Posts Tagged ‘3d printing’

BuildOne is a $99 WiFi 3D printer with Auto Bed-Leveling (Crowdfunding)

May 26th, 2017 1 comment

3D printers have become more and more affordable with products like Anet A8 3D printer that sells for a little over $150, and now many models are below $200, such as the Prusa i3 clone just reviewed by Karl. But BuildOne is going a step further by bringing the price right below $100, at least during the Kickstarter campaign, and the basic model.

BuildOne 3D printer specifications and key features:

  • Print volume –  125 x 125 x 125 mm
  • Minimum layer resolution – 50 microns (100 to 300 recommended for most prints)
  • Horizontal position resolution – 20 microns / 0.02 mm
  • Filament size – 1.75 mm
  • Filament type – PLA (ABS, nylon, and more with heated bed)
  • Notable features – Auto-calibration, auto leveling,  LED status, panic button to interrupt prints, modularity with easy to replace parts and optional add-ons
  • Connectivity – WiFi to print from web browser or smartphone
  • Power Supply – 12V
  • Dimensions – fits inside a 200m cube
  • Weight – About 2 kgs

The 3D printer uses a modified version of the Marlin firmware with the ability to have the head unit communicate via I2C to reduce the wiring required and allow for future upgrades. That’s also mean you’ll be able to modify the 3D printer source code if you wish to do so. The printer is compatible with most sliders and interfaces sch as Slic3r, Cura, Craftware, etc…, and can also optionally connect to a cloud service, so you could print from anywhere, as long as your print is online.

Four models are available:

  • BuildOne Basic Edition ($99)
  • BuildOne Plus Edition ($114) with extra PEI build plate
  • BuildOne Deluxe Edition  ($149) ABS ready, with display upgrade, PEI build plate, and heated bed
  • BuildOne Ultimate Edition ($174) based on Deluxe Edition plus a full enclosure and carrying case

You can also pledge for upgrades independently:

  • $35 for heated PEI bed
  • $15 for display upgrade with OLED display, tactile joystick
  • $30 for full enclosure and carrying case
  • $15 for premium PLA filament spool

Robotic Industries LLC, the startup behind the project, aimed to reach $100,000, and they’ve already done that with 27 days to go. Shipping adds $20 to $25 for the basic edition, and goes up if you add more options (up to $30 to $45). Delivery is scheduled for September 2017, so it’s look like they are basically done with development, and are just getting funds for mass production. Some crowdfunding campaigns fail, and the number of failures appear to be even greater for 3D printer projects (actually an unrelated $100 3D printer KS project was a scam), but Robotic Industries LLC claims to have a proven and experienced team, as well as industry partners such as Digistump, and Rigao electronics. Their website currently contained a picture with a link to Kickstarter.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 3d printing, kickstarter

Raiscube Prusa I3 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Assembly, First Prints, and Configuration

May 26th, 2017 No comments

Karl here. Today we are going to start looking a Raiscube Prusa I3 3D printer kit sent for review by GearBest. It’s very similar to most low cost 3D printer kits with one exception. The parts cooler is not like any similar kits that I have seen. In my short time researching these kits the parts cooler is one of the first upgrades I see people do. Typically the parts coolers are inadequate or nonexistent. We will find out that it is actually too good. In this review we are first going to outline the basic components and a mini build guide. Then we will look and see how it prints.

Prusa I3 Desktop LCD 3D Printer Specs

Main Features:

  • Mainboard: Melzi V2.0
  • 210 x 210 x 210mm build volume
  • 12864 LCD screen shows your printing information directly and easy for you to manipulate
  • 8mm-thick laser cut acrylic frame for rigidity and long life
  • 3 cooling fans, strong air flow to enhance cooling performance
  • Hot bed temperature up to 120 Deg.C, great for ABS material
  • Click here to know the installation details


  • Main board: Melzi V2.0
  • Build volume: 210 x 210 x 210mm
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Z axis precision: 0.004mm, XY axis precision: 0.012mm
  • Printing precision: 0.1 – 0.2mm
  • Layer thickness: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Extruder temperature: 260 Deg.C ( max. )
  • Hot bed temperature: 120 Deg.C ( max. )
  • Printing format: STL, OBJ, G-code
  • Support system: Windows XP, Win7, Win 8, Linux, Mac
  • Support language: English, Chinese
  • The color of the 0.5kg PLA material we send is sent at random

3D Printer Basics

When putting a kit printer together it is really good to understand the basics on how they operate and the basic components. At the most fundamental level, plastic is heated up to a point where it is molten. Layer by layer, from the bottom up, the printer lays down the plastic to form the object. There are 3 directions X (left and right), Y (forward and back) and Z (up and down).

