Why did I buy the Toybox 3d printer?
I purchased the 3D Toybox printer because I was new to 3D printing, wasn’t very technical, and certainly didn’t have patience for assembling lots of parts.’
What I did have was tons of enthusiasm for 3D printing and wanted to have my own experience printing. After researching various beginner 3D printers, I felt it couldn’t get any easier than the Toybox 3D printer so I bought it after thinking about it for several months.
I figured it was a good place to start, mainly because was little to no setup, the materials came with the printer, and there was an app interface that did all the work and provided so many free objects ready to be printed. I might add, I’m a grandpa of 5 grandchildren and thought it would be the perfect thing to let my grandkids choose toys to print. So far it hasn’t disappointed, and beyond my grandchildren, my grown children enjoy it just as much.
Is the Toybox 3D printer a perfect printer?
No, it is not a perfect printer and it does not print perfectly every time; but I imagine every 3D printer has its issues. What is nice about the Toybox 3D printer is there is really only one adjustment necessary – the height of the print bed.
The purpose of the calibration is to test the distance from the extruder nozzle to the print bed (the height of the print bed). If it gets out of whack either no material will come out or the material becomes stringy and doesn’t allow the material to stick to the bed.
If you notice any of these things happening all you need is a small allen wrench and a quick turn of a screw to adjust the bed height. It might take a couple of test prints to test the quality of the print after each adjustment but that is very easy to do.
Ideally, the printer comes from the factory properly calibrated. Mine did come properly calibrated and out of the first 5 prints I only had one that didn’t print completely correct. After about 5 prints I noticed the material was not sticking to the bed in one spot. I stopped the print, made the quick adjustment and then it seemed to work well.
I didn’t mind the glitch as it taught me more about the machine and gave confidence there was a solution for most issues you might encounter. I’m learning more about 3D printing and am seeing the things I have been reading about over the past several months.
- I have seen the skirt print and not print.
- I have seen warping.
- I have seen remains of filament from a previous print come out before the new color comes out when I change filament color.
- I’ve seen good prints and not so good prints
- I’ve seen stringy prints and smooth prints.
- I have seen how people get excited about watching this new technology.
What problems did I have setting up the Toybox 3D printer?
There were minimal problems, but I will share my issues regardless of how small as I know that is what you would like to understand.
The paper instructions that come with the Toybox are very very basic and simple. By design, they want you to get into the app and let the guided instruction walk you through the setup. The issue with this is if you have a question about a step, there really isn’t instructions to get you back on course. The calibration caused me just a simple delay, but I did a good search on YouTube and found the answer I needed. This is probably your best source if you get off track. By design this machine is designed for kids so minimal written instructions is understandable.
I did not understand that the Toybox app only works on a mobile phone or a tablet. I initially tried to setup up the app on my laptop, and couldn’t figure out why it wouldn’t setup. After trying for 5 minutes I decided to try doing it on my iPhone and had no problems. Later, I researched this issue and discovered the app does not work on a laptop or desktop machine. No biggy, but it is good to understand.
Setting up the Wi-Fi was just a little confusing. The first step is making sure you are connected to Wi-Fi in your house. Second, is connecting to the direct Wi-Fi on your printer. This connection requires a 6-digit code. I was expecting the code to come on my phone, but after 2-3 minutes I realized it was displayed on the mini screen of the 3D printer. I have been accused of not reading instructions so maybe I overlooked that little tidbit. The code is actually a fixed code specifically for your printer. It never changes. It is what allows the phone to communicate with the box. Once I found the code, it was no problem.
Calibration was the next minor issue. As I walked through the setup instructions, it talked about making sure to calibrate the 3D printer to ensure things printed ok. I watched the video that was included in the online steps, but once it was done, I didn’t know how to actually start the calibration. I assumed it would just start immediately as a step. But it didn’t so I had to search on the app for the calibration tool. Once I found it, no problems. You can find it under the “my Toybox” menu option. Click on the icon, scroll to the bottom and there it is. You will need this more often than they allude too as I think the calibration at least on my printer is a little more sensitive depending on the item being printed.
