We received’t mince phrases once we say Robo’s 3D printers are some of our favorites amongst a sea of mid-range models. What’s to not love in regards to the firm? It began as a Kickstarter undertaking in 2012 amongst a bunch of San Diego State College college students, and is now one of many largest 3D printer producers in the USA.
As a follow-up to the corporate’s breakout R1 printer, the C2 is a part of firm’s ongoing effort to make 3D printing accessible to everybody by means of intuitive interface designs, dependable printing, high quality outcomes, and a value that the typical client can afford. On the primary three factors, the C2 typically met our expectations – though the worth could also be a bit an excessive amount of for some. Right here’s what we considered it after a pair months of intensive testing.
Options and specs
In comparison with most mid-range printers, the C2 boasts a construct space that’s on the bigger finish of the spectrum, measuring in at 5 inches lengthy, 5 inches huge, and 6 inches tall. That’s definitely not an enormous envelope by any means, however its spacious sufficient to accommodate many of the objects you’ll discover on Thingiverse and different on-line object repositories.
Ed Oswald/Digital Traits
The one draw back? The printer’s construct platform isn’t heated. Whereas this does minimize down on the quantity of electrical energy the machine makes use of throughout printing, it additionally makes the C2 extra susceptible to warping and poor adhesion, which boosts the possibilities that you simply’ll find yourself with a failed print and have to begin over once more.
It’s a large enchancment over the utilitarian design of the R1 – the corporate’s first product.
Fortunately, you received’t must fiddle with calibrating the mattress although – it’s geared up with auto-leveling performance, which makes preserving the printer in good working order a breeze.
Final however not least, you work together with the C2 by way of an enormous, vibrant, three.5-inch touchscreen positioned on the underside of the printer. The person interface is intuitive, and consists of wizards to stroll even learners by means of typical upkeep processes.
All issues thought-about, this printer presents a fairly respectable vary of options for its $800 value.
Setup and configuration
Excellent news for the much less mechanical: the C2 comes all however totally assembled. All you’ll have to do is connect the print mattress, connect the spool holder, affix the filament information tube to the machine, and feed some plastic filament by means of. That is all considerably normal fare in terms of 3D printer setup – however Robo makes it particularly easy with a top-notch walkthrough wizard.
Even if you happen to’re utterly new to 3D printing, you should not have any drawback getting the C2 up and going inside about 20 minutes. We left the setup to somebody utterly unfamiliar with the know-how, they usually nonetheless managed to get the machine fired up with out a lot hassle. Setup isn’t at all times this straightforward, so we admire the corporate’s efforts right here.
One fast tip, although: Whereas Robo’s instructions advocate you full Wi-Fi setup after performing a check print, we advocate you undergo the Wi-Fi connection course of first. It’ll make your life simpler, and there’s actually no purpose to do it on the finish anyway.
Construct high quality and design
Robo will get excessive marks for the C2’s design. It’s a large enchancment over the utilitarian design of the R1 – the corporate’s first product. Whereas a 3D printer may by no means be one thing you’ll need as a showpiece in your lounge, Robo not less than has a design right here that appears svelte on a tabletop.
The touchscreen on the C2 is one in all our favourite options.
The C2’s magnificence isn’t simply pores and skin deep, both; the machine’s building feels sturdy as properly. Weighing it at simply over 20 kilos, it’s not a very heavy printer, nevertheless it’s nonetheless weighty and strong sufficient to withstand shaking and shuddering whereas the print nozzle strikes round at excessive velocity. This in the end results in extra correct and constant print outcomes, however we’ll get into all that enjoyable stuff in a second.
By and enormous, the printer’s design is a win – although it does have a number of shortcomings that we merely can’t overlook. Essentially the most egregious of those is the C2’s aforementioned unheated print mattress, which forces you to make use of adhesive pads that have to be modified frequently to make sure adhesion. With this sort of setup, there’s no solution to know when the adhesion will fail, so that you’ll have to get within the behavior of adjusting the pads frequently sometimes.
It’s additionally restricted to a single extruder, which is a little bit of a disappointment contemplating the truth that an growing variety of printers across the C2’s $800 value level now embody twin extruder setups. To be honest, does provide the choice so as to add a second extruder and even swap extruder modules out – however that is all offered individually.
Consumer interface and software program
The touchscreen on the C2 is one in all our favourite options. Nearly all the foremost options and features you must entry might be discovered there. We did discover the smaller display screen a bit tough to make use of, nevertheless — particularly when it got here time to enter in our Wi-Fi password (the keyboard was simply too small). Regardless of this minor gripe, the precise interface itself is likely one of the most user-friendly of any printer we’ve ever examined.
If what you’re after is a workhorse that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance, this possible isn’t the printer for you.
As for desktop software program, the C2 is designed to work with a custom-made model of Cura. Cura is concurrently one of the feature-rich and intuitive slicer applications obtainable in the present day, so the software program isn’t tough to make use of. Sadly you’ll have to set every thing up manually, however once more, Robo’s well-written instructions save the day. So long as you know the way to learn and observe directions, you’ll be advantageous.
If you happen to’re affected person sufficient, we extremely advocate taking the extra step of putting in the Octoprint plugin in an effort to print immediately from Cura. It’s a good bit of labor to get arrange, however we predict the comfort is definitely worth the one-time hassle.
