Our first 3D printer was the Raise 3D N2 model. We backed this company on kick starter and got a top of the line machine including a splurge on the duel extrude nozzles.
Key considerations when looking at 3D printers:
1. Decide your build volume needs – bigger is not always better. We found that with a cubic foot of build volume on the Raise N2 we rarely used that much space! We liked having it for the one off large print but we really could break down all of our models in to smaller quick print jobs.
2. Bed leveling. This was one of the first modifications my husband did. Though the N2 bed was leveled at the manufacturers, after a few print jobs it naturally got out of level. Having a way to level the printer bed is key.
3. Filaments. Not all filaments are made the same! We are predominantly PLA (plant based plastic) 3D printers. And yes not all PLA is made the same and quality really does matter. We settled on Hatchbox, for the cost, color selection and quality.
4. Know your software! OK this is where things get a bit particular, but bottom line know your software….all of it. Look in to the how your 3D models are made, what software package do you plan to use to build them, verify there are no extra lines in your models which can be confusing to your slicing software, then know your slicing software. Do you need to repair it after a model is sliced? Does it add support structures automatically? These are items to consider.
5. Finally in your slicing software, know your print settings. The extruder speed, does it retract, the thickness of each layer. All of these things matter for print quality. No matter the hardware if the commands given are too fast or too thick, then your print will be toooooo BAD!
More posts to come on this one but think about these things before getting a printer. Having the end in mind will help prevent mistakes down the road. What did we print first you might ask?
Minions of course (did we mention that our son thought this was his personal toy making robot?). As you can tell we did not have support structures figured out yet so the print was done in two halves then glued together.
At the end the Raise 3D N2 printer was great for us! We had it for about a year, and it served its purpose. We learned a lot, remember this was a Kickstarter purchase for us at the time so it is to be expected that there might be some room for improvement (our touch screen had issues). Because it was HUGE and required more maintenance then we had time for, we found a good home for it with a fellow engineer. It is a great piece of equipment and is much loved at the new home!