MatterHackers Education Ambassador Review: Pulse XE 3D Printer
Applied Engineering & Technology Teacher, Bill White, gives an in-depth review of the Pulse XE 3D Printer for the classroom and more.
The purpose of this letter is to give an honest, in-depth review of the Pulse XE 3D Printer by Matterhackers. I will be reviewing it both as an educator as well as a personal 3D printing enthusiast. My 3D printing adventure started about 8 years ago, but it really didn’t take off until about 6 years ago. With that being said, I have about 2 ½ years of experience printing with the Pulse XE.
My first experience with the Pulse XE from Matterhackers came in 2018. At that time, I was looking at expanding my personal 3D printing arsenal. Although I thought that I would likely never be able to get a second personal 3D printer, I knew that if I could, it would have to be a significant upgrade. It must be able to basically do it all and have a larger build volume than my first machine. When I first saw the Pulse come out, I was definitely intrigued by its ability to print abrasive materials and practically just about any material right out of the box. The key there is “right out of the box”. Sure, you can upgrade a printer to do just about anything, but the Pulse came ready to go. After a lot of reading and watching other reviews, I decided to order the Pulse XE bundle from Matterhackers.
The utter excitement of coming home to a big box from Matterhackers is just an awesome experience. I jumped right in and started to unbox my new machine. At first glance, I loved the appearance of the Pulse...it was way different than what I was used to. I didn’t have a screen on my first machine, so the Viki2 was a wow factor for me. It didn’t take long at all to get my new Pulse XE unboxed and prepped for printing. Since I got the bundle, I also set up the PrintDry. My new set up looked sharp and I was ready to get to testing.
Connecting to a computer and setting up MatterControl:
Once my Pulse XE was ready for action, I next needed to start with a setup in the MatterControl software. The process was a breeze and I had my machine connected in no time. Although I wanted to just start with NylonX, I chose to start printing with Matterhackers PRO Series RYNO filament first. After I selected my material, I ran my Z-calibration as well as print leveling to ensure a good first layer. I was amazed by the BLTouch as that was also new to me at the time. This process didn’t take long and so, I was ready to run my first print.
My first print on my new Pulse XE was 3D Phil, the MatterHackers mascot. Slicing in MatterControl was a breeze and I appreciated seeing an estimated print time as well as a cost to print. Printing got underway and of course, I sat and watched the entire print from start to finish. It was a thing of beauty to watch; it was just so smooth. The quality of the print was great. As the part finished, I was definitely excited for what was to come next.
Printing Abrasives (NylonX)
When deciding to get the Pulse XE from Matterhackers, the main reason was its ability to print abrasives right out of the box. After ensuring that my NylonX filament was adequately dry, I unloaded my RYNO. My first abrasive print was also a 3D Phil. The Pulse XE laid down the layers of NylonX so smoothly. The end product was awesome and I knew that I was ready. I dove right in and printed an all day print. It was a NylonX derby car for ERRF that I designed in Inventor. I checked back periodically on my print and each time I was blown away by what I was seeing. The quality of the final print was crazy. I actually printed NylonX as support material and it broke away amazingly easily. My decision to get the Pulse XE definitely paid off. Printing abrasives for the machine seemed flawless.
So, my main focus for this printer was to print functional, end use parts; however, it can handle anything. After I crushed my first spool of NylonX, I moved into more traditional filaments (PLA, PETG). PLA was a breeze for this machine. PETG took a little tweaking in the settings in MatterControl, but it also printed like butter. The next test came with flexible filament. This was uncharted territory for me, so it took me a while to figure it all out. After quite a bit of testing and many failed prints, I figured it out. The ability to also be able to handle this type of material was cool to me. The Pulse XE can do it all!
For work or for play?
My first experience with the Pulse was a personal purchase. I got to do a lot of testing with it before I finally made the decision to add a Pulse XE to my printing setup at school. It only seemed a natural fit to add this machine to my school's printing arsenal. Since I teach grades 7-12, I thought it would be awesome to have a tiered approach to teaching 3D printing. My younger students would learn the basics with PLA, eventually work their way up to PETG and then of course nylon/abrasive material. This machine handles it all and I felt it fitting to give my students the opportunity to print high quality end use parts. If your students are doing anything like mine, whether it is for robotics or for automotive, this machine will give them the opportunity to produce those functional parts. It is also budget friendly for a school, so you don’t just have to get one or feel like it is eating up your entire budget.
Why do I love this printer?
First and foremost, I love that this printer comes ready to rock and roll right out of the box. For me, it was about printing abrasives mainly; however, it can handle any material thrown at it. Personally, I have one of the earlier models of the Pulse XE 3D Printer and it just continues to print super well. Having the newest model now at school, I am definitely a little jealous with all of the refinements that Matterhackers has made. It is still the same great machine; although, it is much quieter and smoother. Whether it is an early model or the newest one, this machine continues to meet and exceed my expectations for what desktop 3D printing looks like. Whether you are a school teacher like myself or an engineer, this printer will be a great addition to your workspace. I am giving this machine two thumbs up and personally recommend the Pulse both for work and for play.