Craftbot XL First-Impressions Review

Craftbot XL First-Impressions Review
4.7 (93.33%) 3 votes

Craftbot is a 3d printer from Craftunique, a Hungarian 3d printer company. They sent me a Craftbot XL on loan to review and send back, so this week I have been running some prints to get some quick impressions before I box it up and get it back to them.

Want to hear my impressions? Read on!

Specs

  • CraftBot XL has a 300 x 200 x 440 mm (approx. 12” x 8” x 17”), heated build area.
  • Kapton covered bed (if this was my printer I would immediately install PEI or Buildtak, the kapton doesn’t work).
  • All metal construction with super quiet and smooth linear rails.
  • Color touch screen UI, wifi, USB and memory stick (supplied) input.
  • The package includes 0.25, 0.4, 0.6 and 0.8 mm MK8 copper nozzles and a wrench.

Unboxing and Set Up

First of all, this machine is big. It came in several boxes. I had to help the post lady from UPS because she was struggling to deliver.

Craftbot XL
Craftbot XL delivery

 

This is because it is a metal framed, enclosed printer.

As well as the regular frame, they also sent a plastic door and PETG hood. The hood contains a fan with built-in filter.

Being fully enclosed means the temperature of the build area, as well as the platform, is maintained. Good for ABS and other temperature-sensitive filaments. The fan and filter is meant to clean the air but I didn’t experience any noticeable smell benefit.

It was very well packaged, but the documentation was inkjet printed. Seems a bit cheap for what is a $1,899 USD printer (before taxes and shipping). 

As well as unscrewing, screwing and wiring for the hood and door, there is a spool holder and filament guide to install. I wasn’t very happy with how all that went, the screws do not go back where they came from and you have to trap the fan wire in the metal cover (if I am following the instructions correctly).

Do not think you can get away without the filament guide and PTFE tube, your filament will tangle real bad without it.

Once the hardware is set up, next is settings and software. 

User Experience

Adding your wifi user and password is fiddly, not that I managed to get it working (I use memory stick for prints). There is a guided manual bed-level process where you check the z-gap using the supplied business card.

Printing the example gcode off the memory stick is straightforward, at least to set the prints running.

This is where the trouble began …

As mentioned above, the kapton surface doesn’t work, so I had to bring out the Magigoo which was a print-saver.

Magigoo saves the day
Magigoo saves the day

They tell you to install Craftware, which seems like a decent enough slicer, but the resulting prints were pretty horrible (see above), and it did not have the XL settings pre-configured, so as I am short of time and would need to set up a slicer profile anyway I abandoned their software and went back to the trusty Simplify3D which performed 1000% better. 

Better Craftbot Benchy using Simplify3d
Better Craftbot Benchy using Simplify3d

Thank goodness for S3D because using their software, their model, their slicer, on their printer … well, we should just say the results were sub-optimal, and not worth the cost of the machine. With Simplify3D though? Night and day, and you can really start to see the potential.

I’ll never know for sure, but I assume with some effort their software would do a good job too. 

Overnight timey wimey print #doctorwho
Overnight timey wimey print #doctorwho

As well as printing well, it prints fast. This is a good thing and where it starts to represent a serious contender in the market.

Conclusion

It’s hard to give a full review after only a short time experiencing what the printer can do, but as it is a kind of “break it and you buy it” deal I don’t want to keep it around any longer than I have to, plus the thing (and all the packaging) is taking up a huge amount of space in its temporary home. If I had it long term I would test it with some real projects, as it was I only really could try some thingiverse models and call it good.

On the basis of my short term experience, would I recommend it? I definitely think it has potential. The width, height and speed make it a contender, and with dialled-in slicer the quality is certainly up there. I don’t think the filter should factor into the decision because it is ineffective, but being fully enclosed is good for ABS, just use in a well-ventilated room because the bigger the print, the more off-gassing. 

For regular DIY folks, based on what I witnessed, I would say go with the Prusa Mk2/Mk3 or Creality CR-10. They are better value for money and the quality of output is at least equal to what this more expensive guy can output.

For a company or school? Yeah, this is where the fully enclosed unit comes into play, definitely one to consider for that. 

You can get the Craftbot XL right now from Ultimate 3D printing store.

I am going to get this boxed up and shipped back, so if you have any questions get them in quickly!

Chris Garrett

Chris reviews 3D printers and offers 3D printing and making tips, ideas, videos, and tutorials on several websites, including here, his own Maker Hacks, and elsewhere. His content is based on his years of 3D printing and making, and his ever-growing collection of 3D printers.

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