Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 Compared: Which One Is Right For You?

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 is a tough comparison to make – especially if you’re just starting out with FDM printers.

The world of 3D printing is filled with innovative technology to help unlock your creative potential. However, with so many options available, things can get a little confusing whether you’re new to 3D printing or expanding your horizons.

Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, is an excellent option to create high-quality prototype models. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to other Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) printers, which is why FDM printers are so popular.

That said, its popularity means there are a number of manufacturers all with different claims on why their products are right for you. It can quickly get difficult to understand what and why a particular characteristic of a product should matter to you.

If you’re stuck indecisive between the Anycubic i3 Mega and Creality Ender 3, we’re here to help. This comparison guide explores everything you need to know about each product–their pros, cons, and all the details in between. By its end, we’re confident you’ll be able to make a decision regarding your preference.

Without further ado, let’s get into the comparison.

Main Differences Between Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

The main differences between Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 are:

  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a more user-friendly and straight-forward assembly, whereas more time is required to set up the Ender 3
  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a build volume of 210 x 210 x 205 mm, whereas Ender 3 has a larger build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Anycubic i3 Mega is more expensive, whereas Ender 3 is a comparatively more affordable FDM printer
  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a lower print speed resulting in more processing time, whereas Ender 3 has a higher printer speed

However, these differences only paint a portion of what each product has to offer and why you might want to pick one over the other. Therefore, you make your final decision, go through our detailed comparison to make a purchase you can be confident in.

Exploring Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 features

anycubic i3 mega 3d printer

Your ultimate decision should be dictated by your preference and the projects you wish to undertake. But, there are a few key factors you need to be laid out in front of you to figure out which printer is right for the job.

Let’s jump right in.

Design & Construction

FDM printers are a great consumer-level option as per current 3D technologies. It’s fast, low-cost, and is able to build sturdy models. These printers extrude thermoplastic filament from its heated nozzle, to melt the material on its flat platform. It builds its models layer-by-layer adjusting the nozzle as it needs.

There are two main kinds of filaments you can use with FDM printers: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polylactic Acid (PLA), Polyethylene terephthalate (PTEG), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and Wood (or wood-infused PLA).

Most FDM users will use only one type of filament in each of their projects, but the options may or may not be a feature you want to have. That said, both these printers are highly rated by PLA users as being one of the best.

Moving on to the specifics.

The Anycubic i3 Mega is built from a rigid, metal frame that lends to its stability while providing the printing process with a stable base. It comes mostly assembled, except for a few screws that need to be installed. It is, however, an easy process that a quick read of the manual can help with. Additionally, its Ultrabase print bed provides added stability during the printing process.

The printer also has double x limit switches which provide more level accuracy. It prints in resolutions as fine as 0.05 mm or as large as 0.3 mm. It can be used with the following materials:

  • PLA,
  • ABS,
  • HIPS,
  • PETG,
  • Wood

On the other hand, the Creality Ender 3 has a larger build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm. Unlike the i3 Mega’s advanced Ultrabase print bed, it has a standard aluminum build plate that heats up. Ender 3 offers fine details up to 0.1 mm to around 0.4 mm large.

The Ender 3 can be used with the following materials:

  • ABS,
  • PLA
  • TPU
  • PETG

Notably, the i3 Mega uses a touch screen interface, whereas the Ender 3 has a monochrome screen that is controlled using a turn-knob.

Overall, both printers have a solid base with durable construction. The Ender 3 is clearly designed for larger prototypes. It may work as an excellent 3D printer for schools. Whereas, the i3 Mega is more suitable for smaller prints.

Printing

ender 3 printer

Unlike SLA printers, the prints from an FDM printer are not as intricate. However, they still are able to capture a decent amount of detail and deliver a smooth finish. This is why it is considered an ideal option for prototyping.

Ender 3 delivers remarkable quality prints for its price which have a smooth, solid finish. There is an issue, however, the plate bed of the printer is lacking in a little refinement. Being a standard plate bed, it isn’t as stable and would definitely benefit from having an auto-leveling feature.

Moreover, the nozzle may end up slamming into the bed which could ruin the layer’s progression. Aka, you might have to start all over again. But, a few adjustments and awareness of the issue should keep it problem-free for the most part.

Much like the other Anycubic printers, the i3 Mega lives up to its mid-tier status. Its build plate, construction, and stability allow the printer to replicate its quality with its print.

Therefore, the Anycubic i3 Mega is definitely a winner in terms of print quality between the two devices.

Software

anycubic printer

The software of a printer can be a determinant of what you can do with the hardware of a printer. A 3D printer could be built with the best, innovative technologies, but fall short in terms of its software capabilities. It could alter what you can design and how well the printer is able to transform it into a reality.

Ender 3 uses a popular third-part slicing software known as Cura. It does come with a standard version, but you can download the latest version from their website. The software can build your model which is then transferred for the printer to read through a USB or a micro-SD card.

Anycubic has a similar slicing software based on Cura, but it uses a custom version. Likewise, the prototype file is transferred through a USB or SD card.

In the case of software, it comes down to personal preference. Ender 3’s Cura is a market-leading up-to-date product that potentially has more flexibility. But, Anycubic’s software is specifically designed and tested against their product. Additionally, you can receive direct support from the company, if needed.

User-Friendly Features

Lastly, coming towards which printer is more user-friendly. Regardless of which one you pick, you’re likely looking for an affordable 3D printer that fits your budget without feeling like a compromise. Therefore, it helps if your device is user friendly with an as little learning curve as required.

As we alluded to above, the i3 Mega has a simple assembly process with a few screws and an inspection of the manual to get you through it. The Ender 3, however, has a more lengthy assembly process. This means you might have to take some time to understand which part goes where making it less of a plug-and-play printer.

Moreover, the main feature offered by Ender 3 is their Resume Print option. This essentially protects your print from any sudden damage from having a power outage or filament issue.

The i3 Mega also offers this, but it has a few other user-friendly options. Such as its Ultrabase heated plate for even stability, touchscreen interface, and a number of accessories to help you along the process. It may come down to what you specifically need, but the i3 Mega overall has a better user experience to offer.

Specifications for Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

Anycubic i3 Mega Ender 3
Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm Build Volume: 210 x 210 x 205 mm
Software: Cura Slicing Software (custom( Software: Cura Slicing Software
Connectivity: USB, SD card Connectivity: USB, Micro-SD card
Layer Resolution: 50 – 300 microns Layer Resolution: 100 – 400 microns
Print Speed: 20-60 mm/s Print Speed: 180 mm/s
Filament Types: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, Wood Filament Types: ABS, PLA, TPU, PETG

Comparing Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Pricing

If you haven’t already checked out their price, can you tell which one is cheaper?

Price is not a measure of quality, but it does help our budget. When considering purchasing any 3D printer, remember its associated costs. From the accessories, you need to its materials. This should help you figure out a budget for your purchase. And, you can always upgrade when you need a more professional set-up.

Both Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 are affordable options that would suit a variety of different functions. But, when it comes to the market price, the Anycubic i3 Mega is comparatively more expensive. The Anycubic is a better option if you’re looking into 3D miniature printing.

Important to note, however, that the i3 Mega has better features, is more user-friendly with finer detail capabilities.

The much cheaper alternative, Ender 3, still provides high-quality finishes and only comparatively falls slightly short. Its print speed, however, is much higher. Therefore if you’re looking for quick prints, the latter could be the right option for you. Also, if you’re starting out this might be a good affordable way to dip your toes in the world of 3D printing.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Ease of use

anycubic printer 1

Looking at the overall package both devices offer, it is clear that the Anycubic i3 Mega is easier to use. It has a professional set-up with a focus on delivering fine detailed, quality prints and software the company has tested.

The Ender 3, on the other hand, is a good printer, but it does require a little more finessing than the former printer. It is also considered ideal for hobbyists who are enthused by their 3D printer to unlock its full potential by trying out different options.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Support

If you’re concerned about receiving support, both companies have you covered with easy and quick customer service. To get in touch with their representatives, visit Anycubic Support or Creality Support.

Moreover, both companies have a fantastic and ever-growing community of 3D enthusiasts of various levels. You can talk to like-minded individuals to sort out most issues and get to printing beautifully constructed models.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Pros and Cons

Anycubic i3 Mega Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive for the astonishing quality it provides
  • Straight-forward, simple set up
  • Mechanical filament sensor
  • Touch-screen
  • Ultrabase Heated Bed for even heating and stability
  • Works well with PLA, PETG, HIPS, ABS, and Wood

Anycubic i3 Mega Cons

  • Cannot be upgraded
  • Noisy

Creality Ender 3 Pros

  • Affordable options as an FDM printer
  • Large print volume
  • High quality, but quick printing
  • Customizable to fix any issues
  • Can be used with a number of materials including PLA, TPU, ABS, and PETG
  • Comes with industry-popular Cura Slicing software
  • Solid built

Creality Ender 3 Cons

  • The plate bed needs to be adjusted
  • Printing quality can be improved

Are there any alternatives?

Prusa i3 MK3S

prusa i3 mk3s

It is a little known secret that most FDM printers are fashioned to be a low budget option to the Prusa printers. Therefore, if you have the cash to spend, it might be a good option for you to check out.

The Pursa i3 MK3S has an impressive build volume of 250 x 210 x 200 m and layer resolution up to 50 microns. Therefore, you can get some really fine detail and high-quality prints from the device.

Its structure and design stand out due to their stability and accuracy. The company listens to the consumer to upgrade their devices to enhance user experience and provide better results.

It uses a USB drive or SD card to transfer prints while using their own custom PursaSlicer. The software is rich with features and the company frequently updates it.

However, it is compatible with other third-party software if the users wish to try others. Overall, if you have the cash to spend, this award-winning FDM printer might be right for you.

