Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

SIP06-B9Creator

B9 creations / b9creator.com

Price as tested $3,375
Build volume 4″×3″×8-1/8″
Print materials UV-cured resin
OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows
Print untethered? No
Open-source hardware? Yes
Open-source software? Yes
Printer control software B9 Creator Software
Slicing software B9 Creator Software

With over $800,000 in funding from two Kickstarter campaigns, B9’s Michael Joyce has created a well-built resin-based 3D printer using anodized aluminum parts and an off-the-shelf DLP projector. Providing exquisite detail capabilities, this open-source machine has been adopted largely by jewelers to print rings for lost-wax castings.

Manual Calibration

Setting up the Creator requires manual calibration, but the video walkthroughs of the hardware and software are very clear. You’ll need to level the print bed with the silicone layer of the resin vat and focus the projector to your desired resolution. The software’s bed leveling and projector calibration wizard walks you through these tasks. It took us about 15 minutes to dial it in at 50 microns, the B9’s finest x-y resolution.

SIP06-B9Creator-robots

Powerful Software

The software gives you a lot of print setup options: You can manually attach support structures anywhere on the part, adjust layer exposure times, and tweak firmware settings to support different-sized projectors. The x-y build area varies according to the layer resolution you choose: 50 micron, 2″×1-1/2″; 75 micron, 3″×2-1/4″; or 100 micron, 4″×3″. The lack of automatic support generation is a drawback, especially if you’re printing complex or overhanging shapes.

The Creator does not come with finishing tools, but it does have a parts list of gear to buy. We recommend getting a sealable tub to bathe your prints, like the one that comes with the Form 1, preferably large enough to soak the build table.

In testing, we used the 50.8-micron layer setting. Layers of the print were still faintly visible on curved edges, but both vertical and horizontal flat sides looked completely smooth. The logos on the MAKE robot were very sharp, with only tiny steps on the tapered surfaces — still vastly better than an FFF machine. To further test fine detail, we printed a batch of robots at 0.35 scale; while the logos were light at that tiny size, most were still visible.

Conclusion

Capable of extremely small details, the B9 Creator produced the finest prints of any machine we tested. The software is fluid and responsive, with powerful configuration options. If you need professional-grade printing and are willing to spend time calibrating and experimenting, you’ll be well-served by this machine.

Primo features

  • Pro-grade DLP projector
  • Very high z-axis resolution, configurable from 6.35 to 101.6 microns

Who’s It For?

  • Makers
  • Tinkerers
  • Designers
  • Jewelers

Pro Tips

  • The B9’s software for manually adding support is slick, and you can use it for your FFF printer too. Export an STL and use NetFabb to trim any protrusions on the bottom; just set the position to 0mm and slice it flush.
  • Watch the Getting Started videos before setting up. The documentation isn’t well organized.
  • The cherry resin can be tricky to use; for settings, check out B9 community member “CarterTG”.

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 93. Check out the full issue for more!

 

Related

Comments

  1. GuillaumeDM says:

    Hi Eric!

    On your photo’s print, what was the setting for Z-axis steppings?
    Great test!

    Thanks,

    G

    1. GuillaumeDM says:

      Oh shame on me, I didn’t see that you said you used a 50 micron layer.

  2. Update on the price, $2990 for the kit. Assembled and calibrated with consumables, $4995.
    In stock.

  3. Rabs says:

    I own a B9 and have been absolutely blown away by the detail it is able to produce. I use it for my business as a product designer and for making N scale model trains – where it is able to match (yes, match) the detail of injection moulded parts.
    It can consistently beat the detail of Shapeway’s FUD.
    It does have a bit of a learning curve, although that’s probably much less now that it’s been about for a year and a half and most of the common teething problems are pretty well understood by the community. I had about 15 prints where I made various mistakes but now it pretty much works every time and Mike has personally helped me to overcome issues along the way – as he has for almost everyone who has bought one of these machines.
    I have no affiliation to Mike Joyce or B9, except as a very, very satisfied customer.
    If you want small parts with exquisite detail (jewellers, small scale modellers, small product prototypes) then this is the machine for you.

  4. William Fredette says:

    It’s worth stressing that this entire project has been open sourced by its inventor. I built my own printer, loosely based Mike Joyce’s designs and using his software, and he was incredibly helpful as I was feeling my way through the project. A very generous maker, with a very cool product!

  5. gavi says:

    I have no affiliation with the company: I am just a very satisfied customer.
    I wish to say that:
    - B9Creator has been used since 2012, it counts hundreds of experienced users, many of them being professionals (even though, at less than 3000$, the printer is in the consumer price range). This means that the printer is very dependable, the know-how to print professionally is easy to learn, and there is a large, vibrant, supportive community.
    - Its inventor is incredibly helpful, supportive, available, and quick in answering.
    - B9Creator is an evolving Open Source project, which means that it has improved since 2012 and it continues to improve, and, most importantly, upgrades are backward compatible. For example: the inventor is working, among other improvements, on a full-HD projector upgrade that will enable the current, best in class, precision to be achieved with a bigger build volume. This improvement is planned to be compatible with the version of the printer that you can get right now.
    - The full cost of ownership is relatively low because, being an Open Source project, consumables’ prices are driven down by competition. There is a growing number of available resins and suppliers of consumables.
    - The DLP projector of this printer builds each layer by projecting one image on the liquid resin. The thinner the layer, the faster each layer is created. This means that, as the resins available continue to improve, you can really benefit from higher resolution: the time it takes to print at increasingly higher resolutions remains acceptable: the same cannot be said for other technologies, such as those based on lasers/nozzles.
    - Some people in the community enjoy being users within a supportive community. Some people enjoy also helping the less experienced, and some contribute to the Open Source project by suggesting improvements to the process, to the printer, to the software and to the materials: there is a variety of interesting roles to play in the community.

    If you are curious and wish to ask a question, this is a good place to start:
    http://b9creator.com/support/?mingleforumaction=viewforum&f=3.0

  6. Hi everyone,
    we’re ourselves very interested in 3D printing. So besides some samples from the Form 1 we also looked for somebody who could make us a sample from our own 3D file using the B9. Whereas the overall quality of the print looks promising, we noticed sort of stairsteps on one side of the 3D model.

    After posting some photos of the artifacts in the B9 forum (http://b9creator.com/support/?mingleforumaction=viewtopic&t=1375.0), we believe that we found out what the problem is: The z-axis of the specific B9 creator that was used to print our sample seems to have a wobbling z-axis. We’re apparently not the only one to have experienced such stairsteps in our models – It looks like it’s an overall problem which led Michael Joyce to confirm that he will most likely soon change some parts in the printer to reduce this problem.

    So even though our personal experience wasn’t so good with the B9, we still believe that the B9, due to it’s open source nature, is a good choice.

    Thanks “Make” for this Post.

    Etienne Renaud
    LOOXIS GmbH
    not quite 3D printing, but somewhat similar:
    http://www.looxis.de