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New 3D Printer Test Kit: Find Your 3D Printer’s Limits

Sep 2, 2013   //   by Bob Warfield   //   3D Printing, Blog, DIY CNC  //  No Comments

Objective performance evaluations: they’re hard to come by.  Back in the day, marketers encouraged us to buy Stereo Hi Fi gear based on measured quantities like “Total Harmonic Distortion.”  The car crowd was supposed to look at 0 to 60 times or “lateral skidpad acceleration.”  The thing is, you’d go listen to stereos based on those numbers and pretty quickly discover the numbers weren’t telling the whole story.  Nevertheless, it is useful to have some kind of framework for evaluating which products do a better job.  The secret is to measure what the product delivers, not with abstract statistics, but as people will perceive the product.  A good example is digital camera reviews.  I have liked and used the site DPReview.com because that’s how they work.  You get a standard series of photos that help them show the differences in performance between various cameras.  That’s what this new 3D Printer Test Kit, a Kickstarter project, is all about.

3D modelers Natalie Mathis and Quincy Robinson, are offering what they call “Test Chips.”  These are basically small 3D printable parts that can be used to evaluate the performance of 3D printers.  This collection of 12 Test Chips is called “Graphica”, and it includes chips focused on categories they call “Mechanical Components” and “Artistic Flair.”  Here are a few of the Graphica Test Chips:


Gazelle tests narrow undercuts and detail retention…


Mouth is a mechanical test of a pivoting mouth with a hidden control tab…

This is not Mathis and Robinson’s first rodeo, as they say.  They already had a successful 3D Printer Test Kit on Kickstarter:


The original test kit featured these 8 Test Chips…

If nothing else these test kits will give your new 3D printer a workout and perhaps give you some new ideas about what it’s capable of.



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