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3D Printing - "It's all about design and quality output. Not how fast the printer can run."

Cetus3D, I Am Impressed!

DSC07886Yes! It CAN print!Cetus3D has produced a winner in the minimalist 3D printer classification. It is what it is and it does it quite well. The standard out-of-the-box set-up is providing very nice high-quality 3D prints. Better prints than most I produce on my other printers. No visible surface “ringing” patterns at all. Great quality bearings are certainly the reason as well as proper belt tension.

I had some reservation on the cantilever design, but assumed it would not be much of an issue on such a small printer. The printer can easily fit into a square foot box. It needs a bit more depth when running as the base plate moves fore and aft beyond that limit.

I was correct in my assumption. The cantilever design does not seem to be of any concern. 3D printers are very low/no-impact tools when operating. Similar to the operation of laser cutters/engravers. Far different that a CNC milling machine or CNC router.

There is some overall machine vibration when the printhead does the fast, short, jerky fill-in “buzz” movements. However, I see no ill effects on the surface of the printed object. As I have already mentioned, the Cetus is producing great looking, no ringing, smooth prints.

I have only used the 0.4mm nozzle and standard 0.2 layer height. With two other nozzle sizes (0.2mm and 0.6mm) there is a lot more to explore and experiment. I am not excited about the 0.6mm nozzle, but one of the reason I purchased this printer was the expectations of what quality the 0.2mm could produce at layer heights of 0.05mm.

Mass has always been the best method of reducing vibration. The Cetus is designed to be a minimalist, light weight printer. Machine vibration only occurs when it doesn’t affect print quality. If it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t need to be eliminated.

Cetus is not set up as a screaming fast printer. That reduces slamming starts and stops and the requirement for instant acceleration. Those actions create a lot of stress and vibration and are very hard on hardware. Cetus avoids the problem, yet runs at reasonable speeds for the quality.

My desire is high quality printing. Producing more prints in less time is best accomplished by operating more printers. I consider the stock Cetus speed settings as perfectly adequate for the quality obtained.

One thing I am not used to is the use of the raft. The surface of the stock Cetus build plate has an applied adhesion coating that is somewhat “pebbled”. It is not smooth. The raft creation provides a smooth building surface but takes time and material. I kind of like it… *

Cetus only operates directly using its own software. I understand there are Cetus configurations for other slicer and 3D printer software available. The process involves creating an output file from these other programs, then importing the G-code to the Cetus printer through the Cetus program. I can’t comment further until I investigate.

The Cetus software on this initial impression is quite adequate for the job, but may lack some of the many features of say, Cura or Simplify3D.

One difference between slicers I have noticed is how they compute the travel pattern; the output files runs while printing. Simplify3D is very predictable; Cura, less predictable; and Cetus is very random in my testing so far. They all get the job done.

Bottom line is I am obviously impressed with the printer and its operation. Communications for initial purchase was a bit unnerving, but was due to email spam blocking. Support contact (Jason Wu) has been very good. Not immediate, but within 24 hours.

I need more experience with the printer for a solid recommendation. I am completely satisfied I made a good choice. Cetus fills its design niche and my purposes nicely.

There are many existing reviews and video reviews available by searching “Cetus3D” on the Internet. All the ones I have seen are quite positive. Yet another one (by me) would serve no additional useful information. However, I will be posting about my use of the Cetus from time to time in this blog.

* I want to comment about the material used for the raft, the supports and other “wasted” filament. It seems to be a sacred cow attitude of some 3D print enthusiasts, that every gram of plastic needs to be a part of the printed object. It’s time to grind that cow into hamburger.

Most plastic is very cheap. I said CHEAP! Go buy a few board feet of quality lumber. Woodworking produces a lot of waste as part of the build process. We need to get over micromanaging the filament use. Waste and scrap is a common by-product of making almost everything. Of course, making the best use of material is always good practice. Recycle what waste can be recycled. We shouldn't get “material retentive” about projects needing and using supportive structure to produce high quality or unusual designs that can’t be created without such support. Rant over…

So, building rafts is not an evil thing. It does slow down the process. But when a print breaks lose 90% through the print job, I always wish I had used a better foundation for starters. A do-over is always worse and uses far more material.

The Author

Ramblin' Dan Kautz

dankautzThere is no doubt one of my hobbies is writing about my hobbies. I read somewhere a long time ago, the best things to write about are the things you know very well. I have been writing and publishing long before the personal computer became the tool of choice.  My first printed and published club newsletter was created in the late 60's.

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Our Mission

The intention of this web site and “Ramblin’ Dan’s 3D Print Design Studio” is to promote creative design thinking and demonstrate how ideas can be changed to tangible creations through the proper application and use of Three-Dimensional Printing systems.

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