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Posts Tagged ‘3d printing’

Year 2017 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Fun Stats

December 31st, 2017 20 comments

2017 is coming to an end, and as I do every year, I’ll take a look back at the year that was on CNX Software. The pace of development boards launches has not slowed down this year, and we get an even wider range from the low-end with Orange Pi or NanoPi boards, to much more powerful ARM boards, and some new entrants like Libre Computer. The same is true for TV boxes, most of which now support 4K HDR, ranging from ultra cheap models selling for less than $20 to higher end Android TV boxes, while mini PCs were dominated by Intel Apollo Lake models, although some Cherry Trail products were also launched.

Processor-wise, Amlogic launched more Amlogic S905X derivatives with S905W/S905D/S905Z, which are popular in the TV box market. Rockchip’s most interesting processor this year was RK3328 quad core Cortex A53 processor designed for 4K HDR Android TV boxes, but also popular with single board computers thanks to Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 interfaces that provide good I/O performance. Allwinner H2+/H3/H5 were launched last year, but they kept being used in cheap development boards, retro game consoles, etc.. The company also launched A63 SoC for 2K tablets, and H6 for 4K OTT TV boxes, and we can expect the latter not only to be found in TV boxes such as Zidoo H6 Pro, but in more Orange Pi H6 boards, and likely other products in 2018 since beside media capabilities, the processor also supports Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0, and PCIe. Intel’s Celeron and Pentium Apollo Lake processors dominated the entry-level Windows mini PCs market this year, and Linux was much better supported than in Bay Trail / Cherry Trail processors, but few manufacturers decided to offer Apollo Lake mini PC pre-installed with Ubuntu or other Linux distributions.

2017 was also an interesting year for the Internet of Things (IoT) with Espressif ESP32 going into full gear, and prices dropping to $5 for maker boards. Other WiFi IoT solutions that looked promising last year such as RTL8710AF, did not really took off in a big way. LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network) solutions got even more traction with LoRa dominating, but far from being alone with Sigfox, and the emergence of 3GPP standards like NB-IoT and eMTC.

While I had written articles about 3D printing in the past, it really became a proper category on the blog this year, thanks to Karl’s reviews, and 3D printers provided by GearBest. I’d also like to thank Ian Morrison (Linuxium), TLS, Blu, Nanik who helped with reviews and/or articles this year.

Top 10 Posts Written in 2017

I’ve again compiled a list of the most popular posts of 2017 using the pageviews from Google Analytics, but for a change, I’ll show the results in reverse order:

  1. Google Assistant SDK Turns Your Raspberry Pi 3 into Google Home (May 2017) – Voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant went beyond the companies’own products, and Google Assistant SDK release allowed developers to make their own DIY smart speaker based on Raspberry Pi 3 board, or other ARM Linux boards. I could successfully implement my own using an Orange Pi Zero kit.
  2. Mecool BB2 Pro Review – TV Box with DDR4 Memory – Part 2: Android Firmware, Benchmarks, Kodi (January 2017) – Mecool BB2 Pro was one of the first Amlogic S912 octa-core TV boxes with DDR4 memory, but my tests did not show any benefits over DDR3 memory.
  3. Mecool KI PRO Hybrid Android TV Box with Amlogic S905D SoC, DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 Tuners Sells for $80 (May 2017) – For some reasons, post about VideoStrong/Mecool Android set-top boxes are quite popular on CNX Software, and KI PRO was the first model based on Amlogic S905D processor with support for multiple demodulators.
  4. Orange Pi 2G-IoT ARM Linux Development Board with 2G/GSM Support is Up for Sale for $9.90 (March 2017) – “Cellular IoT Linux board for $10? Where’s the buy button?” might have been the first reaction to many people. But when buyers received their board, it was a struggle and may still be, since it was based on a  RDA Micro processor for phones poorly supported in Linux.
  5. Installing Ubuntu 17.04 on CHUWI LapBook 14.1 Apollo Lake Laptop (February 2017) – People want their cheap and usable Ubuntu laptop, and if manufacturers won’t make one for them, they’ll find ways to make their own. Sadly, CHUWI massively changed the hardware, and it’s not such a good solution anymore.
  6. ASUS Tinker Board is a Raspberry Pi 3 Alternative based on Rockchip RK3288 Processor (January 2017) – A large company like ASUS entering the maker board market, and the solution inspired from Raspberry Pi 3, but more much powerful. That got people interested!
  7. Creality CR-10 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Tips & Tricks, Octoprint, and Craftware (May 2017) – It was the year of cheap $100 to $200 3D printer, but CNX Software visitors were more interested in a better model, and Creality CR-10 review was the most popular 3D Printer review/post this year.
  8. Mecool KIII Pro Hybrid STB Review – Part 2: Android Firmware, TV Center, and DVB-T2 & DVB-S2 App (March 2017) – VideoStrong sells some inexpensive Android TV boxes with tuner under their Mecool, and KIII Pro was their first octa-core model with both DVB-T/T2 and DVB-S2 tuners.
  9. ASUS Tinker Board’s Debian & Kodi Linux Images, Schematics and Documentation (January 2017) – ASUS board was somehow started selling before the company intended to, and while firmware & documentation were there, they were hard to find, so people looked for that information, and found it on CNX Software.
  10. MINIX NEO U9-H Media Hub Review – Part 2: Android 6.0 Firmware & Kodi 17 (March 2017) – Apparently, I’m not the only to consider MINIX NEO U9-H to be one of the best Android TV boxes, as my review of the media hub was the most read post of 2017.

