Up! Mini, reviving a pre-loved relic of my 3D printing history.
Throughout highschool I was always fascinated by CNC technology, laser-cutters, routers, rapid-prototypers… It was inevitable that when I entered university in 2011, right at the beginning of the 3D printing boom, I would fall in love with that technology too.
Our faculty had a number of printers, ranging from original ultimakers through to access to the design schools $500K high-resolution prototyper. However, the printer that really sticks in my memory was the Up! Mini. The university purchased a number of these revolutionary printers shortly after it’s release in 2012. An easily acquirable, off-the-shelf and most importantly CHEAP printer. I spent many hours pouring over solidworks, designing components and testing new printing technologies on this printer. So when I saw one of these units being sold locally on TradeMe for an incredible price, I had to jump at the opportunity.
The printer had definitely seen better days, but after removing the head and cleaning the extruder assembly, it fired up and started printing like a new one. Having gone several years without having personal access to a 3D printer, it’s surprising to me how much use I have already got out of this thing. I’m constantly printing scenery for my model collections, components for personal projects, and custom parts for work. I’ve managed to work out a fairly-good tune for printing PLA, which I recall used to be a difficult task for this printer.
It’s so rewarding to be able to rapidly turn ideas into reality, and it’s starting to be game-changing with the possibilities for what I can do on my projects. How did I survive this long as a hobbyist without my own 3D printer!
This unit is perfect for my needs, it’s not going to drop any jaws when it comes to detail but for the cost I can’t complain. I still can’t believe how cheap this technology has become.