The Electron 3D Slimbot is a low-cost printer kit that offers a good set of capabilities to a maker with a tight budget.
What’s in the Box?
There’s an entire printer in the box and everything you need to get it running. Unlike most of the printers that we’ve reviewed, this printer is a kit build and not ready to go out of the box. Think of it as a Lego or Erector set. The Slimbot has a few options to choose from as well, including a larger build area, automatic platform leveling, dual extruders, and a E3D Bowden hot-end. These will add to the price, of course, but may be worth looking into depending on what you want. The Slimbot also includes two .25kg spools of 1.75mm ABS or PLA plastic, the USB cable, an 8GB SD card, and assembly tools (Don’t lose these!).
Possibly the biggest feature of the Electron 3D Slimbot is its metal frame. The aluminum extrusion frame is sturdy and extremely easy to take apart and add on to as you decide how to customize or
improve your printer. One neat trick that the Slimbot pulls off is a lack of straight rods for the axis; instead it uses rollers on the aluminum extrusions to guide the print bed, X-axis, and extruder. The frame is very minimalistic, consisting of only an upright square with a perpendicular bar at the base acting as both foot and Y-axis. This may cause some stability issues if the frame isn’t tightened enough but can easily be reinforced with 3D printed parts as needed.
Printing quality is also on par with most printers on the market today. The X and Y axis can be placed accurately within .012mm, and the Z-axis within .004mm (4 microns). This doesn’t mean that you can print at 4 microns, however. The printer is only able to get a layer resolution of .1-.4mm, which could possibly be improved with some tinkering on the user’s part.
The Slimbot can print anywhere from 30–150 m/s in a build volume of 200 x 200 x 200mm, (200 x 280 x 200mm with the larger bed). It comes with a .4mm extruder nozzle that can be switched out for other sizes and can reach a maximum temperature of 250C. The print bed can be set between 50 and 150C, making it ideal for just about any plastic out there.
The control board and LCD display are covered by clear acrylic that can be bolted onto the frame. The printer uses Repetier-Host for control and everything is powered off of a 12V power supply that delivers 15 amps.
The Slimbot is fairly straightforward to assemble, and several videos already exist that show the process from start to finish. A manual is also available that shows how everything goes together and includes a wiring diagram for the electronics. As long as you follow the instructions and take your time, you can have a fully functioning printer within an afternoon.
More Images and Videos
Check out these images of the printer:
Then, make sure to check out this video:
The Electron 3D Slimbot is an affordable and easy to build printer kit. The frame is made of the best material that keeps it strong, yet light weight; as well as customizable. The best analogy for this type of frame would be a Lego or Erector set, you get enough pieces to build what’s on the box, but if you later want to make it into something else, you can!
The black anodizing of the aluminum extrusions can also be a plus depending on your preferences and this author’s personal favorite. The capabilities of the printer are also right up there with many commercial, ready-out-of-the-box printers at a fraction of their cost. As far as full printer kits go, this is a great starting point for new makers and a good addition for more experienced ones.
- Ease of Use