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Feb 10, 2015, 11:22 AM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
Discussion

Folger Tech Prusa i3 ($320).. My quick review.


This printer is getting a lot of attention on Reddit and the Reprap forums lately so i thought i'd post my quick review of it here.

If you don't know what a Reprap or Prusa i3 is you can read more about them here:
http://reprap.org/wiki/Prusa_i3

Folger Tech sells their version of the Prusa i3 on Ebay and their website for $319 + shipping. I paid $326 shipped a few months ago ($319+$27 shipping - $20 coupon) .

Specifications:
Acrylic Frame
200mm x 200mm x 180mm build volume
100 Micron print resolution
1.75mm Mk7 'style' Extruder with 0.4mm nozzle.
Heated Print Bed.
Prints PLA, ABS, Nylon and more (TPE, PET.. etc)

What this 'kit' really is:
A box of parts that can be assembled into a 3D Printer. If you don't like the idea of soldering, measuring or flashing firmware this isn't the kit for you.

My review of this printer...

PROS:
  • OMG! $319!!
  • 200x200x180 build volume
  • Heated bed included
  • Prints PLA, ABS and most other filaments.
  • Amazing print quality (when setup properly)
  • Highly Upgradeable

CONS:
  • The Acrylic frame can crack if you over tighten the screws when putting it together. Acrylic also starts to go soft at ~80c.. Since you normally heat the print bed to 100c when printing ABS you need to make sure you insulate the heat from the Acrylic Y sled.
  • The Extruder is 'finicky'. It does a great job once you learn to dial in its settings... but it will take a few attempts to get adjusted.
  • The firmware does not come pre-loaded on the controller. The current firmware from Folger Tech is outdated.
  • Every time you move the printer you will need to re-setup the printer (level the print bed... etc).

I am EXTREMELY happy with this printer. I'm not sure you can find another 3D Printer in this price range with those specifications. Every negative thing you can say about this printer can be fixed with upgrades or add-on's.

I received my printer on a Friday and had it printing Sunday afternoon.

Early adopters have a few problems with the Manual but the latest 'Rev B' versions seemed to fix that.

Rather then use Folger Tech's version of the Marlin firmware, i downloaded the latest version and modified it with the settings from Folger Tech.

A few upgrades i've added...
Aluminum Print Bed ($25 from ebay) and Inductive Sensor ($6 amazon) for auto bed leveling (like Printrbots).

LCD Graphic Smart Display Controller + SD card reader ($19 amazon)

I'm also currently building a box/platform that will make it easier for me to move it around.


A few pictures..


The Acrylic frame going together..


The first print..


Case for the LCD controller..


Setting up the auto bed leveling/tramming (testing the bracket i made)..


To sum up:
If you are more of a R/C 'Kit' builder then a RTF buyer... I highly recommend this 3d Printer.

If you have any questions just ask..
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Feb 10, 2015, 12:07 PM
CAD/3D Printing - FPV Racing
brannnt's Avatar
Pretty nuts that it is that cheap. I'm intrigued. Do you mind posting a finished photo of the entire printer?
Feb 10, 2015, 01:11 PM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by brannnt
Pretty nuts that it is that cheap. I'm intrigued. Do you mind posting a finished photo of the entire printer?
I'll take some current pictures of it tonight... It's kind of like a few of my quads.. always changing

You can also check out this thread over on the reprap forums:
http://forums.reprap.org/read.php?4,405576

Keep in mind that the early adopters had to work through a few issues with the kit that have been fixed now. My 'Rev B' kit went together in a few hours... The first kits didn't even have a manual
Feb 10, 2015, 06:57 PM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
When i got home my 12 year old son was printing out the NASA space wrench .

This is how my printer currently looks... In truth, it has looked better but i keep changing things around so the wiring is a mess.



The rats nest of wires..


The MK7 type extruder & hot end..


My Auto leveling/tramming setup..


I've used everything from Glass to a PRINTINz print surface. I'm currently using basic Kapton tape and hair spray because i think its easier to cleanup (and glass doesn't work with the auto-level )

Bonus: My kid is getting extra credit for printing the space wrench for one of his teachers.
Feb 12, 2015, 03:56 PM
180CFX - Nano CPX - DX6
Couchking's Avatar
Great review. Just placed my order for one yesterday after weeks of researching different printers.
Feb 15, 2015, 07:07 PM
Registered User

Problems gettin g my printer to work


So i am completly new to setting up 3d printers but not new to tech stuff. I have wired my printer according to ever blasted thing i can find. Would it be possible to post a picture of your bored so i could see what it looks like?
Feb 17, 2015, 12:40 PM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Goosey73
So i am completly new to setting up 3d printers but not new to tech stuff. I have wired my printer according to ever blasted thing i can find. Would it be possible to post a picture of your bored so i could see what it looks like?
Sure... I'll take some pictures when i get home. However mine isn't 'stock' any more.

