Makerbot Clones

 
#1

I think it's probably about time I tried printing some of the 3D parts I've been creating for the last couple of years (there are a fair few of them, I just hit a big milestone with the number of "things" I've created) so it's time to look at 3D printer options.

There's no way in hell I'm about to be able to afford a Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen since over here they are a minimum of £2,000 + VAT (20%) + Shipping so we are looking at around £2,500 ($3,800) if not more - now you know why I'm hesitant about 3D printing!

Makerbot "clones" on the other hand are a great deal less expensive. I appreciate that the components and construction will be lesser quality than the official Makerbots however we are looking at a £2,000 difference so the clones are extremely tempting (although only from a source which comes with great feedback and support, so probably more like £1,500 difference)

But I'm not naive enough to believe a clone is as good as the real thing so am reaching out to anyone who has experience in using the clones for any advice.

Yes, a makerbot would be the wiser choice but not for one who cannot drop £2,500 on concepts which may never have any return on them at all.

Alternatively, I have the option of the following 3D printers which do fall close to my price bracket...

Cube (2nd Generation) - 140x140x140 print area, 200 micron finest print.
XYZprinting da Vinci 1.0 - 200x200x200 print area but stuck using their filament (unless "the people" did find a hack). 100 micron is finest print.

The da Vinci is the one which is tempting me most, especially if that hack is available (I'll search soon). But at 20% of the price of a MB Rep 5th Gen it's screaming out that either MB are darn expensive or it's not going to be much more than a paperweight.

Help... *stress* (Ideally by saying "I have a da Vinci 1.0 and it's awesome once you do this and that and tweak this")

#2

Sell your ez-credit! Grin

#3

I have the FlashForge Creator dual head printer (2 years old now) I don't do a lot of printing but it does OK. Of course there are tweaks that can be done to get better performance and prints but this is common with all the 3D printers.

#4

Haha , You probably have enough credit to trade for a machine !

@Rich , I can understand the high cost of these printers (mine are still on payments) however to weight in, I take part in prop maker groups where 3d printing is the most used tool in the toolbox. I have seen great results from Makerbot clones. They even go as far as using Makerbot software as an option. Solidoodles are still a no go , dont invest in something you haven't seen any product from. The DREMEL printers have brought down the price of descent printers and dremels production model is from flashforge Designs. 1000 dollars from home depot. The Makerbot clones are even cheaper though.

The top performing clones are
second best , CTC 3d printers
http://m.ebay.com/itm/201222949277?nav=SEARCH


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Best- Wanhao 3d Printers 650 plus shipping

http://m.ebay.com/itm/121552658767?nav=SEARCH




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The replica and custom prob community has found great results with these knock off printers.

#5

@jstarne1, i am curious way you say soildoodle is a no go? i not an expert by no means, but i own a soildoodle 4 and can print 8x8x8 and have printed 2 and half inmoov's with out any real issues. i believe the the guy who started the company worked at MB. i would like to have a bigger build though. And at the time could not aford more. Mho

#6

Hello merne, Maybe you got lucky with your printer. After seeing so many others results and my own I stay away. The guy who made solidoodle was a Makerbot design partner in the Brooklyn original manufacturing facility. He says in a video he started solidoodle because he didn't like how Makerbot was taking things to the next level with the replicator 2 because the price doubled and he wanted 3d printers to be cheap. Ironically he consistently has raised his printers prices over time the longer he is in business. Anyways, Overhangs are the kryptonite of a solidoodle , plus warping on large parts.
I went through 2 solidoodle printers. I documented my issues and what I did per the recommendation of solidoodle and in the end half my prints came out horrible and the half that didn't were poorly adhered together during the print processes so objects could be easily crumbled up by hand. After 2 tries with the machine and doing all the company asked to fix the issue it still never measured up to other printers. Second gripe is solidoodle requires a pc to be connected at all times which means you shouldn't do anything else with that pc at the same time or you risk Repetier software freezing and loosing your print progress. Obviously dedicating a pc to a printer makes the cost practically double and means your spending much more on a power bill as well. I have other friends that make props and have used solidoodles printers with some success but their results are never anything they are proud to take a up close high resolution picture of and they are completely ok with manually finishing every piece. Most who go cheap do CTC or Wanhao with great results , strong and smooth parts.

#7

Thanks Josh, lots of good stuff there Smile

@DJ I would sell it but I don't have much left, I've spent over 80% of it Grin


I have found that the XYZ Da Vinci does have a few hacks to make life easier. Such as it can print gcode rather than their own junk and the ABS filament cartridges can be refilled if you reset the onboard chip which doesn't look difficult.

At less than £500 it's looking like it may be worth a shot. Reviews are largely good too (better than the MB Rep 5th Gen that's for sure - I didn't know just how many bad reviews that thing had got!).

#8

Just my 2 cents.... I have a Flashforge Creater Pro (Makerbot clone that can print ABS as it has a HBP) and an UP! Plus 2.... The flashforge with 3dSimplify software have been really awesome. You have so much control over your prints... The UP! uses it's own software that you download for free. The UP! is also awesome and really does work practically out of the box.... You don't have to do much fussing with the UP!... The drawback is the up has a smallish build area... 5.5 x 5.5 x 5.2 or something like that. The up has a 1 year warrantee..... Both can use 3rd party filaments which I find very important because of serious cost savings....

#9

Thanks. I'll check out the flashforger one as a MB clone (or MB) is the ideal choice as (at least here) they are proven to work well once set up right, but price and reliability are the two most important factors.

I did find that PrintMe 3D (who I believe are a member of this very community) do a rental service which is structured in such a way that if I chose to buy it I wouldn't pay any more for it than the retail price - I may be dropping them an email, that'll at least take some of the load off of the financials.

#10

@rich

I've been looking at the Velleman K8400 kit printer, it seems to have a very good Spec, and very good reviews, and a huge improvement on the K8200 kit.

I also like it as its a Kit and would enjoy building it has well. Smile

Seen some sites in Germany that are doing it for about £500 with £27 shipping costs.

In the UK, you can get it for £540 plus delivery.

http://www.theelectronicsshop.co.uk/contents/en-uk/p677_k8400.html

I've been tempted.