Test driving the Lulzbot Mini.

Test driving the Lulzbot Mini. Been printing since Friday using Astroprint to wirelessly manage prints and CURA to slice parts. First impressions are good - nicely packaged, decent start guide and easy to setup. Lulzbot offers custom version of CURA, But I stuck with Ultimakers og and imported lulzbot recommend PLA settings - Not so good! Took several hours and attempts to dial in good settings (at least for enclosure parts).

I found their recommended start.gocde to be a bit of a time waster - The process takes too darn long and can easily be optimized. First, the nozzle and bed heat up, then the printer head moves to the back of the bed and cools down to 140c. Once cooled, it wipes the nozzle clean and performs a four point z probe bed leveling. Lastly, it preheats again to your desired temperatures and starts printing. Process takes five to ten minutes. I snapped a quick clip of the process - you can see it just pushes filament up onto the nozzle - messy! So I removed the gcode commands that makes the ‘clean nozzle’ dance happen. With it removed, the setup print time is much faster. I can always use tweezers to do manual nozzle wipe.

I’ll be doing a video review with more comparison tests and different parts in the coming weeks. Is there anything that you want me to cover? Have any questions about the Lulzbot Mini? Let me know!

It took me a while get dialed in on the reprap. There’s some fine tuning to do but that’s in slic3r. Your part on the far right looks good

You might also want to check out PrintToPeer which is free

Neat printer. I wonder where you find a radial blower fan that small.

Also when did hexagon/RRD make that hotend? Is it custom for lulzbot?

Are the Lulzbot cura pla profiles lacking overall, or just an artifact of you importing them into your current Cura install? I’m not clear on that. Did you get better results with the Lulzbot provided cura?

Astroprint is nice because it has a responsive web ui - which is great for mobile. It’s also a free distro for Raspberry Pi.

Not sure where they’re sourcing the blower fan, it is pretty cute though and seems to make better quality prints than the TAZ4. Lulzbot is sourcing the hexagon hotend from reprep discount, not sure if its customized but pretty sure they’re installing them in house.

The cura profile provided by Lulzbot was a good starting point but produced supbar quality for my enclosure parts. I tweaked the layer width and nozzle diameter until I got a toolpath that doesn’t result in to too much jitter.

So THAT is how the cleaning process works.
I wonder what the material is…

Heya! Thanks for your notes on the Mini. I definitely recommend using LulzBot’s Cura with the default PLA/HIPS/ABS profiles built into that. They should be spot on. I mean they should just absolutely nail each part the in Make torture test, etc. They should be the best prints you’ve seen come out of a desktop 3D printer. Without messing with it. Try the LulzBot Cura with default configs.

The start.gcode may seem like a bit of a time waster, but it makes the whole process very reliable. We have specific temperatures for each filament we cool to, just for cleaning (separate from printing temp). Also, by doing it every.single.print. you make sure the nozzle stays nice & clean before every print and doesn’t accumulate, which is important for the auto leveling system. We have run thousands of print cycles to test this. Plus you can just hit print and walk away–you don’t have to monitor it.

That said, you can of course do whatever you want. :wink: These are just suggestions for new users. I know you’re well past that…

@Mike_Kelly_Mike_Make You can easily find out where Lulzbot sources their parts. The BOM is published among many other documents on http://download.lulzbot.com/Mini/1.0/ They take the open source philosophy quite seriously and are probably the most open of RepRap manufacturers.

@Mike_Kelly_Mike_Make The small radial blower fan is from Pelonis. It is really nice, but expensive, even in quantity.

The nozzle is a RepRapDiscount Hex built to our specs (larger heater block, plate for thermistor & heater cartridge).

Thanks @Jeff_Moe for the info. You know they’re expensive when they make you request a quote :slight_smile:

My friend was noticing the “white film” on top of the heater block. It’s definitely an interesting looking take on the hexagon.

I’m down in Lakewood so one of these days I need to head up to Longmont and visit your HQ. Keep up the good work.

Since @Tom_Bielecki ​ threw out Print ToPeer, I’d also like to point out that BotQueue is free and open source. It’s also getting a responsive ui design now.

@Mike_Kelly_Mike_Make On top of the heater block is blue/white locktite.

@Mike_Kelly_Mike_Make Oh ya, and we do public tours every Friday at 2PM, so come by and check it out! :slight_smile:

@Noe_Ruiz As Jeff said, the process is designed to make 3D printing fool-proof for new users. We know it’s initially a bit agonizing for those of us accustomed to instantly kicking off prints. That said, I’m a total convert given how reliable it is. A couple minutes of extra waiting doesn’t bother me anymore.
Also pretty surprised by your comment that the default profiles aren’t giving you good quality. We’ve been tweaking these profiles for months and have turned out hundreds of great prints with no need for fiddling with settings. Always feel free to contact our support team if things don’t seem like they are printing as they should; that’s what they are there for!

I just upload prints and walk away with this printer. It’s very very reliable. I’d rather that reliability and have to wait just a bit longer than not have it. Then again, I was never the type to care how long a print took.