Stats

981 posts were published in 2017. Let’s go straight to users’ country and city location data.

The top five countries have not changes, but this year Germany overtook the United Kingdom in second position. Traffic from India increased on a relative basis, and Australia made it to the top ten at the cost of Russia. London and Paris kept the two top steps, but Bangkok rose to third position, while last year third, Tel aviv-Yafo went away completely from the list. New York is gone being replaced by Warsaw in 8th position.

The list of the most used operating systems, and browsers is fairly stable, but the trends noticed in past years continues, with Windows share of traffic going down, Android going up, and Linux stable, while Chrome dominated even more, with most other browsers going down in percentage basis, except Edge that is very slowly replacing Internet Explorer, and Samsung Internet that replaced Opera mini in the list.

Desktop traffic still rules, but mobile + tablet traffic now accounts for around a third of the traffic.

Finally, I went to dig into pagespeed data with pages loading in 15.58 seconds on average. I then filtered the countries with more than 5,000 pageviews, and CNX Software pages and posts loaded fastest in Portugal, Denmark, and Macedonia. However, people in Venezuela need to wait close to 2 minutes for a page to load on average, and in China and Iran around one minute.

Next year looks promising, and I expect to test Gemini Lake mini PC, and maybe some ARM based mini PCs or laptops, but I’ll review less TV boxes as due to some new regulations I can’t easily import them. The regulatory framework is now in place for LPWAN standards, and I should be able to start playing with LoRa and NB-IoT in 2018, using local services, or my own gateway(s). I’ll keep playing with development boards, as I’m expecting interesting Allwinner H6, Realtek RTD129x, Hilsicon, and other platforms in the year ahead, as well as various IoT products.

I’d like to come together with some of the devices and boards reviewed in 2017 (and a Linux tux) to wish you all a prosperous, healthy, and happy new year 2018!

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HE3D K280 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Build, Tweaks, and First Prints

December 6th, 2017 4 comments

Hello Karl here again with another 3D printer review. Today we are looking at an HE3D K280. I saw the brand for the first time on Gearbest a couple months ago and asked for it to review. I never heard of this brand before and have been wanting to review a delta style printer. In my case, I should have been careful what I asked for. It took me quite some time to get it to print utilizing the whole print bed. I experienced several challenges and after defeating them I enjoy this printer quite a bit. Delta style printers mesmerize me with the movements that they make and all the math that goes into moving the extruder in the X, Y and Z. Regular Cartesian printers are rather simple in this respect.

