For the last little while, I’ve been playing with a new 3d printer on loan from my friends at Tinkerine Studio called the Litto. This is a mini version of their popular Ditto printer which I’ve mentioned before.
The $999 Litto (kit plus the $79 LCD controller which is an optional addon) has a small footprint but a surprisingly large build area and excels at tall objects.
I didn’t have to assemble the kit as it was a pre-built loaner but the parts are very straightforward for anyone to build. They also have well documented assembly guides on their website.
I really like the open “C” shape design of the frame…it makes it really easy to see what’s going on and have access to the print area.
I had the Litto go head to head with my MakerBot Replicator 2 for a couple of weeks and the Litto was a strong competitor that was a joy to use.
Eugene at Tinkerines was instrumental in helping me with my reprap printer (and keeping my MakerBots going) and the attention to little details are evident in his machines. Many things that annoyed us with other printers have been addressed in the design. The recessed filament spool holder on the back of the machine for example is a nice touch.
I wanted to print a scaled up rook that was pretty much the full height of the Litto’s build area. Unfortunately, the table I used was a little wobbly and the printer’s movement made it move around a little during the 7 and a half hour print:
Things I really liked about the Litto:
- Size – it’s a great size with a small footprint that is easily portable. It seems to be about the same size as my MakerBot Thing-O-Matic was but a much larger/taller build area. It’s about the same height as my Replicator 2 but half the width.
- LCD screen & customizations – The optional LCD control interface is a must get as it makes printing very easy and you can adjust the angle for better readability depending on the height of the surface you’re printing on. Also, some work went into modifying the Marlin software to simplify everything and make it easy to get where you want to. But see below for some possible improvements.
- Speed – the Litto is a fast printer…much faster and more reliable at speed than my Prusa ever was
- locally designed and built – made in Langley, BC
- Construction – it’s a solidly built frame and you can easily pick it up from any side to transport it without fear of it breaking or warping
- Print quality – on par with any other 3d printer on the market. Big & tall high resolution prints are easily done. I tried many 8+ hour prints during my time with the Litto and was very happy with how they turned out
Things I’d like to see improved on the Litto:
- removable build plate – it’s a pain to try and remove your prints from a fixed plate. I guess I’ve been spoiled with my Replicator 2′s removable plate. Eugene is looking at alternate surfaces that might be a simple drop in upgrade and don’t require any more blue tape.
- Software – again, I’m spoiled by MakerBot. Coordia is a solid front end to Pronterface/Skeinforge and it’s quite easy to prepare your models for printing but there isn’t a live preview of your model, nor any easy way to scale your model before slicing so you have to use a different app (I used MakerWare). I was also using an early beta of the OSX client software so the limitations could also be with the beta.
- Noise & vibration – no 3d printer is quiet and the Litto is definitely not that…part of the issue is the wooden frame that doesn’t dampen it very well.
- Filament loading – the loading process is a little tricky due to the strong spring loaded extruder and it can be difficult to guide the new filament through the extruder pathway to the hotend. Also, adding a longer extrude/retract option to the LCD interface (Marlin) would be great to speed up loading/removal of filament
The Litto is a great opensource 3d printer that has many of the features of the bigger, much more expensive printers have. You definitely won’t be disappointed with it if you’re looking to get into 3d printing at an affordable price point. You could literally buy two Litto’s for the price of my Replicator 2 and have money left over for filament, so it’s a great value and a very comparable machine.
Disclosure: I’m good friends with the guys at Tinkerines and their CEO Eugene is a co-founder of 3D604.org with me. Eugene asked for my unbiased opinion of their new printer which is what this post is about.