For those of you who aren’t tired of hearing me say it, I’m still claiming to be the only owner of an original Printrbot GO (outside of insiders that is – Brook, Ben and maybe one other person at Printrbot have one that I know about). Shortly after I purchased mine, the model was discontinued in fact and Brook said when he pulled it that he planned to refine the design and come out with a v2. Well, it finally happened.
Brook started with the teaser videos last week and I was shocked – shocked I tell you – to see the size of this thing. It’s not completely clear in the first video how large it really is, but here it is compared to the original GO.
The original Printrbot GO was not designed solely with portability in mind, as reportedly one of Ben Heck’s criteria was that it had to have a large print area. Mine prints at around 7 ¾” x 7 ¼” x 6 ¼” (that’s 200 mm x 185 mm x 160 mm for those of you living in the 20th century or beyond), which strikes me as a considerable volume for a printer that folds into a somewhat manageable suitcase. I say somewhat manageable because the thing is a little heavy (I think mine is around 35 pounds?), but can still be carried onto a plane (in theory) or lugged around on the subway (in practice).
As much as I love my GO, it was not a super polished/refined kit, resulting in a very challenging build experience and the design had some weak points that I’m sure bothered Brook more than they bothered me (well, let’s assume – maybe he was bothered by entirely different things), so I was not surprised that he discontinued it so that he could improve on it. It helps to bear in mind that Brook is a mad-genius compulsive inventor also.
So with only the initial teasers to go by, it looked at first like the original GO had been replaced by a beastly large (and undeniably capable) offspring that would surely require roadies to bring to life the portability implied by the name. And there wasn’t even a handle visible in the videos, much less doors or covers. I was intrigued but mystified I guess you’d say. Well it turns out Brook was not done with the surprises, because the new GO is an entire family of printers.
The upgrades that Brook has introduced to the GO family are incredible: Aluminum blocks all around, 12 mm linear rods all around, direct drive extruders, Raspberry Pi on board, glass build plates and dual motors on every axis (for the medium and large versions). The medium one prints at 16″ x 8″ x 8″ with dual extruders and the large one is 24″ x 12″ x 12″ with triple extruders (the build volume for the small one has yet to be announced). In short, these things look awesome. Although NOT very portable outside of the “little” guy.
I’m sure that the 12 mm rods are necessary for the big boys and probably provide a ton of stability to the smaller one, but those combined with the aluminum blocks, additional motors (and larger – the original GO came with smaller Wantais) and glass build plates all add some serious weight. I won’t be surprised if the big ones are close to 50 pounds. They’ve also lost a little bit of the charm of the original GO as far as the sliding carriage for the Y axis being the entirety of the cover that was required for travel. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a fiddly operation and the back doors require a latch to keep them closed while carting it around, but that’s all part of the “it’s a printer, it’s a suitcase” personality and I miss that a little in the new models.
And yes, I’m super jealous of the sweet leather padding on the handle. Heck, I’m jealous of all the specs and added stability (stay tuned for a post soon about how I’ve been combating Z wobble). And the prices sound pretty awesome. At $1300, $1500 and $1700 respectively, they are an incredible bargain.