Producers in 3D printing are required to produce three-dimensional objects quickly and easily. In the Praxistest, we check which model is the best.
The 3D print wants to go into the Hobbykeller and away from the image that only professionals or ambitious makers with the object printers can start something. They are meant to appeal to any interested technology enthusiast because, as opposed to kits, they do not require any engineering studies to get the equipment running. They promise us to be ready to work with a few hands. Most of the devices rely on the fused deposition process (FDM) or fused filament fabrication (FFF). These 3D printers melt plastic, push it through a nozzle, and control it layer by layer on a building platform one at a time until the object is finished. New in the desktop area are stereolithography printers (SLA). They work with liquid synthetic resin, which they harden with a laser layer-wise in the desired places. The object is created in contrast to the FDM technology kopfüber.
The range of different models that process plastic is great. In Testfeld the models Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic for 700 Euro or XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 for 600 Euro the entry into the 3D printing. The iRapid Black is priced at 1000 euros. For the upscale class of 3D printers still a bar money is due: the BQ Witbox is around 1700 euros, Conrad Renkforce RF1000 is around 2000 euros, the Ultimaker 2 comes to about 2300 euros and the Makerbot Replicator series Ranges from 1600 euros for the Replicator Mini over 1900 euros for the Replicator 2 up to 3300 euros for the Replicator Fifth Generation . The Mass portal Pharaoh ED is also located in this top price range. SLA again comes from industrial manufacturing. As the first representative for the desk, we tested the Formlabs Form 1+ .It costs around 3400 euros.
Every 3D Printer Has Its Own Features
Due to the price differences we have waived a ranking. For this, we will detail the behavior of the 3D printers in practice. Because they are not easy to set up, switch on and use as a fertigger. All test candidates must first be adapted to the respective location before the first deployment. And this starts with the installation. The calibration of the construction platform for plastic printers is the first priority. In the devices under test, routines run through the process. They are called up via the printer display. Except for the Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic, the display language is English. This can be a hurdle for many users. The iRapid Black is also given with German-speaking menu. In the test version, however, the device communicates with us in English. SLA printer Formlabs Form 1+ is pre-calibrated from the factory. After switching on, the construction platform and basin adjust itself at the installation site.
The adjustment process defines the distance between the building platform and the nozzle. The strength of a piece of paper is the aid. It is placed between nozzle and platform. If it can only move with the train, the distance is correct. Three to four screws are used for adjustment below the platform. For example, the iRapid prints five cubes.They can be placed on the platform without any problems-in the correct placement and without moving, it is positioned correctly and has the right distance to the extruder at any point. Other features: The Ultimaker 2 allows the platform to be moved over the clickwheel as well as via screws. The Conrad Renkforce RF1000, in turn, scans the entire building platform and misses it at predefined points. The Witbox also has something special: it fixes the distance thanks to the included calibration mat. With the Pharaoh ED, a sensor on the print head takes over the distance control, which automatically happens with it.
The second step is to supply the 3D printer with the plastic. Here the test candidates go different ways. The Form 1+ requires synthetic resin, which we fill into the tank up to the specified mark. While the FDM models Conrad Renkforce RF1000, Ultimaker 2 and Pharaoh ED can process both PLA (polylactide, polylactic acid) and ABS (acrylonitrile-butadiene-styrene) as well as plastic mixtures with wood (laywood) or stone (laybrick) Devices on a plastic type. Optimized to PLA are iRapid Black and the Makerbot Replicator family. In the case of the BQ Witbox, there is also a mixed form with wood next to PLA.The 3D printers Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic and XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 are specialized in ABS. In the case of pure PLA printers, the platforms remain cold, the ABS variants and the devices which can process both types, the building platforms can be heated.
The methods of assembly are also different, but they are always accompanied by display instructions. In the Conrad model, we have to loosen screws on the extruder device to insert the plastic thread. This seems somewhat cumbersome, but the test method proves that the plastic line can be transported reliably to the nozzle. The material flow is very constant. The Da Vinci 1.0 relies on a cartridge system. Here, we insert the cartridge with the plastic roller inside the printer and feed the thread to the nozzle. The advantage: the material transport is reliable. Disadvantage: They are bound to the producer material.Plastics from different manufacturers can not be used. We know the approach already from the inkjet and laser printers. The companies want to bind the user to themselves and to pass relatively high prices.
Results With Quality And Speed
In the test run, we always print identical templates. We use all predefined print profiles, which are stored in the software. The quality evaluation is then followed by two variants: the result at standard layer thickness and the highest possible quality. The 3D printers differ: While the Ultimaker 2 can apply fine layers of up to 0.02 millimeters, the Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic creates a minimum of 0.15 millimeters. This affects the finished objects. With the Ultimaker 2, we see almost no individual layers at the test object-a small Sahnetkopf-more. The surface has almost no bumps. In contrast, in the Pearl model, the individual layers remain distinguishable with the naked eye. Here the SLA printer Formlabs Form 1+again represents an exception. It is in the quality clearly over the FDM printers. No 3D printer is required for fine details and smooth surfaces.
