Before buying one, how do you determine if any given FDM (fused deposition modeling) 3D printer will be able to do what you need it to? Shouldn't there be some universal test print, like those printer test pages that you can use to determine if your printer's up to snuff?
Kickstarter thinks so. As the host for over 200 successfully-crowdfunded 3D printers, most famously Formlabs', the company realizes it would be beneficial if all developers of 3D printers could demonstrate their machines' capabilities by all producing the same complicated object. Hence they've partnered with Autodesk to develop the following file:
Enter a caption (optional)
Autodesk research scientist Andreas Bastian has developed a test procedure designed to help creators better calibrate their machines and showcase their printers' capabilities to backers on Kickstarter. He developed a single, consolidated STL file that tests a printer's dimensional accuracy, resolution, and alignment. For example, poor execution of the "bridging" feature shown [above] will lead to a saggy and stringy print. A well-calibrated printer will make the horizontal feature with fewer of those issues.
Prints of the test file from Cubibot and Robo printers.
…As Braydon Moreno of Robo explains, with the new procedure "customers know exactly what to expect with the product. This also holds manufacturers accountable for the quality of the machines they are producing and gives them a benchmark to strive for… Other torture tests cover a variety of things, but this print seemed all-encompassing."
If you want to try the print out on your own 3D printer, or if you work in an office with multiple brands of 3D printer and you want to compare them, you can download the file and instructions on GitHub.