Monoprice MP Select Mini V2

monoprice

If you’re looking to stay on a budget, the Monoprice MP Select Mini is a good option as well.

Monoprice manufactures a host of electronics and the MP select mini is one of their forays in the 3D printing space. It is rather small with a build volume of 120 x 120 x 120 mm, but it can be a good option for miniature or other smaller models.

An impressive feature of the printer includes the addition of WiFi connectivity along-with USB and Micro-SD cards. It also is backed by a community and large following so getting support for various projects would not be difficult. The company recommends using Cura or Repetier-Host as slicing software when working with the device, but other users do mention its capabilities with other software as well.

Due to all this, the Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 is an excellent option for you to peek at.

FAQs About Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3

What Are FDM Prints And What Can You Do With Them?

The Fused Deposition Modeling printer, also known as the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), printer is a 3D technology that builds models using a continuous flow of filament.

It typically uses thermoplastic material in the forms of PLA, ABS, PTEG, HIPS, TPU, or wood. The material is fed to the device’s nozzle or extruder head that deposits it on a heated bedplate. The nozzle moves according to its input to build models on a layer-by-layer basis. A small amount of thermoplastic material is deposited on each new layer.
The end result is a smooth, uniform, and sturdy model.

FDM printers are typically used to create a product or part prototypes. It can also be used for producing some end-use products depending on its purpose. They have also been used in the food industry to produce packaging and as 3D modeling printers in the medical industry.

What To Look For When Buying FDM Printers?

You might want to consider different elements depending on the projects you want to complete. However, we suggest keeping the following questions in mind when purchasing an FDM printer:
•What build volume do I need?
•How crucial is layer resolution to my project?
•Can the bedplate auto-level for ensuring stability or will adjustments need to be made?
•Are there any build upgrades required?
•What kind of nozzle or heated bed plate does the device have?
•What connectivity options are available?
•Which software can I use with the device?
•Does the company offer spare parts?
•What post-processing procedures are required?
•What is the device’s print speed?
•How budget-friendly is the device for you?

What Do Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 Come With?

The Anycubic i3 Mega printers come with:
•Pliers
•Screws
•Scraper
•Tool set
•Card reader
•Glove
•SD Card
•User manual
•Tweezer
•Power cord
•USB cable

The Ender 3 comes with:
•Pliers
•Screws
•Toolkit
•Screwdriver
•Wrench
•Scraper
•Ties
•Manual

What, if any, Other Slicing Software Can Be Used With Anycubic i3 Mega or Ender 3?

Aside from their own slicing software, both printers can be adapted to be used with other slicing software, such as
•Netfabb Standard
•PrusaSlicer
•OctoPrint
•MatterControl
•Simplify3D
•MakerBot Print

Do I get a warranty with Anycubic i3 Mega or Ender 3?

Both companies come with their own warranty policies. To learn more, visit their respective website at Anycubic Warranty Policy or Creality Warranty Policy.

Our Verdict: Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Which is better?

To conclude our Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 comparison, both printers are good and affordable FDM printing options. Although there are differences in quality, build volume, and overall functionality; however, that shows their different applications.

As such, we recommend Anycubic i3 Mega to be a suitable option for medical or other product prototype building. It can help you and your clients visualize designs. Or, alternatively, it can reliably build small parts required by manufacturers and other companies. In fact, if we had to pick one, we’d go with the Anycubic i3 Mega for its versatility and wider application.

The Ender 3 is ideal for the hobbyist. Individuals looking to upgrade their cosplays using 3D printing, for example, could greatly benefit from it. Alternatively, beginners and those at the start of their learning journey could find Ender 3 to be a good affordable option. That also makes it ideal for school or college students to elevate their skills.

Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review: Is It Worth Buying?

Artillery is pretty green. They’ve only been around since October of 2018, but they got off on the right foot, releasing a 3D printer that goes toe to toe with plenty of other quality, budget 3D printers.

Their first printer, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 rings up at less than $500, which is a steal in this sector. But don’t let that fool you. It still has an impressive list of features.

Artillery also plowed through plenty of negative user feedback to produce subsequent iterations that work more smoothly. The manufacturer always seems to have an ear to the ground with quick fixes for an already rock-solid printer.

They’re currently on their fourth generation Sidewinder X1, and it definitely lives up to my expectations.

Specifications

artillery sidewinder x1

It’s not always all about the specs, but it’s a quick peek at the size, design, and features.

  • Version: Artillery Sidewinder S1 V4
  • Year: 2019
  • Assembly: Pre-assembled
  • Technology: FDM
  • Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian-XY-Head
  • Build volume: 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.75 inches (300 x 300 x 400 mm)
  • Outer dimensions: 550 x 405 x 640 mm
  • Weight: 16.5 kg
  • Layer height: 0.05 mm
  • Nozzle type: Volcano
  • Nozzle size: 0.4 mm
  • Extruder type: Direct drive
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 240°C
  • Maximum heated bed temperature: 80°C
  • Bed leveling: Manual
  • Print bed: Rapid-heating AC bed
  • Print chamber: Open
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Display: Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: SD, USB cable
  • Print recover: Yes
  • Built-in camera: No
  • Filament sensor: Yes
  • Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Materials: ABS, HIPS, PLA, flexible PLA, PVA, TPU
  • Third-party filaments: Yes
  • Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Recommended slicer: Cura, Simplyfy3D, Slic3r

Setup and Settings

The Sidewinder X1 comes pre-assembled in an organized box, and the setup is seamless. The only things you have to do are attach the gantry to the base with screws, plug in the ribbon cables, and bolt the filament holder to the top.

Unfortunately, there are no bed leveling sensors, so it’s a manual process. However, it does come with an assisted leveling system to make the task less complicated.

Artillery doesn’t have a proprietary slicer, which is nice for those who like open-source slicers like Cura. Cura offers a full range of controls that allow you to experiment and fine-tune your settings.

The default Artillery settings will work fine for beginners, though. The only thing you may have to do is reduce the print speed for better quality. It’s tempting to reduce printing time, but large prints will wobble much more at high speeds and the printer performs much better at low speeds.

Technology

artillery printer

A 3D printer is really only as good as the technology it’s equipped with. After all, you could have a fantastic design and huge print volume, but if it’s built using low-quality materials, you’ll never be able to experience its true potential, or yours.

Artillery is based in Shenzhen and I discovered after some research that they also market their devices under the brand name Evnovo. The Sidewinder X1 is their first 3D printer, but they’re currently offering the fourth version, with many improvements over the first.

If features top of the line capabilities like a sturdy chassis, large print bed with fast heating, and a direct drive extruder system. These have all been present since the beginning, but the latest version is just so much better, so let’s dig into more detail.

Design

While the Artillery Sidewinder X1 takes a lot of inspiration from the Creality CR-10-style, it’s so much sleeker in my opinion. Plus, the technology is more than a mere clone as well.

The mainboard, touchscreen, and power supply are all stored on the base unit so it looks more uniform, it’s much more convenient, and it adds to the design rather than detracting from it.

It has a sleek and professional appearance which is a huge step up from similarly priced alternatives.

The Sidewinder X1 is also much different from competitors in terms of the use of ribbon cables. From a design perspective, this 3D printer moves to the top of the list. Other budget desktop printers have huge, mangled messes of cabling, but this one offers neatly arranged ribbon cables instead.

In previous iterations, these ribbon cables were nothing but complicated. They broke and they wore out thanks to the printer’s rapid motion. While I have had limited contact with the machine compared to those who use their daily, the ribbon cables on this iteration seem to handle the stress much better.

Thankfully, the company listens to user feedback and fixes issues. They also threw in an extra set of ribbon cables, just in case. There are also some interesting workarounds on Thingiverse if you’re interested in prolonging the life of your cables.

Framework

While it’s fairly common to see sturdy Y-axis rails, even on budget printers these days, a hefty X-axis rail is harder to come by. But, as you may have already guessed, the X1 has it. A 20 x 60 mm extrusion lends support to the direct drive setup.

A dual lead screw design operates the Z-axis, equipped with anti-backlash nuts to keep everything synchronized. There’s also a connector belt with a pulley to prevent desyncing over time.

It’s not the most elegant solution (dual end stops would be better), but it functions fine for a printer at this price point, and you really can’t expect much more.

There are 20 x 40 mmm extrusions on the base unit, held in place by four screws. This solid scaffold prevents wobbling of the Z-axis, which is especially handy when you have such a tall build space.

It could be improved with an angle connector to prevent even more wobbling because the X1 does tend to wobble toward the top. Aside from that, this printer has a sleek and sturdy appearance.

Print Bed

At the heart of every 3D printer is a bed, and the Sidewinder X1’s heart beats for you. It offers a huge 300 x 300 x 400 mm space with a porous glass surface coated in ceramic.

The volume of the X1 is definitely above average, but it really shines when you evaluate its ability to go from zero to printing in mere seconds. 45 to be exact. The print bed heats from room temperature to maximum temperature that fast.

Artillery equipped the bed to heat so quickly by mounting the heater on the underside of the glass with no metal plate in between the two. It’s AC heated rather than DC heated, so it’s heated with 220/110V rather than 24V. It’s one of the only printers to do it this way.

Of course, there’s always a downside. In this case, you run the risk of electric shock, especially with connectors exposed to motion a lot of the time. However, all of the wires are insulated, so that alleviates the problem somewhat.

While the spec sheet indicates a max heated bed temp of 80°C, it is actually capable of 120°C, which comes in handy when printing with temperature-sensitive materials. Unfortunately, the bed doesn’t do a great job of temperature dispersion, so it’s cooler along the outer edges, causing adhesion problems with larger objects.

