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ThingiThursday: The Print Off
The Cube and UP printing the same file.
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ThingiThursday: The Rafts
The Cube put down an unnecessarily big raft for the print
The two printers are fairly similar machines; both use extrusion technology, they have a similar build area and print in both ABS and PLA. The main differences are that the Cube sells itself as super user-friendly, a real plug and play machine whereas the UP! is more for the tinkerer, allowing the user to adjust settings and calibrations to get better prints.
I decided to take a print from Cubify, which may seem like an unfair advantage in favour of the Cubify machine. On the contrary, Cubify’s files are STLs, which need to be turned into .cube files before you can print them, the STLs can go directly into the UP! software.
The file I downloaded was “Super Snack Bowl” by Cubify, a free file on the 3D systems marketplace. This type of design is quite a common for showing off desktop 3D printing’s capabilities as the hollow inside means it’s quick and they are normally a bit of a fail safe. A good file for both machines to print.
After running it through the relevant software – Cube for the Cube and Netfabb plus UP for the UP! – I attempted to set both printers off at the same time.
Unfortunately the UP! didn’t take to the file, one of my biggest criticisms of the machine is how often the software crashes, a common bug it appears by looking online. While I was attempting to reload the UP! software the Cube began to print.
Worryingly, although the base of the model is relatively narrow the Cube began drawing a huge raft for the model, leading me to believe that it was going to require A LOT of support material. The UP! didn’t make as much of a raft when it eventually started to print. I left the pair to do battle, returning in one hour.
Upon my return I was disheartened to see that the UP! had gotten itself all tangled up, possibly because of the file but more likely because of the platform calibration. As pointed out on the very helpful Google + 3D Printing group, if a printer is not calibrated correctly it is unfair to compare to the other. So apologies to the UP! but we had to disqualify it from the print off on a technicality.
The Cube on the other hand was going great guns and the bizarre massive raft seemed just like showboating/wasting material. It was printing upwards without any support at a decent speed but you can never count your chickens with the Cube. Whereas the UP! will carry on regardless the Cube is a lot more sensitive when it comes to something going wrong, one little glitch and it will abort the print almost instantaneously.
After four and a half hours the Cube completed its task, well sort of you have to wait a further half an hour for the thing to cool down, the less health and safety conscious of us simply remove the build plate and allow the machine to get on with its own business. It printed the Super Snack Holder absolutely perfectly, raft removal was a doddle and the Cube without doubt won this challenge.
I now have a nice little pretzel holder to contribute to a family party this weekend, it will make a good talking point and a lesson to those family members who think I’m into printing magic-eyes and holograms when my father says I’m into 3D printing...