Friday, March 23, 2018

My first DLP 3D printer $600 FLSun S Complete / Micromake L2 - March MadMess video

This was one of the 3D printers that GearBest wanted me to do a rush review on. And then I broke it and I was like "I can't do a review on it" and then March MadMess happened, and suddenly I was able to do a review because I wasn't waiting any more.

And of course, now, you can't even get them at GearBest right now. I hear it's a problem with shipping. I've heard it's something to do with shipping the resin, and when they work that out they'll be shipping again. But this prompted me to join the AliExpress affiliate program, because they were the only place you could buy them. There's no associate sending me free stuff with them, but now you can have 3 places to buy and I'll get the kickbacks.

Here's some things to know about this 3D printer that will help you avoid the pitfalls I fell into:
  1. The FLSun S was previously the Micromake L2
  2. While the printer is compact, the printing process is not
  3. This ain't FFF. You're going to need new build materials, new processes, and begin to learning process from square one
  4. Pour that resin directly in the reservoir to start
  5. Do not clean the build vat by putting it in the sun to harden the resin
I don't know what happened that caused the change in this printer's name and brand. My educated guess is FLSun was the manufacturer, Micromake licensed it, Micromake stopped ordering them, and FLSun started selling what was left. I say that because this is too similar to be a industrical espionage copy job. But who knows, maybe Micromake got their plans stolen and FLSun started manufacturing them. But whether they're the L2 or S Complete, they're hard to get a hold of right now. That's the way of things with me. I find something I like and everyone stop carrying it.

Finding the right space for the printing processes is very difficult, harder than FFF, for sure. The material is toxic, so no keeping this one in the house where growing children might be affected. However, keep it away from the sun, so watch those doors and windows and time when you use this printer with the movement of the sun. If course you can just run it with the lid on, and never know if you're print is failing.

Is DLP more or less expensive than FFF? Common knowledge says yes, but I'm not really sure. That will definitely affect the frequency of the experiments. When you're paying pennies for your prints it's easier to justify making Yoda busts

While this is a little more expensive than the similarly sized Duplicator 7, the on-board system and touchscreen interface, with the fact that they've got it all together, make the small additional cost more than worth it in my mind.

It's exciting to have this printer. I can't wait to see what possibilities this opens up for me. But one problem with possibilities is it becomes a question of juggling different technologies. These printers run best when they run often, and I haven't had the time during March MadMess to give all my various printers the time and love they need. Maybe having more types of 3D printers has a down side.


Get yer' links here.
Gearbest is also having a huge event for it's 4th Anniversary. Check it out:

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Makerpsace Soldering Safety Video


Today's work project is a video for the soldering station. Shot,edited, and uploaded this very day. And I like when that happens.

But, do you see how the focus is off, or rather the focus is on the wrong thing? This is what happens when you're the camera man, editor, and talent all in one.When I check the framing on my recording rig, it looked fine for the size and distance that I was looking at. So I went and shot a great take, tore down the recording rig, set it up for editing, and only then did I notice the focus problem.

I wonder how I could find some assistance.

With this video done I've got one more safety video to do, then I'm going to do some videos to introduce people to making designs for the 3D printer and laser cutter. And then, who knows. If you have any suggestions for videos that would be perfect for the makerspace, let me know.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

My TEVO Tornado experience Video

Hmm. I either need a higher table in the shed, or a lower chair. And if you don't know why... good. Good.

I got a request to tone back the March MadMess shout. Let me know if it's missed.

I've had the same conversation with TEVO owners over and over. It goes "TEVO machines are great", then after they calm down they follow it up with "Well, yeah, I had to upgrade ti a bunch before I could actually use it, but now it runs great", and eventually "Yeah, if I didn't haveaccess to another 3D printer, I'd never be able to get this one to run. Want some help upgrading yours?" Is there a name for people defending a thing as better than it is after they've spent too much time and or money on a thing? Because I know I was that way about Simplify3D.

