Emblaser 2 Review: How Good is This Laser Engraver?

Emblaser 2 Review

With this in-depth Emblaser 2 review, you will know by the end if you should buy this laser cutter and engraver.

Having a laser cutter and engraver is no longer something that people wished they had or could afford. It has turned into a must-have piece of equipment that isn’t out of the financial reach for most people. The Emblaser 2 is made by Darkly Labs who are based in Melbourne, Australia. With a laser cutter and engraver at home, you can use it for a variety of DIY projects.

Let’s get straight into our Emblaser 2 review where we’ll look at its different features, pros, and cons as well as some potential alternatives.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Key specifications of Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver

You can find the key specifications of the Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver below.

Overall Dimensions 540mm x 720mm x 200mm
Build Volume 500 X 300 X 50 mm
Laser Laser Diode, 5w
Cooling Air Cooled
Connectivity WiFi, USB
Software LightBurn (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux)
Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty

 

3-Year Warranty on Laser Diode

Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Emblaser 2

A laser cutter and engraver opens up many possibilities for your DIY projects at home. Adding one to your collection of tools is no longer a dream for most people and it isn’t going to cost the earth either. While they can often be a bit more expensive than many other tools that you can buy for home projects, the Emblaser 2 was created to offer an affordable option. This means that most people can afford to buy one.

So, what are the core features of this laser cutter and engraver?

emblacer 2

Automatic Laser Height Control

The Emblaser 2 comes with LightBurn which is a well-known piece of software that is used with many laser cutters. It is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

When used with the Emblaser 2, it sets the height and offset automatically and the software makes adjustments as it sees fit. This is a really handy feature of the Emblaser 2 and helps to ensure accurate engraving and cutting across a wide range of different materials.

Class 1 Solid State Diode Laser`

The Emblaser 2 has a diode laser and comes with a 445-455nm wavelength. 5w is the average radiant power of this laser cutter and engraver too.

It is actually very powerful and offers a safer and more affordable alternative to CO2 laser cutters. There is a 500 x 300 x 50 mm build volume too.v

While it isn’t the most powerful laser cutter and engraver out there, it offers a good level of power and precision for the price. With a width of 100-150um when it comes to the precision of the light means you’ll get accurate cuts that are even too.

Safe to use

If you are a bit worried about using a laser cutter and engraver you’ll be glad to know that the Emblaser 2 is a very safe machine to use.

The laser doesn’t automatically turn on when you power up the machine. There is a laser enabling switch that you need to press. This can be turned on and off whenever you want and it also won’t come on when the lid is open. You’ll also find a fire safety system that alerts you if the material being engraved or cut catches fire.

You still take the necessary safety precaution when using the Emblaser 2 and this includes investing in safety gear as required, but for first-time users and experienced engravers, it is a safe machine.

Automatic Laser Optic Calibration

Through the powerful LightBurn software, the Emblaser 2 has automatic laser optic calibration.

What this does is it sets the lens with the best focal length and it achieves this without having to use any additional fixtures or parts. Not only does it help with having accurate engraving and cutting but it really adds to how easy the Emblaser 2 is to use.

One of its key selling points is ease of use especially for beginners and the automatic laser optic calibration is a big part of this.

Supports a wide range of file formats

The Emblaser 2 and the LightBurn software that you get with this laser engraver and cutter is compatible with a large number of file formats. This opens the doors to be able to use the Emblaser 2 more widely and it also contributes to how easy it is to use.

You shouldn’t need to convert file as it supports:

  • .ai – Adobe Illustrator
  • .pdf – Adobe Portable Document Format
  • .dxf – Drawing Exchange Format
  • .svg – Scalable Vector Graphics
  • .bmp – Bitmap
  • .jpg/.jpeg – Joint Photographic Exports Group
  • .png – Portable Network Graphics
  • .gif – Graphics Interchange Format
  • .tga – Truevision

Camera and WiFi connectivity

Two really good features of the Emblaser 2 is the fact that it comes with a camera and it also has WiFi connectivity as well.

The camera allows you to keep an eye on the work that the laser engraver is doing remotely if you want to. It means you don’t necessarily need to be standing right beside the Emblaser 2 the whole time that you are using it – although we would recommend that you don’t leave it unattended for a long period of time.

Its WiFi connectivity is great as well. It means you can connect several devices to it and there are also USB connections available too.

How does the Emblaser 2 perform?

darkly labs emblaser 2

Overall we have found that the Emblaser 2 is a powerful laser cutter and engraver that does a really good job.

It is a handy tool to have for a wide variety of DIY projects and the workflow is very intuitive. The machine is easy to use overall which is great if you aren’t particularly experienced in using this type of machine.

The presets that come with the software especially in relation to using different materials as well as the automatic calibration further adds to its usability. It helps the Emblaser 2 perform at the highest level because you have most of the settings already in place. If you are new to laser engraving and cutting you don’t need to spend a lot of time setting things up. While there is a bit of a learning curve it isn’t huge.

We found the results very consistent, engraving, and cutting of high quality and it is a very precise piece of kit as well.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Pros of Emblaser 2

Here are the things we liked most with the Emblaser 2.

Ideal for beginners

The Emblaser 2 is easy to use. Even if you haven’t operated a diode laser cutter and engraver j?   before you will be able to use this one without any problems. There is a learning curve like most machines – such as power tools – but it isn’t a large one. The presets and straightforward software with intuitive workflow means you’ll pick up the ins and outs of the Emblaser 2 quickly.

Safety is a key component2 

A big pro of the Emblaser 2 is that it is safe to use. You need to press a switch to turn on the laser so it won’t automatically turn on when you power up the machine. It also won’t turn on if you have the lid open. While experienced users of laser cutters and engravers might be comfortable using this machine anyway, new users will be safe in the knowledge that it has these additional measures in place.

Good range of presets and LightBurn software

The LightBurn software that you get with the Emblaser 2 is very powerful and straightforward to operate as well. It features a range of presets for whatever materials you are using and the automatic adjustments and calibration are great features too.

Camera and WiFi

The onboard camera allows you to keep an eye on how your cuts and engraving process is progressive remotely. While we wouldn’t advise not being next to a laser cutter for a long period of time, it is a handy feature if you need to do something else quickly. The WiFi is also a great addition so you can connect various devices and it provides a nice alternative alongside USB connectivity.

Supports many file formats

The Emblaser 2 supports a wide range of different file formats including .ai, .pdf, .dxf, .svg, .bmp, .jpg/.jpeg, .png and more.

Cons of Emblaser 2

There are some downsides to the Emblaser 2 that we haven’t yet touched on in our review..

The laser could be more powerful

While it is a diode laser, it could be a bit more powerful than 5w and for the price you are paying, there are perhaps more powerful lasers out there. Don’t get us wrong, it is fairly affordable for what it is however the Emblaser 2 certainly isn’t the most powerful laser engraver and cutter out there.

Support could be a bit better

Another downside to Emblaser 2 is that getting help if something goes wrong could be quicker. There are various options that you can use to get in contact with Darkly Labs – they have a support section with tutorials and an active community – but the response times from Darky Labs Support were a bit slow. Just something to keep in mind should anything ever go wrong with the Emblaser 2.

Are there any alternatives?

TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver

ten high laser

An alternative laser engraver that is in and around the same price as the Emblaser 2 is the TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver.

It uses a C02 laser as opposed to the diode that the Emblaser 2 has, however, the build volume is close to the Emblaser. It features an engraving speed of 30mm per minute and it can also cut through a variety of materials such as plywood, acrylic, felt and various fabrics. It is fairly easy to use and it is ideal for a desktop laser engraver.

The TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver isn’t a bad machine at all and if you want a CO2 laser that is almost the same cost as the Emblaser 2, this is a fine choice to go for.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 03:09 am UTC

Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver

ruida controller

If you want a slightly cheaper option than the Emblaser 2 and also one that uses a CO2 laser like the TEN-HIGH, go with the Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver.

It comes in a bit less expensive than the Emblaser and it features a 400 x 400 mm working area with a 40-50w laser depending on what model you choose. The Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver has a water cooling protection system and is compatible with various software which includes Coreldraw.

It is a bit more ‘no-frills’ than the Emblaser 2 but if the cost is an important factor and you do want to save a few dollars, it is a decent option that will do what you need it to.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 03:10 am UTC

FAQs

Question: Where is the Emblaser 2 made?

Answer: The Emblaser 2 is made by Darkly Labs which is an Australian company based in Melbourne. It was released back in 2017 and is an upgraded version of the Emblaser 1 which was initially launched in 2014.

Question: What materials can I cut and engrave with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: The Emblaser 2 has a 5w diode laser and while it isn’t the most powerful around it can cut and engrave various materials. Some of the materials that the Emblaser 2 can handle include some plastics, softwoods like balsa and MDF, leather, cotton and corkboard. You can find a full list of what the Emblaser 2 can cut and engrave and also to what thickness on their website.

Question: Does the Emblaser 2 have fume extraction?

Answer: Yes. The Emblaser 2 comes with an inbuilt fume extractor. This is an important part of any laser cutter and engraver as the process lets off various fumes and it also helps with achieving better results as well as cleaning and maintenance. You may need to add an additional Fume Filter System to use completely indoors.

Question: What software can I use with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: You can use the LightBurn software package with the Emblaser 2 and it is straightforward to operate. It comes with various presets so you don’t have to do a lot of work to get this laser cutter to work properly.

Question: What support can I get with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: Darkly Labs which make the Emblaser 2 have a support portal that you can access when you make a purchase. They also have a support section on their website where you can find tutorials and an active community for help if you need.

Question: Do I need to be experienced to use the Emblaser 2?

Answer: No. Even if you haven’t used a laser engraver before you should find the Emblaser 2 easy to use. It has many presets and the automatic laser optic calibration makes things even more straightforward.

Final thoughts

The Emblaser 2 is an affordable desktop laser cutter that could be more powerful but it’s still a good machine Overall the Emblaser 2 is a good device that cuts and engraves a wide variety of different materials.

It uses a 5w diode laser and while we would have liked it to be a bit more powerful, it still does a decent job. There are many things that we do really like about the Emblaser 2. This includes the automatic laser height control and the laser optic calibration. Combined with the LightBurn software and the various presets that are available, it makes this a very straightforward machine to use.

Safety is a big selling point with the Emblaser 2 as well. It has several good safety features which includes the fact that the laser doesn’t automatically turn on when you power it up, and it also won’t turn on when the lid is open.

For the price the Emblaser 2 is affordable. It essentially does what you need it to do. It does fall down in a few areas. The aforementioned laser could be a bit stronger and the response when you need support could also be quicker.

So, is it worth the money?

We think yes.

It could be better in some areas and you can get a better laser cutter and engraver if you want to pay some more money. However, as an affordable option that is easy to use especially for beginners the Emblaser 2 is worth it.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Read More:

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers – Which is Best?

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

You may have heard of CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers before, but perhaps you aren’t sure what the differences are? If that’s the case, then our CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D printers comparison is going to show what makes these machines unique, and also what their similarities are too.

We’re also going to look at some examples of the best CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers that you are able to buy. Before we get into the ins and outs of these types of 3D printers, let’s look at the main differences between them.

Main Differences Between CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

The main differences between CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers are:

  • CoreXY 3D printers are usually quite quick at printing objects, whereas Cartesian 3D printers are slower.
  • CoreXY 3D printers use belts, whereas Cartesian 3D printers use X, Y, and Z axes to print.
  • CoreXY 3D printers will move at 0 or 90 degrees, whereas CoreXY printers will move at 45 degrees.
  • CoreXY 3D printers can be difficult for beginners to assemble, whereas Cartesian 3D printers tend to be easier to set up

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

Up until 2013, the majority of FDM 3D printers were made with a Cartesian construction and we’re going to have a look at what that means below.

Then along came CoreXY printers.

The design was initially created by MIT and they have since grown into the favored 3D printer for many people. The unique feature with a CoreXY printer is that the belts will move in different planes when in use. This is designed so that there is a reduction in twisting when printing off objects which should result in more accurate printers.

CoreXY 3D Printers

The X and Y motors on a CoreXY 3D printer are also kept in one place which means that the weight of the printer itself is reduced. The belt on a CoreXY 3D printer will move the tool head at a 45-degree angle as well.

The difference is that the belts on a CoreXY printer move in different planes so this reduces the impact on twisting when printing. The X and Y motors are kept in one place so the overall weight of the parts on the printer is reduced as well.

If you pull on the belt of the CoreXY 3D printer it will also move the tool head at a 45-degree angle.

There are some advantages to this design

For one it can result in fast print speeds without a reduction in the quality of your prints and this is mainly down to the fact that it doesn’t have many moving parts. A CoreXY printer will also be generally smaller in overall size without having to sacrifice build volume.

These printers do have some disadvantages

The belt system can mean more time preparing the machine to print and maintenance costs may be higher too. If your frame isn’t assembled into a perfect square it can impact on print accuracy so that is something to keep in mind as well.

What is a Cartesian 3D Printer?

Cartesian 3D printers can be described as almost the more ‘traditional’ model and they are the most common design for 3D printers on the market.

They utilize 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – to move all the different parts associated with 3D printing and this includes the printhead as well as the print bed too. The fact that a Cartesian 3D printer moves things linearly across the X, Y, and Z axes mean things should be kept pretty stable when in use.

Cartesian printers also use Cartesian coordinates in order to map out the areas in which to print in with the end result being 3D printer objects.

There are some advantages to Cartesian 3D printers.

One is that they tend to be among the cheapest 3D printers due to their stereotypical design. This means they are definitely in the affordable category which appeals to many people especially hobbyists and home users. As far as ease of use is concerned they tend to be fairly straightforward to setup and start using too.

