Best 3d Printers Reviewed – Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder
The Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder is one of the best 3d printers available because it is easy to assemble and use, and it offers top notch results. It’s very durable, and yet it’s also very affordable.
3d printing is one of the most exciting new technologies available today. But of course, a lot depends on your choice when you buy a 3d printer. This is not exactly a trivial purchase, as some of the best 3d printers can cost up to $30,000.
What you need is a 3d printer with all the nifty features you’ll need. It also has to be easy to use, and it has to be reliable. If possible, the cost should be very reasonable as well.
All those things are covered by the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder Fully Assembled 3D Printer. Leapfrog is actually quite new among the 3d printer manufacturers, but in the short time since they first came out they have steadily gained a reputation for excellence.
The Creatr Dual Extruder is a case in point. Here are some of its best features:
Easy to Use
First of all, the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder comes fully assembled. This can be a welcome relief, especially for newbies. All you need to do is the following:
1. Unpack it properly and connect the cables to the computer and the printer.
2. Download and install the required software. You start with the Arduino software, which allows your computer to connect to your printer. Then you download and install the Repetier Host Leapfrog software for the 3d printer controls. You can also use the Simplify 3d software.
3. You then just remove the calibration print on the print bed, insert the filament, and use the Repetier Host Leapfrog.
All these steps are explained much more fully with videos on the Leapfrog website. What it all means is that you can actually start using the Creatr Dual Extender in half an hour after you receive it.
The standard software settings for the recommended software Simplify3d has been improved for the 2014 version. That really makes standard printing easier and faster than before. Of course, you can also still tweak your settings if you want more detailed or complicated prints.
When you only have a single extruder, you can only print using one filament at a time. But with a double extruder feature, you can now print soluble support as well. You can now print with two different materials or colors at the same time. You can use the water soluble PVA support to rinse away the support structures after you print. That leaves you with a clean and high quality print.
The Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder is built to last. Forget about using plastic or wood. It uses laser-cut aluminum parts. This means it can resist fluctuations in temperature, and it maintains its accuracy for a very long time.
Even the print noise while operating is dampened, with the enclosure on three sides. You can see the progress of the printing with the light from blue LEDs inside the frame. The build plate is made with tempered glass that’s 6 mm thick. It’s able to resist warping when the temperature changes. It can reach up to 176 degrees F (80 degrees C) which prevents uneven cooling and warping of the printed part.
There are also print stickers that adhere to the smooth print bed. This improves the bond between the print bed and the printed part. The new 2014 bed and bed fixture allow your printer to remain calibrated, regardless of how heavily you use it.
Here are some other specs which you may want to know:
• Dimensions: 60 x 50 x 50cm (23.62 x 19.68 x 19.68″)
• Weight: 32 kg
• Print speed: 10 to 60 mm per second, although the new 2014 version has a standard printing speed of 100 mm per second.
• Maximum resolution (the thinnest layer that a printer can lay): 0.05 mm
• Compatible filament materials: Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), laybrick, nylon, polylactic acid (PLA), polyvinyl alcohol (PVA)
• Build Volume Single Extruder Print: 23 x 27 x 20cm (9 x 10.62 x 7.87″)
• Double Extruder Print: 7.87 x 10.62 x 7.87″ (20.0 x 27.0 x 20.0 cm)
• Maximum build volume: 12.4 liters
• Input format: Stl, G-code. (Basically, you can use any scanner and scanner program that gives you a .stl file.)
• 1 Year Limited Warranty
When the first version of the Creatr Dual Extender first came out in 2012, there were quite a few bitterly negative reviews. Many of the earliest customers were not at all impressed with the performance of the Creatr, and its reliability was suspect.
The customer support was also insufficient at the time. Leapfrog did not correctly anticipate the demand for their printers, and that caused their production capabilities to stretch well beyond what they planned. So they didn’t even have the means to provide proper customer support.
Nowadays, Leapfrog has settled down. For quite some time now, the Netherlands-based Leapfrog has been the largest producer of 3d printing technology outside the US. They now have a dedicated customer support staff, and it’s very helpful indeed. Leapfrog also listened to various complaints and made the appropriate modifications. Now the newer units are truly excellent, and they don’t have the problems that occurred in the earliest versions.
Simply put, the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder Fully Assembled 3D Printer offers a great deal of value for your money. It’s still the most affordable option for high quality printing.
It’s not surprising that the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder is very popular among engineers, architects, medical users, and schools. Engineers can especially benefit, as the Creatr can save them a lot of time and money when they use it to make their prototypes and validate their designs.
It has been a very nice two years since the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder first came out in 2012. The improvements are all excellent, the customer support is superb, and you can also consult with the Leapfrog user community.
All in all, if you are interested in 3d printing at all for any reason, then the Leapfrog Creatr Dual-Extruder must be one of your main options. The low price and excellent features deserve a very long look, at the very least.
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