The ceramic glass plate does offer great bed adhesion though because it expands with heat and shrinks again as it cools down. The final prints literally pop right off. One other drawback is that you can’t remove the bed. With such a large print volume, it would be nice to remove the bed for better access, but as the prints pop off so easily, it’s not really necessary.

Extruder

The extruder is where the real magic happens. The Sidewinder X1 is equipped with a direct drive Titan Aero extruder and a Volcano hot end. Direct drive extruders are rare at this price point, but Artillery included it because, well, it’s better.

Just like the print bed, the hot end heats up to its max temp rather quickly. And once again, despite an advertised max temp of 240°C, it can actually reach 270°C. It’s safer and more effective at around 240 or 250°C just to ensure the cold end isn’t damaged.

The Volcano hot end has an elongated melt zone, giving you high flow rates and enabling the use of nozzles with larger diameters like 0.8 or 1mm.

It has two fans. The one that cools the extruder does a fine job but the one that cools the prints could be better. You’re better off reserving your first print job for a fan duct alternative to improve this piece. Not only is it one of the smallest pieces of the printer, but it’s also the loudest.

UI and Connectivity

connectivity

The 3.5-inch color touchscreen is a lot more than you’ll get with many other comparable 3D printers. It’s easy to use and features different colors for each submenu. Every feature is accessible from this menu, unlike other firmware that offers only a subset of operations on the touchscreen.

The Sidewinder X1 offers support for both USB and micro SD. The USB connection makes it easy to plug your computer directly into the printer while the micro SD is ideal for those who don’t work in the same room as they print.

Performance

Overall, the performance of the Sidewinder X1 is excellent. However, as i mentioned before, you may want to print an alternative fan for cooling your print jobs in addition to a filament spool holder.

Changing the filaments is less than ideal and could be made easier. The stock filament holder has two parts bolted to the frame. If you only use one brand of filament, you can adjust these screws once and be done.

However, if you swap brands or switch back and forth frequently, you’ll constantly be adjusting the holder. It’s also not the easiest part of the printer to access if it’s sitting on a shelf or against the wall. Using the ever-so-common PLA filament really didn’t put the printer through its paces, so I increased the difficulty to really test it out. PLA is always a solid choice. Everything turns out well, even at a higher speed.

However, it also handles ABS well without any warping, despite the print bed’s inconsistent heat dissipation. It helps to use a lot of glue beforehand, just to make sure. It’s always surprising to find an open printer that prints well with ABS, and the Sidewinder X1 does.

You’ll run into quite a few problems if you try to print with PETG, which was surprising, given its ability to handle inconsistent temperatures well. Unfortunately, PETG resulted in some blobs and failing in the first layer. This problem isn’t specific to the Sidewinder X1 and is actually common in Volcano hot ends. You can manage it by adjusting the retraction settings and enabling the Cura coasting feature, but you may still encounter problems.

The direct drive extruder handles flexible filaments with no feeding problems. It may string a bit occasionally, but that’s what I expected. Overall, the Sidewinder X1 can print with plenty of different materials, but the everyday use of PLA is where it really shines.

Usability

Like I said before, the menu is colorful and easy to use. You touch it and it responds accordingly. Built-in features like resume print and the filament runout sensor work great. As a bonus, the heated bed stays heated while you add more filament.

You can even come back hours later to add the material and restart the print without worrying about it detaching. Nifty, right?

And while you can’t bump the bed when switching out filament, you can move axes via the touch screen before resuming. Obviously, in the case of a power outage, the bed does not stay heated, but it will still resume the print with no problem once the power comes back on.

The Sidewinder X1, with the exception of the cooling fan, is rather quiet in comparison to other alternatives. It operates at about 45 dB.

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Fast heating
  • Silent operation
  • Surprising performance
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Less than ideal filament holder
  • Uneven heat dissipation

Alternatives

At this price point, you’ll find quite a few comparable alternatives. Here are some of your options.

Mingda D3 Pro

mingda d3 pro

This is another lesser-known brand that offers an excellent alternative to the Sidewinder X1. It has an even larger print volume than the Sidewinder X1, plus it has a removable heated bed, giving you better access to your completed prints.

This one also has a direct drive extruder and a touch screen, but it ups the ante with auto-leveling. It features a similar design and falls in the same price point, so it seems like it might be a better value.

It’s a bit harder to set up and wire management isn’t as great, so there are some trade-offs.

Creality CR-10

creality cr-10s

The Sidewinder X1 takes its design cues from the Creality CR-10, so it’s pretty comparable in terms of not only design but price and functionality. The print volume is identical but Creality offers other models with even bigger print volumes whereas Artillery doesn’t.

The assembly is easy and the control box is intuitive, but the print bed is removable, which is an improvement over the Sidewinder. Downsides are that the print bed takes a long time to heat up, print setup can be tedious, and the filament holder is prone to tangling.

Prusa i3

the original prusa i3

The Prusa i3 is another open-source 3D printer offering an affordable price and plenty of features. The print volume is double that of the Sidewinder and it has a removable bed, but performance is sometimes less than reliable.

It operates best with the Slic3r software, although you can use Cura if you prefer. It has an auto-leveling feature and features a very sturdy frame, offering support for its large build volume. However, it’s about double the price of the Sidewinder.

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

There are plenty of great options for beginners. The Anycubic Photon is great for printing with resin, the Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the best value for the price, and the Flashforge Adventurer 3 is the easiest to use.
It still all depends on which features you want, how much you want to spend, and how much room you need to grow your skills.

How much does it cost for a 3D printer?

3D printers vary in price quite a bit. Some of the more affordable solutions, like the Artillery Sidewinder X1, are less than $500. However, there are plenty of upgrades that add to the cost, not to mention higher quality printers that cost in excess of $1000. Some even cost multiple thousands.
How much you spend depends on the features you need. Beginners and recreational users will likely not spend as much money while serious hobbyists or small businesses might opt for something more feature-rich and more costly.

What is a 3D printer good for?

3D printers are good for all kinds of projects. They’re great for small businesses to create prototypes or for large businesses to manufacture objects. They’re also great learning tools for small children as well as students of all ages.
Universities everywhere invest in 3D printers so students can work with the latest technology, but even if you’re just a hobbyist at home, you may enjoy a 3D printer for small projects and replicas.

Final Thoughts

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 features innovative technology like the AC heated bed and direct drive extruder. It also has a rather large print volume and decent performance. However, you’ll probably have to replace some of the less-than-perfect parts right away.

It also tends to wobble at the top of the Z-axis, but it’s an affordable printer that’s incredibly user friendly and capable of quality prints that may surprise you.

The list of features is impressive, the technology is superb, the price is right, and it beats out most of the competition in terms of ease of use and fun.

Ultimaker S5 Review: Is it Any Good?

Consumers and small businesses demand excellent 3D printers to meet their recreational and commercial needs. Large-format 3D printers are fantastic options for product development and creating prototypes without investing in a full-scale solution.

For individuals who want to take on big projects at home or small businesses needing a large, professional 3D printer the Ultimaker S5 with its large print volume and detailed results might just be the right solution for you.

Ultimaker S5

Design

ultimaker s5

A large print volume means a large printer. You need a lot of room for the Ultimaker S5, but it’s worth it. It’s a large white box, measuring 20.5 x 19.5 x 19.5 inches. This helps accommodate the 13 x 9.4 x 11.8 inches of print volume, which gives you 1442 cubic inches.

The bottom of the print area features a heated glass print bed that you can easily remove to take your prints off. Because it’s heated, you can print more easily with materials like ABS. It can heat to 140 degrees Celsius, meaning it can also accommodate high-temperature nylon.

For a time, Ultimaker also offered an aluminum print bed with your purchase, so you may be able to get ahold of one of these for a varied print experience.

The Ultimaker S5 has two interchangeable print heads that are easy to remove via the on-screen menu option. You can swap them out for print heads designed to accommodate different materials and you can also print with two colors at once.

The printer comes with three printheads. Two of these are AA 0.4mm print heads for ABS and PLA and the third is a BB 0.4MM print head for PLA. However, there are more options available if you want to print with other materials.

Controls

The Ultimaker S5 has an interface included and you can control it easily from the screen onboard the printer. You can also control it from the Cura software on your computer or the Ultimaker app on your smartphone.

You can control almost everything from the LCD screen on the printer. It will allow you to load filament and start a print from your USB drive. The display keeps you apprised of your print’s status and will tell you which filaments, print heads, and bed temperatures are in place.

However, the most comprehensive way to control your Ultimaker S5 is through the Cura app. Cura is an open-source 3D printer app that Ultimaker uses for its printers. Ultimaker has customized the app to make it easier to use with your specific printer, and you can get it on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Load your model, scale it, and adjust it directly on the print surface. You can even load several models at once and the program will create supports automatically.

While Cura is feature-rich, there can be a learning curve associated with it, especially if you’ve never used it before. A prime example is its lack of print quality selection. Most 3D printer applications will allow the user to choose the fastest, best quality, or something in the middle.

Instead of making it simple, Cura has a slider for layer height, which is the primary factor when determining print quality, but that’s not too intuitive for first-time users. However, it does allow you to create print profiles, including layer height and other features, making it easier to select what you want in the future.

After setting up your print configurations, the app will slice the model and create the print files. It might sound complicated, but it really doesn’t take too long. You then send the file to the printer using Wi-Fi. You can also hook it up to Ethernet or use a USB drive instead.

The great thing about the Ultimaker app is that you can monitor these prints on your smartphone, and it’s available for both Android and iOS. The printer contains a built-in webcam, so you can watch it work, pause, stop, or cancel.

And while the app doesn’t allow you to start a new print via the app, you can scroll through recent prints and reprint one of those.

Printing

ultimaker s5 printer

The print process is relatively simple and straightforward. Because it features Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and a USB port, you have several options for printing however you like it best. You can connect it and control it through your home network and then monitor it while you’re away.

