That. my friends, is a Makibox HT. I’m in Hong Kong, and I’ve just built it. I was one of the original backers, and I happen to be here visiting family. By chance, my order was in production, so they let me stop by and pick it up. Even gave me some pointers on building it, and let me build it in their factory in Kwai Hing.
I’m still in the calibration stages right now. So far, so good. The Maki is a very good printer for the price. I remember when I was talking with Nop and a few other guys on IRC a while back — they told me the Maki would be “Chinese Vapor”. They told me that the side drive will have horrible lash. They told me that there’s no way screw drive is fast enough to be a good 3d printer. THEY WERE WRONG.
It’s here. Orders are shipping out every day. Parts inventory is fully built up. It’s not vapor. The side drive can have lash if incorrectly assembled( and mine had lash until they helped me adjust screw tension and remove it ), and in use has no lash. The screw drive is very fast — motions are quick and smooth.
In addition, the Maki has some amazing advancements not found in other printers.
First — the new hot end. Small. Fast. Wow. Best hot end I’ve seen. J-head is so 1999. This new hot end is compact, heats instantly( seconds! ) and has consistent flow even with cheap chinese filament. Bowden driven, and very well done. No resistor! Heat is generated from traces put down on mettalized kapton film. It can heat to 300C, and they’ve done low-melt nylon with it. Those same traces on Kapton also provide a return for the thermistor. Wire harnesses throughout, with large currents split into multiple conductors. The result is a very easy to wire hot-end. Just plug it in and go! Amazing. You could easily mount 4 of these in the same space as a single makerbot’s extruder.
Second — the Stainless steel laminate bed. It has a bit of flex around the edges I don’t like — but printing with it is beautiful. ABS sticks well when hot, then “pops” off when cold. It heats quickly. They added a “drool zone” at home to “snap” off filament ooze. A simple innovation that makes using this such a pleasure. They really focused on making a great ABS printer — and it shows.
There are other nice touches throughout. Knobs to manually jog any motor — even the extruder! Loading filament by turning a knob is something every printer should have! Such a time saver. Single panel access to eletronics. Full wire headers on everything. Custom Firmware with new M-codes and aliases. A lot of ease of use features that I haven’t seen on other 3d printers.
The result of these innovations is a fantastic use experience that puts Makerbot, UP!, and others to shame.
Is it perfect? No. It’s a kit, and I think the assembly takes a longer than I like. Jon and the guys say they can do it in an hour and a 1/2. It took me around 14. I did everything by reading instructions — there’s videos now that should make it easier. There’s quirks and flaws normal to a first product. For example, the bed mounts are assymetric( have a front/back configuration ), but symmetric makes more sense( easier to assemble ). There’s a few lock blocks in assembly that are hard to position. There’s bugs in the Beta sofware( to be fair — it’s beta software ). But these are minor issues — most 3d printers today are much worse than this — even the 2,000 dollar brands. Maki’s got a winner here.
All in all it’s a fantastic printer for the price. I highly recommend it.