Cartesian 3D Printers

There are some downsides to Cartesian 3D printers.

One being that the print speed is often slower than other FDM printers – including CoreXY – and they often take up more space due to having bigger dimensions and a heavy frame.

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D – Ease of Use

So, what is the easier 3D printer to use – one manufactured with a CoreXY design or one with a Cartesian construction?

There is a reason that Cartesian 3D printers are more widely used. Not just because they have been around for longer but also because they tend to be easier to set up and get started with.

This is quite a general claim but it is largely true.

There is less to understand with a Cartesian 3D printer than a CoreXY one. For home users who aren’t using their 3D printer frequently, a Cartesian 3D will more than likely be more straightforward to set up for accurate prints.

There is also quite a lot of community support around Cartesian 3D printers because they are the most commonly used.

It isn’t to say that CoreXY 3D printers are notoriously difficult, just that they take a bit more work to get accurate prints. This is mainly down to the belt system and assembly. As the frame of a CoreXY 3D printer has to be perfectly square when assembled otherwise it’ll cause problems down the line, this can be an issue for new 3D printer users.

The belts also need to be aligned correctly to ensure that the tension isn’t too high or low.

Comparing CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printer – Pricing

Before we get into showing you the best CoreXY 3D printers and best Cartesian 3D printers, is there any difference in the general pricing of these machines?

Overall, Cartesian 3D printers tend to be a bit cheaper but it does depend on the model.

This is because it is the most common form of FDM 3D printer so they are relatively inexpensive compared to other models. You can find decently priced CareXY 3D printers and even for home users, most models won’t be completely out of their price range.

That being said, Cartesian 3D printers tend to be cheaper than CoreXY as a general rule.

Examples of some of the Best CoreXY 3D Printers

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D

This is one of the most popular and widely used CoreXY 3D printers on the market and the Two Trees Sapphire Pro is also a very affordable printer too. It offers a dual-drive extruder in addition to precision linear rails.

It shouldn’t take more than two hours to get this 3D printer up and running. While, like all CoreXY 3D printers, you need to pay close attention to the assembly of the machine, it isn’t as difficult as some others. In fact, there is also a good level of community support with this printer too while you will be able to upgrade and get modifications as well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive CoreXY 3D printer
  • Dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails
  • Will print high quality and precise 3D objects
  • Good level of support and community help

Cons

  • Noise can be a factor
  • Getting to the print bed is a bit harder than it should be
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Tronxy X5SA Pro

TRONXY X5SA Kit

The next CoreXY 3D printer on our list is the Tronxy X5SA Pro. With this 3D printer, you get an auto-bed leveling system, double-axis guide rail and also a filament runout sensor which are all great additions. The print quality and speed is really good with this model as well.

The real downside to the Tronxy X5SA Pro is the fact that you probably need to modify this 3D printer right out of the box. While it isn’t unusable by any means, it is something to consider as it will generally mean a higher cost right away.

The level of support could also be a bit better with this 3D printer and it is a bit tricky to assemble. A good CoreXY 3D printer nonetheless but one that perhaps isn’t ideal for beginners and is more suited to experienced users.

Pros

  • Good price for a CoreXY 3D printer
  • Has a range of good features such as a filament runout sensor
  • Fairly easy to use once you have it assembled correctly

Cons

  • Needs to be modified out of the box
  • Not that suitable for new 3D printer users
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Creative3D Elf Printer

Creatividad CoreXY

The third best CoreXY 3D printer on our list is the Creative3D Elf Printer. Some of the advantages of this model so that it comes with a touchscreen and it’s fairly easy to use as well. The printer itself doesn’t produce a lot of noise which is great if you are using this at home or in an office.

The power failure support is another nice addition as it means the printer will start where it left off if it suffers a power outage. The level of support isn’t amazing with this 3D printer so it’s something to keep in mind while the springs for the bed leveling system are a bit on the short side too.

Pros

  • Assembly can be completed in about 60 minutes
  • Has a large build volume which will suit some people
  • Noise is pretty low for a 3D printer

Cons

  • Could do with better support options
  • Springs for the bed leveling system are a bit short
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Examples of some of the Best Cartesian 3D Printers

Creality Ender 3

3D Creality Ender

Getting started with our list of the best Cartesian 3D printers, and the Creality Ender 3 is definitely up there.

Featuring a decent size build volume in addition to a power failure support system, this is an FDM printer that is firmly affordable and produces good results. It is very quick to reach the maximum temperature of the hot bed while the noise levels are pretty low.

You may need additional adhesion to get the prints to stick to the bed properly and manual calibration is required. That being said, for the cost and the outputs, the Creality Ender 3 is ideal as a Cartesian 3D printer.

Pros

  • Very affordable and one of the cheapest 3D printers available
  • Offers good quality printed 3D objects
  • Build volume is a good size
  • Has a power failure support system

Cons

  • Adhesion is often required for prints to stick to the bed
  • Manual calibration is also needed with this printer
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Prusa i3 MK3S

Prusa i3 MK3S kit

The second best Cartesian 3D printer is the Prusa i3 MK3S. It offers one of the highest print qualities out of any Cartesian printer in its price range (although it is a lot more expensive than the Creality Ender 3.

This well-constructed and durable machine has auto-calibration, the ability to pause and restart prints, and the software that comes with it is easy to use. You’ll find really good support and community help with this printer. There are some issues overprints over a long duration but overall we’ve found that the Prusa i3 MK3S is a fantastic Cartesian printer albeit with a hefty price tag.

Pros

  • Features autocalibration, stop and restart printing functions
  • Produces high-quality 3D printers
  • Is easy to use and has good community support

Cons

  • Is a bit expensive compared to some other models
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen

makerbot

Our last Cartesian 3D printer to show you is the Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen.

We’ve had a look at this 3D printer before when we compared it to the Robo 3D R1 Plus. OK, so it isn’t cheap and kind of goes against the whole ‘Cartesian 3D printers are usually cheaper’ but it is a very good 3D printer.

It offers a really easy to use the system so you can get started with 3D printing right away even if you are a complete beginner. The software is great and the build volume is good for decent sized objects too. This printer does suffer from being a bit loud but as a true ‘plug and play’ device, it is hard to see much better even if it does cost a sizable sum.

Pros

  • Very easy to use and can be set up in minutes
  • Offers high-quality prints
  • Software is good and builds volume is a decent size

Cons

  • Pretty expensive so will be out of the price range for many people
  • Can produce a lot of noise
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:09 pm UTC

Are there any alternatives?

CoreXY and Cartesian aren’t the only type of FDM 3D printers. We also have Delta and H-bot as two alternatives.

Delta 3D printers

FLSUN Q5 Delta printer

A Delta 3D printer works similarly to a Cartesian model as it uses Cartesian coordinates for printing. Where it differs is with the mechanics. These printers use 3 arms which are attached to vertical rails. These arms work to move the printhead around instead of axes which you find on Cartesian 3D printers. They offer fast print speeds but can be expensive to upgrade or fix while the build volumes tend to be a bit smaller too.

The FLSUN Q5 Delta 3D Printer is a good and affordable option if you want to go down this route. It features reliable prints, a touchscreen, an auto-leveling bed as well as a lattice platform for adhesion and easy removal.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:09 pm UTC

H-Bot 3D printers

Another alternative to Cartesian, CoreXY, and Delta 3D printers are those that have an H-bot construction.

Again, they use Cartesian coordinates to move around however they use belts like CoreXY printers. An easy way to distinguish between an H-bot 3D printer and a CoreXY model is that the belts on an H-bot make an ‘H’ shape whereas the belts on a CoreXY make an ‘A’ shape.

They can be quite expensive and the level of support for these 3D printers isn’t usually as high as other designs. They do however produce quality prints and offer large build volumes.

You can actually print and build an H-Bot 3D printer yourself and many of the designs can be completed for a reasonable price too.

FAQs

Question: Do CoreXY 3D printers have a faster print speed than Cartesian printers?

Answer: CoreXY 3D printers usually have a faster print speed. While much of this will depend on the model of 3D printer, CoreXY 3D printers tend to offer quicker speeds. This is down to the fact that only the printhead moves on a CoreXY 3D printer so this boosts the overall speed and cuts down on vibrations.

Question: Is a CoreXY or Cartesian 3D printer better for small spaces?

Answer: CoreXY 3D printers are better for small spaces, but the Cartesian printers are also compact and will suit small spaces as well.

Question: Are Cartesian 3D printers cheaper than CoreXY 3D Printers?

Answer: Cartesian 3D printers are not always cheaper than CoreXY 3D printers. You can find both categories of 3D printers in different price ranges however Cartesian 3D printers do tend to be a bit cheaper as they are the more common design.

Question: Are Cartesian 3D printers and CoreXY 3D printers open source?

Answer: Most Cartesian 3D printers and CoreXY 3D printers should be open source. This means that the hardware and software are available for wide use and they can be upgraded and modified as you see fit.

Question: Is a Cartesian 3D printer easier to use than a CoreXY 3D printer?

Answer: Sometimes Cartesian 3D printers are easier to clean than CoreXY 3D printers. If you are a beginner then Cartesian 3D printers probably will seem a bit easier as CoreXY 3D printers require more attention in the assembly phase.

Our Verdict: CoreXY vs Cartesian – Which 3D Printer is Better?

Now you should have a much better understanding of what a CoreXY 3D printer is and also what a Cartesian 3D printer looks like.

They do have some similarities in that they are both FDM 3D printers but they have a lot of differences too. Cartesian 3D printers tend to be more suited to beginners as they are easier to set up and printing can be more straightforward as well.

CoreXY 3D printers often produce better and more accurate results (although it does depend on the model) and the print speeds are usually a bit faster too.

So, what should you go with?

If you are new to 3D printing and want a Cartesian model to start you off then we would recommend the Creality Ender 3. It is one of the most popular Cartesian printers and it is very affordable as well.

If you want a CoreXY 3D printer and you are a bit more experienced then opt for the Two Trees Sapphire Pro. It offers great results, can be set up in just a couple of hours and the support options and modifications are good as well.

Both CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers have their followings and what one you choose will depend on the money you have to spend, how experienced you are with a 3D printer and also the kind of features you need.

Mosaic Palette 2 Review [2020]: Does it Really Work?

In our Mosaic Palette 2 Pro review, we’ll look in-depth at how this piece of hardware performs in helping to improve what your 3D printer can do.

Manufactured by Mosaic Manufacturing which is a Canadian company based in Toronto, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro will give your 3D printer multicolor functionality. It is designed to work alongside your existing 3D printer to improve its performance and output. If you don’t have a multi-material and multi-color 3D printer, this accessory device can be a game-changer.

We will show you the core features that this kit offers, how it performs when used in conjunction with your 3D printer, and also what the pros and cons are.

First, let’s take a dive into the specifications of the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:10 pm UTC

Key specifications of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

Find the main specifications for the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro below.

Overall Dimensions 9 x 8 x 3.3 inches
Supported Filament 1.75 mm FDM filament (PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU)
Compatible operating systems Windows, Mac and Linux
3D Printer compatibility  Full list available here.
Interface 3.2″ color touchscreen (240 x 320 pixels)
WiFi connectivity? Yes with the Canvas Hub
Warranty 2-year or 50,000 splices
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro works to extend the overall functionality of your 3D printer. It comes with a number of great features that can boost your productivity and also increase the outputs that your 3D printer provides.

Design

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a fairly compact device even if it is a little on the heavy side (it weighs around 7.9lbs).

That being said, it will fit in well in small spaces as overall its dimensions come in at 9 x 8 x 3.3 inches. So, it is ideal for a cramped workspace either in a professional environment or for home use.

One of the great design features of the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is the 3.5-inch color touchscreen interface. This greatly increases the ease of use and makes everything simple to control. Everything is fairly straightforward as the controls are right at your fingertips.

Mosaic Palette 2 Review

Compatibility

Compatibility is one of the core features of this device because as it is designed to work alongside your existing 3D printer, it needs to work in harmony with it.

The good news is that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with pretty much all 1.75mm filament 3D printers. So unless you have an industrial-scale 3D printer, the Palette 2 Pro will likely be compatible with your existing printer. It also works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems too.

Runout detection

One valuable feature of the Palette 2 Pro is the filament runout detection. This is built into the device and it will automatically switch materials during the printing process when one is running low.

This means you don’t need to keep a constant eye on the process. It has four onboard sensors that help to detect when the filament is running low.

Speed

In terms of speed, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is quicker than the non-Pro model. It achieves this by using a Splice Core Pro unit which has been manufactured from aluminum.

This has the effect of a 20% increase in quicker filament splicing which has the knock-on effect of being able to print faster. The filament production is between 166-280 mm per minute (the non-Pro version of this device has a filament production between 120-214 mm per minute).

While 20% may not seem like a huge deal at first glance, on large print jobs and processes that are being carried out over a long period of time, it can make a pretty big difference to timescales.

Touchscreen

One great feature that we mentioned above is the 3.5-inch color touchscreen interface.

This really boosts its simplicity and contributes to the overall ease of use. While the screen itself isn’t going to blow your mind (it is 240 x 320 pixels) and is going to be significantly less quality than your average smartphone, it is still a neat feature.

It is straightforward to select certain print modes, to add textures or style – the touchscreen on the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a fantastic addition.

Mosaic Palette 2 Features

Software

Finally, we have the software.

Something that we have found previously when it comes to multi-material printing is getting the files prepared properly to send to the 3D printer. Using various software has often been a bit challenging to get everything right.