So #TEVOgate. For most of my us in the same circles on twitter, the whole thing came from a single voice, the one who had received the... let's just call it what it was, the bribe. Fortunately, he was a big enough person to refuse it, and then very publicly rebuked TEVO for it. Personally, I would have taken a different tact, taking their money, donating it to charity, and given what would have pretty much been the same review I did here, but sooner, and with a side note that they tried to bribe me to give a positive review. At least that's what I'd like to think I'd do, but I didn't have a $1000 windfall just for being awesome on YouTube enter my bank account, so who knows.

The thing is, from the perspective from TEVO, they didn't do anything wrong. Because,as I pointed out before, when dealing with overseas businesses, to them business is business. And that grates against the west where business ethics is a thing. I'm hesitant to use the words "higher standard", mostly because I don't want to offend my friends overseas by insinuating that they're lower than us. And the truth is, places willing to do whatever it takes in business is why we can have our high minded ideas while enjoying affordable consumer goods. It's hypocritical to use my computer with components made overseas to condemn the actions that made it affordable to me.

This is the sort of deep and sometimes haunting thoughts that come with cheap consumer electronics.

I'm not defending unethical business practices. I do wish they would go away. But more, I think I'm condemning us for not being strong enough to stand up to them unethical business practices. I heard once that Wal-Mart managed to lower their prices by negotiating directly with Asian suppliers, and when they offered a bribe or extravagant spending on their behalf, their buyers refused and instead insisted that the cost of that compensation come off the cost they were going to sell to them. And that's Wal-Mart taking the moral high ground. The point is, its a complicated world we live in, and it only gets more complicated, the wider our view of it gets.

I believe TEVO screwed up in sending a bribe to a reviewer. I believe they screwed up when they didn't immediately try to save face with an apology. I believe they screwed up when they responded to complaints about their behavior by claiming that all they need to do is throw a weekend discount and they'll see where people's loyalties lie. I don't think they were wrong about that, but they shouldn't have said it. All they needed to say was "We sent an excessive payment in error" and express appreciation for the reviewer for not keeping it. Even if they did it on purpose and felt that he was worth the payoff, sending it to him was an error giving them the leeway to express it in this way and make the whole thing blow over. Instead they stood their ground, insisted that they were the wronged party, and belittled their consumers for the sin of being their consumers.

Maybe it's a question of subtly of language that prevented things from going this way. And maybe that means we should cut them some slack for being unable to express things tactfully in a language that wasn't their own.

In the end, TEVOgate hurt a number of people's feelings very deeply. Did it do anything to slow or curb TEVO's success or to change Eastern business practices? I cannot say. The involved parties were pretty small, the effect was pretty brief, and since they're still providing people what they want at a price they can afford, I'm doubtful it had any lasting effect.

March MadMess continues.

Gearbest is also having a huge event for it's 4th Anniversary. Check it out:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Geeetech Rostock 301 Delta color mixing 3D printer - March MadMess Video

I should really up my production standards. Not that this is my worst video in terms of audio or video. Despite being recorded on the heels of my last review, you can tell, I didn't even try to hide it, the camera is well focused, where as in that last video it wasn't. But that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about editing. This video had practically none of it. 30 minutes, in the editing process, tops. Maybe I was a little short on time. Maybe I was a little burnt out after editing 4 other videos this week. Maybe this video didn't need much editing. Or maybe I was just short on content to edit in. Despite the hours and days spent on this thing, I didn't take many pictures or any video of the process.

Which is leaving me very little else to say about this printer.

See how I pronounced "Geeetech" with extra "e"mphasis at the beginning. Did you catch that double "MARCH MADMESS" at the end? Also turned down the volume on those "March MadMess" for people. Ah, good stuff.

I failed to mention that my friends at MeltInk supplied the filament that would have been used in this kit, because they were the only people I could find with Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. Check them out.

And here's the list of March MadMess 3D printers:

Gearbest is also having a huge event for it's 4th Anniversary. Check it out:

Thursday, March 15, 2018

New safety videos for the St. George Maker Space

This is big week for me. If I get a video out on Friday, that will be, technically, 5 videos this week. Okay, one of those videos is a minor edit of a video I previously uploaded for the Maker Space, but it still needed to be opened up in the editing software.

