Picking the right hardware for your 3D printer.

Picking the right hardware for your 3D printer.

Over the last 10 years there has been a huge leap in 3D printing and all of the offerings for every component on your 3D printer. We will discuss each of the major options out there and how Printed Solid can help you decide on what is the best option for you when it comes to your current printer or if you are planning on building your own.

Controllers

From the traditional RAMPS controller to high end 32 bit controllers you have many options and at Printed Solid we picked the best two out there. We made our decision on board options based on Open Source, maturity, support and build quality.

On the left you have the Ultimachine Einsy Retro board. While this is not the only board made by Ultimachine it will be the one we use as a comparison but also be sure to check out the Einsy Rambo, Rambo 1.4 and Archim 1.0 boards. The Einsy Retro is anything but Retro. It is a superior 8 bit board with support for Marlin which is arguably one of the most mature firmware options for 3D printing.  It is also hosting Trinamic TMC2130 drivers which are some of the quietest drivers out there. Prusa MK3 and Lulzbot Mini2 are running on these drivers and are some of the quietest printers imaginable and it is due to the TM2130. In fact you will find the Einsy Retro in the Lulzbot Mini2 and the Einsy Rambo in the Prusa MK3. With details like fuse protection on the major power rails and great support on Octoprint this make Ultimachine the high end solution for 8bit control boards with the exception of the Archim 1.0 which is a great 32bit board designed with the new 32bit version of Marlin in development

On the right we have the Duet3D Duet 2 Ethernet board which is similar to its brother the Duet 2 WiFi board. The only difference being how do you want to put it on your network. This is the pinnacle of 32 bit boards for 3D printing. While putting an 8 bit board on your network will require something like a Raspberry Pi and Octoprint the Duet3D boards have network support built right in. They also have the Trinamic TMC2660 drivers on them to give you really quiet operation. They also support their PanelDue touchscreen displays to give you a rich environment for operating your printer.  Another key advantage to the Duet3D boards is extruder support. With Duex modules you can get up to 7 extruders on your printer.

Is 32 bit worth it? Maybe and maybe not. In our testing if you are running a Delta style printer then for the fastest speeds you should really have a 32 bit board. If you are trying to get insane high speeds out of any other printer configuration you may find a 32 bit board is the way to go. However with the Maturity and customizations of Marlin out there you may find 8 bit is the way to go. A good way to think about it is this. If you like to modify every little bit of code and have every option laid in front of you then an 8 bit board running Marlin is the way to go. The RepRapFirmware for 32bit is easily configured but may not make it as easy to get into the extreme configuration options. However it does support just about everything most people would want to tweak right out of the box.

 

Extruders

On the left we have the BondTech BMG extruder and on the right we have the E3D Titan extruder. Both are amazing extruders with some differences that may or may not be a factor for you when deciding. The BondTech BMG has a rugged design with an interesting dual gear system referred to as the Dual Drive technology. This really helps when pushing tough filaments at high speeds since it force drives the filament from both sides into your hotend. If you are planning on running lots of extremely flexible filaments like Ninjaflex then BondTech might be the way to go. On the right we have the E3D titan extruder. With the same 3:1 gear ratio as the BondTech you will get lots of bite on your filament and if you’re working with 2.85 filament the E3D Titan has you covered. While it can handle flexible filaments great you can also get a Harden Steel Extruder Hobb to help you with those abrasive filaments like Carbon Fiber Nylon and Glass Filled Nylon and Glow Fill.

Both of these extruders have mirrored versions as well which makes them a great way to mount them side by side in either a Bowden or Direct Drive setup to give you a tight dual extruder configuration. BondTech and E3D have many options other than the BMG and Titan extruders but these are their two most popular designs.  

