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PB2

Printrbot has been on my radar since the release of the low-cost and high-value Simple. Since then, Printrbot has been busy. They recently released the all-new metal Printrbot Simple, which is faster, larger, more accurate and even quieter than the last one.

This printer has been upgraded in every way. The new Simple may have the same look, but under the hood, there were upgrades: they got rid of the wood, bed leveling screws, string and small z-axis rods and added metal, an auto-leveling probe, rubber toothed belts, and 12mm z-axis rods.

PB3

Left: the new metal Printrbot Simple; Right: the original wooden Printrbot Simple

The hardware upgrades make the Simple a completely new machine. The aluminum body and thicker z-axis rods make the z-movements more rigid, allowing the z-height to be increased from four to six inches. Along with the z-axis height, the x and y axes have also grown from four to six inches, increasing the build volume from 64 to 216 cubic inches (a 238% increase). The new rubber toothed belts contribute to higher precision prints, which helps overall quality and print consistency. I had good results when printing with resolutions between .3mm and .1mm.

The feature that can save users the most time is probably the auto-leveling probe. This does a pretty good job of setting the nozzle height every time you use it, even if the printer has been jostled around between prints. On top of these improvements, the new Simple comes with an aluminum extruder and an upgraded hot end, which seems to be slightly more precise than the previous hot ends.

PB1

Here you can see the aluminum extruder, upgraded hot end, and auto-leveling probe.

The only thing I don’t love about this printer is that it is significantly heavier than the wooden Simple, which makes it a little less portable.

I’m definitely impressed by this printer and would recommend it to people who want to get into 3D printing or upgrade from an original Simple. It’s fast, precise, and not a huge investment.

Buy your metal Printrbot Simple in the Maker Shed today!

A kit version is also available.

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Nick Parks

Nick Parks

Nick Parks is an engineering intern at MAKE, and he’s studying mechanical engineering at Santa Rosa Junior College. He likes to build and take apart things to make products better or create something new. He enjoys working at MAKE and likes to help other people build projects of their own.


  • Denbo

    Just FYI there is a decent upgrade on thingiverse that allows you to use belts on the wooden Printrbot Simple for the X&Y axis.

    http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:194686 and http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:220484

    • http://makezine.com/author/nparks707/ Nick Parks

      Nice find, that looks like a very nice belt upgrade. It’s definitely something worth doing if you’ve got an original wooden Simple.

  • Whosa whatsis

    36 cubic inches? What are the build dimensions, 3x3x4 inches? 3.3″ cube?

    Did you perhaps mean to say a print *area* of 36 *square* inches?

    • http://makezine.com/author/nparks707/ Nick Parks

      Hi thanks for noticing that. I did mean square inches, I updated the post with the correct amount of cubic inches.

  • http://www.theatreintangible.com Tony Youngblood

    I’ve had this printer (kit version) for two weeks now, and I absolutely love it. There is definitely a learning curve for first-timers such as myself. The installation instructions left much to be desired and the calibrating was a pain, but once all that is done, this is a wonderful printer.

    All it needs is a spool holder: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:322923

    • http://makezine.com/author/nparks707/ Nick Parks

      A spool holder is a necessity, that one looks very cool. I’ll have to print one and test it out.

  • Harley Quinn

    All right if PRINTRBOT is so great, why isn’t mines working? And I’m not the only one there many others that have complaints about PRINTRBOT I even heard somebody had sent theirs back, for me I’m past the point of no return on sending mines back to them the 30day policy … The first time I got it I assembled it and I did practice models I tried different settings and adjustments to the PRINTRBOT and it never worked properly it doesn’t make circles I get lopsided ones it doesn’t print past a certain build dimension the I made a practice cube and it’s always off by 1/16th of and inch on one side and the extruder motor keeps clicking and refusing to put the PLA filament into the heating extruder and that’s been happening for two months now, I figured that I could fix the problem but I was not able to… WHAT IS SO GREAT ABOUT PRINTRBOT? I will tell you why PRINTRBOT did their product so fast they didn’t even have time to REALLY test it… I had to assemble mines

    • Andrew Terranova

      I can only imagine your is fueled by some genuine frustration. Don’t panic!
      Any 3D printer can be challenging to get working. I’ve had decent luck with my own Metal Simple, though. So can you.
      Careful assembly is key. Did you find the YouTube assembly videos? They were really helpful for me. You might try going back over the steps to be sure everything is aligned well. I had some early trouble with the PLA slipping on the extruder gear, but tweaking the alignment of that gear fixed it.
      There’s great help on the user forums; try searching for people who have had similar problems as you. Printrbot support has also been responsive for me. Give them a try if you don’t find what you need on the forums.
      Don’t give up hope. You learn a lot as you overcome these problems, so try to see them as a growth opportunity. Good luck.

  • Harley Quinn

    I HATE IT… I have had my printrbot for almost 4 months now and it has never works since I’ve had it I’ve tried and tried to have the proper settings fittings and adjustments to the printrbot but it just doesn’t want to do what I want it to do the program keeps wrecking the print every I make something it either scratches the bed or is wrecks the print and the print itself is really poor and it never finished it always prints half ways then it just prints in the same spot over and over again

    • Ken

      I am not sure if you are a troll paid by another company (there is the exact same review on another website under a different name… http://www.serialhobbyism.com/review-of-the-printrbot-simple-metal-kit/) to bash printrbot, but if you’re sincerely having trouble there is a huge community willing to help you dial in your printrbot. You can go to printrbottalk.com. There are a lot of settings and calibration instructions over there. It would also help if you post your settings and a picture of a print (specially the bottom since the first layer can make all the difference) on the site so people can give you better advice. Good luck!