Duplicator 4 - 3D Printer Review

Hey Everyone!

Its been a little while since i posted an update...and it was a busy summer indeed.

First, the board is riding great.  Here is the latest video:


Since then, i've been working on a number of new projects, which prompted me to make the jump and buy my own 3D printer.  As anyone in the market would do, i read up on all the reviews i could.  I ended up going with my gut and getting the Duplicator 4 made by Wanhao, and i bought it from makergeeks.com

The only trick was there aren't much for reviews out there at the moment.  But on the bright side, its specs are almost exactly the same as the Replicator 2 from Makerbot....but just about half the price.

The unit arrive 2 weeks after my order date, which was the minimum expected (2-3 weeks).

Unpacking went smoothly.  It was very well packed and shipped.  Assembly was 2 screws for the extruders and some quick twists to mount the filament spools.



The instructions themselves could have used a little help on the grammar side of things, but all-in-all I was able to figure it out pretty easily.

Upon startup, you're instructed to run through a pretty easy leveling process.  4 spring-loaded hand screws under the build plate level each corner.  The program steps through front center, rear center, left and right, then center center.  asking you to adjust the plate in each step to allow only a piece of paper between the nozzle and the plate.

The heated bed has some sort of thin plastic coating on it, which i got a scratch/tear in mine, probably from my alignment being too tight, initially.  but it hasn't been a problem yet.

The printer takes .x3g files over USB or SD.  i've been using the SD exclusively, and generating the files with Replicator G.  Being new to all this, it took a few prints before i fully understood the variations and functions of each setting.  But pretty quickly i caught on with what works and what doesn't.  For now, i have 2 spools of ABS 1.75mm.  Default settings have been best.  220C tip, 110C platform, 30 feed and 30 travel, although i have been successful with 50mm/s too.

The onboard software has a few nice features that i wasn't fully aware of, and might be of some interest.  Today, i did a nozzle alignment, similar to a paper printers, where it prints a bunch of lines from both extruders and you pick which are best aligned.  I ended up updating 1 axis by 1 point.  The utility also includes the startup procedure script and a re-leveling script.  The LED functionality in the menu doesn't seem to work however :/

Overall construction of the printer is excellent, from what i can tell.  All the parts are solid, professionally molded (not printed) parts.  aluminum gears, solid bearings, belt driven XY axis, with belt tensioners.

Not sure what else to say about it.  If anyone has any questions, please comment here.

Heres some pictures of making in action;












15 comments:

J Hare said...

Hi James!

I also just bought a Duplicator 3D printer from Makergeeks. I was wondering if you have had any problems with the X axis studdering? I've been working with support to try and fix the problem but I've had no luck so far.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bRqCDRvm_tc

James Boncek said...

Hey there! I can't say i have had that issue. Have you looked around at other printers with misstep issues? Could be a number of different things causing it.

miketvwylie said...

In response to J Hare. I've had an issue with this printer and I found it was caused by a bad x-axis cable. Check electricalengineering101.wordpress.com for my comments about similar issues.

kumar quarian said...

Hi James, I just got the duplicator 4 few 2 weeks back and now the filament got actually stuck, i took of the parts and tried even heating the extruder yet still can get the filament to come out. Would really appreciate your help mate.
Thanks in advance

Brysageek said...

So Have Had A Duplicator 4 For About 3 Months .... I Have Had A Hell Of A Time With It I Have The Y MisstePS, The Bed Was Warped And The nozzles Are Not Aligned, I Can Prin SmallerQuicker Prints But Anything Over A 3 X 3 No way

Brysageek said...

Mine did That As Well, Found A Metal Shaving In The Tip !!

James Boncek said...

@kumar - all extrusion printers are subject to this, generally. I had a tip get clogged once already, but it wasn't metal, it was just dried buildup of material. There are a number of different ways to clean them. I did a quick search and tried a few but in the end, i just held the tip over my gas stove and then used a pick to get out the offending glob. after that it was pretty easy to clean the little hole with a thread of wire.

@Brysageek - Did you run the nozzle alignment program? I found i updated 1 axis 1 step from default.

As for the bed, yea, it isn't perfectly flat, thats for sure. I've been mostly using PLA at this point, so maybe i'll get a nice flat piece of glass for it or try a few different bed materials.

I can imagine, however, that any bed that is heated is going to have warping issues.

Anonymous said...

Any update? Still highly recommend this printer?

James Boncek said...

A full update is coming soon, but the short answer is yes. All is well with the D4. No complaints and no regrets.

scott knowles said...

Hey James,

Wondering if anyone can help me here.

I keep getting Layering issues (especially at the start of a print) and also issues with the part sticking to the platform.

I have:

1. A Heated bed platform heated to 130 (usual 110 but using ABS so advised to go higher).
2. Using ABS thus advised to extruder temp to go to 230 (I have tried 240 and 250 - result are too hot and structure fail at 250)
3. Closed environment. Though it is makeshift the whole unit is sealed when printing to stop any heat loss or draft.
4. I am using ReplicatorG. When generating GCode I use Raft, default start/end gcode, 10% fill (tried 5 and 20), Layer height of .27 (Have also tried 0.20), shells 1, Feed rate 40mm/s (tried 30mm/s too), feed rate 55 (tried 30 and 80), print temp of 220 (tried 210/230/240/250).
5. I have even had several attempts at re leveling the platform.

STILL get both layering issues and objects that dont stick (yeah I tried hair spray and sometimes it works)

Any advice would be gratefully received icon_e_smile.gif

The model is off of thingiverse.

Thanks

Scott

James Boncek said...

Hey @scott!

printing with ABS can be tough - period. But once you get it dialed in, you should get fairly consistent results.

Leveling is ever so important. But so is your surface. Have you tried kapton tape or blue painters tape? I typically use kapton for ABS and painters tape for PLA.

I also print between 220 and 230. heated bed at 110 for ABS, no heat for PLA.

Slower is typically better. start with 30mm/s till you get the hang of it. for simple parts, where accuracy isn't as critical, i'll dial up the speed, but if you want a super clean print, take it slow.

i've also found that the 2nd extruder can bump your print knock it loose. If you're not using that extruder, you can remove the tip so you're free of the obstruction.

If you have a huge base surface area, it will tend to warp more over time, which makes it tough. For prints like that, i try to use PLA if possible - OR print faster.

When leveling, make sure you level at or near the right bed temp. i've noticed large differences in leveling when the bed changes temps.

Overall, PLA is way easier and it sticks much better to blue painters tape. I usually lay my base layer really tight to the base. This almost distorts the first layer but ensures a tight stick.

I also rarely if ever use raft.

If you need support but no raft, you can tweak your settings to do that. I think its in the slicing profile>raft radio>base layers=0 and interface layers=0

3D Printer reviews said...

I was planning to buy Duplicator 3D printer this winter. Great to see this blog very helpful. What I like with this printer is its metal shaving and intuitive instruction manual.

3d printer reviews said...

Great! I can make toys as many as I can, Harmless for my kids. Summertime will coming good for my kiddies.
http://3dprinterblog.net/

jen@3dprinterblog.net

Anonymous said...

Purchased a Robo3D R1 and hate it! Looking into this one now. So glad it has a manual lol.

Anonymous said...

hi,i have my duplicator 4 in a small freezer i modified that keeps the the temp at 43-45 degress(auto purges to maintain heat) the printer inside as well as the filament are all keeped at this temp.bed 110 ,extruder at 240 ,abs ,blue tape on bed ,raft ,and can print about 20cm wide with out it raising from the bed (camera shows whats happening inside).hope this helps

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