  • Build Volume – 280×600 mm
  • Heated bed
  • No Parts cooling
  • 2020 aluminum and all injected molded parts except effector
  • Bowden Style
  • 24V system

HE3D K280 Build

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Building a delta printer I found out is quite a bit easier to build than a Cartesian printer. The instructions for this kit are not the greatest. I followed the K200 Youtube videos for the majority of the build. I utilized the printed instructions that came with the printer and I also used the Facebook group. I wish instructions were all in one place but I was able to work through it. I contacted the HE3D Facebook representative and found him extremely helpful. I had about 6 hours build time.

I really liked that it came with some important spares/piece parts. Extra nozzles from .2 to .5 came with the kit. Extra heater block. Extra sensor for probing the bed.

HE3D Firmware

I hate to admit how much time I spent trying trying to calibrate this printer with the stock repetier firmware. I worked every night after the kids went to bed trying to calibrate for over a week. For giggles, I started compiling Marlin and I worked through all the configs, and if you use Marlin firmware you can go from build to printing in about 10 minutes with calibration. Here is a copy of Marlin Bugfix Config. Clone the Bugfix Branch and replace the 2 config files in the marlin directory. This branch is in active development so if an error occurs you might need to compare my configs with generic delta in the example configurations directory. I use Beyond Compare for this task.

One feature I like is the sensor that is included. It fits over the hot end and it is used for calibrating. When pressure is applied it closes a contact.

This sensor is used to calibrate the machine. While building I made sure everything was as square and as tight as possible. I pushed the endstops for the three towers against the top bracing. I also leveled the bed with a speed level.

Once the firmware is flashed, I connected the sensor from above to the pins shown in the manual and placed over the nozzle. I went to Delta Calibration under Prepare in the menu. And let it do its thing. It probes the bed and several points around the perimeter of the bed then homes then does it over and over up to 10 times. At this point all I needed to do is set the Z offset, and save the configuration to EEPROM. In the marlin firmware, I defaulted the offset to -.15 but as I ran through testing -.3 works just about every time for my sensor.

If you make a change and flash firmware again please go into the menu and have it restore failsafe. That was another pain in my side realizing some changes that I made were not taking affect.

After this, I had very successful prints and the nozzle was not digging into the bed near the perimeter.

Please note you must insulate your heat block with at least some Kapton tape or run the chance of heating error if using a parts cooler.

Bed

I did not like the bed mounting system that came with it. If you needed to get to the board it meant unmounting the bed and recalibrating the bed. So I designed some simple removable mounts. 3 are needed. They can be found here on Thingiverse. I put everything together like the picture below then place on 2020 and line everything up. Then tighten the t-nuts. After this I was able to pop the bed off with no tools and get underneath without worrying about calibration each time.

Parts Cooling

The K280 did not come with a parts cooler and it is a 24v system. A while ago purchased several 40mm fans and radial fans off of Ebay. In this case they were 12v. I didn’t want to purchase any more fans so I opted for a buck converter to step down the 24v to 12v. I connected and adjusted to voltage to about 13v. I used this parts cooler. In my second part I will print out this fan on Thingiverse provided by HE3D and try a radial fan.

First Couple Prints

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This turned out really good. I have a couple holes in the mouth but that is a slicing problem. I try to save time so I use very little infill and only 3 top layers.

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This one turned out very well as well. It took me several times to print. There was supports already in the STL that were generated by Meshmixer but were thin. After I scaled up the print it worked the first time.

First thoughts

I really wish the printers that I have been reviewing came with good build documentation with the printer and I didn’t have to search for it. This is the biggest downfall of these kit printers. Parts cooling is the next biggest item I don’t know why that is not standard. I was able to overcome the build with the help of the FB group and the HE3D rep was very helpful. One thing that I have to look into fixing is dimensional accuracy. I found parts were off more than I am accustomed to and I believe a calibration issue and will look into this in the next part. They were off over 1 mm. I will also try to find a 12” mirror to print on. I would like to thank Gearbest for sending a review unit. If you are interested in purchasing you can find a link here. [Update 13/12/2017: The following injected molded effector and fans are now included with all printers]

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 3d printing, he3d, review

Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 3: Upgrades to Fix Bed Leveling Issues (Permanently)

November 14th, 2017 4 comments

Karl here. I have had the Tronxy X3S 3D printer for a while now. It prints well but as I mentioned in previous articles I had to level for every print. Actually near the end I would just overpower the stepper motors while the skirt was printing and level. Leveling front to back was not affected. Only the z height. So this worked but it was frustrating. Before that I tried several different things to mitigate. I thought maybe the endstop for Z homing was inconsistent and replaced it. I tried heating the bed for extended period of time thinking that maybe some thermal expansion. Didn’t help. I finally did a major change to the X carriage with success. I even moved the printer to our local library and the bed stayed leveled for a demo. I call this a success, and will show how I did it. Inspiration for this modification came from the CR-10. This is the biggest mod I have done for any review so far.