The goal of these videos is to allow more people to certify, and free up my time at the maker space. It's intersting the amount of time it takes to film, edit, then document the process for a 1 hour training. Honestly, I think each of these were in the area of 12-18 hours of work. Which means until I have a dozen people going it won't pay for itself.

Oh, wait, I've already has more than a dozen people go through 3D printing. Dang, that was easy.

If you're ever in the area, stop by and say high. I'll see you at the Maker Space.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

JGAurora A5 Review - March MadMess Video

Notice the Tower of Pi in this video? On Pi day? Yeah, that's the best I can do. I wanted to have a pi vase, fill it with pecans, and look at the camera and go "Ehhhhh?"

This review hurts. It really, really hurts. No only may this be the end of my career as a 3D printer reviewer, but it's so close to where 3D printing needs to go, and this fumble may prevent it from ever getting there.

I wouldn't blame anyone with a 3D printer to sell, short of the ballsiest out there, from blacklisting me. With the Neva I was able to find enough to recommend it that I could at least be between on my review. But this is the first time I've dedicated a video to publicly announcing that you should avoid something that was sent to me in good faith.

There's a lot of crap that happens behind the scenes. I've basically been free QA for more companies than I care to count. You will never hear about most of these experiences publicly. Many of these issues were settled. And while there may be no such thing as bad publicity, I feel there is such a thing as being the one publishing the bad publicity. I feel it would be worse for me to come out and share every bad experience I've had. Quite frankly, it's cathartic being able to finally, publicly, say "No" to something.

If this means that no one ever sends me another 3D printer, and I have to dedicate my channel to doing cool making projects and discussions about 3D printing in general, and I never have to waste my time testing hardware I don't really need, I... hmm, it felt like I was building towards a "worst case scenario" here, and it kinda turned around to being the best possible scenario.

Thing is, I truly believe there's good in every intentions. Even the Neva, this A5, and the Geeetech E180, which by the way, will be a sad echo of this review. It feels like they took one step backwards, hoping to be a run-up to a 100 yard dash, only to fall on their face two steps in. These printers represent the next steps for 3D printing, the steps that 3D printing must take to become the appliance we want them to become. Pretty UIs, clean appearance, and reliable. But what they also need is an infrastructure that's not there yet. They need a local retailer to buy these in bulk, do some QA, fix them up, and offer service plans to people. Selling these directly to the public may be a huge mistake and may result in this critical step in 3D printing's development from faltering. I do not want to see that happen.

Man, I hope I remember to say all this in my E180 review.

Here's the links to all the printers in March MadMess and where you can buy them.

Gearbest is also having a huge event for it's 4th Anniversary. Check it out:

Monday, March 12, 2018

TronXY X5S Review - March MadMess

Technically, this is a Monday upload. I'm going for 3 this week.

Special thanks to my friends at MeltInk who supplemented this printer gift with a roll of cyan PLA. I hope you'll check them out.

In the book "Makers" by Chris Anderson, it's proposed that making is a uniquely human experience. No other animal on the Earth will make a tool, and then keep it and use it again and again. And it's an experience that we are increasingly being separated from as our devices become more complex and disposable. So in a way, the maker movement is about reconnecting with our humanity. Therefore there is nothing more true to the maker movement than building your own 3D printer from scratch, or if not from scratch, from a kit, and using it to make things.

I don't know how much I buy into this. But it sounds good. What do you think? Can you ever truly be a maker if you don't build your own 3D printer?

I've had people complain about the audio in my videos recently, but when I ask for clarification, I get nothing back. Well, this video will certainly give them something to complain about.

The battery on my phone decided it was done with this whole taking-a-charge thing. I've ordered a replacement, but it won't be here till the 20th. There are some who say that experiences, like going without their phone, is the best thing that could happen to them. I do not think that will be me. Already I'm behind on e-mail and twitter. To all my friends wondering why it takes me 24 hours or more to respond, I will return, this I swear.

My friends at GearBest want to make sure I get these links out to you. I've added Amazon and AliExpress links for the rest of you:
Gearbest is also having a huge event for it's 4th Anniversary. Check it out: