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Jun 22, 2016, 08:56 PM
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Geeetech I3 ProB - 3D printer - Rating 9/10 (9.5/10??)

Did I need another 3D printer????
Hmmm, not really.....

The Printrite DIY printer is a bit large overall. It also needs a fair few additions to make it truly great, which cost money! And maybe you could buy something WITH all those things already.... maybe even for less total cost!!??
So what started as just looking around at things, became a BUYING of another 3D Printer.

What is good, or better about the Geeetech I3 ProB?

1) Only AUD $329 delivered to the door! Very prompt delivery too! just days.

2) Comes with a heated bed and a glass bed for that too.

3) A built in Power Supply, so you have a nice totally self contained printer!

4) The LCD control panel, to allow stand-alone control and printing.

5) A robust acrylic frame, forming a quite compact unit, with the same printing area/volume of the PrintriteDIY anyway.

6) The MK8 printhead setup.

So all in all that sound GREAT!!
Lower cost than the PrintriteDIY and you get quite a bit MORE!!

Well, it sounded that way.... and sort of does end up that way I guess.... just not as great as it all sounded....

Last edited by PeterVRC; Jun 22, 2016 at 10:11 PM.
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Jun 22, 2016, 09:19 PM
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The good and the bad.... The Heatbed

Ok.... it comes with a heat bed! And a glass plate for that!
Unfortunately the heatbed is only the "MK2b" version, which is the heatbed WITHOUT a 3mm alloy plate affixed to that. This ends up being a quite notable shortfall/problem!

I only have the MK3 heatbed, that I bought to upgrade the PrintriteDIY printer, as a reference but it now shows that that is GREAT! Without the alloy plate affixed the heatbed warps/bends when it is hot. The glass plate remains straight BUT it means the whole printing bed alignment goes out of whack. eg it can be angled to one side, or diagonal. So you need to re-align it all pretty well every single print to be sure it is LEVEL! And even then it probably alters some small amount during printing.
So you really want and NEED that MK3 heatbed with the 3mm alloy plate it has affixed to it!

The fact that the heatbed can warp also means it is not in 100% contact with the glass plate, thus the heat transfer is poor and then you need to run hotter bed temps so that the glass actually gets hot enough.

The heatbed is fixed to the printing bed/platform bu long bolts with 'springs' in between, to allow easy adjustment of the bed four corners. This is a good (and common) thing, which I do not have on the PrintriteDIY, YET. It is a "must have" setup! To allow easy bed leveling.

So this is issue number 1.... the MK2b heatbed not having the alloy plate....
You will really need to buy a MK3 heatbed to replace that. (AUD$25)
Jun 22, 2016, 09:28 PM
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The good and the bad.... The rails system

All (?) 3D Printers run from a 3 axis rail system. Smooth rods for the axis to 'run' along. It will pretty well be a pair of rails per axis.
The Geeetech rails are LOW quality.... not consistent diameters.... and some can even be a bit BENT!! (many forums etc mention these things).
Then they will use Linear bearings to run along those rails. But the Geeetech ones are low quality and some are fractionally sloppy! Part of that can be when the rail diameter is not accurate too, but it is because BOTH the rails and linear bearings are low quality!

Versus the PrintriteDIY printer having 'perfect' components!

Once fully assembled and running, the 'error' in tolerances produces an ACCEPTABLE result still. You have 'forces' making things 'go to ends' so the tolerances/slop are taken up quite well. But that is still not GOOD DESIGN! It is somewhat lucky it ends up like that!

The 'worm' drives....
For X and Y axis drive they use toothed belts. For the Z axis (vertical) they use a threaded rod and threaded bush at each end of the printhead carriage. The threaded rods are also low quality and incorrect diameters(!), plus BENT! These also worked somewhat "ok" in the end, but I did get a very slight 'wavering' in vertical walls of the prints! That is no good!
I bought some new stainless steel threaded rod for AUD$10, cut it to suit and replaced the stock ones! Now it is perfect....
But that takes time, effort, and cost ($10).
Last edited by PeterVRC; Jun 22, 2016 at 09:38 PM.
Jun 22, 2016, 09:43 PM
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The good and the bad.... The Printhead assembly

One of the "upgrades" the I3 went through was changing many plastic bracket/parts to be metal. That sounds good and promising.... well it would be if the metal parts weer made well!!!

The Printhead brackets/assembly are just metal plate, bent/pressed, and are a bit flimsy for the job. Probably JUST adequate....but with a bit of error in tolerances etc once again.
Basically you can WOBBLE the printhead carriage a bit - part due to the low quality linear bearings, and part due to it being too flimsy.
Once again, IN USE the tolerances are 'taken up' and the end result is that it prints fine. But the design and quality is sub-standard!

At this stage, with all the issues, it still ends up being a good printer anyway! But you got what you paid for! Lower cost... lower quality.... but it still works fine.
Jun 22, 2016, 09:51 PM
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I forgot to mention the assembly....

The PrintriteDIY printer comes as a KIT.... but a LOT of it is pre-assembled for you anyway! Plus it does not really have a lot of parts in total. You can complete it in a few hours.

