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Printrbot Simple

By Samuel Bernier / Nov 14, 2015

Printrbot Simple
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Printrbot Simple

3dPrint_Badges_2016_SimpleIt’s been a pleasure watching Printrbot evolve since their audacious 2011 Kickstarter campaign, promising affordable and easy to assemble 3D printer kits. Like many other brands, they used laser-cut wood in their early models, then moved to more reliable, scalable metal. In doing so, they managed to keep the prices low and the quality high.

NEW EXTRUDER, Z-LEVELING TOOL

The Simple has received some cool upgrades such as a machined aluminum extruder, which gives more leverage for easier loading and better tolerances, but also enables better flexible filament extrusion. The metal print bed has also been updated to thick, machined and unpainted aluminum, with holes for accessibility.

The Z-leveling probe is a surprising tool in a $599 machine, and it provides straightforward printing without need for further bed adjustment. Rubber feet would be a nice addition (which you could print yourself), as vibration caused by the XYZ movements tends to make the machine slide on smooth surfaces.

LESS IS MORE

If you want a heated bed or an LCD interface, you will have to buy them separately. The Simple has no on/off button, no colorful lights, not even Wi-Fi or internal memory — and this is why people love it so much. Let’s not forget that 3D printers are tools, not toys, and more features mean more things can go wrong.

WORKS AS RECOMMENDED

We used Cura, with the Pronterface plugin and imported Printrbot presets available on their website, which gave us immediate results. The provided settings worked fine as long we used Printrbot’s filaments, but we experienced constant clogging with PLA from other brands, though adjusting the temperature and fan helped.

The microSD card slot is still a challenge to use, which is why most users will prefer using the classic USB connection.

CONCLUSION

The Simple is perfect for anybody getting started with personal 3D printing. There are plenty of videos and documents to help you, and the machine can be easily fixed and upgraded as needed. It is also one of the best kits available and can be assembled in a single afternoon.

Specs
Simple printrbot.com
Price As Tested:$599
Build Volume:150×150×150mm
Bed Style:Not Heated, Aluminum ($150 heated upgrade available)
Filament Size:1.75mm
Open Filament?:Open
Temperature Control?:Yes
Print Untethered?:Yes, MicroSD card
Onboard Controls?:No, LCD add-on available
Host/Slicer Software:Cura with Pronterface UI
OS:Linux, Mac, Windows
Firmware:Marlin
Open Software?:Yes, Cura/CuraEngine : AGPLv3
Open Hardware?:Yes, Auxiliary design files: CC BY-NC-SA 3.0
Maximum Decibels:79.1

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Why To Buy

The Printrbot Simple is affordable, easy to use, very well documented, and most of all, it works.

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Pro Tips

When using the optional metal spool rack with spools from other brands, make sure they don’t obstruct the Z-axis when the extruder goes up. Use painter’s tape on the aluminum bed when using PLA. For easier extruder loading, cut the filament at 45°.

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