or even a Mk2, he'd have a "Shut up and take my address" reply in seconds.

My printer is a Prusa layout just like the CR-10 is, and in fact the CR-10 appears to use a control box that is a near clone of the one on my printer, and the same nozzle. I can print ABS on mine, though I don't do much of it because the printer lives in my bedroom and fumes are an issue. As a result, I've done some successful parts but never really mastered bed adhesion with ABS on large flat parts, for example. The back of Artie's original controller was going to be printed in ABS, but the print failed in several ways, so I eventually reprinted in PLA.

I really need to print a strain relief part for the printer's heatbed wires, though, and that'll require ABS, so I'm tempted to do Treadwell's eyeboxes at the same time, so he'll be better protected from a hot vehicle during transport.

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