Wondering whether the Picaso 3D Designer Classic 3D printer is right for you? Read our review to find out what to expect in terms of features, specs, performance, and more.
The PICASO 3D Designer Classic is a budget 3D printer from Russia, and an upgrade of the first Designer 3D printer.
Picaso 3D Designer Classic 3D Printer Review
What’s in the Box?
In the box, along with the printer itself, you’ll get a standard set of add-ons. These include:
- A reel of PLA plastic
- Branded adhesive glue
- A modest set of tools
- A spare nozzle of 0.5 diameter
- A flash drive
Appearance and Design
The Picaso 3D Designer Classic follows the same design as the original Picaso 3D Designer. The only difference is that in the new model, the door opens to the left and does not swing up.
The casing is made of the standard PICASO composite panels, which comprise of aluminum-reinforced plastic. As a result, the printer is quite light yet rigid.
The printer uses CoreXY kinematics mechanism. The carriage moves on shafts along all axes. The shafts are fixed in printed holders and one bolt to the body.
The Z-axis also rolls on shafts driven by a T8 trapezoidal screw instead of a ball screw.
On a frame made of the same composite panels, there is a 215 x 210mm table made of heater and glass. In general, the whole mechanics seems flimsy and the movement is quite loud.
The Picaso 3D Designer Classic has a build area of 200 x 200 x 210mm.
The printer’s print head features a teflon tube. Therefore, this printer will not work with high-temperature plastics. The unit has a 0.5mm nozzle, which is suitable for printing various plastics.
Overall, this is a good PICASO 3D single extruder head. There is a 40 mm fan at the front, and a model blower at the back.
There is also an own feed system with two drive wheels. Unfortunately, there is no encoder system for checking the presence and movement of the filament.
The nozzle heats up very fast, going from25 to 220 degrees in under a minute.
Optionally, the head can be equipped with systems for controlling the flow of material, tracking its presence and a control system for the first layer. All the connectors required for this are already present on the board.
Since the electronics are installed from the X platform, everything works without problems on connection. You can also install a high temperature heater block.
Now let’s talk about electronics.
In the Picaso 3D Designer 3D printer, all the hardware is the same as on the X platform models. Everything is controlled by a proprietary board based on the STM32 controller.
A board with TMC 2130 drivers is connected to it by a connector along
all axes. This makes the printer more reliable and should you have to change the driver, then you do not have to change the entire motherboard.
To avoid overheating, the drivers are cooled by a small turbine through a printed jacket. A 300-watt 24V power supply is responsible for the power supply. The familiar NEMA 17 motors are installed along the axles.
The screen with the encoder is similar to that found in the original Picaso 3D Designer. However, there are some minor changes. For example, the table is calibrated mechanically by rotating 3 spring-loaded screws that hold it. The menu allows you to load and unload plastic.
There is also a table calibration assistant, which you can use to set the Z-offset.
Finally, the menu is completely in Russian and is easy to understand.
To get started with printing, we need to install the PolygonX program from a USB flash drive. This is the slicer used by all PICASO 3D printers, such as the Picaso Designer X, Picaso Designer X Pro, and the Picaso Designer XL.
On this flash drive, ready-made tasks are pre-recorded to check the printer’s performance and the accuracy of the table calibration. When choosing a job from a flash drive, right before printing, you can select the material and print speed. This is very convenient and saves you time from having to reconfigure the printer for each individual material.
Before printing, the printer finds the zeros of all coordinates, bouncing right off the walls. This is the “chip” of the TMC 2130 drivers, which were mentioned above. Thanks to this, it was possible to get rid of the limit switches, which also increased the reliability of the printer.
In addition to parking, drivers can catch missing steps to avoid layer displacement.
Let’s look at some models that we printed using the Picaso 3D Designer Classic 3D printer.
We printed red Polymaker PLA into a 20mm cube. The printer has a silicone cleaner, through which it passes before printing to remove the flash from the nozzle. This is a very handy feature.
The cube was printed using a standard PLA profile.
Here is the accuracy of the printing:
- X – 20mm
- Y – 20.02mm
- Z – 20.04mm
The model turned out well.
