Leapfrog Creatr HS
Established 3D printer designer Leapfrog has released its latest in the Creatr line: the Leapfrog Creatr HS. It is a larger and faster version of the Creatr, with ample improvements throughout. A much larger print envelope allows for larger image creation. With an improvement in weight savings and materials, the Creatr HS can print five times faster than other Creatr printers. With cutting edge technology throughout, and improvements on what has already been regarded as a fabulous machine, the Creatr HS takes 3D printing to the next height.
The Creatr HS has its M.O. branded into its name; the HS stands for High Speed. With a 5x increase in printing speed, the Creatr HS can create images at speeds from 30-300mm/sec. Leapfrog’s speed improvements are attributed to the lowering of the weight of the extruder carriage, as well as continuous technological development.
The Leapfrog Creatr HS is equipped standard with a dual extruder. The dual extruder allows printers the options of printing with two materials or printing with two different colors. Many 3Ders are using PLA for a build material and PVA as a support material. PVA is a water-soluble plastic, which makes it ideal for use as a removable support material. One extruder can be loaded with PVA, while the other is loaded with PLA. Also, the two extruders can each be loaded with a different color filament, allowing two-color printing.
A larger, more adaptive print envelope allows for users to create larger objects, eliminating some of the worries that come with piecing together printed objects. Using only one of the two equipped extruders allows you the use of a 10.7x11x7in build capacity, and using both extruders allows for an envelope of 10.3×10.7x7in, or 14.8 liters. Beyond the standard envelope, the Creatr HS has the groundbreaking ability to print objects up to 30cm in length. This allows Leapfrog to claim the Creatr HS as the most versatile printer on the market, and rightly so. Printed objects rest on a heated glass platform held inside a brawny 23.6×19.7×23.6in aluminum frame. A total weight of 66lbs makes this beautiful machine a non-portable piece of equipment.
Further improvements in technology come in the form of an improved user interface. Installed are a 4″ full-color LCD, an onboard control computer and a user-friendly knob-style input tool. The Creatr HS comes with its own free software, called Simplify3D, and is supported in-house by Leapfrog. The software supports Windows, Mac and Linux systems. A USB connection can be used to print objects, or files can be loaded onto a USB stick and inserted into the machine’s port for untethered use. Software controlled heating parameters allow for a bed temperature of 50-59 degrees Celsius, and a nozzle temp range of 180-275 degrees Celsius. Accuracy-improved software gives the printer a superb layer resolution of 10 microns. Leapfrog has incorporated a short, ten-minute time frame between the printer’s boot-up and the completion of print component warm-up which is about the same as other printers we have seen.
The dual extruders used for the Creatr HS are accurate, as well as versatile. The 0.35mm nozzles accept filaments of all types. Not only can the extruders handle PLA and PVA, but can use 1.75mm filaments composed of ABS, Nylon, Woodplastic, Birckplastic, and other experimental materials. Home builders may be privy to certain materials and may not need the capabilities of using new and improving filaments, but this printer is designed with the serious builder in mind, as well as the home user. All materials are available through Leapfrog’s online store. Software, updates and customer support are also available through the company’s website.
You will love this printer’s onboard computer and stand-alone USB data capabilities. A large print envelope with up to 30cm of printing length makes it incredibly versatile, along with the standard dual extruder for printing with multiple materials. Even in its versatility, the printer does not lose any points in accuracy, which could have potentially rendered it less useful to professional users. At a price of just under $2,500, it packs a one-two punch of great value and innovative features. This is why we have designated the Leapfrog Creatr HS as one of our top picks for iReviews 2015 best 3D printers under $5,000.
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