State of the art for self built makerbot clone?

I have a makerbot clone I put together a while back.. I have upgraded steppers from stock, a heated bed and am currently running sailfish.

I got it working the way I wanted a while back and have been content to do my own thing with replicator g and the sailfish firmware. I'm finding it works pretty well with ABS but I'm thinking the software has moved on because complete crap printers on kickstarter can do comparable quality at turbo speeds. 

I've experimented with a few things and now have better acceleration, and I've also experimented with PLA but I am finding the print quality is not as good with PLA as it was with ABS. PLA seems to warp super easily where as with ABS I could do a quirt of hairspray and be good to go lol. 

I am using a 0.4mm nozzle at the moment. 

What are other folks doing? What's the state of the art? I can do microstepping and I have calipers/a micrometer.. but my goodness the utilimaker 2 looks awfully tempting. Still, I don't want to toss what has been a reasonably reliable and faithful companion for printing my robot parts.

(Right now my pritner is in a state where the print quality is crap and the bed leveling is kinda messed up and the printheads are out of alignment from trying too hard to tweak it lol.. so I have to fix all that.) I got curious what everyone else was doing and how things were working for them. 

At the moment I'm printing on kapton tape but masking tape with PLA seems to work decently. And PLA doesnt really need the heated bed but seems to stick better to making tape if I print with the bed set around 50C 

Also, openscad rocks. 

The makerbot software looks sexy, and is an option for me I guess, but haven't actually tried it. What's everyone else doing?



Im running a Da Vinci 1.0 prior to their switch to more DRM. My prints are no where near the makerbot's and ultimakers yet and my printer was badly put together but something I have learned is as long as the head, stepper motors and build plate are good, most printers are capable of doing amazing prints. It is more down to how well fitted everything is and maintaining it to a high standard.

I cant print PLA, printer head jams easily with PLA yet I have never had a jam on ABS over the last 3 months. Warping however sounds like too higher of a bed temp/ head temp. There is a lot of trial and error with 3D printing. But checking to make sure no belts are lose, bed wont move, rods are strait is all you really need to maintain.

On another note, i have been using Simplify 3D for the last few weeks. I love it. I have tried Cura, Slic3r, the stock slicer that came with my printer, kisslicer and a few others and none have matched the print quality I am getting with simplify 3D. It would be good if they had a few more settings to change like a proper brim setting and better speed adjustments but otherwise I am getting amazing prints compared to a month ago. It is expensive seeing as there are a lot of other free slicing programs but I couldn't live without the custom supports you can place.

Anyway I am still learning, My prints are still not as good as what Barnaculese gets out of his ultimaker 2. But they are usable and improving every week.

I don't have space at my current place but I plan on getting one when I move next month. Should I build one or buy something pre built and mod it later?

See theres the problem, There are so many printers on the market now taht its really down to how much your willing to spend. The three budget printers I see a lot of are the da Vinci, Prusa i3 and the Velleman K8400. However there are many more including good makerbot ripoffs from before when they had everything opensource. A lot of people are building their own from scratch as well. A little more expensive but still viable. I personally would go with a well reputable brand, kit sets are good but requires a lot ofd tinkering to make sure they print well on the other hand, pre built systems can print well from the get go but can be harder to modify compared to a kit.

Honestly its up to you. decide what size you want, how much your willing to spend and join 3D printing communities to see what they think. Take your time choosing. Dont want to buy a dud.

600 or less 

Need to be enclosed because of cats. Good quality is more important than ease of use and has to have Linux support.

$600 for a printer with an enclosure...

Might be tough.  Perhaps grab a large cardboard box to put over the printer?

Bowden setup.  Less mass on the moving head has made my prints significantly better.

Double precision might help as well.  More accurate than microstepping.

A picture of a print would probably help a lot

As for printing with PLA, I have a heated bed @ 50c, masking tape, and some hairspray on top of that.  Works great.

I think the reason that PLA is jamming for you is because too much heat is traveling up the filament.

PLA has a pretty wide range from when it turns from solid to liquid form.  When it's in-between, it enters a rubbery-like state, and likes to cling onto the walls of the hotend.  This causes a lot of back pressure on the extruder, resulting in a jam.

I would love Simplify3D as well, but damn.  $$$

Cardboard? Won't that catch fire?

If it touches the print head, maybe.

Even unless the print head is reaching temps making it red hot, i really doubt it will be enough to actually make the cardboard catch fire.

Rather not risk it Maybe a glass cover could be found

As long as you're not printing super exotic filaments that require high temperatures(and at this price point, I doubt you are), you should only be using around 230c max.

Fahrenheit 451 -- not likely. :) 

The head just does not work with pla. So many have tried to use it and so many have failed. The head just is not designed for PLA. 

Da Vinci advertises PLA - the print head on it probably just sucks lol.

At this moment im just using a pp3dp UP! mini that i ended up getting for free. I gotta say its a fantastic little printer. Apart from the warping, the prints come out very nice. I haven't done much in the past when it comes to 3d printing because it was expensive and i never really had a taste for it. But now that i have experienced 3d-printing first hand, i guess you can say now its kickstarted me into wanting to be a little bit more involved with it. So iv got a lot to learn, but that's nothing a little research & experimenting cant fix.

Iv already gotten started designing my first diy 3d-printer and iv got most of my planned design done in 3ds max atm (ill do the rest in autocad, but im too lazy to install it right now). My printer design is inspired by the CreatBot which i absolutely love the look of. The general design that dives the print head is just awesome and is imo an absolute genius design.

As you can see here:

Does anybody by any chance know the name of this particular kind of mechanism that drives the x,y-axis of this printer? Its hard to research on something not knowing what it is actually called.

Ultimaker 2 has a similar design.

the 1.0A support PLA, not the older 1.0 I have

I have a Printrbot simple metal. Have really enjoyed designing stuff in openSCAD except I wish it had intellisense like visual studio. And I find it annoying that spheres come out as lots of lines and that there is no way to directly convert the openSCAD code to G code so that the spheres and curves could be converted to use the G2 and G3 G code commands so you could get a better curve on the prints. I started looking at writing an application to implement a subset of the openSCAD commands so that I could add in intellisense and try and write a slicer to convert the openSCAD code directly to G code but I didn't get very far with it. (wrote enough to realise that I should have started by writing a tokeniser and then looked at regex and stoped)

I did attach a pen to the print head and wrote some code to convert a bmp image to dots and then create g code to draw all the dots (ecentualy turning the 3d printer into a very slow dot matrix printer) and that turned out interesting. Will probably try and improve this so I can do pictures with multiple colours. 

I am more interested in the printer as an experiment to see what I can do with a machine that has that sort of precision and would like to try and modify it to change the print head and add a camera and try and use it to automatic tear down and rebuild circuit boards. The print head already gets hot enough to melt solder so I think it could almost be done with just a different nossel and software.