Robo 3D Printer Review
Robo is an emerging manufacturer of consumer-level desktop 3D printers. The brand currently sells three printer models that are easy to set up and use to start creating. This review covers the features of the Robo R1+, C2, and R2 models to help consumers decide on the best Robo 3D printer for their budgets and design needs.
What Are Robo 3D Printers?
Robo is a 3D printer company based in San Diego, California that launched in 2012. The company crowdsourced funds to develop its first model, the Robo R1 3D printer. They now sell and provide support for three newer models, the R1+, C2, and R2. These printers enable users to produce designs created using computer-aided design software or templates.
Robo’s easy-to-use, consumer-level printers are capable of printing with as many as 20 or 30 different types of filament and have features designed to improve the detail, resolution, and overall quality of each print job. All three of their current printer models feature high-temperature extruders, and two out of three models have heated print beds.
Robo printers are desktop-sized and include most of the features that hobbyists look for in these devices. Rather than relying on complex and costly CAD software, Robo printer users can use open-source modeling software or the company’s free mobile applications to design and create objects.
Robo 3D Printer Specifications
The most affordable model in Robo’s current line of desktop 3D printers is the Robo R1+. This value-oriented model is larger than the C2 and R2 models and is capable of printing with more than 30 filaments, allowing for a wide range of creative possibilities. The R1+ is compatible with open-source design software and iOS and Mac OS, Linux, and Windows operating systems.
The Robo R1+ has a large 10″ x 9″ x 8″ (254 x 228.6 x 203.2 mm) print size and the overall dimensions of the printer are 17.1″ x 18.1″ x 15.1″ (433.8 x 459.7 x 383.54 mm). This desktop model weighs 21 pounds (9.53 kg). The R1+ is capable of printing in the 50 to 300-micron layer resolution range with XYZ accuracy of 11, 11, and 1.6 microns. The quick-change nozzle print head has a diameter of 0.4mm, a travel speed of up to 80 mm/s, and a print speed of up to 50 mm/s. The nozzle temperature ranges from 240 degrees Celsius (464 degrees Fahrenheit) up to 290 degrees Celsius (554 degrees Fahrenheit) with an all-metal extruder.
The metal hot ends on this fused filament fabrication device can emit materials ranging from ABS to a variety of types of PLA, PET-G (flex and sturdy), nylons, polycarbonate, and flexible TPE and TPU. This printer is capable of processing PLAs filled with metals such as brass, bronze, copper, stainless steel, and iron, as well as conductive PLA for low voltage applications and magnetic iron. This printer features automatic leveling calibration print plate technology and a heated print bed to prevent warping. The print bed can be set up to 80 degrees Celsius (176 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Robo R1+ printer works with the free open-source Matter Control software, which supports file slicing prior to printing. The unit supports standalone printing from an SD card, whereas the C2 and R2 models have USB stick file transfer functionality. The R1+ ships with a power cable, spool of filament, SD card, toolkit, quick start guide, and a one-year subscription to Autodesk Fusion 360. This printer model carries a six-month manufacturer’s warranty and lifetime support.
The C2 is Robo’s compact, mid-range 3D printer model. This Robo 3D printer has a print size of 5″ x 5″ x 6″ (127 x 127 x 152.4 mm), overall dimensions of 13″ x 18.25″ x 12.75″ (330.2x 463.55 x 323.85 mm), and weighs 20.8 pounds (9.43 kg). The C2 is capable of printing with more than 20 material types including a variety of PLAs, PET-G, flexible TPE and TPU, magnetic iron, HIPS, and PVA. The R1+ and R2 models support a wider range of materials and have larger print sizes. All of these printers are compatible with Robo and non-Robo filaments.
The C2 prints with a layer resolution ranging from 20 up to 300 microns and has XYZ accuracy of 12.5, 12.5, and 5 microns. The quick-change 0.4 mm nozzle on this device has a print speed of up to 16 cubic millimeters per second and travel speed up to 250 mm/s. The nozzle temperature can reach 290 degrees Celsius (554 degrees Fahrenheit). The print plate on this model features automatic leveling calibration technology but does not come with a heated print bed.
Customers interested in adding a heated print bed to prevent warping during printing will need to find aftermarket parts and connect the bed to the electrical outputs on the controller. They may also need to convert the removable plastic bed on the C2 printer to another material such as aluminum for reliable and safe performance. You might also consider the affordable and significantly larger Robo R1+ printer or the much more expensive and slightly larger R2 model.
The C2 goes beyond the limited connectivity of the R1+ by supporting Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity. This printer model also has the capability to function as a personal hotspot. This model supports USB file transfers and comes with a stick pre-loaded with 3D models. The C2 is compatible with a wide variety of devices including computers running Mac OS, Linux, and Windows to tablets and smartphones. Like the higher-end R2, the C2 printer works with the free Robo mobile application and Cura preparation software.
