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

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Solidoodle 2 Expert 3D Printer

Solidoodle is another veteran of the industry and though they just introduced their Solidoodle 3 printer, we're taking a look at their second generation unit, the Solidoodle 2.  The primary difference between the two systems is that the SD 2 offers a 6-inch print bed, while the SD3 offers a larger 8-inch bed.

The Solidoodle 2 more closely follows a classic RepRap design, with its standard XYZ rod frame design and square box construction.  Typically you see these sorts of machines cut from thin wood, though Solidoodle's sheet metal frame offers a sturdier construction.



Solidoodle 2 Expert 3D Printer
Specifications & Features

Standard Features:

  • Creates plastic parts up to 6" x 6" x 6"
  • Uses 1.75mm plastic filament (ABS recommended)
  • 11.5" x 11.75" x 11.75" case footprint (L x W x H)
  • Durable metal frame
  • Fully Assembled & Tested

 

Base Model $499:

  • Acrylic Build Plaform
  • 70W power supply
  • Open design (no outer cover/door)

Pro Model $599:

  • Heated Build Platform - allows you to build large prints up to 6x6x6" without bottom warping. 1/8" aluminum plate.
  • Upgraded power supply
  • Redesigned Spool holder to hold filament and eliminate tangles (makes unattended printing much easier)
  • Interior lighting
  • Open design (no outer cover/door)

Expert Model $699: 

  • All the features of the Pro model plus an outer cover & front acrylic door

    In the Box:

    • Solidoodle 3D Printer, fully assembled & tested
    • Small roll of starter filament (about 0.3 ounces. This is enough for a 1 very small print)
    • Power supply
    • USB Cable

    Tech Specs:

    • Technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) / Thermoplastic Extrusion
    • RepRap Sanguinololu v1.3a Electronics
    • Nichrome powered extruder
    • The extruder moves in the horizontal plane (X-Y), build platform moves in the vertical direction (Z)
    • Trouble-free custom acrylic extruder with stepper motor, .35mm nozzle
    • Spring loaded extruder drive virtually
    • Weight: 17 lbs
    • ABS filament recommended, compatible with PLA
    • Power Supply Works on US Voltage (120V) or European Voltage (240V)
    • Precision: down to .1mm possible, .3mm typical

    Software:

    • The printing software accepts 3D files in STL format
    • Open-source software downloadable
    • Windows, Mac, Linux compatible

     


     

    The interesting thing about the Solidoodle 2 is that this machine is very much open to tweaks, modifications and applying your own methods to get the quality builds you desire.  The print bed is spacious as well, offering the largest build area of our trio of machines at 6-inches cubed.


    The SD2 came with print platform film that gets applied to the metal bed and offers a tacky surface for building on.  We had a few issues keeping this film tacky enough to support thin, taller builds like our Empire State Building model, and keep them from toppling over during production.  There is a lot of room to move around and adjust things in here though, so you can fiddle to your heart's content to get things just right and even try different materials to dress the build surface.



    The spool holder for the SD2 gave us a bit of a chuckle.  It's simple PVC piping, though its plastic frame mount is clearly built on a Solidoodle machine.  The control module on the backside is power by an Arduino processor and as such firmware updates can be easily applied for future optimizations from Solidoodle.  As you can see, there are simple 3 and 4 pin headers on the control module that wires for motor controls connect to.  It's a very straight-forward design that is easily serviced and tweaked if you're so inclined.





    The Repetier Host software, that Solidoodle now recommends for use with their machines, is completely free and open source, so there are frequent updates to the package.  Solidoodle also provided .1mm and .3mm printer config files to help with some pre-configuration.  In reality we still had to tweak some of the knobs like print head speed, build platform temperature and extruder temperature, manually, to get thing just right for some of our more challenging prints.  Regardless, again, especially if you know what you're doing, this software is very versatile and offers the highest level of customization in our round-up.  It's just not nearly as intuitive as the Cubify client or the Up! software suite.  In the end, for us, it actually turned out to be a nice education in 3D printing.
     

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