Safety and ease of use are the Printrbot Play's main concerns and it's noticeable it was designed with the young beginner in mind. It has won 1st place in the category “Best 3D Printer for Schools” in Make Magazine’s 2015 Digital Fabrication Shootout and it has been used all over the world to introduce school-age children to the 3D printing word.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro High quality prints
The Printrbot Play is capable of creating prints of quality comparable to those made with more expensive, more professional printers. It delivers the 50 micron resolution perfectly, and defects are practically non-existent.
Pro Sturdily built and reliable
This printer is built with strong materials and well-designed parts, creating a sturdy, strong, final product that's more rigid than many of the bigger printers currently on the market. This is important because it decreases the chance of problems created by mechanical failures and incorrect alignments that can appear after some use.
Pro It's easy and quick to set up and start
The Play is sold assembled and Printrbot provides comprehensive guides explaining the set-up process all the way up to the printing of a provided sample file. Follow the instructions and it's unlikely you'll have any issues.
Pro Harm-proof, therefore suitable for use by children
The Printrbot Play's printhead has a small cover that keeps the extruder hidden. As a printer that can be used by children, this design choice makes sure there are no accidents created by finger contact with hot, moving parts. It has the downside of also stopping us from seeing the object being printed, at least for the first few layers.
Con No learning experience from the assembly of the printer
The assembly of a 3D Printer that is sold in a DIY kit format is usually an accessible and enjoyable process, even for those that aren't specially tech-savy. It is also an important learning experience for those that are interested in getting into the Maker movement and will probably move to more high-end printers in the future. The Play eliminates this experience, since it's only sold assembled. When it was released, the consumer could choose if he wanted to get it assembled or as a kit, but the lack of demand for the kit format drove it out of the market.
Con Low maximum hothead temperature
The maximum temperature for the hothead is about 240ºC: this makes using the filaments made of plastics that require higher temperatures very complicated and getting a proper quality print with these materials is an impossible challenge.
Con No heated bed by default
A heated bed can be added to the Play with some tweaking, but this is a feature that it doesn't have by default. This means it's next to impossible (without the heated bed) to use ABS filaments here, which is unfortunate, since this a widely available filament material.