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Printrbot Play Review

People don’t usually think of 3D printers as a kids’ toy, but this Printrbot Play review will show you otherwise. In fact, the Printrbot Play is a great choice for all ages.

In case you aren’t sure what the hype is about, this review will tell you everything you need to know.

Table of Contents

Factors To Look For

Even for these mini 3D printers, you want one that hits all the key features. Printers need to be basic enough for all skill levels to have fun with, but they also need to be capable of handling more advanced designs.

This 3D printer, despite its size, can print out some pretty awesome designs. It’s also built to last thanks to high quality materials and expert construction.

Since mini 3D printers are designed to be entry level, you need to know that it’s easy for everyone to use. The Printrbot Play is exactly that. It’s easy to set up and very user friendly. 

But, it’s not enough for a 3D printer to just be easy to use. You want to make sure it has quality output and construction as well. User friendliness goes a long way.

The Printrbot Play also uses software which has some pretty cool features. Its simplicity along with its features make it convenient for all users to use.

In addition, this 3D printer has safety features in place to ensure that children can use it without risk. But, we all know children aren’t the only ones who can get hurt. I for one would probably hurt myself.

The key factors I’ll be reviewing for the Printrbot Play are:

1. Print quality

2. Set up

3. Features

4. Design

Printrbot Play

Printrbot Play image
Source: total3dprinting.org

Pros

Cons

  • Print quality
  • Durability
  • Easy to use
  • Set up
  • Calibration
  • No heated bed makes it hard to print materials such as ABS
  • Filament versatility

This 3D printer comes from Printrbot, a company which got its start on Kickstarter back in 2011. Over the years, the founder has sold a ton of 3D printer models and even had a show on the Science channel.

The Printrbot Play is a fairly basic 3D printer designed mainly for hobbyists rather than professionals. But don’t let that fool you, the quality is definitely still there for professionals to use.

Breakdown Of The Printrbot Play

Print Quality

First and foremost, you want a 3D printer that’s going to give you a high quality product. The Printrbot Play doesn’t have the best quality you can find, but it beats many competitors within its size and price range.

3D printing has a resolution, just like a regular computer screen would. Resolution in 3D printing is measured in microns with lower numbers meaning higher resolution (finer details). What this means to a beginner is that you want the lowest microns possible if you want highly detailed designs.

The Printrbot Play has a resolution of 50 microns, which is great for giving you finer details in design. This includes features like sharp edges, smooth surfaces, and more. The maximum resolution is 100 microns.

In addition, this printer has a maximum speed of 80 mm/second. This is not the fastest available on the market, but it is also definitely not the slowest. You also have to consider that much higher speeds can mean sacrificing quality, so 80 mm/second is a great place to start.

Set up

The Printrbot Play is easy to use right from the start. You have the option of buying either a fully assembled Printrbot Play or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you can buy the kit. This lets you assemble it yourself which shouldn’t take longer than half an hour.

There’s also videos and documentation to help you set up the Printrbot Play. This is one of the reasons why it’s one of the best 3D printers for schools. Accessible and easy instructions makes it easy for kids to follow, and hopefully enjoy.

You won’t need to adjust much about this printer, though you can adjust some specs like the nozzle height and lever tension if you feel it’s necessary.

Most of the adjustments you’ll make, though, can be done in the software that this printer uses. This software is called Repetier Host and it is an open source software used by many different 3D printing companies.

Being an open source software, Repetier Host comes with a lot of versatility. You can customize designs on your own or you can use programs created by other users that are accessible through the software.

Features

Two key features really jump out about this printer: auto leveling and safety. Auto leveling allows the printer to adjust its position on the go to ensure an optimal distance for printing. This takes away some of the responsibility from you and also means higher quality in the end.

The Printrbot Play is a miniature 3D printer specifically designed to be used by all ages. It has safety features to allow children to use it without risk of injury. For example, it has a fan shroud and an extruder cover which prevent children from coming into contact with the heated part of the machine.