I would recommend doing it exactly like the pictures in the Folger manual.
Feb 17, 2015, 12:47 PM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
I printed out a new extruder this weekend..


(from this design... http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:650957)

The original worked OK but the new one is more forgiving. It works much better with 'lower quality' filaments
Mar 04, 2015, 07:16 AM
Registered User
choopi's Avatar
I'm about to get one of those. Just a few question for you...

You prefer 1.75 over 3mm? I guess more flexible?
PLA or ABS, what do you use the most?
Is the LCD, sd card the sell ok? http://www.ebay.com/itm/2004-LCD-Dis...DER:SIMPLEITEM

I was about to order that one until I viewed that one: http://www.geeetech.com/acrylic-geee...kit-p-884.html
what do you think?

Sorry for all the question... It will be my first 3d printer, looking forward to get printer.

Thanks for the work you did on starting that thread!
Mar 04, 2015, 10:45 AM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by choopi
You prefer 1.75 over 3mm? I guess more flexible?
1.75 requires less power/torque from the extruder so you can have 'Direct Drive' like the MK7 type extruder on the Folger Tech model (and the Replicator 2.. etc).

For 3mm filament you need a 'wades extruder' or something with more gearing to extrude.

In the old days (2 years ago) 1.75mm filament was more expensive.. now they are about the same.

In the end.. It really doesn't matter and is personal preference.. Print quality can be the same with both.

Quote:
Originally Posted by choopi
PLA or ABS, what do you use the most?
I actually switch filament all the time . That's why i would always recommend a printer with a heat bed.

I like PLA because i can get away with putting the printer on the kitchen table and my wife/kids don't complain about the smell.

I use ABS for parts that need to be strong and stand up to some abuse (I just printed a bunch of mounts for gopro remote controls that attach to snowmobile handlebars). I also do a TON of 3D scans of peoples kids and print them out in ABS since i can do simple acetone smoothing on them (never let your wife post pictures of the 3D busts you do of your kids on facebook... everybody will want one! )

I am in love with the PET filament from MadeSolid called PET+. I use it to make quadcopter frames (the real reason i bought my 3D printer in the first place). It doesn't smell.. is as strong as ABS.. but is more flexible and crash resistant. It prints a lot like PLA but needs higher heat.

I also am almost through with my first roll of NinjaFlex. I made my younger son an iPhone case with his pee-wee football team logo on it... and then i had to make one for everybody else on the team

Quote:
Originally Posted by choopi
Is the LCD, sd card the sell ok?
That will work fine... however, for almost the same price you can get the larger one that displays more info. On Ebay search for 'reprap graphical lcd'..
Here is the one Folger Tech sells..
http://www.ebay.com/itm/LCD-Display-...-/331130981158
I bought mine from Amazon (out of stock now)
http://www.amazon.com/Sintron-Graphi...ords=LCD+12864

Quote:
Originally Posted by choopi
I was about to order that one until I viewed that one: http://www.geeetech.com/acrylic-geee...kit-p-884.html
what do you think?
I don't know anything about the greeetech i3.. sorry. I picked up the Folger Tech model because there was a good number of people on the reprap Forums that had one.. and because they are located in the U.S support was easier (greeetech ships from china).

Folger Tech support was AMAZING when my printer showed up with a piece of acrylic cracked. They sent me out a new part ASAP. I've also ordered a few extra parts from them over the past few months and they have always delivered on time and answered all my questions.

I'm sure the Greetech i3 would work... just remember that 99% of Prusa i3 kits (even Folgers) are just boxes of parts you have to assemble/program yourself

gratuitous images..
3D printed scan of my 12 year old (PLA.. don't have a picture handy of a smoothed ABS one)


In this picture you can see the base i have mounted my printer onto.. 1/2 MDF painted black with rubber feet. The printer is zip tied to the base for stability and to make it easier to move the printer around.. (also a 3D printed tardis )
Last edited by TheLost; Mar 04, 2015 at 10:58 AM.
Mar 04, 2015, 12:08 PM
Registered User
choopi's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheLost
1.75 requires less power/torque from the extruder so you can have 'Direct Drive' like the MK7 type extruder on the Folger Tech model (and the Replicator 2.. etc).

