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The $1,500 closed-source UP! Personal Portable 3D Printer (PP3DP) does its thing, putting the heat on open alternatives like the Mendel and MakerBot.

We have been developing the UP! printer for more than one year, it is completely based on our own efforts, we have not used open-source solutions for this design. We understand and follow the RepRap and Fab@home projects with great interest, however these designs follow a quite different direction than we have chose for the UP! printer development.

[Via Beyond the Beyond]

John Baichtal

My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal nerdage.net


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Comments

  1. Luke says:

    I really like the idea of making my own. I think I would learn more. But I have noticed that the models I have seen that come from the MakerBot and RepRap seem to lack the quality this one has . But also the price is about half of what this 3d Printer costs.

    I think the journey is worth it. But if you get serious about 3d printing. Would you jump the ship and go with this after you learned what you wanted to from the Open Source ones?

  2. Dominic Muren says:

    As one of the big boosters of Makerbot (Full disclosure: I’m the skull guy, and a friend of Bre’s), I’m not conflicted at all about this printer: I think it’s a Hummer H2. Let me ‘splain.

    The truck world is divided into two types of truck. The Ford F150 (or similar model), a consumer-sized truck that does a great job of hauling small-job type stuff. They are affordable, serviceable, and relatively unpretentious. But, they have glitches every once in a while, and so a disributed service network (mostly user-performed) takes care of them. They have massive community support for “how to fix it”.

    Then, there is the truck that absolutely must perform, for example, during war. This is a Hum-vee. It is ridiculously over-engineered, can drive 800 miles per hour, and you can bolt a howitzer to the roof. It can only be serviced by qualified personnel, and costs a gazillion dollars.

    Some time in the early 1990s, some smart marketer thought that there ought the be a third type of truck, with all the bluster of the Hum-vee, but with the mass market appeal if the Ford. This is the Hummer H2. It looks really rad, and actually is bigger, flashier, and cooler in some respects, than the Ford. But it really doesn’t carry that much more, handle that much better, or drive that much more safely. When it breaks, it’s not designed to be servicable by it’s users, which sucks, because while it may not cost a gazillion dollars, it might cost half a bazillion, which is still pretty bad.

    Worst of all, in order to get a truck that is only maybe slightly better in some respects, you pay twice as much money for it (which is literally what you’re doing here).

    My advice, with the printer, as with the truck: If you can afford a Hum-vee (or in the printer case, a Stratasys, or printing through Shapeways, which uses higher end printers) absolutely do it. You’ll get much better performance, and the howitzer thing is kind of cool (the Stratasys’s howitzer add-on takes the form of a support material which is dissolved in a HOT LYE BATH!!!)

    However, if you don’t have the cash, or you want to own a printer on the cheap, I think you get a much better deal when you buy into a product backed up by a community. I’ve used lots of finicky CNC machines over the years, from mills, to laser cutters, to regular inkjet printers. I’ve never had any product with such a supportive, motivated, and excited crew of support staff on call all the time, as the makerbot user group. On top of that, I’ve absolutely never bought a product that actually published upgrades for itself. I don’t see that happening with the UP – especially since the manufacturer has been so adamant about it’s non-open-source lineage.

    Long story short, the coolest thing about Open Hardware isn’t that it’s cheap. It’s the fact that opening the source causes a community to form around it. And that community gives resilience, adaptability, and value to a design that isn’t possible (or is really freaking hard and expensive) for companies with a finite number of employees to provide.

    For me, I’ll stick with my makerbot, glitchy prints and all :)

  3. Marcel says:

    Not in conflict with anything already said, I’m impressed.

    Threads… can we print those now!? Wow!

    [m]

  4. John says:

    The print quality seems a bit better than the open source machines. That’s not to say that the efforts of the community won’t solve that problem eventually.

  5. seanpatgallagher.myopenid.com says:

    “The print quality seems a bit better than the open source machines.”

    My thoughts exactly. I wonder where the discrepancy comes from? The precision of the mechanism? The extruder? The software? What are the gaps that the open source machines need to bridge to compete with the low-end commercial units?

    1. eagleapex.com says:

      Bre said that the UP! uses a smaller filament which allows it to make better res prints. Makerbot is right there and some new upgrades will surely increase the quality.

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