The Geeetech I3 ProB has a TON of parts!! And it comes with nothing assembled at all - which is fair enough, but it means you need to input a LOT of work to build it all up!
It took me over 10 hours and I am very technical! Some people would never get it done... or probably not end up with it working properly! Maybe after another another 4 hours or more.... hehe

But it was very well though out really! The DESIGN is really good... but the PARTS, low quality, thus the IMPLEMENTATION of the design is lacking.
As I mentioned, it prints fine in the end! I don't know how they fluked having sub-standard parts, ending up 'taking up tolerances' and thus printing well anyway!! it is technically not right.... but it works. sheesh.

I also had TONS of screws etc left over! It seems they give you a LOT of extras! That was actually a bit disconcerting seeing there are so many, thus that seems 'wrong'! But everything was done to every step in the manual, and I checked and assessed each portion that it was correct and would work properly..... so I guess they did just give a lot of extras!

If you get one, be prepared for a BIG PROJECT!! hehe
But in the end, by its results and even technical aspects, it IS a very good printer.... and great value at the AUD$329 !!
But order a MK3 heatbed for it from ebay too! (AUD$25).

When you see all the PICTURES of the I3 it looks really nice! And it does end up that way!!
You just don't get to SEE the poor quality of the parts.....
Jun 22, 2016, 09:59 PM
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The "Control" Panel

The PrintriteDIY can have a Control Panel added to it. I have ordered one to add to mine.
The Geeetech I3 comes with one....
But what real use is it???

Boy is it a BADLY programmed and laid out system! It is terrible. This makes its effective use much lower than it could have been!
It is still of SOME use, but I rarely use any of it! Because of how badly laid out it is!
You are WAY WAY better off running from a computer!!

The best use of the Control Panel is if you download a print to a memory card and THEN run that from the printer, via Control Panel controls. I have not done that yet as I have a notebook PC dedicated to doing all my 3D print design and printer control etc.
I will try it out sometime soon though, seeing it is POSSIBLE that doing it via a memory card, and thus leaving the printer 'standalone" could be useful some times....
Jun 22, 2016, 10:11 PM
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Rating...... 9/10

It was a tough call to rate the Geeetech I3 ProB!

It looks really nice - for a "non flashy box" type unit - and it is as compact as that build volume could be really.

It DOES print well..... though I did need to replace those threaded rods to achieve that! (AUD$10)

The heatbed not having the 3mm allloy plate does not bother each print, but is a nuisance in needing bed leveling so often! Though I guess it is really best to CHECK the bed leveling on printers every time anyway.

It is all self-contained... no external power block etc.

After doing a lot of prints, and they come out very good, I decided it does what it is supposed to, thus adding all aspects up it IS great value.
If I offset some of the cost savings of it being so cheap, against the bits that need fixing/replacing, it STILL comes out a winner really.
Even the very long assembly time is fair enough at that price.
Thus all in all i decided 9/10 was a fair rating.

If it is the only printer you choose and buy, it is still very good and well worth it. Maybe some people will get better ones (parts), and some other people get worse parts....
Some people have complained and got new parts sent out by Geeetech. eg the slide rails, or the threaded rods. Their support systems sounds to be good. I bought my own threaded rods because I suspected theirs are never going to be great.. possibly the 'same' problems... thus for $10 it was worth getting known GOOD ones! Plus in stainless steel, not just mild steel as per Geeetech.

I did a few small mods to make it a nicer system to use, I will list those soon. But they are not necessity at all.
I have not replaced the heatbed yet, but will soon.

You can also buy 4mm Borosilicate glass beds - instead of the more common 3mm ones. I have not decided if that is useful/important or not yet. But if you had the MK2 bed than the thicker glass would 'force' the bed to flatten against it somewhat better. At AUD$25 for 4mm glass it is probably better to spend that same amount on the MK3 bed instead!
Jul 14, 2016, 11:56 PM
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MK3b Heatbed upgrade

I ordered, and received, the MK3b Heatbed to upgrade the Geeetech.
This is a MUST HAVE upgrade really! The Mk2 that it comes with is too flexible and WARPS under heating!

Seeing the MK3b has the 3mm Alloy Plate bonded onto the heat pad, it means you have a very good, solid, flat surface pretty well assured. This means you can align it t be dead flat by mounting it with FIXED corner points - not springs like the stock Geeetech MK2 heatbed uses.
On my Printrite DIY printer once I aligned it all with spacers etc, to be dead flat at all four corners, I have never had to do any alignments of the printhead to bed spacing again! That is what you WANT a 3D printer top be like! Reliably aligned and accurate 'FOREVER' !! Just print.... and print... and print... no need to check and adjust again!

The 3mm Alloy also holds heat extremely well... too well? But it means printed object stick extremely well to the glass plate you use on top of it. The print objects just come totally loose once the glass is cooled down, and not before! So once again... it is how you WANT a 3D printer to be!
You want every possibly thing RELIABLE and 'automatic'... no user fiddling to fix errors/problems!

This brings the Geeetech pretty well up to the same great end result as the Printrite DIY printer - I mean mine, with its mods - not a stock version!

Last edited by PeterVRC; Jul 16, 2016 at 05:29 AM.

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