You can control your print queue as well as the actual printer through the software and give multiple users access to add their own prints to the queue. Everyone will be notified when their prints are done.

One important step to remember is also a minor aggravation. You have to press the button on the screen, indicating the print has been removed. If you forget to do this step, the printer will show that it’s still in use.

You could back up the print queue for other users if you don’t clear the bed and press that one tiny button. However, if you’re using it in an office environment with a lot of other users, this one extra step could prevent destroying your job as well as others.

Print Speed and Quality

Even in the lowest quality mode, the Ultimaker S5 can be a bit slow. Even printing a small test could take up to 6.5 hours on the lowest quality setting. Increasing print quality only increases time.

Comparable 3D printers are much faster, but simply changing out the stock print heads for some other alternatives could help improve your print times for a minimal investment. Something with a large hole would allow more melted filament through at a time, laying the levels down faster.

The benefit of this painstaking print speed is excellent quality and detailed results. The Ultimaker S5 can produce much smoother and higher quality results than most other FDM printers on the market today.

It handles these jobs without issues and consistently produces smooth curves, sharp points, clean edges, and intricate details, even on the most complex models.

Print Materials

The heated print bed and variety of print heads available contribute to the wide range of materials the Ultimaker S5 is capable of using. As it comes, you can print with PVA, TPU, CPE, Nylon, ABS, and PLA. The PVA is especially useful for generating flexible supports that are easy to remove by dissolving in warm water.

The other nice thing about your wide range of filament options is that Ultimaker doesn’t use proprietary materials. You can obtain your filament from any manufacturer you prefer. Plus, the Cura software has presets for 11 different materials and most manufacturers offer material profiles that you can download and add to Cura.

Ultimaker’s filament does come with NFC tags to identify color and type, making it easy to change the filament frequently and ensure the app recognizes the right one.

Alternatives

There are a lot of 3D printers out there. If you’re looking for something comparable to the Ultimaker S5, here are some other options for you to consider.

LulzBot Taz 6 – Best Print Volume

lulzbot taz 6

The LulzBot Taz 6 has a print volume that’s almost as big as the Ultimaker S5, at 1238 cubic inches. However, the design of the LulzBot is a bit less professional. It’s open and features a more basic look.

The Taz 6 prints quite a bit faster, even on the highest quality setting, so if print speed is a factor, you may want to consider this alternative. But don’t be fooled by the print speed. If you want print quality, you won’t find it here. The highest quality print on a Taz 6 is comparable to the lowest quality print on the S5.

The primary reason you might go with the Taz 6 over the S5 is for recreational or hobby printing, large print volume, and a more affordable price.

Markforged Mark Two – Best for Professionals

This particular printer may be out of reach of hobbyists. It’s definitely geared toward businesses and has an insanely high price point. However, for businesses that need a variety of high-quality print materials, this is the way to go.

The Mark Two accepts materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, and kevlar. The build volume isn’t bad either, at 12.6 x 5.2 x 6 inches. It’s a true workhorse backed by a manufacturer known for making quality 3D printers.

Raise3D Pro2 Plus – Best for the Budget Minded

Raise3D

This 3D printer falls in line with the Ultimaker S5 when it comes to price. They both cost about the same amount, so it can be out of reach for some users who don’t want to spend thousands.

However, it shares some design features, like the fully enclosed print area and dual extrusion. It also has a huge print volume of 12 x 12 x 23.8 inches. It has the capability to handle incredibly large prints and plenty of tricky materials.

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

If you’re just starting out and you don’t know what you’re getting into, the Ultimaker S5 is something to work up to. It’s better to start with something smaller and more simple, like the Monoprice Voxel.
The print area is smaller, it’s more affordable, and it gives you a space to learn without the overwhelming amount of controls available on something more professional.

What is the best 3D printer for home use?

Even for experienced 3D printer hobbyists, the Monoprice Voxel is a great option. However, the Formlabs Form 3 or the Ultimaker 3 are great options for a bit more print volume and customizable settings.
They’re still affordable, but Form 3 allows for multiple users at once while the Ultimaker 3 features the same great software as the Ultimaker S5.

What is the best 3D printer on the market?

The Ultimaker S5 is definitely on the list. While pricey, it offers high-quality professional prints, customizable settings, and extreme accessibility via multiple access points. However, there are plenty of others out there.
The best printer for you is going to be the one you can afford that has everything you need. You don’t need something as big or capable as the Ultimaker S5 if you’re not producing high-volume or high-quality prints frequently.

Final Thoughts

If you’re serious about 3D printing and you have a sizable budget, the Ultimaker S5 is the way to go. It prints flawlessly using a wide variety of materials. The heated print bed and the interchangeable nozzles make it easy to print and the print volume is nothing to sneeze at.

It’s ideal for small businesses, schools, or people who do a lot of 3D printing at home for more than just recreation. However, for many print enthusiasts, it’s too large, too expensive, and offers much more than they’ll ever need.

The good news is that Ultimaker makes a lot of different 3D printers that are easy to use and offer great quality. They’re smaller and cheaper, but everything a hobbyist needs.

For those who truly do a lot of printing for work or school, the Ultimaker S5 is the best, most flexible option.

Further read: 

Freecad vs Fusion 360: Which Should You Choose?

In this FreeCAD vs Fusion 360 comparison review, we’re going to explore the features of these two amazing computer-aided design software. There is a wide range of 3D modeling software available (previously covered here) and both FreeCAD and Fusion 360 are widely recognized as great tools for creating incredibly detailed designs for 3D printing.

So which software tool is better?

In this comparison, we will be exploring the main features of each software, the user interface, supported file types, and ease of use. We’ll be comparing the minimum system requirements of each and exploring the toolsets and extensions that you can use. In addition, we’ll be showing you some of the alternative software available to design the products that you want to 3D print.

Main Differences Between FreeCAD vs Fusion 360

The main differences between FreeCAD and Fusion 360 are:

  • FreeCAD is open source and therefore will always be completely free, whereas Fusion 360 has free licenses only for educators and students.
  • FreeCAD has a steeper learning curve, whereas Fusion 360 is relatively user-friendly and intuitive.
  • FreeCAD is still in development, whereas Fusion 360 is a complete product.
  • FreeCAD is free to extend, whereas Fusion 360’s extensions and plugins are of an additional cost.
  • FreeCAD allows you to maintain control of your files, whereas Fusion 360’s files are stored in the cloud.

These are both extremely high functioning software that can be used for complex designs, and many of the features are likely to be used only by those with a background in engineering, however, there is plenty to attract a hobby user, learner, or small business user too. So let’s get into the details and find out more about FreeCAD and Fusion 360.

What is FreeCAD?

freecad

FreeCAD is a 3D modeler used mostly for designing real-life objects of any size. It’s primarily aimed at those working in mechanical engineering and product design, and with its scriptable CAD, there are options for electrical or architectural design too.

FreeCAD was released in October 2002 by authors Jürgen Riegel, Werner Mayer, and Yorik van Havre who wanted to create open-source CAD software to work on all platforms.

One of the key things to know about FreeCAD is that, as an open-source project, it is completely free for all to use. Because it is open-source, you can also add functions to the software using Python programming.

So who uses FreeCAD? A poll on the FreeCAD forum suggests that most people (52%) using FreeCad are doing so for their hobbies – whether the hobby is Computer-aided design or they are making personal real objects. 36% of users said they used it for professional purposes, largely mechanical engineering design and FEM (finite element method) analysis.

Key features of FreeCAD:

  • Architecture
  • Full parametric model
  • Rendering
  • Sketcher
  • Robot simulation
  • Modular architecture
  • Geometry kernel
  • Path mode
  • Standard formats.

What is Fusion 360?

fusion 360

Fusion 360 was designed by Autodesk, the creators of well known and respected AutoCAD, which has been around since the 1980s. In this development, the designers were given free scope to redesign CAD tools, aiming to create a futuristic CAD tool from scratch, thinking about all the things they felt a premium CAD tool should have going into the future.

Designed with educators and students in mind, it aims to help them prepare for the future of design. It is a combined, cloud-based 3D CAD, CAM, and CAE tool. In one platform you are able to conceptualize various versions of your design, combining multiple modeling elements. A variety of analysis methods mean that you can ensure the form, fit, and function of your products.

In addition, you can add electronic intelligence using the Schematic design, PCB layout, and routing capabilities embedded in Fusion 360. With managed user permissions, version control, and cloud storage you can easily manage your data and gain more control.

Fusion 360 allows great collaboration and teamwork in real-time. It’s very easy to then move into 3D printing to see how your prototype works. Within the system, you can test your design using digital simulations of real-world conditions. 2D manufacturing drawings or animations bring it to life for potential investors or customers.

Key features of Fusion 360:

  • Overview
  • Sketching
  • Freeform modeling
  • Surface modeling
  • Parametric modeling
  • Mesh modeling
  • Direct modeling
  • PCB Design Integration

FreeCAD vs Fusion 360 – Features

freecad 1

To help you decide which software would be a better fit for you, we need to look at how they compare in different features and functionality.

User Interface

There are several key components of the new Fusion 360 interface, which was introduced in 2019 and has, to be honest, had mixed reviews. There are four key areas of this interface:

  1. First, when you log in, you get a new blank project. In the top left is the Application bar.
  2. The second key component of the interface is the data panel, where you can see your project and within them, your project files and collaboration.
  3. The third element of the user interface is your own profile area and help section.
  4. Finally, the fourth element is the main toolbar. This differs according to the type of workspace you are planning to use.

The User Interface on FreeCAD is based on Qt, a well known graphical user interface (GUI) used often in Linux but also available in Windows and macOS.

