PROS / The compact 3D printer uses space well, has a well-built structure and includes intuitive software, all of which make it powerful and easy to use.
CONS / The Robox's very small print size restricts the height of your 3D printed models.
VERDICT / The Robox has distinctive and convenient features such as a dual print head with different nozzle sizes and automatic bed leveling. Even with its small print size, it’s an easy-to-use 3D printer that produces high-quality prints.
The CEL Robox 3D printer is a small but strong addition to our 3D printer comparison. Although its build size is much smaller than comparable printers, the Robox has a healthy list of high-performance features. Dual print heads with different nozzle sizes, intuitive software and auto leveling prior to each print make the CEL Robox a terrific printer for your 3D printing projects.
This compact printer packs many professional 3D printing features into a small body. It has a 0.2-mm print resolution, which is about the thickness of cardstock paper. The Robox’s 3.9 x 8.3 x 5.9-inch build capacity is much smaller height-wise than many comparable printers, and we had to scale our small test print to fit in the less than 4-inch height restriction. During our testing, we found that print quality was excellent, although stringing was an issue, so we had to do a bit of cleanup.
Auto leveling the CEL Robox was an absolute breeze. Typically, we get better results with user-calibrated systems, but the auto-leveling and auto-calibration features on the Robox are very precise, and the machine makes routine adjustments before each print.
The CEL Robox is compatible with both ABS and PLA filament, as well as HIPS, nylon, PC and PVA materials. However, you can only use proprietary cartridges, since the Robox uses filament recognition. When you plug in a cartridge, filament details populate in the software, which is a unique feature and very convenient. You need to purchase these proprietary filament cartridges from an authorized Robox dealer in your area, and they can cost a bit more than generic filament from other retailers.
There are two installed print extruders with different size nozzles on the printer’s one print head that allow you to print with the same material in different sizes; these extruders do not support dual-color printing. There's only one filament dock, so there isn’t a port on the machine for another spool. The different nozzles are handy if you want to change the resolution quickly without swapping nozzles frequently – you just swap filament placement.
During our testing, there was an error with the filament that the software caught and alerted us to. Not many printers can pinpoint issues and pause prints without user interaction, which makes the Robox one of the best 3D printers.
The Robox’s design uses space wisely, and the printer was very easy to unbox. There is virtually no set up required, as it comes ready to print. This 18-pound machine is made out of metal and plastic, which makes it both sturdy and easy to maneuver. The fully enclosed structure and sliding door help protect your fingers from burns and regulate the interior temperature. Colored interior lights indicate the process the printer is currently running, for example stand-by, printing, error or finished.
The print plate is made of PEI, which prevents warping and makes finished items very easy to remove after the plate completely cools. Although it isn’t as easy to clean as glass, the PEI on the Robox never caused problems and didn’t require cleaning or maintenance during our testing. A small plastic-like stopper at the end of the print plate provides a place for the print head to wipe off excess filament when it auto cleans before starting the first layer. You adjust the printer with software, although it would be a bit more convenient to control with an onboard LCD screen.
The Robox uses the proprietary AutoMaker software, and it was very intuitive to use. We had some installation issues on our test machines, but once the software was installed, it was fully operational. AutoMaker displays the estimated time needed for prints, temperatures, errors, fan controls, and controls to start and stop prints.
Since the Robox has neither an onboard screen nor a SD card slot, you have to tether the printer to your computer via a USB cable. However, it supports partial untethering, so you can unplug the USB cable once your print transfers. The printer comes with maintenance tools and a filament cartridge, so you don't need to order extra accessories to get started.
A one-year warranty protects this printer from any defects, and it is much longer than the warranties for some 3D printers on our lineup. A blog, FAQs, tutorials and a manual are all provided on the company's website, so you can find information on your own. This U.K.-based manufacturer responds quickly to email inquiries, but CEL only provides an international phone support number and no local contact information.
Your 3D designs are in good hands with the CEL Robox 3D printer. Although the print size is rather small and cartridges can be expensive, it reliably prints high-quality objects every time. The included software, unique printer design and quality chassis make 3D printing easy for users of any experience level.