The good news is that the Palette 2 Pro uses Mosaic’s own software which is called Canvas. This slicer software makes it easy to convert single color files into multicolor files or to prepare models that use multi-materials and get them ready for print.

There are also other features within the software that can save you time namely things such as infill transition and layer batching.

Overall the software is a welcome addition. It is easy to use and also has great options to make your life a lot easier when preparing prints.

How does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro perform?

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro has a host of different interesting and useful features to help you get the most out of your 3D printer when it comes to multi-material printing.

How does it actually perform though when put to the test?

When we used the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro we found that the results were very good indeed. Not only is it easy to operate and get started with, it helps immensely in being able to extend the functionality of your 3D printer. In fact, it opens up a realm of different possibilities going forward.

In terms of compatibility, it worked seamlessly with the 3D printers that we tried it out on.

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro does do things very quickly as well which is also a bonus. It really does have a ‘plug and play’ type setup to it which is very beneficial if you are either new to 3D printing or simply don’t have the time to fiddle about with the settings.

If you add on a Canvas Hub with this piece of kit, you can communicate everything via WiFi as well. You will be able to stop/start prints and monitor their progress too. In terms of performance, this is a great addition to have although you can also upload files via USB and SD too.

All the 3D printers that were tested came out very well indeed and it is no surprise that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro consistently achieves high results.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:10 pm UTC

Pros of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

There are a lot of good things about the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. Here all the best parts of this functional and impressive device.

  • Compact design – If you don’t have a ton of space left alongside your 3D printer either at home or in a professional environment then you won’t need to find much for the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. It is compact overall and doesn’t take up much space which is ideal for home users and small businesses alike.
  • Compatible with most 3D printers – This is one of the big selling points. The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with most 3D printers which use 1.75 mm filament which basically means the majority of FDM 3D printers especially those in the affordability category.
  • Runout Detection – The device comes with automatic runout detection. It features four sensors that help to detect when the filament is running out. The device will automatically switch materials during the printing process so you don’t have to be on a constant watch over your prints.
  • Touchscreen – The touchscreen isn’t of the highest quality however the main thing is that it is there. It makes operating the Palette 2 Pro a whole lot easier and is a great addition to an already powerful and functional tool.
  • Easy to use software – The software is another big bonus of using the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. It is very easy to use and makes the process of converting single color prints into multi-color straightforward. You’ll also find a variety of other features and settings that will cut down on the time spent preparing models for print too.

Mosaic Palette 2 pros cons

Cons of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

While the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a great device overall, there are a couple of downsides we should bring up to give you the full picture.

  • Limited to 1.75mm filament – For most people, the fact that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with 1.75mm filament is great however it does mean that some with certain 3D printers won’t be able to use it. Its limitation in this regard is a drawback but not an overly huge one for most 3D printer users.
  • You’ll use more filament – Again this isn’t a massive drawback because using a tool like this means it’s fairly obvious you’ll need more filament. This is because the whole point is to be able to use multi-color designs however it is something to keep in mind. You will need more filament when using the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro.

Are there any alternatives?

Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S)

The big problem with the Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S) is that it is only compatible with certain 3D Prusa printers. This includes the Prusa’s i3 MK2.5, MK2.5S, MK3, and MK3S 3D printers.

However, if you do have one of these devices then the Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S) is a sound alternative. It actually comes in a good bit cheaper than the Palette 2 Pro.

The accessory has a number of great features including a filament loading system, filament buffer, and a filament sensor to cut down on any blockages or print problems. Again, it is only available for Prusa 3D printers but if you do own one and want to upgrade it for multi-material and multi-color functionality, this is exactly what you need.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Da Vinci Color Mini

Da Vinci Color Mini

Actually separate devices such as the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro and the offering from Prusa are quite scarce – that’s why one of our alternatives is an actual multi-color 3D printer! If you don’t have a 3D printer yet and intend on printing in different colors, it would be better to actually invest in the Da Vinci Color Mini.

It has been specifically designed to print off models in a variety of different colors without needing any extras to do so. It combines filament with inkjet technology in order to do this.

The printer itself is easy to use and get started with so you shouldn’t have any problems if you are new to 3D printing. It has a removable print bed, a fully automatic calibration system as well as supporting third-party materials.

For anyone that doesn’t have a 3D printer yet and needs multi-color functionality, it is hard to go wrong with the Da Vinci Color Mini.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:10 pm UTC

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does my 3D printer not have multi-color functionality?

Answer: The chances are that it doesn’t. If you do have a multi-color 3D printer then you don’t need any additional hardware. However, most 3D printers for home use and for small businesses don’t support this out of the box hence why tools like the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro are needed.

Question: Will the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with my 3D printer?

Answer: If your 3D printer uses 1.75mm filament then the chances are that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro will be compatible with it. It can be used in conjunction with most desktop 3D printers that are on the market at the minute. You can find a list of compatible 3D printers here.

Question: Is the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro fast?

Answer: It is pretty fast. Compared to the previous model, it offers quicker speeds, and the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro offers a 20% increase in filament splicing with a filament production between 166-280 mm per minute.

Question: Does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with Octoprint?

Answer: Yes. Octoprint is a common upgrade people use on their 3D printer and the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with it. You may need to use the Canvas plugin from Mosaic to get it to work properly.

Question: Does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro have WiFi?

Answer: Yes. This device has WiFi, USB, and SD card functionality. The WiFi connection works by going through the Canvas Hub which allows the Palette 2 Pro to connect to your 3D printer. You need to purchase the Canvas Hub separately.

Question: Will the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with 3D printers that don’t use 1.75mm filament?

Answer: No. The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is specifically built for use with 3D printers that use 1.75mm filament.

Final thoughts – the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a powerful piece of kit that extends the functionality of your 3D printer

What do we think about the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro overall?

Really it can be summed up by saying that it is a great piece of hardware that greatly helps you to boost what your 3D printer can do.

If you don’t have a 3D printer with multi-color technology, this is what you need to make it happen. It has a range of great features beyond simply helping to boost the functionality of your existing 3D printer.

This includes the filament runout sensors which are very helpful. The software is very easy to use as well and has a ton of options and settings to speed up the whole process. Speaking of speed, the Mosaic Palette Pro 2 is pretty fast as well and it is a jump up from the previous model.

We also really like the touchscreen interface. While it is hardly the best ever touchscreen you will come across in terms of resolution, it does what it needs to do. You’ll find it much easier to operate with this feature.

It is compatible with a wide range of desktop 3D printers. Unless you have something pretty obscure, the chances are that this accessory is going to work with your 3D printer.

Overall, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro vastly increases what your 3D printer is able to do and makes multi-color models very easy to create with a user friendly and straightforward process.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/23/2020 10:10 pm UTC

 

Anycubic Mega X Review [2020]: Should You Go For It?

Imagine you’re rolling through the McDonald’s drive-thru and you order a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke. Classic order. Good on you. Now, you ask them to supersize it. Because you simply can’t get enough of the greasy goodness.

Apply this logic to the Anycubic Mega S. That’s what Anycubic did when they made the Mega X. It’s like a supersized Mega S, with all the same great features in a bigger package. It’s a mid-sized FDM printer that’s definitely worth your money.

Are you looking for a great 3D printer that rings up at less than $500 and meets, or even surpasses your expectations? Then you may have come to the right place.

Specifications

  • Technology: FDM
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Printer dimensions: 500mm x 500mm x 553mm
  • Arrangement: Cartesian XZ head
  • Build volume: 300mm x 300mm x 305mm
  • Feeder system: Bowden drive
  • Extruder type: Single
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 250°C
  • Nozzle size: 0.4mm
  • Layer resolution: 0.05-0.3mm
  • Print chamber: Open
  • Print Bed: Heated bed with Anycubic Ultrabase
  • Bed leveling: Manual
  • Maximum heated bed temperature: 90°C
  • Frame: Metal
  • Display: Color touchscreen
  • Connectivity: USB, SD card
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Built-in camera: No
  • Filament sensor: Yes
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood
  • Third party filaments: Yes
  • Slicer: Cura
  • Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux

Setup

The Anycubic Mega X only comes semi assembled, but putting it together is pretty simple. It’s packed neatly in the box and the instructions identify exactly what everything is and how to attach it. You can view the instructions via a paper manual or the USB stick provided.

anycubic mega x 3D printer

Anycubic provides clippers and a spatula, as usual, but the Mega X also ships with a 1kg spool of PLA. Spare parts include PTFE tubing and a hot end.

Assembly mostly includes mounting the gantry on the base with a few screws. Connect some cables together, set the MeanWell PSU switch to the correct voltage, and you’re done in minutes.

Before printing, you’ll have to level the bed manually. The printer has large adjustment knobs that make this task rather trivial. You can auto-home the print head and adjust the knobs as needed, leveling with just a sheet of paper.

Some budget 3D printers use tiny knobs to achieve the task of leveling, making it really difficult, so in comparison, the Anycubic Mega X makes it boring, but easy. There’s no need to endure the torture of small, hard to reach knobs anymore.

Features

Anycubic gained some market traction at the low end with their i3 Mega and then followed it with an improved version in the Mega S. After gaining user trust, they kept the same design and ease of use they knew worked but improved the scale with the Mega X.

Compact, smart design

The base unit of Mega X includes the mainboard, power supply, and touchscreen. The cable management is neat, which is a welcome change compared to a lot of other budget units that come with wads of cables all jumbled together.

The metal frame offers a robust, sturdy chassis. The Z-axis features led screws and the Y-axis carriage runs along dual rails, supporting the bed, and making the entire structure even more steady.

This printer has a solid foundation that offers consistent printing. Not only is this rarely found in the budget price point, but the Mega X also features dual Z-axis end stops. It can combat unevenness you may find in the X-axis and relevels the X-axis every time it returns home.

It has mechanical end stops on the X-axis, but it uses a contactless sensor for the Y-axis end stop. This offers a more premium design that maintains a look and feel far above its price point.

anycubic mega x

Anycubic Ultrabase

The Anycubic Ultrabase has set the precedent for many bases to imitate. It’s a 300mm x 300mm bed sitting on top of four screws for manual leveling. While it’s roomy, it’s also innovative. This glass bed is coated with a porous material that offers excellent adhesion while making it easier than ever to remove your jobs when they’re complete. It’s especially unique when printing with PLA.

It can heat to 60°C in two minutes with a maximum temperature of 90°C. It also does a fantastic job of distributing this heat across the entire surface, enabling effective adhesion for quality prints without huge flaws.

This is exceptional for large print surfaces, especially when it comes to preventing warping. It can still be a problem when printing with ABS, but it’s to be expected when the temperature maxes out at only 90°C.

Single extruder

This single Titan extruder has a hot end capable of a maximum of 250°C. It uses PTFE tubing to help filament navigate its way to the melt zone. It’s nearly impossible to print hotter than this without getting off-gas of the PTFE, which can be toxic.

This is more than hot enough for consumer materials, so it’s a fantastic feature in a budget 3D printer. You should have no problem using Mega X at around 245°C with PETG, which is a high temperature material.

The downside to Anycubic filament holders is that they stick out sideways on the bottom. While it takes some of the weight off of the frame, it means the filament gets fed upside down.

This, combined with the filament runout sensor, which is mounted on the side of the gantry, means the filament is constantly strained. However, thanks to a feeding mechanism that works well, you’ll get continuous feeding.

It just takes some working with to change the filament, because it’s inserted upside down. Thanks to the plastic funnel that Anycubic provides, you can easily guide your filaments into the gear mechanism.

Rigid filaments are much easier to insert than flexible ones, as you might expect.

Connectivity

One of the most important things about 3D printing is your ability to oversee the print process, even when you’re not actively designing your print. With a 3.5-inch color touchscreen (something you more frequently see on higher end 3D printers), you have all of the options you need.

The menu can be somewhat confusing, but the software has everything you need to set up the printer just the way you want it. You can load your prints via a USB cable or an SD card.

Unfortunately, aside from what’s already been mentioned, there’s nothing new over the Mega S. Given that there’s a few years difference in release date, many users are disappointed by the lack of updates here when it comes to Wi-Fi, quieter printing, or auto bed leveling.

Performance

If you’ve had any experience with the Mega line before, you know that they produce great results for the price you pay. You’ll see this theory confirmed in Mega X, too.

Just like any other budget 3D printer, you’ll likely have to make some adjustments to get your Mega X to function properly. However, that’s not uncommon.

Thanks to the Anycubic Ultrabase, your prints will adhere well and easily pop off when they’re done. This adds to your overall experience by making it more seamless throughout. The best thing about it is you don’t have to use glue, which makes it a messy and less than a desirable affair.

It leaves your print surface looking like it did when you took it out of the box, but it also gives your print projects smooth first layers for an aesthetically pleasing result every time.

Mega X can handle many different materials, but it’s all based on your technical settings. While some flexible filaments will come out flawlessly, others will tangle up in the gear mechanism helplessly.

You’ll have to adjust the print and feed speed accordingly to get to a manageable flow without any backing up or coiling. It can be a bit of trial and error, which is excruciating at times, but once you get there, it handles almost anything like a champ.

Unfortunately, you may never find a way around the warping of ABS. No matter how much you change the temperature or fan settings, the Mega X just isn’t suited for something as finicky as this temperature sensitive material.

The upside is that it still handles PETG and PLA well, so you’re not limited in your choice of materials.

Usability

Mega X allows you to use any open source slicer. While Cura remains one of the most popular options, you can use anything you’re comfortable with, which opens up the usability of the machine quite nicely, although Anycubic recommends Cura.

