Crafbot 3D Printer

January 26, 2015
I got a nice delivery today. My Craftbot 3D printer finally arrived! I found them on Indiegogo not long before the campaign was over last year.  I was just browsing around and just happened to see their campaign. I read through all the information they had and after finding out that they had already started some of the manufacturing of the printer at the time and the other specs and details, I decided to support their campaign. The team seemed like a knowledgeable bunch and most importantly they spoke English natively. This and everything I saw gave me a more positive feeling about the product. I had read about all the different problems and promises others had experienced with other campaigns and bad experiences where so many companies just didn't have anything to show for and people never got their items or they didn't work well.. Mainly on kickstarter I think, but that sort of thing can happen anywhere. So having a better feeling about this product and the team I decided to support them even though they where in Hungary and not China. Not that there is anything wrong with China, but I figured I give them a shot.

Now, every product and start-up will have some growing pains. In short, the guys had and still have a few adjustment that they are constantly working on in trying to get these out, but they are now being sent out. I received mine today, so I know that they are on top of things and I'm sure they will get much better as time goes on. They have now expanded a bit to get these out faster, but they are still working very hard and so far are a top notch team. Although I waited almost 5 months due to a few things like parts, adjustments and programming which has been part of getting these together, the printer is finally here with me. It's on and I just need to make a few adjustments to get started. I do have one or two small parts I want to start with, so I'll get to that, but I wanted to start my page on this printer. So with that, here are a few pictures I took of it and I'll post the video later as it will take while to upload that since my dsl line is not the fastest but it works if I just leave that over night while I sleep so no big deal. I have printed the revised manual that was included in the 2 Gig usb stick. Man I wished that usb stick was bigger. I really like the rubbery feel and nice design on it so I can use it for more stuff. :) Just a little attention to details.

Project page:
Their website:

 Here's the box that just got dropped off by FedEx. It only took about 7 days from Hungary to Los Angeles. So not bad and in good shape. I saw others who received them in other countries that were literally a bit crushed which is very unfortunate. Maybe they will need to add just a bit more padding around it to give it a bit more cushioning. It's got good cover now, but somehow they still manage to crush these along the way.

I decided to open up the back to see if I could move the usb port to the other side so it would be closer to my computer because the regular printer is on this same side and I wasn't sure there would be enough room for the usb cable.

 Here is what the inside the back cover looked like as I got it.

 The usb port is built right into the board, so I can't move it unless I move the whole board which I am not going to do.

 I figured I might as well get a good picture in case I have to unplug anything. Now I have a picture of how these parts are connected.

 I decided to do a bit of wire cleanup while I had this opened. I had just finished getting a few cable ties in there. I only snug them on there as the wires are thin and don't need to be super tight. I have had enough experience tying things up I wanted this to match the rest of the machine.

 Here is what my final cleanup looks like. I did notice the power cord is a bit short which was fine in this case as my outlet is close by. I also noticed that it sticks straight out the back and really wished it was a right angle so that it would not hit the wall and allow me a bit more space out the back.

 This is where the usb cable plugs into. I had just enough space between the printers to get my cable connected. I'll see if I can find me a right angle adapter or something similar. These two printers sit on a metal shelf I have and they are a perfect fit as I just don't have a lot of room. I am glad that they included a long usb cable, that helped a lot.

 You can see both printers on the shelf here. I ended up taking a few things off and lowering the shelf one more notch to give me a bit more space. As you can see, I also don't have any more space on the back or sides, so I installed the filament holder on the front. The 3D printer sits right inside the shelf and since it's back heavy, having the filament in the front,  works just fine. You gotta love the design that allows you to install this on any side of the printer. This is why I also liked the flat bottom since I knew it was going on this type of open metal shelf. It can sit there fine even if the feet are not used.

 There is just enough space to plug in the usb stick too.

 Here is the printer turned on for the very first time. It has some nice white led's which is really nice since it's black and inside this shelf. Very nice. Oh yeah, I stuck the sticker right in the middle towards the front where it could be seen. It turned out great.

