One of the primary reasons I purchased the PrintrBot Simple was because of it’s modularity and general ‘maker-friendly’ design. I by no means expected it to print things such as this with extreme accuracy right out of the box. That being said, I’ve acquired my first round of updates aimed at improving the print quality. Those updates are the Aluminum Extruder and the Aluminum Print Bed. Printrbot conveniently bundled these upgrades into a single kit to bring 2013 printers up to the 2014 model.
Besides looking straight up awesome, the aluminum extruder offers several benefits over the stock extruder assembly provided. The original assembly I was using consisted of several layers of wood attached together with a large opening for the filament to guide itself into. This allowed the filament to feed incorrectly and jam at the extruder. Also, it was bulky and took up space while adding weight to the end of the print head. Switching to the aluminum extruder provided a direct feed path for the filament to be guided into the extruder. It’s lightweight form factor and smaller footprint also take some weight off the print head. This prevents the y-axis from dipping when it is fully extended among other things.
Continuing the aluminum theme, the print bed is a great improvement over the wooden bed provided. The wood bed was prone to warping and being generally unlevel while the metal is uniformly flat and level. In my experience, it requires painters tape or some comparable addition in order for the PLA to actually stick. Printing directly to the bed was too cold and thus the filament didn’t stick. To better solve this, I plan to purchase this heated bed in the near future. Not only should this prevent warping on the bottom edges of my PLA prints, but I’ll also be able to print ABS.
With new upgrades comes better prints. Below are two of my more recent prints that have turned out quite well in my opinion:
As you can see, this is simply a gear for one of my servo motors. I was quite impressed by the uniformity of the teeth as well as the correct dimensions for the mounting hole to attach to the servo.
This was one of those more “I’m curious if this will print anywhere near accurately” prints. Again, I was surprised at how this turned out. It is essentially a smaller scale of the calibration cubes I first printed, just repeated several times.