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Review of XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D Printer

Printers

The Good XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D printer creates very detailed and complex 3D objects. A compact printer costs much less than others who use the same technology and take little time to set up and operate.

The Bad The printer and the supplies it uses are expensive. The printing process is slow, and due to the nature of the consumables, it can be messy.

The Bottom Line XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 3D Printer is a fun novelty that is too expensive to be practical in the long run.

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Nobel 1.0 is unlike any 3D printer I’ve worked with before. This is the first stereolithographic 3D printer with a price tag that is low enough for general consumers, costing $ 1,500. (Prices for the UK and Australia will be announced later, but it converts to around £ 965 or $ 2065.) While it is hardly cheap, it is by far the least expensive SL-3D printer on the market; others may cost twice as much or even more expensive.

And if the price of the printer has not yet knocked you down, keep in mind that the supplies for this type of printer, namely liquid resin, are also not cheap. A Nobel 1.0 resin costs $ 120 per 1 kg (2 pounds).

Instead, Nobel 1.0 can print extraordinarily high detail and can print objects with ultra-high functionality, which are difficult to produce with FFF printers – which print the rest of the 3D printers I’ve reviewed. Nobel 1.0 is also compact and relatively quiet during operation.

New SL technology does not allow Nobel 1.0 to be printed quickly. In fact, most of the time it takes to print an object the same physical size as FFF printers. This is because, like the SL printer, Nobel 1.0 always prints solid forms, while FFF printers can spill the thick parts. This means that the printer consumes materials much faster, increasing the total cost over time.

Considering things, I really like Nobel 1.0 for how it prints – which is as exciting as pulling a solid object out of a liquid container – and its print quality. However, given its low print speed and high overall cost of ownership, I think the printer is only for fans of 3D printing, not for the general public. For other options that are not as steep but faster and more affordable, check out our latest list of 3D printers .

The Nobel 1.0 3D printer is quite compact and comes with a light-blocking hood. Josh Miller

Compact design

Nobel 1.0 is a compact, approximately the size of a large home coffee maker. The company measures its dimensions as 11 by 13.2 by 23.2 inches (280 by 337 by 590 mm), and when I measured it myself, I got similar figures.

At the top, the printer has a large black plastic hood that protects the print platform and the resin tank from the outside world. During operation, the printer must be covered (it will not work without a hood), so that other sources of light and dust do not interfere with its laser beam. But when it doesn’t work, you can remove this cover to add more resin, remove the printed object, and clean it.

The printer comes pre-assembled. All you have to do is remove the package and pack the 500 ml resin bottle as well as the resin tank. It only took me a few minutes with clear instructions. During the print job, the pump automatically fills the reservoir with resin from the bottle.

The printing platform is located directly on the upper reservoir and secured to the arm intended to move it up and down. The collecting tank is made of glass, and beneath it is an ultraviolet laser beam that performs the work of converting a solid liquid into a solid resin. (Learn more about how the printer works below). The print platform determines the size of objects that Nobel-1.0 can produce, these are objects 5 to 5 by 7.9 inches (127 by 127 by 200 mm). That’s a lot, considering how compact the printer is.

Like other XYZprinting 3D printers, such as da Vinci Jr , Nobel 1.0 has a 2.6-inch LCD screen and six navigation buttons on the front. These buttons allow you to control the printer, including changing the resin, viewing the printer status, and initiating a print job. The printer connects to the computer through the USB 2.0 port on the back panel. It does not have an SD card, but it supports thumbdrive printing, via another USB port also on the back.

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Unlike FFF printers, Nobel 1.0 has a simple initial calibration to allow for platform assembly and the bottom of the resin tank. All I had to do was follow the instructions on the printer screen to move the platform all the way down until it reached the bottom of the tank. The printer was then ready to go, and it was done without any hiccups or further calibration.

