I had viewed just about all the youtube videos including the unboxing ones and so setup was pretty much a snap other than the fact leveling the print bed was a pain. Not sure if I succeeded in a perfect level, but I hear I'll get better at it.
Since none of the Octave'other stuff' came (I bought the Octave "The Works" package), it was just the barebones Afinia with white OEM ABS and the stuff which comes with it.
I installed the software on an old PC laptop, and then on my new Mac laptop and using the perf boards, printed out the calibration STL file. It was pretty much dead on, just a very minor adjustment in the X1,X2 distances. Verticals were vertical.
Knowing I'll be receiving my Octave 'The Works' stuff on Monday, I figured my first real print would be the mounting bracket(s) for the Octave spools. Here are my observations keeping in mind I've got quite a few hours over the last year on my Cubify Cube Series 1 printer.
The Good News
- Wow. Just Wow. I had NO idea of the quality of this printer vs the Cube. The mounting bracket has all sorts of engraved and protruding 3D text and the resolution is just marvelous. No way it gets printed on the Cube either series 1 or 2. In fact I printed at .35 resolution and I still could not make out the 'print lines' on my model.
- The printing is very fast and efficient. At least 2X the speed of my Cube. I suspect it's even a bit faster than the series 2 Cube-- though I don't know for sure.
- Zero part warping using the perf boards. I'm not used to printing with rafts and supports, but it's clear rafts are necessary when printing on perf. I may try some blue tape next. Never was 100% successful in elimnating warp on the Cube even with the heated bed. And I could NEVER get anything close to a warpless print on the Cube V2 which doesn't have a printed bed.
- Even though I don't like printing with rafts and supports, it is AMAZING how easy those things just snap off! It's got me thinking I can print more 0 degree overhangs...
- I like the printer tells me when it's done with a few loud beeps. (It would be nice to turn this off for nightime printing)
- Workflow and pipeline is..well pretty bad compared to what I'm used to.
So, here's how I prefer working based on the Cubify Cube. Just before heading out, I walk over to the Cube, boot it up (10 seconds), remove the aluminum heating bed, add some heat activated glue stick to it. Drop it back on the printer, choose the print file (on an attached USB drive) using the buttons on the front of the machine, and then walk away. The file loads, the print bed and nozzle heat up and the print automatically begins. When I come back later, the part is finished and has already snapped clean of the bed (because of the cooling), and I toss it in a bin and turn off the printer. Total time for prep before is maybe 2 minutes-- after 30 seconds. Note ALL the raft and support settings, as well as the slice settings of the model are stored with the model file, so when you choose it from the USB drive, it just works.
Here's the workflow currently I'm using for Afinia. (Please let me know if I'm doing anything wrong.) Turn on Afinia. Boot up laptop (2-3 minutes) and launch the UP! software. Initialize (45 seconds), then preheat bed for 15 minutes. Prepare print bed by clipping perf to it and moving it around using the maintenance tool so I can attach clips on the front and back of the print bed (with Cubify Cube, the printbed just magnetically snaps in place). Load model and tweak setup settings. Wait until print bed is 100 degrees C (12 min). Print and then choose options. Wait for it to send to printer (my last print was 240 layers and took 3min 20sec to transfer!). Then press OK for print. I *think* you may NOT have to press OK and it will go ahead and print. Too bad they don't have a mode which says 'start printing X minutes after the bed heats up to 100 degrees.' That would help a lot.
When the print is finished, I try and get to it ASAP so that it will snap of the perf easier. If I don't it's a huge pain to get it clear of the perf platform. Plus the raft and support removal is a separate step. I'll be interested to see if I can print raftless and supportless on glass.
Huge difference. No longer is it a trivial matter to setup a print and walk away. It's at the fastest 20 minutes to go from a cold printer to walking away. Am I missing something?
- Software is a bit tempermental to say the least. The Mac software really sucks. As soon as I send a print using the Mac software, most time the app becomes unresponsive afterwards. You can't pause or do anything else. Cubify software just works-- everytime. Never had a single problem. But, the UP! software does have many more options and features-- MANY. Like the ability to pause and change spools OR monitor nozzle and bed temperature.
- No status view of any kind on the Afinia. I miss knowing how long until I'm done. I'm currently using my Mac to run the software, but as I said the app locks up after sending to print. I tried a PC, but it was an old laptop and took FOREVER to do the slicing compared to the Mac which did it in seconds. I'll add a faster laptop and see if it doesn't work better.
- Some Nits
- The smell of ABS is definitely quite a bit stronger than Cubify. I wonder if it's because the nozzle temp is higher?
- The Afinia is also quite a bit louder. Nothing terrible, but unlike Cubify, not something you can go to sleep with!
Afinia wins hands down. It's simple. I pick print quality over ease-of-use. Besides, the Cubify has 3 serious deal-killers. No heated print bed, DRM'd cartridges and a ridiculously stupid printhead design that needs replacing when it clogs.
Just imagine how sweet would it be for someone to create an after market Raspberry Pi device which could print UP! files via USB and included a readout? Just pop it in the USB port. Yep, I'd pay for that! Too bad UP! doesn't have an API...