For 3mm filament you need a 'wades extruder' or something with more gearing to extrude.

In the old days (2 years ago) 1.75mm filament was more expensive.. now they are about the same.

In the end.. It really doesn't matter and is personal preference.. Print quality can be the same with both.


I actually switch filament all the time . That's why i would always recommend a printer with a heat bed.

I like PLA because i can get away with putting the printer on the kitchen table and my wife/kids don't complain about the smell.

I use ABS for parts that need to be strong and stand up to some abuse (I just printed a bunch of mounts for gopro remote controls that attach to snowmobile handlebars). I also do a TON of 3D scans of peoples kids and print them out in ABS since i can do simple acetone smoothing on them (never let your wife post pictures of the 3D busts you do of your kids on facebook... everybody will want one! )

I am in love with the PET filament from MadeSolid called PET+. I use it to make quadcopter frames (the real reason i bought my 3D printer in the first place). It doesn't smell.. is as strong as ABS.. but is more flexible and crash resistant. It prints a lot like PLA but needs higher heat.

I also am almost through with my first roll of NinjaFlex. I made my younger son an iPhone case with his pee-wee football team logo on it... and then i had to make one for everybody else on the team


That will work fine... however, for almost the same price you can get the larger one that displays more info. On Ebay search for 'reprap graphical lcd'..
Here is the one Folger Tech sells..
http://www.ebay.com/itm/LCD-Display-...-/331130981158
I bought mine from Amazon (out of stock now)
http://www.amazon.com/Sintron-Graphi...ords=LCD+12864



I don't know anything about the greeetech i3.. sorry. I picked up the Folger Tech model because there was a good number of people on the reprap Forums that had one.. and because they are located in the U.S support was easier (greeetech ships from china).

Folger Tech support was AMAZING when my printer showed up with a piece of acrylic cracked. They sent me out a new part ASAP. I've also ordered a few extra parts from them over the past few months and they have always delivered on time and answered all my questions.

I'm sure the Greetech i3 would work... just remember that 99% of Prusa i3 kits (even Folgers) are just boxes of parts you have to assemble/program yourself

gratuitous images..
3D printed scan of my 12 year old (PLA.. don't have a picture handy of a smoothed ABS one)


In this picture you can see the base i have mounted my printer onto.. 1/2 MDF painted black with rubber feet. The printer is zip tied to the base for stability and to make it easier to move the printer around.. (also a 3D printed tardis )
Thank you very much for the info! Amazing job on the prints!
Mar 06, 2015, 09:21 AM
Registered User
choopi's Avatar
Ok, I'm in! I ordered one yesterday. That should be fun!
Mar 09, 2015, 04:25 PM
Registered User
This is the exact printer I have been looking at ordering, I currently am helping a few friends on another forum and then I am ordering mine for sure! now that I know the printer actually works (but can be upgraded) as advertised it is an order for sure!

Have you had to replace any of the electronics yet? That is the only thing I was worried about besides the acrylic frame warping over time.

James
Mar 10, 2015, 07:14 AM
Registered User
I have just ordered a similar printer but with a Bowden extruder. I have a laser cutter so if harm comes to any of the acrylic parts I can always replace them with plywood or acetal parts.
Mar 11, 2015, 10:25 AM
My Bulldog is my copilot ..
TheLost's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by lwizardl
This is the exact printer I have been looking at ordering, I currently am helping a few friends on another forum and then I am ordering mine for sure! now that I know the printer actually works (but can be upgraded) as advertised it is an order for sure!

Have you had to replace any of the electronics yet? That is the only thing I was worried about besides the acrylic frame warping over time.

James
I haven't replaced any of the electronics yet.. i have added to them though: LCD screen, Z sensor, print fan & raspberry pi w/camera (running octoprint).

The included PSU has suprized me the most.. I moved the hot-end fan to the 12v ports so its always on and the print fan to the Ramps 1.4 D9 location so i can control it with the slicer. My Z sensor & Raspberry PI are also wired directly to the 12v power supply (with a 5v converter between). The PSU has handled all the add-ons without any issues

As for the acrylic..

I replaced the acrylic Y carriage due to a small amount of warping. I did a few long hours of APS printing with the print bed @ 100c and inadequate heat shielding between the hot bed and the acrylic carrage If you use cork or insulation you shouldn't have a problem.. but replacing it with an aluminum carrage cost under $20 on ebay

I've attached my spool holder to the top of the acrylic frame and so far its handling the weight/stress fine. I think the biggest thing you need to worry about is over tightening the screws when you put it together.


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