XYZprinting Nobel 1.0 Specifications

Technique: SLA (Stereolithography Apparatus)
Printer dimensions: 11x13x23.8 inches (280x345x594 mm)
Weight: 21.2 pounds (9.6kg)
Display: 2.6-inch touchscreen
Light source: UV Laser λ 405nm (100mW)
Connectivity: USB wire
Build size: 5 by 5 by 7.9 inches (128x128x200 mm)
Power requirements: 100-240V 50/60Hz 60W
Layer thickness: X/Y axis resolution: 0.3mm (300 Microns)/ Z axis: 0.025mm (25 Microns)
Print material: Photopolymer resin
Resin supply: Auto-refilling
Resin bottle capacity: 500ml
Software: XYZWareNobel
Operating system: Windows XP (.Net 4.0 required), Windows 7+ (for PC), Mac OS X 10.8 (for Mac)
File types: STL, XYZ format, GCODE

Stereolithography 3D printing technology

Nobel 1.0 uses 3D stereolithography (SL) printing technology, also known as a stereolithography machine (SLA). In a nutshell, this technology works in the opposite direction from the production of fused yarns (FFF).

With the FFF, the printer builds a layer-by-layer subject layer from top to bottom on a print platform, like a pie frosting or a dip. However, in the case of SLA, the print platform of the printer sinks into a container filled with liquid resin and slowly pulls the solid 3D object upside down. Imagine putting your fingers in a cup of cocoa and slowly taking out a candy bar that you never had before. It’s something like magic.

Technically, however, there is no magic. In the case of Nobel 1.0, the printing process is as follows. Initially, the printing platform is lowered into the glass reservoir with the resin, then ultraviolet laser light reflected from the mirror device operating under the tank, the resin glows under the assembly platform. (For this reason, SLA is sometimes called laser 3D printing technology.) Resisting in laser light, the resin solidifies, solidifies, and adheres to the platform. As more resin enters the laser light, the image is created and attached to the layer above. As more layers are created, the collection platform slowly – very slowly – moves up and finally removes the entire object from the reservoir when the printing process is complete.

The object the Nobel 1.0 printed (left) is clearly more detailed than the one printed by an FFF printer. Josh Miller

Another big difference between FFF and SLA 3D printing is that although FFF produces a lot of heat during printing (which is required to melt the plastic thread), SLA remains cold all the time. Instead, you have to deal with liquid sticky resin, which can be dirty. In addition, although the 3D object is ready for use immediately after printing, the SLA 3D object must be rinsed with a strong solvent (more than 75 percent alcohol) after the word; otherwise it will remain wet (and sticky) for weeks. This is the case with Nobel 1.0.

XYZprinting says that the resin used by Nobel 1.0 is made mainly of acrylic monomer. It has a strong candy odor and is not harmful to humans or the environment, although some people may be allergic to it.

With large self-explanatory icons, the XYZWareNobel software is easy to use. Screenshot by Dong Ngo

Familiar software

XYZWareNobel software comes with Nobel 1.0, and so can you download this (registration required). The software is mostly the same as the XYZWare software used for FFF XYZprinting printers. The only difference is that Nobel 1.0 software does not include settings that the printer does not support, such as fill level. And thanks to SLA, Nobel 1.0 can easily print overhanging objects, such as working with outstretched arms without the need for supporting arms.

Easy-to-use software: Its interface consists of large and clear buttons that allow you to import and process 3D object files and print directly to the printer. After the print command is called, depending on the size and complexity of the 3D model, the software takes a few seconds to a few minutes to transfer data to the printer. The printer can then print on its own without connecting to a computer. Alternatively, you can also download the 3D model files to a USB storage device, connect the USB storage device to the USB port of the printer and use the LCD screen to print directly from there.

Note that in most cases the printer prints the object upside down as it effectively pulls the object out of the liquid resin tank, as mentioned above. However, the software should still handle the object in its normal orientation. If you manually flip the object over, the print may fail because the printer first prints an upper portion that may not have enough surface to glue it to the print platform firmly enough to hold the rest of the object.

