Support my habit, Get cool Stuff

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Makerbot VS Mojo Showdown

This was not something I expected to be able to do. Thank my new job for this experience. The engineering department rented a Stratasys Mojo 3D printer to prototype their parts and see if they want to purchase one. I was thrilled to finally have a industrial strength 3D printer within reach. Surely this thing will be more impressive than my Makerbot Replicator.

Then again, maybe not.




The wow factor wore off pretty quickly as I compared the specs:
  • Build platform: Mojo: 5in x 5in x 5in. Replicator: 8.9 x 5.7 x 5.9 in. +1 Replicator. 
  • Layer height: Mojo: .2mm Replicator: .15mm - .2mm (in my experience). +1 Replicator. 
  • Makerbot had a heated build platform. Mojo heats the enclosed build space. +1 Mojo. 
  • Makerbot only does break-away supports, Mojo does soluble supports by default. +1 Mojo. 
  • Makerbot's filament is cheap and can be purchased anywhere, Mojo's is expensive and only available through them. +1 Replicator. 
  • Makerbot, $2000. Mojo, $1500 for a 90 day rental with all the filament you can eat in that time. +1... not sure. I like ownership so I'm giving this one to Makerbot. 
  • Mojo, disposable plastic print platform, Makerbot, reusable metal print platform. +1 Makerbot for the environment and economy, +1 Mojo for reliability. 
So it's pretty back-and-forth. Keep in mind that the Mojo is production level technology that has likely had a long development cycle, and The Replicator is the quick-to-market new kid on the block. Hobby-centric technology is definitely catching up to the pros. So the only way to settle this is by going head-to-head. Printing the same thing on both machines and comparing the result.

The thing chosen was a roller since that’s what the engineers here at work happened to be trying to print. Instead of cutting it and trying to make it more makerbot friendly I decided I would just do the break-away support option to compare apples-to-apples.

The Mojo’d part is white, the Replictor’d part is red. Side by side it’s pretty clear the print quality is comparable. In fact it seems like the layers are identical on the top. Same layer height, same stopping point. It’s like, math or something.

But underneath is where it falls apart pretty quickly. Break away supports just do not look good and… what is that? Dents? Where did the dents in the makerbotted part come from?

Alright, fair’s fair. The Mojo did make a very nice and usable print. Plus the widths weren’t off by 0.2mm (as they often are on the makerbot) and nested perfectly with the other parts printed (not shown) the first time without sanding. Clearly Makerbot still has a little bit to go before their open-air system is comparable with the big boys. But it's not far to go and they're doing it at 1/5th the price. So I leave it to you to determine the winner here. Because I'll admit I'm a bit biased.

5 comments:

  1. What was the difference in time-to-print?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ah, good question. And the answer is... I'm not really sure. It only took me a couple hours to print it, it took them 3 days, but that's because it was their first print and they were having new machine pains. But I think that would be an interesting test to follow up with.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks for this comparison... it's pretty fascinating how close a call it is, given the price difference of device and materials!

    The Mojo I saw in operation was, if anything, slower than my Replicator. But that wasn't a head-to-head comparison. Just watching the rate of noodle-drop qualitatively. Maybe it was, say, 30mm/s? Ish?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have to add one very very important condition... for 1 off pieces this may seem good. However, what i'm interested to find out is, out of 100 prints, does the Mojo3D fair better in terms of reliability as compared to the Makerbot? What is the success rate of the prints?

    To me, reliability and consistency is more important than cost, if you lose a client due to reliability, the confidence placed in you drops by a value which is hard to put a price tag to (since you need to spend more time and more effort rebuilding reputation)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. For reliability the Mojo is leaps and bounds above the home options. Almost 100% success. It detects filament, you can reload half way thought a print, 100% supports and heated chamber so almost never is delamination a problem. You're defiantly paying for the reliability of a Mojo.

      Delete