For the uninitiated, it can be a little clunky and over-complicated. It consists of the main view area (and 3D view); a panel containing the tree view and task panel, property editor, selection view, and report view; a Python console; a toolbar area and workbench selector.

Supported File Formats

FreeCAD mainly uses its own file format – FreeCAD Standard file format (.FCStd) – which is a standard zip file holding the files within a particular structure. Within this, Document.xml files have definitions of geometric and parametric objects, GuiDocument.xml has visual representations of these objects, and prep-files include items such as thumbnails of drawings.

In addition to FreeCAD’s own file format, files can also be exported and imported as STEP, DXF, OBJ (Wavefront), SCAD (OpenSCAD), IFC, SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics), IGES, DAE (Collada), IV (Inventor) and STL (STereoLithography) file formats.

Fusion 360 supports Autodesk Alias (.wire), AutoCAD DWG files, Archive files from Fusion 360, Sim 360 and Autodesk Inventor, Catia V5 files, DXF files, FBX, IGES, NX, OBJ, Parasolid and Pro/Engineer files, Rhino files, SAT/SMT files, STEP files, and STL files. Files can be imported into Fusion 360 and then converted into native files within the software.

Ease of use

Both of the software’s are quite complex with many different functions and it will take a little time to get the hang of all the things they can do. There are many tutorials available on the internet to support you learning different features not to mention the “Get Started in Fusion 360” in the Autodesk help area and the FreeCAD forum.

FreeCAD, in particular, has been described by many users as having a “steep learning curve” but nearly all said that once they had got the hang of it it was a user-friendly software.

System Requirements

FreeCAD has minimum system requirements of

  • Windows 7 or younger, Ubuntu 12.04 or younger, Mac OSX or younger.
  • FreeCAD does not support parallel processing but using a good CPU won’t hurt.
  • The more complex your model the more RAM will be needed. A 64-bit operating system and 8GB of RAM would be a minimum.

Fusion 360 has a minimum requirement of

  • Windows 8.2 or 10, Apple Mac)” Catalina 10.15, Mohave v10.14, High Sierra v10.13.
  • A CPU with a 64-bit processor, 4 cores, 1.7 GHz Intel Core i3, AMD Ryzen 3 or greater.
  • 4 GB of RAM (integrated graphics recommended 6GB or more).
  • The Internet should be at 2.5Mbps or faster download and 500Kbps or faster upload.

Toolsets and Extensions

fusion 360 1

Both FreeCAD and Fusion 360 can be used to make detailed and precise drawings and models for your design.

In FreeCAD the functions are divided into workbenches. Each digital workbench has its own set of tools grouped by task So for example you may use one workbench for drawing a 2D shape and another for working further on them. There is a wide range of built-in workbenches, for example:

  • Draft Workbench – for basic 2D and 3D CAD operations.
  • Arch Workbench – for architectural parts.
  • Part Workbench – for working with CAD parts.

You can also easily program your own additional workbenches using Python, and there is a wide range of Addon Workbenches made by others in the community.

Fusion 360 has previously had two levels of function: Standard and Ultimate. Both already had a range of functions with tools for modeling, rendering, simulation, data management, and manufacturing all self-contained within the software.

They have now introduced Fusion 360 Extensions. This means that those with a Standard license looking for a different set of tools for their project, can purchase the appropriate extension bundle – for example, a Manufacturing Extension to give you tools for metal additive manufacturing – for a specified time period and these tools will immediately become available to you.

The Alternatives to FreeCAD and Fusion 360

Sketchup

sketcup

Sketchup used to be known as Google Sketchup. It’s software for creating 3D models. It has a very user-friendly and intuitive interface allowing you to use push/pull toggles to make a flat surface into a three-dimensional object in your design. In addition, it has an extensive database of models other users have created that you can download and use for your own projects.

Sketchup comes with a wide range of pricing plans depending on what you want to use it for, from a free, web-based version through to a professional architect license.

Rhinoceros 3D

rhinoceros

While Rhinoceros 3D is really a 3D modeling program rather than CAD, it’s probably one of the most versatile modeling software you can find for sale just now.

It has a wide range of design functions and can import a wide range of import files. The best thing about Rhinoceros 3D is that you are able to create such a wide range of shapes with incredible precision, from drawings and sketches and even a 3D scan.

Other Free Options

Here are a few other CAD options that will help you with your 3D printing and that are available for free use.

  • TinkerCAD is another tool from Autodesk. This is a web-based tool giving you easy to use a simple interface yet still allowing you to design complex 3D files. It’s super for design beginners and allows you to save as STL files and also to choose whether to print as solid or hollow.
  • Blender is probably best known for creating 3D computer graphics, but it is also more than capable of producing models for 3D printing. However, it is quite a complex tool to master and has many features that would not be useful to you for your 3D printing.
  • Ultimaker Cura is a great beginners option as it provides tips and recommendations while allowing you to create your own 3D designs.

For some other reviews and comparisons of CAD and other 3D printing software, you could look at our Solidworks vs. CATIA comparison, or check out our verdict on Fusion 360 vs. AutoCAD. We also have a great comparison of AutoCAD vs. Inventor or for another Fusion 360 comparison, we look at how it measures up against Onshape.

FAQs

What is a Computer-aided design?

Computer-aided design – known as CAD for short – is the use of computers to help you design an object. The use of the computer makes it much easier to modify and improve a design, and with extra tools allowing for assessment and analysis and then the addition of 3D printing, you can go from design to prototype all from the screen of your home computer.
CAD helps to improve design quality, supports collaboration, and improves productivity.

How difficult is it to learn CAD for 3D printing?

Both FreeCAD and Fusion 360 are complex software that will require some practice and exploration to get to grips with.
The great thing is that there is a large community of designers on the internet who use both types of technology and not only are you able to find ready-made designs that you can use and customize, but you will also find countless tutorials to support you as you learn the systems.

Is it possible to import files from one type of software to the other?

While FreeCAD and Fusion 360 both have their own preferred file type, these are largely compatible and interchangeable and can also be imported and exported between a wide array of other modeling software. For example, you can import an AutoCAD drawing into Sketchup.

Is FreeCAD really free?

Absolutely. As open-source software, you can use, distribute, or modify the software for personal or commercial work. It really is free!

Can I save my design locally on FreeCAD or Fusion 360?

On Fusion 360 your designs are normally saved in the Cloud. To save them locally you need to click on the details of a design in your dashboard and then click Export and choose which format you would like to download it to your computer. In FreeCAD the files are saved locally.

The Final Word: FreeCAD vs. Fusion 360: Which One Is Better for 3D Printing?

FreeCAD is a great open source project and the contributors and builders are continuing to work on it and add to it with every generation. The fact that it is completely free and will certainly remain so is a huge advantage, and we know that it is only going to get better in the future.

It is flexible and the parametric modeling allows you to design based on existing models. A great feature is the model history, allowing you to make alterations and track your changes. It is great for geometric designs, but not so suitable for organic shapes such as figurines of plants or animals.

However, at this time we would recommend Fusion 360. It is a more complete product with a far more user-friendly interface. The free license for educators and students makes it accessible and if you are working commercially, you’ll find the price-points for the licenses are certainly manageable.

Not only that, but it has an enormous functionality and has the capability to manage, create, and manipulate organic and natural shapes. There are a range of learning options and the extremely active Fusion 360 forum where you will always find somebody willing to give you support and advice.

We think that while FreeCAD is a super piece of software, and definitely a project to support and get involved with, from the point of view of 3D printing, Fusion 360 is the better product.

Elegoo Mars Review: Pros and Cons

The rise of 3D printers has been quick. In the UK alone, 17 percent said that they will buy a 3D printer. This is probably the reason why there are several manufacturers right now who are offering their own 3d printers.

The ELEGOO Mars is one of the more popular recommendations with its incredibly low price and excellent print quality. This 3D printer is also very easy to learn and a very compact design.

What other things should you know about ELEGOO Mars? And are there alternatives if you’re not impressed with the ELEGOO Mars? Read on and find out more about this 3D printer and whether it is the perfect one for you, or if you should keep looking for something else.

What Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer?

elegoo mars uv

When you buy a budget 3D printer, you kinda expect it to suck. After all, the most common tradeoff for getting an affordable printer is that the quality is often compromised.

Not with ELEGOO Mars, though. This affordable 3D printer does not scrimp on the quality of the prints. It looks great too.

ELEGOO Mars is a photocuring LCD 3D printer that uses photopolymer resins to create the prints you want. The low-priced printer promises high-quality prints because it does not use fusion deposition modeling. FDM is when the 3D printer uses hot plastics that are pushed out of extruders for your prints. FDM printers produce smoother surfaces on your prints that are also more detailed. The problem is that FDM printers can cost quite a lot.

ELEGOO Mars cures the resin to create the prints you want. As such, it does not use the expensive FDM technology and you can buy this printer for around $370.

Specifications and Design

But how is the print quality? To say that these are some high-quality output that can rival prints from more expensive devices will surely not be enough. Let’s look at the specs.

ELEGOO Mars measures 7.87 by 7.87 by 16.14 inches (200 by 200 by 410 millimeters) and it has a build volume of 4.7 by 2.6 by 6.1 inches (120 by 68 by 155 millimeters). This 3D printer is a bit on the small size, which can be good or bad depending on how you view it.

The small size means that the printer does not take up a lot of space, so you can be more flexible when deciding where to put it. But the smaller build volume would limit the size of the prints that you can have with this printer.

The ELEGOO Mars has an aluminum base with an orange cover. It does not look like most other 3D printers, with their boring black or white build.

At the front of the base, ELEGOO puts a sensitive touch display that allows you to tweak the controls and settings for your prints. There is a USB port at the back, which is where you put in the flash drive that contains the print files.

