Mbot-3D GRID II Dual Head
It’s hard to believe, but 3D printers have been out long enough to have different versions of the same model come onto the market, and the MBot-3D GRID II Dual Head 3D printer is a perfect example. Magicfirm, the developers of the MBot GRID II, have revised their Grid printer to bring it into the limelight as a compelling and masterful piece of 3D printing hardware. The result is a great 3D printer that is accurate and quite affordable. Magicfirm is a partnership between a Chinese design team and Swedish designers, focusing on desktop and industrial 3D printing and replication. The resulting collaboration has taken the Grid and made it a power house for desktop printing. Taking feedback from GRID users and customers, the GRID II was designed to offer superior performance and easier operation.
The GRID II has an automatic 3-point build plate calibration system featuring a print head, built into the build plate, which moves into holes in the printing platform. This allows the print head to go beneath the bed and calibrate the build plate. Using three twist knobs, it is easy for you to calibrate the printer. Just twist the knobs until the LED screen indicates that the bed is level. The system recalibrates before each use to keep printing jobs accurate. Innovation abounds as neodymium magnets on the print bed help locate it in the same place each time it is removed and replaced. This ensures accuracy in a way that no other printer can claim. The nozzle of the print head is also calibrated to ensure the proper distance from the bed. At each calibration, the printer saves a value in the printer’s software so the printer can use these saved values to ensure a precise print.
A new super flat print bed, made of unbreakable glass and laminated with a 2mm layer of plastic, has been added to the GRID II, eliminating the need for non-stick solutions or a heated print bed. The manufacturer claims that most currently-available filament types, such as ABS, PLA, Laywood, Laystone, flexible PLA, and PET can be printed onto this bed with a perfect level of adhesion. This improved print bed is part of a large, enclosed, 10x9x8in print envelope, which can handle decent-sized creations. Available in single or dual print head versions, the printer is variable enough to be flexible for home users of all levels of skills and needs. Single or dual print fans are also available; such a deluxe feature as a dual print fan ensures that PLA does cool printing perfectly every time, leaving you with glossy results and no curling on overhangs. Air is also channeled to the extruder, preventing the filament from getting hot prematurely, therefore avoiding hang ups and clogs in the print head. Filament flow through the extruder is governed by a spring loaded arm, which ensures a steady filament pace. With a cooling fan equipped to the stepper motor, long print times are no issue because the motor stays cool, regardless of time in action. The GRID II’s all-metal fabrication and PVC front plate make for a solid machine. The muscular design helps it conquer high-speed jobs without the risk of vibration from internal components.
The GRID II’s connectivity and LED monitor put it in a very user-friendly class. The machine works from Replicator G software, and is completely open-source. It accepts STL file types and works with Windows, Linux, or Mac. The printer connects via USB, but can connect via SD card, making it easy to put it to work and leave with your laptop. At 45lbs, it is almost portable, and the recalibrating efforts of this machine complement this capability. Print accuracy is 0.1mm, which makes it more accurate than most printers commercially available. Its print thickness capabilities range from 0.1-0.3mm. Variable speed allows for a range of 50-120mm/sec. The printer is shipped with a tool kit, consisting of maintenance tools, an SD card and USB cable, and filament samples.
For the price, the GRID II is a good choice. Improved design over earlier models, with oversight from a Swedish design team partnership, have improved the Grid printer and the MBot name. With a one-year warranty, the value of the machine is improved, and backed up by a growing customer service team (in the UK). Software and updates are constantly available from the Magicfirm website, which is a feature most 3Ders are coming to expect from a developer/manufacturer. A one-week lead time before shipment is very tolerable, as well.
When you take into account the features that the Mbot-3D GRID II Dual Head 3D printer offers, as well as its value (the most reasonably priced printer in its class), flexibility and quality, it is easy to see why this printer warrants inclusion on our list of iReviews 2015 best 3D printers under $2,000.
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