While the UI can be confusing, the menu items are large and easy to read. You may find at times that the submenus are unclear and contain tools that don’t seem to belong. The button press sound can also be quite obnoxious.

anycubic mega x prints

And while the Mega X is a sturdy machine, it’s also a noisy one. The Z-axis screws are the most deafening, but they only move when homing at the beginning of the print. The other aspects of the printer aren’t particularly quiet, either, from the drivers to the cooling fans.

The filament runout sensor works well, and once reloaded, the print job will pick up where it left off without any problems. The downside here is that it’s a mechanical sensor that will only trip with a lack of filament, rather than a costly optical sensor that will trigger with a filament blockage.

The print resume function works less than ideally. Sometimes it resumes the print after a power outage, and sometimes it doesn’t, leaving you to start your job over from scratch.

Alternatives

If you’re seriously considering a budget 3D printer like the Anycubic Mega X, you may also want to take a look at the following options before making a buying decision.

Anycubic Mega S

Anycubic Mega S

This previous iteration sports the same sturdy build and nearly identical features. The build volume is about two-thirds the size, at 210mm x 210mm x 205mm, an 3d it’s quite a bit cheaper, too.

It’s a great option if you don’t mind the smaller print volume but you want all of the same features. You really won’t miss a thing and your wallet will be a little fatter from the cash you saved.

Artillery Sidewinder X1

Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Sidewinder X1 was Artillery’s first attempt at a 3D printer. It’s another budget solution with a sleek look, but it has a bigger build volume of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm. It also has a direct drive system.

While the print quality out of the box isn’t quite as good as the Mega X, it can be really great for a budget solution if you spend some time getting the settings just right. Plus, with the exceptional print volume, you really won’t find much else in this price range that offers quite as much.

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

This printer is slightly more expensive but still rings up at under $1000. However, it has almost everything you’d ever want right out of the box. It heats up quickly, has a flexible metal build plate, and features a direct drive system.

The excellent print quality leaves little to be desired, and the automatic bed leveling makes setup a breeze. You’ll get a really great value out of this printer, so while it may not be a budget solution per se, it might just be the best option on the list.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

It’s really cool learning how to print in 3D, but not everyone may find it valuable. You can spend a lot of time and money on it and it may not end up being worth it for you, resulting in a huge strain on your budget.
Thankfully, budget 3D printers offer a great entry point into the world of 3D printing, so you can get your feet wet before spending too much money. Any of the 3D printers here are great budget options for you if you’ve never done it before.

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

Sometimes you can sell items you make with your 3D printer and you can even use your at-home 3D printer as a commercial services on websites like Hubs. Just list it as a service or take orders for prints.
Just remember that poor quality items and printers won’t make as much money, so it’s probably not a good idea to do it with a budget printer. However, if you upgrade to a more professional device, this may be an option.

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

3D printing is fun, but there are always disadvantages. In the world of budget 3D printing, one of the main disadvantages is a lack of features. You’re not going to find the build volume or the range of materials that you would find in a more expensive, professional quality printer.
You’re also not going to get the same high quality results. Design inaccuracies will leave you with imperfect prints, and if you’re not careful, you can struggle with copyright issues.

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

If you’re looking at building a quality 3D printer made out of high performance parts, it’s generally cheaper to buy the parts individually and build it yourself. However, if you’re entering the 3D printing world at the budget level, you’re better off spending a few hundred bucks on a budget printer.

You have to keep in mind that building a 3D printer isn’t easy. You have to get the right components and know what you’re doing, or the printer won’t work. It’s a big time commitment, and if you’re going to but a cheap 3D printer, it’s well worth spending the money to save yourself the time.

The Verdict

The Mega X is a great, large volume budget 3D printer. The Anycubic Ultrabase gives you a seamless experience all around while the print quality may just exceed your expectations.

It has a sleek appearance with a sturdy build. Despite the price, they chose not to include any cheap parts. Plus, with steel construction, once you set up the printer, there’s no need to go back and readjust it later.

The large touchscreen makes it easy to use and the ability to use your own choice of open source software open up its usability to anyone who has their own personal preferences.

It doesn’t differ much in terms of features from the Mega S and it would have been nice to see some improvements like auto bed leveling and Wi-Fi connectivity, but for those who like the Mega series and want the extra build volume, it’s a great option.

Best Cyber Monday 3D Printer Deals for 2020 – Holiday Deals on 3D Printing

Best Cyber Monday 3D Printer Deals

It’s that time of year again, time to find some 3D Printers on sale. If you are looking for a one-stop resource for all of the live BEST Black Friday 3D Printer deals and then our Best Cyber Monday 3D Printer deals, this is the right place!

The Best Cyber Monday 3D Printer Deals I’m Tracking Now

This is the full list of Black Friday and Cyber Monday 3D printing deals I’m watching, including 3D printing supplies, 3D printer filament, and actual desktop 3D printer deals:

Best Cyber Monday 3D Printer Deals

black friday cyber 3D printing

The Best Cyber Monday and Black Friday 3D Printer Accessory Deals!

For just 3D Printer Accessories, this section will track these deals:

Stay tuned, this list will be updated LIVE as Cyber Monday sale deals hit…

If you liked this list, check out our best amazon prime deals list here!

Flashforge Creator 3 Review [2020]: Our Honest Opinion

Flashforge Creator 3 Review

This great 3D printer is designed and marketed toward universities for use in their engineering departments. It’s a professional system at an affordable price, making it accessible for anyone who needs a machine for a group of people.

It’s a desktop-sized printer and is priced at the high end of the market for those looking for an at-home piece of equipment, but it’s still rather accessible if you’re a serious hobbyist. It’s loaded with features that make it a worthwhile investment.

Specifications

  • Technology: Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
  • Build volume: 300mm x 250mm x 200mm
  • Printer weight: 40kg
  • Printer dimensions: 627mm x 485mm x 615mm
  • Layer height: 0.05-0.4mm
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Position precision: X, Y: 11 microns / Z: 2.5 microns
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3D cloud, USB, Ethernet
  • Print bed: PEI sheet on the glass
  • Heated plate: Yes
  • Maximum plate temperature: 120°C
  • Third-party filament: Yes
  • Printable materials: ABS, PC, PLA, PVA, HIPS, PETG, nylon, W.P.C.
  • Built-in camera: Yes
  • Extrusion: Dual
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 300°C
  • Touchscreen 4.5 inches
  • Software: FlashPrint
  • File input types: OBJ, FPP, PNG, JPG, JPEG, STL, 3MF, BMP
  • File output type: GX/G
  • Supports: Mac, Windows, Linux

Setup

At first glance, you might notice that the Flashforge Creator 3 is rather compact. It makes a nice addition to your workspace and doesn’t take up too much room. However, the total build space is much larger than most others on the market, making efficient use of the space.

It’s also built of a full metal chassis, affording you good stability so you get great quality out of your prints. The clear, plexiglass doors give you visibility to your jobs while the enclosed area maintains an optimal environment.

flashforge creator 3 review

When it comes to set up, it may be a time consuming and tricky process, but much of it is enabled and monitored through the touchscreen and Flashcloud program. It requires setting up the camera, loading the material, calibrating the bed, and setting up the Wi-Fi.

The camera is positioned nicely, but setting it up can be the most finicky part of the process. Once you’re done with it, it’s easy to monitor and really convenient.

The touchscreen allows you to select multiple languages, view previews, and manage settings. It also makes loading materials easy. The screen guides you through the entire process, although it does take some practice.

Bed calibration is also guided by the touchscreen and prompts you to turn dials on the inside of the machine. It takes about two minutes to complete the entire process effectively. The calibration check before each print ensures the bed is leveled correctly.

There’s also a button for troubleshooting bugs on the Z-axis. While this is useful, it would be nice to see the printer correct itself instead of needing further input from the user.

Wi-Fi setup takes another couple of minutes, and after it’s done, you can send files directly from your computer to your printer. You can also load files onto a USB drive and load prints this way, although not nearly as convenient as using Wi-Fi.

Features

As with any 3D printer, it’s all in the features. This is where the value truly lies, and the Flashforge Creator 3 is pretty impressive. The full list of features may have you jumping at the bit to shell out the big bucks.

IDEX

The Flashforge Creator 3 brings a whole other level of amazing to the dual extruder idea. Not only does it feature dual extruders, but each extruder moves independently of the other. This independent dual extruder system, or IDEX for short, includes a range of modes.

Mirror mode can print two identical projects at the same time, which is useful if you’re replicating items and saves time if you need more than one of the same print. And because each extruder can use a different material while working simultaneously, it’s ideal for printing complex geometrical patterns.

https://www.canva.com/design/DAD_McuJB7M/share/preview?token=Q9mfb7B_fne1iQMoqvmZuA&role=EDITOR&utm_content=DAD_McuJB7M&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

Built-in HD camera

Plenty of 3D printers these days have built-in cameras so you can monitor your prints from another location. However, the camera included in the Flashforge Creator 3 displays your job in all of its HD glory.

No need to watch your printer up close for hours while it completes the job. You can walk away and still keep an eye on what it’s doing. This is a fantastic feature for people who have multiple printers at work at the same time or who simply don’t want to have to babysit the printer.

Fully enclosed design

Designed with students in mind, the fully enclosed structure offers additional safety for all users. This feature makes it a great printer for younger users and beginners who aren’t yet familiar with how 3D printers work.

It’s also an excellent way to learn how to print with tricky materials that are more sensitive to temperature. It helps to maintain a steady internal temperature without the fluctuations of an open-air design.

It also features an enclosed area for the filament spool on the side of the machine that protects it from moisture in the air.

Flexible removable build plate

The build plate has a ton of really great features that enable great prints. It’s heated, to prevent warping and improve the quality of the print job. Not only that, but it’s removable, which makes it so much easier to get your final job out of the enclosed machine.

But wait. That’s not all. The bed is flexible, so after you remove it, simply bend it slightly, and the print should pop right off.

Auto shut-off

If the printer detects any filament feeding problems, it will automatically stop printing. That way you can adjust or clean as needed and then restart your job. This will help make sure all of your prints are successful without errors or mistakes.

3D cloud

Flashforge offers a cloud management system with all of its 3D printers so you can upload and store your files. You’ll have your own library of models online and you can use the onboard touchscreen to access them.

Just navigate to your list of prints, select one, and your printer will get to work building right away.

Software

The Flashforge Creator 3 uses proprietary FlashPrint software to slice all print jobs. It’s easy for beginners to use, but it’s robust enough for experienced users to find the tools they need to create advanced jobs.

If you’ve used other slicing software before, you’ll find that the controls match closely enough that you’ll know you’re way around, and the program is quite intuitive. The menu is laid out well and easily recognizable.

Buttons on the left offer quick access to buttons you might use frequently like cutting, rotating, scaling, or repositioning.

Once you load and position your design, you are directed to support options so you can select the type of supports your print needs. Generate your own support placement or auto-generate supports. You can also manually add or remove supports.

After designing your print, you can select your settings such as material, print speed, resolution, retraction, temperature, and more.

While it’s not open source, FlashPrint still seems to be familiar and easy to use. In fact, it’s one of the easier slicers on the market. The interface and options are straightforward.

flashprint flashforge software

Performance

Overall, the Flashforge Creator 3 produces incredibly high-quality prints. You’ll experience a smooth surface with little to no imperfections such as stringing. You may find some defects in areas where you lack the right supports, but they’re easily cleaned up using a scalpel or grit paper.

The quality of each print demonstrates that while the X and Y axes struggle to repeat the same print identically each time, the retraction capabilities are perfect. Every print is of excellent quality.

If you truly wanted to test the capability of this printer, you could print objects of high complexity without supports and you would see very little stringing that could be cleaned up easily with grit paper and a scalpel.

With the right supports, your prints are nearly perfect. Surfaces are smooth and defect-free, even with finicky and sensitive materials, but may require adjusting some settings to get it right.

Alternatives

If you’re shopping around for 3D printers, there are plenty of options on the market. It may make your head spin trying to figure out which one is best for you. If the Flashforge Creator 3 is a contender, here are some others you may want to take a look at.

CraftBot Flow

CraftBot Flow

The CraftBot Flow is another IDEX 3D printer, offering a small, but robust machine for slightly fewer dollars than the Creator 3. CraftUnique’s Flow Generation line improves on their previous CraftBot 3 printer with a sleek, white exterior design, a steel frame, all-metal hot ends, Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in camera, and 4GB of external storage.

It has a build volume of 425mm x 250mm x 250mm, but if you’re looking for something bigger, you can also get the CraftBot Flow IDEX XL with 425mm x 250mm x 500mm.

Ultimaker 3

ultimaker 3

Where the Ultimaker 3 falls short is the dual extruder design. However, it does feature a dual print core design that enables rapid retooling. It enables the inactive core to move out of the way, reducing contamination while still allowing for printing with multiple materials.

Wi-Fi connectivity and excellent performance offer a professional experience at roughly the same price point, while the Ultimaker 3 Extended gives you the same high uptime with a larger print volume.

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
$4,336.59
Get it on Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

Raise3D Pro2

Raise3D Pro2

For truly unmatched professional quality, the Raise3D Pro2 is a dual extrusion printer that features effortless operation. The 7-inch color touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity make it easy to operate, well, all the time, no matter where you are.

It also has a huge build volume and a fully enclosed chamber as well as high-temperature hot ends. While it only has a single printhead design, it does have two independent nozzles with heating blocks that move out of the way when idle.

There’s also a built-in camera, a HEPA filter, and a removable print bed.

