Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review

  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
  • Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
Robo 3D R1 Plus Review Summary

There is a lot to like about the Robo 3D R1 Plus. It offers a large print envelope and some advanced features at a reasonable price. Be warned that it is not a device for the casual hobbyist looking for an out-of-the-box experience though.

User applicability

  • Best for: Enthusiasts
  • Might be good for: Casual Hobbyists and Educators
  • Not appropriate for: Pragmatists and Semi-Professionals

The Robo 3D R1 Plus has a number of good things going for it, especially considering its $800 price tag. The potential build size of 10 x 9 x 8 inches is larger than anything else you’ll find at this price. The all-metal hot end (the part that heats the filament) allows users to print with a wide variety of filament materials. And a self-leveling, heated print bed is not something you can always expect on 3D printers in this price range.

In some ways however, the Robo 3D printer still feels a bit like a work in progress. Aspects of the design are not well thought out and some key modifications are necessary to achieve an optimal experience. The good news is that, because the device is based on open source principles, most of these flaws can be overcome if you are willing and able to do the work.

Given that, we can recommend the Robo 3D R1 Plus for enthusiasts who are looking for some advanced functionality at a good price, and are comfortable rolling up their sleeves and going deep with their 3D printer. We don’t recommend it for more casual hobbyists who desire an out-of-the-box 3D printing experience.


PROS:
  • Much larger than average print size for units in this price range
  • Possible to achieve very high quality prints
  • All metal hot end allows for use with a variety of filament materials
  • Excellent support experience reported by users

CONS:
  • No LCD screen
  • Non-enclosed printing space
  • Filament loading is more difficult than it should be
  • Several customizations are needed for optimal printing experience


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Background

Originally funded through a Kickstarter campaign by a group of San Diego State University students, Robo 3D introduced their first production 3D printer in late 2013. The Robo 3D R1 Plus, an upgraded version of the original model, was released in late summer of 2015. The main improvement in the R1 Plus is in the area of linear motion, which should yield higher quality results.

Overall Design

The Robo 3D printer is a nice, polished looking device. It has a distinctive look that instills confidence. It has a very large print envelope of 10 x 9 x 8 inches, much bigger than other 3D printers in this price range.

The only negative from an overall design perspective is the lack of an enclosure around the build space. An enclosed space can help maintain a stable temperature, which is helpful for print quality. Additionally, an enclosure can help reduce noise and fumes.

Setup and Calibration

The time from unboxing your R1 Plus to printing your first part can vary considerably, depending on your own comfort level working with a 3D printer and your desire to perform some basic upgrades.

The Getting Started Guide is well written and thorough. A helpful, more concise video is also available. However, the steps involved are more complex than some other “starter” 3D printers. In particular, loading the filament can be a struggle and is one of the design flaws mentioned previously.

All told, you should plan on at least an hour to get your Robo 3D printer up and running without any modifications.

Customizing your Robo 3D R1 Plus

As mentioned, the Robo 3D R1 Plus has a few shortcomings that can be overcome by modifying your 3D printer. A few basic customizations that are recommended include an improved, top-mounted filament spool holder, riser feet to improve airflow and cooling of circuitry, and a hole cover to keep small parts from falling down into the device.

Additionally, you may want to add an LCD display in order to easily print without being tethered to your computer. It is possible, but not easy, to print from the included SD card. For truly autonomous operation an LCD display would be helpful.

Filament

A nice feature of the Robo 3D printer is the all-metal hot end. This feature, combined with the heated print bed, provides flexibility in using filament materials beyond just the common PLA and ABS varieties.

With its open source approach, the R1 Plus does not require proprietary filament cartridges. This will allow you to shop around for filament and will save you money over the life of your 3D printer.

Print Bed

The print bed is a critical component of a 3D printer. Our view of the Robo 3D R1 Plus print bed is mostly positive but with a few drawbacks.

On the plus side, the print bed is made of glass and is heated. This is important to minimize warping of printed parts. On the negative side, the surface of the glass is not etched or coated, making adhesion of parts a potential issue.

The R1 Plus includes a nine-point auto-leveling feature, which is a big improvement over the manual leveling process on most 3D printers. Some manual adjustment of the Z axis height may still be necessary though.

The R1 Plus is designed with the bed sliding back and forth along the Y axis as opposed to the extruder moving in that direction. This results in two potential issues. First, you need to ensure you have room in front of and behind your device to allow for this. Second, and more significant, is that you may see a slight wobble in the print bed due to the way the bed is supported. This could result in some quality issues.

See Product Specs

Software

The Robo 3D R1 Plus comes with MatterControl, which is an open source 3D printer control application. MatterControl is mostly intuitive and easy to learn. It works fine for basic use, but many users will choose to pay for Cura or Simplify3D for more advanced functionality.

The Robo 3D R1 Plus also comes with a one-year commercial subscription to the Autodesk Fusion 360 application for doing full-fledged 3D design work. This is a nice add-on for those planning to dive into design, although it should be noted that the software is already free to use for students and hobbyists.

Quality/Reliability

Thanks to the heated bed, all-metal hot end, improved linear control and 0.1 mm minimum layer thickness, it is possible to get very high quality prints from the Robo 3D R1 Plus.

Users report the device to be mostly reliable. A variety of issues have been reported, but none that show a pattern or particular area of concern.

Support

The support experience with Robo 3D is widely regarded as excellent. The company’s support staff is US-based, and phone support is available 24/7. Users consistently report that support personnel are knowledgeable, friendly and helpful.

User forums are active. Responses to questions from experienced users are generally helpful and timely.

Conclusion

The Robo 3D R1 Plus offers a good value for the price. With a heated, self-leveling print bed, a metal hotend that supports a variety of filament materials, and a very large print envelope, there is a lot to like. However, be warned that it is not a device for the casual hobbyist. To get the most out of your R1 Plus you’ll need to be comfortable rolling up your sleeves to customize, tune and repair it. If you’re ready for that going in, owning the Robo 3D R1 Plus should be a rewarding experience.

Robo 3D R1 Plus 3D printer review
There is a lot to like about the Robo 3D R1 Plus. It offers a large print envelope and some advanced features at a reasonable price. Be warned that it is not a device for the casual hobbyist looking for an out-of-the-box experience though.
7.8 Total Score
Robo 3D R1 Plus

There is a lot to like about the Robo 3D R1 Plus. It offers a large print envelope and some advanced features at a reasonable price. Be warned that it is not a device for the casual hobbyist looking for an out-of-the-box experience though.

Design & Functionality
7
Performance & Reliability
8
Ease of Setup/Ease of Use
7.5
Value
8.5
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ROBO 3D R1 Plus Fully Assembled 3D Printer, 8" x 9" x...

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Last update was in: September 20, 2017 1:26 pm

$ 1,099.00

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