If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Afinia's H Series printers may well be the Eddie Haskells of 3D printing. Licensed by Delta Micro Factory, of which Beijing-based Tiertime is a subsidiary, the Afinia H480 bears an uncanny resemblance to the Tiertime Up! Plus 2. According to patent infringement (PI) claims filed by Stratasys, owner of Makerbot — whose Chinese distributor UCRobotics was incidentally accused of patent infringement by Tiertime — Afinia's underlying systems are also strikingly similar to technology pioneered by Stratasys.
The 3DP IP Wars, as the legal battles over rapid prototyping's intellectual property rights have come to be known, are more than just fights for primacy in the market for potentially lucrative technological advances. They have emerged from tussles between innovators and purveyors of additive manufacturing systems, indicative of fundamental disagreements about the development of new technology. One side says that proprietary systems and the protection of intellectual property rights provide profit motive to inspire scientific innovation in a capitalist system of competition. The other asserts that the sharing of nascent technology in an open system combines the best of individual creativity and collaborative problem solving to advance the technology in ways that competition alone cannot.
Within this broader context, the particulars of each lawsuit point back to the underlying issue that has yet to be sorted out either in the courts or in the minds of 3D printing's pioneers and devotees: Do rapid prototyping components and systems "belong" to one or another of their creators, or are they the products of a collective consciousness, inherently belonging to the public domain? While the question's been asked since the industry's earliest days, the answer, and the ultimate outcome of suits like that of Stratasys against Afinia — filed back when H800's predecessor the H480 entered the market — may not be fully realized until the H800 itself has settled into maturity or faded into obsolescence.
In the meantime, the H800 brings to the market substantial improvements over its forbears, notably including dramatically better adhesion, heat containment, and HEPA filtering of fumes for ABS printing. Added to the H Series' elegant looks, superior build quality, ease of use, and reliability; the H800's upgrades amount to excellent value for the price. That's worth considering when shortcomings like mediocre print speed, uncooperative software, and documentation that's clearly lost something in translation get in the way of one's 3D printing ambitions.
ABS plastic often gives off a "harsh smell" . . . but HEPA filters catch that smell before it escapes the print area, making the printing process cleaner and more comfortable.
Every time I hit print it "crashed" the software . . . it says the platform is overheated (it's not even warm at all), or it says the nozzle is overheated.
The enclosure works amazingly well for holding in heat and filtering fumes. The cons for this machine would be print times, software, and accessibility.
Resolution of 100 micron – which isn’t bad at all . . . Doesn’t weigh that much . . . Difficult to move from one workshop to another, but that’s the price you pay for quality.