Printrbot Play: First Impressions & First Prints

Yesterday my Printrbot Play finally arrived after 3 Weeks since I gave the order. After hesitating for a long time I finally made the order on december 31, then on January 11 it was shipped and 9 days later on January 20 it arrived at my home in Switzerland (but I wasn’t home:-() and I could pick it up at the post office in the evening.

Should you decide to buy a Printrbot Play (or any other 3d Printer ) take the time to read or watch the instructions carefully. Having my daughter on the lap when watching the instruction video didn’t help and I made some avoidable mistakes.

First Impressions

I compared a lot of printers before ordering the play and I liked the play for its price, for the reviewed quality and the apparent sturdiness of the frame. I knew about the relatively small build size but decided that I was OK with that. When took the printer out of the box I was surprised, since I had imagined it a little bit bigger. Which is good because now it will be easier to find a place for it. The frame makes a really good impression in matters of quality and precision.
Then I started printing… My first print of the 3mm cube failed and at first I wasn’t sure why. I tried to calibrate as showed in the demonstration video but that just left a trace in the painters tape. After a few more experiments I decided to switch the painters tape to another one which had a rougher surface and that did the trick: the 3mm cube turned out well. The next print was the little robot that comes with the Cura software and that went really smooth. I scaled the robot a bit down to speed up print time and the result looks really great in my opinion. Watch the time lapse film I did:

Next thing I tried was to create something myself with OpenScad and print it out. I did a little “We love Mami” plate to impress my wife and printed it. Within a few minutes form design to print the result was quite good!


After a few prints I’m really impressed with the quality of the products and the printer itself. I paid USD $399 for the printer, $80 for shipping and around $60 for customs. All in all I would say it is a great entry level 3D printer, relatively easy to use, but not as easy as a 2D laser printer. The limited build size might soon turn out to be a problem but I will see to that problem when it becomes painful… Printrbot offers an upgrade kit which increases the build size from 10x10x13mm to 20x10x13mm and adds a heated print bed for printing with ABS.
First picture after unpacking. You can see the knees of my excited daughter;-)
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First proper print: a tiny robot

Close up of the tiny robot.
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