I have spent several months working with some of the leading people in the desktop 3D printing industry to develop my testing methods. I have more than seven years designing, building, buying, and working with desktop 3D printers, and the following methods were designed to stress a desktop 3D printer far past what I would consider normal use.
When benchmarking anything, it is always paramount to make sure that the variables are always the same throughout any testing process, and with 3D printing, the filament is one of the major variables that can cause erroneous results. To ensure that all of my test prints stay the same between each review, I have partnered with Voltivo and will use its Excelfil 3D Printing Filament in my testing.
I chose Voltivo's Excelfil because it has proved to be the highest-quality filament, and produces the most consistent results throughout the whole spool and into new spools as well. Voltivo's Excelfil is manufactured from virgin materials, and is laser measured to ensure a uniform diameter throughout the whole spool. Additionally, it is more pigment rich than other brands I have tested, and produces a consistent color throughout the print even during temperature shifts.
To ensure consistent results, I keep my printing room at a constant 74 Fahrenheit during testing. This helps me ensure that changing ambient temperatures do not contribute to layer cracking, corner lifting, or any other issue that derives from changing ambient temperatures. Additionally, the printing table is located away from air vents and anything that might cause eddies in the air around the printer.
Test Models and Netfabb
I have compiled a cache of 3D objects that I will be printing in each review. These objects are designed to challenge the printer's ability to handle complex curves, straight lines, spheres, small objects, large objects, overhangs, circles, and bridging. Some designs are also included to test printing times on a standard object. This is important because a printer's axis geometry and weight greatly affect how fast it can accelerate that particular axis movement.
All models have been ran through Netfabb's cloud service to ensure that they are perfectly optimized for 3D printing, and that no artifacts are present that may alter the objects printed quality. You can download my full suite of test objects from my personal Thingiverse account, although it does contain a few objects that are not used. (http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:226523).
Finally, I test the printer's ability to heat its nozzle from room temperature to 200F in a timely manner. I perform the same test on the heated bed, but only heat it to 100F. A Type K Thermocouple and multimeter is used alongside a timer on my cellphone to time this. While not the best timing method, it works just fine and is accurate enough for these reviews.
Testing Parameters Specific To This Review
While the Ord Bot Hadron is capable of printing in PLA and ABS, Punchtec recommended PLA as the main printing medium, and as such, that is what I used for this review.
- Filament Utilized: Voltivo Excelfil Leafy Green PLA, and Excelfil Candy Yellow PLA.
- Optimum Printing Temperature: 185C to 195C
- Printing Temperature Used: 190C
- Heated Bed Temperature: 60C
- Room Ambient Temperature: 23.3C
- Slicer Config: Download here (URL Here)
- Printing Software: Repetier Host version 0.95f
- Printer Firmware: Punchtec V0.91d
- Printer Break-in Time: 4-hours 38-minutes