The other thing that took a minute to figure out was feeding the filament. There is a button on the mini printer that says feed me (click the gear icon if you don’t see this). Once you push the feed me button you will see to icons. The one on the left indicates load, the one on the right indicates unload.
The challenge was both buttons were Initially greyed out and not active. Finally, I realized the button is inoperable until the printer is heated sufficiently. Once it heats up the buttons become active and is push able. I’ve learned that nothing really happens until the machine is heated to proper temperature. So, get used to always waiting for it to heat up.
Did the Toybox 3D prints turn out good?
I’ve only had the printer for a short time but have tried different style objects and will rate each one below.
this was my very first print, and I did it to surprise my wife. It worked. It was really her first experience with a 3D printer and she was in awe. She wore the ring the rest of the night. The ring printed just fine.
this was my second print. The print turned out great, looks just like a normal referee whistle. The only negative, it doesn’t actually work all that well. Occasionally you can get a good shrill whistle but most of the time not so much. But it looks beautiful so from that standpoint, I like it.
the third print was a spider with 8 legs each in the shape of an upside down “V” coming out of the body. This was the first real failed print. I could tell from the get go it didn’t quite look right and sure enough by the end I had 4 good legs and 4 partial legs.
the fourth attempt was an individual gecko printed multiple times that then connected together to make a puzzle. Each gecko printed beautifully. It introduced using different colors for different prints and then assembling them to create color in the overall object.
Elephant (no image, my grandson took it)
this was the fifth print, and the first one selected by one of my grandsons. It was just the shape of an elephant with a hole for the eye. Very simple, very solid, no delicate appendages and he loved it. Uses it in the bathtub today. He’s only two so not too picky.
The letter F box
this was the sixth print and the first attempt at printing a two-piece object that would fit together. It was box in the shape of a block “F”. It had a base and a lid. Overall, the box printed reasonable, but with this print I began to see adhesion issues. The tail end of the “F” was not adhering to the printer bed and so the bottom of the F curves up rather than laying flat on a table. The lid appears to have some adhesion issues as well which caused a few minor defects mostly in the look. But the the two pieces do fit together just not perfectly flush. I learned later this is an issue that indicates the print bed is not calibrated correctly.
this was the seventh print and the first attempt at creating my own object to print. You can only print so much before you start to wonder and your creativity kicks in. The Toybox app gives you a lot of flexibility. You can print existing designs or you can create your own designs by combining shapes, drawing freehand or converting a picture of an object.
The scissors was an attempt at print a picture. I took a picture of regular scissors, it converted it to 3D or tried too. The picture itself wasn’t bad but It left a background behind the scissors so I tried to erase background. Then I printed. You could certainly tell they were scissors but the file obviously needed editing. My assumption is that while pictures can be taken and converted, the conversion is sketchy at best and would always require some editing.
This was the eight print and by far the coolest print yet. It was an 8-leg octopus, but each leg swiveled. It printed perfectly and really is a great example of 3D printing even printing moving parts.
What is the purpose of the Toybox 3D printer?
Everyone will have a different purpose for a 3D printer. The Toybox 3D printer is more for play than for practicality. It introduces people to the 3D printing concept and lets them play and learn. The printer is very small, limiting objects to 3 x 3 inches max. However, for me it does have some other application. I own a small lapel pin company, Pinprosplus. We produce small lapel pins. The Toybox 3D printer is perfect for printing lapel pins. Now it does produce mass quantity, but can easily create a one-off custom pin.
How expensive is the Toybox 3D printer?
The Toybox 3D printer plus 9 spools of different color filament cost $377. I purchased the Toybox and deluxe bundle direct from Toybox Labs. I had no problems with the order, it delivered a little over a week after I ordered it. The amount of filament I received will last a long time and print many many prints.
I have enjoyed using and sharing this printer with others. It has far exceeded my expectation and I would strongly recommend it to anyone wanting to have a 3D experience without the worry of being technical. If you plan to expand quickly into bigger objects, its probably better to choose a 3D printer that has a little more capacity.