As we continue dealing with the lockdown, 3D printing has never been more attractive, both as a new hobby, a way to potentially make things that are still difficult or slow to get. Or, you may already be into printing and looking for a new printer or some great accessories to add on to your existing setup. No matter which of those apply to you, the Stacker F1, currently seeking funding on Kickstarter, is worth taking a look at.
New to Kickstarter? Check out our crowdfunding primer.
First, the company is priortizing safety. For those unfamiliar with 3D printing, there are a lot of potential hazards. The whole enterprise involves heating and melting plastic, often for hours or days at a time. Failed software, firmware, or hardware can lead to issues where the heating element continues heating well past the safe levels. The F1 takes a unique approach to this, with multiple circuits and two temperature sensors, all independent of each other and the firmware, which allows for the device to shut down even in the case of multuple failpoints. The printer also contains other safety features missing on many other 3D printers, including special heat sinks, a UL-approved flame retardant filament drive, guarded heater block and z-axis screw, and more.
All of those are great to help prevent accidents, but what most people care about with printing is of course the print quality. Anyone who has used a 3D printer, particularly a low-end entry model, have encountered issues where the print succeeds, but the result is less-than-desirable. All kinds of little things can happen when printing to cause a layer to be slightly off, resulting in a bad print. The F1 uses an all-metal frame and a chassis designed to dampen vibrations. The filament drive–the part that pulls the plastic filament off the spool and in through the hot end–is made of hardened steel, a welcome change to the plastic often found in lower-end printers (this is the part, in fact, that has failed on my current printer.)
This printer also has a cool feature that allows the hot end, not the filament drive, to increase or decrease pressure and do most of the hard work of extruding, resulting in some incredible print quality. The company is also relying only on the highest-quality parts to make sure that they will last, but also that things like the hot end can be easily swapped out when you do run into problems (which are absolutely inevitable in 3D printing.)
If you’ve been looking for a 3D printer, definitely check out the Stacker F1. It isn’t cheap, but let me say from experience that when it comes to 3D printing, you get what you pay for. And, keep your eyes here on GeekDad in the coming months for a full, in-depth, hands-on review of the Stacker. You should also take a look at the cool accessories that are also part of the campaign.