Believe it or not, my 3D printer has arrived!!! If you’ve read through this blog before or run into me around the place you’ll know that I jumped on the Solidoodle Press band wagon way back in August 2014 when they were first ‘released’ (and I use the word ‘released’ very loosely!). But today is not for complaining, you can read my previous posts about my experience so far with Solidoodle by clicking here.
Let me start by saying I haven’t actually printed anything yet, this is literally my first impression un-boxing the thing and connecting it to my laptop. And the first impression is gooooooood! A nice, professional-looking unit not dissimilar to the Up! Mini that was in a design consultancy I worked for. Just a lot bigger (since the build volume is almost double that of the Up! Mini).
The printer arrived pre-loaded with a spool of ABS (maybe to soften the blow of so many delays?), and I like the way the spool is contained within the lid of the unit, further adding to the professional feel. Although I’m yet to see if this limits the use of other brands of filament. The printer also came with a handy little kit of tools and a full-colour getting started guide, all adding to the sense of professionalism and brand quality for Solidoodle. Very nice indeed.
Actually getting the printer to connect with the SoliPrint software wasn’t quite as straight forward, since I’m using Windows 8.1 the drivers are for some reason not automatically installed when connected. I had to read a few things on the Solidoodle website and manually install the drivers, but this did solve the problem. I also noticed that the newest version of SoliPrint must have some changes from the earlier one, as the instructions in the printed manual refer to some settings/menus that aren’t there or have a slightly different name. So best to follow this Getting Started Guide from their website, it seems much more up-to-date and thorough.
A quick play with the SoliPrint software and it seems easy enough to understand, although as I said I haven’t printed anything yet. Just extruded some material, loaded an STL, heated the print plate and nozzle. The layer settings are 0.3mm,0.2mm and 0.1mm, and there seems plenty of flexibility to rotate models and place them however you like. One thing I do really like is the clear cover over the extruder, allowing you to see the filament feeding down to the nozzle and potentially catch any problems with clogging etc. before they become serious.
That’s about all I’ve had time for right now, I’m looking forward to running some prints and side-by-side comparisons with the Up! Plus 2 I have over the coming days and weeks. I know the Press has an auto-calibration feature for the nozzle height, so this will be first up next time.
– Posted by James Novak