There are a lot of 3D printers on the market, and the selection can be overwhelming. But once you start narrowing them down by the features you require, you end up with only a handful of options. If, like me, you want a sub-$1,000 dual-extruder 3D printer, then you may have come across the “BIBO 2 Touch Laser Dual Extruders 3D Printer.” BIBO is a little-known Chinese company that produces a range of products, but this 3D printer has overwhelmingly good reviews on Amazon. The question is if it lives up to the hype.
To find out, I purchased one for my own personal use — BIBO did not provide me with a printer for this review. I’ve been looking for a decent dual-extruder 3D printer for a while now, mostly because I want to be able to print PVA soluble supports for complex geometry. Nobody likes removing supports, which makes PVA very desirable (I’ll cover how to successfully print them in another article).
In my research, I came across the BIBO 3D printer. I had never heard of the brand, and professional reviews are scant, but it is very well-rated on Amazon. Are those reviews fake, or is this a legitimately good 3D printer being sold at a very reasonable price? I decided to find out.
Before I move on, let me address the somewhat confusing naming scheme that BIBO uses. They really only sell one 3D printer, but it is available with different options. Those include a touchscreen and a laser engraver module. So, the printer sold on Amazon as the “BIBO 3D Printer” is actually the “BIBO 2 Touch Laser Dual Extruders 3D Printer” on their website. That means it comes with the upgraded touchscreen and the laser engraver module.
This 3D printer sells for well under $1,000 on Amazon (with free Prime shipping!), which makes it one of the most affordable dual-extruder 3D printers on the market — even if you completely ignore the laser engraver module. It’s fully-enclosed and has a sturdy aluminum composite panel frame. It has a built-in WiFi module for transferring G-code files, and you can make those using whichever slicing software you prefer.
Here are the basic specifications:
- Build Size: 8.4 x 7.3 x 6.3 inches (214 x 186 x 160 mm)
- Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.3 mm
- Maximum Nozzle Temperature: 270°C
- Filament Diameter: 1.75 mm
- Overall Size: 18.4 x 14 x 14.7 inches (467 x 356 x 373 mm)
The printer comes from Amazon double-boxed in heavy cardboard, with a solid amount of Styrofoam padding. After unpacking, you’ll find that it is already 95% assembled. The rest of the assembly process took me less than an hour.
That includes mounting the extruder block to the X axis carriage, attaching the front door, assembling the red top cover, mounting the spool holders, and leveling the bed. Unfortunately, there is no automatic leveling, so you have to adjust the wingnuts manually to level the bed. That said, the leveling process is fairly quick and I haven’t had to re-level my bed yet — except after the upgrades I’ve done, which I will discuss at the end of this review.
As I mentioned before, you can use whatever slicing software you prefer. BIBO does, however, provide configuration settings for Repetier, Cura, and Simplify3D. I’ve been using Cura exclusively, and the standard settings work fairly well. You will probably want to fine-tune them to suit your needs and the filament you’re choosing to use, though.
My only complaint here is that the process for setting up wireless file transfer is convoluted. You have to connect your BIBO 3D Printer to your wireless network, install multiple utilities — one of which is in Chinese by default, and then use those clunky utilities to transfer the files. I’ve found it easier to just copy them to the included SD card, as the wireless transfer process is less convenient for me.
The touchscreen is adequately responsive, and the interface is fairly intuitive. But there are still some quirks that are a little bit frustrating. For example, to preheat the bed or extruders, you have to go to that section of the menu and then tap the “temperature increase” button over and over again to set them to the temperature you want. It would be nice to have a preset selection of temperatures that you could jump to.
There also isn’t much configurability. You can’t, for instance, set any kind of Z axis offset. That’s not a big deal, as the bed has to be leveled manually anyway, but it would be a nice feature. Those minor complaints aside, the touchscreen is more pleasant to use than the monochrome LCDs that most budget 3D printers — and even the similarly-priced Prusa i3 MK3S — have.
Let’s get down to what’s really important: printing. This topic is always going to be subjective, as people measure print quality with different yardsticks. That said, I’ve found the quality to be on-par with most other well-reviewed consumer FFF (Fused-Filament Fabrication) 3D printers. I have noticed more shadowing then on other 3D printers, including the Prusa i3 MK3S that I owned before I purchased the BIBO 3D printer, which is likely due to the additional weight of the extra extruder.
Speaking of the second extruder, I’ve been impressed by how level the two extruders are. A common issue with dual-extruder 3D printers is one extruder nozzle being slightlylower than the other. Even a fraction of a millimeter difference will cause one nozzle to drag across your part. That can ruin your print, or at least leave ugly scars. The BIBO’s extruders were perfectly leveled out of the box, and I have not had to touch them at all.
This isn’t the fastest 3D printer on the market, and I find myself printing at between 60 and 80 mm/s for the outer layers (100 mm/s for infill). It is possible to set it higher, but the print quality deteriorates as the weighty extruder block jerks around. Some printers are faster, but these speeds are pretty average for this market segment.
The extruders themselves seem to perform well, and flow has been pretty consistent. I haven’t noticed any under-extrusion or over-extrusion that can’t be explained by flaws in the filament. I also haven’t had any problems with the gears grinding or slipping on the filament.
My only significant complaint about the BIBO 3D Printer is the bed, which has a glass build plate. While glass build plates are still very common, they feel outdated to me. You’re forced to use fixes like painter’s tape or glue sticks to get your first layer to adhere, and then the parts become difficult to remove when you’re done. Anyone who has stabbed themselves with a scraper knows how true that is. With other manufacturers, like Prusa, using modern solutions such as spring steel build plates, being stuck with glass seems a bit like taking a technological step backwards.
Fortunately, this is a relatively easy fix. You can upgrade your BIBO 3D printer with a better build plate, and I’ve covered a couple of options for how to do that here. If you do purchase one of these printers, I highly recommend you upgrade your build plate. It’s inexpensive and easy to do, and something that BIBO really should have done themselves.
If you’re looking for a dual-extruder 3D printer under $1,000, the BIBO 3D Printer is one of the best options I’ve come across — maybe even the best. With the exception of the build plate, which can be upgraded, I don’t have any complaints that aren’t just minor nitpicks. BIBO has also proven to have extremely responsive and helpful support, which is nearly unheard of when it comes to Chinese 3D printer manufacturers.
If you’re like me and want that second extruder for printing PVA soluble supports, then stay tuned. After a lot of trial and error, I’ve finally got PVA printing reliably and will have a guide posted soon on how to achieve good results.