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SIP06_BuyGuide_Bukobot_pi

Deezmaker / deezmaker.com

Price as tested $1,549 assembled ($1,299 kit)
Print volume 8″×8″×8″
Heated bed? Yes
Print materials ABS, PLA, nylon, polycarbonate, PVA, HIPS, Laywood, Laybrick OS supported Linux, Mac, Windows
Print untethered? With SD card, initiated from computer
Open-source hardware? Yes
Open-source software? Yes
Printer control software Repetier-Host
Slicing software Slic3r

Named after the company founder’s dog, the Bukobot returns for the second year to the MAKE Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing. Was it well behaved, or did it come back to bite us? We spent significant time with the Bukobot to learn what makes it tick.

Updated and Upgraded

An updated version of last year’s Bukobot, the machine is back with the same 8″×8″×8″ build area, for a usable volume of 512 cubic inches. The frame, made almost exclusively of aluminum extrusions, now has fewer printed parts, some of them swapped out for laser-cut acrylic.
The footprint is about average and portability is decent; we were able to move the machine around without impacting calibration. Crucial parts are exposed and could get snagged in transit, so using the included semi-rigid travel case is your best bet. Notably, the Bukobot and its smaller sibling Bukito (see page 64) were the only machines in the shootout to come with travel cases for portability.

Unique Hardware Design

There’s no getting around the look of the unit — and our testers were black and white in their take on it. “Future industrial,” said some. “The work of a mad scientist,” said others. The electronics and power supply are exposed, as is much of the wiring — and while it’s all well handled, it does give the machine a sci-fi look.

Despite its polarizing appearance, the Bukobot got glowing reviews for its mechanical design considerations, many of which were unique among printers we tested. Deezmaker uses synchromesh cable for transferring motion instead of the belts used by every other vendor. The cables work quietly, don’t wear out like belts do, and are veritably skip-proof. We also liked the z-axis sliders that fit inside the aluminum extrusions — though the long-term performance and durability of these innovative methods aren’t yet well understood.

The Bukobot’s documentation is wiki-style, available at bukobot.com, and seems to be current. The site has prebuilt configuration files for Slic3r and Repetier-Host, two common open-source software tools, but it doesn’t go in-depth on how to operate these tools. The configurations have settings for different layer heights, infill percentages, and recommended plastics. The profiles aren’t without issues, though; one that we downloaded for 3mm plastic had a filament diameter of 1.70 set in it, a misstep that could trip up an inexperienced operator.

We called tech support on a weekend and they answered questions quickly. As well, Deezmaker has a retail presence in Pasadena, Calif., and hosts regular 3D printing meetups.

SIP06_MakeyRobots-26_BUKobot8

Put a Fan On It

We tested the Bukobot with both ABS and PLA, both of which worked well. The machine prints in 3mm filament exclusively, and it can also print in both polycarbonate and nylon according to the enthusiast community. We wished it had a cooling fan to blow on the prints while using PLA — just placing a desk fan next to the unit made huge improvements in print quality.

Unlike the smaller Bukito, our Bukobot did not come with an SD card slot, meaning we had to print via USB. An SD card upgrade is available and is probably a good investment if you’re going to do longer prints.

Default print speeds were above average for the group, and we pushed them significantly faster with almost no impact to print quality. The machine lacks an integrated filament spool; the company recommends a specific lazy-susan turntable, which worked well in our testing.

This isn’t a printer for a first-timer, but it could be great in a makerspace or a tech-focused user group. It’s not for someone with small children, either — exposed cables and moving parts are easy to get your hands into.

Conclusion

Deezmaker has been consistently out in front, getting new ideas into new printers for sale — and the Bukobot 8 v2 is no exception. The exposed wiring and electronics aren’t for everyone, but if you’re looking for something fast, quiet, and a little bit quirky, this is a machine to pursue.

Primo Features

  • Synchromesh cables provides the accuracy and durability of cables and the easy mounting convenience of timing belts.
  • Spitfire extruders have a unique “snap shut” filament tensioning system that impressed our testers.
  • Aluminum extrusion frame is light and rigid.
  • Includes a travel case.

Who’s It For?

  • Makerspaces
  • Tinkerers

Pro Tips

  • Buy a lazy susan for filament management — they’re worth it.
  • Put a fan on it! Our machine didn’t come with a built-in extruder fan, which is critical when printing in PLA. Add a fan or use a freestanding fan to improve print quality.

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 84. Check out the full issue for more!

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Comments

  1. Tregs says:

    I have one and it’s great. I own a Dimensions Uprint too- I use this too because you can run different materials and mess with the settings which are locked on “corporate” machines…
    oh and it cost x10 less and the filament cost x4 time less than Stratasys machines. As I said it’s 1/10 the cost of a SYS system but delivers 70%-80% of the abilities and some the “corporates” don’t.

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