3D Printer Round-up: Cube 3D, Up! and Solidoodle

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The Up! Mini by PP3DP.com and Delta Micro Factory Corp. is another printer that is designed to be easy for consumers to use, as well as functional, with good-looking design aesthetics.  The Up! Mini offers a fully enclosed design that comes with all the tools and equipment you could ever need to setup your own little 3D print shop, right on down to the work gloves you'll need to observe proper safety precautions.



The Up! Mini has a full enclosure design that offers both acoustic and thermal advantages.  While printing, to minimize noise you can close the access doors (open here) and things quiet down nicely.  There's an added side benefit of more stable ambient air temperature around the print bed when these doors are closed too, which also speeds up warm-up time.  However, the printer does emit a loud, semi-annoying "BEEP" as indicators that the machine is warmed up and about to print.
Up! Mini 3D Printer
Specifications & Features
Model Manufacturing Material:
ABS / 1.73mm / White
Build Size:
4.7” x 4.7” x 4.7” / 120 x 120 x 120 mm
Layer Thickness Capability:
.02 / 0.25 / 0.30 / 0.35mm
Workstation compatibility:
Windows XP, Vista & 7, Mac
Connectivity:
Single USB 2.0 Interface
System Dimensions:
240(W) x 355(H) x 340(D)
Weight:
6Kg(13lb)
Power Requirements:
100-240V, 50-60Hz, 220W
What's in the box?
UP! mini 3D printer, power adapter, 1.5 lbs ABS, 3 perf-boards and tool kit
Delivery Time:
6-8 Weeks after receipt of full deposit
 
The Up! Mini's bundle is quite complete and all you need.

The Mini also comes with a 1.5lb spool of white ABS filament which is more than enough material for dozens of prints depending on model size.  This spool is roughly a $40 - $50 value.  Beyond that, setup is fairly straight-forward and this 3D printer is easier than most to work with, especially for the novice user.  The default print setting on the machine is .25mm or 250 micron, which produces very clean builds over all.




The rear of the Mini is home to a simple bulk spool holder and filament guide mechanism, both of which were obviously printed by another Up! 3D printer product; a casual nod to the RepRap tradition and self-replicating vision of old. The Mini comes with removable "perf boards" that are placed on its heated print bed, which offers a 4.72-inch (cubed) build area.  We do wish the build area was just a bit larger; closer to six inches would be nice. PP3dp does offer the Up Plus for $1299, which offers a 5.5-inch build space.

Leveling the print bed on the Mini proved to be a bit tricky for us on occasion, though it was only after the machine went out of calibration after a few successful prints.  PP3dp suggests you reference this thread in their forum should you have issues with print bed leveling/ Or, when in doubt you could always *gasp* read the manual.




UP! V1.17 Software

The Up! software tool strikes a nice balance of ease of use with its icon and menu-driven UI, along with customizable settings for print resolution (.2mm is as fine as you can print), base or "raft" height, infill, support structures and more. Stability supports and base constructs specifically come in handy with taller, skinny objects where toppling on the print bed can be a real nuisance.  That said, for some reason support structures can't be completely disabled.  It would be nice if PP3dp would include this in future revisions. All told, the Up version 1.17 software we felt was the best of the bunch, with just the right amount of configurability, but not so much that you find yourself tweaking every little setting to get things right, and an intuitive user interface that even first timers can work with relatively easily.
 

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