Now comes time to review the Hyrel System30 and the Hyrel Engine (both pictured below):
Engine (slightly older picture, but mainly the same formfactor as the one now! I’ll post an updated picture in another post)
Both of these printers are very cool machines! The only difference between the engine and the system30m is some of the aesthetics (enclosure, reset button on the outside of the System vs. the back of the Engine, etc.). They are basically the same printer, have the same build volume, and have the same level of reliability (They don’t call it Hyrel for nothing… Hyrel = High Reliability. That was the association with the name they were looking to go for!). Case in point, here’s a close up shot of a print that was done in ninjaflex on Hyrel printers:
As a matter of fact, the Hyrel printers are so versatile, they can do any material you can think of (and I’ve been through quite a few materials – below!!)
From top left to bottom right are:
- Brass-Infused PLA
- Coffee-Infused PLA (Protopasta)
- ABS (Afinia)
- machinable wax (still working on refining the settings for that one, but it did print!)
- wood-infused PLA (Afinia)
- Tglase (Taulman)
- Carbon-fiber-infused PLA (Protopasta)
- Nylon (Taulman)
- heat-cured clay (3p quick-cure clay…. This one has been sanded on the outside, but you can see the original surface finish inside the vase).
- Steel-infused PLA (Protopasta)
There are even more materials that I haven’t tried yet!! Even better, the Hyrel printers don’t clog very frequently at all. I think throughout the entire year I have worked with the Engine and the System30, I’ve only had the head clog a few times, even with all the different materials that have been pushed through the heads and different temperatures they have been run at. If a clog does happen, it is fairly easy to clear by unscrewing the printer nozzle and pushing clogged material out of the head with an allen wrench.
These printers are also incredibly configurable! by adjusting a few allen screws on the head, you can vary the tension with which the printer grabs the filament, which is super useful for softer filaments like ninjaflex or machinable wax. Also, different materials have different temperatures and extrusion rates, so you can control all that as well via configuration in Slic3r and through a menu in the Repetrel software that drives it all.
Oh, and it can do up to 4 heads at the same time with some extra configuration and button pressing in the software! So you can produce things like multi-colored parts or multi-material parts. for additional materials that can’t be melted (like clays and silicone-like materials), There are a bunch of different heads you can buy that will take care of extruding the various materials. It even has a laser-cutter and milling attachment, so it can be much more than a printer too.
Overall, my experience printing with these printers has been very positive, and it has enabled me to do quite a lot! I will post more projects that I have done with the Hyrel printers in the future.
The only caution I have with this printer is that there is a learning curve. Because of the level of configurability, it’s really easy to create settings that don’t work and make the printer seem like it doesn’t work. Going back to my computers/printers analogy that I made in the Makerbot post, the Hyrel is the Linux of the 3d printer world. It works very well if you are willing to put the time in to tune it to your preferences! For example, I’ve been having trouble dialing settings in for good support material, but the settings are getting better, and the printer is generating better supports through refining of settings! However, I’ve talked very extensively with the guys at Hyrel, and they are completely willing to help anyone learn, even if you haven’t done too much 3d printing.
Now, to concretely outline why I have chosen Hyrel with respect to the other printers I have talked about:
- I want to do more than just print ABS and regular PLA, so the Hyrel is more versatile than an Up Mini, Afinia, Makerbot Replicator, Makerbot Replicator 2, Makerbot z18, or Up Box.
- It also has a bigger build volume than the Up Mini, Afinia, Makerbot Replicator 2, and Makerbot Replicator (not sure about the Up Box, and definitely not bigger than the z18).
- The hyrel has been one of the most reliable printers for me. After a year of usage between the Engine and the System30m, I have had very few mechanical problems (plenty of problems dialing in settings, but I got those straightened out with time!).
- It’s just fun to tinker! I love being able to create my own settings and do things that other printers can’t do (like printing play-dough).
So that’s what I have to say about Hyrel in a nutshell! Now that I’ve completed reviews of all the printers I worked with, you will hear about projects that I’ve done (both with the Hyrel and with other printers) as well as different strategies for finishing 3d printed parts to make them look the best they possibly can. I’ll probably be switching to posting every other day now, since posts about projects will probably be more lengthy, so keep checking in for new content!
John (aka The Mad Printer)