Lousy Filament Could Be Condemning Many 3D Printers To The Scrap Heap

As Seen on Fabbaloo January 24, 2016

There is a dark secret of desktop 3D printing: many 3D printers are no longer in use. We have a thought as to why that might be.

In the heyday of 3D printing hype two years ago, many consumers took a leap and bought themselves a desktop 3D printer. While many 3D printers were sold to unstoppable DIY people, able to resolve any issues encountered, printers were also sold to those with more limited technical abilities.

For these folks, what might be minor issue to a capable technical person could be show-stopper. We’ve heard many tales of “dead” 3D printers sitting in the corner of someone’s workshop, having done only a few prints before the machine stopped for some reason.

The owners of these machines often had no recourse for repair, as they purchased the unit online and support, if any was to be found, was on the end of the telephone or email, and required them to be the hands and legs for any repair.

This is beyond many people’s ability, even with careful instruction. Thus, a reasonable number of desktop 3D printers sit idle.

But what caused them to fail? What minor issue did they encounter that stopped everything? While it might have been issues with the machine itself, we suspect a major contributor could be filament quality.

After printing many types of filament on many machines in our lab, we’ve come to the conclusion that filament quality is among the most important aspects of ensuring 3D printing success. We’ve seen dramatically different results on the same machine – with the same printing parameter – by changing only the filament.

Filament is purchased typically by weight, color and type of plastic, but buyers generally have no idea what other characteristics a filament might have. It could be poorly dimensioned, resulting in globs and gaps in the prints, or it could be made with impurities or additives that change the temperature characteristics.

Unknowing users might select a filament spool by low cost alone, and end up with crappy filament they push thru their extruder, only to have it jam. We’ve had filament so bad that it completely jams extruders after only five minutes of operation.

Imagine thousands of non-technical users jamming their extruders, which has no doubt happened. What’s happened to their 3D printers? Probably most of them are abandoned.

Select your filament carefully; it’s a critical element to 3D printing.

Octave ABS and PLA filament available HERE


10 Best Sites to Download Free STL Files for 3D Printing

Jan 25, 2016 | By Kira or 3ders.org

As 3D printing goes mainstream in 2016, more and more users will be looking for new and fun projects they can 3D print at home. To 3D point them in the right direction, we’ve rounded up some of the best websites to download free STL files for 3D printing.

In a way, STL files, and the 3D model repositories that hold them, are what make the 3D printing world go round—you can’t start 3D printing without a workable 3D model (preferably in STL, the most widely used format for 3D printing), and no matter what it is you are looking for, chances are you will find it on one of these top-rated 3D content websites. Better yet, they’re almost all entirely free!

With hundreds to thousands of free 3D printable STL files to choose from, these 3D model repositories are the perfect place to start on your next at-home 3D printing project. If you happen to be a 3D designer yourself, many will also allow you to upload, share, and sometimes sell your custom 3D printing designs, while giving you direct access to the global 3D printing community.

In no particular order, here are the best websites to download free STL files for 3D printing so far in 2016:

1. Free STL Files Download Site for 3D Printing: Thingiverse

Let’s start off with the single biggest 3D content repository of them all: MakerBot’s Thingiverse. Launched in 2008 for the burgeoning and still quite exclusive maker community, Thingiverse has since grown into one of the most important 3D design communities in the world, allowing users of all levels to upload, share and download 3D printable files absolutely free of cost.

In late 2015, Thingiverse reached a mega-milestone, having surpassed one million uploads and 200 million downloads. The site is also well-known for hosting various 3D printing design challenges. Whether you are an educator, professional engineer, artist, or casual hobbyist, chances are you’ll find exactly what you are looking for on Thingiverse.

2. Free STL Files Download Site for 3D Printing: YouMagine

Though significantly smaller than Thingiverse, YouMagine is also powered by a large 3D printer company—in this case, Ultimaker. The 3D content repository features a couple hundred free STL files for 3D printing, ranging from Ultimaker 2 upgrades to toys and household items. What makes YouMagine stand out is their commitment to protecting their 3D designers. In 2015, the company released a new open source license specifically for 3D printed objects, known as 3DPL.

