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Monthly Archives - June 2016

Cubifyfan visits MakeShaper!

A few weeks ago we had the pleasure of meeting Tom Meeks and showing him around our facilities, Tom wears many hats but one of them is technology and blogging. Tom has been a fan of Cube® printers and runs the blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/ , along with that Tom is heavily involved with The YouthQuest Foundation which supports the academic, vocational and life-enriching development of America’s at-risk youth. If you want to read Tom’s account you can find it below or on his blog http://cubifyfans.blogspot.com/2016/06/visiting-makeshaper-and-witnessing.html#comment-form

Visiting MakeShaper and Witnessing Resilience Firsthand

Last week, I was teaching in the Virginia Beach area and decided, since I was already more than halfway there, that I would make a visit to MakeShaper‘s headquarters in Sanford, NC.   I like to get to know the people behind the products that we use and talk about in this blog.  I expected a find evidence of a commitment to quality.  But, nothing could prepared me for the lengths to which MakeShaper is making to ensure THE highest quality is delivered to their filament customers.

 A Tour to Remember
While I can’t discuss all the steps that I saw being taken to produce the highest quality product, I can say that they even go so far as to build their own proprietary machinery if that is what it takes to better their peers. MakeShaper is a division of Static Control Components, which began in a garage about 30 years ago.  They sure have come a long way since then.  The facility, which creates 2D printer cartridges as well as the 3D filament that are of interest to us is absolutely massive!  Touring the facility is not only enlightening, it’s exhausting for an old guy.  But, it was well worth it.Resilience and Perseverance on a Grand Scale And, speaking of old guys, one of the most impressive aspects of the tour came in the form of a piece of art and a photograph memorializing a day that could have been the end of Static Control Components (SCC).  In April of 2011 multiple tornadoes touched down in Sanford and decimated SCC’s facilities.  The founder of SCC was 75 at the time and the damage was so severe that many thought he simply might walk away.  But, he did not. They were contacting customers and shipping product in days.   Please read this story and view the images of the devastation. Here is a link to a news video that is well worth visiting if you want to understand the company’s character.MakeShaper for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro – More to come

The Makeshaper division is relatively young when compared to the age of parent organization.  So, their product line is still growing.  We saw 3D printers of virtually every make and model being used to develop and test new products.  The current filament choices available for the 1st and 2nd Cube and CubePro are limited to Red, Green, Blue, Black & White in PLA and ABS.  But, I expect that more choices will be forthcoming after extensive testing.

More than Just Filament

Joining me on this visit was Jeff Epps of the Richmond County school system just miles from MakeShaper’s headquarters.  A good deal of the time of the visit was devoted to talking about how 3D design and printing can literally change lives of at-risk students.   Both of us came away impressed by what we heard from MakeShaper’s management.

They ‘get it’.

So, I don’t expect that this meeting will be the last time we meet together to talk about our common goals in the communities in which we serve.

Bottom Line for 1st and 2nd Gen Cube & CubePro Owners.

The reason why I made the trip was to see if I could find evidence as to the steps MakeShaper was taking to ensure that we could trust their products in our printers.  I came away feeling that they are striving to be the manufacturer of THE most reliable filament available.

The comprehensive testing is there.  In fact, the level of testing is so much higher than the industry norm that I cannot even write about it in detail.

The construction is there.  Every cartridge contains a bag of moisture protection INSIDEthe cartridge for continuous protection.  The moisture protection bags are much heavier for additional storage protection.

The price is there.  Currently, a 2nd Gen Cartridge is just $25 with free shipping on orders over $50.

So, I would urge you to consider trying MakeShaper.  And, let me know what you think.  After all, the real testing is in YOUR hands.  Only you can attest that the MakeShaper alternative is right for Cube owners.  But, I trust you will find my assessment to match your own.

Let me know….

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PLA Filament Review by Norbert Davis

I’m not a big review person but I did promise to the MakeShaper guys that I would do one when I purchased my PLA from them a while back and well, here it is.

