Finally, I added an LED strip to the top of the printer to
help light things up when the printer is running.
The MakerGear M2 uses a Rambo controller, so by
printing a new extruder mount it would be very easy to add
a second extruder to the printer — so easy, in fact, that with
the open design you would only lose about an inch on the
X axis. This will definitely be one of my future projects.
Both Slic3r and Creator support multiple extruders.
The MakerGear M2 is the printer to beat, but the proof
is in the pudding. Figure 14 and Figure 15 show the base
for a fully 3D-printed battle bot that we will be building in
an upcoming series. All the parts were printed on the M2.
MakerBot Replicator 2 and 2X
I have had the chance off and on to play with both the
Replicator 2 and 2X. While the early versions of the
extruder were a nightmare and the software is just now
getting to the point where it's on par with the Afinia or
Creator, they are both good printers and up there with the
MakerGear M2 and the Afinia.
The Replicator 2 sports an 11. 2" x 6" build area, but at
a cost of $2,200 it has a BCR of 30. It does not have a
heated bed and you cannot upgrade the printer to use one,
so you can't print with ABS. For this reason, I can't
recommend this printer — especially at the price they are
asking. The Replicator 2X sports a 9. 8" x 6. 3" build area and
a price tag of $2,800, but only yields a BCR of 22.
However, keep in mind that the Replicator 2X does have a
couple of extra features.
First, it sports a second extruder. This is why the build
area is smaller than the Replicator 2. It also has a heated
bed so you can print with other materials, which can be
real handy with two extruders. Even with those features, is
the Replicator 2X worth $2,800? It depends on your point
of view. While I can add a second extruder very easily to
the MakerGear M2, the 2X is ready out of the box to print
with two extruders. For those with a lot of disposable
income, I'm sure this is just what they are looking for.
How to Select Your
Next 3D Printer
Okay, you want to purchase a 3D printer, but new ones
are presented on Kickstarter every month. How do you
decide? I have purchased five printers in the last six months
and unfortunately have been burned. Here’s some advice
that comes from my personal experiences:
1. Take what the manufacturer says with
a grain of salt.
You need to treat the manufacturer of a 3D printer like
a used car salesman. They want to sell you a 3D printer;
they will say what it takes to sell you a printer. While they
may give you specs on the printer, getting it to print at
those specs may be difficult or impossible. You are better
off looking at other sources for some of the printer
information. You can search online for forums and reviews
of the printer you are considering. Be sure to search
You Tube. Other sources of information are local clubs or
3D printer stores.
2. Beware of what you may see
on You Tube.
When you are researching a particular printer, be sure
to do a search on You Tube. If you see no examples of the
printer you are looking for, there is a chance that it is a very
new printer design and no one has uploaded a video. That
said, any manufacturer that sells a 3D printer should have
videos on You Tube and links to videos on their website
(See Tip 5). If they don't, this should raise a red flag. If you
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