PROS / This simple machine has a minimalist structure that is easy to use and build, and is an exceptionally great bargain for the price point.
CONS / The Printrbot Simple has the smallest print plate and print volume of all the 3D printers we've compared.
VERDICT / If you don't need multicolor objects or large printing space, this simple printer gets the job done.
Editor's Note: This review has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it no longer ranks as a top 10 product. The original review is below, but check out our current lineup about 3D printers here.
3D printers don't have to have all the latest gizmos to print quality 3D models. The Printrbot Simple has the same print speeds and resolution as some of the top competitors, but for a fraction of the price. Beginners and young printers will enjoy the simplicity and humble features of this simple 3D printer.
This isn't a large machine. It can only print 3D designs up to 4 x 4 x 4 inches, so if you want to print something larger, be sure you know how to use slicing software and strong glue. Speeds are about average with the Printrbot Simple, and range from 60-65 mm per second and 0.1 mm layer height or resolution (which is on par with the best 3D printers).
Two of the most common plastic 3D printing materials are PLA and ABS. The Printrbot Simple only prints PLA objects, which are better for the environment and don't need to be as hot to print. Printrbot does sell additional cartridges for $30 each, but you can also purchase generic 1.75 mm filament from any retailer and it'll work with the Printrbot Simple.
When looking to buy a 3D printer, have your skill level in mind. The Printrbot Simple is designed for beginning users, but if you want more of a challenge, try building the 3D printer kit yourself with the unassembled version. Both machines are wood-based and do not have LCD screens or a heated print plate.
With a Windows, Mac or Linux computer, you can download the free software and connect your 3D printer. When you're ready to print, connect a USB cable or save your 3D files to an SD card and place it in the slot on the back of the machine.
Get in contact with Printrbot and find support in a few different ways: fill out an email form, find a support page on the forum or browse the FAQs. An online manual and software downloads are also available on the Printrbot website under the support page for the Printrbot Simple. Support falls short when it comes to shipping and warranties, though: There is a two- to three-week lead time, and there is no warranty coverage at all.
Whether you order a 3D printer DIY kit or a pre-assembled machine, each comes with every part you'll need to get printing right away. A power supply, USB cable, maintenance tools and a starter filament cartridge accompanies the pre-assembled and DIY printers.
3D printing is closing in on the consumer market one printer at a time. The Printrbot Simple is a good 3D printer to try out if you're not willing to invest a small fortune. Its affordability and simple nature make it a great candidate for your home, office or classroom.