3D Printed Parts for Upgrade

My objective was to reuse as much as possible of the original kit. I designed the bracket in Fusion 360 and remixed the Z motor brackets in Windows 3D Builder. To do this upgrade you will need to print 2 Z motor mounts an 1 X/extruder mount. They are published on Thingiverse.

Bed

The easiest place to begin with is the bed. This mod alters the extruder position so the Y stepper motor needs to be relocated outside the frame so no build area is lost. I had some extra belt I think came with this kit that I used. The belt lengthens from the original position.

X Carriage

First remove the Z motors and metal brackets. We will not be reusing the metal brackets. Remove the Z rods. Take off the top 2020 extruded aluminum from the top of the printer and slide the whole X carriage off, and disassemble the left and right wheels, stepper motors, belt etc. The triangle wheel assembly does not need to be broken down. Both extruder and X stepper will be located on the left now. I slid only the triangle wheel assemblies on with the new orientation. I made a little mark on the left and right acrylic wheel assembly to get my positioning right for 2020 aluminum. Center the 2020. I ended up with about 9mm on each side. You will need to drill a hole in the acrylic so a second nut can be used on both sides.

Drill hole through acrylic approx. where indicated by arrow on the bottom set of holes. Enlarge the bottom holes on the back piece so you can use a screwdriver and tighten. Take your time and drill slow. Do this on both sides.

Here is the left side. I mounted the steppers after installing.

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Mount the Z rod brackets upside down on the back in the top holes of the wheel assembly so that the Z rod lines up with the center of the 2020 below.

I tested the orientation of the Z rod nut upside down by changing one side. I really don’t think it matters.

Now mount the Z motors. I didn’t have the proper length nut so they look loose. No adverse effects. If it bothers you can install a washer or nut. The brackets are keeping it from bouncing.

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I have only done a couple test prints, but they turned out fantastic. I can’t say definitively, but I do think I see an improvement. I am running low on filament right now and will test more for final review. The goal was to fix the level issue but any improvement is good.

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Final thoughts

The leveling was driving me crazy on this printer, so I had to find a solution. I started with a goal of changing the orientation of the wheels and just started taking the printer apart. With more than one printer this makes it an easier task. By chance I was able to reuse the existing Z rod brackets and saved quite a bit of time. It did take 2 iterations of the X/extruder bracket, but ultimately didn’t take very long. I had one setback. On the first iteration I had the stepper motors touching, and the steppers got very warm so I put a 5mm gap between them and seemed to resolve the issue.

If you noticed my X axis limit switch is off set it is because I am running stock marlin, and did not build in the offsets so I just moved the limit switch to accommodate. I will follow up with a how to upgrade the firmware, and get rid of some of the annoyances with stock firmware.

After this upgrade I can say it is very much on par with the CR-10 now with some savings. After this upgrade you can get 350 x 330 x 390 mm. I didn’t realize until testing just now that 10mm is lost in the Z. You can get 400mm wide but there is a clearance issue with extruder hitting the triangle brackets. You could probably just clip on a larger mirror with no issues and stick with the existing bed and let it overhang.

I would like to thank Gearbest for sending the printer for review. They sell it for $269.99 including shipping.

Categories: Hardware, Testing Tags: 3d printing, hack, review, tronxy

Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Upgraded Heatbed and RAMPS Board

October 25th, 2017 4 comments

Karl here. So the bed I mentioned in the first part of Tronxy X3S review is not very good. It took about 10-11 minutes to heat up to 60 deg Celsius. I also mentioned I was going to upgrade the board to a RAMPS board. Today we are going to look at both these upgrades.