In addition, the YouMagine recently tapped into its 500+ member community to conduct a desktop 3D printing survey and gain some insight into what consumers really want.

To view the rest of this article, you can go to http://www.3ders.org/articles/20160125-the-10-best-sites-to-download-free-stl-files-for-3d-printing.html

Zortrax Z-Suite 1.4.0 is Here!

The complete list of Zortrax Z-Suite 1.4.0 updates:

  • Added printing profile for new material – Z-PCABS
  • Added possibility to print bottom layer while using “shell” infill
  • Added 0.29mm layer for Z-GLASS for “shell” infill
  • Improved transparency of the Z-GLASS
  • Improved printing speed using “high speed” option – average model will be printed up to 30% faster
  • Improved pause visualization
  • Automatic hardware recognition
  • New icons and improvements for Mac version
  • Other minor changes and bug fixes

Thinking of the major improvements in our slicing software we have to mention the added profile for our latest material Z-PCABS. It allows you to create temperature-resistant and durable cases, automotive parts and other elements that are to be used against difficult conditions. Choosing this or another type of Zortrax 3D printing materials you can now get your models much faster, as the printing speed has been improved – just choose the high speed option in the Zortrax M200 3D printer and get your projects materialized up to 30% faster. As usual, there are some minor bugs fixed and changes added, what is more we haven’t forgot about Z-Suite users on Mac – check out the latest improvements and the new set of icons. We hope using the software would be now even more convenient also thanks to the hardware recognition which functionality eliminates the need of performing this manually.

Download the latest version of the Z-Suite Software HERE


Tiertime Unveiling the UP mini 2 at CES 2016.

Today is the day! Unveiling the UP mini 2 at CES 2016.
Be the first to meet NEW and Better UP mini 2.
Tiertime Booth Location: No. 72910 (3D Printing Market place)
Tech West, Sands Expo, Level 2, Hall A-C and Venetian, Level 2 Meeting Rooms

UP mini 2 is not only affordable, reliable and easy-to-use like the first generation UP mini, it also comes with many new features related to usability, portability and connectivity, all of which have shown Tiertime’s strength in innovation and product development in 3D printing industry.


  • Touch screen control: Provide better 3D printing user experience.
  • WIFI connection: WIFI support, enabling better user control of the 3D printer via mobile APPs.
  • Built-in HEPA air filtration: Reduce 3D printing air emissions and provide healthy and safe 3D printing environment.
  • Aluminum handle and separate spool container with build-in toolbox: Easy to carry and handy to use.

More specs can be found here http://www.tiertime.com/product/desktop-3d-printer/up-mini-2


Best 3D Printer Under $1,000 – UP Mini 3D Printer Review

Best 3D Printer Under $1,000 – UP Mini 3D Printer Review by Online News Review

Rated Best Budget 3D Printer 2016 by 3D Hubs.com, UP Mini is surely can be one of your choice if you are planning to buy 3D Printer for yourself. UP Mini Fully Assembled is simple and straightforward 3D printer option for users looking for limited budget printer. Under $1000 price, UP Mini cost only $599 and it is a reliable system with an established company behind it. This Chinese made small 3D Printer is best suitable for beginners and intermediate users. The Printer built volume is 14 x 9.5 x 13.25 inches and use ABS or PLA Printing material giving flexible option for those who may want to experiment with different filaments.


UP Mini is more consistent when it comes to printing object maintains quality after every print. Unlike other printer, it doesn’t allow customization which makes it a great and easy-to-use 3D printer for users with zero interest in modifying the printer to their exact specifications. The object building platform can heats up to 51.4 degrees C to help provide thermal stability. It has Solid metal guide rails and precision slide bearings that ensures precise movement while printing. UP Mini read STL file format and commands the printer through the provided USB cable to create object by additive manufacturing method by dispensing successive thin layers of molten material onto a moving platform base from a robotic extruder nozzle.