Raise3D Pro2 3D Printer - Where to Buy
$3,999.00
Amazon MatterHackers
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

3D printing is pretty cool, but it’s not worth it for everyone. A lot of people spend tons of time and money on 3D printers and printing, but you have to decide whether it’s worth all of the effort and the strain on your personal budget.
For a school or university, it’s probably worth a few extra bucks to spring for something that offers excellent quality prints and will last. Even for a serious hobbyist, it may be an excellent addition to the home office.
However, you need to be sure you’re going to get good use out of it, so if you’re unfamiliar with them or you’re not 100% on board with buying one, it may not be the best idea.

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

Sure, you can sell items you make with your 3D printer. You can even offer up your at-home 3D printer as a commercial service. Websites like Hubs allow you to list your 3D printer as a service or take orders for things you produce.
However, be careful with this because if you aren’t familiar with how to print or you’re not printing quality items, you may not be able to make much money and people won’t be happy with the end result.

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

While 3D printing is fun and can be an excellent resource, there are some disadvantages. For instance, there are a lot of materials available, but the selection isn’t endless. The build size is also restricted by the volume of the printer you choose.
Design inaccuracies can leave you with imperfect final results and if you choose to sell your items, you can sometimes run into copyright issues with current manufacturers.

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

Generally, yes, it’s cheaper to build a 3D printer than it is to buy one. You can save money on the assembly by doing it yourself, plus you can customize your printer with the high-end parts you want and only spend a little bit more.
However, keep in mind that it’s nothing like building a PC. It’s hard work getting the right components and fitting them together. It’s a work of engineering and if you’re not up for the task, it’s worth the extra money to buy one. Building it incorrectly will result in a printer that doesn’t work and then your money will be wasted.

Final Thoughts

While it has some flaws, the Flashforge Creator 3 is definitely worthy of the price you’ll pay. It’s a high-end printer that produces quality prints using a variety of materials like ASA, ABS, PLA, PLA wood, PETG, PC, and nylon. You’ll also experience a lot of success with materials that are more demanding, like polymers.

Some of the setups is tricky, but most of it is quick and easy, thanks to the touchscreen assistance. The UI is logically arranged for clear and consistent use.

The IDEX design is a great opportunity for students, professionals, and hobbyists to experiment with projects that use two different materials and how they work together.

FlashPrint, Flashforge’s slicer is one of the easiest slicers on the market to use for both beginners and professionals, and the controls are arranged in a way that’s organized and makes sense.

Without supports, you may find some stringing that needs to be cleaned up afterward, but other than that, it’s easy to use and produces excellent results. Plus, the Wi-Fi connectivity and the built-in camera allow you to use it from anywhere.

The Creator 3 is always fun to use and most users will be impressed. It’s intended for experienced users, but even beginners can use it safely because of its intuitive controls. Anyone can unlock its full capabilities.

Check out similar 3D Printers in the Flashforge Creator series:

Kodak Portrait 3D Printer Review [2020]: All You Need to Know

kodak portrait 3d printer review

You’ve probably noticed that the market for 3D printers is more competitive than ever. When looking at low-cost 3D printers for home use in the hobbyist market, there are too many to count.

The historic company, Kodak, enters the market here with the Kodak Portrait. However, this printer wasn’t actually developed by the company itself. They licensed their name to an Argentinian startup named Smart International for manufacturing.

Kodak has an image to keep up, and the debut of this machine helps to maintain that image. It has all the features you need with easy plug and plays operation.

When getting up close and personal with this printer, it’s hard to find any flaws, which is something you can’t say about many other 3D printers on the market.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Kodak (Smart International)
  • Technology: FDM
  • Arrangement: CoreXY
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Compatible materials: Kodak ABS, HIPS, Flex 98, Nylon 6, Nylon 12, PLA Tough, PLA+, PETG, PVA
  • Accepts 3rd-party materials: Yes
  • Layer height: 20-250 micron
  • Extruder type: Single print head, dual hot end
  • Feeder system: Bowden
  • Nozzle size: 0.4mm
  • Maximum heat bed temperature: 295°C
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 105°C
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, LAN, USB
  • Built-in camera: Yes
  • Bed leveling: Assisted manual
  • Display: 5-inch color touchscreen
  • Extras: Moisture blocking filament cartridges, HEPA + activated carbon air filter

Kodak

Setup

The Kodak Portrait comes fully assembled. After unboxing, you’ll find a toolkit and all the accessories you need, like an unclogging needle, a calibration card, and lubrication. You also get two spools of PLA filament, spool holders, and filament cases.

The instructions will guide you as to how to secure a few of the additional accessories to the printer before use. It takes a mere ten minutes to get it up and running.

You’ll notice right away how robust the printer is, with its full steel chassis and plexiglass panels. It helps to reduce shaking while giving you a great visual of the build area.

While bed calibration is automatic and seems to be simple, it can prove tedious at times. You can choose from multiple languages, intuitive temperature profiles, and compatible materials.

Spool feeders are accessible via the backplate, so if you set your printer up against a wall, they can be difficult to reach, which is one downside to the set up of this particular printer.

Features

The Kodak Portrait is a professional-quality 3D printer priced low enough for in-home use. It competes nicely with other hobbyist machines and uses dual extrusion FDM technology. The feature list will have you drooling.

Dual print cores

The Kodak Portrait allows for printing with multiple materials at the same time thanks to dual print cores. It follows a similar design as the Ultimaker 3. The system can accept any combination of all-metal hot ends or PTFE.

It requires some manual work to remove the print head housing and switch out the materials. When you’re ready to switch, the nozzle retracts clear of your print to prevent oozing and assist with cleaner transitions.

Filament cartridges

Not only does the Kodak Portrait have a dual Bowden extruder, but it feeds from reusable filament cartridges. These filament cartridges are moisture resistant, and while they’re not very high tech, they allow you to print for a long time without worrying about moisture build-up.

These lockable clear plastic cases that include compartments for silica pouches are a thoughtful and rare inclusion. In some cases, they may be too small for your filament reels, but they are the perfect size for Kodak’s spools.

Print area and temperatures

At 200 x 200 x 235, the print area on the Kodak Portrait is average. However, it does have a removable glass bed that holds into place with magnets. The bed heats to 105 degrees Celsius and the hot ends heat to 295 degrees Celsius, which makes it easy to print with a wide range of materials.

Bed leveling can prove to be difficult. At first glance, you might think that using the touchscreen is no problem. However, it’s painfully slow, making it difficult to tell which direction the bed is moving.

What’s more, there’s no bed level sensor, so it’s impossible to know whether it’s level or not, and you can’t level it manually via any nuts, levels, or knobs. You’re at the mercy of the software.

kodak portrait review

Steel frame

The all-steel frame and clear acrylic sides offer a sturdy, enclosed print chamber with visibility to your print. In conjunction with the heated bed and hot ends, it’s the perfect environment for printing with temperature-sensitive materials.

It even has a HEPA and carbon air filter for attacking the VOCs the printer releases during the print process.

It has a CoreXY arrangement with linear rails in the X and Y axes that offer great stability. There is a precision ball screw in the Z-axis.

Cloud-based printing

If you’ve been shopping around for 3D printers long, you’ve likely noticed that there’s a healthy mix of those with Wi-Fi capability and those without. Being able to control and monitor your prints from another machine or another location altogether can offer a convenient experience, for sure.

The Kodak Portrait offers effortless operation via a cloud-based printing feature called 3DPrinterOS. They made sure to color it in the signature Kodak yellow and brand it Kodak 3D Cloud.

It offers simplicity in printing and removes the guesswork, trial, and error. It’s accessible via a web browser so you can get to it from anywhere you have an internet connection. With this approach to print management, you can use your 3D printer anytime, anywhere.

The printer also has Raspberry Pi 3 built-in so you can operate it directly via the 5-inch color touchscreen. Offline operation is also available using the Kodak 3D Slicer and connect using LAN or USB.

kodak portrait

Performance

It may take some adjustments to get the Kodak Portrait printing as it should. Temperatures, print speeds, and fan speeds will all need to be tinkered with to yield outstanding prints using a variety of different materials.

However, the Kodak Portrait has the ability to print using a wide variety of materials and offer excellent results with smooth curvature, great detail, and no stringing.

It can recreate shapes with consistency. When printing shapes repeatedly, the standard deviation is almost indistinguishable and prints at professional-grade status, although it will sometimes struggle with micro-movements on the XY plane.

Any system that claims to be professional should be able to print with professional materials, and the Kodak Portrait doesn’t disappoint. Even with filaments that are notoriously troublesome, like PETG, it handled them with no major issues.

There was some stringing on the corners and layer lines, but has excellent overhand abilities and can handle even uncooperative materials like nylon.

When it comes to dual extrusion, you may be skeptical, and for good reason. A key feature of the Kodak Portrait is the dual nozzle assembly, but does it work as well as they want you to think?

You’ll be happy to know that it’s truly excellent. It maintains strength while keeping a strong interface between the two materials. It’s a valuable feature for professional users and at-home designers.

printers on the market.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

Alternatives

If you’re interested in the Kodak Portrait, there are some other alternatives worth a look. Make sure you shop around to find the best one for you.

Ultimaker 3ultimaker 3

The Ultimaker 3 falls in the same price point as the Kodak Portrait, and with many of the same features. It has the same dual print core design and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, where it differs is the open front design and dual extruder.

The Ultimaker 3 is also an excellent performer that won’t disappoint. You may find the screen on the unit lacking, though. It’s not a touch screen, it’s not color, and it’s not very large. Nonetheless, it’s a quality machine at a price point that many can afford to justify.

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
$4,336.59
Get it on Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

Prusa i3Prusa i3

The Prusa i3 is a quality machine at an incredibly affordable price. The completely open design allows you complete access to your print but can make it more dangerous for beginners and younger users.

Where it shines is the value it offers at the price. You can choose to purchase the kit and build it on your own or purchase it fully assembled.

Formlabs Form 3Formlabs Form 3

Here’s another professional printer that rings up at a slightly higher price point. However, they’ve completely reinvented what it means to print with just a click. It’s so easy to use that it might just be worth the money.

It features efficient print management via a web dashboard and great for prototyping. It also comes with some of the best software available, making the workflow even easier to use and understand.

FAQ

If you’re not sure which 3D printer is right for you, here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand more about which may be the best choice.

What is the best 3D printer for the money?

The Formlabs Form 3 and the Ultimaker 3 are two of the best printers for the money. They offer great value with professional prints and great features. The Kodak Portrait is following closely in their footsteps with awesome features that you would normally have to pay a lot more money for.

While there are more great 3D printers on the market than you can count, these are some that always seem to float to the top of the list.

What should I know before buying a 3D printer?

There are several things to think about before buying a 3D printer. Price is a big factor. It should fit in your budget. And while the Kodak Portrait may be pricey, it’s well worth it. Value is also something to consider. The printer should include all the features you want at a price that you feel is worth it.

Other things to consider are materials, safety, quality, type of printer, file type, software, and connection types.

What software do you need for 3D printing?

There are a lot of really great 3D printing software options out there. While some 3D printers, like the Kodak Portrait, come with their own proprietary software, others use open source software that’s easy to use and repurpose for many uses.

Great 3D printing software options include Ultimaker Cura, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Fusion360, and Solidworks.

Final Thoughts

Despite the auto-leveling issues, the Kodak Portrait is an awesome printer. It has plenty of great features that blow the competition out of the water, even at a similar price point. It has a household name stamped across the front, even though it’s manufactured by a third party.

It features a sleek design with an enclosed space that keeps it safe and professional while enabling it to host a variety of difficult materials. It’s a high-quality printer and an interesting option for those who want a professional printer in their home.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 11/24/2020 02:09 am UTC

MatterControl vs Cura [2020]: Which is The Best Your Needs

MatterControl vs Cura

MatterControl vs Cura: Which one is better and does it really matter which slicing software you use? Before you can start 3D printing, you’ll need your design to be modeled and adapted for being printed as a 3D object.

Slicing software, or Slicers, translate 3D models into layers that a 3D printer can understand and print. Not all slicing programs provide equal utility or results, however. Given their impact on the quality of your model, it’s important to find a software that works for you.

Cura, for example, is one of the most popular slicing software, which comes prepackaged with many printers. However, MatterControl has risen to popularity in recent years as well. Both are cutting edge slicers, therefore deciding between the two can be a little tricky.

Our comparison guide is here to clear up the confusion between the two. We’ll dive into the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of each software. Thereby, you can test each option out having a good basic understanding of what they offer. Let’s get started.

Main Differences Between MatterControl vs Cura

The main differences between MatterControl vs Cura are:

  • MatterControl needs 100 gigabytes of hard disk space and 6 gigabytes of RAM, whereas Cura needs 600 megabytes of hard disk space and 8 gigabytes of RAM.
  • MatterControl is more expensive as it wastes more material, whereas Cura comes cheaper as it operates with less material.
  • MaterControl utilizes a tab-based UI system, whereas Cura has a single-view with only a few settings accessible through its settings menu.
  • MatterControl has integrated slicing and modeling option, whereas Cura does not have any customization features, therefore models have to be edited in separate CAD software.
  • MatterControl has comparatively less frequent updates, whereas Cura has weekly updates and bug fixes.
  • MatterControl offers Gcode input and output, whereas Cura only allows for Gcode input

Read on and find out which of these two would suit your needs better. How does MatterControl compete against Ultimaker Cura? What are the features that each one offers? And which one is the better slicer?

What Is MatterControl?

MatterControl vs Cura

MatterControl is a program that you can use to carry out a lot of processes and tasks when you are 3D printing. Most people might think that 3D printing is like regular paper printing where you can start the process with a button click, and then leave it for a few seconds and everything’s okay.

But as anybody who’s ever tried or seen 3D printers in action knows, it’s not that simple. 3D printing has a lot of tasks and processes that you need to do, and MatterControl can help you with that.

