California Afinia dealer Octave Systems is known for its aftermarket accessories. In fact, 3D Printer World's Afinia is decked out with Octave's two-position temperature switch, a borosilicate glass plate and their free downloadable reel holder spindles. The good news is that more from Octave is on the way.
Warning: The switches mentioned in this article require basic connection and disconnection of wires and thus could be considered a printer modification. We can't recommend modifying your 3D printer while your warranty is still valid, but it is hard to resist otherwise, especially with Octave's ever-increasing inventory of available options.
Definitely a welcome recent addition, Octave is now offering a full printer enclosure for Afinia H479 (and UP! Plus) printers. Due to a Stratasys patent, personal 3D printer manufacturers can't market a system that incorporates a temperature-controlled build chamber, but thanks to aftermarket upgrades, Afinia owners can have the next best thing. Made of ABS with a plexiglas door, the enclosure completely surrounds the printer, allowing ambient heat to cause the build area to maintain a more consistent temperature and theoretically improving Afinia's already solid print quality. It includes an exhaust fan with a replaceable charcoal filter for those sensitive to ABS fumes. There is also a convenient external spool holder that accepts both OEM and Octave reels. Priced at $179, it's safe to say this made it onto our Christmas list.
"We've sold them far more quickly than we anticipated," said Roy Worthington, President of Octave Systems. "They're selling like crazy."
Octave will soon offer another enclosure that is metal, but not fully surrounding. It would be good for keeping curious hands from hot parts in a classroom setting, but without a door, it won't offer the consistent temperature benefit of Octave's current enclosure. Neither enclosure violates the terms of Afinia's warranty, because they don't physically alter the printer.
One of Afinia's big strengths is the fact that its software isn't complicated. Setting the print quality causes a minor adjustment in print speed, but print speed details aren't necessary. The software also allows one to set the printer for either ABS or PLA, which adjusts the extrusion temperature, but that's all the temperature adjustment there is. This is greatly appreciated when simplicity is the goal or when you just want to slam out a print job. But, almost every FFF 3D printer owner eventually develops a curiosity for materials by Kai Parthy and Taulman. With these exotic filaments, temperature adjustment is sometimes required in order to obtain the desired results.
Stock Afinia printers have a melt point that is a little higher than most, which is why Octave developed their two-position switch. The switch drops the temperature to a range more commonly used with many third-party filaments. It is also a good way to get more color variation from Laywoo-D3 while printing on an Afinia. Later this week, Octave will release an 8-position temperature switch with a range of settings from 209°C to 266°C for $49, increasing the possibilities. If that isn't enough, a 64-position multi-switch will also be available for $59, ranging from 197.1°C to 265°C in much finer increments. The new switches are in stock now, but haven't quite made it onto the Octave site, yet.
Again, 3D Printer World does not recommend voiding your 3D printer's warranty (Afinia's 1-year warranty is nothing to sneeze at) by tricking out your printer while it is still covered. But, if you've crossed the 1-year barrier or have an experimentation itch that needs scratching and you are willing to accept responsibility, a trip to the Octave hot rod store can add a whole new dimension to your 3D printing experience.