The basic motion pieces are:

  1. Stepper motors
  2. End stops
  3. Rods
  4. Belts
  5. Bearings
  6. Frame
  7. Hot end (This is melting chamber, cooling fans, etc)
  8. Build plate

On this style printer the hot end and nozzle ride on 2 rods in the X direction. It is moved right and left by a belt that runs between a stepper motor with gears on the shaft and a bearing on the opposite side. On the top X rod is an end stop. End stops are used so the printer knows where in a 3 dimensional space the end of the nozzle is. When a printer is first turned on, it doesn’t know exactly where the nozzle is. The home process that is ran before every print, gives the printer a point of reference for all axis. The Y axis is very similar to the X axis. Instead of the hot end the build plate moves from the front to the back. Again the stepper motor in the back moves the plate forward and back with a belt, gears, and a bearing. Finally the Z axis is controlled by 2 stepper motors that work together to move the hot end up and down. It is guided by 2 rods but instead of a belt a threaded rod turns to move the hot end up and down.

At this point we can move our 3 directions X,Y, and Z. X and Y move with belts. Z moves with a threaded rod. Precision is the name of the game with 3D printers. Everything needs to be tight and not sloppy.

Before Starting to Print

Before you even turn the machine on be sure to move all your axis, and make sure nothing binds or rubs and everything is tight.

  1. The belts must be tight in order to not slip during fast moves. Make sure it isn’t rubbing anything so check alignment visually.
  2. Special consideration has to be made for the Z axis because 2 stepper motors have to work together. The X axis has to be parallel with the build plate. I have read using a ruler but I just used my glue stick to get set. I place the gluestick between stepper motor and Z rod bracket and set height on both sides.
  3. Place the 3 end stops close to the correct positions. Move your axis by hand and make sure the x is at the left edge of the build plate. The Y axis puts the hot end at the front of the build plate. And the Z axis is just above slightly above the build plate.
  4. Check to make sure none of the wires get in a bind especially the build plate and X stepper motor.

During this process I found that my rods that the X axis slid on seemed too short. I contacted GearBest and they were correct. During assembly I initially put the wrong length rods in and tried to force so I might have damaged something. I ended up having to make some spacers about 22mm long to make up the difference. This was completely my fault. I didn’t pay attention enough to the rod lengths in the instructions. I initially cut some bolts but eventually just printed some slightly longer and trimmed them to take up the slack. My trim job on red slugs wasn’t perfect so I wedged a drywall screw a couple treads and has worked well since. As an afterthought I might have been able to do without the red filler pieces and used screws from the beginning.

After turning on navigate the menus and preheat for PLA, load the filament, and home the nozzle. Use the menus, and move the nozzle all around on all axis and extrude some filament. I had to adjust the potentiometer on the stepper motor drivers on both the Z and extruder up. The stepper motors weren’t getting enough juice, and they were clicking and not moving. If you hear clicking that is likely the cause or maybe a binding issue.

Now we need to level the bed. I never printed directly on the bed. I cut a piece of glass that I had that was leftover from CR-10 review. The glass came in a 6 pack of 12” squares for about $10. I had such good luck I went directly to it. Glass is nearly perfectly flat. If it wasn’t you would see these variances in the reflection. I have a tile cutter from where I tiled my bathrooms and used it to cut the mirror down to size. Home the printer again then disable the stepper motors. In the CR-10 review I found leveling by eye was the best but because of the huge cooling fans I wasn’t able to get the right angle. I took a different approach this time. I moved to each corner and just barely tapped the build plate up until I couldn’t hear the glass tapping the nozzle.Then I backed it up just to hear it tapping again. I went around the 4 corners 4 or 5 times to get it adjusted.

Building Prusa i3

I had about 10-11 hours with building, troubleshooting, and managing the wires. I read people doing these kits in about 8 hours but I don’t see how unless they didn’t manage wires. I recommend velcro and not zipties. I think it looks much neater and you can adjust without fear of cutting tiny wires. I downloaded instructions from GearBest page. I found them adequate but not great. All the necessary tools were included with the exception of a pliers or wrench to tighten the big bolts. It came with some cool looking green pla. Below are some of the more notable components. There is no settings with this kit nor software. It does come with an 8 GB SD card but it is blank. I did end up with spare nuts and bolts which is nice.