What’s more, MatterControl allows you to use one user interface to operate different 3D printers. If this software allows you to do various 3D printing tasks, you expect it to have a long list of features.

MatterControl Features

MatterControl has several features that allow you to do several things when you’re working with 3D models.

It has both a 2D viewer and a 3D viewer. The 2D viewer allows you to see the layers when you slice your design, while the 3D viewer allows you to scale, mirror, or rotate your design to make sure everything is in order before you print or slice it.

Main Features:

  • The library allows you to store, manage, organize, and search for your designs.
  • Print Queue that helps you organize and handle large projects.
  • Printer dropdown list to help you easily work with a variety of 3D printers that you have connected with MatterControl
  • Quick printer wizard to set up different 3D printers
  • Switch for different slicing engines, allowing you to use Slic3r, MatterSlice, Cura, and others.
  • Terminal for both viewing and editing G-code

Printer Controls

MatterControl gives you the ability to interface with your 3D printer easily. When you start printing, MatterControl will call up a new section: Tuning Adjustment.

This interface will allow you to adjust the speed and temperature of the printer. It also allows you to tinker with the extrusion settings. You can do all these even while the print is in progress.

With the temperature control feature, you can manually heat the printer’s extruder and bed. Just slide the temperature slider for the bed and the extruder to make sure that they are heated to your liking. Or you can choose the presets for PLA and ABS if these are the filaments that you’re going to use.

Filament Bed Extruder
PLA 70º C 180ºC
ABS 130º C 230ºC

What’s more, this section will also show the actual temperatures for both the extruder and the bed.

Movement Control

You can also control the movements of the three axes. You can set these axes together or individually. You can get more precision by moving the X, Y, and Z axes by either 0.1, 1, or 10 millimeters. You can only control the movements of these axes before you start printing.

Setup Features

mattercontrol

Aside from the printing controls, MatterControl will also allow you to calibrate the bed with its automatic leveling feature. This functionality will measure a number of points on the printing bed, see what the angle of the bed is so that it can compensate while printing.

MatterControl also gives you a terminal that will allow you to tinker with the G-code of the object that you are going to print as well as the 3D printer itself.

In a separate settings tab, you can choose what level of settings you want: simple, intermediate, and advanced. This means that you can easily control every aspect of your print when you choose the advanced settings, but you can keep it very straightforward when you choose simple.

Here are the settings that you can adjust with each level:

Simple

  • Fill density
  • Layer height
  • Support material and rafts selection

Intermediate

  • Brims
  • Filament specifications
  • Infill
  • Layer or perimeter customization
  • More details for your rafts and support materials
  • Printer specifications
  • Skirts

Advanced

  • Everything that you can control with simple and intermediate setting levels
  • Additional slicing options
  • Output options
  • Repairs
  • Settings for two or more extruders
  • Switch between a variety of slicing engines

Image Converter

MatterControl also comes with an Image Converter that allows you to easily convert a 2D image into a 3D model.

MatterControl Cloud Sync

MatterControl offers a cloud storage service that lets you store your designs on the cloud and access it from anywhere.

You also have access to the web portal to check on your prints. That means you can see if your 3D prints are completed or not even when you’re miles away from the printer.

MatterControl Design Apps

The Design Apps give you all the tools you need to create or modify any design. That means that you can use MatterControl to design something from scratch. But you can also save time by having access to pre-made designs that you can modify to your liking.

For instance, if you want to 3D print a cup, you can find a design for it. You can then tweak it to be larger, or have a bigger handle for it. You can also add or modify text on the cup, so you can personalize it.

System Requirements

MatterControl doesn’t take too many resources to run. You can use it on Windows PCs, macOS, or Linux. You would need:

  • 2 gigabytes for 64-bit RAM
  • 6 gigabytes of hard disk space
  • An 800 by 600 pixels display
  • At least 1 gigahertz processor
  • DirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0 driver

For smoother operations, you can outfit your computer with a faster processor at least 3 gigahertz, 6 gigabytes of RAM, 100 gigabytes of hard disk space, and a larger display.

What Can Be Better

The Design Apps only allow you to use models that you have previously designed yourself, although there are plans to allow users to share their own designs for everyone’s use.

MatterControl: The Bottom Line

You will love just how MatterControl brings together design, printing, and preparation features into one program. It’s easy to create a design or bring in a design that you can customize according to your preferences.

What’s more, it’s free. Imagine being able to flex your creativity and imagination. You can create the parts and 3D objects you want without being bridled by software limitations. You can also apply customizations as you see fit and work with different slicer programs all within MatterControl.

Everything You Need to Know About Ultimaker Cura

ultimaker cura

Cura is a slicer software that comes from Ultimaker, which makes 3d printers. Anybody can visit the Ultimaker website and download the program for free. They can use it if they have a compatible 3D printer.

Ultimaker Cura is currently the most widely used 3D printing software in the world, with millions of users. You can use it to prepare your prints easily and quickly, customize your printing settings, and even have it work with your CAD program to make your workflow easier and faster.

Features of Ultimaker Cura

As you can guess, Cura also has a range of tools and features that you should know.

Ultimaker Cura’s Slicing Tools

Cura has a flexible and powerful slicing engine that allows you to customize your print settings with just a few clicks. It has pre-set profiles that you can use for reliable printing. You can customers more than 400 different settings, which allows you granular control.

Integrations

Cura is compatible with a lot of devices and third-party software. You can use it to work with a wide variety of files, including

  • 3D Manufacturing File (3MF)
  • Bitmap Image Files (BMP)
  • Graphical Interchange Format files (GIF)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group files (JPG)
  • Portable Network Graphic files (PNG)
  • Standard Triangle Language and stereolithography files (STL)
  • Wavefront 3D Object files (OBJ)
  • Xara3D Project files (X3D)

What’s more, Cura works seamlessly with Ultimaker 3D printers, as well as CAD programs such as Autodesk Inventor​, Siemens NX, SolidWorks, and others.

Ease of Use

Ultimaker Cura makes 3D printing a whole lot easier. You only spend a few minutes to prepare your model, less if you use the recommended settings. You only have to choose the quality and speed settings to begin printing.

Updates and More

What’s more, Ultimaker regularly updates Cura. This ensures that you have the best tools and the most advanced technologies at your fingertips.

You also have access to the Ultimaker Marketplace, which allows you to download plugins that can better enhance your printing, as well as material profiles so that you don’t have to go through manual inputting when using and setting up third-party materials.

Lastly, you will be awed by the support materials available. There are official support channels for Cura, hundreds of Youtube tutorials on how to use the program, and a knowledge base that has more than 26,000 contributors.

That means that if you encounter a problem or have an issue using Cura, you can rely on both the company and the community of users for some help.

Minimum and Recommended Requirements

You can run Ultimaker Cura on your computer if you have the following specs:

  • 1024 by 768 pixels for the display
  • 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • 550 megabytes of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is compatible with OpenGL 4.1
  • Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64

But for Cura to run smoothly, you will need at least an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Athlon 64, 600 megabytes of free hard disk space, and at least 8 gigabytes of RAM.

Ultimaker Cura: The Bottom Line

The thing with using this software is that you can make it as simple as you want. You can just use the recommended profiles and load up your 3D object to start printing. But you can certainly tweak the settings to your heart’s delight if you want full control of your 3D prints.

You can use Cura for machines that have either single or dual extruders. Cura also makes it easy for you to create or revise your design. This program has easy to use tools for that.

Cura lets you do a lot of things, and for the most part, they provide features, functionalities, and tools that perform well. What’s more, Cura is extensible, with a variety of plugins and extensions that you can use.

MatterControl vs Ultimaker Cura: The Showdown

While both MatterControl and Ultimaker Cura are open source and have a wide range of compatibility, there are some minor differences between the two. What are these?

Pricing

Cura and MatterControl are open-source, community-based software that are completely free to use. Cura comes with a number of 3D printers or can be downloaded from the company’s or retailer’s website. MatterControl can be downloaded directly from the company’s website.

Therefore, if you’re unsure which software to go for, you can always try out both. Knowing which one is right will help you save time, money, and material; but you can give both a shot to know which one serves your project’s needs better.

MatterControl vs Cura – Ease of use

Ease of use in 3D slicing software is a rather subjective element. But we rate apps according to its accessibility for beginners. If those starting out can get a hang of software with ease, it should be easy to use.

Between Cura and MatterControl, Cura may seem to have an advantage given its widespread popularity and preset profile options. It is used by beginners and advanced users alike to print models for personal or commercial use. Therefore, it certainly passes the threshold of ease of use with flying colors. However, we’d argue Cura ultimately falls short where MatterControl shines.

MatterControl allows modeling within its app is a huge plus point. It also gives the user the ability to customize G-codes… Coupled with possessing features any quality slicer should, MatterControl is a solid product that is fairly easy to use by individuals of all levels while still providing flexibility and slicing functionality.

MatterControl vs Cura – Support

Support plays a big role in leveling up as a 3D enthusiast or manufacturer. Bugs are part of any software and proactive slicers will routinely update their software to remove bugs, as well as add in other quality of life updates.

Moreover, support can also help with diagnosing any issues you face with your software/printer so you can understand how to optimize your system for your use.

MatterControl and Cura have excellent support backing their open-source software. They are both communities based on their own mod/marketplace and are relatively responsive to consumer feedback.

If you do face any issues with either company, contact their customer service or reach out within their community forums.

MatterControl vs Cura – Pros and Cons

cura printing

MatterControl Pros

  • Free, open-source software
  • Modeling + Slicer in one package
  • Easy to use interface
  • Advanced functionality to fine-tune your printer
  • Excellent results with minimal support and material wastage
  • Frequent updates
  • A diverse community with an integrated software marketplace

MatterControl Cons

  • Slicing may be a bit slower than other option on the matter

Cura Pros

  • Free, open-source software
  • Traditional Slicer with enhanced features
  • A quick, efficient, and visual workspace
  • Customizable
  • High-quality models
  • Updates weekly

Cura Cons

  • Models will need to be edited in a separate CAD file for adjustments
  • Cannot output G-codes
  • Requires more tinkering to get the settings right

Mattercontrol Wastes More Material for the Support

In this video, you will see that using Cura and MatterControl to print the same object, Cura uses far more material to make a brim, while MatterControl has close to no brim.

However, Cura uses less filament to create support than MatterControl. In the end, Cura helps you save more of your filament.

Cura Takes Longer to Finish Printing

MatterControl only took 56 minutes, which is two minutes faster than Cura. That may not sound like a lot of time, but in the video, the sample print was quite small. If you were to print a bigger object, that time difference will be more significant.

Both Makes It Easy to Get the Support off the Print

Support structures and brims are necessary to ensure the stability of your 3D print, so it doesn’t topple over or make sure that one layer holds up even after succeeding layers have been printed.

Some slicers often make it difficult for you to remove the support, which damages the print itself. Thankfully, it’s easy to remove the support and the brim when you use either MatterControl or Cura.

Print Quality

When it comes to print quality both Cura and MatterControl delivers. However, MatterControl did have more contact points between the support and the model itself.

It did, however, used a minimal amount of support that looked more like tree branches that were placed where it was needed.

On the other hand, Cura proved to have a very detailed model that can show you even the smallest detail. Cura used a very minimal amount of filament for the supports and had very few contacts between the support and the print.

Comparison to Other Free Slicer Programs

The thing with the difference between MatterControl and Cura is that they are so small that it’s easy to discount one and go with the other. This fact is more apparent if you compare these two to other free slicer programs such as PrusaSlicer and Ideamaker.

PrusaSlicer

PrusaSlicer is an open-source program that offers a variety of features and comes with regular updates to make sure that things get better as time wears on. You can use it on Linux, Mac, and Windows machines.

prusa slicer

It is currently available in 14 languages and comes with more than 110 resin and filament profiles out of the box. Anybody can use it, be it beginners, advanced users, or experts.

Features of PrusaSlicer

One of the biggest draws of PrusaSlicer is that it manages to keep the user interface clean and straightforward even with all the features that it offers.

You can use the automatic settings for support, or you can customize it to your liking. It can work with a variety of materials and filament profiles are updated automatically.

These are just some of the features that you can expect from PrusaSlicer.

How Does PrusaSlicer Compare with Both MatterControl and Cura

Compared to both Cura and MatterControl, PrusaSlicer uses more material to create support structures than both programs. It also takes significantly longer to finish printing at 73 minutes

When you take off the support for 3D prints, there are a lot of places where the support made contact with the 3D model. This makes the 3D object look dirty and rugged.

Ideamaker

Ideamaker lets you prepare your files for your 3D prints. You can work with compatible file formats such as STL, OBJ, OLTP, and 3MF in just two clicks.

This free slicer has some of the more advanced features that you’d expect from paid software. You can customize the profiles and supports to make each print perfect.

ideamaker

Other features you can expect from Ideamaker include:

  • 3D and cross-section views
  • 64-bit processing
  • Automatic layout of a variety of files that you can print in one go
  • Automatic separation of parts if you’re printing something that needs to be assembled
  • Available in a variety of languages
  • Customizable layer heights
  • IdeaMaker’s library of printing templates, slicing profiles, printing files, and model files
  • Sequential printing

How Does IdeaMaker compare with MatterControl and Cura?

Ideamaker compares with both MatterControl and Cura in that it doesn’t waste too much material when coming up with support structures. What’s more, it prints really fast. Compared to almost an hour for both MatterControl and Cura, IdeaMaker only needs 41 minutes to completely print a similar model.

However, support structures are difficult to remove when you print with IdeaMaker. This can lead to poor print quality and a longer time spent on post-processing.

