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  • 101Hero 3D Printer Arrives and Fails Miserably

    Posted on December 7th, 2016 admin 3 comments
    Test Star on Tree

    Test Star on Tree

    My 101Hero 3d printer from Kickstarter was billed as the world’s most affordable 3d printer.  At $104 USD plus shipping, it was pretty close.  The 101Hero achieved its low-cost design goals by using injection-molded plastic parts, small stepper motors, minimal electronics, and a tiny light-weight extruder head.

    The big question, of course, is:  Does it work?   The short answer is:  No.

    The unit arrived well-packaged and in good condition.  Assembly went fairly easily, despite sparse written instructions, as there is a fairly good assembly video available online.

    First Fish

    First Fish

    All parts were in the package, including a selection of unidentified filaments in various colors; all necessary hardware was there; there were no visible manufacturing defects. The resulting printer was far from sturdy or stable, as might be expected from a light-weight plastic frame.

    The Developer Version (DV) contains both an SD card slot and a USB Type B port; I used the SD card.  The website has a tiny downloadable test file that prints a six-point star for setting up the printer.   The print is two lines wide and three layers deep.   It took a few minutes to get the printer adjusted, but after that it printed several very nice stars that I hung on our Christmas tree.

    Next, I selected what looked like a good print from, the 207 Fish Bone, in a white filament that I assume is PLA.   The first few layers were mushed together; despite all the

    Dorsal view - note the slope

    Dorsal view - note the slope, and the stringy part at bottom

    test stars, it looked like the extruder was not moving up enough with each layer.  After a few good layers, the head moved up too fast, and started laying strings of filament in mid air.   A few minutes later, it settled down and began printing fairly well except that periodically the head would jump about 1 mm "up" and "right" as I looked at the print bed.  It would then print a dozen or so layers well, then jump again.  These jumps can be clearly seen in the photos.

    A little research suggested that the jumps were mechanical, probably when the filament snagged on the top of the printer or got caught on the wiring or when a slide bearing grabbed a bit on a

    Nicely wrapped wires, and filament holder

    Nicely wrapped wires with fancy retainer clip, and filament holder

    rod.  Okay, so we'll clean up the installation.  A little gold tape to bind the wiring and snazz it up a bit.  A few decimeters of aluminum angle and a smooth bolt created a filament holder. A little light oil on all the rods.  I loaded the Motor Movement test file from the 101Hero site and ran the head up and down a few times.  No snags, all movement smooth and easy.

    Time to try the fishy again.   This time we'll use black filament (PLA?).   The first few layers go down beautifully.  I can see detail -- gill slits, an eye, the teeth, the place where the hinge of the tail will go.  But there are some issues.  The fill does not quite meet the outline in places.  Still, three layers build one atop the other.

    After that, though, the same error as for the white Fish 1 occurred - two offset steps and a wild, random-seeming tangle of strings laid in mid-air.   This time, rather than waste filament and time, I aborted the print.

    No snags, no hesitations, the slides moving cleanly, filament feeding smoothly.  But clearly, something went very, very wrong.


    Stringy Fishy


    Started well. Note two steps to left in image (visible in tail)

    The RepRap Print Trouble Shooting Pictorial Guide shows stringy prints with stepwise offsets, but the solutions involve changes to print settings and g-code that simply should not apply.  This is a special file from the manufacturer of the 101Hero, and it should not contain g-code errors.  It should, after setup, print these custom files flawlessly.

    So instead of spending my time printing, I'll be diddling around trying to get the printer to work.   You get what you pay for, I guess.


    UPDATE: Not such a villain after all!  See my post on 15 December 2016

    Further Reading


    3 responses to “101Hero 3D Printer Arrives and Fails Miserably” RSS icon

    • Hey Stefano,

      seems like you got the 101hero working.
      Are there any special adjustments that you did or did you made straight out of the box prints?

      And if you did what kind of adjustments you made if I may ask

    • Stefano, you had much better luck than I did! It is my hope that the manufacturer will be able to help.

    • My experience has been rewarding, I spent like buying a toy but it is not, certainly has its limits, and there are some adjustments to make, the issue to motors and arms extruder certainly not help but all in all the first prints that They did were not bad. Look for yourself, the img are in chronological order.

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