Here's a shot of the printer on with the all in one brother next to it. I also forgot to mention that getting to my power button is a bit hard too since I have only a little bit of space to get my arm around the back. Maybe the power button should be moved to the front or on the sides near the top for easier access. It looks like a tight fit, but I think it has plenty of air around it so I hope this works out without me starting a fire. Well this is why I like the enclosure too. The front is open so I guess having a door as I mentioned on the video is not a big deal since I get more air in there. Unfortunately I also get more dust too. but it is what it is. I'm off to read the manual I printed and try to get this puppy up and running.

 I didn't get to do much last night after reading the manual. So I continued today. I used this level to check the level of the whole machine and not the bed. Just to get an idea of it was leveled on the shelf. I think the whole machine may be a bit off since I went through the table level, twice, so I am not going to worry about this for now. It got better once I moved the machine a bit. This is not the correct way to level the machine bed/plate so don't do it. There is a procedure you follow that has nothing to do with a level like this one.

 This is the bottom of the table. The table consists of two aluminum plates.

 Here is the firmware version my machine came with. I just hope they change the white lettering to black. I found this hard to read all throughout and I still have 20/20. The yellow looks nice, but this really bothered my eyes. I really like all the information you get from the lcd and it even tells you a bit more about the filament you are using. Very nice and informative.

 I noticed that my removable top was a bit off to the left. Look at the corner there.

 Here is the left side and shows this more than the right.

 Here's a better close-up of the right side.

 I also got a better of the left side.

Here's a picture of the front of the bed which shows you the offset. I will wait for another firmware update and test the plate perimeter again to make sure I can print get a full print of the bed size, then I'll see if I need to contact them about it if I find it's a problem.

Now, the next things to check in order to get this going is the following.
-Firmware - Check to see if there is an update. Press Ctrl-P to bring up the options in craftware. I saw no mention of this anywhere in the manual until I went back and looked for it in the forums. There seems to be an update, but I didn't do it yet as I'm not sure if I should. I decided to test what I got for now.
-Level the table - This is pretty easy as you just follow the instructions on the lcd. I just played with the lcd before I tried and read the manual. After that I was very familiar with it.
-Feed the filament - The head and bed need to be heated before this can be done, then just press the extruder and follow the instructions. Remember to also read the manual, it goes through all of the individual functions.
-Then once the bed and head is heated, you can procede to make your first print...well not quite as I just found out.

I had to get my file and do a slice, then put it in the usb stick to test that out. Unfortunately it started printing in the front left corner if you're facing the printer. So I have to go figure out why this is so I can start printing.

So I tried again and still the same thing. I ended up updating the firmware from the craftware as that's the only thing I could do. Then the printer shutoff completely. I then had to hit the update firmware again in order for that process to take place. The firmware updated, but I still can't print directly from the computer.

Here is the new firmware.

 These are the default settings. NOTE: I later found out that you have to hit the "Front Left Corner" highlighted button above before you can print correctly. If you hit center, that's when this prints off in the corner which seems backwards, but that's what that was.

I still need to figure out how to print directly from the computer and print in the middle and not in the corner of the table.

So here is my ver first try at printing anything. But since I couldn't get anything printed I figure I make a video on taking this stuff off the plate.

On this video you will hear all the noise this thing is making.

More of the noise. I still can't figure out where it's coming from.

The noise on this one after I pressed continue on the computer was even worst.

The print moved a bit more inside but I started getting some globs of filament in some areas. I have no idea why it did that.

As it turns out, you will need to play with different settings and test what worst best for the filament you are using. I eventually figured out what worked best but on the second filament I bought at the local Fry's, well it didn't like those settings so I had to do more testing. The printer has some defaults which work for the most part, but there is a learning curve to getting better prints and the only way to find out is to test them out yourself. Most filaments have a range of working temperatures on their labels or boxes so follow those and you should be okay. Assuming your printer is leveled and set up correctly for the most part. Once that is done, don't mess with it, just tweak the temperature settings for the filament type. Well this is what I'm finding out for the most part.