It is an FDM Printer and based on user review so far, it require less maintenance than any other Printer in the market. One can expect 89% of print accuracy with this compact printer. UP Mini has printer management software inbuilt which is compatible with Windows or Mac OS X platform.

Company is known for having a great support network and community which makes this printer even more popular among users. Users preferring budget printer within $1000 should certainly go for this mini machine.

For more information, you can contact the Sales Dept. at Octave Systems – 800-626-8539 or info.sales@octave.com

Flashforge’s Finder a Step Up for Consumers

by Mike Titsch for 3D Printer World
December 18, 2015


I got a call from Roy Worthington of Octave Systems a couple nights ago. He was wondering if I’d seen Flashforge’s new 3D printer, the Finder. I told him that I hadn’t and he was anxious to give me the details.

I’ve known Roy since I first started covering the 3D printing industry and I respect his opinion. As a 3D printer dealer, Octave Systems receives many 3D printers for testing, but they won’t sell a printer Roy doesn’t personally approve. He cares a great deal about quality and user experience, because he doesn’t want the hassle of managing excessive support calls. So, when Roy chose words like “great” and “unbelievable” to describe the Flashforge Finder, my ears perked.

I have wondered for some time how long it would be until we started seeing truly good 3D printers for a price that could be considered consumer-friendly. A certain popular brand I won’t mention looks the part on Amazon, but everyone I know who has tested one tells me the print quality isn’t high and it requires proprietary filament.

By comparison, the Flashforge Finder sounds like the real deal. Not only is the price good at $699, it looks sharp, like a consumer device. It uses Flashforge’s proprietary software which makes it perfect for first-timers. Open source software is fine if you want to experiment with a new high temp filament and an all-metal hot end, but the last thing the average consumer needs is to be messing with retraction and first layer height settings. All that stuff is handled automatically when a manufacturer includes proprietary host software, because it is specifically designed to run that manufacturer’s printer, as opposed to potentially controlling a myriad of various open source machines. It’s a real time saver and headache reducer for beginners and everyday projects.

This little printer is feature rich and built for convenience. It has a full color touchscreen control panel, an automatic bed leveling system, a removable build plate to make surface cleaning easier, an SD card reader (card included), a filament tray underneath and Wi-Fi connectivity. I asked Roy about the automatic leveling, because I know some implementations don’t work real well. He said it was terrific.

The Finder can use any 1.75mm PLA filament or material requiring a similar nozzle temperature. This is a big bonus for those who hate being tied to one manufacturer’s filament. However, the tray under the Finder isn’t large enough to contain most generic spools, so Octave plans to offer a third-party spool holder for the unit. This will disable the machine’s sensor that warns when filament is running out, but the holder will be outside the printer, so one should be able to visually judge the amount of material remaining.


There are only two possible drawbacks to the Finder. It can’t employ high-temp filaments such as ABS or nylon and it has a relatively modest build area of 140 x 140 x 140 mm (roughly 5.5 inches cubed) – about the same size as an Afinia H480. But, for the $699 price, a purchaser is getting a lot in terms of features and ease of use. And anyone with a little experience knows that dealing with high-temp warpage, particularly on larger print jobs, is absolutely counter to the concept of simplicity. PLA-only makes sense for a consumer device.

Most importantly, Roy told me the print quality is good. Perhaps not quite as good as the Zortrax M200, which Octave also carries, but the Zortrax costs almost three times as much.

If you can afford seven hundred bucks and you know a 3D model maker who needs a special Christmas, the Flashforge Finder seems like an awful good choice. Give the guys at Octave a call for more information and details on the aftermarket spool holder.

Octave’s lineup is in the photo below. The Finder really sticks out, but in a good way. From left to right: the Afinia H800, the Zortrax M200, the Flashforge Finder, the Afinia H480 and the UP Mini.


Introducing: the Z-Suite Demo

To meet your expectations, Zortrax has extended an offer with a demo version of the Z-Suite software. Download it from their website and make yourself familiar with some of the software’s options and possibilities before ordering. Please remember that the demo does not allow generating the .zcode.


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