The Robo C2 is the most affordable printer made by the company to feature an LCD touchscreen that simplifies the control scheme and allow for onboard file slicing. The screen on this model is 3.5″, which is smaller than the 5″ screen on the more expensive R2 printer. The C2 also does not feature an onboard camera for recording print jobs in progress like the R2. The C2 comes with standard printer accessories including a power cable, spool of filament, toolkit, quick start guide, and a one-year subscription to Autodesk Fusion 360. This printer model comes with a 12-month standard warranty and lifetime support.
The R2 printer is the high-end model in Robo’s current product line. This high-performance smart 3D printer has an 8″x 8″ x 10″ (197 x 197 x 250 mm) print size and overall dimensions of 16.75″ x 23.75″ x 16.61″ (425.5 x 603.3 x 421.9 mm). This fully-featured model weighs in at 30.2 pounds (13.7 kg), making this printer considerably heavier than the R1+ and C2. Like the R1+, the R2 is capable of printing with over 30 types of materials. This model features sensors that detect when the filament is running low and automatically pauses the print job in progress. The R2 features a removable print plate and a print bed with automatic leveling calibration.
The Robo R2 also stands out with its 5-inch LCD screen with control options. This printer model has Ethernet and Wi-Fi connectivity and functions as a personal hotspot. This printer is compatible with computers running Mac OS, Linux, or Windows as well as open-source software, the free Robo application for iOS and Android devices, and free Cura Preparation Software to ready, manage and monitor the 3D print job from a tablet or a smartphone. Like the C2, this model also supports onboard file slicing for ease of use. This model also boasts a camera to record print jobs in progress and enable users to watch the footage on a mobile device.
Enhance the functionality of the R2 printer with a forthcoming option to add a second extruder. This add-on will allow users to print designs with two different materials or two different colors of the same material at the same time. This model is capable of printing with a layer resolution ranging from 20 to 300 microns and XYZ accuracy of 12.5, 12.5, and 5 microns. The travel speed on this advanced consumer model goes up to 250 mm/s, while this printer is capable of extruding at up to 16 cubic millimeters per second.
The quick-change nozzle on the R2 printer has a 0.4 mm diameter and reaches temperatures up to 290 degrees Celsius (554 degrees Fahrenheit). The heated print bed can reach up to 100 degrees Celsius (212 degrees Fahrenheit). This bed helps to prevent warping and comes with a BuildTak sheet to make it easier to remove print projects.
This Robo 3D printer supports both standalone printing from a USB stick and Wi-Fi file transfer for printing directly from the brand’s application. In addition to a power cable, spool of filament, toolkit, quick start guide, and a one-year subscription to Autodesk Fusion 360, the R2 printer also comes with a USB stick loaded with 3D models. This printer comes with a one-year warranty and lifetime support.
Robo offers 3D printers priced between $500 and $1500. Consumers and institutions should determine which model provides the features they want at an acceptable price point. The Robo R1+ printer has the features that most 3D printing enthusiasts want with a $499.99 price tag. This model does not have the range of connectivity and smart features that come on the compact C2 or higher-end R2 models.
The Robo C2 has a smaller print size than the R1+ with more connectivity options including Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and USB. This model supports onboard file slicing and features a 3.5-inch display with simple controls. The C2 printer is currently priced at $799.99. The C2 and more expensive R2 models share a number of smart features, but the R2 has a larger print size, a larger touchscreen, and an onboard camera. The C2 does not have a heated print bed, and Robo does not sell compatible beds. This model also prints with a more restricted range of materials than the R1+ or R2.
The most advanced 3D printer by Robo, the R2, currently sells for $1,499.99. This model is set apart by its integration of a 5-inch touchscreen, onboard camera, and heated print bed. The R1+ and R2 are both capable of printing in more than 30 materials, but Robo proposes that the R2 will soon support the use of multiple extruders. There is a $1000 price difference between the R1+ and R2 and a $700 price difference between the C2 and R2 Robo 3D printer models.
Robo also sells 3D printer bundles with C2 or R2 printer models for educational purposes. K-12 instructors may be interested in the MyStemKits bundles with three printers, one year of curriculum support, four hours of online training, and 250 student licenses. Individual users interested in 3D printing a basic quadcopter drone should consider the Robo 3D Print Project model for $99.99. The company also sells desk clock and guitar 3D print kits in the $40 range.
How Robo 3D Printers Compare
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Pros and Cons
- Accessible consumer desktop-style 3D printers
- Price range from $500 up to $1500
- Prints with many types of materials
- Robo printers and materials tend to be more expensive than other brands
If you want a consumer-level desktop 3D printer with a wide range of functionality, consider one of the three Robo 3D printer models in this review. The brand’s current line makes it easy to select a printer that will fit your budget and design preferences. You may be able to find a refurbished unit of your preferred printer model for a lower price. Robo also sells accessories, materials, and kits that make it easy to get started and learn about 3D printing.