Kit in package – Click to Enlarge

RepRap Melzi v2.0 Board – Click to Enlarge

LCD Board – Click to Enlarge

Some Cable Management – Click to Enlarge

I made just a couple changes to the stock build. I already mentioned that I installed a mirror for the build plate. I also added a fan to keep the board cool. The stepper motor drivers seemed really hot so I added the fan to keep them cool. When I first found out about reviewing this printer I thought ohh boy I was going to have to do a lot of mods. Adding a MOSFET, bracing etc… to make it print well. I am glad I didn’t buy the MOSFET ahead of time because I don’t think it is needed. A MOSFET is used to to take the burden of supplying power to heat the bed from the board and pull it directly from the power supply. There have been cases of really cheap boards/connectors causing fires.

The instructions show setting up the Z axis stepper motors in some series way but I couldn’t get it to work. I did some research and found out you can also run them parallel and I connected them this way.

I got 1 jam so I took a picture while the fan was off. I tried to print the cat that came with the CR-10, and it has big retractions in it. I believe it pulled back too far too many times and pulled molten filament and it got in the gears. Very simple design.

Final build pictures below.

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First Print

The printer did not come with any pre-sliced files with it. So I opted for a print I have printed several times and knew. I just guessed on temperature and it turned out good. I hate to take these pictures with flash but I didn’t have choice with the lighting while it was on the bed. The picture without the flash is more indicative of what this filament looks like in person. The benchy looks like it missed a layer on the hull but it feels smooth.

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With this translucent filament I found I needed more top and bottom layers and my initial print was too hot and caused stringing.(Nope too cool)

Craftware, Octoprint, and dialing in settings

I use Craftware to slice my objects for printing. I started out with the settings that I dialed previously for CR-10 review. Which was basically stock settings with some slight tweaks. After printing and testing, I found that the fan needs to be set to 75% or less or it cools too well, and causes some curling in extreme overhangs. One reviewer of the printer on GearBest thankfully mentioned this or I might not have tried this. While troubleshooting, I could not override the fan settings with the menu during testing. I would set the fan slower, then a short while later it was back at the percentage I set in the slicer. I looked at the gcode and at every layer change I see an M106. M106 is the gcode to change fan speed. Gcode is the language for 3D printers, CNC machines, and laser engravers are programmed with. In the future I will remove all of these, when wanting to test on the fly. I tested with Cura, and it is set only once at the beginning so it should not be an issue. Another odd thing is that I found that the green filament strings more at lower temperatures.

Octoprint worked as expected at 250,000 baud rate. Octoprint allows you to start stop prints through a web page, do time lapse videos, etc…

If you would like more info on Octoprint or Craftware, check the second part of CR-10 review. Here are the presets that I used for the green PLA that came with the printer for Craftware.

All of the prints below are printed at suboptimal temperature and fan speed and still turned out well. The lattice cube was the only one with fan and temperature calibrated.

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  • Unicorn first failed print. I added some additional custom supports to the head in Craftware and it printed fine. Didn’t get a picture of final before daughter gave to friend. I was very surprised all these little supports made it but one.

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  • CR-10 left vs Prusa I3 right. I broke part off CR-10. More stringing but I think with retraction and temp calibration I can dial in. The CR-10 is just slightly better. This was printer before I figured out to turn the fan down –

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Final Thoughts


  1. The bed and the nozzle heat up fast
  2. Relatively quiet
  3. Prints accurately
  4. No modifications needed to print well. Only one recommendation is a mirror print plate.
  5. All the bearings and parts are tight and not sloppy.
  6. Wiring is properly sized for the loads.

Not so good

  1. Needs better instructions. Might not be easiest to put together for a beginner.
  2. Better springs for build plate and thicker build plate H bracket. (I have to re-level every print. I think this would help)
  3. Beeper/buzzer is too loud so I removed it.
  4. Add fan to keep Arduino board cool.

I like this printer and had good success with it. There are just a few minor gripes. I was apprehensive over the acrylic but it serves its purpose to keep costs down. I’m relatively new to 3D printing but I believe this is a good kit. The parts cooling fan is fantastic. I am currently printing a baby groot in kcamel wood PLA that I purchased from GearBest. I will include more prints in 2nd part. In the second part we will also look to see if adding an E3D clone improves quality.

I would like to thank Gearbest for the Prusa I3 clone for review, and if interested, you can purchase it for $179.9 including free worldwide shipping using CNXPrusa coupon.

