I’ve been printing for almost 4 years, using a BigBox v1.1 Hybrid. It’s a great machine, and has been a workhorse from the very beginning. Unfortunately you can’t buy them new now, I got mine as a pre-order in 2016 off the back of the fated Kickstarter project – everyone who contributed or pre-ordered had their order fulfilled, but it never went into full retail production. I feel very privileged to have a printer created at the hands of E3D, given all their engineering greatness.
I run two different hotends: the E3D v6 with either 0.4 or 0.25mm nozzles, or (currently) the E3D Volcano, with a 0.8mm nozzle. My extruder is an E3D Titan original, and I’ve got an IR probe for bed levelling. Swapping the hotend can be a bit of a pain, it’s not a quick process, but mesh bed-levelling really helps with getting back on track once it’s done.
The heart of my printer is the new controller board that I installed about 6 months ago – the Duet2 Ethernet. It’s a fantastic piece of kit and I highly recommend it to anyone. Coupled with a 7 inch colour touchscreen (PanelDue 7i), it has been a revelation from day one. The printer is much quieter than before, and the level of control I have on both the touchscreen and the web console is almost endless, everything just seems to run more smoothly.
The BigBox has a great build volume – 300x200x300, and is set up in a very similar way to the Ender 5 Plus in this giveaway, with four rods supporting a dual lead-screw Z axis. Having a good size build volume is great when it comes to breaking down larger jobs, however if something fails part way through it can definitely lead to a whole lot more wasted filament! Luckily that’s been pretty rare, and now I’ve fitted a filament runout sensor
I can at least rest a bit easier that lack of plastic isn’t going to be an issue!
When manipulating models I tend to use Meshmixer, I’m not heavily into messing with things too much, however for scaling and cutting it’s really simple to use (but it can obviously do a huge amount more!). And when slicing I use Simplify3D, it’s just excellent; it gives loads of options for manipulating how your print is going to behave and the ability to manually add or remove support is priceless.
A while back I printed the spool holder created by Spannerhands on thingiverse, to help to keep my filament cool and dry whilst in use. It’s a great design, and was also my first foray into flexible filament, which was necessary for the seal and the clasp.
I prefer to use ‘Real Filament’ as my material of choice; it’s very consistent, prints well and has never caused a Bowden-tube blockage. I’ve used both PLA and PETG from that manufacturer, and it has all been excellent.
I have been printing mainly models or useful ‘things’, there are some examples below such as the 90% sized Terminator head, and the Hulk figure (30cm tall). Both were printed at a 0.1mm layer height using a 0.4mm nozzle, sanded (no filler), and painted using Kobra spray paint and acrylics. I’ve also included a photo of the dice tower I printed for a friend, and the blast gates that I produced for use in my shed for dust extraction when woodworking.
So with all that being said, I’m hoping that my next project will be an Iron Man suit and my kids can’t wait. I hope I do it justice!