In this review, we will tell you about a new 3D printer model in the range of Raise3D – the Raise3D E2 model .
Raise3D, which has Chinese roots, has today become global, although the company’s headquarters are still located in Shanghai, but the main markets for Raise3D equipment are the USA and European countries, this is associated with the opening of two other offices of the company in California, the USA and Rotterdam. Netherlands.
The development of the concept of the E2 3D printer lasted more than two years and even continued after the premiere, which, incidentally, took place first in Moscow in September last year, where Tsvetnoy Mir presented the novelty first at the Top3D Expo conference, and later at the 3D Print Expo … But the Raise3D company, having identified a number of problems, delayed the start of sales of new printers in order to be completely confident in the quality of the model released to the market. Deliveries of printers began in April, and they reached Russia only in June. In the future, it is assumed that on the basis of the E2 model a whole line of 3D printers will appear, adapted to the tasks of specific industries, but for now, let’s look at the printer with an armed eye.
We have already written about all the main characteristics and innovations of E2 in our previous article “Meet – Raise3D E2” at the end of May this year. Since then, we have been able to take a closer look at the printer and test the serial model that came at our disposal, despite the fact that we had a pre-production sample of the printer for a long time and we were well acquainted with all the E2 “chips”.
The main difference between the E2 and its predecessors, the Pro2 series printers, can be considered the IDEX system.
IDEX is a printing system with two independent extruders. Raise3D did not become the inventor of this technology, it was used in different models and before that, nevertheless, it should be noted that E2 is distinguished from all competitors by its high quality of workmanship and a number of engineering improvements, which we will discuss in more detail below.
The IDEX system as a whole has several advantages over the conventional arrangement of two extruders in one head. The first is the weight of the printhead itself, which is significantly lower, which avoids unnecessary inertia when moving it. And of course, the advantage is the independence of the extruders (albeit partial in fact), it makes it possible to increase the performance of one 3D printer without reducing its functionality.
Early sales of E2 3D printers have shown that customers often compare them to the Pro2 model, also produced by Raise3D. Indeed, these models are close to each other in terms of their parameters, but the fundamental difference between them is the IDEX system, which expands the variability of the printer’s operating possibilities. The photo below shows the process of printing a protective shield in the “duplication” mode. In fact, a system with two independent extruders gives you the ability to double the productivity of your printer when needed, and this is its key advantage over traditional extruder layouts.
The E2 can print in several modes: single extruder, dual extruders, duplicate model or mirror mode, you can also print the same model with different materials with different temperature settings.
We’ll come back to IDEX in this overview, but for now let’s look at other printer specifications.
The Raise3D E2 3D printer is a sturdy, strong and rather heavy construction made of aluminum and high quality molded heat-resistant plastic. In general, the quality of the printer’s workmanship deserves the highest praise, there can be no talk of savings here.
The size of the printer itself – 607x596x465 mm – is quite large for an office desk and of course it is larger than many desktop printers, but the print area is also significantly ahead of direct competitors, such as the Ultimaker 3, Zortrax M200 Plus and Picaso Designer X Pro. It will be best for him to use a separate table or bedside table. In addition, to load the filament into the side insulated “pockets”, you need to open their doors, and this requires 30-40 cm of free space.
It is also worth taking into account the presence of space for opening the top cover, this requires about half a meter from above, so it will also not work to install the printer in a niche.
It is also important to note that it is possible to set in the settings to pause printing in case of opening both the front and top covers and then continue printing after they are closed. This is necessary for safe use of the printer in schools, where children can get burned.
The maximum printable area of one extruder in E2 is 330x240x240 mm, with two extruders – 295x240x240 mm. These sizes are quite enough for most typical and not very tasks, but for larger projects Raise3D Pro2 Plus is perfect .
The table heats up to standard 110 ℃, and extruders up to 300 ℃, which comfortably allows you to work with materials with a high percentage of shrinkage and solves the problem of tearing off the first layers when printing with high-temperature plastics. The table heats up not quickly, but steadily, while the power consumption of 350 watts looks quite economical. These temperature parameters allow the user to use the entire range of household 3D printing materials, including nylon (polyamide), polycarbonate, ASA, carbon, glass-filled nylon, carbon-filled ABS and others. Only high-temperature engineering plastics such as PEEK and Ultem 9085 remain beyond the capabilities of E2, as in the Pro2 line.
And just as before, you can use both original Raise3D plastics and any third-party plastics, many of which participate in the OFP (Open Filament Program), which allows third-party plastics manufacturers to test their materials on Raise3D printers and create profiles for each material for maximum user convenience.
An important role is played by the hermetically sealed housing of the printer, which makes it possible to maintain a stable temperature inside in the region of 30-40 ℃, which is necessary for printing with high-temperature materials with a high degree of shrinkage.
The special HEPA filter ensures odorlessness even when using ABS filament. The task of the HEPA filter is not only to capture the smallest polymer particles, preventing them from entering the working environment, but also to block unpleasant and harmful fumes from printing with some technical polymers.