EduExo DIY Robotic Exoskeleton Kit is Arduino Powered, 3D Printable, Designed for STEM Education (Crowdfunding)

May 12th, 2017 1 comment

Robotic exoskeletons are used for medical purposes such as helping with the rehabilitation of stroke patients, or enable paraplegics to walk again, as well as in the work place to assist people lifting heavy objects. While it’s possible to learn about the theory about exoskeleton technology, practical experience may help grasping all concepts better. However, there are not many courses available, and exoskeletons are usually expensive, so Volker Bartenbach, PhD at ETH in Zürich, has decided to created EduExo robotic exoskeleton kit for education purpose.

The EduExo hardware is based on off-the-shelf components like an Arduino UNO board, a motor, and a force sensor, as well as a rigid exoskeleton structure and cuff interfaces. The latter is optional as you can get the kit without it, and will instead receive the STL files to 3D print the parts yourself.

There’s also a handbook to help you get started in several steps:

  1. Exoskeleton Introduction
  2. Mechanics and Anatomy – Theory + instructions to assemble the kit
  3. Electronics and Software –  Theory + instructions to connect electronic components and write basic software with the Arduino IDE
  4. Control Systems  – Theory explaining the behavior of the exoskeleton, and step by step instructions to implement and test the control systems with the kit.
  5. Virtual Reality and Video Games – Learn how to create a computer game, connect the exoskeleton to your computer (Windows PC) and use it as a game controller. The demo relies on Unity 3D engine
  6. The Muscle Control Extension – You can reproduce your arm movements with the kit using an electromyography-EMG sensor (sold separately)

One you’ve gone through the handbook, you should understand the basics of exoskeletons, and maybe try develop your own algorithm or programs. Note that’s it’s just an educational device, it’s not powerful enough to provide any kind of support.

EduExo has been launched on Kickstarter with a 8,000 CHF ($7,939 US) funding goal. A 15 CHF pledge will get you the e-handbook only. If you have a 3D printer and most of the components, 30 CHF should get you the handbook, 3D STL files, and the components list. A full kit with all parts and a printed handbook requires a 165 CHF pledge (early bird). If you want to play with the Muscle Control Extension part, you’d need to spend $250 for the full kit plus the EMG sensor. You may also learn more about the educational kit and exoskeletons in general on EduExo website.

Via Arduino blog

Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Tips & Tricks, Octoprint, and Craftware

May 5th, 2017 No comments

Hey Karl again with part 2 of my 3D printing experience with the CR-10, after the first part describing CR-10 3D printer setup and first prints. The intent is to share my experiences with the CR-10 with the perspective from a noob. I have to say if you are hard heading like I am, and do a lot of research but don’t fully listen to what you are reading, you are going to waste a lot of filament and time. I spent a couple hours a day for weeks with trial and error and watching the printer and how it works adjusting about a billion settings and testing. I am hoping this will help any current or future CR-10 owner speed up the learning curve.

Measuring Filament Diameter

The single biggest thing to improve my print quality I found was measuring the filament. I read about this several times but just didn’t do it. On some prints it didn’t matter they came out great. On others I had terrible zits and under and over extrusion. Depending on the model the effects are more pronounced.

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I purchased a cheap plastic caliper that only goes down to tenths right now so I have to do some trial and error. I plan on getting a metal one in the very near future to cut down that time that goes to the thousandths.

Before vs After – Still trying to figure out why gaps are in the print…suspect z rod issue maybe need to increase driver potentiometer. This print was done before zrod mod and I haven’t printed enough since to be conclusive)

The Batman on the left is before and batman on the right is after. It really hard to show in pictures but the one on the right is 200% better. You can see it really well on his face. Overhangs on both are a little rough. Overhangs are places in the print where you’re printing in mid air with no supports. Eventually I will look at changing the parts cooler to help with this. A different parts cooler can cool the filament faster and it will sag far less. For now on these, I can do some post print cleanup.

Here is a seem on the round part of the batman head that is just barely noticeable.

To measure unroll about 3m of filament and measure at 10 points. At each of those points measure then rotate caliper around 90 degrees. Average the 20 points and set it in your slicer filament diameter. I purchased 3 different brands and none seem close to 1.75. I been running between 1.65 and 1.69. My caliper bounces between 1.6 and 1.7. I will probably pick this one up for $27.

Extruding Temperature

The nozzle temperature calibration is the second most important procedure I found to affect prints. This one is pretty easy to do. I downloaded a customizable temperature tower. I set mine up from 225-170 at 5 deg increments with highest temp at the bottom. Then set Craftware nozzle temperature to 225 then used set this code in the layer script box to adjust the temperature at different heights. Craftware didn’t like the the STL generated by Thingiverse for this particular object. I imported into MeshMixer and exported to an OBJ to fix.

