The Printrbot – Some more details and my thoughts

Brook Drumm is also selling an interesting smaller scale, smaller priced 3D printer which is causing quiet the stir on the #reprap channel. The main challenge people seem to be making is about the wobble that could exist because of the open Z design.

I asked Brook some questions via Kickstarter about the PrintrBot, the new 3D printer, and some of the answers were great, some could pose a challenge to his bot’s future. Brook Drumm Feel free to chime in if you think I misrepresent what you said.

My first question was about if the bot came with filament and was rapidly followed by a question about what bearings/bushings he was using. The answers are great.

1. 1 lb. of ABS plastic
2. 10 LM8UU bearings

1 lb of plastic should be enough to get off the ground and make sure things are working and it’s worth about 15$ towards the cost of the bot.

LM8UU bearings are great to hear because they are considered in some circles to be a must upgrade for high quality prints on other reprap based printers. However, some printers do great with plastic, brass, PLA, or even felt based bushings/bearings. The key thing I feel the Printrbot is trying to address is cutting down on the tuning process. With LM8UU bearings to start it helps get the new user up and printing faster.

My next questions were about the electronics powering the bot.

Me: “oh, one last question, I’m assuming RAMPS 1.4 electronics? With Polulo drivers?”


“The electronics will be the Teensylu, unless we are able to finish a new design we are working on… basically a version of the teensylu .8 with everything on the board – including drivers. We are also adding a switcher to handle the voltage and running off a laptop power supply at 19V…. this will allow plenty of power and even accommodate upgrades to the heated bed.

BTW – we will open source all designs, of course…. we may be a little slow, but it will be fully cooked 🙂


This could potentially have some drawbacks but it does have its advantages. The primary concern in my mind is how by going with Atmel’s AT90USB1286 as the MCU it will be hard for people to keep up with the rapid firmware developments going through the community. My other concern is related to having all the drivers on one board. Stepper drivers are notorious for burning themselves out and if one of the drivers goes on an integrated board it can be hairy to try and replace it. That said there is a strong reason to go with the teensyslu based design, cost and potential learning curve being simpler. I don’t know how “assembled” the electronics will be for the kit (didn’t get that question out there, oops) but it could end up being easier than trying to solder together a RAMPS kit. As the electronics are one of the most expensive parts of a build this new bot could make things interesting.

In the end I think a new design is a great thing and Brook has done a great job of at least letting people see his printer in action and see some of the results of it printing. And with a box open to print time of less than two hours it makes me want to ask for one for Christmas. The greatest thing to me lately is seeing the costs of 3D printing going down. The cupcake started at 750, the Thing-O-Matic sits pretty at ~1200 now. Mendels were/are 1300+ and Prusas are now starting to hit the 7-800 kit range.

Happy Hacking

disclaimer: I do not own a 3D printer, just have been obsessing over them for a few years. Whats a poor graduate student to do?

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