A few words about kinematics
The kinematic diagram of the mechanical movements of the Raise3D E2 3D printer is a portal structure with a movable platform. The X and Z axes are combined in a rigid U-shaped module, where two extruders move independently on the X-rail of the gantry. Raise3D pioneered the use of rail in their printers and is a major departure from the Ultimaker kinematics from which the N and Pro2 series printers were based.
The advantages of this mechanics are high accuracy, reliability of printheads and wide operational variability with high stability of results.
Among the disadvantages of this system, it is worth noting the relatively low printing speed due to excessive movements when switching the activity of the print head (heads when changing material), as well as high inertial moments of the build platform with the part printed on it. Although the engineers have done everything possible to reduce the weight of the table, sometimes “ringing” vibrations can be observed during sudden movements, which in the worst case can lead to the part peeling off the surface.
As we finish examining the mechanics of the printer, let’s turn our attention to a couple of controversial engineering solutions.
First, the lack of mechanical synchronization of the trapezoidal screws of the Z axes leads to the need to periodically calibrate the horizontal parallelism of the X beam.This procedure is performed by moving the X beam upward, until it stops against the metal transverse stiffening beam with an accompanying unpleasant sound of the motors knocking.
Secondly, a moving printing platform, although this solution has proven itself so well in Prusa printers that its use in a professional printer is quite justified, especially since all our experiments with printing did not show any problems associated with this.
High-quality safe 30-40 mm / sec in printing are provided stably. And only when the “classic” 50-60 mm / s is exceeded in combination with a high and massive model, the degree of process comfort is slightly reduced. It’s no secret that print stability is largely due to the high-quality formation of a reliable first layer.
And also one more decision, which may seem controversial.
The platform, as in the Pro2 series, remains aluminum with a proprietary BuildTak printing surface, which, despite its high wear resistance, has good plastic adhesion. But, for E2 it was made flexible removable with magnetic fixation. Therefore, it requires frequent calibration of the print surface, ideally after each new flex plate is placed on the build plate. And each calibration takes time.
We still cannot make an unambiguous conclusion whether this solution is more successful, it will be possible to judge this after a certain time of operation of the printers by users, but we did not have any problems with the coverage when testing the printer.
Now let’s turn our attention to the heart of any 3D printer – the E2 direct extruder. It is compact, light enough and thought out to the smallest detail. It has a reduction gear and, if our assumptions are confirmed, a double-sided toothed clamping of the filament filament, similar to the BMG reducer known to many.
This solution allows you to confidently work with soft and “slippery” plastics. The upper print temperature limit is limited to 300 ° C.
Next to the extruder, on the left print head, there is a BL Touch level sensor, a two-position electromagnetic probe with an optical position fixing sensor.
Raise3D E2 has a multi-zone table surface calibration system.
Raise3D engineers tried to carefully pack it in a metal casing, saving it from mechanical damage and high temperature of the working space.
Among other useful functions, it is worth noting filament end sensors (although you will not surprise anyone with them), during prolonged printing, you do not have to worry about a sudden end of filament – the printer will pause and continue printing after refueling.
Also, the printer is equipped with a video camera that allows you to record and remotely control the printing process using Raise3D’s integrated cloud services. This service has already become the corporate standard for Raise3D printers. More details about all the possibilities and prospects of their use can be found in the presentations and videos posted on the company’s official resources on the Internet.
In addition to the listed functional controls, it is worth noting the large red button located next to the printer display.
This button activates the ECCO mode, in which the lighting of the working chamber and display indication are turned off when the operator deems it necessary. For example, when printing for many hours or even several days to save energy, this button is also used to reboot the device – if you hold it down for more than 10 seconds, this function has migrated here from laptops, where it has been the standard for many years.
A few words about the electronic stuffing of the printer.
The powerful NXP ARM Cortex-A9 Quad 1 GHz working processor ensures comfortable operation and smooth printing process. All major electronic components are housed in a front-facing upper bezel with a decorative carbon look. It is practical and looks pretty. “Extra” wires are not observed. All necessary wiring is removed into cable channels or fireproof silicone harnesses.
The large 7-inch touchscreen display has been the hallmark of Raise3D 3D printers since the first N series. This solution set the bar for all 3D printer manufacturers in the world, but Raise3D display functionality and visualization still provide an incredibly comfortable working environment. The touchscreen of the monitor is moderately responsive – it does not “dull” and does not work from accidental touches. The control system has a built-in non-volatile memory that will allow printing to continue in the event of a power outage. As before, the system is controlled by a Linux-based operating system and is very stable.
Good calibration is essential to the successful use of this system, and Raise3D has done its best to make this process as clear as possible, especially for first-time 3D printing users.
