I’ve had my Monoprice Duplicator v2 for almost 2 years and it developed some problems.
- The firmware lacked safety features I wanted. I could have (maybe) updated the code but I’m not sure how many features would fit. The board on it is an old Melzi clone and I would need to buy another board just to update that one.
- The printer needed love and attention. I started getting layer shifts, the bed surface began to look like the surface of the Moon and prints started suffering from layer shift.
- I really like 3D printers that auto-level (tramming) in some fashion. That’s my favorite feature on the Prusa Mk2s and it generally just works. Leveling this printer’s bed was a real challenge.
When I started looking the Ender 3 was the low end printer to get. It looks modifiable and a friend of mine likes his. He also purchased a Kossel delta printer and I was hooked.
Mini-Kossel vs Cartesian
Most 3D printers have a rectangular or square bed that moves forward and back for the Y-axis. The hot-end (the part that extrudes melted filament) moves left right on a rail for the X-axis and that whole rail moves up and down for the Z-axis.
What makes this printer different is that the bed does not move. The bed has a 240 mm diameter and is round surround by three columns. Movement is controlled by sliders on those columns moving up and down together. It’s very cool to see.
Since the bed does not move that makes what is being printed in place very stable. The head can move and I print infill at 100 mm/s. The perimeters of my 3D print are set at 50 mm/s but I can safely increase that to 80 mm/s without any worries and that’s fast.
ANYCUBIC Linear Plus Kossel
I don’t think the manufacturer produces this printer anymore. The support section is still there but it’s no longer listed as product. That’s cool; it cost me $218.40 with free shipping from Aliexpress.
The build took me about 90 minutes. The kit is already half-assembled and very straight forward. The end stops screws made me want to punch a kitten as the screws would not set all the way in. I will probably print new ones out of ABS and re-do them. Also not all of the screws or t-nuts were of the best quality and stripped easily. For what I paid I am not complaining.
I did a test leveling as detailed in Anycubic’s manual and looked for a kitten to punch. The process is just awful and resulted in a bad first layer.
Marlin 1.1.9 to the Rescue
I’m a big fan of opensource software and the process for leveling this printer with Marlin is detailed in this Youtube video. It was that video that convinced me to get this printer. Da Hai knows what he’s doing and has his configuration files available to download. My version is the larger size and I started to modify Marlin to adjust for my bigger version.
I promptly fell on my face too; I do not know what I’m doing in Marlin. Some searching and I found this excellent blog post which is a review of the same printer and how the author was able to upgrade to that version of firmware.
I tested, made a couple of minor changes such as the printer display name and adjust how auto-home works and poof! I updated the firmware.
Everything worked. I used the process from Da Hai’s video to measure the surface and printed away. It just worked. I’ve added Anycubic’s Ultrabase, re-leveled the print bed and just went.
There are some test prints that you do to make sure everything is working. I printed 3D Benchys, I printed a 6 gear bearing (it prints in place) and they printed fine. The measured bed leveling produced a perfect first layer.
Then I changed the PLA to some from Inland (I had been using the roll that shipped with the printer) and printed this print in place iris box. I have never been able to successfully print this one before no matter how I tuned my printers. You make some small cuts on the base and rotate the bottom from the top. I didn’t have much success in the past but the pieces always were locked together and would not move. The results were great. I had no problem with this one at all.
There are some artifacts in the print but it works. The printer is very precise.
Not for a First 3D Printer
This is my 3rd filament 3D printer. I’m comfortable with compiling the firmware, with the assembly, etc. but I do not recommend someone buying a Kossel printer unless they know what they’re doing.
The manufacturer’s documentation was very good. The printer was easy to assemble. Without the new firmware, without the very helpful posts and videos, I may have had a much harder time at it.
Since I do have some experience I’m having a good time playing with this latest toy.