- Written by Kyle Granat
About 2 years ago my mother and I backed a 3D Printer called the Buccaneer on Kickstarter. We were backer #27 and paid about $300 with shipping for the promise of a printer in february of 2014. February came and went, and still no printer. Pirate3D (the manufacturer) went through all sorts of production problems, refunds, etc, to the point that there was some worry of ever getting the printer. Of course this is kickstarter, so you've got to expect this kind of thing. I wanted the printer to learn more about 3D printing, and my mom (an educator) wanted it to teach her the club kids about digital design and 3D printing. So we weren't too bothered by the delays.
We were actually really surprised when the printer finally showed up. In fact it came just in the neck of time - the next day my mom was hosting a Scratch Day Event and we set it up to show the kids. Initially I had problems with Pirate3D's Treasure Island site where you can download 3D models for your printer, but in retrospect I think it had something to do with the school's network. The generic error about not being able to download the file to the printer was frustrating, but makes a certain amount of sense. The printer actually gets models directly from Treasure Island, so it's likely that whatever method it uses to download the file was blocked. But I was able to get ahold of a windows laptop and run the Buccaneer software to load .STL files from Thingiverse
I was impressed how easy setup and the first print was. Pirate3D was really going for a simply setup machine, and as soon as I got the software dealt with, I was printing in no time.
After Scratch day I picked up some glow in the dark filament from Microcenter that is a ton of fun. I had to do some creative work to get the filament to feed into the Buccaneer since the spools didn't match, but after that it printed just as well as with the default filament.
I'm still getting used to the printer, and I've got a lot to learn about models and settings. For what I paid, I'm impressed with the Buccaneer. For a brand new one it looks like the cost is going to be around $1000. I'm not sure that I'd pay that for the Buccaneer, but we'll see after I get a little more accustomed to the printer. The printer does some things really well, and some things not so well. I need to hit up the forums and compare my results with what everyone else is printing. It would be nice if there was a base-line to make sure your printer is functioning properly. In the past I've only dealt with prints from high end machines like from shape ways, so sometimes I don't know if the imperfections in my prints are just the nature of cheap home 3D printers, or something else that I can improve. I'll have more information on the quality of my prints, settings, etc soon. Until then, here's some Print Pictures. I've also setup a webcam on the side of the printer, mostly so I can remotely see if it's still printing or not.