Depending on the filament you are using you can adjust the temperatures. I highly suggest testing outside the manufactured suggested temperature. The wood filament that I purchased from GearBest works best for me 10 degrees cooler than the suggested lowest temperature.

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At first I printed with trial and error. After doing a temperature tower I was way off, and noticed a difference in quality. Although this particular temperature tower doesn’t seem perfect. On the red PLA, I ended up going slightly higher than the one that looks best. On the picture, below it is really obvious with the wood filament which is better. The red and black are not as obvious. I will try some different temperature towers in the future.

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CR-10 Hardware Upgrades:  Mirror and Spacer

I made 2 modifications. I replaced the glass printbed that came with the printer with a mirror. I read mirrors have to be extremely level in order to not cause distortion. I purchased a 10 pack from a local hardware store for about 10 dollars. This gave me a good flat surface and as a benefit I didn’t have to use paper to level. I didn’t realize this for a long time, so I tweaked all kinds of settings trying to get the first layers looking better.

After trying to get a perfect first layers, I did a bunch of reading on bed leveling. I ended up purchasing some feeler gauges (ended up being a waste). It is really for me hard to level while sliding something between 2 slick surfaces. I had read a really long post in a forum about just eye it if you have a mirror. This worked really well for me. It is surprising how well you can level with the naked eye. I set the level as close to the bed as possible without touching. When I move the nozzle to the 4 corners above the glass if there is any pressure on the filament it will leave just the slightest line.This is something that you just have to do and experience to perfect.

The second thing I did was insert a washer between z axis servo and frame. After reading a few posts on the Facebook forum I decided to take a look at mine. Sure enough z axis rod was in a bind. I didn’t even realize this. But one symptom is that before this I was only able to push the z axis down. Now I am mostly able to move up and down with the stepper motors disabled.


My SD card slot on the control box stopped working. I was able to get it working by bending in the outside of the reader inside the box to force the card to make contact with the pins. I knew this solution wouldn’t be a permanent solution. I can solder a new one but haven’t got to it yet. Luckily I had a Raspberry Pi my brother gave me. I never found a good use until now. There is no way I would trust a Windows box for this task. I would cry if I was in a long print and windows decided to update or some other Windows thing. I loaded Octoprint with Win32DiskImager on an SD card. Set my network settings in a text file, SSH’ed over and expanded the partition to the SD card size. I set a static IP address through my router and now back in business. I kinda wish that I started with Octoprint. It is very handy. It is much easier than constantly swapping SD cards around. One other benefit is I hooked up a webcam and I can see progress in any browser while at home… If I wanted to check from anywhere I could VPN to the house as well. It is really straight forward and easy to use. I also setup a pushbullet notification to send me a picture when a print is complete. I just started doing time lapses in Octoprint which is really a cool feature. I did have a few issues where prints would fail randomly and get a communications issue. It is a known issue on the Octoprint wiki. There were a few causes so I covered them all, and haven’t had an issue since. I did end up charging my phone with the USB cable that I was using to power the Raspberry Pi with, and I definitely attribute it to the cause of the issue. Phone charged much slower over this cable on a charger I know typically charges much faster. More on this issue in previous article here. I also replaced the long USB cable that came with the printer with a very short 4” one. While it was turned off I also installed a heat sink.

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Let’s talk about slicers. Slicers take the 3D object and makes a file that the 3D printer reads, and it tells the printer how exactly to print the object. Every single move, temperature change, etc… is controlled. After much trial and error I found that Craftware works best for me as a slicer. I have not tried Simplify 3D because it costs $150. The single biggest reason IMHO is the automatic placement of the seams. Seams practically disappear in turns. Craftware will choose the seam placement in the corner over a flat surface on its own. I have some really clean prints. Right now, I am focusing on finish with as little post print cleanup. Another feature is in the slicer settings there is window that visually shows how the settings are affecting the print. One final noteworthy feature is the ability to manually place supports. Automatic works as well but I believe automatic puts too many.

I started out with default settings and did some test prints. I only tweaked very few settings.

Below are some screenshots.

Main Screen with a benchy – Click to Enlarge

There is a bug. When installing the first time, load the second to last version, and set your build volume. Then upgrade to the latest. Otherwise the size will have to be set every time it is launched.

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After placing and scaling your parts, press the slice button and change all your settings.

