Hictop Prusa i3 3D Desktop Printer Review:The Best DIY 3D Printer kit

 

I am reviewing my favourite and top choice DIY 3d printer kit. This is an amazing kit that comes with everything you need already to start printing. It’s perfect for anyone who is just starting and wants to learn about 3d printers. It has the largest printing size i have seen so far for it cost of under $400. The kit also comes with a heating bed which i see as a must when it comes to 3d printers. Another feature is the auto leveling, that saves you time and makes sure its calibrated. You really do get the most out of your money with this kit, that is why i like it so much.

This 3d printer is a DIY kit which means you will have to put it together. The whole process can take around 4-8 hours with the simple step-by-step instructions that it comes with. It is easy to put together but there is quite a bit of tinkering. You learn a lot about 3d printers and how they work from building the kit. A huge advantage of DIY kits over already built 3d printers is that you can easily replace parts, even modify your 3d printer to improve it. I recommend this 3d printing kit to anyone who likes building and tinkering around.

 

Print material
Auto CalibrationMaximum print size(inches)Heating bedlayer thickness Customer supportAssembly timeWarranty 
PLA,ABS,Nylon,Wood,Hips and Flexiable
Yes10.6"x8.3"x7.7"Yes100-400 micronsExcellent4 to 8 hours1 year full warranty

 

 

Why choose a DIY kit over a ready-to-go 3d printer?

DIY kits are cheaper for the makers to make, for this reason they come with a lot more for a lower price. This is great for someone with a low budget who is looking to get the most out of their money. You can also easily upgrade and modify your kit, for improving as the technology of 3d printers improves. Finally, I see it as a great chance to learn about 3d printers by building your own.

Ready-to-go 3d printers are awesome for someone who is looking to just buy the printer and start printing. The downside is that for the same price you won’t get everything the DIY kit comes with, which effects quality and speed. So it really depends what you are looking for, a DIY 3d printer kit with everything on a low budget or a Ready-to-go 3d printer that doesn’t need any tinkering/building.

 

Why is a heating bed a must?

To begin a heating bed is the bed or printing surface where objects are printed on. Now all 3d printers have beds but not many printers under $500 have heating beds. Heating beds you guessed it are able to heat up 50C-100C while the printing process is happening. This maintains an even temperature of the object while its printing and cooling. If the object you want to print cools unevenly this causes warping and deformation.

Basically with a heating bed you have a much higher chance of succeeding with your print. You also tend to get higher quality prints. Also the print does not stick to the bed when its heated.

 

What is the advantage of auto-leveling?

Every 3d printer has a calibrating process. This is so the extruding nozzle ( where the printing material heats and comes out) is at the correct spot and height so you get a good print. Auto leveling is so the height from the nozzle extruder and the heating bed is just right. This can save you a lot of time and frustration.

If you have no auto-leveling it means you’ll have to do it manually every time. The process is generally measuring the height between the extruder and the bed. Because you are dealing with such small scales you can easily mess up. This normally takes many tries, i have read in many places of people getting really frustrated with this. If you do it wrong then your print will come out all messed up and stringy.

 

Is having a large printing size a plus?

Hictop has the largest printing size in the market for even twice the price. The max size is 10.6”x8.3”x7.7” which is much bigger than anything else i’ve seen on the market for the same kind of printer. Buyers are always looking for the biggest print size they can find. The max print size is a big part in deciding which printer to get.

It’s always nice to have a big print size so you are not limited in size. Of cores this also depends on your projects and what you want to print. You can also print many parts and put it together if you want to create something even bigger.

 

Is it easy to build?

To be honest there is nothing complicated about building this printer. It is quite simple and straightforward beside some parts where you will have to tinker with it and make sure it done correctly. It does take about 4-8 hours to completely build it depending on how fast you are. You will be tinkering throughout the process of building the printer. It comes with the tools you need. Here are the user manuals if you are interested in checking them out.

I think anyone can do it with some calmness and patience. There are also many instructional videos in youtube which helps a lot. If you don’t like to put things together and want it out of the box ready to go i would suggest going with another printer.

 

What is the best printing material to start with?

For someone who is starting or even has been printing for a while, the best printing material is PLA plastic. It is a safe environmentally friendly plastic made of corn starch. It is the easiest material to print with the least chance of error and it’s not as delicate as other materials when printing.It is also the cheapest printing material and the most made.  The printer only comes with about 100g of PLA for testing which is not much. I suggest while buying the Hitcop printer, you also get some PLA from amazon.

Now a really cool fact about the Hitcop 3d printer is that you can print with six different materials such as PLA, ABS, Wood, Nylon, Hips and Flexible. Each has different uses and properties that are good for different prints. Although it can take many tries to see how the more exotic material work best.

 

What are some modifications you could make?

A really neat mod is the dual extruder. This would mean you could print with two different colors at the same time or even two different types of materials. The makers have made it easier to make this upgrade than it normally is in most kits. You would just need to get the second extruder, get the wiring connect it all and then add the firmware. The 3D printer already comes with the extra connections and the firmware is available.

There is always room for improvements and upgrades. In thingiverse if you search Hitcop there are many files for modifications that you can download, print then implement. The printing community is always making modifications and improvements.

 

What software does this 3d printer use?

It uses Cura as shown in the instructions in addition with some firmware depending on the model of the printer. The software is mainly used for the setting of the printer and the print. It’s a slicing software that cuts the print file into layers, which prepares it for printing. It’s not really to modify the print file or make a new file.

There are quite a few programs where you can make your very own design. I would recommend starting with something like Tinkercad. This is a free and excellent program to start designing and playing around with it.

 

Warranty

Hitcop comes with a one year warranty on pretty much any parts. They will replace any bad part and send you any missing parts if any. This is an amazing warranty. A lot of 3d printers come with 90 days or 6 months but with a bunch of conditions. Hitcop has the the best warranty i have seen so far.

 

Verdict

This is an incredible printer for anyone who is in a low budget, but looking for a complete 3d printer. There are many benefits that come with having a heating bed and auto leveling. Also having a large print size is nice when it comes down to printing. It’s easy to modify and replace parts. Finally is there is any problems their amazing one year warranty will cover it. There is some tinkering when building it and figuring out the settings, but it’s easily still my number one choice.

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