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A Review Of The Dead-Simple Pirate3D Buccaneer 3D Printer

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A Review Of The Dead-Simple Pirate3D Buccaneer 3D Printer

3D printing has never been this easy. Meet the Pirate3D Buccaneer printer. It takes minutes to set up and works flawlessly. Yet this isn’t a printer for the serious DIY tinkerer. This is a printer for someone who wants to bypass the hassle that comes with endless customization and just own a printer that can easily spit out doodads.

Pros

  • It just works
  • Fantastic print quality
  • Very reliable

Cons

  • Can not adjust print temperature, so the printer will only work with PLA
  • No power switch
  • Requires direct WiFi connection to PC

 

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Review:

The Buccaneer impresses. Before writing this review, I tried to break the thing. Over the last few weeks, I printed everything I could find from toys to flower vases to superhero bobbleheads that now sit unused and forgotten in my kids’ rooms. I went through a 400g spool of filament.

And during this stress test, the printer worked flawlessly from my first print. The nozzle never clogged nor did a print fail. I didn’t have to calibrate the print plate or mess with extruder settings. However, occasionally, the software would stall, but closing and opening the program resolved any issue.

The Pirate3D Buccaneer is a fantastic 3D printer.

Setup:

The Buccaneer takes about 5 minutes to set up. Once out of the box, several zip-ties holding the extruder in place need to be snipped. After that, filament needs to be feed into a small hole at the top of the printer.

The user then needs to select the printer’s WiFi connection and instruct the software to load the filament into the extruder. The print plate snaps into place using magnets. That’s about it. The printer is now ready to rock.

This simple setup is what sets the Buccaneer apart from other printers. This is a printer that a grade school child could setup. Generally, with other 3D printers, printing plates need to be calibrated and extruders need to be set to the proper temperature. With Buccaneer, the plate is automatically calibrated and the printer is so far limited to just using PLA so there is no need to adjust the print temperature.

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Printing:

3D printers are notoriously fickle machines requiring constant attention. The Buccaneer is not one of those printers. It just works.

During my time with the printer I tried to muck up the extruder. I failed. The company is very proud of this part of the printer telling me that the patented nozzle was a significant part of its R&D efforts. It features a special coating on the inside surfaces and sports and optimized nozzle geometry that combine to virtually eliminate any jamming or clogging. It didn’t jam or clog for me.

The printing plate features a replaceable sticky surface instead of a heated plate. It works well, but after printing about 400g of objects (one spool of filament), the plate is no longer sticky. The printer ships with one replacement pad and the company sells additional a 2 pack of pads for $22.

Printing is a simple task, too. Users can select designs from the dozens of designs pre-loaded in the software or load their own files. It takes about four clicks to print an object.

The printer spits out filament at .4mm, which is perfectly acceptable for most applications. The print size is on par with the Makerbot Replicator Mini with a build size of 5 inches high, 3.7 inches wide and 5.4 inches tall. However, the Buccaneer claims a 50 micron layers size – half that of the Makerbot. While you’d be hard pressed to see the difference, the layer size is a nice statistic and should give the Buccaneer points in any printer shootout.

Limitations:

The Buccaneer is great, but it’s also limited. I suspect the printer’s reliability is the result of lack of customizable options available to the user. During my review time with the printer, items like adjusting the extruder’s temperature to use different filament were not available. Essentially, the company is making sure users do not mess up their printers with bad settings. Yet only being able to print one kind of material is a limitation when other printers available for about the same price can print using several different types of filament.

The printer requires a direct WiFi connection to a PC. This is strange. The printer cannot join a local network nor does it have an Ethernet port. In a sense, having a direct WiFi connection ensures easy setup, but in many cases, when a PC is connected to the printer, it is disconnected from the local network and therefore the Internet.

And for some reason, the Buccaneer does not have a power switch. It’s always on unless its unplugged.

Worth it?

At $799 the Pirate3D Buccaneer is a fantastic buy. It offers the magic of 3D printing to the novice user. The printer’s lack of customizable options will not bother the inexperienced user. Because of the printer’s easy setup to its tremendous reliability, it’s easy to recommend the Buccaneer.