The layers lay flat and there are small jambs along the surface. The only issue we experienced was the non-hidden seam on the back of the model. No matter how much we tried, we couldn’t remove it.
You can only try to move to a corner, but you will have to do this separately for each model. This is quite a significant defect.
Wood + PetG + TPU
For the next test, we printed several plastics at once. First, we printed the eBamboo base from eSun. The main body was printed using dark green Paramount PETG, and the centering cylinders from eSun TPU.
We printed a business card holder in the shape of a sofa with wooden legs. It turned out great.
There was some hairiness when printing with eBamboo, but it could easily be removed by hand. All other prints came out great. The photos show the resulting quality of the finished product.
The following parameters were used for printing:
- eSun eBamboo – Nozzle: 210, Table: 40, Airflow 100%, Circulation 100%
- Paramount PETG – Nozzle: 240, Table: 70, Airflow: 60%, Circulation 100%
- eSun TPU – Nozzle: 215, Table: 45, Airflow: 100%, Circulation: 100%
For the next print, we need to go a little deeper in the settings. The Picaso Designer Classic cannot print ABS plastic out of the box.
In make the printer capable of printing ABS, follow these steps:
- Open the Plastic menu in the printer; This is the second icon on the screen.
- In this menu, select Profiles> Change Profile> ABS (PICASO) and change the temperature for the first layer.
As you can see, everything is very simple.
We chose green eSUN ABS for our next project. For this model, we chose the highest possible quality, but the model itself had to be made smaller than the original size.
Let’s take a look at the finished model.
As you would expect, the model printed great despite the thin blades. The 10 micron layer gave an excellent surface and the layers look great. However, there are small errors on the blades from the retraction. Perhaps this is to blame for the fact that we printed with a standard profile for ABS.
This result suggests that this printer can be used for simple technical equipment.
Next, the printer on engineering plastics.
For this test, we chose the ePA-CF from eSun. This is carbon-filled nylon filament which is slightly easier to print than regular nylon. We decided to print a bracket for a wall shelf. For printing, we created a profile specially for it: Nozzle – 250, Table 80, Airflow 10%, Circulation: 0%
Here is the printed model:
Such brackets need 2 pieces to hang the shelf. You can see the quality of the model.
The model turned out to be durable and lightweight. The layers are well baked and there are no jambs.
Unfortunately, printing carbon filament on this printer is not feasible. This is because the printer has a brass nozzle. The carbon will wear the nozzle off over time and the accuracy will reduce with each seal.
To print carbon filaments, you’ll need a printed with a hardened steel nozzle.
Next, we decided to print gears using nylon filament without filling. We printed in a closed chamber with the following settings – Nozzle: 250, Table: 100, Airflow 0%, Circulation 0%.
First, the model did not work the first time. Nylon stubbornly wanted to break away from the glass, even when we were using an adhesive. To resolve this, we had to apply pencil glue.
Since the model is small, it printed well. All the teeth were sealed and nothing led anywhere. The plastic shrank significantly and the model became one millimeter smaller than the digital model. But the shrinkage is uniform along all axes +/-. This means it can be compensated for with a scale.
Apart from the adhesion problems, the print went well.
The Designer Classic 3D printer returns to the origins of PICASO 3D. The printer is similar to the first 3D Designer in many ways, both externally and structurally.
Coming to electronics, the printer was upgraded with board electronics from the X series printers. However, it misses some of the functions of the X series printers. We also noticed the loud noise when the printer is working, some design errors and firmware errors.
This printer is not suitable for professionals for various reasons: it is impossible to print with high-temperature plastics out of the box, there is no electronic calibration of the table, there is no system of encoders for controlling the supply of plastic. The small print area is also a limitation.
Still, this printer has very significant advantages. For its money, this is a great workhorse and an open textbook. It doesn’t take a long time to set up and disassemble, and everything you need for printing is already included in the kit.
The printer is also easy to modify. After installing additional plastic control modules and the first layer, Designer Classic can compete in quality with top-end single-extruder printers. But even out of the box, it delights with its print quality when using low-temperature and environmentally friendly materials.
This printer is perfect for educational institutions looking to introduce students to new technologies. We also recommend the printer for beginners in 3D printing.
RECOMMENDED: Picaso 3D Designer X vs. Designer Classic