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Now you can inspect the print, and see how each layer is printed. Press Save to save your gcode.

I find myself changing settings for every print after dialing it in. There is no one size fits all. I look at these every print:

  • Layer height
  • Draw speed
  • Infill
  • Top and bottom layer count

Gotta have LED’s

I have a couple feet left…will probably stick a few to the nozzle frame and power by a fan.

More 3D Print Samples

Here are just some of the prints that I have done.

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Cortana Chip. One of first prints for buddy of mine for CosPlay. I was still tweaking settings but turned out OK.

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Box I designed in Tinkercad, so friend can mount his NEO TV to bottom of his wall mounted TV. This was before I measured filament and still had bad zits.

Vase. Printed after started measuring filament. Flawless and is water tight.Printed in vase mode.

One of many Baby Groots printed. My buddies went wild over this one. I have printed it several times. About a 30 hours print at .1 layer, and slow.

Designed this in Fusion 360 to fix my ice dispenser in my Fridge. Printed really fast because I didn’t care if it looked bad. 6 outer layers for strength with 20% infill. Really surprised this is holding up in freezer. I was a little off on center hole measurement and enlarged with a drill. Dumb cheap calipers.

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First print with supports. Auto-generated in Craftware. Second is after bulk cleanup. Need to take tweezers to get remaining bits. Keep in mind this thing is tiny. .2 layer height.

Final thoughts

The only complaint that I really have are the noisy fans but they could be replaced, and the faulty micro SD card reader. This is my first printer, but I still think they could be less noisy. Other then that, I have enjoyed my time with the CR-10. I would like to thank Gearbest for sending the CR-10 to review, and if you are interested in the printer you could purchase it from their website for $309.99 plus shipping using GBCR10 coupon. I plan on 1 more article. Some bigger prints and some mods I would like to try (but running out of filament). If you have any questions or comments feel free to post below.

AIO Robotics Zeus 3D Printer, Scanner, and Editor Allows You to Print and Copy 3D Objects Without a PC

April 26th, 2017 1 comment

The 3D printer maket is brutal. Many people have tried to designed their own 3D printer, and launch them through crowdfunding campaigns, but the rate is failure is very high, and some cases, scams are also reported. When I covered BlackSmith Genesis 3D Printer, Scanner and Copier in 2015,  I was hopefully it would become successful, as it solves one the main problem with 3D printing: the high skill sets required to operate the device as it would just operate as a 3D copier. Place the object inside the 3D printer, press copy, and a few minutes or hours later, you get a copy of the object without having to learn about 3D design or G-code format. But today, I noticed the website account at expired, and the 3D copier was nowhere to be found, so it looks like another failure. Around the same time in 2015, another company called AIO Robotics launched Zeus 3D printer, scanner and editor, and I re-discover the printer through a blog post on Tindie. A good sign since it means the company survived for at least 2 years, and should have a working business model.

Let’s have a closer look at the main hardware specifications of Zeus 3D copier:

  • 3D Scanner
    • Technology – Swiping Laser Triangulation
    • Volume – 22.86mm diameter x 11.18 mm height
    • Resolution – 150 μm in Color
  • 3D Printer
    • Technology – Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
    • Volume – 20.32 mm x 15.24 mm x 14.48 mm
    • Resolution – 80 μm, 120 μm, 200 μm
    • Filament System – Non-proprietary, 1.75 mm diameter
  • Safety Feature – Kensington Lock Slot
  • On-board Storage – 8 GB eMMC or 16 GB Micro-SD slot
  • Connectivity – USB Stick, Direct Wireless
  • Processor – Quad core processor @ 1.7 GHz
  • Touchscreen Size – 7″ Capacitive Color Touchscreen to view and edit models
  • Shipping Size & Weight – ~ 66 x cm x 53.3 cm x 50.8 cm, 26.3 kg

The mode of operation is very simple. Insert you object in the 3D printer to start the scan, edit it if needed (e.g. zoom in/out), and print it. This is summarize in the video (no audio) below.

You can check a scan sample and view the PNG files, or open the sample in Slic3r.

Zeus All-in-One 3D printer sells for $2,499 on Tindie, $2,237.37 on Amazon US, where you’ll also find usually positive user reviews, but many not from “verified purchases”, and some other reviewers mention several issues including low success while printing (80% fails) due to the filament breaking, while scan is OK as long as you calibrate the device, and cover the object with white powder (e.g. flour, talc, …) before scanning.

You’ll find more details about the device on AIO Robotics Zeus microsite.