After a few versions I finally got a part I was happy with. I made this lower cover plate for my computer since I had a hole in there. I took the cover off after I added another small fan in there since the air needed a bit more circulation. However I wanted a cover with some holes so keep fresh air going in but not have an ugly looking hole. Since you can't find these small ones with holes, I made one. Although it did take a while to get it right, I think it came out just perfect. I had other pictures and videos but my phone has been acting up and well, I basically lost what I had.

I had a problem when I tried to print for like the third or fourth time. The filament would not go down, and I could not pull it up. So it was stuck right where you see it there. I also could not put in a cutter so after scratching my head on how to get this back out so I could cut the old filament I noticed the part where the filament goes into just screws on. I proceeded to unscrew it and then take out bot the part and the stuck filament out.

Here is what the end looked like. I guess it was a bit clogged and when I backed it out, it got turned into that ball of a mess at the tip making it get stuck both ways. I cut that ugly end, screwed the adapter back and pushed it through after heating things up and it came back to life again.

This is a part I had created a while back so I printed it out and it came out okay too. I need to fix the holes as they didn't line up quite right but I was very close. It looks like the most time consuming part is actually drawing the parts. I don't download much since what I need are parts that are not anywhere from what I know. And I don't want to print random stuff, just stuff that I actually use.

Here is the pictures from when I started the computer plates. I lost this before so I took a new one.

Here is my second version of this cover. I used holes on this instead of the slots which also took longer to print, but a good test of the printer.

Here are the two actual parts that I can now use. Yes I actually draw these from scratch with just the outer dimensions of the original. So it is pretty neat to create something from scratch and make an actual part that you can hold and use.

Here is the front of each.

And the second piece in place. This one is a tad tighter so I may need to go back to the drawing and change that a bit but it works just fine too. I like to print small parts for now so I can get more experience with the machine and printing parts and this keeps me from wasting too much filament. It also help with the design since the parts take a long time, I now keep that in mind when designing the parts to make them lighter faster to print.

Here's a good pictures of what making your own parts really consist of...every revision gets something fixed. I thought I had them all from the start, but you will find out very fast that most of your time will be spent on actually drawing parts and fixing dimensions that you thought were right on. The 7th version of that tool holder is currently printing. I just hope that will be the last one. LOL

As you can see I'm just printing a bunch of small parts. This helps with all the revisions and also with the practice for when larger parts are needed. You will be surprised how .1 mm can make a difference in a fit or not. By making small parts I also make sure that I don't waste too much filament too. The revisions help me get better at designing parts so they don't take too much material either.

Update: February 2, 2015
I have been printing a few more small parts as I keep testing the Craftbot and here are some of those videos of what I have been doing.

This is a tool holder for the included hex keys. I don't want to lose them so I made this holder. I finally got it right after 8 revisions.

The same holder with the red filament.

There is a bit of trial end error with 3D printing to get them to print correctly. Unlike everything we see out there, there is more to it than just sending files to be printed. It takes patience, a bit of time on the drawings if you are making your own parts and more waiting for parts to be printed, depending on how large the parts are.

This is my latest print that is currently still going as I write this. This is a face cover for an lcd. Think of it as FPV goggles. I decided to try this larger piece on the high quality printer setting. So far it looks good, but the time for this print is a bit over 18 hours! So this has been printing since yesterday and it does take a heck of along time but the printer has not skipped a beat and since it's red, it shows better than a black one would.

Here's the second snippet I took from this print. I'll try to get another at the end here since I don't want to just take one long video of this thing printing.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed even if I don't use this, but at least I know that I can go a bit larger if the need arises.

Here is the final part being completed after 18 or so hours. Remember, this was just my big part test print to test out the printer a bit more. This part needs some more changes to make it more usable but I just wanted to print it anyway. It did take quite a bit of the spool of filament. It looks like almost half of the spool, just to give you an idea and it's only a shell and not a solid part.