For precise pairing of nozzles, there is a special calibration system with very simple and accessible video instructions on the printer monitor. The unique functionality for 3D equipment was first implemented by Raise3D, and, probably, soon this, like many other innovations of the company, will become a standard in the segment of professional 3D printers.
Unfortunately, the disadvantage of this process is the long time required for the calibration procedure, and it takes about 20 minutes, but at the same time it must be understood that all experienced users of 3D printers know that the key to successful printing is the correct calibration of both the printing platform itself, so and in this case, the pairing of the nozzles.
Files for printing can be dropped via Wi-Fi, via a standard RJ45 network connector located on the back of the case, which allows you to connect the printer to a local LAN network.
Or you can use the USB ports located on the top panel above the display. Convenient – no need to search and impossible to forget.
USB connectors allow you to work with the printer offline. That is, by simply installing a flash drive with a file prepared for printing into the slot and pressing the “Print” button on the display, you select the desired file and follow the system prompts.
By the way, there is no need to leave a “flash drive” in the slot, since after selecting a job, the necessary files are downloaded to the printer’s internal drive and stored there, including with a video report on the results of the previous print.
The thread loading procedure is semi-automatic. The operator needs to select the filament loading operation on the control monitor. Then place the spool with filament in an insulated compartment covered with a translucent lid through which you can visually check the amount of remaining plastic. Then thread the thread through the fitting into the filament path until it stops in the gear wheel. And then follow the video prompts on the display. Everything is simple, fast and clear.
An intelligent system of multi-zone leveling of the working surface, coupled with a very informative and friendly video interface, allows you to quickly and with high quality build a profile of irregularities with an accuracy of hundredths of a millimeter. This allows the printer to be sure to correctly and accurately form the first layer, which in many ways ensures a successful printing result. From a visualization point of view, this solution is absolutely unique in the field of 3D printing and will certainly be picked up soon by other manufacturers as the most understandable for users.
It works like this. Having installed the flexible printing cover on the table, you need to start the process of calibrating the working surface by selecting the appropriate item on the large 7-inch display of the printer. Then you just have to follow the video instructions, read and follow the information tips. Perhaps this is the friendliest interface that we have ever tested.
As a slicer, all Raise3D printers use the original IdeaMaker slicer , the functionality of which is very wide, in this review it makes no sense to dwell on it in detail, but it is important to understand that today it is the most advanced tool for implementing the most complex tasks, and in conjunction with a cloud service RaiseCloud, it presents the user with truly unique opportunities for preparing models for printing and controlling the entire printing process with the possibility of subsequent analysis of the results obtained, read more about this in our reviews. In the photo below you can see an example of the remote control of printing on the E2 printer.
And now a few of the models we printed on the Raise3D E2 …
These are fairly light looking models, printed with ESUN brand ePA (nylon) plastic. But the lack of flat surfaces made it difficult to print, nevertheless the printer coped with it.
Quite a complex model of a fog lamp for Citroen in a 1: 1 scale, printed with ABS + ESUN brand with HIPS support, also produced by ESUN. We printed this very complex model with a lot of small elements to show the real possibilities of the E2 printer in the mode of printing with two extruders using a support material.
More examples of double-extruder printing: the well-known PLA cube with a water-soluble PVA support and a poisonous tree frog printed with two colors of PLA plastic.
And this is a two-color print of a vase:
Printing with two Raise3D PLA 1.75 filaments (red and white). Layer 0.18 mm. Nozzle 225/225 ° C. Table 60 ° C. Speed 60 mm / s.
In duplicate mode, we printed 2 glasses. Layer 0.08. Table 60 ° C Nozzles 225/225 ° C Speed 50 mm / s. Filament: Raise3D PLA 1.75 (red and white)
In operation, the printer is perhaps the friendliest of all that I had to get acquainted with and on which I had a chance to print. The developers have thought out everything to the smallest detail. The interface in Russian is mostly intuitive, but especially difficult moments are described in detail and supported by animated diagrams. Demo videos are included with many important or frequent operations.
Based on our experience with E2, we noted high and stable print quality, simplicity and ease of use, its versatility and productivity, qualities that are difficult to find at the same time in other models of 3D printers. Without a doubt, special attention to Raise3D E2, as a tool to translate ideas, designers and design engineers should show. Its variability can provide competitive advantages and increase the economic impact of the introduction of 3D printing. The printer is reliable, easy to operate and maintain, and produces consistent print results. The most informative and user-friendly management interface will allow even a beginner to quickly get used to and get started. In addition, the Raise3D corporation has its own industrial “ecosystem”, consisting of a slicer, a cloud storage service, equipment operation and control, technical support and its own line of consumables including profiles for them, as well as big plans for the future.
From a performance point of view, it is worth considering the speed of prototyping if you need to determine which of the two materials is most suitable for a specific technical and design problem. You charge two different materials and in one “pass” you get two samples for testing and testing from one stl file. As a result, you gain time to create the final prototype, and in 3D printing, time, as in business in general, is money.