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Review: The Nobel 1.0 -- stereolithographic 3D printing on the cheap

Lucas Mearian | July 22, 2015
When I unboxed XYZPrinting's Nobel 1.0 stereolithographic (SLA) 3D printer, I'd just finished shipping off another top-rated and remarkably accurate SLA machine, the Formlabs Form 1+.

There were other annoying issues. For example, the initialization process took ten minutes every single time I turned it on -- something I've not seen on other 3D printers. And the USB and power cords could each use at least another foot of length.

A design feature that also turned me off was the cover. It has no hinge; it simply lifts off -- and it's so dark that you can't see your model as it's being built.

The reason for the dark hood is to protect the UV-sensitive polymer resin in the tank, but the last SLA printer I reviewed had a far more transparent cover that allowed users to see the printing process. While no one wants to watch an entire 3D print job, you do want to be able to check in on it from time to time to ensure it's being executed properly.

On the other hand, the Nobel 1.0 detects when the cover is removed or ajar; if that happens, the machine pauses the print job, and once the lid is again in place, it resumes work without issue.

One attribute I loved about the Nobel 1.0 was the ease with which models detached from the print platform. That's particularly important when you're working with SLA printers because there's excess resin dripping from the model and build platform when you remove it. Any scraping you need to do with the provided spatula just makes things that much messier.

To date, I've not reviewed any 3D printer where models can be removed more easily than this one. They just popped right off.

As with other SLA printers, after creating a figurine or other object, you must give it a good rinse in an isopropyl bath. XYZprinting includes a tank with which to do this; you supply the alcohol.

Bottom line

Overall, the Nobel 1.0 excelled over any FFF 3D printer in its ability to reproduce accurate models from .stl files containing CAD drawings. Though not as good as a higher-end machine, it'll save you half of what you'll pay for those other printers.

However, there are a few major drawbacks -- the worst being the slow slicing speed of the software and the enormous amount of time it takes to print objects.

If you're not in a hurry, however, XYZprinting's Nobel 1.0 3D printer will give you good-quality reproductions of your own work or of files you've downloaded to print.


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