Well friends I have had the Soliddoodle4 for about a month now.
and solid doodle has just revamped the lineup.
The sd2 and SD 3 are discontinued and replaced with 3 new options.
And the current retail on the SD 4 is now $599 .
Initial impressions the machine is fun to use.
as you can see successful prints after some learning.
The fact I have built a couple cnc machines and ran one for a year somewhat helpful the Idea of leveling the bed similar to tramming a mill but easier. and the z home swithch needs to be adjusted as this is critical to the first print layer.
Appearance., the sd4 is a basic box style printer that gives a great first impression from its professional made looking case. most of the case is steel painted black and the door is injection molded plastic.
Mechanics. the basic setup of the SD4 is the same as the makerbot. But the materials are a little different. the SD4 bed plate holder is formed from sheet aluminum vs injection molded plastic on the MB. single motor screw actuated. z axis in the back of the machine. the scew is a 60 deg srew acme as found on the better machines would be an improvement. The Z stop adjuster is a good sized thumb wheel . The bed plate is a heated aluminum plate insulated underneath and leveled with three wing nuts. The 6 mm guide rods support and guide the 3 axis. (2 each) these are held in the frame by simple steel collars .The X and Y axis are powered by nema 14 motors and the Z and Ext ruder are nema 17 . I expected 17s all around but not a big deal.
X and Y axis are driven by timing belts. seem to work fine as long as tension is kept in adjustment.
The extruder is a simple deal but easy to change filament. a toothed pulley drives the plastic a bearing pushes against the plastic via a spring loaded lever. Press the lever to change /installl /remove filament. As with many of the reprap cousins there are many 3D printed parts used to assemble this machine Sd does not offer the files to print replacements but these are available through forums and thiniverse.
As with many / most hobby level entry level machine there is lots of room to upgrade
Things I have learned. All movements are in reference to the tool I should know this x and y is easy a -Z will shove the pint nozzle into your part an ruin it and twist the x axis guide rod. no harm just adjustment.
after a stupid crash figure out what moved adjust what moved not something else.
x axis twist easy to detect and adjust with a level. If your software is showing something that looks like a partial blue screen of death DO NOT HIT START !!! this will also case a crash as the software just lost its mind . reboot the software and start with fresh g code.
Some experts say that mainstream home 3d printing is 5 years away. That may be true before we see a plug a n play reliable affordable home machine.
I am a life long learner and my home shop is like a university engineering lab. I want to learn new technology and experiment.
And sometime it is just as important to know what does not work as well as what does.
. I may still build one more to my liking but I wanted needed a starting point. a base line if you will without spending a grand on a makerbot.