Categories: Hardware Tags: 3d printing

Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Setup, and First Prints

April 4th, 2017 9 comments

Today we are going to take a first look at the Creality CR-10 3D printer. This is a multipart series with the first part being unboxing and initial setup. I have no experience with 3D printing, and when I found out I would be doing this review I was ecstatic. It took a while to get shipped because of the wild popularity at Gearbest. I believe supply has caught up with demand. While waiting I read as much as I could about 3D printing. and I am glad I did.

Creality CR-10 3D Printer Specifications

  • 300 x 300 x 400mm build volume
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Memory card offline print: SD card
  • Prints up to 80mm/s (but slower is better)
  • File format: G-code, JPG, OBJ, STL (I have only done g-code)
  • 1.75mm
  • Software – Cura; octoprint compatible

CR-10 3D Printer Unboxing and Setup

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I had the CR-10 assembled and printing in about an hour. I had a completed successful cat a couple hours later. There is one file of a cat on the sdcard pre-sliced. It was just a handful of bolts and some electrical connections. I read a couple other reviews and some beds were loose and wobbly. I didn’t have that issue. I did go over and tighten them after a week when I noticed a couple were not making good contact.The printed instructions were not complete but detailed instructions were on the sdcard. I loaded the assembly instructions on my cell phone and worked off of it. All the tools to work on the printer are included including some extra parts. Really the only thing I had to do is level the bed. To do this, I turned on the unit and told the printer to “autohome”. X and Y were good but Z wasn’t. Z was not triggering its limit switch, which I installed. I turned the controller off and adjusted the Z limit switch. Then told it to home again. In the settings, I disabled the stepper motors and took a regular sheet of paper and I leveled the bed. This is done by moving the print head around to the 4 corners and turning the thumb wheels until friction is felt. I went around 4 times to make sure it was level and I felt the same friction at each point.

I don’t have a good place to print that is ventilated. I do want to try abs so a warm ventilated box is necessary, so I built this box and is the final resting place for the CR-10.

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Inside the Control Box

It’s neat and orderly inside the control box. Wires seemed adequately sized. I read reviews of some lower cost printers not using proper gauge wire and rated connectors and wires charring. These pictures are after 2 weeks and I didn’t notice any visual indication of issues. There is also a mosfet included which was one of the upgrades on the more intense DIY kits.

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First prints on CR-10 3D Printer

The supplied cat already sliced and ready to print was perfect. The next night I loaded I wanted to get my kids involved so I pulled in Thingiverse. Thingiverse is a website where people upload 3D files that you can download for free. I had my kids each pick out something to print. Daughter picked out an owl. Son picked a pirate ship. So one print down I was confident to start slicing my own. Loaded latest Cura from their website, because it was newer than the one supplied on the SD card. Cura has profiles to tweak settings and I found a profile on the Facebook user group page. Loaded it sliced the owl first and started printing. It was looking good so I went to bed. The next morning I woke up to a mess. About a quarter of the way up broke loose, and first failed print. I didn’t think too much about it. Started again and it kept on coming loose. I tried new tape that was provided. No go. During my research I read hair spray works. It didn’t for me. Then I found a purple glue stick from kids stash which I read works. Boom stuck hard. Works the best and every time for me. I only use a very light and sticks very well. I also didn’t want to use hairspray because it is messy. I was afraid it would gum up the printer with over spray. I could take the bed off bet then have to level every time.

After getting sticking issue resolved I went on to print to print everything successfully​ with the supplied filament.

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When you have a 3D object that you want to print it needs to be sliced. Slicing takes the 3D object and puts it in a file format the printer uses called Gcode. There are many slicers out there. The printer comes with an older version of Cura. I opted for a newer version to get more features. More features is better? There are a ton of tweaks you can change to adjust the print quality as well as dialing in filament. Not all filament is the same. I will go more in depth later.

Facebook Group

Although I wish it was a real forum I have found the CR-10 Facebook group helpful. I really recommend joining and reading through the posts. It helps to see what other people are doing. As of the last couple days, the firmware is starting to be modded to the latest. This is a really good sign. It’s a pretty large group with 1,800 members and overall I found it very helpful. It is kinda hard to tame all the variables in the slicers.

Final Thoughts

I have some red, black, and wood filament I have been printing with for a couple days now. I am sticking with small prints to gain confidence and conserve filament. I have run into some blobs and zits on the filament that I purchased. I will go more in depth when I find out how to overcome this. I will also go deeper into the slicer and settings and troubleshooting once I figure it out. I know it can print well with this white PLA provided. I feel like 3D printing is an art form and need to be able to tame these settings. I have been watching it print trying to become one with the printer.

