Question of the Week: Using Open Filament on the Sindoh DP200 3D Printer?

By on July 27th, 2019 in Hardware, question

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 The venerable Sindoh DP200 desktop 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]
The venerable Sindoh DP200 desktop 3D printer [Source: Fabbaloo]

This week’s question is whether the Sindoh DP200 3D printer could ever be made to use open materials?

The Sindoh 3DWOX line includes some of the best desktop 3D printers I’ve used, and I’ve used a lot. We reviewed their original DP200 machine back in 2016 and more recently their 3DWOX 1 device last year.

Both of these devices are very easy to use and produce high-quality output and, at least when they were introduced, were aggressively priced.

The one tick against the original DP200 was that it used proprietary cartridges that could only be obtained from Sindoh. Fortunately, these cartridges were priced nominally, as Sindoh was not gouging captive customers as some other 3D printer manufacturers tend to do.

While the cartridge system did allow Sindoh to carefully tune their print parameters to achieve those high-quality results, it also severely limited material type options for customers. If, for example, someone wanted to 3D print in PETG, for example, it could not be done on the DP200, as its chip reader would not detect a valid cartridge or, worse, would set the print parameters incorrectly.

However, after some time Sindoh seemed to have a change of heart regarding materials. They realized they build printers, not materials, and decided to focus on the machine. This resulted in their introduction of the powerful 3DWOX 1 device, an improved version of the DP200 with a much nicer print surface, and also the ability, if one desired, to 3D print in open materials. Thus, you could attempt to print almost any reasonable material on the device.

Upgrading a DP200 3D Printer?

Given all this, reader Orin describes his situation:

”I wanted to buy one of the 3DWOX 1’s but I didn’t want to spend that amount of funds (I’m retired) on a printer that had a lot of plus and minus remarks made in a lot of places on the internet. I did like the looks and good remarks that had been made so I decided to buy a used DP200 version that I had found. A lady had given it to her son last Christmas but to him it wasn’t something he wanted so it was sold to me.”

Then, the big question: Could Sindoh:

“Sell an update to the firmware that would allow the use of aftermarket filaments?”

This seems like something that could be technically feasible: a firmware change to simply ignore the requirement for a chipped cartridge. Even better, the code to do this is mostly already done in the form of the 3DWOX 1 firmware, and thus could perhaps be adapted for the DP200.

Sindoh Responds To Enquiry

We asked Sindoh this question directly, and received an unusual answer.

It seems the company actually did consider producing this very firmware upgrade, but decided against doing so.

Their logic was this: their experiments with open materials on modified DP200s revealed that the extrusion system was only certifiable for use with PLA and ABS materials. They feared that if such a firmware upgrade were provided to customers, some would unnecessarily break their equipment by using non-PLA or -ABS materials, in spite of warnings.

Remember, one of their core design principles for their product line is to ensure ease of use, so this sentiment does make sense. That’s why they did the cartridge system in the first place.

Decision on 3DWOX 1

 The powerful current flagship desktop 3D printer from Sindoh, the 3DWOX 1 [Source: Fabbaloo]
The powerful current flagship desktop 3D printer from Sindoh, the 3DWOX 1 [Source: Fabbaloo]

A Sindoh spokesperson explained their next steps:

“Instead we’ve decided to bring out a model, the 3DWOX 1, with an updated extruder so that it will have superior results compared to having the DP200 open.”

And indeed that is the case; the 3DWOX 1 can handle a much wider variety of materials, as we’ve tested. It also has a better print surface that is easier to use.

Future Sindoh Firmware Upgrade?

Will Sindoh ever consider offering a DP200 firmware upgrade to allow use of open materials?

I got the impression from speaking with them that they are not completely closed to the idea, as they may re-evaluateit in the future. That said, it might be a good idea to let them know you’re interested in such an upgrade.

Via Sindoh

By Kerry Stevenson

Kerry Stevenson, aka "General Fabb" has written over 8,000 stories on 3D printing at Fabbaloo since he launched the venture in 2007, with an intention to promote and grow the incredible technology of 3D printing across the world. So far, it seems to be working!