Printing with ELEGOO Mars

Aside from being the little printer that could, ELEGOO Mars also prints differently than other printers. We are used to seeing printers with extruders pushing out plastic filaments to create 3D models.

ELEGOO Mars has a vat of resin and the build platform is dipped repeatedly into it. Ultraviolet light will cure the resin layer by layer. So as the build platform goes in and out of the resin tray, another hardened layer is added to it.

What You Will Like About the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

The ELEGOO Mars comes to you already set up. Plus the box already has everything you need to print your first 3D model. That includes the printer, enough resin, gloves, filter funnels, masks, wire cutters, measuring cups, flash drive, and scraper, among others.

Not only that, the ELEGOO Mars has a pretty smooth printing process. That is everything is easy to do even right down to how easy it is to take out the resin tray and put it back.

It is clear that this 3D printer has been thoughtfully designed, so there is no need to push and pull with force worrying about breaking some part or another.

What You Might Not Like About the ELEGOO Mars

elgoo printer

One thing about the ELEGOO Mars that you might find bothersome is this 3D printer makes a loud beeping noise when it starts and finishes a print. You cannot turn it off and it can be pretty annoying.

Another thing is that the consumables can be expensive. ELEGOO manufacturers their own resins, which are available in two volumes: 500 and 1,000 grams (17.6 and 35.3 ounces) and can cost anywhere from $1.13 to $1.60.

And that’s just the resin. You will also need to stock up on gloves because it is not safe to touch the resin without wearing them. Then you also need more filter funnels. Further, you might not like how this 3D printer allows you to do smaller sized 3D objects because of its smaller build volume.

ELEGOO Mars: The Bottom Line

If you have been wishing for a budget-friendly 3D printer that does not produce garbage 3D prints, then the ELEGOO Mars is the answer to your prayers. This affordable 3D printer produces high-quality prints and it does not look cheap at all.

There is a lot of things that go for it as well. The intuitive user interface with its large 3.5-inch, 2560 by 1440 pixels 2K high-definition touch display, makes it very easy to use.

There is a very simple process from setup to printing, so you don’t have to be a techie to learn how to use this device. If you’re looking for a budget printer or just want to try resin printing, this it the best 3D printer for you.

Pros

  • A budget-friendly printer that produces high-quality prints
  • Easy to use with minimal assembly required
  • Eye-catching design that melds aluminum and an orange cover
  • The very simple printing process
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Accessories and supplies can add up to the cost
  • High-pitched beeping noise that you cannot stop or deactivate
  • Smaller than the typical build volume

Alternatives to ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

With dozens of 3D printers out there, the ELEGOO Mars has a number of excellent competition. If you are looking for a similarly affordable 3D printer that doesn’t hurt your pocket, here are some alternatives.

1. X-one2 3D Printer

qidi printer

If you are looking for an even more affordable 3D printer, then you can check out QIDI Tech X-one2 3D Printer.

This printer is pretty much plugged and play and you can start using it the moment you get it out of the box. It is an FDM printer with a single extruder and can work with different filament types such as ABS, TPU, and PLA. It also comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen that allows you to operate the printer and set its configurations easily.

What’s more, it has the features that you would expect from other similar but more expensive printers. It has an enclosed build that helps to keep the temperature constant while keeping dirt, dust, and curious fingers out of the printing area.

It also comes with a heated print bed, which allows you to print with PETG or ABS filaments. It also allows for third-party filaments to be used when you are printing.

However, this printer only gives you a printing size of 5.5 by 5.5 by 5.5 inches (139.7 by 139.7 by 139.7 millimeters), which is significantly smaller than the ELEGOO Mars’ already tiny build volume.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple operation, just feed the printer some filament and start printing

Cons

  • Small build size

2. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 3D Printer Kit

ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 has several excellent features that make it well worth its low price. For one, you can resume printing after a power outage. It also uses an advanced extruder that lessens the possibility of failed extrusion and plugging risk. It is also very quiet and durable.

This fully open-source printer has its source codes available to the community, allowing anyone to make changes and improve the product. What’s more, this printer gives you a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 10 inches (220 by 220 by 250 millimeters).

However, the low price and the decent build volume has some tradeoffs. First, you will need to assemble it. While the whole process is quite easy to do, especially if you follow the manual or find a good YouTube tutorial, it will still take time.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Precise printing at more or less 0.1-millimeter precision
  • Open-source
  • It is possible to get high-quality prints
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Difficult to level
  • You need to manually calibrate the printer
  • You will need to assemble this 3D printer kit

3. QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer

qidi tech shadow

If you would like a non-FDM printer and get something that works with resins, then check out the QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer. This 3D printer sells for around $150, making it much more affordable than an ELEGOO Mars.

What’s more, this 3D printer looks great with its tempered glass construction in red and gold. The Chinese manufacturer might have been going for a bit of an Iron Man look, but that should not be too much of a complaint.

The QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer has a build volume of 4.52 by 2.55 by 5.9 inches (115 by 65 by 150 millimeters). It is able to print with resolutions of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels and you can use third-party resins with this printer.

That means you get excellent details on your 3D prints, and the printer works quietly. Two air filters inside the build chamber infuse the fumes with activated carbon, so there is less stench coming from the resin. However, there are complaints about the printer arriving with dings on the body.

Pros

  • Great for beginners because of the included instruction
  • The air filtration system can fight the stench that normally comes resin printers
  • High-quality prints at a very attractive price point

Cons

  • Quality control issues with the printer, with some components arriving dented, beat up or broken
  • The company does not provide any customer service

FAQs

1. What is FDM printing?

Fused deposition modeling or fused filament fabrication is when your 3D printer extrudes melted material to form your 3D object. FDM technology is the most commonly used in 3D printing, and most people will encounter FDM 3D printers first before any other technology.
FDM technology has some benefits, such as lower costs and a wide range of materials you can use with it. It is also faster because you don’t have to do a lot of post-processing.

2. What is stereolithography?

Stereolithography, or SLA, is a type of 3D printing technology that uses resins to create your model. Unlike FDM, which pushes melted materials out of the extruders, SLA printers use light or lasers to cure resin: turning it from liquid to hard plastic.
FDM printers have their extruders and filaments, while SLA printers have their light sources and vat of resin.
SLA printers often produce stronger models that are water-resistant or waterproof. These 3D printers are also very precise and accurate, with very fine details
You can also have a very smooth finish with SLA printers. Not only that SLA printers are typically less expensive than FDM printers and you can use a wide variety of materials with different characteristics. For instance, your resin can hold a lot of secondary materials such as ceramic or glass.

3. What are the things to remember if you are buying a printer like ELEGOO Mars?

There are some precautions you should take when it comes to working with SLA printers in general.
for one, there is the possibility that it will give off a strong odor or stench while printing. This is the reason why you should always find an SLA 3D printer that has good ventilation or air filtration system.
What’s more, the resins used for this kind of printer tend to come with a lot of caveats. First, you should wear the right protective equipment.
You will need to wear gloves that are made with neoprene or nitrite. You should also use safety goggles and a dust mask when you are sanding parts of your newly printed object.

Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD Printer a Good Buy?

On its own, there are a lot of reasons why you should buy the ELEGOO Mars. For one, it is a budget-friendly printer that delivers excellent print quality. It has a sizable build volume that allows you to create sizable prints.

However, if you zoom out and check out other budget-friendly printers, you would find that it is not a novelty that something so affordable can deliver awesome looking and detailed prints. For instance, you can get two FDM printers that are cheaper than the ELEGOO Mars.

The QIDI Tech X-one2, for one, has similar features as the ELEGOO Mars, but it does have a smaller build area. Nevertheless, it is very easy to operate and learn.

If you like an alternative that uses resin, then check out another QIDI product: the Tech Shadow 5.5 S. This 3D printer can deliver a high-resolution print that retails for less than $150. If you are handy with your hands, you can check out the 3Dpritner kits such as the Creatlity Ender 3D Printer. This printer needs some assembly to work properly.

Overall, it is difficult to find a better 3D printer that can combine low costs and excellent 3D prints, with a vibrant community of users who can help you should you hit a snag.

Further read:

Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge: Which Will You Love?

In this Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge comparison, we’re going to explore the features of these two fantastic laser cutters to help you decide which one is best for you, either to use alongside your 3D printer or by itself. These are both high quality, powerful laser cutters that can be used for a wide range of projects for home or small business use, hobbies, and crafting.

We will look at both of these popular laser cutters, describing the features of each device, how user friendly they are, what they cost, and finally our recommendation for you.

Main Differences Between Dremel vs Glowforge

The main differences between Dremel vs Glowforge are:

  • Dremel is UL approved, whereas Glowforge is not.
  • Dremel is modular allowing easy replacement of the laser tube, whereas Glowforge requires to be sent off to the service team.
  • Dremel has a full-color touch screen, whereas Glowforge does not have any control screen on the device and must be managed through your computer.
  • Dremel’s Digilab software is run from the laser cutter while offline, whereas Glowforge requires internet access.

Exploring Dremel and Glowforge features

dremel lc40

We’re focusing here on the features of the Dremel LC40 and the Glowforge Plus laser cutters.

Cutting

A laser cutter can be used for both cutting and engraving or etching. If you have a 3D printer already, you’ll most likely be using your laser cutter to cut out flat shapes from various materials to use with the pieces you build with your 3D printer.

The Dremel LC40 laser cutter uses a 40W laser tube to cut a variety of materials. It works really well to cut a range of materials cleanly, such as wood cardboard, and acrylic. The result is a clean and very accurate cut.

The Glowforge Plus also uses a 40w laser to cut into objects. The Glowforge is able to engrave with 1000 DPI resolution, with a kerf size (the width of material removed in the cut) of 0.008” – 0.025”.

