With the Printrbot Simple Pro, Brook Drumm and team are trying to deliver what he believes is his easiest to use machine yet. While we didn’t have a totally smooth experience with it, you will find the machine quality that one expects from Printrbot, and a whole new way of printing to go alongside the old standards.
The Simple Pro combines a color touchscreen with the new Printrboard G2, a 32-bit controller running G2 Core (the ARM port/successor to TinyG). These tie it into Printrbot’s new cloud software and ideally allow one of the easiest printing experiences yet: a true scroll, click, and print process that lets you, with as few settings as possible, send your STLs to the machine and have them print. This means no more separate slicing software hassles.
Through the shootout weekend the team had issues getting Printrbot’s cloud software to work smoothly, so we used Cura, tethered via USB, to generate our test prints. Assessing the quality of these probes, the testing team found that the machine was capable of producing great results. Once I got the Wi-Fi and cloud set up and running I had small hiccups, like machine freezes during preheating and buttons missing on the LCD. These were usually remedied with a good old fashioned reboot. But overall my experience went fine, and to be able to load designs as I found them, from anywhere, and print them when I get home was refreshing, and certainly kept my downloads folder cleaner.
It would be nice to have some of the edges ironed out sooner rather than later, especially the need for regular restarts. While these rough spots are irritating, this is a machine that could appeal to users who don’t want to get bogged down in settings and slicers. As the software catches up with the potential of the hardware, we will see smoother experiences in the future.
|Printrbot Simple Pro||Printrbot|
|Price as Tested:||$699|
|Bed Style:||Heated, with removable plate|
|Temp Control:||Yes, extruder (270°C max), bed (100°C max)|
|Print Untethered:||Yes, Wi-Fi via Printrbot.cloud|
|Onboard Controls:||Yes, full color LCD touchscreen|
|Host/Slicer Software:||Printrbot.cloud, Cura|
|OS:||Mac, Windows, Linux|
|Firmware:||Custom G2 Core|
|Open Software:||Yes, Cura is AGPLv3. Printrbot has also open sourced their cloud and hub with MIT License|
|Open Hardware:||Yes, CC-BY-SA|
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