The Felix 3.1 is available at two different prices depending on how you would like to receive it. Basically, you can purchase the DIY kit (so you build it yourself and save some money) or you can purchase the pre-assembled version which is ready to print right out of the box. The DIY is currently available at the Felix website for €1,099.00 ($1,599.72 CAD) or the assembled version for €1,499.00 ($2,181.96 CAD). You can use the following links to access and purchase your printer:
Below are the links to both printer purchasing options:
Although it may seem better to purchase the DIY kit, it is important to note that it took us almost a day to complete the build and will definitely require at least two individuals. This is not an easy build and many components are to be handled with care to ensure your printer will function properly. Since you will definitely be paying over one thousand dollars, it is a good idea to have someone that understands electrical components to help with the build. It is also recommended to be completed by Adults as the electrical components require wiring directly to the motherboard and failing to do it properly can cause serious problems. There is a good assembly manual available for the 3D printer that does cover everything you will need to do. You can find this manual on the Felix Printer website.
Beginning the Assembly
Out of the box, the Felix 3.1 was very well organized into separate boxes for assembly purposes. Along with the printer, you also receive a small plastic kit that separates all the small screws and nuts into sections that are easily recognizable for the assembly. During assembly, we noticed one problem that was very difficult to fix. This was directly related to the Trapezium Hexagon Nut that was included with the kit for the Z axis. When assembling the 3D printer, it is required that the Trapezium Hexagon Nut be attached to the print bed for movement along the z axis. After initially starting the printer, the Trapezium Hexagon Nut continued to fall out of the socket the nut is supposed to remain in. The only conclusion was to glue the Trapezium Hexagon Nut to the socket to prevent it from falling out. Even after reading the instructions multiple times, we found that nothing of this matter was covered in any FAQ or additional documentation. Although the socket seems to be the exact size of the nut, it didn’t stay like it should. After properly applying glue (it is very important to watch out for where the glue is being applied. You do not want any glue near the threads or you will ruin the Trapezium Hexagon Nut completely.), we were able to continue building the printer without any issues. The Trapezium Hexagon Nut looks like the following:
For the wiring, we also recommend using small labels on each wire before attaching them to the circuit board. There are numerous wires that need to be attached and without labeling, it will be very difficult to find out where everything goes.
Normally, the printer is only a single extruder (only one printer head) however, you can also purchase the dual head by selecting the corresponding option near the bottom of the page prior to purchasing. If you have already purchased the printer and are interested in upgrading, head over to the Felix website and purchase the upgrade kit. One great thing we like about the Felix printer collection is the simple and easy ways to upgrade, replace, and change any part of the printer. Especially after assembling the DIY kit, users are more engaged and happen to know more about their printer compared to users who purchased a ready-made version. Furthermore, the DIY kit is perfect for learners looking to get a better understanding of how the hardware portion of 3D printers work and simple troubleshooting can be done thanks to assembly experience.
Also included with the printer is the Kapton Foil Heater (used to heat the print bed – installed underneath the metal print bed) and unfortunately, it wasn’t the best possible option to print on. When testing our first print, the printer successfully started to operate and extrude filament onto the print bed. However, after about 2 hours of printing, we noticed that the object being printed started to peel off the print bed (creating a useless block of plastic). Through experience testing other printers, it is a common problem that has been shared by many printer owners and there are some tips and tricks that can help ensure the printed object remains on the print bed until the print has been completed. Here are the tips we found most helpful:
1. Add brim support before slicing model(Option available through the Felix printer software provided).
2. Use blue painters tape on the print bed prior to printing. *
3. Ensure your printer is isolated and heated correctly according to the filament being used.
* After numerous tests, we found an option that is quite convenient and easy with painter’s tape. Instead of applying the tape to youe print bed directly, apply it to a 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper. Then use double sided tape to stick the paper onto the print bed. (You only need to tape the middle and the edges). This helps you easily remove the print once the print has been completed. Initially when we printed the first object using painter’s tape directly onto the print bed, it was extremely difficult to remove it. The paper helps you take it off more easily.
Another option available on the Felix website is to purchase the Pritt Power Stick (a glue that you directly apply to the print bed prior to printing to ensure your object sticks to the bed. It is more important with ABS but you can even use it with PLA. If you don’t want to purchase the glue stick off of the Felix website, many users simply purchase any glue stick and use that instead. After testing with a glue stick, we achieved a great bond between the print bed and the object which prevented any errors. Trial and error is a great way to find out what works best for you. If you plan on using a glue stick, you will need something to peel off the object from the print bed. We cannot stress this enough, your object can stick onto the print bed pretty good and you will need to use quite a lot of force to remove it. This is why we recommend using the paper and painter’s tape instead. After printing using both ways, we found that we achieved the same print result.
Our initial test print was the Marvin Keychain (model used by 3D Hubs for printing services – More information at the bottom). A great simple model perfect for testing your printer. The print shouldn’t take longer than 5-10 minutes because of its small size and relatively simple construction. We recommend very little infill for this model as it is small.
As you can see from the images above, you can see the layers used to print the Marvin keychain up close. This is very hard to see without looking at it extremely close and you can also increase resolution to 50 microns if you would like an even more high quality print. Keep in mind that much more time will be required when printing at 50 microns vs 200 microns as more layers are needed. If you are unable to successfully print the Marvin Keychain, you should go back and troubleshoot. It is usually quite easy to determine why the print didn’t print correctly. Some possible reasons include something jammed in print head, heat to high or heat to low, print not sticking to print bed, and model not properly sliced. Felix’s Repetier Host Software is quite simple to use and you can see visual renders of the model you plan to print prior to printing. The easy to use flip, move, and enlarge functions are great and user friendly for first time users.
Here is what the interface looks like:
Overall, we are very happy with the Felix Printer. Regardless of the two main problems (Hex Nut, Printer Bed) which are both fixable, the printer offers multiple benefits vs purchasing a more expensive printer. The Felix printer is a great learning opportunity and allows users to take technology to a whole new level. Thingaverse offers thousands of free models that you can download and print. Using many free and paid tools, you can model and print your own designs and even create product prototypes or initial designs for business purposes. Although it is still expensive, it is much cheaper than it’s competition and additional spare parts are available so you can troubleshoot and fix your printer yourself. The Felix 3.1 has a larger print bed compared to many other 3D printers and with the new Felix Pro printer which is now available, a Felix printer is definitely a brand worth considering when you decide to own your own printer.
3D Hubs is also a great website where you can connect your own printer and print models for customers within your community. You print the model, ship it to the customer, and 3D Hubs will pay you. You can set prices and even view your Hub ratings using the simple and easy to use dashboard. 3D Hubs already hosts over 25,000 printers around the world and using their services, you can make some extra cash on the side.