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Review: The CraftBot Plus is a 3D printer worth having

Lucas Mearian | April 5, 2016
This printer is simple to use, well thought out and fairly accurate.

Even though CraftUnique is one of the newest 3D printer makers to enter the market, its first CraftBot machine received rave reviews right out of the gate.

In August 2014, the Budapest-based company ran an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign for its CraftBot 3D printer that garnered nearly a quarter of a million dollars -- six times its goal -- in a month.

Once it shipped to buyers, the Craftbot was rated the top budget 3D printer by service provider 3D Hubs' global user community, based on more than 5,300 reviews by vetted 3D printer owners.

The second-generation model, the CraftBot Plus, which came out last year, tweaked what was already considered a great 3D printer. So I was excited to dive in and start printing some of my favorite models to see if the machine would live up to its hype.

The CraftBot Plus is 16.1 x 14.1 x 14.9 in. and weighs just 30 lbs., which means it's not only easily transportable but also won't devour a lot of desktop space. It has a print area of 10 x 8 x 8 in., a large build volume in relationship to its small desktop size. It can be used with any Windows, OS X or Linux-based system.

The printer comes in six colors and retails for $1,099 (vendor price). It uses the popular PLA and ABS thermoplastics as well as high impact polystyrene (HIPS) filament; it will use any standard 1.75mm diameter filament from any manufacturer. CraftUnique sells its filaments in a myriad of colors: $29 for a 2.2-lb. reel.

First impressions

Straight out of the box, the CraftBot felt and looked sturdy and well constructed. The all-metal body and stainless steel screws that line the edges of its frame give it an industrial feel, but its simplistic design makes it user friendly. This is a no-frills printer -- just the way I like them.

I found the CraftBot simple to set up; it didn't even come with oodles of Styrofoam packing or plastic braces for its print platform, which other 3D printers require you to remove before you can print. The only things that required removal were some rubber bands wrapped around the print bed to hold it in place.

The next step for setup was to mount the filament guide tube and filament spool holder, both of which require a single screw to attach to the side of the printer.

Lastly, you're required to download CraftWare slicer software. Slicer software is used universally by 3D printers; it takes your digital 3D object and turns it into a G-Code language format understood by most 3D printers.

 

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