BQ uses the 3D printer Witbox to print objects. In the test the device proves to be mature. Read why.
The 3D printer Witbox is a finished product from the Spanish manufacturer BQ. The company is known for its tablets, e-readers and smartphones. Now she wants to establish herself in the 3D pressure bearing. The first litter is the Witbox, which brings astonishingly much scope: To the 3D printer packs the manufacturer a spare nozzle and cleaning needles for the pressure nozzle. In addition, key, a spatula, a calibration pad and a role, see one kilogram PLA plastic wire in the package . Also the instructions for the first installation of the Witbox is detailed, is in German and can be found as a bound manual in a box. This makes 3D printer manufacturers very rare. Usually, they attach loose sheets or simply refer to online instructions on their websites.
Installation of the BQ Witbox
A steel frame forms the basis of the 3D printer. It is clad with plastic panels, available in white, yellow and black. A spindle with motor coupling carries the printing table upwards. In the case and the pressure nozzle, fans provide the ideal climate in the installation space. The construction platform is 29.7 centimeters wide and 21.0 centimeters deep as large as a DIN A4 sheet. In the height creates the Witbox 20.0 centimeters. This is quite generous.
After unpacking, we have to use the lateral Plexiglas flap for our test device. To do so, we loosen the screws slightly and slide the windows into the space between the frame and the panel. The top cover is also screwed on. This completely closes the BQ Witbox. It can even be locked and is thus also protected against unauthorized access.
Calibration of the Witbox
The construction platform itself consists of glass and is held with magnets on the base. For calibration, there is a support which defines the distance between the nozzle and the platform. The display of the Witbox is performed by the calibration process. The 3D printer drives three dots on the disk. By screwing on the bottom of the platform it can be lifted and lowered. The distance between nozzle and platform is correct when the calibration pad can be moved against a small resistance of the pressure nozzle. Once the individual points have been established, the nozzle moves to the center of the platform for checking.
In the course of the test, we perform the process very often. The reason: the glass surface of the Witbox is very smooth and not heatable. Therefore, the distance must be very accurate. If it is too large, the print objects move. If it is too small, not enough plastic can be applied to the plate or the finished objects can be detached from the platform very hard. In the test, an enclosed spray with lacquer provides a remedy. It ensures greater adhesion of the objects on the glass. Alternatively, an adhesive layer can also be applied from the pen. It provides a little more tolerance during calibration and allows the first printing layers to adhere well.
The PLA plastic material comes from the Witbox. On the back of the vehicle, we hang the roller carrier and insert the roller. The charging process will again be executed by means of a display instruction. To do this, the nozzle heats up to 220 degrees Celsius. At the same time, we push the plastic wire through the guide to the extruder. When the processing temperature is reached, the display tells us to push the wire further. If everything works, the PLA exits the nozzle. The BQ Witbox works with 1.75 millimeter wire. This is the narrower version that easily kicks. Before we insert the wire, we cut off the piece, which was bent for fixing on the roll. A cut has proven itself, which allows the filament to tip. This makes it easier to reach the nozzle.
First Probedruck with the Witbox
The BQ Witbox can both USB and from the SD card print. The manual describes only how to use the memory card. The 3D printer also requires the USB port for firmware updates. We are updating the firmware from version 1.3.1 to 1.4.1 because the display often only shows control signals and we only get it back into operation by removing or replacing the SD card or switching off the device. With the new firmware, the display is more consistent.
On the SD card, which is inside the device, some sample data are stored for trial and error. It is recommended to use the file “Twisted Box”, but we do not have the test device, the printed counterpart is in the carton, and BQ recommends using the file as the first print to check the correct functioning of the Witbox The proof and the template are identical, so you know that you have done everything right.
A lot of freedom with the printing software
Normally, 3D printers are designed for a particular printing program. The BQ Witbox gives the user a lot of freedom because it works with different programs – Cura, Repetier Host, Pronterface and Slic3r. They are all open source, established in the 3D printing scene and are available for download on the manufacturer’s website. In the test we worked with Cura Witbox Edition. When installing, we select the Witbox as a 3D printer and thus receive a version adapted to the model of the program.
With Cura allows templates load, rotate, scale and prepare it for printing. The software distinguishes between base – and expert mode. The basic settings differ in three resolutions: poor, normal and high quality. In addition, you specify the material diameter and the type of plastic (ABS, PLA). More details can be set in the expert mode – such as layer thickness, filling density, thickness of the outer shell and printing speed as well as heating temperature.
