Hardly any other manufacturing machine offers the flexibility and versatility of the 3D printer. However, for this to actually work, a robust and highly reliable 3D printer is required. The German RepRap X350pro is such a printer, and it was provided to us for extensive testing by German manufacturer German RepRap.
The X350pro is shipped and delivered on a small pallet, carefully packaged in a cardboard box and recyclable materials (no plastics!). Even the packaging indicates a solid, comprehensive design, an assumption later confirmed during testing.
The initial configuration requires connecting the 3D printer to the network via an Ethernet cable. Once that connection has been established, the user can activate wireless networking and disconnect the included Ethernet cable. The printer is not designed to be directly connected to a PC via USB cable. When neither an Ethernet nor a wireless connection is available, the user can also print from an SD card.
The price point of the X350pro is too high to be affordable for hobby use. However, due to its workmanship and reliability as well as its large print area of 350 x 200 x 210 mm (13.8 x 7.9 x 8.3 in), this printer is very suitable for small and mid-size companies. In addition, the X350pro is excellent for the fabrication of prototypes.
During our first two tests, the printing quality was dismal; we repeatedly experienced layer shifting, even with the prepared sample profile from the German RepRap website. After just one email to their support and a very friendly phone conversation, the problem was discovered: the extrusion rate was set too high. Once we changed the settings, the X350pro’s printing quality was excellent – not only once or occasionally, but time after time. Even after many prints with a wide variety of materials, we experienced no problems.
The two extruders (DD3 extruders, one of them equipped with component cooling) likely help to achieve such excellent printing quality. The manufacturer didn’t cut any corners with the slicer either – Simplify 3D is included free with every German RepRap X350pro. A wide selection of materials is available, and all 750 g spools will fit the reels on the back of the device. Users who wish to use 1 kg spools can, of course, just print them. Another nice detail: the reels are laser-sintered, which is another 3D printing process. We used PLA and Pro1 by Innofil3D filaments for our tests as well as German RepRap: ABS, Carbon 20, Pet-G and PC. We achieved excellent printing results with all types of plastics.
Another ingenious innovation is the catch basin for excess filament drops during the heating phase. This prevents excess filament from building up on the entire print bed over time. Also, the print bed is covered with a thin, green PET film. When the printed components stick to the print bed and are removed with the included scraper, the PET film is easily scratched. Therefore, we recommend ordering several spare films with the 3D printer right away. Alternatively to the PET film, the print bed can be equipped with a carbon or PP permanent build plate, both offered by German RepRap.
All in all, I really enjoyed working with the German RepRap X350pro. I like both the coherent design, and the high-end mechanical components. And if you should ever have any problems, their support is very fast, friendly, and helpful. Now, this makes working with 3D printers fun!