In this post, I describe my experience with the Bibo2 Touch 3D printer and let you decide if it’s the best home 3d printer for your needs. In a previous post, I outlined a process for comparing and selecting a 3D printer for home use.
I actually used that process to select and purchase the Bibo2 Touch for my home 3D printer. Having used the printer for about a month now, I am ready to give an honest evaluation of it performance.
Why I Chose The Bibo2 Touch
I chose the Bibo2 Touch because it simply had more functionality than other printers in the same price range. This printer has a slightly smaller build volume than its nearest competitors but it comes with extra features like WiFi connectivity and a laser engraver.
I was a bit hesitant to buy this printer mainly because of the slightly sub par translation of the operating manual but in the end the laser engraver and high number of positive reviews is what sold me.
Printer Specifications And Key Features
- Machine Size:18.4 x 14 x 14.7(in)
- Aluminum-composite laminate frame-6mm thickness
- Build Size:8.4 x 7.3 x 6.3(in) / 214 x 186 x 160(mm）
- Factory leveled heated build platform with removable glass build surface
- Printing Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.3mm
- Max. Nozzle Temp.: 270℃
- Connectivity: SD card, USB stick, USB cable, WiFi
- Recommended Software: Repetier-Host, Cura, Simplify3D
- Filament run out detection
- 1.75 mm filament
- 4″ color touch screen user interface
The Printer Has Arrived!
The printer is only offered on Amazon and AliExpress. I bought mine through Amazon as I already had an account set up.
The printer arrived in a couple days and was packaged securely in a cardboard box. The engineers at Bibo recognize that their printers are traveling across the ocean and protect the printer well with bubble wrap and honeycomb cardboard laminated for the less than gentle transit.
The packaging was so tight and secure that I had to cut the front of the box open to remove the printer.
Shipping costs are based on package volume and to reduce the size of the packaging some of the components external to the printer housing had to be assembled.
The printer comes complete with a large roll of 1.75 mm PLA filament, glue stick for enabling 1st layer to bond to build platform, USB cable, S-card pre-loded with user manual all required software and troubleshooting guides, Allen wrenches and screw driver for assembly and an extra thermister cable.
Set Up – Initial Issues
The assembly instructions are translated from Chinese and were generally easy to follow-though not as easy to understand as competitor manuals originally written in English. I’m a bit anal retentive and had to re-read some sections a few times to be sure I understood what to do.
It took me about an hour to fully assembly the printer which involved mounting the dual extruder assembly on top of the X-Y gantry, attaching the filament guide mechanisms and filament roll holders to the back panel of the housing and peeling the protective coating off and assembling the Plexiglas top cover.
All information for printer assembly, set up, software install and troubleshooting comes pre-loaded on an S-card flash drive. This card is used to upload print files to the printer so any files not related to printing a component need to be uploaded off the S-card onto your computer to free up space on the card.
After loading the filament into the extruders and uploading the software, I was ready to print the test component.
The print files for the test component come pre-loaded on the S-card and is easily selected via the 4-inch touch screen user interface. I selected to correct file and hit print.
Right off the bat, it was obvious the print was not going successfully. After about 30 or so layers, the print would Z-axis would jump and the print would shift.
I referred to the troubleshooting guide which has examples of common print issues and recommended solutions to see what I could do to remedy the issue. After fussing with the machine per the troubleshooting instructions with no success, I decided to contact Bibo directly.
Bibo’s customer service is top-notch. Being located in China, the response was not received until the next day but that was not really a problem for me. The folks at Bibo automatically added 1 month to my warranty for my troubles.
I deployed the fix that the Bibo engineers recommended which entailed tightening up the extruder cases but the problem still persisted so I had to do my own troubleshooting. In my past life I was a process engineer at a company that manufactured components for computer hard disk drives so I have some experience troubleshooting high precision automated manufacturing equipment.
After observing the movement of the print bed along the Z-axis I noticed that the wiring for the Z-axis limit switch as getting pinched between the back edge of the print bed and the inner wall of the printer housing. The pinch was just enough to slow down the movement of the print bed and cause it to jump.
The solution was pretty simple if not a bit frustrating. I had to reroute the wiring for the limit switch through some preexisting holes in the print bed so it would not get pinched against the back wall of the print chamber. While this was an easy solution, a little bit of design tweaking by Bibo’s engineers would have solved this problem before the printer even leaves the shop.
The printer worked fine after the re-wiring fix and the test print came out perfect. I was now ready to print something more substantial.
My First Print Of A Component I Designed
There are many, many objects you can download directly from Thingiverse, a website created by Makerbot and designed for 3D printing enthusiast to upload and share design files for their creations. I perused the available models on Thingiverse and decided I wanted something more functional.
Wanting to become more self-sufficient with my 3D printing, I set out to design my own component for the inaugural print. To start the process, I researched a few free 3D modeling software suites and landed on SketchUp.
SketchUp offers free 3D modeling software that is pretty easy to use after you go through some training. Of course the free version does not include all the functionality of the version they sell. I won’t get into a review of SketchUp here though I will say that I will be trying other modeling software for my next design.
The slicing software used by the Bibo2 Touch is open source Repetier Host. After uploading the model I created in SketchUp, Repetier Host did a bangup job of fixing, slicing and converting the model to a printable .stl format.
I copied the ready-to-print file onto the S-card, installed it into the slot on the Bibo2 Touch, hit print and was off to the races. The print took about 7 hours to complete and I checked on its status every hour or so to make sure all was going according to plan.
Here’s an image of my set up and the Bibo2 Touch during my first print. You’ll note that I have the printed mounted on a pretty hefty work bench that I picked that up on Amazon as well.
I recommend a sturdy work surface for your printer as the X-Y gantry system moves very fast and will translate to movement and shifting of a less stable work surface.
The printer and workbench combined cost me about $1100. And yes, as shown in the image, I enjoyed a beer while monitoring the print job.
Pros And Cons
Alright, now down to the nitty-gritty.
- Quite operation
- Dual extruders for muti-material prints
- Laser engraver included
- Heated print bed for flexibility in types of print material
- Decent build volume
- Great customer service
- Simple to understand touch screen user interface
- Slightly difficult to understand user manual
- Some assembly required
- Z-axis limit switch wiring routing
- Glass print surface needs better clamping mechanism
For me the biggest drawback of the Bibo2 Touch is the mounting mechanism for the glass print surface. The engineers have improved upon the ‘clip’ system used on earlier models but the design still needs improvement. Luckily, I have a couple of ideas for better clamping mechanisms that should be fairly easy to implement.
Please don’t mistake the set up challenges I had for dissatisfaction. I definitely recommend this printer for those that have even a little of mechanical aptitude. Sure it requires some assembly and maybe a little troubleshooting but the engineers at Bibo have designed a quality printer that will give the competition a run for their money.
The Bibo Touch has an average rating of 4.4 on Amazon out of 142 customer reviews and is now priced at $839.00.
After the initial set up and a bit of simple troubleshooting, I was able to readily print a component that I designed myself on the first try. That’s saying a lot as I don’t tinker around as much as I used to so I’ve lost a bit of the ‘touch’.
3D printers are relatively complex machines and the fact that Bibo packed so much into this printer at a very competitive price shows that this company is a serious player.
Competing printers include:
So, is this the best home 3D printer? For under $1000 it’s the best printer for me.
If you are in the market for a quality 3D printer for under $1000 with more functionality than the nearest competition, I recommend you check out the Bibo2 Touch.
What will you create?
If you have experience with the Bibo2 Touch or other Bibo printers, please offer your insight in the comments sections.