New Heated Bed

I can take no credit for this one but I wanted to pass this along. Folger tech sells a 12v 280w heated bed stick on pad. I picked this up for $20, but is now $22.

In order to do this upgrade you will need a MOSFET, 12V/30A power supply, and of course the pad above. Super easy installation. Remove the bed and stick on the self adhesive pad centered. Replace the power supply with new one. Should be self explanatory. In order to power this bed a MOSFET is needed. A MOSFET allows you to power a high current bed and not run all the current through the board. I won’t go into much detail about the MOSFET because it has been written about a lot.

I did try the new bed with the existing power supply and without a MOSFET. The stock power supply heated up very quickly. I don’t think it would make it through a 10mm cube before failing. I also connected the new bed directly to the board without the MOSFET and the connector started to fail almost immediately.

Bed heat up times drastically improved.

  • 60 deg Celsius in 2:15… took about 10 minutes previously
  • 100 deg celsius in about 10 minutes… I could not get it past 70°C before

You’re looking at about an extra $60 for this upgrade. Right now, a Tronxy X3S is $289 + $60 for this upgrade. Getting close to CR-10 pricing.

Here are some power measurements with a Sonoff POW.

Power usage idle and both hotend and heated bed on

RAMPS 1.4 Upgrade

I did upgrade to a ramps board. It was my first time using a RAMPs 1.4 and Arduino MEGA board. It was very easy to do. Wiring is well documented. I don’t feel I gained anything other than fixing a few annoyances with stock firmware, and a little bit of build volume on the x and y. Now if your board goes bad here is an inexpensive solution. I picked up this kit and this adapter from Zyltech.

Arduino MEGA

RAMPS 1.4 Board

RAMPS 1.4 Connection Diagram

There are few considerations:

  1. If you decide to use the stock LCD then you will not have an SD card to print from. The stock screen with the X3S does not have an SD card and octoprint is a good solution. If you need to print via SD card you can substitute this screen for the adapter.
  2. The Z motor connectors are very close. I used some male to female Dupont connectors for testing, so I could go back to the stock board easily.

Here are the changes from the stock Marlin firmware that I made.

So once I flashed the board, and made my connections I tested the directions and end stops. If a motor is moving the wrong direction you can adjust 2 ways. Flip the connector on the board or adjust in software. I chose to just flip the connector.

The only physical modification I did was move the X endstop to place the nozzle at the corner of the bed instead of using an offset.

Final Modification

This one was simple. Download and print. I printed a new shroud out of PLA. It was designed by my buddy on thingiverse.

The head design on the X3S is the same as the Tronxy X3.

Closing

I will be putting the main board back now, and printing a bunch of stuff for Halloween. I will share the final thoughts on this printer at that time. I would like to thank GearBest for sending me the Tronxy X3S for review. You can buy the 3D printer from them for $289.99 including shipping (Coupon GBX3S may shove a few dollars off the price).

Continue reading Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 3: Upgrades to Fix Bed Leveling Issues (Permanently)

Voladd Cloud-Connected Linux 3D Printer is Powered by BeagleBone Black Board (Crowdfunding)

October 24th, 2017 No comments

So far, all of the 3D printers that have been reviewed on this blog require you to design or download a 3D object on your computer, and print it from an SD card. But thanks to OctoPrint software and cheap ARM Linux developments boards, it has become possible to add a Linux computer with webcam to remotely start and control the 3D printer for a few dozens dollars. Karl has even released an OctoPrint image for Orange Pi Lite board.

Voladd 3D printer already embeds a Linux board, namely the BeagleBone Black running Debian, which allows the 3D printer to be easy to use since no software  installation is required. You can start printing by selecting an object in a web browser or an app in your smartphone, and they’ve also taken steps to eliminate/reduce maintenance tasks, such as the inclusion of a filament cartridge.

