I gave up on my Cantilever printer design based on leftovers and have decided that I’d like to buy a printer that someone else designed. I’m sure I’ll start modifying it soon, but I want to start from a tested design. I want to spend my design energy elsewhere right now. (If I get another working printer, I can afford to try out new experiments on my existing self-designed corexy, which is currently my workhorse.) I want my kids to be OK printing with it.
- Full printer or well-tested complete kit (something my kids could help build from instructions with me, for instance)
- Not completely new to the market, around long enough to know its weak points
- Corexy kinematics (alternatively, markforged, especially if I go with an IDEX)
- Linear rail, no wheels running in aluminum extrusion on any axis
- Cast aluminum bed
- AC bed heater
- Able to be enclosed even if it doesn’t ship that way
- Not depending on structural printed plastic parts (enabling high-temp plastic printing)
- At least an option of direct drive (even if bowden available)
- Fully-supported bed, not cantilevered
- Prefer single Z motor with sync belt connecting them, or three motors with auto-tram; not two Z motors and I really don’t like four Z motors.
- No proprietary components, open source firmware and standard parts that can be extended
- Not required to join Facebook to get support
The least expensive printer I’ve found that is even close to meeting my requirements is the Creativity ELF at about $450. That has a wrought bed with 24V DC bed heating, is not easy to enclose, might be a pain to extend due to using “VGA” cable to the hot end, and uses two Z motors; not enough to truly auto-tram, too many to automatically stay in sync; the worst option besides the four motor designs. Slightly cheaper but not as good (e.g. neither synchronous sides nor auto-tramming) is the Two Trees Sapphire Plus for $420. With neither bed sensing nor a bed I trust to be flat, I’d expect it to be as frustrating as the Tronxy X5S was for me earlier.
An SK-Tank, which looks easy to enclose, is about $1500 shipped fully kitted out with all the options, including genuine hiwin linear rail, except a raspberry pi (which I can better source locally), but will take an indeterminate time to ship; it’s one guy. Would be about $300 less with LDO rails.
The Vivedino Troodon moves the X/Y stage up instead of moving the bed down. It is available to ship now and comes fully assembled including enclosure, for a similar price as the SK-Tank. It runs on linear rails but probably not true hiwin… Includes air filtration, so maybe I could print ABS in it, at least if I use a carbon filter. My family says no ABS until I’m doing air filtration! It does use 4 Z motors. I’m concerned about racking if one fails, but the U-shape flying X/Y stage probably has enough flex that it makes at least a little sense to have 4 motors. Can’t tell whether it has a cast bed.
Railcore is a bit over $2k which is a lot more than I want to spend but would ship more quickly. Not clear that it’s easy to enclose (it has doors available but the top is open).
Not sure exactly how much I’m willing to spend but I doubt it’s over $2k. Still thinking about this.
- Creality Ender 6 has a cantilevered bed, and still uses delrin wheels in V-slot.
- Anything Tronxy after my previous experience (not just poor quality, but also ghosting me when I asked them for GPL source code), and also wheels in slot.
- The E3D toolchanger and motion platform would be awesome and it’s probably worth the $3K or more it would cost me, but it’s just way more than I want to invest right now.
- The Hevort is not available as a complete kit.
- Muldex since there’s no “everything” kit. Not sure how much it would cost all together. Also, I’d prefer not having two X motors; I can’t figure out why that’s actually necessary.
- Rat Rig — too many plastic components for my taste, not clear it has any benefits to me over the SK-Tank which would cost less.
- Various other Voron-derived printers with 4 Z motors; it’s hard enough to consider hanging an X/Y gantry from four belts; driving a bed with four screws seems to me like trying to create a potato chip.
I’m sure I missed listing some desiderata I’ve considered as I have looked at printers. Any printers that mostly meet my desiderata that I haven’t considered?