6 months with the Up!Mini 3d printer

IMG_20140525_112844Back in late December  we received a bonus at work. I went to the  Mediamarkt(electronics shop) in Rotterdam Alexandrium to buy myself a little early Xmas gift. I walked in and within 10 minutes my eyes locked in on the Up!Mini. At first it looked like some sort of coffee maker or a juicer or maybe some other home appliance. But it was a 3d printer. As the video playing on the laptop beside it pointed out. I was intrigued and decided I wanted to know more.  Sadly none of the people  at the Mediamarkt seemed to know how it worked or what were the pros and cons of this machine.  But being the DIY nerd I am I threw money at the folks and took the precious home.

Unboxing

The box was well packed. The printer came assembled and there was little manual set-up to do. It comes with a great toolkit:

  1. A pair of gloves to handle the hot parts
  2. some spare parts
  3. a scraper tool
  4. a pair of nippers for cutting off the supports
  5. an exacto knife (haven’t used it yet)
  6. A set of 6 pink clamps (that turn out to be usefull)
  7. some other odds and ends.

Here there be dragons

IMG_20140525_122650 (1)After unpacking it I decided to forego ready any manual. Mainly because there wasn’t one. Reading up on the sites I found I had to download a version of the control software. There were several versions from different companies.  I got a version for OSX  (As that is the OS I prefer) . I started aligning the 3d printer.  This does not take the advertised 15 minutes. But it took approximately 40 to 50 to get right. The manual I found was in bad english probably translated from Chinese. So it was a challenge.  I have since(just now) found a better manual. While writing this review I figured out that the 3d printer ‘s lights on the extruder are able to be turned on by double clicking the button on the front. (something I totally missed.)

My first prints

I got my first print off thingiverse. It was a “8-bit heart” keychain. I didn’t heat the build platform beforehand and it was done rather quick.  I was enthused.

Nozzle JAM!

After a few prints I ran into a problem though: The nozzle had jammed. And I did not have a new nozzle. Turns out you can unjam it by throwing it into acetone to clear out the ABS. Then redo the alignment because i was off by a bit and the nozzle was being caked in ABS. I bought some new nozzles at a dutch store. They were €23.50 a piece.  Afterwards I bought some Chinese nozzles off eBay for €4,90 a piece. Which turned out to be the exact same ones from the dutch store. Not only that .. they arrived sooner than the Dutch store nozzles (3 weeks!).  The Dutch store’s nozzles did not even match the photos they have on the site. I emailed the store. They promised to correct the photo right away.  But turns out they didn’t at the time of writing (5 months later!). I suspect they were also a customer of the kind Chinese ebay-er ;)

Ordering new filament

IMG_20140525_122715I wanted more filament. My first batch was just two extra rolls.  Turns out they were rather pricy. I went online and found 123inkt.nl who have a wide selection of colours and types of filament. And they are a lot cheaper! And they are a lot heavier and bigger. I had to print a new spool-holder just to be able to print using those spools. In the end I like the 123inkt spools better than the official ones. The melting temperature is a bit lower it seems but I get better and more consistent results with those than with the Up! mini specific rolls.

Building another printer.

IMG_20140525_125131I wanted to build another 3d printer.  I wanted a backup. So I chose a an open source printer with a full parts list that would be easy to build. Turns out there was a problem. All the parts were warping and releasing from the build platform.  The temperature in my apartment was around 14 degrees Celsius ( I like it chilly). Which turns out is a bad temperature for printing with ABS.  I figured out I could heat the build plate. And it got better.  But the parts still came out warped a bit.  I then started looking into another design. The Kossel Mini caught my eye and I became a fan. It is such a great design. I started printing and they didn’t seem to warp as much, the prints were usable. I will write a review of my Kossel Mini when I get it to work properly ;)

Stupid me

Turns out the warping was being caused by the build plate changing shape. The up mini came with some pink clamps. Which i didn’t know what they were used for. They were for the build plate. I recently started clamping down the build plate and the warping stopped completely!

Final verdict

I love it. It is consistent it works great. I’ll advise anyone to get one of these as their first printer. The only really bad thing I have to mention is the horrible beeping sound it makes. It makes me want to tear it apart and rip out the speaker and replace it with an LED. I’ve also replaced some of the parts with better models.

Pros:

  1. A  design that fits in with your kitchen appliances. Doesn’t look strange.
  2. Easy to work with.
  3. Reliable so far
  4. €950 for a 3d printer is nicely priced for such a great device :)

Cons:

  1. It makes a LOT of noise. That beep is ANNOYING and VERY loud
  2. 12x12x12 CM build volume is rather small
  3. Sometimes the nozzle jams if you align it wrong.

Tips:

  • Use the clips to clamp down the build platform to prevent warping of the piece. They really do work (which i found out 6 months after buying the Up!)
  • Buy some extra nozzles.
  • Buy Acetone
  • Go on eBay first for parts! Chinese parts are cheap to get and they usually don’t charge shipping.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.