Tiertime's Up Mini 2 is a surprisingly inexpensive bot, given its considerable sheen. Besides being easy on the wallet and eyes, the Up Mini 2 is built for ease of use. But Tiertime’s competitive advantage may rely more on intellectual property rights than on bells and whistles like the Mini 2’s touchscreen interface and Wi-Fi connectivity. In the battle between open source and proprietary systems, the Mini 2 stands in stark opposition to 3D printing’s RepRap roots.
A key catalyst in the widespread adoption of additive manufacturing technology, the RepRap movement has struggled to maintain primacy in the marketplace it helped create. Increasingly driven by competing demands for innovation, the establishment of intellectual property rights, and lower prices, desktop manufacturing has all the earmarks of a thoroughly saturated market — long the domain of skilled conformists, eager to cash in on the labors and innovations of others.
Historically, a fortunate few of these imitators have — through talent or sheer luck — found a niche and called it home for a while. But most of these unfortunate companies find themselves casualties of the unsympathetic free market. Tiertime, however, may well have found its niche in this fiercely competitive environment. The Beijing-based firm made a splash on the scene by suing a local Makerbot distributor for patent infringement, making clear that Tiertime stands behind a closed systems philosophy.
The adoption of the "Apple philosophy" leaks over to the minimalist design of the Mini 2, an affordable entry-level 3D printer for casual users. Equipped with a convenient external filament holder, the machine promises users a reliable, plug-and-play experience, and — given the reputation established by Tiertime's previous releases — buyers can expect this 2016 version to be true to the producer's word.
Capable of printing in 0.15mm layer thickness with new mechanical design...has internal LED lighting, so that printing progress can be easily monitored.
Compact, portable, and user friendly...The single extruder has a quick change mechanism for easy replacement...sports an aluminum handle for easy carrying.
Features automatic calibration, unlike the original model...includes a built-in HEPA air filtration system...much more sleek and stylish than its predecessor.
Can 3D print ABS and PLA. This 3D printer offers a closed frame and an independant filament pool holder...equipped with an aluminum handle for enhanced portability.
Includes a software-assisted leveling procedure...Another feature that will make life easier is the integrated WiFi network connection.