Speed and print quality
Once a 3D template is uploaded, such as an STL file, Cura calculates the G code. After each change, a new calculation takes place. The larger the object, the longer the rendering process takes. Our small test object – the Sahnetkopf – is calculated in 23 seconds. Cura gives a prognosis as to how long the pressure lasts, how much plastic is needed and how hard the finished object will be. In the case of the test object which expects software with 1:36 hours printing time. We measured 1:30 hours, which means that the forecast is not too far away from the time value.
Before the 3D printer starts, it heats up the nozzle. He needs an average of two minutes – that’s fast. The printing times differ considerably depending on the print quality. In the normal mode the pot is finished in 1:30 hours. At high resolution the process is extended to 2:27 minutes. Compared to other 3D printer models are the rather leisurely times.
The exact calibration is worthwhile in view of the results from the BQ Witbox. The 3D printer creates clean surfaces. Between normal and quality mode, you see and feel a quality jump. Highly resolved, the layers are hardly distinguishable. But also the normal resolution will suffice in many cases, because all test objects come out cleanly from the Witbox. Thanks to the glass surface of the building platform, the stands are very smooth. Refining is usually not necessary.
If the extruder unit moves very strongly during printing, an object can dissolve from the glass plate despite exact calibration. A layer with adhesive such as the Pritt pen or printing with raft or support can help. Do not try to get around here.
Consumption of the BQ Witbox
The 3D printer processes PLA material that comes from the reel and costs 19.90 euros per kilogram on the manufacturer’s website. Our sample object weighs 10 grams in high resolution. The item costs around 20 cents – favorable follow-up costs. In addition to the classic PLA plastic, BQ also offers a wood thread variant, which is considerably more expensive with 34.90 euros. In the power consumption the Witbox behaves in the operation with 74 watts sufficiently. In standby, the device switches to 22.2 watts – which is comparatively high. Plus: Switch off the printer completely from the power supply.
Conclusion – successful debut for the BQ Witbox
In the test, the BQ Witbox has proven to be a reliable 3D printer. However, it must be carefully calibrated. Allow time for this. Then the Witbox can work alone alone. In the test, the material guide has proven to be reliable. In addition, the housing can be shut off. Damage by third parties is thus made more difficult. This makes the Witbox suitable for schools or workshops. As with 3D printers, the BQ Witbox also takes time to try out. However, it can be controlled flexibly. The display can be used to stop or stop printing at any time. Since the 3D printing also works from SD card, the Witbox does not have to stand next to a computer. It also has a blue LED interior light, which means that it can also be placed in dark corners.
Overall, the 3D printer is recommended for users who want to process only PLA plastic and access the device at the same time with different printing programs. The latter is an advantage of Witbox. At the same time, the 3D printer causes favorable follow-up costs and produces good and precisely manufactured objects. This is also suitable for the professional field – for example, for the creation of prototypes. The relatively high purchase price of almost 1700 euros is justified by the good equipment, handling and quality of the printer results.
|design type||finished product|
|Minimum thickness (in mm)||0.05|
|Filament thickness (in mm)||1.75|
|Diameter of the nozzle (in mm)||0.4|
|Dimensions ready for operation (in mm, WxDxH)||508 x 500 x 457|
|dealer||BQ, our site|
|Print quality Test object in standard quality||Good|
|Print quality Test object in the highest quality||Good|
|Pressure table adjustment||exactly|
|Print quality with support||Good|
|Test object in normal quality (in hours)||1:30|
|Test object in the highest quality (in hours)||2:27|
|Heating up to operating temperature (in minutes)||1:58|
|Maximum object size (in mm, W x D x H)||297 x 210 x 200|
|supported printing materials||PLA, wood thread|
|Building platform heatable||No|
|Display / memory card slot||Yes / Yes|
|Supported Operating Systems||Windows from XP, Mac OS, Linux|
|Community / Address||our site|
|Weight printer ready for operation (in kg)||22.1|
|software||Cura, Repetier Host, Pronterface, Slic3r|
|evaluation software||Very clear, many setting options|
|file formats||STL, G code|
|Display: language / menu structure||English / overview|
|Construction Printer: Installation / Material Assembly||easy easy|
|Printing: Stability printer / unattended printing||Stable / yes|
|Power consumption (operation / rest / off, in watts)||74 / 22.2 / 0.0|
|Printing material (price per kg)||19.90 euros|
|Weight test object||10 g|
|Price test object||20 cents|
|Price 3D printer (VAT included)||1690 euros|