Extruder Hotend Hybrids

We didn’t know if these belong under extruders or under hotends but it would be wrong if we didn’t mention the Titan Aero solutions. They combine both the extruder and the hotend into one compact package. Using the same drive system that made the Titan extruder so popular E3D has moved the heat break up into the main body creating a great way to dissipate heat and keep the nozzle structurally closer to the body giving your prints less ringing at higher speeds. This also does a good job at giving you a little more build height on your printer without making your printer taller. On the left you have the Titan Aero which you can get as both a full kit and as an upgrade for you Titan extruder. On the right you have the Titan Aqua which is a water cooled hotend kit for those printers with heated build chambers or higher temps in the 400c range. You will find the Titan Aero on printers like the Lulzbot Mini2 and their upgraded toolhead options like the Aerostruder for the Taz6 and Aerostruder for the original Mini printers.

Hotends

We carry only the high end solutions for hotends at Printed Solid and these are the best options out there for your 3D printer. E3D on the left has a huge line of options and upgrades to fine tune your setup from Nickel Plated Copper Heater Blocks to Titanium Heatbreaks  and so much more. E3D is considered the gold standard for hotends with multiple solutions for single extruder, dual extruder and dual into single extruders. E3D uses the standard v grove mount so popular with extruders like the Bondtech BMG and Titan extruders . But there is a new contender that we think highly off on the market and we are proud to be their first reseller. Slice Engineering and the Mosquito hotend on the right is a serious piece of engineering. They have optimized the heatbreak in such a way that the Mosquito can get up to 450c with minimal air cooling. They also enlarged the heater block and support it from the outside corners to make changing nozzles a breeze. The Mosquito hotend is for the more aggressive 3D printer builds and those looking for higher temps and more flow with shorter retractions. There are multiple ways to mount the Mosquito but we are partial to our own in house v grove collet. While they may not have all the options of E3D you can still use any of E3D’s nozzles, heaters, thermistors on the Mosquito hotend.  

 

Selecting the Right Nozzle

We have already covered the subject of nozzles before so instead of just repeating ourselves head over and check out our in depth write up on the subject.

 

Bed Surfaces

If you want to see someone who does 3D printing have their heads explode then ask them what is the best surface to print on? Glass, painters tape, glue stick, hairspray? You will get a different answer from everyone every time. There are so many solutions out there to pick how is anyone supposed to decide? At Printed Solid we run printers every day and night across every imaginable material and printer option out there and we have 3 favorites. Glue stick, PEI (left) and GeckoTek (right). We find glue stick to do a good job on materials like our in-house brand Daily PLA and ColorFabb NGEN and other CoPoly blends. Our own PEI (left) does a great job when clean on PLA / PETG / ABS and if you put glue stick down to lessen the bond you can do great things with flexible filaments. GeckoTek does an amazing job for PETG, nylons, Carbon Fiber ABS or any of those materials that could warp on you. If you are having a hard time deciding on what print surface to use contact us and let us know what printer you are using and what material you are printing with and we can help bond you with the right sticky solution.  

 

Conclusion

At Printed Solid we don’t carry everything like a big box store. We carefully select the best products from every category. You can rest easy knowing if it is in our store it is the high end solution for your 3D printing needs. We don’t just put a product on the shelf and leave it up to the customer to figure out if it is any good. Everything we carry is used extensively by our staff before we release it into the wild. We regularly talk and work with other users, vendors and people like you to decide what is worthy of our online collection. So if you are buying from Printed Solid not only are you only getting high end products you are getting the expertise of everyone at Printed Solid who has already used the product you just bought.

Contact us today and let us know how to better serve your high end 3D printing needs.

info@printedsolid.comhttps://www.facebook.com/PrintedSolid/https://twitter.com/PrintedSolid302-439-0098
 
Or come into our showroom in Building 1 at:
2850 Ogletown Rd.
Newark, DE 19713

 

 




David Randolph
David Randolph

Author

I have a background in film and television engineering and IT with over 9 years with 3D printing and laser cutting. I've fought robots and even have a Guinness world record for worlds largest video game controller. My nerd cred is strong.



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