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Tinkerines Litto 3D Printer

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.

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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.

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Litto

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.

Photo by Tinkerines

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.

MakerBot vs Tinkerines

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.

13 Comments

  1. Is it really open source? Files for it aren’t up.

    The “open source” files for the Ditto are their DXF files for laser cutting. No Bill of Materials or anything.

    As someone who works professionally in open source, “open source” does not mean part of the source. It means the whole banana. I asked them about this after Maker Faire and got kind of blown off and I notice nothing has changed since then.

    Sorry to be negative but I get a bee in my bonnet when someone blithely claims to be open source when they clearly aren’t.

    • John says:

      I’m not sure what else you’re looking for. They’ve posted the Ditto BOM and the files they used to laser cut the Ditto. As far as I know, the Litto hasn’t shipped yet (they were waiting on parts as of a few days ago) so they will come once that’s happened.

      • Al says:

        That BOM is missing almost all specifics. What spring of what size, for example. You need exact part sizes, lengths, etc. the BOM that I worked with Printrbot on came down to things like “16 6-32 1.25 inchscrews, 4 M6 rods of 10 inch length,” etc. The list on the site is too vague to be used.

        • The BOM that John listed is like you said, a very generalized one.

          If someone was to be looking for the more specific one, all the BOM is listed inside our fully documented instruction manual which is somewhere in the realms of 70-80pages long and you can download that directly off our forum. It has everything down to the bolt length, belt length and more. The manual also has the exact steps you would need to assemble the machine which we spent 3-4 months on building so anyone wanting to build a Ditto or Litto wouldn’t need to do any photo reference guess work.

          The decision that someone needing the instruction manual to build a machine is the reason we packaged the BOM with the manual

        • John says:

          I don’t necessarily agree that open source means you have to specify every single nut and bolt used and their factory of origin. At least to the degree you’re expecting.

          That Printrbot BOM is mostly useless to me because McMaster Carr won’t ship to Canada so I’d have to source those parts elsewhere, if that is even possible. I’m sure Brook would rather I just bought it from him anyways (which I did with the Simple).

          Same thing happened when I built my Prusa which was during a time of design flux. I had to find localized alternatives, do a little bit of online leg work and order online from somewhere that had something similar (but wasn’t).

          • Al says:

            You still enough data to know what to order. The point of the Printrbot BOM (which he was happy to help with, btw) is that the McMaster list tells you exactly what you need.

            The Ditto BOM is so vague as to be effectively useless. I couldn’t build from that list as I don’t know the sizes of anything.

          • Al says:

            Again, compare it with Johann’s BOM for the kossel mini, which doesn’t have McMaster parts, but is still specific enough to be useful.

    • It really is open source, we are not hiding any files from anyone looking to get them. The software are all on Github as well.

      The BOM, build instructions, as well as the DXF for the cut files are fully available for anyone wanting to build it If there is anything else missing from this list that should be included I would like to know so we don’t come across as hiding information from people.

      We are also doing tweaks and improvements, and we want to release a file that is reflective of the released product and not something in between.

      We enjoy getting feedback about what we do so this is great!

      • Al says:

        When I looked on the site a month ago, there was only the DXF files and nothing else.

  2. As a follow up for comparison, there is the kossel mini that you’ve been blogging about.

    All source for parts at https://github.com/jcrocholl/kossel and BoM at http://reprap.org/wiki/Kossel.

    • John says:

      Yes, but it’s worth noting that the BOM was only recently updated…it’s an evolving project. I was lucky enough to get most of the parts for my build directly from the same suppliers Johann used thanks to them all being at the Seattle MakerFaire. When I decided to build it, there wasn’t even a wiki post yet and I was going by photos.

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