Voladd 3D printer specifications:

  • Internal computer – BeagleBone Black based on TI AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and NFC; MQTT protocol supported
  • Print area – 175 x 125 x 150 mm (xyz)
  • Printing plate – Surface treated, removable, and adjustable with 3 rollers; optional glass platform
  • Print head – 0.2 (coming next year), 0.4 or 0.6 mm
  • Noise attenuated fans
  • Misc – On/off button, switch dial for cartridge, LEDs for connectivity status, general status, server interaction and head heating.
  • Power Supply – 100-240V @ 50/60 Hz
  • Dimensions – 29 x 40 x 29 cm (xyz)
  • Weight – 4.5 kg
  • Certifications – CE, EAC

Voladd 3D printer will ship with a Cartridge with 420 grams of white filament, the printing base, , a quick start guide and warranty. Voladd Cartridges, made of biodegradable, recyclable, and plant-based PLA bioplastic, come in 7 possible colors (20 colors planned for next year), and it appears you can’t just buy filament from anywhere for a refill. So if I understand correctly, you’ll be tied to the company for both the cloud service and filament. But if it really works as advertised: no assembly, no manual calibration, no jamming, no cleaning, etc…,just select an object to print online, it could be a good option for people that just want something that works…

The company also explains the 3D printer will save you money in the long run, it’s good for the environment (no factory, no transportation, biodegradable materials..), secure (AES/TLS), sharable with friends, and Voladd Cloud also include support for the creation of simple objects like personalized signs.

They’ve also provided a tablet comparing Voladd to more typical and harder to use 3D printers.

The 3D printer has already surpassed its 25,000 Euros funding target on Kickstarter. Pledges start at 499 Euros for a “super early bird” rewards include the printer, a white PLA cartridge, and access to Voladd Cloud platform. Shipping adds 25 to 50 Euros if you live in the “Western World”, but for any other countries it goes up to 350 Euros, which means it could costs close to 1000 Euros once local taxes are included. Delivery is scheduled for December 10, 2017. More details may also be available on Voladd website.

Via LinuxGizmos

XYZPrinting da Vinci Color Low Cost Full Color 3D Printer Combines Filament with Inkjet Technology

October 21st, 2017 1 comment

3D printing has become even more affordable this year. If you are on a budget, Anet A8 3D printer going for under $150 is often recommended on the web, but if you have a bigger budget, you’d get printer with a metal extrusion frame, larger build volume, and overall better quality, and Creality CR-10 3D printer is often recommended by reviewers for people with a $300-$400 budget.

All those printers print with a single color, which depends on the color of the filament used. The cheapest way to get a colored sample is to paint it yourself after printing. There are printers with dual extruder allowing to use two filament rolls with different colors, but when Karl reviewed Tevo Tarantula 3D printer with dual extruder, he found it was hard to print, was unconvinced with the results, and found it to be an unnecessary upgrade, preferring painting instead.

At the other range, you have professional full color 3D printers from companies like Statasys, but you’d have to ask for a quote to get a price, and according to Cati.com, models like Stratasys J750 full color 3D printer cost over $200,000.  Mcor ARKe brings the price down to $6,000, but the cheapest full color 3D printer appears to be XYZPrinting da Vinci Color 3D printer currently up for pre-order for $2,999 until October 31th, which should make it affordable to at least some individuals.

da Vinci Color 3D printer specifications:

  • Technology – Color texture Inkjet printing 3D structure + Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
  • Build volume – 200 x 200 x 150 mm
  • Layer resolution – 100-400 microns (0.1-0.4 mm)
  • Filament material – 3D Color-inkjet PLA , PLA, Tough PLA, PETG
  • Ink type – Separate ink cartridge (C M Y K)
  • Nozzle diameter – 0.4 mm
  • Print bed – EZ-removable print bed (non-heated)
  • Print bed leveling – Auto-leveling
  • Stepper motors – 1.8° step angle with 1/16 micro-stepping
  • Positioning precision – X/Y: 12.5 micron; Z: 4 micron
  • Build speed – Average: 30-60 mm/sec; max: 120 mm /sec
  • Print head travel speed – 30 to 300 mm/s
  • Control interface – 5″ color touch LCD
  • Filament feeding – Auto loading
  • Connectivity – WiFi, USB 2.0 port
  • Power requirements – 100-­240 V, 50-60 HZ
  • Dimensions – 600 x 581 x 640 mm(WxDxH)
  • Weight – 32 kg
  • Temperature range – Operating: 15­-30°C; Storage: Ink cartridge 15­-35°C, filament material 0­-38°C

The company provide XYZmaker free 3D software for the printer, working with Windows 7/8/10, Mac OS X 10.10 and greater, or Ubuntu 14.04 or greater. It can handle AMF, PLY, OBJ, STL, and 3CP file types. The video below clearly explain how it works with one filament, and four CYMK ink cartridges, similar to what you’d use in a standard color printer.