Both have excellent feedback on their cutting, providing clear, accurate, and very detailed cuts. The Dremel outperforms the Glowforge in cutting speed, though they are both pretty good at this. A basic design can take as little as two to three minutes to engrave, while a detailed full-sheet engraving or cutting might take a couple of hours.

Cooling

It’s no surprise that a cutter using a laser beam to burn through materials will get very hot, which is why they come with cooling systems. You’ll also need to keep them in a well-ventilated space as the material being burned can give off smoke or fumes too, so this is something to think about when you’re deciding where to put your cutter.

The Dremel LC40 has something called the HexBox, an external box that will sit on the shelf below or above your laser cutter and recirculates cool water around the unit and through the laser tube, significantly reducing overheating and allowing the laser cutter to be used for longer periods.

The Glowforge Plus uses an internal closed-loop liquid cooling system using the ambient air drawn in from the room to remove the heat. While this does help save space, on a warm day or in a hotter climate, this can mean that cutting is paused to allow the unit to cool down. The system is designed for function between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Software

glowforge plus

The software that your laser cutter uses turns images or designs into cutting or engraving. There are a few different types of software being used for this in different laser cutters and Dremel and Glowforge both use different ones.

The Dremel LC40 accesses the software through a web browser but runs from the laser cutter. This means that you don’t need an internet connection to work the machine. The software interface is incredibly intuitive and also includes a library of materials with suggested cutting and engraving settings.

A really popular feature of this software is the grids, rulers, and snaps which help with placing designs easily and accurately. The Auto-Array function also automatically duplicates designs on the material. In addition, the LC40 keeps the last 30 jobs you did in its onboard memory so you can run them again from the touchscreen on the machine.

The Glowforge Plus software comes as a free app. The software is web-based so you do need an internet connection to start your print off, but it does work fine with slow connections and once you’ve started your print, you can continue offline. The software has a lot of preset functions and projects, and especially if you are using their Proofgrade™ materials which are tested and specially formulated for their machines.

Platforms

You’ll want your laser cutter software to be compatible with all the different platforms and operating systems that you use. You would be disappointed if you bought a laser cutter and then found that it didn’t work with your Mac!

Fortunately, both Dremel and Glowforge software is compatible with almost any operating system from Windows, iOS, and Android.

Specifications for Dremel and Glowforge

Dremel Glowforge
Cooling: external water cooling system Cooling: Built-in closed-loop water cooling
Software: Dremel software Software: Glowforge cloud-based software
Beam Power: 40w Beam Power: 45w
Tech: CO2 Laser tube Tech: CO2 Laser tube

Comparing Dremel and Glowforge pricing

As laser printer technology advances and becomes more accessible for small business and hobby users, the prices are gradually reducing.

TheDremel LC40 is slightly more expensive for the standard package. This includes the Hexbox, an external cooling system, and a one year warranty. You can purchase additional fans or ventilation units depending on your use and where it will be positioned.

The GlowforgePlus (the model being reviewed here is a little cheaper. Other models available are the slightly cheaper Glowforge Basic and the more expensive Glowforge Pro. For that price, you get the laser cutter, inbuilt cooling system, and one year of warranty. You can also purchase an additional air filter if you are unable to have the cutter next to an open window.

Dremel vs Glowforge ease of use

dremel

Over the last decade, laser cutters have moved from industrial machines to be accessible by students in schools and crafters in their homes. As a result, it’s become very important that you don’t need a degree in engineering to work on them, they have to be user-friendly so that anybody can use them on an occasional basis. So how do these two machines measure up?

The Dremel Digilab LC40 has a large, color touchscreen on board the machine. It takes you intuitively through common tasks and troubleshooting and means that you can run projects from right there on the machine. Its intuitive ease of use is one of the major advantages of the Dremel and has made it very popular with users. In particular, school users have found that students can confidently use the Dremel even with no experience at all.

The Glowforge, while not benefiting from any sort of screen on the machine itself, is still user-friendly and easy to get the hang of. The cloud-based software makes a lot of sense and has a lot of easy to use features. It is also regularly updated within the cloud.

What support is available for Dremel and Glowforge

Customer service and technical support is a really good indicator of how important the customer is for a company. Even if you’re an experienced user, there may be times when you have a technical question that you need help with. So how helpful are they at Dremel and Glowforge?

Dremel’s support page gives options for Phone, e-mail, and live chat support, and a good selection of articles and trouble-shooting guides to choose from. Reviews suggest that technical support is generally very quick, friendly, and helpful.

Glowforge also has a great support page on their website. They have great step-by-step guides on the page for everything from getting set up and using the laser cutter to maintenance and moving. In addition, they have email and live chat options on the website, social media channels, and a great search function for their extensive selection of support and troubleshooting articles.

Not only that, but there is also an active Community Forum where you can interact with other Glowforge users for advice, tips, technical questions, and inspiration.

Pros and Cons

Dremel

Pros

  • great level of precision in both cutting and engraving.
  • Can cut into various materials and engrave metal
  • It comes with an interface touch screen that is convenient and user friendly
  • Great safety features including water-cooling for the laser tube, air assist, and the on-board ventilation fan.
  • Wireless operation so you can organize your workshop to suit you
  • UL certified

Cons

  • The external Hexbox cooling system which takes up space
  • The price is quite high
  • Honeycomb bed is a bit flimsy

Glowforge

Pros

  • Easy to use and intuitive
  • Can scan drawings into the cut
  • Proofgrade™ materials are quality, tested materials available from Glowforge to take the guesswork out of materials and settings
  • Great design catalog available

Cons

  • Software is cloud-based so needs internet to use
  • No LCD screen on the device

Are there any alternatives?

Orion Motor Tech 40W Laser Cutter

orion motor tech

For those with a budget in mind, you might wish to consider the Orion Motor Tech laser cutter. It features an integrated cooling fan, digital controls with LCD display, and a stability clamp for irregular items.

While this laser cutter is better for engraving or for cutting thinner materials, if that’s what you’re looking for then this is a great investment, especially if you’re willing to upgrade to better software or even hardware like the exhaust fan or water pump.

Ten-High 40W Laser Cutter

ten hugh 3020

Another great laser cutter you could consider is the Ten-high. This laser cutter has some super features and might be what you are looking for. This is a small model with a lot of energy and great function. The 40w machine is ideal for engraving, and the 60w, 80w, or 100w versions might be a better choice for regular cutting.

FAQs About Dremel and Glowforge

Do I need a laser cutter and a 3D printer?

It depends on what you are using them for. For some projects, you can use a laser cutter to cut pieces from a wide variety of materials, combined with building other parts using a 3D printer. Having both means that you have a much wider variety of projects that you can do. There are some machines coming on to the market that combine 3D printing with laser cutting.

Can I use the Dremel or the Glowforge laser cutters without accessing the internet?

The Dremel software is internet-based but the projects are managed from the laser cutter itself, so you don’t need to be connected to the internet. On the other hand, the laser cutter from Glowforge is cloud-based so does require an internet connection.

What materials can the Dremel and the Glowforge laser cutters operate on?

A huge number and variety of materials! Some metals can be cut, others only engraved (lasers do not work well on aluminum due to its reflective properties), silicon, ceramics, glass, plastics and polymers (avoid PVC, PVB, PTFE/Teflon as these can give off poisonous gases), wood and gemstones.

How long will the Dremel and Glowforge last?

The average lifetime of a laser tube is about 80 to 1500 hours under normal operating conditions (it will wear out faster with cutting than engraving).
That means that you are likely to need to change it every couple of years. You’ll notice that this needs doing when you are struggling to cut something you have been able to cut previously, or if the laser appears to burn rather than cut. You would be able to change the Dremel tube yourself, where the Glowforge would need to be sent off for a replacement. Other than the laser tube, with careful handling and maintenance, your laser cutter should last many years.

Can a laser cutter overheat?

They can do, and this is both a fire risk and harmful to the laser tube. It’s a good idea to avoid placing it in direct sunlight, allow plenty of air ventilation, make sure the cooling system is working correctly, and give your laser cutter a break every now and then if you are doing a lot of cutting. The Glowforge has an inbuilt cooling system, and the Dremel has the external Hexbox.

How does laser cutting work?

A high-powered laser beam runs through a lens and then into a material, melting or burning it away and leaving an edge with a high-quality, clean finish.

What are the advantages of laser cutting?

Laser cutting offers great precision and detail in cutting. It works on a wide variety of materials and offers a clean, smooth cut. Laser cutting uses very little power, so apart from the purchase of the laser cutter, it is not an expensive cutting method and is also much faster than conventional cutting methods.

Our Verdict: Which is Better between Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge?

dremel lc40 printer

Both the Dremel Digilab LC40 and the Glowforge Plus offer a huge range of features that would make them very popular in schools, in small businesses, and for home users. While not a cheap option, their ease of use has made laser cutting manageable for a whole new group of users. Both laser cutters perform extremely well. So which is the best?

This is a very close run race, but we would recommend the Dremel. The key reasons are the intuitive, easy to use interface, the excellent attention to detail, and the additional built-in safety features. The touchscreen on the Dremel and the ability to operate with or without the internet are big positives, plus the more advanced cooling system.

Of course, there are a few negatives, such as the extra space taken up by the external cooling system, and the “Community” on Glowforge is a great way to interact with other users and get quick feedback and advice – something Dremel should definitely consider adding to their Customer Service options.

The Glowforge Plus is still a brilliant laser cutter. The Proofgrade™ materials take a lot of the guesswork out of your projects and the quality and customer service are fantastic. Another very user-friendly and high-quality laser cutter. You would definitely be happy with either of these two laser cutters.

