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printerfan

Better resolution than Ultimaker?

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So I am still deciding on which 3d printer I am going to purchase and I came across one that is new and being manufactured in the USA called the Copperhead printer.

Copperhead positioning precision is x/y =11.7 microns, z axis= 2 microns.

Ultimaker 2 positioning precision precision of x/y = 12.5 microns, z axis= 5 microns.

Ultimaker 2 prints much faster though, the link below shows the stats the American company claims for its Copperhead printer.

http://www.acadianrobotics.com/3d-printer.html

Does this mean the Copperhead 3d printer will have better printing resolution than the Ultimaker 2 or are their more variables that account for print resolution?

 

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I understand the need to look for numbered statistics when you're shopping for a new printer. Most people do including myself. But once you get to play with one, you'll realize soon that it's almost irrelevant. There's no way to really know if the stated precision is practically achievable or even remotely accurate. The table it sits on has more influence on the print quality than the 0.8 micron on paper difference.

I always recommend to people to look at examples of prints online (not from the company). Prints don't lie. I couldn't find much on the copperhead which makes me a little weary about their claims but they could just be too new.

I think the biggest quality factor is how consistently every subsequent layer is put down. The layer resolution and XY precision, not so much. You could get really nice prints at 0.12mm/layer printing relatively slowly to ensure consistent layers. A far shot away from the 0.02mm/layer marketing would like to tell you.

Peruse through here to get an idea of the stuff UM people are making:

http://umforum.ultimaker.com/index.php?/topic/467-post-your-latest-print/page-133

If you have specific things in mind that you intend to make with it you should post here, and someone here will have an example for it I'm sure.

 

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Ultimaker 2 prints much faster though, the link below shows the stats the American company claims for its Copperhead printer.

http://www.acadianrobotics.com/3d-printer.html

Does this mean the Copperhead 3d printer will have better printing resolution than the Ultimaker 2 or are their more variables that account for print resolution?

 

As Valcrow wrote, there are other factors to consider... The positioning precision is certainly good enough on both UM2 and Copperhead. Using 5 micron layers is far from meaningful - you'll probably seldom use 50 microns. What comes to x/y precision, Copperhead's advantage might be its smaller nozzle diameter - the positioning itself is again more than good enough on both. However, smaller nozzle means slower prints and more risks for clogged nozzle.

I didn't find any information on Copperhead's feeder and extruder designs, but I noticed this on their printer manual:

"Temperature for the first layer should be 180 (PLA) to make the first layer stick. Other layers are lower than that around 175 to 170."

To me, combination of 0.3mm nozzle and 175C temperature with PLA sounds quite unrealistic.

In general, the printer seems to be "work in progress". When you look at their time lapse video on YouTube (on max resolution), the result doesn't look very impressive to me:

http://youtu.be/oaSnFbz8TPg

Entering their forum requires registration, so I couldn't see how active it might be. You'll need an active community to support you, as none of the 3D printers is really free of (quite) some quirks.

 

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The nozzle diameter is the most important thing for resolution. UM2 and UMO are .4mm diameter. Copperhead is .3mm sounds like. But you can change nozzles on the UMO. Some people (myself included) got an extra nozzle (expensive - like $40 maybe) and had it drilled out but I went with larger, .7mm, lol. .4mm is pretty sweet. .3mm or .25mm is good for making really tiny things with higher resolution.

A .2mm nozzle has 1/4 the area of a .4mm nozzle and the speed through that hole is slower as there is more friction (more pressure in the nozzle). Like squeezing honey through a tiny hole you need lots of pressure. So a .2mm nozzle probalby prints with 1/8 the volume per second. .3 versus .4 I would expect to be (.4/.3)^3 or 2.4X slower for the same size part.

Anyway - you can always change your nozzle after you buy a UMO or UM2. UMO nozzles are very cheap (about $5 to $10 on ebay) and can be purchased in many sizes.

 

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I work for Ultimaker these days, so I cannot give you a good compare (as I will be even more biased then the general community members here)

But any claim of resolution, including the one we make, is bollocks. It's the theoretical resolution which everyone is advertising with. But there is a difference between theory and practice. I could go into details, but just know that 12.5 or 20 micron X/Y theoretical resolution does not really matter.

There are a few things you want to keep an eye on:

1) Availability. Ultimaker has been around for quite a while now compared with other machines. So there is tons of information and parts available.

2) Nozzle size. Bigger nozzles print faster, smaller nozzles print tiny details better. Smaller nozzles do plug easier.

3) Print quality. This has nothing to do with resolution or nozzles. The whole machine&software does this. The best way to judge this is to find 3th party users of the machines. Just about anything has effect on this. Stability of the bed, cooling fans, nozzle shape (including internal nozzle shape) print material used.

4) Material diameter. Some machines use 3mm, others use 1.75mm. Ultimaker uses 3mm. If you might get multiple machines in the future, it would be good to know your options here, as these dimensions don't mix.

5) Software. Just about everyone is using an open-source package for their printer these days. However, ease of use can differ a lot. It's actually the way I ended up at Ultimaker. As I was fed up with the software that Ultimaker supplied 2.5 years ago, and started to write my own. It was so much easier to use that Ultimaker decided to hire me to continue and speed up development. Look up if they have manuals, download the software if you can, see if you understand it, see if it's pre-configured for the printer.

6) CE&FCC. Not everyone cares about this, but CE and FCC is about customer safety. Not having this does not mean that it's not safe. But it's a good judge to see how big the seller is. As at some point you cannot afford the risk to keep selling without these certifications. In case of the Copperhead, those electronics they use will not pass EMF testing, other then that, I do not see any major problems that will prevent them from CE and FCC certification, so no I do not think the machine is a risk. But it does show they are small scale right now.

 

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