The Review

I had made a purchase on the MakeShaper site with the 10% discount on the first order special that they have advertised on this site and while there was a problem with the coupon at first, a quick message the MakeShaper team soon remedied that. I am new to 3D printing with only just under 4 months of designing and printing on my Monoprice Maker Select (Wanhao Duplicator i3 clone). I love my machine and have had little problems with it up until recently where I was getting a lot of clogs and jams in the extruder and nozzle. I had from the start ordered Hatchbox PLA filament and have been quite satisfied with the quality of the material and the prints with them. I suspect that I became spoiled by Hatchbox because I noticed that their filament was always smooth. I had ordered some PLA samples and found them to be rough and they did not seem to have the high tolerance for the diameter that I got with Hatchbox. So when the shipment from MakeShaper arrived I immediately broke into it to check it out. There was Grey, Blue, and Neon Green. Colors that I had not have from Hatchbox. I was excited to use the filament. I did a few runs with them and found that I was having some difficulty with printing correctly as it did not want to stick to the bed and was just printing, well, crappy. But again, a quick email to the MakeShaper team and they came back with some printer settings that made things print quite decently. The one thing that I thought was presenting a problem before I wrote to MakeShaper was the fact that the filament was fairly rough compared to the Hatchbox filament. I was hoping that it really didn’t matter when it went into the hot end and melted then extruded from the nozzle but in the back of my mind I could see where perhaps the roughness was contributing to any imperfections that I saw in the print.

The prints came out decent after the printer setting adjustments and I was fairly impressed with the filament. I did see some things but not every spool of filament is 100% perfect so I will see an issue every now and then but nothing terrible. Then things started getting bad. The printer was sputtering filament whenever I chose the MakeShaper filament and the only thing that seemed to print well was the Hatchbox filament. So naturally, I thought, “Yep, that MakeShaper rough filament is affecting the hot end and making all these problems.” And you probably would have thought the same too if when you switched back to a trusted filament that things went back to normal and you got good prints. You blame the new filament. Well, a couple of weeks later even the trusted filament could not print worth a darn to save its life. I started getting clogs, jams, crappy output (if any) and I had to shut things down for a couple of days while I contemplated the right move; replace the nozzle and PTFE tube with the same stuff or go for the Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End Upgrade for the Mk-10. Well, the total upgrade it was! It was going to happen eventually and so better now than later. So after a few days, the new equipment arrived and I installed it… twice. It seemed that while most everyone else in the world with the MK-10 would not need to use thermal paste to make the new hot end work, I would.

OK, new Hot End is in and working fine. So, was my earlier issues with MakeShaper filament because of the filament itself or was it really the hot end’s fault (or inability)? Well, as it seems, it was the hot end being temperamental and failing to properly heat the incoming filament and give a good smooth extrusion. So after a few test runs to make sure the hot end was 100% I decided to retry the MakeShaper filament (and because my son chose the neon green for his can holder) to see what it could do. Well after a few prints I was really impressed with how the filament was able to lay down some really consistent layers. They were perfect (from an extrusion sense) and the only real imperfections that happened were due to the machine itself (X & Y) anomalies showing up due to wear and tear on the machine. The filament despite the roughness, or being less smooth than Hatchbox, performed really well. With the new hot end and the updated settings for printing PLA with the new hot end really eliminated stringing and even the overhangs that should have had some real problems did really well.

The Results

Overall the MakeShaper PLA filament did excellent in the overhang department as well as basic layer to layer adhesion. It extruded really smooth and gave me some really consistent prints. Would I recommend this PLA filament to anyone, a resounding “YES”. IT delivers what you expect from a good PLA and the price was good too. I am including some photos of the puzzle and the can holder that I printed with the MakeShaper Blue and Neon Green PLA.

If you have any questions or comments please feel free to let me know.

Thanks, MakeShaper and I will be back for more. Once the CFO allows me some more filament budget. lol

Norbert Davis
Elk Grove, Ca
Monoprice Maker Select
w/ Micro-Swiss All Metal Hot End
0.5mm nozzle

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https://www.3dprintingforum.org/forum/hardware/materials/99126-makeshaper-pla-filament-review

 

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