PrintrBot Metal Plus Review.

So! I finally got my hands on the awesome PrintrBot Metal Plus! Now just so you all know i’m coming from a MakerBot Replicator (Original) which till this day i absolutely love and is still working. But i wanted to expand my knowledge of 3D printing and try something new. Now, a lot of you might be thinking, “Well if he loved his Makerbot so much, why didn’t he get another Makerbot?” Well that’s an easy question to answer, but unfortuanly its not a very pleasant one.  The answer is New Makerbot has given me nothing but terrible support.. Support is terrible down right to the bone.. Long story short, They wanted me to purchase a new printer or pay a 300 dollar service plan just to talk about getting new parts from Makerbot. The man i talked to didn’t seem so enthused to help me. Once he heard i didn’t have a support plan he basically hung up the phone. That was just one of the things that has turned me away from Makerbot, the other is the online ordering system. I use to get my filament from the Makerbot website, but the website doesn’t work 90% of the time and even after contacting support to buy filament they never got back to me. I took to Amazon and Reddit for reviews on filament, found some good and cheap stuff, HatchBox ! anyways after support wouldn’t help me buy filament over the phone or over the internet- that moment i knew i had to get out of this before my board blows. So after months of searching i decided to give PrintrBot a try, so far i am quite pleased with what i have discovered, and the transition is quite nice. Lets go over the specs.

Technical Specifications PrintrBot Metal Plus:

  • Model: 1504 / 1412
  • Build Volume: 10″ x 10″ x 10″ / 254mm x 254mm x 254mm
  • Print Resolution: 100 Microns
  • Print Speed: 80mm/sec max recommended
  • Filament: 1.75mm PLA & ABS
  • Extruder: Alu Extruder (direct drive). 1.75mm Ceramic Ubis Hot End with 0.4mm nozzle
  • Auto Leveling: Auto-Leveling Probe works with software to calibrate Z axis height (see video)
  • Print Bed: Heated: Max temperature of 80C
  • Construction: Powder coated steel and aluminum body
  • Rails: 12mm Linear Rails
  • Belt: GT2
  • Pulleys: 20 tooth, dual flange GT2 aluminum
  • Electronics: Printrbot Rev F Printrboard with micro-USB connection (cable included) and micro SD card slot for untethered printing.
  • USB Connection: USB Micro (Micro??)
  • Software: Printrbot does not provide software, but recommends Cura and/or Repetier.  Both are available for free download.
  • Power Requirements: 12V 350W ATX power supply (included)
  • Max Current Draw: ~5-9 Amps
  • Motors: NEMA 17 stepper
    Plus-2

 

Technical Specifications MakerBot Replicator Original:

  • Model: Replicator
  • Build Volume: 8.9″ x 5.7″ x 5.9″ / 226.06mm x 144.78mm x 149.86mm
  • Print Resolution: 200 Microns
  • Print Speed: 40mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm PLA & ABS
  • Extruder: MK8
  • Auto Leveling: None, use the 4 screws to level the build place.
  • Print Bed: Heated: Max temperature of 120c
  • Construction: Wood
  • USB: USB B

It is hard to find the exact specs of the Makerbot Replicator. Its almost like this machine never exist!

makerbot-replicator

 

i was having trouble finding specifications for the makerbot replicator, so i gave up.

First Impression:
As soon as i took the PrintrBot out of the box it was like love at first site, nicely packed, beautiful powder coated frame covered in a thick plastic cover, and felt so sturdy!
Came with a strand of sample filament, two little wooden wrenches, and the power supply which doubles as a filament holder. unfortunately it doesn’t hold my HatchBox filament spools, the spool hole is too narrow, not a big deal to me because i already have a spool holder.  The system is running on Micros USB. I hope this doesn’t give me problems. But we will see!

PrintrBots Sample Image
PrintrBots Sample Image

Setup:
I took the advice on the packaging which took me to the Metal Plus Setup tutorial  nice layout and explained everything nicely. They recommend that i use Cura but seeing as i have been using Simplify3D for almost a month now i gave that a shot, though i noticed Simplify3D didn’t come stock with a Metal Plus profile, i sent Simplify3D an email and got a profile in a few hours they came back with two files, a profile for dual extrusion and a profile for the single extrusion. I followed everything besides using the software Printrbot recommended. All went well, i got good prints at adjusting the Z axis to -1.10 (M212 Z-1.10) i am content, the prints stick well, but don’t look as good as this, but close.

With that being said, it was nice that i never needed to move the digital auto leveling probe not sure when there would be an instance to move it. since you can adjust the Z axis in the software.