Simplify3d

simplify3d

If you’re looking for a reliable slicing program with some premium features, Simplify3d cannot be beaten. It has several resources and features to help bring your ideas to life.

Not to mention, if you’re a beginner who learns through the structure, the company provides several tutorials and resources to help you learn the ins-and-outs of 3D printing with Simplify3d. It is also highly visual with easy setup and navigation for users. Adjustments can also be visually seen; thereby improving its overall output.

However, unlike others mentioned in this article, Simplify3d is a paid software that needs to be purchased through the company’s website. It is compatible with most printers and a list can be viewed on their website before purchasing.

Overall, it’s a good, reliable program that many within the industry swear by.

FAQs

What’s the difference between CAD and slicer programs?

When you are 3D printing, you really need two pieces of software that allow you first design your 3D object and then prepare your files for printing.

CAD programs and 3D design software allow you to create 3D models. Some of it can be very easy to use, allowing you, for instance, to draw a circle and the program will take care of making it into a sphere.

Others can get complicated, needing you to specify each dimension that you want to create. Meanwhile, a slicer will “cut” your 3D designs into different layers. These layers will tell your 3D printer where to send the extruder.

Slicers do a lot of stuff in the background such as computing the infill, coming up with the necessary support, and knowing where the outside loops are. But basically, it tells the extruders where it should go. It converts your 3D objects into slices which is what your 3D printers will understand.

Are all slicer programs free?

While MatterControl, Cura, and several others are open source, there are some programs out there that are paid. If you’re wondering, however, how good free programs are, the answer is that they’re pretty good.

In truth, there is not much differentiation between the free programs and the paid ones. Paid programs might get updated more frequently and have dedicated customer support, though. But usually, free programs like the Ultimaker Cura can have a similarly comprehensive technical support, as well as a helpful community.
For paid options, you have quite a number of choices:
KiSSlicer, which beginners and advanced users can use has a free option, but the Pro and Premium versions can cost $35 to $40
•Netfabb Standard, which is geared towards more advanced users can cost you $240 to close to $14,000 yearly
•Simplify3D costs $150 to use

Why is choosing a good 3D slicer important?

You might not think about it too much, but a good 3D slicer can improve the quality of your prints. And the reverse is true: it can ruin a perfectly good print even when you’re using a top-notch 3D printer.
Having a bad 3D slicer program will open your 3D printing process to more mistakes such as failed prints, nothing getting printed, or prints looking bad.

Can MatterControl or Cura open Gcode?

Both MatterControl and Cura allow users to open Gcode. But MatterControl also gives you additional input and output Gcode options, whereas Cura only lets you input Gcode.

How To Print With Cura or MatterControl?

As outlined above, the steps of setting up and accessing print settings do differ in their position, but the process of printing a model is straightforward in both devices.
•Connect your printer to the software
•Set up your preferred settings or load a preset
•Import your model and select your slicing options
Once all parameters have been met, you can simply print the model
Additionally, Cura and MatterControl allow you to set presets with linked printers; thereby you will need to import the model and print directly without any additional steps. It’s a great option for 3D printers in schools.

Does MatterControl or Cura have a Marketplace?

If you are in need of a mod or additional plugins, MatterControl has an integrated marketplace for easy access. Cura has a modding community that you can find to help you out. Additionally, both come with additional plug-in compatibility to boost their functionality.

MatterControl vs Ultimaker Cura: Which One Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for the better slicer, then you can safely consider both MatterControl and Ultimaker Cura. Both are very capable slicers that give you excellent print quality, speedy print times, and you get to use both programs for free. They also don’t waste too much of your filaments and the support and brim are easy to remove from your prints.

As slicer programs go, Ultimaker Cura is slightly better than MatterControl. For one, Cura uses less material for support than MatterControl. It also has fewer contact points between the support and the 3D object you’re printing. It also gives you access to a library of plugins and profiles, some of them are contributed by the user community. Plus, Cura gets updated a lot.

But MatterControl might make sense for some people. For one, it allows you to create your own design within the program itself. Unlike Cura, which works around this using integrations with CAD software.

On top of being a one-stop-shop for your 3D printing tasks, MatterControl does a good job with its slicer tasks. For one, it delivers comparable print quality and doesn’t waste too much of your materials.

Its print times are also slightly faster than Ultimaker Cura. You might want to consider, however, that Cura is updated more frequently than MatterControl.

How to Find the Best SLA 3D Printer in 2020

Best SLA 3D Printer

If you want to find the best SLA 3D printer, this guide will help.

SLA or resin 3D printing has become very popular as the price of these types of 3D printers have come down quite considerably in recent years. If you aren’t too sure what SLA 3D printing is, we have you covered as well.

We are going to show you what SLA 3D printing actually is, things you should be looking out for before buying an SLA 3D printer, and finally what the best SLA 3D printers are.

First, let’s find out what SLA 3D printing involves.

What is an SLA 3D printer?

Unlike an FDM 3D printer that uses filament to print off models – the SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to create certain processes that ultimately end up as 3D printed objects.

The printing process is also known as Stereolithography.

The resin that is used in these printers is photosensitive and hardens up under UV light. This is how the objects are created. In fact, the process adds to the quality of prints and many resin-based 3D printers can create higher quality objects than more expensive FDM printers.

What is an SLA 3D printer

SLA and DLP 3D printing are quite similar. Both of the processes use liquid resin and light while SLA makes objects through lasers and DLP makes objects through a projector.

Before you go off and buy the first SLA 3D printer that you come across, there are a few things you need to take into consideration first.

What to look for in an SLA 3D Printer?

Buying an SLA 3D printer isn’t as simple as looking at a list and purchasing one right away – you need to think about the following things before you decide on which model to buy.

Build Volume

The build volume of a 3D printer is the maximum size of an object that it is able to print. In our list of the best SLA 3D printers, we have made sure to include a fairly diverse build volume so there should be something for everyone.

Build volume isn’t always directly connected to the price. While many affordable 3D printers may have a smaller build volume than larger and more expensive machines, it isn’t always the case.

You can find cheap SLA 3D printers that have large build volumes too. So, you need to think about what kind of objects you want to print so you can choose a printer with a suitable build volume.

Print quality

Alongside build volume, the overall print quality of a 3D printer is generally the thing that most people look at.

Getting high-quality prints can be a trial and error process especially if you are new to 3D printers. There is often more work involved with resin 3D printing – mainly around cleaning – than other methods.

That being said, resin-based 3D printers will usually produce great results when it comes to their print quality.

Print Speed

Speed is another determining factor in buying a 3D printer.

In many ways, you need to have a trade-off between speed and quality. Printing quickly can often lead to poorer quality prints however depends on what objects you are making.

There are a lot of factors to take into account for the print speeds between FDM 3D printers and SLA 3D printers. SLA tends to be a bit slower than FDM but it does vary between devices.

Ease of use

As 3D printers, in general, have become much more affordable and accessible to a larger market, their ease of use has improved too.

You don’t need to be an engineer to work any of the 3D printers that we are going to show you in a minute. Some are a bit easier to work than others and will have shorter learning curves.

The whole 3D printing process regardless of whether it is SLA, DLP or FDM can take a while to master so patience and a willingness to learn is key.

7 Best SLA 3D Printers in 2020

SLA 3D printers are quite a broad market so we have come up with the best 7 that are not only affordable but also produce great results.

Photon S

The Photon S is among the very best SLA 3D printers and it is placed firmly within the budget category too. This doesn’t mean that it produces inferior results – far from it.

Best SLA 3D Printers

The Photon S is ideal for home use as well as small businesses due to its compact size alongside a high print quality and decent print speed. The build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm is ideal for printing off a range of objects too. The noise level is quite low and is certainly lower than a lot of the FDM printers you find.

There is a full LCD screen with this printer, in addition to the Photon Slicer software and you will also get a carbon filtration system as well.

Overall the Photon S is great for printing smallish objects from resin whether you are a hobbyist or in a professional capacity. See how the Photon S compares to its previous version, the Anycubic Photon.

Pros

  • Good build volume combined with a very affordable price
  • Produces high-quality prints at a decent speed
  • LCD screen and carbon filtration system
  • Tailored Photon slicer software provided

Cons

  • Software is a bit basic but is OK for starting off

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 165mm
  • Overall dimensions: 230mm x 200mm x400mm
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1440)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Nobel 1.0 A

Even though the Nobel 1.0 A isn’t the cheapest on our list and there are far more budget orientated options out there, it does produce very high-quality prints.

nobel 1.0 a

A big drawback of this SLA 3D printer is that it is very slow. The speed issue is enough to be noticeable however if you aren’t going to be in a massive hurry the quality makes up for this.

With the Nobel 1.0 A, you also get a resin monitoring system as well as the automatic filling of the resin tank which ensures smooth and seamless prints.

The 128 x 128 x 200 mm build volume is also very good and will allow you to print off fairly decent side objects.

This is a high-quality SLA 3D printer for home or small business use (which is reflected in the price) but does come with some drawbacks.

Pros

  • Produces very high-quality prints
  • Automatic resin filler
  • Resin monitoring system
  • Decent build volume

Cons

  • Print speed is very slow compared to other 3D printers
  • Is a bit expensive

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 128 x 128 x 200 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 280 x 345 x 590 mm
  • XY DPI: 130 microns
  • Connectivity: USB

Creality LD-002R

Creality is a well known 3D printer manufacturer and the Creality LD-002R is an ideal choice if you are on a budget.

It is one of the cheapest SLA 3D printers on our list but that doesn’t mean it offers inferior quality. This printer features a build volume of 120mm x 65mm x 165mm and its overall dimensions of 221mm x 221mm x 403mm mean that it won’t take up a load of space either.

For beginners, it is a suitable SLA 3D printer because there isn’t a huge amount of setup required and you can get started quite quickly. The speed is fairly good as well.

Creality LD-002R

The Creality LD-002R is a very good SLA 3D printer that really comes in at a budget price without sacrificing much in the way of quality.

Pros

  • Very cheap and affordable SLA 3D printer
  • Offers high-quality prints
  • Easy to set up and use for beginners

Cons

  • Print speed is a little slow but the quality is worth it

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 65mm x 165 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 221mm x 221mm x 403mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20-30 mm/h

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The PHROZEN Sonic Mini is a great little compact 3D printer that is easy to install and set up which is a big bonus if you are new to 3D printing.

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The print speed is actually very good and the prints come out in high quality as well. Given the price which is very affordable, you’d think you would need several upgrades ‘out of the box’ but that isn’t the case. The Sonic Mini is absolutely fine as it is.

The slope on the build platform is a downfall as it means resin is retained but with a good LCD screen, high-quality parts, and very good performance, it is certainly worth thinking about when you consider the cost.

Pros

  • Produces good quality prints with great speeds
  • Very easy to set up and get started
  • Doesn’t really need any upgrades right away
  • Price is very affordable

Cons

  • Slope on the build plate can cause resin retention
  • Is one of the noisier 3D printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 119mm x 66mm x 129mm
  • Overall dimensions: 248mm x 248mm x 327mm
  • XY DPI: 62um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 50 mm / hr

Epax X1

Continuing with our affordable SLA 3D printers, the Epax X1 will cost slightly more than others on this list but is still in the budget category.

It has a 115mm x 65mm x 155mm build volume as well as USB and ethernet connectivity. The 3D printer has a very solid build about it and the setup is easy too. The various preset modes make printing fairly straightforward even for beginners.

The anti-aliasing mode on this printer is very handy as well and helps to create that injection molded look.

Epax X1

The software provided is another bonus with the Epax X1 and while it does have a few drawbacks such as a shorter warranty period it is a high-quality 3D printer all around. Check out our full Epax X1 vs Photon comparison here.

Pros

  • Simple to set up and you can get started in minutes
  • Anti-aliasing mode to adjust stray pixels
  • Good software provided and has several connectivity options

Cons

  • Warranty is a bit shorter than some other printers
  • Lacks SD card functionality but isn’t alone in that regard

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 155mm
  • Overall dimensions: 350mm x 350mm x 500mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Prusa SL1

Like the Nobel 1.0 A, the Prusa SL1 is a bit more expensive than many of the other SLA 3D printers we’ve listed.

That being said, the Prusa SL1 provides top quality 3D prints with a host of other features. This includes a 120mm x 68mm x 150mm build volume, an LCD screen for curing resin, and a transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank.

Prusa SL1

Set up is a simple enough process with this 3D printer so even if you are completely new to the game, you shouldn’t have too many issues getting started. The Prusa SL1 has pretty much everything you need from an SLA 3D printer and while slightly more expensive is still within the price range of most hobbyists.

Pros

  • Produces high-quality 3D prints
  • Doesn’t require a lot of set up
  • Transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank
  • Has a replaceable carbon filter
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Can’t raise the print bed during printing
  • Isn’t the largest build volume

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 68mm x 150 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 400mm × 237mm × 225 mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

QIDI TECH S-Box

The final SLA 3D printer on our list is the QIDI TECH S-Box which provides a host of features to complement its high print quality and accuracy.

From an aesthetic point of view, this printer looks really good. It has a build volume of 215mm x 130mm x 200mm and the leveling system is great as well. As far as set up and installation go, this is one of the easier printers to get up and running.

QIDI TECH S-Box

The slicer software is another bonus while it is fairly quiet too and won’t produce a lot of noise when in operation. Some 3D printers suffer from excess noise which can be a real pain at home or in an office but the QIDI TECH S-Box doesn’t produce a lot of decibels.

The cover can feel a little flimsy when operating and getting to the bottom of the vat to clean out the resin is a bit difficult but they are minor complaints in reality. Overall a really good printer for the cost.

