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3D Printer Guides

3D Printer News, Reviews, Guides, and much more!

Monthly Archives / January 2015

  • Jan 28 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Stream?



One of my many hare-brained plans is to set up a stream where models submitted by viewers and they can watch their prints in real time! Unfortunately, this requires me to have 24 hour access to a 3D printer, which, sadly, I do not. Keep an eye out! The link is

  • Jan 28 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Zortrax M200 Review

Zortrax M200 Review




The Zortrax M200 is one of the best desktop 3D printers on the market. It is competitively priced, reliable, and accurate. Although it’s technical specifications are rather run-of-the-mill (90 micron layer resolution, 200 x 200 x 185 mm build volume), the overall experience, and especially the surface finish, is highly consistent, even across overhangs and areas that many other 3D printers struggle with.


It’s hard to say how much of the excellent surface finish is owed to the solid construction, the slicer and it’s impeccable support generation, or the filament, but it all comes together in an extremely well-engineered piece of machinery. Setup time is minimal, and it does not need to be calibrated very often to deliver very high quality prints. Below are just a few examples of the type of print-quality you can expect:


A scale model of the head of Michelangelo’s “David”


A bearing that shows off Zortrax’s Print-In-Place (PIP) chops


A model jet engine from G.E.


A Cubic Trisection


Bird Feeder (from


A sweet Chevy. Anyone know what year? Looks like mid-50s to me.



Finally, a functional music box. If you try to print this, bear in mind that it needs a chamber to resonate on, such as an empty cardboard box. I was planning on getting a video of this in action but unfortunately one of the tines broke off and I will have to reprint. The preset song wasn’t very good anyway. Make sure to check out the customizer to create your own song.


Drawbacks are few, although the problems that occur with Zortrax are endemic to desktop FDM 3D printers in general: warping, difficulty in removing supports, and adhesion problems, where prints lift up off the bed. Iused an ABS slurry (acetone + ABS) which seems to help, although probably not for long.

The technical support seems to be somewhat lacking, which is to be expected of a company that was crowd-funded through kickstarter,  but I have faith it will become better with time.

Technical Specifications


Technology: FFF

Price: $2199

Build Envelope: 200 x 200 x 185 mm (8”x8”x7.5”)

Build Volume: 7.4 liters

Minimum Layer Height: 90 microns

Materials: Plastic

Release Date: June 2013

Useful Resources

User Guide: Zortrax M200 User Manual

Software: Z-Suite (requires serial number)



Support (General):

Support (Request):


When all is said and done, I would very strongly recommend the Zortrax M200. Hope you enjoyed this review, please feel free to leave comments below!

  • Jan 25 / 2015
  • Comments Off on How long does a roll of filament last?

How long does a roll of filament last?


Many 3D Printer companies are trying to use the same business model that printer companies use: relatively low upfront cost with absurdly expensive, proprietary ink cartridges. They don’t make any promises on how long it will last or how much you get, and insist on using vague benchmarking terms that don’t really answer your question.

Ultimaker is actually not guilty of this, as they use an “open filament system” which allows for a variety of materials to be printed that are not necessarily sold by them. However, I wanted to know how much a standard roll of PLA filament lasts under normal use cases. The short answer: a little more than 100 hours. This means if you’re printing every day for 8 hours, you will be out in about 2.5 weeks (Assuming an 8 hour work day and 5 day work week.)

One thing that I found which was surprising was the variation in material consumption rate depending on the model. My overall finding was that smaller models tend to use less material per hour than larger ones.

Bear in mind that this is NOT a scientific test by any means. There are definitely improvements that could be made to get a better answer. For starters, instead of using the estimated print time generated by Cura, I would want to time the prints myself. I’ve found that it is pretty accurate for the most part, but it would be nice to verify that. I would also like to adjust some of the basic settings: infill, print speed (which did not affect the time in the way I thought it would), layer height (which seems to behave linearly), and others.

I used the default settings for the Ultimaker 2 (100 micron layer height, 20% infill) and loaded up a few model files which I considered to be fairly representative of common use cases.I then scaled them up and recorded the estimated print time and material consumed. From there I calculated the speed at which filament is consumed in meters per hour. Since the filament is 90 meters long, I was then able to calculate the total print time in hours. Results are in the table below:

Model Scaling Factor Time (hours) Material (meters) Consumption Rate (m/h) Total Time (hours)
Bust 1x 0.83 0.6 0.722891566 124.5
Bust 2x 4.53 3.51 0.774834437 116.15385
Bust 3x 12.4 10.39 0.839256866 107.23773
 –  –  –  –  –
Checker 1x 0.98 0.91 0.928571429 96.923077
Checker 2x 5.45 5.15 0.944954128 95.242718
Checker 3x 15.3 14.87 0.970626632 92.723605
 –  –  –  –  –  –
Pawn 1x 0.52 0.28 0.538461538 167.14286
Pawn 2x 1.9 1.58 0.831578947 108.22785
Pawn 3x 5.32 4.55 0.855263158 105.23077
 –  –  –  –  –  –
iPhone Case 1x 2.36 2.05 0.868644068 103.60976
 –  –  –  –  –  –
Average 4.96 4.389 0.827508277 111.69922
  • Jan 23 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Guide to convert 2D images to 3D model

Guide to convert 2D images to 3D model

This youtube video details a method for translating a 2D image to a 3D model:

There might be better options, I know that 123D allows you to import SVG files as well, and this video is a couple years old. Hope it helps!

  • Jan 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on Additive Manufacturing AMA

Additive Manufacturing AMA



For those of you not in the know, is a hugely popular website that has many “subreddits” devoted to various subjects. AMA stands for “Ask Me Anything” and is used by many celebrities, politicians, and scientists as a open press conference where anyone can ask their questions. Yesterday, a group of researchers from the ACS held an AMA about the state of Additive Manufacturing and it’s future. There is a lot of really great discussion in there! Link below:

Beyond AMA, there are a couple of subreddits that are devoted to 3D Printing. Come and join the conversation! It is a great place for both rookies and veterans. Links below:

  • Jan 22 / 2015
  • Comments Off on What is a 3D Printer?

What is a 3D Printer?


The question that is so basic many people are afraid to ask. What is a 3D Printer? Well, there is no shame here, this is the internet for pete’s sake 🙂

A 3D printer is simply a machine that creates 3D objects. There are a couple of ways that this can be done, but I will focus on the kind that is available to most consumers and schools: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF).

These machines melt a strand of plastic “filament” and push it through a nozzle which is attached to a system that moves it around in a path. This path traces out and fills in each layer of the model. After one layer is complete, the printer moves the build platform down so that the next layer can be laid on top of it. Slowly but surely, the model is built from the ground up. This is known as “additive manufacturing.”

Additive manufacturing, or AM, differs from more traditional, subtractive manufacturing methods where a large piece of material is whittled down to create the final product. An example of “subtractive manufacturing” that you are probably familiar with is using a cookie cutter on a flat piece of dough. Putting frosting to them after you’re done baking them, however, is an additive process 🙂

I’ve included a video of a 3D printer up close and personal, doing what it does best:

For those of you wondering, the printer in the video is called the Tinkerine Ditto Pro. If you have any questions, don’t be afraid to leave a comment!