I decided to print a well-known hedgehog from the thingiverse with my new Makergear M2:
First of all, I have to say I’m very impressed with the quality of this print. My old 3D printer could never produce prints with such crisp detail. I also think it would have flat out failed at printing the nose and first layer spikes due to the extreme overhang angles.
Like the Dominion print, I think this still qualifies as “exceeds expectations”, because I was actually expecting failure, or at least something worse than I got. Those are steep overhangs.
So I tried the same print but with support structures. To be clear, this isn’t a feature of the printer as much as it is the software you use for “slicing” the 3D models into printer instructions (G-code). Simplify3D seems to have very robust slicing and support-generation algorithms. The result was less-than-satisfying, though:
First of all, it seems the supports didn’t do a great job and you can see substantial deformation anyway. Second, there is substantial striping on the model, contributing to an overall lower-quality print. Countless layers had y-axis errors that show up in the model. For comparison, here is the original from almost the same angle:
Besides the problem with his eyes, the print is just so much more crisp and clean. It’s especially clear in the spikes when you can hold both of them and compare directly.
So far I have been both impressed and unimpressed by the Makergear M2 printer. I’ve seen some really high-quality stuff from it, but also plenty of artifacts that resemble those from my 2012 Chinese printer. I will continue printing and showing off more cute animals, even if they are imperfect (it makes the wife happy).
I think I have isolated the issue above. Besides the support structures, there was one major difference between the two hedgehogs — the clean (first) one was printed via USB cable (with Simplify3D software sending the printer instructions in real time), while the messy one with the supports (second) was printed via instructions on SD card, inserted directly into the printer.
Since then, I have printed many cute baby animals, using the S3D over USB and gotten remarkably good prints with negligible error in any axis (I also turned up the resolution). I will start documenting the new prints in another post, and also will try to confirm my hypothesis that printing via SD card is the culprit.
My hypothesis is feasible, as I’ve done some research and found that using Simplify3D printing over USB in Windows is flaky and they recommend you use the SD card. This suggests that there is a tangible difference between the two methods, even if it’s reversed in my Ubuntu 15.10 setup.