Type A Machines’ 2014 Series 1 Edition is its first sleek, tooled, powder-coated aluminum and acrylic paneled printer with the largest build volume (one cubic foot!) of any printer we reviewed.
Easy Setup, Minimalistic Controls
Type A Machines invested considerable attention in crafting the documentation and unboxing experience. As a result — from setup to first prints — prepping the 2014 Series 1 was a piece of cake, one of the easiest setups I experienced in the Shootout. Physical interface elements are minimal, consisting of a handy glowing “machine halt” button and two knobs for manual platform adjustments (one raises/lowers the platform, the other fine tunes “Z-height” — a nice touch!).
Integrated Wireless Printing
The Type A-branded out-of-the-box OctoPrint integration proved to be my favorite new feature. I was able to prep, monitor, and even pause the machine on my laptop from across the room while spending time servicing other printers. I had no issues setting up OctoPrint for wireless browser access, but a few testers had a harder time and walked away from this experience frustrated. There are a few “gotchas” along the way if you skim the Quick Start Guide too quickly.
“Looks Fast, but How’s the Ride?”
As one of the testers said wistfully, “a machine looking like this should print better.” The 2014 Series 1 delivered on ease of setup and operation, but in our Shootout weekend did not deliver the print quality to match comparably priced machines or meet the expectations established by the design-forward new printer body.
Sometimes the extruder would begin to underextrude, laying down wispy, brittle material — a sign of stripped filament, an overheated feeder, or a clogged nozzle. Also, the extruder fan, necessary for printing PLA, seemed to be poorly placed and directed. Studying the prints afterward, we could tell which side of the objects faced the extruder fan and which didn’t, which seemed odd.
Type A has integrated a number of clever and well-implemented machine design and software toolchain improvements into the Type A 2014 Series 1. Overall, printing was easy and consistent, but we weren’t as impressed as we had hoped to be given the ambitious resets and “tested and tuned in our factory” promise.