Small Business 3D Printer Reviews
The first thing you'll notice about the Ultimaker 2 Go is the price. It costs more than four times as much as the Da Vinci Jr. and twice as much as the Monoprice 11614.
The build platform is both smaller (4.7- x 4.7- x 4.5-inches) and unheated, which means you can use only PLA filament, not ABS. A glass plate sits on top of the actual platform, which moves up and down during printing. You can remove the glass—a feature we greatly appreciated.
The Go is easy to set up; plug in the power supply, attach the spool holder, and feed the included gray filament through the tube that runs to the extruder head. Cover the removable glass build-plate with blue painter's tape and replace it. Metal clips hold the platform in place, making it easy to remove and replace. Next you level the bed—the excellent printer documentation walks you through the process.
We replaced the tape every half-dozen prints or so. It takes only a few minutes and reduces the chance of ruining the print with torn or buckled tape. We didn't have any problems with prints sticking, and the prints we created were noticeably better (at the default layer thickness) than those produced by the other printers we tested.
The Ultimaker 2 Go offers the most features of any 3D printer in this round up. It also carries a hefty price tag.
The Ultimaker 2 Go control differs from other 3D printers. You spin a rotary dial to move through the menu options (shown on an LCD), pressing down on the dial to make a selection. You can attach the printer to a PC or Mac via USB or use G-code files stored on the included SD Card (it contains sample files to get you started). Ultimaker's 33-page manual (the best of the bunch) makes using the printer a simpler process.
Ultimaker uses Cura's (free) software; it's easy enough for beginners, yet gives experienced users a range of options to tweak. The other printers we reviewed can use Cura, so you might consider it even if you buy another vendor's device.
Of the three printers, Go offers the most features for both beginners and for people with some 3D-printing experience. The price tag, however, may be a deal-breaker.
Ted Needleman published his first review in 1978. Since then, he has written several thousand hardware and software reviews, columns, articles on using technology, and two books. He has no intention of stopping any time soon.
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