Nov 17, 2015 | By Benedict

Although all manufacturers of 3D printers provide detailed technical specifications of their machines, it often remains difficult to predict exactly how a print will turn out on a given machine. Looking up the printing resolution of a 3D printer, measured in microns, might be a fairly good way of estimating the machine’s precision, but there are many other factors about the printer itself which can negatively and positively affect a print. This makes one wonder just how easy it is to compare the glut of 3D printers out there using only their long lists of numbers and stats. Luckily, there is a more hands-on way of testing and comparing the quality of 3D printers. Florida based 3DKitbash, provider of 3D printable toys and 3D printer test kits, is developing its 3D Printer Test Kit 2.0, which will include eight 3D printable models of fast-printing challenge chips. These challenge chips do exactly what they say on the tin: the 3D printable models consist of a range of structurally challenging shapes and surfaces, which will push a 3D printer’s abilities to the limits. Version 2.0 of the test kit follows the successful first incarnation of the product, which was released in 2013.

3DKitbash sees its latest test kit becoming a community project, in which makers can easily share their test results with others. This sharing of results will give the 3D printing community a much clearer picture of the strengths and weaknesses the 3D printers out there. To enable the easy sharing of results, the company will assign a unique, searchable hash tag to each challenge chip, so that users can easily search for other users’ experiences with certain printers with regards to certain aspects of printer performance. Users will be encouraged to post pictures of their prints, so others can get a close look at any potential deformities or structural weaknesses evidenced in the print. “Right now there's not a widely-used, efficient way to test prints, then share your results with the online community,” explained Quincy Robinson of 3DKitbash. “We're hoping the 3D Printer Test Kit 2.0 will make everyone's life a little easier.”

The second incarnation of the 3DKitbash test kit features eight 3D models, each designed to test a different aspect of 3D printer functionality. There is a challenge chip to test each of the following print aspects: edges, spikes, voids, positive/negative spaces, bridging, horizontal hinges, and vertical hinges. Each chip takes around half an hour to print. The set also includes a material flexibility chip for testing filaments.

To help finance the project, 3DKitbash has launched a Kickstarter campaign for its 3D Printer Test Kit 2.0, setting a target of $1,500 and a deadline of December 22nd. To receive the base kit containing STL files for each of the eight chips, backers need to contribute $25, whilst more comprehensive options are available with larger pledges. If the target figure is met, backers will be able to download their kits in January 2016. Given the project’s potential value to the 3D printing community, as well as its modest financial target, the campaign appears well worthy of support.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Accessories

 

 

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