This printer also has a non-heated bed which provides a pro and a con. The pro is that it is safer to use for children and beginners. The con is that it limits the material you can use to PLA (Polyactic Acid) only.

Design

Overall, this printer has a beginner friendly design. It also has a high quality build that ensures you’ll get a ton of use out of it. The frame and several mechanical components are constructed with powder coated steel to enhance durability. 

This printer is small though with a 4”x4”x5” build volume. You’ll need to remember this when considering what type of designs you want. 

Alternatives To The Printrbot Play

Monoprice 121711 Select Mini 3D Printer V2

Pros

Cons

  • Price
  • Filament versatility
  • Heated build plate
  • MicroSD card
  • Software compatibility
  • Simple set up/interface
  • Durability
  • Lack of safety features
  • Difficult to calibrate
  • Overhangs
  • Open enclosure

The MP Select Mini is affordable, and has a great reputation around the 3D printer community. It was rated as the “#1 best-selling 3D printer brand in the world”.

As far as print quality, from the print samples I’ve seen, this printer creates solid models. Just Google MP Select Mini print quality and you should see 3DBenchy models from this printer.

Features which make this printer great are its filament versatility, heated build plate, and simple interface. The heated build plate in combination with the extruder allows this printer to work with ABS, PLA, wood, metal, and more.

Overall, the Mini Select is durable with a lot of great features. I would definitely get this if the Printrbot Play is not an option.

da vinci mini wireless 3D printer

Pros

Cons

  • Price
  • Versatility
  • Safety features
  • User friendly software and operation
  • Auto-calibration
  • Slow
  • Can only use filament from XYZ manufacturer
  • Smaller prints
  • No heated build plate

Compared to the Printrbot Play, this printer is more compact.

This means you’re limited to what type of models you can make. But, this also means the printer is more portable. One of the best parts about this printer is its “ready” out of the box. Combine this with the auto-calibration and you shouldn’t have to do too much work setting up.

The XYZ team gave the design a “child friendly” look. Its exterior is safe to handle and is one of the reasons why it’s a good entry-level printer.

Besides that, they also provide convenient accessories. One example is a print removal spatula which makes removing the model off the print bed easier. 

The downside with this is there is no heated build plate. No heated build plate means models are harder to take off. Taking models off the hard way means you are more prone to damage.

As for print quality, I would say this printer is average compared to other printers in the same price range. I say average because it’s not horrible, but, it doesn’t print with great detail.

QIDI Technology X-One2 3D printer

Pros

Cons

  • Price
  • “Plug and play” set up
  • Custom software/3rd party software availability
  • Customer service
  • Filament versatility
  • Durable
  • Touchscreen interface
  • Print quality
  • Taking prints off
  • Tricky to load filament
  • Bed leveling
  • Heavy
  • No WiFi connection

The Qidi Tech X-One 2 is a great printer at a great price.

The Qidi is considered a “plug and play” printer which means once you take it out of the box, you can start printing right away. And, if you have problems, it comes with a comprehensive manual which helps you troubleshoot potential problems.

This printer uses Fused Deposition Modeling Technology (FDM). Advantages of FDM is it’s reliable, simple, affordable, and can be used for different applications.

They also made this printer responsive by implementing a touch screen. This touch screen makes it easy to use because it provides useful information for the whole printing process.

Should You Get The Printrbot Play Or Not?

This is a great printer for beginners and youngsters. It has some key safety features and a simple set up that make it very user friendly to the less experienced 3D printing artists.

Overall, this printer puts out great models for its price range. It’s quick, and has a decently high resolution.

However, there are some downsides. You are limited to PLA material, and the actual printer design isn’t always the easiest to deal with.

For example, the safety covers obstruct you from seeing the first couple layers being printed. The cables are sometimes difficult to keep out of your way as well.

With that said, this is a good choice for 3D printer beginners. I would definitely recommend this one if you’re just getting started.

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