CNET First Look
Afinia's approachable, powerful H479 3D printerIt's not perfect, but Afinia's H479 strikes the right balance between performance and ease-of-use.
Hi. I'm Rich Brown, Senior Editor for CNET. Today, we're gonna take a look at the Afinia H Series H479 3D printer. So, of the 3D printers I've reviewed so far, this one is my favorite. It's not necessarily perfect but it's fast, it's easy to use and overall it's generally more reliable than the others I've tested. So, the H479 sells for about $1,600. It's still probably in the highest category, it's not quite as powerful as some other printers out there, but it is still expensive, so you really have to kinda be committed to the idea of experimenting with 3D printing in order to buy this thing. Now, like most of 3D printers that uses what's called ABS plastic, that's a kind of material here that's a plastic filming, runs down through a heated extruder head here, and it deposits material down to this built platform and it forms it up into a model that is sent to it from either a Windows PC or a MAC. Now, if you look closely, you might see some parts in this printer that look a little junkie. The cover here is a plastic clip on the back and a support arm for the spool of filament are all made from 3D printer plastic and it might look a little cheap but there's no problems of functionality. Now, the printer shifts with ABS plastic, which is a kind of material used for 3D printing and also can support PLA as well as some experimental stuff if you will in the track. Now, Afinia suggested don't use spools from other vendors but we had no problem testing spools from the MarkerBot as well as a couple other places. Now, you see the built platform isn't all that big compared to some other 3D printers like the MakerBot Replicator. This one lets you print models about 5 inches cube, which is a decent size but there probably will be some things you'll find that just won't fit on the platform. And it might also known as the binder clips on this platform which seem kinda cheap, we agree but they also kind of hold the secret to this printer and why we like it so much. So, if you take the binder clips off, we can then lift off this plate, which is called a perfboard. Now, the idea behind the perfboard is that it makes it much easier for prints to actually stick to the build platform when it's printing. With the perfboard, it's not a perfect solution. You still have to do some post processing in order to really get a good print but whether you have no doubt that your print is gonna stick to the platform and stay in place while it's printing. They come out a little bumpy on the perfboard 'cause there's holes here and then when you print the plastic kinda sticks down in there, so you really have to kinda work to dislodge the object and then clean it up after you take it off the platform. Now, have a few objects here. You can see, look a little rough but they all more or less look as intended also. They're accurately printed and they work and kinda move as I expected them to. What's also nice is that Afinia gives you the tools you need to pry it off the platform and give it a rough clean up. You can still do some more finishing to really get it looking nice. Now, lastly, I'll talk about Afinia software, which strikes a nice balance between ease of use and deep configure building. It's not quite as granular as some of the really deep settings you get in certain printers but overall, it gives you nice control over objects in terms of their quality, the amount of material that you wanna use in the inside. But in general, it lets you use a printer with a good degree of control of an output but without giving you sort of the depth increasing as of engineering level software. So, the H479 is not as powerful as some other printers out there. They cost $2,000 or $3,000 that only prints one color, it has a relatively small built platform but overall, it's easy to use and it's fast. You have to give your objects a little bit of TLC after they print but overall they look as intended. Now, this is so expensive enough that you really have to wanna be involved in 3D printing device thing but it strikes nice balance between usability and outlook quality that it's really easy to recommend. So, I'm Rich Brown and this is the Afinia H Series H479.