Performance

I actually finished building the Rostock MAX v3 back on October 6th and I jumped into testing it out as soon as I finished getting it together. I already had MatterControl installed on my laptop and I started off with a calibration cube to make sure everything was up and working correctly.

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After that test print it would be recommended to work your way up to something a little larger like a 3dBenchy test print to check overhang performance and a few other details, but given the hundreds of hours printing on one and later two Eris’s I couldn’t wait to try to print something huge that wouldn’t have been possible in the Eris’ build space. I loaded up the Low-Poly Pikachu design from Thingiverse and jumped right into the print. I posted up photos in the installation and setup page but let's just say I ran out of filament and Pikachu now needs to wear a hat. After that, I loaded more filament and gave it a go once again, this time with much better luck. I used the stock settings right out of MatterControl but turned down my infill to 5% to save plastic and lower the print time. For it being completely untested my first big print came out really good. There were a few issues though, most notably because of the low infill the top of the head didn’t have great support and came out a little rough, adding a few more top layers would have fixed this. Beyond that, my only other nitpick was the banding visible with the glossy black PLA that I used. These aren’t typically as noticeable on prints, but given the size, flat areas, and the glossy finish they are more noticeable on this print than anything else I’ve printed after it. Banding can come from the slicer used, slack in belts and other moving parts, and also from the controller itself. The Rambo that SeeMeCNC uses does have some banding issues that users on their forums have gotten rid of moving from it to a Duet 32 bit board. In this case, it was a combination of that and the slicer with our lighting also making it look worse than it was.

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Moving back to a more normal sized print I finally printed myself a Bob-omb in orange and it has to be my favorite print that I’ve ever done. The print came out perfect without any major issues and it's just a cool looking object!

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Next, I had to get back to my roots a little and finally print a design that I had made for our Lunchbox 4 project build. In my coverage, I mentioned multiple times how the Noctua fan stood out in a bad way in the otherwise all red and black build. I designed a cover to go over it but it wouldn’t fit on the Eris’s build plate, so with the larger v3, I printed my design. The good news was that it fit perfectly, the bad news was my design needed a little more work to cover the fan up better. Check it a before and after of the original design

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Now it was an improvement, but I decided to add a honeycomb design over the hole to help hide the fan a little better. It looked much better, especially with the side panel on. I also uploaded it HERE in case anyone else needs something similar.

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About this time I started to run out of filament, so I scheduled a trip to visit SeeMeCNC to get more and while I was at it I brought my wife. Well, I loaded up with new colors, ABS, and even a few transparent after being persuaded by my wife. You see, she saw a large owl design while visiting them and she had to have it done in a green transparent. When I got back, before setting out on the 40-hour print I did do a few test prints with the SeeMeCNC transparent PLA and they came out good.

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Before getting started I cleaned up the build surface and put a light coat of hairspray on it for good adhesion. I then ran the calibration gcode to make sure the first layer would come out good with the print. I haven’t really touched on it very much up until now in the review, but the calibration takes about a minute to run and has to be run with a clean surface and nozzle and with everything at around room temperature. So when I started my print the first layer of our owl went perfectly, check it out.

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Well in my haste to get the owl printed for my wife I didn’t really spend enough time tuning the configuration for the transparent PLA because my test print came out good and I expected it to print just like the rest of the SeeMeCNC PLA’s did. So hours into our owl print I did notice that there was a little more droop on the overhangs that I would like as you can see in the photo below.

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I turned down the heat from 210 to 200, then to 195 and I didn’t notice it at the time but there was a very noticeable difference in the transparent filaments appearance with the change. At the lower temperature, it lightened up a little, was more frosted than transparent, and had more of a satin finish than a glossy finish.  Other than being a little bummed at the mistake, I was excited that I could actually get two different looks from the same filament as long as I tuned my temperatures correctly. But I did want to include it in here for anyone who prints using the SeeMeCNC Transparent PLAs.

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All in all the owl came out great and a lot of people on my wife’s Facebook wanted their own owl as well. Beyond the temperature issues, I did have to clean up a few droops from the print and the top of the ears required a touch of cleanup as well.

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In between the nearly countless trinkets and small prints, I did manage to embark on a bit of a challenge. I decided that I wanted to print and use a Ukulele. Never mind the fact that I don’t know anything about them or anything about playing one, but I did find a good design on Thingiverse HERE and jumped into the print.  

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After getting it all printed I did learn that my configuration could use a touch more tuning with overhangs. I had a few issues as photographed below, but none were bad enough to make me want to reprint. I did, however, pick up some sandpaper and clean the imperfections up.

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Once everything was printed, I had to glue the two pieces together and order strings and tuners. My original tuners didn’t fit and it was a big bummer because the pearl grips would have looked amazing. Ignoring that mess-up the tuners and strings only cost me 12.31 shipped via Amazon Prime. I used 1/3 of a role of filament as well but overall the cost was nothing. Now I never did learn to play it, but once I learned how to tune the ukulele it did sound good. However, it didn’t want to keep its tune all that well, I don’t know if this was the strings stretching out and breaking in or if the ukulele itself was flexing. But it blew my mind that I could make an instrument out of almost nothing with the v3.

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In the nearly 500 hours of printing I have done on the Rostock MAX v3 I have printed trinkets, figures, busts, hardware for my PCs, and even car parts. I mostly printed with standard PLA but I did spend time with transparent PLA, the new MeltInk PLA/PHA, ColorFabb PLA/PHA in standard and transparent, and even SeeMeCNCs ABS. The new MeltInk gave me fits when printing thin objects, but beyond that, I spent very little time adjusting and tuning. In fact, the ABS prints that I was worried about having trouble with didn’t give me as much trouble as I had originally expected. I did have to make sure I had a cleaned and hair sprayed surface, but the stock settings let me print a perfect replacement lid for our dryer vent outside and two new clips for the visors in our car that had broken. I went with ABS for those specific prints due to the higher heat resistance and because PLA doesn’t like water. All in all the v3 proved to be versatile in handling different brands and materials.

One area that was new to me with the v3 having started on the Eris was having the built in screen and being able to use an SD card to load up prints. With the Eris, I had to run everything through MatterControl and if windows updated or something happened with the software I was SOL. So I was excited to be able to run the v3 independently from an SD card. I do however wish the card reader was a little easier to get at than from the side of the screen. The four line screen got the job done as far as navigation, but I will recommend that you make sure you ground yourself out on one of the metal extrusions before touching it, if not you can have the screen go blank from the static discharge, I had it happen to me so much that I actually thought the controller just didn’t want me putting in the SD card when it was powered on.

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