No printer is however without weaknesses. Often small holes and burned plastic particles are noticed-also with the Primusform 1+ there are uncleanings. The Makerbot Repkicator Mini can only print with Raft-an auxiliary platform-and has problems when the mechanical movements become too large. The extruder then dissolves from the magnetic holder. The result: the pressure interrupts. If it continues, the device generates a drop at this point, which must be removed afterwards. That gives prints in the quality evaluation.
Good to very good objects are the models of Formlabs, Conrad, iRapid, Makerbot Replicator 2 and Fifth Generation as well as BQ Witbox and Pharaoh ED. They do not reach them all at once. We never get around trying. After that, we can also leave the models unattended except for the iRapid Black, but the build-up of the objects takes longer, the finer they should fail. In the iRapid, the threads in the test have repeatedly crossed on the roll and caused knots. This leads to a stop of the material supply and the 3D printer simply loses the thread. However, he continues to work unimpressed. In addition, our test device lacks a stop function. The pressure can only be suppressed by switching off the device. IRapid has promised remedies.
The thinner the plastic layers, the longer the printing process takes. The fastest way is with low quality-ie with thicker layers. Here the Conrad model delivers the 299 minutes our test object the fastest. With high print quality, values over two hours are nothing extraordinary: with 2:27 hours, the BQ Witbox is the longest. Apart from the Conrad Renkforce RF1000, all test candidates need more than two hours. Our cup of tea is quite small. You can count on several hours for larger or more complex objects. Auxiliary structures with which you print overhangs and which you remove after printing again add to the production time. The SLA technology also takes a lot of time. The Form 1+ creates the smallest resolution in 50 minutes, but takes almost four hours when we choose the finest resolution.
Consumption – Electricity And Printing Material
In the power supply, the 3D printers behave similarly to laser printers. You need the most power for heating – that can be several hundred watts at a time. The demand fluctuates in printing. In standby mode, we do not recognize any particular outliers. On the other hand, the devices are not all disconnected from the mains when they are switched off. This is all the more annoying, since they are not permanently in use. Thus, the Makerbot models and the devices Ultimaker 2 and XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 still pull 0.4 watts in the switched off state. The Formlabs Form 1+ even sucks 0.9 watts out of the net. The 3D printers Conrad Renkforce RF1000, iRapid Black, Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic, BQ Witbox and Pharaoh ED go to 0.0 watt in non-use – that’s commendable.
As is customary with paper printers, the construction costs are also generated by the building contractors. The delivery quantities differ here. Therefore, we calculate the kilo price for the respective plastic. Depending on the weight of our test object-the Sahnetkopf – then the respective price results. With the Pearl Freesculpt EX-1 Basic with 22 cents you get the most favorable. How strong the differences are, can be demonstrated at the Makerbot Mini. The printer requires extra small rolls, which are all the more expensive. The bottom line is our test object, despite its small size already at 1.15 euros. This is really very expensive, but is beaten by the Formlabs Form 1+ loose.Because the SLA printer consumes not only synthetic resin, but also requires for each material its own basin and alcohol for the bath after the pressure.
Conclusion: Trying Out Is Compulsory In 3D Printing
If you are interested in buying a 3D printer listed on computergees.com, you will need all the test candidates to enjoy experimentation and craftsmanship. If you do not want to create templates yourself, you will find files for testing in the various communities. For private use, the templates are freely usable provided you do not make more than seven copies of an item. Commercial or other public use must be approved by the author. Our test objects are fromThingiverse, the Makerbot platform.
The XYZprinting Da Vinci 1.0 is the closest to a plug-and-play device . It is favorable for the device category in the acquisition, but because of the proprietary material expensive in the maintenance. Conradically, the Conrad Renkforce RF1000 or Ultimaker 2 is a costly 3D printer with relatively moderate follow-up costs. Both devices are very flexible to use.In the case of the Conrad model even additional as a milling cutter. They process a wide range of materials and are suitable for users who are looking for a professional printer for a professional printer.
The BQ Witbox needs a lot of patience, but can work alone. This 3D printer is particularly recommended for workshops or publicly accessible rooms, as it is lockable and thus protected against access by third parties. Also convenient are the Makerbot modelsReplicator Fifth Generation and Replicator Mini . However, both models are expensive in the purchase and limited in the case of the mini for a 3D printer. Because he is a master of a quality level and only prints with raft. At the Pharaoh ED, we are convinced of the quality of the printer’s results, not the whole way. Because the adjustment of the printing software to the 3D printer is too complicated and therefore nothing for beginners in the subject.
The SLA printer Formlabs Form 1+ is somewhat isolated . The first 3D printer to work with liquid resin is currently missing the comparison with similar models. However, this is already clear at the moment: in print quality, it is clearly beyond the plastic 3D printers. In subsequent costs also. This is why it is primarily suitable for professional use by model builders, designers and all who have to produce filigree models.
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