 

You may find more details on the product page. After October 31th, the price will be $3,499. Shipping is scheduled for the end of November.

$99 101Hero PYLON is a Poor 3D Printer, But Could Prove Useful to Learning 3D Printing Technology

October 3rd, 2017 6 comments

Anet A8 was one of the first sub $200 3D printer I found last last year, reviews were surprisingly positive. It is now sold for around $150 shipped (with A8PRINT coupon), and experienced reviewers often recommend it to people wanting to get started with 3D printing on a budget.

But last week, as I browsed products on Banggood, I found something even cheaper with 101Hero PYLON 3D printer going for $107.99 shipped with coupon 349da5, and further research lead me to the official website where they sell it for $99 excluding shipping, and provide documentation and video tutorials.

101Hero PYLON 3D printer specifications:

Rocket printed with 101Hero PYLON

  • Printing technology  – FDM (Fused deposition modeling)
  • Host Material – Steel + ABS
  • XYZ Bearings – Steel
  • Print Size – 100 x 100mm
  • Layer thickness – 0.1mm
  • Nozzle diameter – 0.4mm
  • Printing material – PLA
  • Material Diameter – 1.75mm
  • Power Supply – 20W
  • Dimensions – 260 x 240 x 300mm
  • Package Weight – 2.4 kg

The 3D printer comes as a kit that you need to assemble yourself, and also includes a power adapter, a 2x 30g PLA filament (black & white color). It’s said to work with Windows 7 and greater, as well as Linux.

The printer was initially launched on Kickstarter for $49 (+ $30 shipping), and backers received their 3D printer around the beginning of this year so we have already reviews. The best one I found was from Maker’s muse where he explained how they could come to such a low price: 3D print pen technology for the nozzle, and rather weak motors. As can be seen from the red rocket on the right, it does not always print nicely, and while he does not recommend the 3D printer, and instead tell people on a budget to go with Anet A8 in comments, he was impressed that such cheap 3D printer would even exist.

Others were not so forgiving, with one person titling hist video “DO NOT BUY THIS 3D PRINTER (101Hero = 101Zero)“, but  tswaen took a more philosophical approach, saying it was ” license to really learn and understand how 3D printing works”, and wrote instructions showing how he upgraded it to make it better. If you like a challenge, and are interested in this 3D printer, there’s also a private Facebook group where you can share your pain experience, or learn from others.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: 101hero, 3d printing, hack, review

Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 1: Build and First Prints

September 29th, 2017 5 comments

Karl here with part 1 of Tronxy X3S build. It is another large volume printer to fully assemble on your own. Taking between 8-10 hours to put together. I have high hopes for this printer. Key things I like: metal frame, dual X, large build volume. Just from looking at it I don’t like the fact that it has no parts cooler but is easy to remedy.

Tronxy X3S Specifications

Let’s look at some specs.

  • 300 x 300 x 400 mm hot bed (Actually get 330x330x400 build volume)
  • Hot bed temperature: 40 – 110 Deg.C
  • Nozzle temperature: 170-275 Degree
  • Marlin 1.1.5
  • Frame material: Aluminum Extrusion

I have not taken the hotend apart yet so not sure about the nozzle temperature going over 245°C. I will take it apart for the next part. If you are not familiar you don’t want to get lined nozzles above 245°C, or the lining starts to melt. An all metal hotend is required to go above 245°C.

Note: I have had this printer for a while and due to some issues and changing phones I am missing some pictures of the build.

