Printrbot is a 3D printer company created by Brook Drumm in 2011 and originally funded through Kickstarter. Printrbot printers use fused deposition modelling to manufacture 3-dimensional artifacts. Printrbot closed shop in 2018, noting "low sales". However, as of February 2020 they are restarting operations. Printrbot was the most funded technology project on Kickstarter when in December 2011, it raised US $830,827 through crowdfunding.
Printrbot's older designs including .stl's are publicly available on Github.
Design and operation
Models are printed by depositing molten ABS or PLA plastic filament onto a hotbed from a print head which moves about the X and Z axes using stepper-motors, guided by metal threaded rods. The models to be printed are sent to the printer via a USB interface using specialized software such Repetier-Host (recommended by the manufacturer for use with newer printers) or Pronterface (recommended by the manufacturer at the time of Printrbot's initial launch).
Printrbot has sold both fully assembled printers and build it yourself kits.
Printrbot models can print in ABS or PLA plastic filament which can be purchased from the official store or other sources. Printrbot models can be outfitted to accept 1.75 mm or 3.0 mm diameter filament. The filament is available in many colors. Although the Printrbot hotend and extruder system is advertised to work with PLA and ABS, it is also capable of extruding many other filaments. Printrbot sells "exotic" filaments such as Nylon, Ninjaflex, and Carbon fiber-reinforced PLA.
All Printrbots are controlled by nearly similar open source circuit boards called Printrboards. The Printrboard has experienced several revisions and is identified by revision letters printed on them. For example, the most recent official revision of the Printrboard is Rev F, which can be purchased separately. The Printrboard can have many types of firmware loaded on it, but they are sold with an open-source firmware from the RepRap Project called Marlin. The printer is controlled through a USB interface.
Printrbot had an exclusive arrangement with Carl Ubis to use his Ubis Hot Ends in the Printrbot printers. A hot end is the part of the 3D printer that melts the filament and extrude it out of the nozzle to make your 3D print.
Printrbot does not come with any software and the official getting started guide recommends using the freeware program Cura 1.5 with Pronterface to interface with the printer. A freeware program with 3D visualization called Repetier-Host is also used.
Cura is one software option for driving your Printrbot printer.
The Printrbot interprets G-code produced by a computer program called a slicer, turning commands into outputs for four stepper motors, heated bed and extruder outputs, and a cooling fan port.
Import 3D models (oftentimes STL files from Thingiverse or user created in apps like Autodesk Fusion 360). The user can rotate and scale the 3D model to fit the virtual print bed. They can then convert the 3D model into G-Code that the printrbot can understand.
The user can then print directly to their printrbot via USB or use a SD or miniSD card to transfer the print file.
Printrbot in education
At the beginning of 2015, Printrbot announced two new initiatives to help schools gain access to 3D printers. The first program, named Printrbot Ambassadors, let registered schools borrow an assembled Printrbot Simple Metal with an Alu handle, spool holder and 1 kg of filament for a month for cost of shipping. After the month, the school had the option to buy the 3D printer at a reduced price or to send it back to Printrbot. The second program allowed schools to buy a Printrbot Simple Metal at a discount. Users needed to buy through a school and agree to be featured on a public listing. As of August 2, 2015, approximately 126 schools and universities were using Printrbot 3D printers.
|Model||Model No.||Years available||Build volume (mm)||Build volume (in)||Filament|
|Printrbot Pro Limited Release||2020||2020||12" x 12" x 12"||12" x 12" x 12"||Any filament. Yes, any.|
|Printrbot Metal Plus||1412||2014–2018||250 mm × 250 mm × 250 mm||10 in × 10 in × 10 in||ABS+PLA|
|Printrbot Play||1505||2015–2018||100 mm × 100 mm × 130 mm||4 in × 4 in × 5 in||PLA|
|Printrbot CNC Beta 01||2014–2018||360 mm × 460 mm × 100 mm||14 in × 18 in × 4 in||N/A|
|Printrbot Crawlbot||2015–2018||1,219 mm × 2,438 mm × 51 mm||48 in × 96 in × 2 in||N/A|
|Printbot Go Large V2||2015-2018||330 mm × 610 mm||13 in × 24 in||ABS|
On May 14, 2015, Brook Drumm introduced the Printrbot Pro, a large-scale 3D printer. According to Drumm, the Printrbot Pro has a build volume of about 2 cubic feet, a heated bed, a dual-extruder setup with the ability to print multiple materials. The printer also offers an optional enclosed build chamber, an LCD panel, a SD card slot as well as LED lighting.
Printrbot Play and Play v2
|Model||Model No.||Image||Color offered||Year available||Build volume (mm)||Build volume (inch)||Min. Layer Height (micron)||Filament||Connectivity||Comments|
|Play||1505||Red, Black, White, Gray|
|Play V2||||White||2018||150 mm × 200 mm × 150 mm||5.9 in × 7.9 in × 5.9 in||50||USB-tether||Limited offers (<10 sold?)|
|Model||Model No.||Image||Years available||Build volume (mm)||Build volume(inch)||Filament||Comments|
|Printrbot Smalls||2016?||100 mm x 100 mm x 150 mm||4in x 4in x 6in||PLA and PLA-composites||Metal Kit build. Extra use of 3D-printed parts in printer pieces...|
|Printrbot Simple Metal||1403||2014–2018||150 mm × 150 mm × 150 mm||6 in × 6 in × 6 in||1.75 mm PLA (Heated build platform for ABS use available)|
|Printrbot Simple 2014||1405||100 mm × 100 mm × 100 mm||4 in × 4 in × 4 in||1.75 mm PLA only||Largest model available|
|Printrbot Jr.||150 mm × 150 mm × 150 mm||6 in × 6 in × 6 in||PLA only||Can be folded for storage.|
|Printrbot LC||150 mm × 150 mm × 150 mm||6 in × 6 in × 6 in||ABS+PLA|
|Printrbot GO||2013||200 mm × 180 mm × 150 mm||8 in × 7 in × 6 in||PLA+ABS||Suitcase form factor, designed in collaboration with Ben Heck|
|Printrbot (original)||150 mm × 150 mm × 150 mm||6 in × 6 in × 6 in||ABS|
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- "Printrbot Play (4x4x5)". Printrbot.com. Printrbot. Retrieved 8 June 2015.
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