Review: BCN3D Sigma

BCN3D Sigma
  • Ease of Setup 88
    88%
  • Ease of Use 92
    92%
  • Print Quality 97
    97%
  • Speed 76
    76%
  • Value for Money 90
    90%

Summary

This is one of the best 3D printers currently on the market in 2017. If you don’t mind spending the money it’s a choice you won’t regret.

Overall
89%
89%
Sending
User Review
9/10 (2 votes)

BCN3D Sigma – Do You Want Top Spec High Quality 3D Printing In Your Home?

Important Specs:

Age Group: 16+

Filament Type: PLA, ABS, Flexfill, PVA, HIPS, Composites

Resolution: 0.05mm – 0.3mm

Build Size: 8.25 x 11.7 x 8.25 inches

First Impressions

It’s beautiful! But so big! This thing is 2 feet tall! Be warned you will need space for this printer. The main framework is an unusually shaped powder coated aluminum which looks stunning but does seem to use more space than necessary. The two filament spools are contained inside the machine which also accounts for its size.  The build capacity is however equally huge, one of the biggest for a home spec 3D printer so if you have some large models in mind this printer will cope well.

Setup

The machine comes fully assembled so the first steps are plugging it in, adding the filament and calibrating the bed, like the FlashForge Finder the color screen guides you through the calibration process which makes it a super easy task. From box to first build shouldn’t take more than about 20 minutes.

Software

The BCN3D Sigma is compatible with all G-code slicing software such as Cura, Slic3r and Simplify3D. You can try them all, Cura is a good starting point.

Printing

This is the only dual extrusion 3D printer that I’d recommend to beginners. In most dual extruder 3D printers the two extruders are mounted on the same motion carriage, but the BCN3D Sigma separates them, so each print head can operate independently. This makes dual extrusion printing much more reliable and hassle free. BCN3D call it Independent Dual Extrusion or IDEX.

Most people think of dual extrusion as allowing you to use two different colors of filament, which is kind of cool but the real benefit is when you have a dual extruder machine like this is that you can print with two different types of material.

This takes your 3D printing to a whole other level because it allows you to make much more complicated parts by using a dissolvable build structure. For example, you can make a PLA part with a PVA build support, the PVA can then be dissolved in water to make fully formed parts within parts.

This is where 3D printing really proves its benefits over traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding as you can make objects that were previously impossible to create so it’s a great way to inspire your creativity.

The quality of parts is stunning. They are genuinely comparable to the standard of the industrial printers I use in my workplace that cost $500,000.

Limitations

I couldn’t work out how to see the build time estimate on the screen. This might just be me but all I could see was the percentage complete which isn’t much use unless you know how long the original estimate was and do a bit of math!

Since you can use ABS and materials other than PLA in the BCN3D Sigma you need to think about ventilation as the fumes given off can be mildly toxic so you shouldn’t site it in a living area without good ventilation.

Verdict

If you don’t mind splashing the cash then you can’t really go wrong buying the BCN3D Sigma. It’s a hugely capable, near professional grade machine that just won’t let you down. If your teenage son or daughter already has some 3D printing experience or is keen on other areas of Engineering or is planning on studying an Engineering related subject at school then this is a great gift for them that will no doubt inspire them and give them a big head start in the world of Manufacturing and Design.

-Dylan

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