3d-printer-guide-2015

3D Hubs, a community connecting 3D printer owners and people that want to make 3D prints, has published their guide for the best rated 3D printers for 2015 based on user reviews from printer owners from all over the world. The goal of this guide is to help people make a better choice when trying to answer the question: “Which 3D Printer should I buy?” and the answer could be easier if you take a look at the 2015 3D Printer Guide that is based on the reviews of 2279 verified 3D Printer owners that have rated various devices they own taking into account the following parameters: print quality, ease-of-use, build quality, reliability, failure rate, customer service, community, running expenses, openness, software and value.

The guide helps you to find the top 3D Printers for 5 different categories: Enthusiast Printers, Plug-n-Play Printers, Kit/DIY Printers, Budget Printers, and last but not least Resin Printers. In total 18 models made it to the top of 3D Hubs community list and with reliability in mind, only printers with more than 10 reviews are included in the guide. Do note that while this guide may be helpful it might not cover all of the available devices on the market and thus there may be other different options that could be more suitable for your needs. Also have in mind that sometimes choosing one device over another is dependent on the local availability of the 3D printer, also on local support, even a better price can influence the decision. But it helps to get a better overview when looking at ratings and user experiences from various users of the devices that you may be choosing from in order to make the best possible decision, so we recommend that you take a look at the guide.

To check out the latest 3D Printer Guide for 2015 by the 3D Hubs community…

orbi-tech-bendlay-filament-sample

BendLay is another alternative filament from Orbi-Tech, the developers of LayBrick and Laywoo-D3 3D printer filaments. By design the BendLay is supposed to be something in between ABS and PLA in terms of properties and is intended to be used where ABS is too hard and flexible PLA is not tight enough, even though the filament is essentially a modified ABS . The BendLay is available in the form of transparent glass-like form only and according to the manufacture is: clear like Polycarbonate, bendable and resilient, high-impact resistant and unbreakable, easier to print than ABS, has no stress whitening by bending, with high interlayer adhesion and is apparently food-safe. It is supposed to be printed between 215° to 240°C and should be printable at high speed offering thermal stability the same as PLA (65 – 70°C). The most significant advantage that the BendLay has is that it is highly bendable without breaking, but is not as flexible as a flexible PLA filament, so it will not break very easy when you bend it as ABS or PLA might, but at the same time it is also not too flexible to be rubber like.

So far it all sounds good, so we have ordered a sample of BendLay filament to try it out. We tested it on out MakerBot Replicator 2 printer, but unfortunately we did not have very good success in printing with BendLay. We did not see the specific requirement for a heated build platform for using with this filament, but apparently it is required to get good printers. We have tried different extrusion temperature from 210 to 250 with both slow and fast printing speeds, but the filament was just not sticking well enough to the build plate. We have properly leveled build plate with 3D blue painters tape on it and when printing with BendLay on it we are seeing that there is slight warping at the edges of smaller objects and trouble with the printed part sticking good enough. So after a few layers we usually get the object detached form the build plate and he print failing, regardless of what settings we have used. People with heated build platform may have more success, but if you don’t have one you might want to stay away from BendLay and save yourself some trouble trying to figure out why you are getting so many failed prints.

makerbot-desktop-software

It is always good to have alternatives and not be forced to use only one thing and he same is also very true for 3D printers and their software. If you are limited to using only the software provided by your 3D printer’s manufacturer you may end up disappointed from the device just because of a the software being full of bugs or very limited in terms of features. When we were choosing our first 3D printer we have taken into account this as well and went for a device that is supported by alternative software such as the Simplify 3D among others. Not that the Makerbot Replicator 2 was not supported by other solutions as well back then, but having a software that has some useful extra functionality and features that is recommended by people already more experienced in 3D printing is definitely a plus. Now, a few months later when Makerbot has decided to integrate the MakerWare into their Makerbot Desktop software along with other features is making us rely more on the Siplify3D software more and more. Not that the MakerBot Desktop software is bad, but the whole package is not what a more advanced user that wants to be more in control of the printing process would actually want. It seems that MakerBot is targeting more novice users by trying to provide a simpler and more user friendly software, but many of the people that start with 3D printing quickly outgrow the basic needs and start having more requirements…

simplify3d-printing-software

This is were the Simplify3D software comes into action by offering wider functionality and more advanced control over the printing process, should you need it, along with support for many 3D printers. With the just released Simplify3D V2.2 update the software now supports even more 3D printers than before, including the newer MakerBot 5th Gen Replicator, MakerBot Mini, MakerBot Z18 among many others. The drawback with Simplify3D is that the software is commercial and you need to buy a license to be able to try it use it, so you cannot just download a demo version that you can try out before you buy. A license for the Simplify3D 3D printing software will cost you $140 USD, a one time price that you have to pay for it that covers future updates. The best thing is that chances are that not only your current, but also your future 3D printer may be supported by the software, so even if you get another device or upgrade in the future you may still be able to use the same software with the new printer. So while it may not be a wise idea to buy the software if you are just starting in the world of 3D printing and are still wondering if it is something for you to dig deeper in, if you have already decided that 3D printing is your thing, then getting a license for the Simplify3D software may be a good idea.

simplify3d-printing-software-2

The Simplify3D software is essentially an all-in-one software suite for your 3D printing needs, at least if you have an FDM/FFF 3D printer that extrudes thermoplastic. The software has a fast slicing engine and a very good preview on how the actual print will look like, including a preview of the whole printing process. Simplify3D also offers more advanced and intelligent functionality regarding the support structures, it even allows you to manually add or remove support for models before trying to print them at places that you may consider it will be useful. Another good and useful thing is that the printing algorithms used by the software are probably different as compared to what your original 3D printing software uses. This means that if your original software has trouble slicing a 3D model and properly printing it due to some issues you might have better success with the different algorithms used by the Simplify3D software. When talking about issues with models, the Simplify3D also has some advantages thanks to a few options available for analyzing and reporting possible issues with the models you are trying to print with even the ability to automatically fix some of them. This functionality however is far from perfect and there are other software that offer better and more functional ability to find and repair automatically issues with your 3D models. With all that said we are not going to say that Simplify3D is the perfect and absolutely problem free software for your 3D printer, it still has some issues and things we don’t like, as well as functions that are lacking. The good thing is that the company developing the software is actually listening to what the users of Simplify3D need and want to have available and implement new things based on the user feedback and this is very important to have for a 3D printer software. So we do recommend to check out the features and functionality that the Simplify3D software offers as we have been happily using the software for a while already and will continue to do so, though we are not always and only relying on it for our 3D printing needs.

For more information about the Simplify3D alternative 3D printer software package…

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