Tronxy X3S Build

My plan on this one was to let my daughter and father build this one as an experiment. I took out the parts below fired up the laptop and inserted the SD card. I was missing instructions on the SD card. So this experiment was shot down right away. With some help from my daughter tightening things, and finding pieces we put the X3S together about 95% just looking at the pictures on GearBest. I got to X carriage arm and got stuck. I couldn’t see the details enough. I remembered that the X3 was a very similar design except larger. I went online, and found the instructions and was able to finish. We put it together over 3 sessions, and had about 8 hours total putting it together. Later on I found a fellow 3D printer enthusiast on Facebook with an X3S and he sent me over the files I was missing on the SD card.

Likes

  • The belts are steel reinforced.
  • Only 2 pieces are printed, and 4 pieces of acrylic (nor including acrylic for power supply and board)
  • Feet are included (wish they were taller to put controller case under the printer)
  • The frame feels very rigid

Dislikes

  • Bearings for belts and mounting to build plate.
  • Potentially weak power supply. Still testing
  • No parts cooler

Click to Enlarge

Heated bed

The bed on the Tronxy is not very good. It takes forever to heat up, and there is no way to make it to 100 deg Celsius. I installed a beefier power supply, and insulated the bed with cork. After this the highest, I got to was about 70°C. It’s only about 10 minutes to get to 50°C so relegated to PLA on this one unless you upgrade the heated bed. I have one on the way with a MOSFET. About a $30 upgrade. Will test with stock, and new power supply to see the difference.

Click to Enlarge

Little messy right now as I am working on it.

First Prints

So we put the printer together, and tested everything out. Checked movement in X, Y, and Z. Homed to make sure endstops worked, and all seemed good in the world. I had some binding on my right Z stepper. I bumped up the current on the potentiometer on the board. Still binding. I then took the Z stepper motor and rod for the Z, and positioned them in the coupler just enough to let the grub screws grip. Loaded the Z with lithium grease and finally loosened the Z screw brass nut just a little to let it move like an oldham coupler. This resolved the binding on the Z.

I started first print, a Benchy, and I noticed it was off center and just not looking right with over extrusion. After a while I figured out that the gears that came with the printer were 16 teeth and not 20 teeth for the X and Y axis. If this board had EEPROM enabled, it would be a matter of just modifying the steps per mm on the x and y appropriately and fix. I think I could have inserted some G-code at the beginning of each print but wanted to use with proper gears. Reducing the teeth will change the accuracy slightly. With this firmware you cannot modify the steps per mm. At this point, I was ready to start upgrading it. I connected the board to my PC and nothing. USB was bad on the board. There was a night between finding out the gears were bad, and board was bad. I had already ordered some gears, and notified GearBest of the bad board.

Fast forward a month. Gears are installed and new board installed. It was a reworked board. I can see some hand soldered spots on the board but everything is working. Finally started printing. I have not printed too much at this point but what I have printed look pretty good.

Facebook, Issues, and Reality

I have not found a good forum anywhere for 3D printing. By that I mean in a traditional forum format. Facebook is the only place that I have found that people work together and ask questions share experiences. I am a member for quite a few of them. All printers have issues that are reoccurring. CR-10 has a lot of broken couplers. Tarantula has broken acrylic (typically after installed, and not during shipping). Tronxy has all kinds of random things wrong. I have 2 outlined above.

Being that these are shipping from China directly with what looks to be slim margins there is a gamble when purchasing. If you have a missing / faulty piece that can be sourced locally just get it in my opinion. The board issue is another story in my case. I have to review with stock hardware so I waited. You can get parts replaced but you might have to wait.

In this case you are getting a 330 x 330 x 400 printer for less than $300 + potentially minor broken faulty parts. Shipping from around the world is tough. I would not even think about shipping it back.

For miscellaneous piece parts, I recommend https://www.zyltech.com/ if in the states. Really good pricing and service. For example on parts above. I ordered early on Friday and they were delivered on Monday. I have done several transactions now.

Wrap up

I did get a ramps board and adapter for the screen. I’m going to get it to work for second part with this review along with bed upgrade. I would like to thank GearBest for shipping the Tronxy X3s for reviewing. If you would like to pick one up you can get one for $289.99 including worldwide shipping, and they have a wider choice of 3D Printers on a dedicated page.

Continue reading “Tronxy X3S 3D Printer Review – Part 2: Upgraded Heatbed and RAMPS Board“.

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