Nobel 1.0 supports standard and popular 3D model files. In a huge collection of free 3D objects Thingiverse which you can use, or you can make your own using software such as SketchUp or Autodesk 123D. XYZprinting is also great 3D model file collection to choose from at no cost.

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Performance

Despite using a laser for printing, Nobel 1.0’s print speed is definitely not the speed of a regular laser printer. In my testing, most of the time it was slower than FFF printers. For example, it took almost 2 hours for a small circular object that took about an hour to produce an FFF printer. However, this difference varied depending on the objects. When I printed something thin, like the iPhone case, Nobel 1.0 was about as fast as Da Vinci Jr.. But when I printed an item with thicker pieces, like a little puppy, Nobel 1.0 took a lot longer.

This is because Nobel 1.0 cannot cut through the middle. With the FFF printer, you can choose a filling level of 10 percent (mostly hollow) to 100 percent (solid). But an SLA printer like Nobel 1.0 only prints solid forms, which not only takes much longer to complete an object, but also means that the printer needs more material than an FFF printer. Depending on the object, Nobel 1.0 can use up to three times as much material per object.

While looking smaller, the Incredible Hulk printed by the Nobel 1.0 (left) uses much more material than the other one. Josh Miller

During my testing on a 500 ml resin bottle, I could only print three copies of the Incredible Hulk (see Figure), whereas Da Vinci Jr. could print about eight of them, about 15 percent more each. If a resin bottle costs about $ 60 each, in fact, each Hulk print costs about $ 20 worth of Nobel 1.0 materials.

Please note that Nobel 1.0 never uses the amount of resin it has injected into the construction tank: the resin in the tanks must remain at a certain level for the construction process. In other words, as soon as you finish the object, no matter how small, there will be about 50 ml of resin left in the collection tank, which will go to waste if you do not use the printer for several days. So if you’re not going to print a lot of things, be prepared to spend a lot of resin.

On the other hand, the print quality of Nobel 1.0 is far superior to the quality of any FFF printer I’ve worked with. Even when you set up Normal Quality (the lowest and has a resolution of 0.1 µm), the printed object has incredible detail. Higher quality settings will increase the granularity to resolution up to 0.025 microns. However, in this case, the printer will take much longer to create the object.

In short, with Nobel 1.0 you accept material costs and low print speed in exchange for extremely high quality printing. Also, since the resin is sticky, you will need a pair of gloves to work with the printer, especially when removing the finished item from the printing platform. You will also need to rinse it with alcohol at once. In my testing, if left alone, the subject will remain wet and sticky for a week.

Conclusion

Despite being the least expensive SLA 3D printer on the market, the $ 1,500 Nobel 1.0 price tag still makes it unbearable for most consumers. In addition, the resin is also not cheap – $ 60 per 500 ml bottle. And keep in mind that XYZPrinting currently sells resin bundled two bottles at a time, meaning you will need to spend at least $ 120 to get more resin.

However, my biggest problem with the printer is not the cost but the print speed. If the printer could print as fast as a regular laser printer, I would absolutely recommend it. Unfortunately, the print speed is disappointingly slow.

So at the end of the day, Nobel 1.0 is an expensive 3D printer that has its own special capabilities to produce complex and highly detailed objects. This means that if you are a fan of 3D printing, ready to spend money, Nobel 1.0 has its allure. The combination of compact design, ease of use, high quality prints and a fascinating way to create objects makes the printer a truly engaging and satisfying machine.

For those who just want to try 3D printing, Da Vinci Jr , the Da Vinci AiO 1.0 or the 3D System Cube 3 would be a much better choice. Although none of these FFF printers can provide a level of detail even close to a Nobel 1.0 level, they are much cheaper – costing between $ 350 and $ 800 – and will not require fingerprint cleaning.

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