Comparison reviews: How does the Solidoodle for $800 compare to the Makerbot Replicator

Comparison reviews:
How does the Solidoodle for $800

compare to the Makerbot Replicator 2 for $2200

I’m looking for comparisons beyond the obvious stuff like printable size. I’m most interested in reliability and durability and compatibility issues.

Well, it depends on how much you value your time in getting everything tuned properly. It’s probably not enough to justify the $1400 difference though. I’m in a similar boat as you @Joe_Whitmore , except I’m torn between the Solidoodle 3, Makergear M2, and Ultimaker. I’m looking for ease of setup, print reliability, and print speed, cost not really being a HUGE deciding factor for me.

M2 seems like quite an awesome machine but I’ve gotta put the Ultimaker out there, too - I’m quite happy with mine.

Since volumetric 5D was introduced (nearly 2 years ago now), skeinforge (or other software) aren’t really that big of a deal any more. The hard part used to be that it was lots of trial & error to just get the basic settings down. V5D pretty much made that issue go away.

I have a solidoodle and with patience you can get the kind of quality you only see in a shop. We only paid $600 with postage to Australia so that is what sold us. 6 inch square is not bad, and if we want bigger its a very easy matter to adjust a cnc mill.

Thanks for mentioning the M2. I hadn’t seen it before. Sure looks interesting, and the price is attractive, too.

Just wish the lead time on some of these printers (M2, Solidoodle 3) wasn’t so long!

Yeah! We only just got the solid2 and then a week later the 3 was released!

That’s part of the reason I haven’t pulled the trigger yet (well, that and I don’t want to spend every cent of my spare money, want to save up a bit more). I don’t want to order one with a 6 week lead time, then on week 5 have a more awesome, less expensive printer be produced.

Just saw you’re in the Boston area… You should check out the “3D Printing Boston” Google group if you haven’t before…

@Chris_Connors was recently talking there about a trip he made to AS220 in Providence… A bunch of 3D printers were there. Not sure if there will be more of these soon but it’s probably well worth the drive, if you’re in the market.

@John_Schneider Just get one, you can always pull it apart and use it to build your next bigger one - OR just get a CNC mill and swap heads!

The comment about CNC mill and swapping head is interesting. The market is currently flooded with cheap Chinese 3020/3040/… mills that appear to be of good quality with aluminum base, and decent prices. It would really be disruptive if one of these 3D printer vendors would find a way to market a ready-made kit for this kind of conversion.

@Karan_Chaphekar , that’s what I’ve been hearing and why I’m leaning a little bit more toward the M2. Does anyone have experience with both? Which is the easiest to work with in regards to their software?

@Bill_Sidhipong check out

@John_Schneider I have used many extruder machines and to be honest they are all much of a muchness, some are easier to get parts for and to improve. In the end we decided to just build our second one. It is not hard at all.

@Helena when you say with patience, do you mean slow printing or do you mean with a lot of tuning the control software and adjusting the Solidoodle, or something else all together? Thank you.

All these machines use pretty much the same tool chain… Ultimaker has Cura which wraps and speeds up Skeinforge, making it easier for new people, but I don’t see much reason why an M2 or any RepRap couldn’t do the same. Same with the host software - usually pronterface. MakerBot sorta goes their own way and you’ve got fewer choices there unless you want to change firmware to something that deals with more-standard programs.

I don’t agree that Ultimaker is a “hackers machine” at all. Some of the earlier machines had problems with the hot end and drive but those issues are all sorted and new machines contain all the latest parts. The guy who did the amazing prints last year at had only been printing a few months and it was his first 3D printer - it’s really NOT hard to get awesome quality if you have a little patience and learn the basics.

Both the M2 and Ultimaker can be ordered pre-assembled if you want to pay a bit more but I’m fairly strongly against that. They’re not that hard to put together - no soldering or multimeters or anything like that needed - and you’ll have a much better idea of how it works when you’re done.

I think Ultimaker has the edge on resolution and speed but you’ll likely be very happy with the results of an M2 or Ultimaker, once you get the hang of it. (nothing against Solidoodle or BukoBot - I just know less about them…)

Wow, just, wow! @Dave_Durant , that print quality may have just swung me toward the Ultimaker. It just seems that there’s so many different software options out there, trying to figure out which one will give the best results with which machine is a pretty tough challenge.

@Joe_Whitmore its the fine tuning in the programing. And better quality with extrusion printers means PATIENCE.
I think I want the third printer to be one of those resin baths, but I haven’t worked out how to make it yet.

@Karan_Chaphekar you are absolutely wrong about the Ultimaker being hard to use. They now use a piece of software called Cura which handles ALL aspects of the machine. It’s as simple as ordering a prebuilt kit, connecting it to your machine, selecting next next next, selecting a print quality, and loading up your file. Out of the box the thing prints spectacularly.

And could you please quit hijacking every post asking about the printrbot? Do some research yourself. If you’re going to sell them, you should probably OWN one first and be part of the community for at least a year…not just “I’m going to make money off of selling 3D kits, hey guys, what’s the best kit to sell?”

i couldn’t disagree more with the Anti-Ultimaker Statement and since @ThantiK already pointed out all the good things about it, i only add @Clem_Taylor 's latest post:

Also: The lead Time of an Ultimaker is approx 5 Days at the moment AND you can get it PreAssembled. It has a VERY active Community and some awesome Developers here on G+: @Daid_Braam , etc