This week so far we have published two reviews of two different 3D Printers. We tested the Botmill and Up 3D Printers. While we got to test these printers one of the owners put us in touch with a guy who had a Makerbot Replicator, and he agreed to let us try it out.
The look of the printer is fantastic as all of the metal bars, rods and electronics are hidden behind wooden panels which makes for pleasing looking printer rather than the ugly look of the Botmill or RepRap 3D Printers. The speed of the printer is very impressive. It also has a very impressive build area that is the size of an average loaf of bread. This build area allows you to print really big items like small pots, vases and phone cases. At the time to testing the machine he was printing 3 iPhone cases for sale on his Ebay store. The model that we tested had the dual extrusion heads that allows you to print in two different colours or two different materials. The models that were printing at the time were only single colour/material models so we could not see the dual extrusion in action but from videos and reviews we have seen online this is a very good feature. The detail in the models that the printer can produce beats any of the consumer printers we have tested including the Up and Botmill printers.
We did not get any images or sample prints from this printer as it is being used in a commercial environment so they would not let us publish images as some of the prints and designs were strictly confidential. But despite that we had fun testing out this printer.
After testing 3 different printers I have made my mind up on which printer I will be saving up for. I have decided to save up for the Makerbot Replicator as there is tons of support for this printer, it also has a very big build area compared to others in this price range. I also went for this printer as it has bit more protection from an electric shock as it has a wooden case. I will be going for the Dual Extrusion version as I would like to print multiple colours and also print models that need a bit of support structure using their PVA material which dissolves in water. I will be saving as much money as I can to buy the printer and several rolls of filament and I will be printing models for people to help get more material to print more objects.