Pros

  • The leveling system is a good and easy setup
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise
  • Slicer software is great and simple to use

Cons

  • Hinges on the cover can feel a bit flimsy but with the care, they shouldn’t break
  • Cleaning out the vat is a little difficult

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 215mm x 130mm x 200mm
  • Overall dimensions: 565mm x 365mm x 490MM(H)
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1600)
  • Connectivity: USB

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an SLA 3D Printer?

An SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to activate processes that turn the resin into printed objects. This is different from an FDM printer that uses filament to create models.

Is an SLA 3D Printer faster than an FDM 3 Printer?

Usually, they are a little slower when printing although this can depend on the model. SLA 3D printers often produce higher quality prints overall.

Are SLA 3D printers expensive to buy?

Not really. Many of the SLA 3D printers that we have listed here are actually very affordable and we have included a mix of budget and more expensive options.

Are these SLA 3D printers hard to assemble?

Most of the printers we have listed come more or less assembled and require very little in the way of set up. This is ideal if you are a beginner to 3D printing and aren’t too sure about assembling one yourself to create accurate prints.

Do I need to wear PPE with an SLA 3D Printer?

Yes. As all of these printers use resin which is toxic and can be harmful to your skin and also if you breathe it in. Make sure you use appropriate PPE when using these printers and the instruction manual should inform you of what you need.

Conclusion: My Best SLA 3D Printer Pick

SLA 3D printers are capable of producing very high-quality prints and they have come right down at price in recent years too. They are affordable to both home users and businesses.

Finding the right one isn’t as easy as purchasing the first 3D printer you see – you need to take several things into consideration first.

This is why we put this list together in order to show you the top SLA 3D printers on the market but we need to pick one.

After a lot of careful consideration, I am going with Photon S.

Not only is it a very affordable SLA 3D printer but it does a fantastic job as well. It isn’t the cheapest on our list but it certainly isn’t the most expensive either. For what you get, the Photon S is ideal for hobbyists and small businesses.

It has a good build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm, LCD screen, carbon filtration system and the slicer software is easy to use and is also a good addition. I was struggling to find much wrong with the Photon S if truth be told. One drawback is that the slicer software can be a bit basic if you are an experienced user but it is completely fine as it is.

If you want an affordable but powerful SLA 3D printer, the Photon S should be right at the top of your list.

Best Large Format 3D Printers in 2020 – How to Pick the Right One

3D printers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and today we’re going to let you know about the best large format 3D printers that are currently on the market.

These types of printers have become very popular with small businesses as well as some home users. Not only can they print off bigger than normal objects, but they come with many other great features too.

We’ll go over the things you need to look out for before you make a purchase, and we’ll also show you the seven best large-format 3D printers you can buy.

First, let’s look at why you might need a 3D printer with a larger build volume.

Why use a Large Format 3D Printer?

The main difference between a large format 3D printer and many of the other models you’ll see on the market is the build volume.

As these printers have a larger build volume, it means you can print off bigger objects. This is very useful for businesses, and also many home users will find a larger build volume beneficial.

Using this to print off prototypes and experimental parts for development products can also save money in the long run. Businesses that can do this themselves won’t need to outsource the work, which can get very expensive.

So, really using a large format 3D printer is ideal if you need to print off larger objects and want to cut down on manual work of combining smaller parts down the line.

What to look for in a Large Format 3D Printer?

We’re going to show you the seven best large format 3D printers a little later on, but before we do that, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy one.

Cost

This is important, regardless of what kind of 3D printer you are buying.

3D printers can vary in cost quite considerably, and there are many cheaper models available. In fact, the whole market has become much more accessible in general recently. That being said, you’ll find a lot of expensive 3D printers, especially models that offer a bigger print volume.

Ideally, it would help if you looked at a cost to build volume ratio – the bigger the volume for a low price, but you also need to consider print quality.

Print quality

Something else that you should consider is the overall quality of the prints.

It is all well and good having a larger than normal build volume, but if the prints aren’t coming out to a high standard, then it is essentially useless. Using tests like the #3DBenchy is a common way in which to evaluate 3D printers and the quality of the objects they make.

Ease of use

Similar to print quality, buying a state-of-the-art 3D printer is fine, but if it has a very steep learning curve, you won’t be able to use it to its full potential.

3D printers, in general, have become easier to use. As many are now marketed towards a mass audience, their usability has increased. Most 3D printers these days don’t require you to be an engineer or anything like that, and they can be operated by hobbyists and professionals alike.

Supported materials

The last thing you should consider before you go out and buy a large format 3D printer is what materials it supports.

These 3D printers use a filament to print off objects. Some will support different types of material than others. It is useful to think about this because even though most 3D printers support basic types of filament, you don’t want to buy one only to find out later that it doesn’t support the materials you need.

We’re going to list the filament our top picks for the best large format 3D printer, so you know exactly what they support.

7 Best Large Format 3D Printers

These are the top 7 large format 3D printers you can purchase right now that offer bigger build volumes, high print quality, and much more.

Tronxy X5SA

Tronxy X5SA

The Tronxy X5SA offers a large build volume (330 x 330 x 400 mm) combined with high-quality prints. It features a double Z-axis, which helps to add stability during the printing process, and there is also a silicone sleeve and improved fan to ensure a consistent temperature. The stability is also helped by the box design.

The X5SA is also very budget-friendly. You’ll find large format 3D printers that cost a lot more than this but don’t provide the same quality.

It supports a wide number of filaments, and the touchscreen is a nice addition, too, as are the filament run out detectors.

Overall the Tronxy X5SA is a very good print with a large build volume and a range of extra features.

Pros

  • Offers a large build volume combined with a low price
  • High print quality and stability during the printing process
  • Supports a wide range of different materials
  • Filament run out detectors and touchscreen

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners due to the assembly process

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 400 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PC, PVC
  • Connectivity: USB, TF-Card
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

FLSUN QQ-S

FLSUN QQ-S

The FLSUN QQ-S is definitely a larger format 3D printer to consider. Even though the build volume is a bit smaller than the Tronxy X5SA, it comes with a host of extra features.

This includes WiFi control, which you often don’t see on many budget 3D printers. That’s another thing, and it is very affordable as well. Given that it supports a wide range of materials and also comes more or less preassembled (around 90% complete), it is ideal for beginners as well.

There are a few teething problems with the FLSUN QQ-S that, if you are new to 3D printing, can take a while to figure out. This includes getting the auto leveling correct as well as some filament dribbling.

That being said, it is a very good and affordable printer for making larger objects.

Pros

  • Comes more or less preassembled with little work to do
  • Prints high quality objects
  • Supports many materials
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Some printing issues that may be hard for beginners to sort out
  • Smaller build volume than the Tronxy X5SA

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 260 x 260 x 320 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, flexible, HIPS, Wood, PVA
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card, WiFi
  • Print speed: 30 – 300 mm/s

Craftbot Flow XL

Craftbot Flow XL

More expensive than the other large 3D printers on our list, the Craftbot Flow XL benefits from being a true out of the box machine.

If you are looking for a real ‘plug and play’ 3D printer, this is it. The printer has a 300 x 200 x 500 mm build volume and can support a range of filaments such as PLA, ABS, Exotics. Like the FLSUN QQ-S, it also has WiFi connectivity.

With linear rails and improved bearings, there isn’t a whole lot of noise that comes out of this 3D printer, either. The print quality is really good (as you’d expect for a printer in its price range), and while it might be out of some peoples’ budget, it is a great machine for printing large scale objects.

Pros

  • ‘Plug and play’ with little setup required
  • Low noise and produces high quality prints
  • Has WiFi connectivity
  • Large build volume

Cons

  • Is a bit on the pricey side compared to other printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 200 x 500 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi
  • Print speed: 200 mm/s

Creality CR-10 V2

Creality CR-10 V2

Moving back into the more affordable range of large format 3D printers and the Creality CR-10 V2 is a high quality 3D printer with a decent build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm.

It also features an upgraded motherboard, which cuts down on its noise while you will also find dual cooling fans and a filament monitor. It is actually quite straightforward to put together as well, even if you are a beginner. While it does require some assembly, it is easier than other 3D printers.

The Creality CR-10 V2 provides really good quality prints (albeit with a slightly slower printing speed), and for the price, it really has everything you need.

Pros

  • Doesn’t make a lot of noise due to the recent motherboard upgrade
  • Has a handy filament monitor
  • Large build volume and easy to assembly
  • Low cost, so it’s in the affordable category for most people

Cons

  • Printing speed can be quite slow but does produce quality prints

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
  • Connectivity: SD Card
  • Print speed: 30-60 mm/s

gCreate gMax 2

gCreate gMax 2

OK, so the gCreate gMax 2 has a pretty massive build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm, but it comes at a cost – literally. It isn’t cheap, and if you are in the market for a budget option – like the Creality CR-10 V2, FLSUN QQ-S, or the Tronxy X5SA – this isn’t the machine for you.

That being said, it does come with a wide range of different features. This includes WiFi connectivity, a BL touch bed leveling sensor, in addition to being able to use a varied range of materials. It has a filament runout sensor, and there isn’t much setup or assembly required either.

There have been several reports of regular thermistor failures with this 3D printer. However, overall it not only has a really big build volume with a ton of great features, but it offers quality prints too.

Pros

  • It’s ideal for beginners with very little assembly needed
  • Large build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • WiFi connectivity and BL touch bed leveling sensor

Cons

  • Expensive so perhaps out of the price range for many people
  • Reports of regular thermistor failures

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, CF-Nylon, CF-Composites, Polycarbonate, Metal Composites
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Modix Big-60 V3

Modix Big-60 V3

The Modix Big-60 V3 is getting us back into the pricier side of large 3D printers, but not only does this machine perform very well, and it also looks great too.

If aesthetics are your thing, then the Big-60 V3 is a fantastic look printer. Even though it is on the expensive side on this list, for what you actually get, it isn’t bad at all. The printer has a 600 x 600 x 660 mm build volume, and you can add an enclosure on as well.

With a BLTouch auto leveling sensor, WiFi connectivity, filament runout sensor, and a dual-zone silicon heater, to name but a few, there is a lot going on with this printer. Costly – yes, but it actually represents good value for a top printer.

Pros

  • Large build volume and aesthetically pleasing 3D printer
  • Has WiFi connectivity alongside USB and SD card options
  • BLTouch auto-leveling sensor and dual-zone silicon heater
  • Can add on enclosure if you wish

Cons

  • Aimed more at professionals rather than for home use

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 600 x 600 x 660 mm
  • Enclosure: Open (can add enclosure addon)
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU, HIPS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Tronxy X5ST-500

Tronxy X5ST-500

This is this second Tronxy on our list, and the Tronxy X5ST-500 comes with a large 500 x 500 x 600 mm build volume.

The Z-axis double screws help to add stability to the machine while aids precision and printing accuracy. You can pause and resume prints with this printer while there is a filament run-out detector as well.

It also comes in at the budget end of the scale, which is ideal if you need a large-format 3D printer but doesn’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend. There are some issues with heat management. Not only does it heat up slowly, but it can stop working once it reaches a certain temperature.

While there are potential workarounds for this, if you are a beginner, it isn’t really something you should do. The software needs to be updated to be fully functional as well. Overall, it’s a decent large-format 3D printer that does have some downsides.

Pros

  • Has a large build volume for printing big objects
  • Low cost so isn’t going to break the bank
  • Precision and stability with quality prints

Cons

  • Issues around reaching the desired temperatures for print materials beyond PLA
  • The software needs to be updated and doesn’t come with a bootloader

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 500 x 500 x 600 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, WOOD, PVC, NYLON
  • Connectivity: TF Card, USB
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a large format 3D printer?

If you plan on producing larger than normal prints, then yes. Large-format 3D printers come with a bigger build volume than standard printers so you can print off bigger objects.

Do I lose print quality with a large format 3D printer?

Not really. The print quality should be the same; however, it is important to check out reviews to ensure that you aren’t sacrificing build volume for a high-quality print.

Are large-format 3D printers expensive?

They can be. We have tried to combine both budget options and more expensive options on this list. You can find cheap large-format 3D printers as well as pricier models.

Do I need to assemble a large format 3D printer?

In most cases, some assembly is required. Some printers will require a full assembly, which isn’t ideal for beginners, whereas some large-format 3D printers come almost ‘plug and play’, and you only have some basic tasks before you can print.

Can a beginner use a large format 3D printer?

Yes. While some of the printers on our list aren’t really aimed at beginners due to the assembly required, most of these printers can be used if you are new to 3D printing. You might make a few mistakes at first, but they aren’t overly difficult to operate.

Which is the best large format 3D printer?

Being able to print off large objects with a 3D printer requires a decent size build volume.

To negate having to print off different smaller parts and join them together, later on, printing off a full larger scale model can save both time and money.

All the large format 3D printers we’ve listed here do a very good job at printing off bigger objects, but we need to pick one.

We’re going to choose one in the budget category and go with the FLSUN QQ-S.

It doesn’t have the biggest build volume on our list (260 x 260 x 320 mm) but what it does do is come with a great range of features. For a start, you are getting WiFi connectivity on a 3D printer in a budget price range, which isn’t that common. It also supports a wide range of materials such as PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood as well as PVA, and you get a quick print speed too.

One thing that sets this apart from many other 3D printers is that there isn’t a lot of assembling to do. OK, there are a few drawbacks with this printer for beginners – such as filament dribbling and some issues around the auto leveling – but they’re solvable with experience.

Overall the FLSUN QQ-S offers a large printing bed and high quality printing for a very affordable price.

This is why it is the best large format 3D printer on this list, and if you don’t mind some tinkering and learning as you go, you should definitely consider this 3D printer for printing bigger objects.