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SIP06-UpPlus2_pi

Delta Micro Factory / pp3dp.com

Price as tested $1,649
Print volume 5-1/2″×5-1/2″×5-1/4″
Heated bed? Yes
Print materials ABS, PLA
OS supported Mac, Windows
Print untethered? Yes, SD card
Open-source hardware? No
Open-source software? No
Printer control software Up Software
Slicing software Up Software

For newcomers to 3D printing, two techniques are always a challenge: leveling the printer’s build platform, and setting the proper height of the platform relative to the extruder nozzle. These procedures are usually done by hand, they’re often ambiguous, and doing them wrong can result in bad prints or damage to your printer. The new Up Plus 2 changes all of this.

Awesome Auto Calibration

The Up Plus 2 comes with an all-new auto calibration procedure. Unlike other printers that simply move the print head around while asking you to slide paper underneath and turn adjustment screws, the Up uses a magnetically attached instrument to measure its own platform at multiple locations, so it can compensate in software for any tilt. A secondary sensor measures the distance from platform to nozzle. After these readings are taken and the compensations calculated, you can confidently run your prints without the worries and hassles that come with an uneven build plate.

Nice Custom Software

The Up’s software has features we love, like automatic centering and placement on the print bed, and it makes it easy to add files to a print job and adjust them for printing. The new 2.0 version handles auto-leveling and improves workflow and ease of use, with new icons to guide you through the printing process (though 2.0 wasn’t yet available for Macs at press time).

This great software can also be a downside. For advanced users who know the abilities of their machines and want to push them to their fullest, the closed-source software is limiting. For example, the Up automatically generates support material to prevent overhangs from drooping and ruining your print. You can alter the rules that generate it, but you can’t fully turn it off. The printing of extra support structures results in an excess of material being used, as well as slower print times.

SIP06-UpPlus2-robots

Mixed Print Quality

Print quality was very good on the models we tested, and the “raft” that’s printed to compensate for any tilt of the bed was easily removed by hand. Support material was sometimes difficult to remove, but left behind very little surface scarring. We did find a few small “burnt patches”— the Up runs its extruder hotter than most printers, and when bits of plastic stick to it and then rub off on the print, they can cause dark brown spots. However, fellow testers who own Up printers (or their Afinia brethren) say that they rarely see this on their printers at home.

Conclusion

If you’re new to 3D printing or just want a machine that prints right out of the box without the hassle, the Up Plus 2 is a great pick for you. If you’re an experienced user the software limitations might be frustrating, but you may find that the Up Plus 2 is a nice workhorse addition to your stable of printers. I’d love to add it to mine!

Primo features

  • Innovative automatic platform leveling and height calibration. Every printer should have it!
  • Good print quality
  • Feature-rich, easy to use software

Who’s It For?

  • Beginners
  • Designers
  • Makers
  • Makerspaces

Pro Tips

  • Auto calibration is easy to use, but the instructions are vague. Here’s how:
    1. Attach the leveling accessory to the extruder.
    2. Detach cable from heated bed and connect it to the leveling accessory.
    3. Turn the bot on and connect your computer. The printer does the rest!
  • If the ABS looks white where you remove the raft or support, warm it with a heat gun to restore color.

Afinia H-Series

SIP06_BuyGuide_AfiniaH479_pi

Microboards Technology / afinia.com / Available in the Maker Shed

Our top pick in last year’s guide was the Afinia H-Series printer, a repackaged Up Plus sold in the U.S. market, with a great U.S. company-backed 1-year warranty to go with it.

So this year we expected the Up Plus 2 to meet the standard established by the Afinia, and we weren’t proven wrong. The Up’s new auto bed calibration and 2.0 software took it to the next level, leapfrogging the Afinia slightly. We hope to see Afinia pick up this upgraded unit and start selling it also.

Even without these upgrades, the Afinia we tested this year is still a great machine that continues to live up to its reputation for print quality, reliability, and ease of use.

Price $1,599
Who’s It For? Makers, Designers, Makerspaces

Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014This review first appeared in MAKE’s Ultimate Guide to 3D Printing 2014, page 70. Check out the full issue for more!

 

Matt Stultz

Matt Stultz

Matt Stultz is the leader of the 3D Printing Providence group, founder of HackPittsburgh, and a MakerBot alum, with experience in multimaterial printing and advanced materials.


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