What were the best tools you bought or used in 2018?
I review a lot of stuff (to the point where I stopped listing everything), but a few things stood out above the rest. Let’s see how many match what you are thinking of …
Yeah, this is just my list, and likely one of many out there – As a maker and a blogger I have to do a roundup at the end of the year. I think there is a law or something.
5. The Mosaic Palette 2
I am listing this one mostly for potential rather than my actual experience because I am still getting up and running with it and dialing it in after I wasted an entire day swearing at my Prusa.
They are Canadian but deliver out of the USA so the import duty stings a bit, and it is not cheap, but people are creating some wonderful multi-colour and multi-material prints with it already. My main priority is actually water soluble supports, but mixing TPU and PLA will be awesome too.
While the Prusa was the weak link in my entire setup, I can see they are still working through some edge cases in the experience. My Palette has frozen a couple of times, but the new firmware has resolved many of the issues folks were having earlier.
Give it a month or two and it will be amazing.
4. Cura slicer
While I still use Simplify 3D mostly out of laziness, the last S3D update was a disaster. Ben advised me he had to roll back so I never upgraded. As the premium paid option, it should be far ahead of everything else, but sadly it slipped behind, and it is not cheap.
That is before we get into their DRM/licensing headaches. If you don’t already own Simplify 3D I wouldn’t recommend it going into 2019.
Cura, though? Wow guys! Open source and so. Many. Upgrades.
The one thing I am missing before I can completely switch over to Cura is printer profiles. Naturally, the focus is on Ultimaker. I don’t have an Ultimaker, and I don’t have time to replace all my profiles.
Maybe 2019 will see the community embrace it to the point where I can simply forget S3D existed?
3. Creality Ender 3
Creality Ender 3. For me this was THE printer of 2018.
The only issue I found with my two Ender 3s (regular and pro – buy the regular) was a slightly loose
Not sure why Angus was having trouble dialing his in, all my prints have been amazing simply using a CR-10 profile with the bed size tweaked.
I can’t believe this printer is under $200 USD.
If I was going to build a print farm, I would have a bunch of these bad boys.
2. Sienci LongMill CNC
Want a brilliantly capable, open source, 30″ x 30″ CNC machine for half the price of a Shapeoko?
And do you want it to use lead screws and not belts?
On top of all that, do you actually want real support rather than be fobbed off onto a community forum?
And the best product of 2018 …
I am a big fan of my Chinese k40 laser, but I wouldn’t describe it as fun. It’s not a “just works” productivity super tool, more of a “never-ending project”. Not in a bad way like my Australian 3D printer was, but not fun either.
The Glowforge though has impressed me every step of the way, and it is only getting better (latest upgrade is alignment marks, for example). I gave the Glowforge Basic a glowing review as soon as I unboxed it, saying the Glowforge was the
Yeah I have a couple of niggles. First of all it is slow to engrave. Second, you still can’t buy their “Proofgrade” materials with the fancy QR codes on and have them delivered to Canada.
For user experience and repeatability of output, however, I have never used a tool as delightful as the Glowforge.
It’s that good.
While they have a premium guy available, with slightly more power, cooling, and a pass-through, personally I would get the Basic and use the hack to trick it into letting you “pass-in” materials for the rare occasions I need more capacity (especially now I have my LongMill and a table saw).
Over to you!
Which tools impressed you this year? Please share in the group!