UP! 3D Printer from China: Viable Competitor to US 3D Printer Makers
Forest Higgs, a self-proclaimed “technocratic anarchist”, has written a detailed review of the UP! 3D printer, a compact desktop 3D printer from China.
Forest explains how he first was introduced to the UP! 3D printer.
Some months ago, a long term technology friend of mine acquired an UP! While Peggy has been a inspired developer of educational technology for years, she did not, to the best of my knowledge, have any prior knowledge of the ins and outs of 3D printing on personal printers. In spite of that, Peggy whipped her UP! printer out of the box and did a brilliant print first time out. That really caught my attention. I’d been working on the Reprap project for years and still, when I bought a Rapman, a greatly enhanced Darwin-derivative, several years ago it had taken me the better part of a month to get used to the quirks of printing on it to the point that I could get reliably good prints.
Later he walks through specific features and functionality, with detailed photos and comparisons to other printers in the market.
Out of the box, one thing that immediately struck me was the tiny size of the UP! The 140x140x135mm print volume reminded me a lot of the old Makerbot Cupcake. It took me about half an hour to get out of the box and set up, ready for operation. While the manuals indicated that I might have to level the print surface, this was not necessary. Calibrating the printhead height took about ten minutes. When I ordered the UP, I was very worried about print adhesion to the print surface. Delta Micro offered three solutions; perforated printed circuit board, painted glass and Kaplon tape covered glass. I had had so much drama with prints peeling off of the print table with the Rapman over the years that I ordered all three options.
Forest concludes: the UP! is a meaningful competitor from China.
Finally, it appears that Delta Micro is going for the throat of the manufacturers of Repraps in the US and elsewhere. They are now offering a slightly smaller printer, the UP! Mini! with a 120x120x120 enclosed print volume which uses standard 1.75 mm filament for less than $1,000. The UP! Mini appears to be a serious challenge to both the Reprap variations and to the 3D Systems Cube system. It strikes me that unless the quality and ease of use of UP! competitors makes a rather quick quantum leap they could easily find themselves to be a historical footnote in the history of 3D printing rather than a new paradigm of virally diffused technology.
Read the full review by Forest Higgs, who says on his blog, “If I wasn’t supposed to take it apart, it wouldn’t have screws in it.”
UP! 3D printer photo by donjd2 used under Creative Commons license.