So far I am really happy with the results. I am calling these prints with the white PLA perfect . The printer is extremely easy to use. Big build volume. Unlike some other kits where it takes 8-9 hours to put together and you have to print some modifications to print good quality prints. This one is pretty much plug and play so far.

I would like to thank GearBest for sending the CR-10 3D printer to review, and if you are interested in the printer you could purchase it from their website for $405.99 plus shipping. [Update: using coupon 3DCR10 will bring the price down to $401.99; Update 2: GBCR10 coupon brings that down to $399.99]

Continue reading “Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Tips & Tricks, Octoprint, and Craftware“.

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 3d printing, creality, review

Anet A8 DIY 3D Printer Could Be a Worthwhile First 3D Printer for $156

November 3rd, 2016 23 comments

You probably have wished getting started with 3D printer, as I did, but you may have been put off with the high cost associated with 3D printers even the cheaper ones for several hundred dollars, especially if you are unsure whether you’re going to use it often. But there’s now a very affordable 3D printer kit based on Prusa i3 printer that sells on GearBest for $155.99 + shipping (around $30) with DesktopGB coupon.

cheap-3d-printer-anet-a8Anet A8 3D printer specifications:

  • Print Area: 220 x 220 x 240mm
  • Print speed – 100 mm/s
  • Nozzle diameter – 0.4 mm
  • Layer thickness – 0.1 – 0.3 mm
  • XY-axis positioning accuracy – 0.012 mm
  • Z-axis positioning accuracy – 0.004 mm
  • Supported materials – ABS, PLA, TPU, Luminescent, Nylon PVA, PP, Wood???
  • Material diameter – 1.75mm
  • Frame material – Acrylic plate
  • Platform board: Aluminum Base
  • 2004 LCD screen for configuration
  • SD card for offline print
  • Supported file formats – G-code, OBJ, STL
  • Voltage: 12V
  • Weight – 8.5 kg
  • Dimensions – 3D printer: 510 x 400 x 415 mm; Package: 520x350x220 mm
  • Operating Temperature Range – 10 to 30 C
  • Certification – EMC,FCC,LVD,RoHs

The manufacturer recommends Cura or Repetier-Host software for Windows, Linux, or Mac OS to work with the printer. It’s a kit, so you’d need to assemble it, and it should take around a day, although Tulio Laanen, who is experienced with 3D printers and has reviewed Anet A8 in the video below, managed to do it in 4 to 5 hours.

Overall he was surprised by how well the printer worked considering the price, but he also printed some parts to improve the printer, and the provided filament roll. You’ll also find 3D files for Anet A8 spare part on thingiverse. I have a bunch a development boards without case,  so such printer might be an interesting addition, especially it’s likely to become popular as for less than $200 shipped, it’s cheap and appears to work reasonably well.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 3d printing, anet, review

Learn the Basics of Humanoid Robots with InMoov Finger Starter Kit

August 22nd, 2016 2 comments

In a not so distant future, most humans will live off their government provided basic income, relaxing and drinking their robot brewed, drone delivered beer or soda, opened and served by their humanoid robot maid. Well, maybe… In the meantime, it might be interesting to learn how to make humanoid robots such as InMoov, but since it’s quite complicated, it might be better to start small… with a single finger.


That’s exactly what InMoov Finger Starter Kit offers you to do in order to understand the basics principles of the complete robot. The kit includes:

  • 1x 3D printed base support in ABS
  • 3D printed finger parts in ABS
  • 1 meter braided 200 LB tendon
  • 1x 5cm filament for peg/pin use to assemble finger joints
  • 1x wheel horn adapter (Servo Pulley)
  • 4x screws to fix the servo to the base support.

You’ll also need to provide your own Arduino Uno (or Leonardo or Duelaminove..) board, and servo such as HK15298 or the cheaper MG995. More details and assembly instructions are explained on the kit’s tutorial page. Once assembly is complete, you can run a simple sketch to see the finger moving, or a more advanced one to control it with your voice. It can also be interfaced with muscle or ultrasound sensors.

If you already own a 3D printer, you could also print them yourself. Once you can confident enough, you could move to the next stage, and build the complete InMoov open source robot shown in the video below.

The starter kit was actually showcased in 2013, but I’ve only come across the kit via Tindie, where it is sold for $37. You can also buy it directly from InMoov website for 34 Euros.