Printing:

Print Settings
Material = HatchBox PLA
Layer Height = .30
Shells = 2
No Raft
Printed with Supports
Infill = 0%
Extruding Temperature= 210c
Build Plate Temperature= 70c
Cooling Fan = 60% speed
Printing Speed 4000.00 mm/Min
Outline Underspeed 50%
Solid Infill Underspeed 80%
X/Y Axis Movement Speed 3600.0 mm/min
Z Axis Movement Speed 2000.00

Previous Image
Next Image

I know i need to go over my settings, but I’m the type that likes my prints to come out fast when I’m just goofing around. And i’m sure I could tweak it more, but ill have to save that for another post. I have tested cubes going down to 0.20 but I will get this going to there isnt any bumps in my models as you can see in my pictures. so far i’m really enjoying this printer.

A few things that I wish it came are some LED lights built into the chassis, there aren’t any lights, so you need a lamp. Coming from a makerbot was quite nice, you get to know and understand Gcode more, with the leveling of the Z axis, It was quite enjoyable.

 

So on that note, im going to come back in a few months and give a few thoughts. I hope its as good as the first!

 

 

PrintrBot Metal Plus

1,199.00
PrintrBot Metal Plus
8.6

Ease of use

9/10

    Craftsmanship

    10/10

      Cosmetics

      10/10

        Instructions

        10/10

          Support

          5/10

            Pros

            • 10x10x10 Build Plate
            • Sturdy, build with quality in mind.
            • Super easy build plate leveling, automatic!
            • Slim, compact,

            Cons

            • All software base, doesn't come with an LED panel
            • Doesn't have LED lights
            • USB Connection? Why did they choose Micro? Seems Kinda cheap in my opinion.

            5 Comments on PrintrBot Metal Plus Review.

            1. I would avoid this printer. It comes with a cellphone micro USB connector that is just soldered to the printrboard. No stress relief or reenforcement leave the solder points to bear the stress of the weight of the cable and vibrations from the print head moving on the Y axis. Because the printer uses the wrong type of connector for the type of device, it is prone to failure. When the USB connector fails, you will be left with a dead machine. The warranty fix is a replacement board the has the same micro USB connector design defect – which will fail gain. This creates a warranty loop that is expensive to escape. If you return the printer because the USB connection failed, you will be charged 20% – or, you will have to spend $$ to put a board in the printer with the correct USB type B doghouse connector just to be able to print reliably. All the other 3D printer manufacturers use the correct USB type B connectors…. I would avoid this printer until Printrbot puts the correct type of USB connector on their printers.

              • Thank you for your comment! I have lots of what you have just said in my upcoming review. Thanks for reading!

            2. My assembled Metal Plus arrived, and upon setup there were problems right out of the box. Screws were loose on the acme rods, screws were incorrect length in the extruder assembly, and calibration was atrociously painful to do over and over again even with the included sensor. Plus using the printer UI as instructed caused problems with resetting to home position causing scratches to the Kapton surface tape. Overall the experience was abysmal, and I never got a single decent printed part from the machine. And don’t forget, their customer service is email only, so you have to wait 2 to 3 days for a reply, as the forums are sparsely traveled for help. I’m trying to return it, but Printrbot reject my return shipment only to cause me more money charged by UPS. Horrible junk product, world’s worst customer service experience. Don’t expect much after spending over $1,000 but pain, aggravation, and headache.

              • Wow.. that blows. I’m sorry to hear about your experience. I’ve received a few emails about this review and all have been negative.. In my second review I talk about the boaRd frying. But it only took a week to get the part from first support ticket to receiving the part.

                Sorry about your experience. that’s horrible. .

            3. Looking a little closer at the assembled Printrbot Metal Plus’ printrboard, it seems that the 5V USB circuit in not isolated from the 12V power supply circuit. It appears that the micro USB connector is connected to the ground plane of the board. If so, this creates a ground loop between the power supply plugged into one outlet, and the computer plugged into a different outlet. If so, due to the different impedance’s, it can cause problem with other components on the board. The other problem this creates is that the EMI from the 12V circuit has a pathway to the USB cable. This is like attaching a 1 meter long antennae to transmit the EMI. If the printer had a type B, it can provide shielding of the EMI as one part of the strategy to reduce EMI being transmitted. The other benefit of using the type B is that is is more robust. It was designed specifically for peripheral devices with one of the goals of reducing EMI so that the device will pass FCC Class B certification.

              Type B is better equipped to handle the vibrations to prevent the connector from working itself loose – which will help prevent arcing in the connector. This needs to be as secure as possible. Loose connections can cause all sorts of problems too –

              I looked at the website and product – there does not appear to be any evidence of this assembled 3D printer being certified by the FCC. If it had, it may have uncovered some of this before the before the printer was marketed and sold.

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