A few months back I removed the 3-d printing section of this website. I still have the files available for those who are interested, but the main reason I removed it – I didn’t have time to support 3D printing issues.
3D printing is something that requires learning, patience, and unfortunately, not all printers perform the same way.
You will also need a “slicer” software that translates the STL 3d print model into the “Gcode” that the printer uses. Every printer is different, so I cannot provide GCode files. You have to know how to use your slicer. But, the advantage is you can use whatever settings you prefer. You can even print your molds to be totally solid if you desire.
If you are interested in 3D printing your own molds in house, send a message through the customer support chat portal. You can save lots of $$$ on your start up, but you need to be prepared to learn if you are not already familiar with 3D printing.
In this post, I am going to compile a list of 3D printers that are capable of making excellent cigar molds, and a few printers to avoid.
1) Robo R2
My favorite printer and my primary production machine. It is discontinued, but you can find them on eBay, and sometimes FB marketplace. Average price is anywhere from $600-$1200. These produce the cleanest end result of all the printers I have tested. What do I mean? Many printers can crank out a mold, but they have stringy plastic waste, sometimes you have to clean the mold quite a bit by hand before it can be used. I’ve tested numerous printers, the R2 is my absolute favorite. This produces clean cigar molds inside and out that can be removed from the print plate and basically be ready immediately. No stringy plastic waste to clean off.
2) Qidi X Max
Another printer that I have enjoyed, but it has a flaw. Its made with a teflon tube inside the extruder. Over the course of a week or so, the prints become less clean, so I keep 4 extruders on hand and switch them out weekly, then have to clean the extruders. Luckily, they have made it incredibly easy to swap it out. This thing can produce very clean molds on the inside, but the seams on the outside are a little rough. I use this primarily for my Pre Roll Loaders now. Still in production, you can find them on Amazon for $1100 or so. Also – the companies support – even though they are in china – is amazing! Truly. It has a magnetic print bed, and it wasn’t quite working for my Pre Roll Loaders, the magnets weren’t strong enough and the ends of the plate would lift a bit and cause a slight curvature on the bottom of something with a large bottom surface area (like the Pre Roll Loaders). I contacted the company, and they sent me a modified print bed with even more and stronger magnets. Works perfectly. Seriously, I have never had a company send me a custom part to make me happy. Way above and beyond. Totally unexpected and they have my business for life.
3) Maker Pi K5
Another great printer that produces clean molds. It has another bonus – it prints flexible plastics very well. Not all printers are good with this. Even the R2 struggles with flexible plastic. I use this printer to print the flexible bands that come with my home series 1X1 tools. A great printer, and is still in production and available new for around $700.
These are excellent machines, and if you can afford one – one of the best. Why didnt I purchase a bunch of these? Cost prohibitive. But, if you are only going to need one machine, which is fine for most single cannagar makers, then it may not be an issue. They range in price from $1000-5000 – $1000 being used older models that are still perfectly capable of making a great mold.
Machines to avoid :
Because this printer is not a direct drive extruder – it has a “Bowden” extruder, which means it must push filament into the extruder from a long distance. The results are that it makes very dirty cigar molds that have strings all over them, and no matter how many different settings I attempted when slicing my models in Simplify 3D, the prints came out dirty and needing to be cleaned. I tested and sold the unit within a month of purchasing is. Didnt cut it.
Anything with a Bowden tends to be trouble for making clean parts. These are popular printers, but they dont work very well for cigar molds.