To get a way of how properly the C2 performs, we ran it by means of our normal suite of check prints, together with a number of random objects simply to combine issues up. This consists of the notorious 3DBenchy torture check tugboat, and the CTRL-V benchmark – each of that are designed to spotlight a printer’s strengths and weaknesses.
Throughout all our prints, we outcomes have been admirable for a printer on this value vary. High-quality particulars got here by means of splendidly (particularly at increased resolutions), and the C2 skilled minimal points with tough options like unsupported spans and overhangs. Objects have been additionally very constant from layer to layer. The printer suffered from nearly no z-axis wobble – one thing that may possible be attributed to Robo’s sturdy building.
On the entire, the C2 boasts stable print efficiency, however sadly, its in any other case admirable print jobs have been too usually marred by the machine’s one and solely shortcoming: the unheated print mattress.
Its admirable print jobs have been usually marred by its solely shortcoming: the unheated print mattress.
As a result of the printer’s construct floor doesn’t warmth up, it’s tough to get prints to correctly adhere to it – and extra importantly, keep anchored till the article is full. We discovered ourselves changing the painters tape-like adhesive pads about each half dozen prints or so, as a result of if we didn’t, the prints would carry off the construct plate and screw every thing up. Even when printing with rafts (help constructions designed to spice up mattress adhesion), we weren’t at all times assured that the C2 would efficiently full a given print job.
In different phrases, whereas this printer prints fantastically below optimum situations, it’s positively not essentially the most dependable machine we’ve ever examined.
Maintainance, reparability and upgradability
Upkeep with Robo 3D printers is extraordinarily straightforward, thanks largely to the aforementioned walkthrough wizards. It doesn’t matter what goes flawed or what parameter you must alter, Robo’s onboard software program makes it a breeze.
Software program updates might be delivered to the C2 wirelessly, or might be loaded onto a USB stick and put in by opening them immediately on the printer. The USB stick choice is good as a result of you may also print immediately from it too – simply in case you don’t need to (or can’t) join the printer to a Wi-Fi community.
For points, the C2 appears straightforward to restore (not less than for the essential stuff) since, for essentially the most half, all of its most important parts are straightforward to entry. Fortunately, we didn’t run into any hassle throughout our testing, however we’re assured that if we had, we may’ve mounted it ourselves. Robo offers ample troubleshooting and restore documentation on its web site.
The Robo C2 comes with a one-year restricted guarantee, with substitute half service.
Merely put, we cherished the C2. It’s a great-looking and properly performing printer proper out of the field, and the machine’s intuitive and user-friendly interface makes it an amazing alternative for 3D printing novices. That mentioned, it’s positively not good. Robo’s determination to depart out the essential heated mattress characteristic may need saved the worth low, but in addition resulted in a printer that’s much less dependable and extra high-maintenance than a few of its rivals.
Is there a greater various?
At $800 , the Robo C2 does present quite a lot of bang to your buck – however as a result of the 3D printing scene is so aggressive proper now, there are quite a lot of printers on the market that supply comparable options for a lower cost.
There are quite a lot of printers on the market that supply comparable options for a lower cost.
For $700, you may get your palms on Monoprice’s Maker Final printer: A machine that boasts an even bigger construct space (7.eight x 7.eight x 6.eight inches), a heated mattress, and auto-leveling performance. That mentioned, Monoprice’s person interface isn’t practically as polished or approachable, and doesn’t have a touchscreen.
One other contender that’s value mentioning is Robo’s earlier printer: the Robo R1+. The corporate doesn’t produce them anymore, however you could find them on the market on-line pretty simply. The R1+ doesn’t have any of the C2’s fancy new connectivity choices or slick person interface – nevertheless it does have a heated mattress and a bigger construct space. Relying on the place you discover one on the market, you possibly can snag one in all these puppies for round $500-$700.
If you happen to’re not afraid of doing a bit extra meeting, you may also get your palms on a Prusa i3 MK2 equipment for about 700 bucks. Born out of the open-source RepRap undertaking, the i3’s design was developed over years and years of testing, tuning, and perfecting from 1000’s of various 3D printing lovers — so it’s a fairly stable little machine. It’s larger, smarter, and extra succesful than the Robo C2, however you’ll must construct it your self.
How lengthy will it final?
We have now little question that the C2 provides you with years of hassle free service. However as we mentioned, anticipate to be always tweaking to make sure high quality prints: it’s simply the truth with how comparatively new 3D printing know-how is. From what we perceive, Robo plans to service these printers properly into the foreseeable future with software program and firmware updates, and contemplating the truth that the corporate nonetheless presents elements for its earlier era printers, we don’t see why it wouldn’t achieve this for the C2.
Must you purchase it?
If you happen to’re utterly new to 3D printing and wish one thing that’s very simple and approachable to make use of, then sure — The C2 is likely one of the most user-friendly machines you’ll discover within the sub-$1,000 value vary, and you can purchase it.
If you happen to’re extra involved with reliability and print efficiency, we’d advocate wanting elsewhere. The truth that this printer doesn’t have a heated mattress makes it much less dependable than others we’ve tried. If what you’re after is a workhorse that doesn’t require a ton of maintenance, this possible isn’t the printer for you.