Up! Mini, reviving a pre-loved relic of my 3D printing history.

By Nulltek

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!

The power-meter mount modelled. With space for calibration adapters.
The print begins… It took a little over an hour to do this part.
It’s always nice when all the dimensions were correct.

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.