Further read: 

The Anycubic Predator Review That You’ll Love

Build volumes pretty much dictate how big a 3D model you can print with a 3D printer. Bigger build volumes mean that you can print objects that can cover a bigger area, or if you need to put it together into one bigger object, you’d need to have less moving parts.

What’s more, if you’re currently using a mini printer, having access to one that has a bigger build volume means that you can print your current models on a larger scale with more details.

Usually, when you see a 3D printer that has a large build volume, you assume that it’s expensive. Not the Anycubic Predator. This Delta-style printer has a sizable build volume and a frame that’s made with quality materials but with a price tag that you will certainly love.

What are the things that you should know about this 3D printer? Are there some downsides to owning an Anycubic Predator? Are there any alternatives that you can consider? Further, should you buy the Anycubic Predator? Read on and find out.

Anycubic Predator: What You Need to Know

anycubic predator

A do-it-yourself 3D printer kit, the Anycubic Predator is made with solid metal, making it very durable. The frame is also very stable so you don’t have to worry about the 3D printer shaking too much when in use.

The Anycubic Predator has a build volume of 14.6 by 14.6 by 17.9 inches (370 by 370 by 455 millimeters), which is larger than most 3D printers out there. It has a layer resolution of anywhere from 0.05 to 0.3 millimeters and positioning accuracy of 0.0125 millimeters on all three axes.

What’s more, it can use any PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood filled, or TPU filaments that have diameters of 0.4 to 1.75 millimeters. Print speed range from 20 to 150 mm per second (0.79 to 5.9 inches per second).

The Predator comes with an auto leveler that keeps track of 37 points. Plus it can do real-time adjustments, without you having to do anything. The nozzle height is also automatically adjusted in real-time. Other features of the Predator include:

  • Ultrabase Pro: The print bed, which can hold the models in place but still be easily removed. The bed is very durable.
  • Filament sensor: Can alert you when filaments run out or when they break.
  • Touch display: Operate your printer with ease with the full-color control panel with its intuitive user interface.
  • Resume: The printer can resume printing after it’s been interrupted by a power trip. You don’t have to worry about wasted prints that take a long time to finish.

What’s in the Box

The good news is that Anycubic has included everything you need to print and maintain your printer in the box, including the:

  • 10 screws
  • Card reader
  • Gloves
  • PLA filament
  • Plier
  • Scraper
  • SD card
  • Toolset
  • Tweezers
  • USB cables
  • User manual

That means that you can assemble your printer the moment it arrives, and then print your first model shortly thereafter.

What You Would Like About the Anycubic Predator

The Anycubic Predator is a well-built, sturdy, and stable 3D printer that feels rock solid. It does not rock when printing and the extrusions are quite uniform and work as they should. The hardware you see here is excellent, made with quality materials.

What Can Be Better

Some users complain about the Ultrabase Pro because the objects being printed don’t really adhere to the print bed. A good workaround is to use regular school glue before you print anything. You will also need to let the print bed cool off before you remove the print to avoid damaging it. You should not even try to remove it using the scraper that comes with the package.

What some people do not like is that the firmware is not open source. This means that you will not be able to tinker with it, or you might have a challenge doing so.

The biggest tradeoff, however, is the lack of support. If you need to buy parts for your Predator, you might find that the customer service is not that responsive. They do not provide shipping updates, tracking numbers, or general feedback for your purchase.

Also, this printer is huge at 22.8 by 20.5 by 40.2 inches (580 by 520 by 1,020 millimeters). You will really need to find a place for it on your worktable.

Anycubic Predator: The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Predator is an excellent printer with all the great technologies you will expect to find in a more expensive model. It’s also perfect for those who like to tinker with their 3D printers because you will need to assemble it and then twiddle with it to make it better. It uses sturdy and durable materials, offers a sizable print volume, and print quality is okay.

It is, however, bogged by the lack of customer service. That is, it’s a good printer until you need to have some parts replaced.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Predator

If you’re looking for a budget 3D printer that doesn’t scrimp on the quality, the Anycubic Predator can be the right choice for you. But it’s not the only affordable printer out there that offers a huge build volume, excellent prints, and an attractively low price tag.

1. Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

The Geeetech A20M 3D Printer is a 3D printer kit that has an aluminum alloy body and uses a Bowden extruder. Assembly is quite easy, especially if you have another person to help you.

Perhaps, the biggest feature that will intrigue you is the mix-color feature. The A20M has two slots for two different filaments, but it uses only one nozzle. This means that you can blend colors while printing.

You can easily achieve color gradation or having the spectrum effect, using the slow transition from one color to another. You can also have the printer print in the two colors without blending it, making it seem like you’ve changed the filament midway.

What You’d Like About the Geeetech A29M

If you assemble this 3D printer right, you will probably have no problems with it. It’s very stable, and the materials used are durable. It has a high-quality look that makes it more expensive than its price tag.

The color mix feature is a good addition as well. What’s more, the electronics are at the bottom, which makes the printer even more stable.

What Can Be Better

Some users might find it difficult to level the bed, as it can wobble too much if not installed properly. Also, the user interface is not that intuitive. For some reason, the company didn’t include a touch display, so you have to tweak the setting using a dial.

Having to turn the dial is a departure from the tap and click type of interaction that we’re all used to by now. Plus, it might not be easy to find the features that you need.

Geeetech A20M: The Bottom Line

Compared to Anycubic Predator, the Geeetech A20M has a smaller footprint at 17.4 by 17.6 by 18.9 inches (442 by 447 by 480 millimeters), still bigger than your regular desktop FDM printer. It also has a smaller build volume at 10 by 10 by 10 inches (255 millimeters all around).

However, it is also cheaper than the Predator and delivers pretty much similar print quality.

Barring some mechanical issues such as having loose or tight adjustments to the print bed, the Geeetech A20M is an affordable 3D printer kit that does a good job overall.

Pros

  • Sizable build volume
  • Print quality is fine and detailed
  • Can support two filaments with color mix features
  • Affordable

Cons

  • If not properly installed, the base can be wobbly

2. Artillery Sidewinder X1

artillery sidewinder

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 comes from a new company that started offering 3D printers in late 2018. That’s both a good and a bad thing. To be honest, the company’s first products received a lot of bad feedback. But the nice thing about Artillery is that they took these feedback and incorporated changes into their later products.

The Sidewinder X1 features some nifty features such as a silent set of fans and the equally noiseless motherboard. It also has a heated bed and a direct drive system. It boasts of a build volume that measures 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters) on a body that measures 21.7 by 15.9 by 25.2 inches (550 by 405 by 640 millimeters).

The chassis is very sturdy and durable. And it looks great as well. One of the notable design differences that the Sidewinder X1 has is the use of ribbon cables. The ribbon cables reduce the cluttered look of loose cables used by similar printers.

The heated print bed is made with a porous ceramic that is covered by a glass protector. It only takes about 45 seconds to heat the bed to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celcius).

What You Would Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is a budget printer that doesn’t look or work like one. It has quality materials that make up the sturdy frame and a fast-heating print bed.

What’s more, it features a direct drive setup that is rare if you consider its price range. The user interface is intuitive and the 3.5-inch (89 millimeters) touch display is easy to see. Installation and setup is a breeze and fast.

What You Might Not Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

One of the things that this 3D printer lacks is the sensors that will allow you to automatically level the bed. Instead, you have to do some manually leveling.

There are also concerns about the durability of some of the printer’s components. For instance, you might find that the ribbon cables can break over time. What’s more, the printer does wobble when you print something tall using certain filaments.

Should You Choose This Printer over the Anycubic Predator?

There are some things that the Sidewinder X1 has that you cannot find in other affordable Cartesian 3D printer. It’s refreshing to see a direct drive extruder as well as a directly heated print bed on a budget device. It has a sleek look and can work quietly, while also delivering a decent quality for your prints.

Compared to the Anycubic Predator, this printer has a smaller build volume. Plus, you will probably need to fiddle with the settings a bit to get the best quality prints out of this device. The Sidewinder X1 is also more affordable than the Predator.

Pros

  • Well-designed and sleek-looking
  • It heats up quickly allowing you to start printing in a matter of seconds
  • Silent worker
  • The helpful online user community

Cons

  • The filament holder needs to be replaced
  • Uneven heat

3. Qidi Tech X Plus

quidi tech

The Qidi Tech X Plus is yet one of those budget printers that aims to surprise you with quality prints. You can get layers that are as thin as 50 microns. you can also use a wide assortment of filaments.

The Qidi Tech X Plus has two extruders, filament compartments, and a double-sided bed. These accessories allow you to easily change out the various components so you can get the perfect prints depending on your preferred filament.

What’s more, it gives you several options on how to connect Wi-Fi, tethered and untethered USB, and Ethernet. The build volume for the Qidi Tech X Plus is the smallest out of this bunch, measuring only 7.9 by 7.9 by 10.6 inches (200.7 by 200.7 by 269.2 millimeters).

What You Would Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

There are a lot of nifty features on this printer that you will like. There’s the two-extruder setup, where you can use the A Extruder for general printing materials such as TPU, ABS, or PLA. There’s also the B Extruder for special filaments such as carbon fiber, PC, and nylon.

The difference lies in the maximum temperature that each extruder can get. The A Extruder can get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) while the second extruder can get as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius)

It also has a dual-sided print bed that can handle different sets of materials as well. There are two filament holders as well.

Plus, unlike other printers in this roundup, the Qidi Tech X Plus arrives fully assembled, so you don’t have to worry about screwing things together and all that. It’s also fully enclosed, so noise levels are kept at a very quiet 40 decibels.

What You Might Not Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

Qidi Tech has a language barrier problem in that they seem to be struggling to find English speakers and writers who can write their instructions pretty well. The instructions included in the package are confusing and some steps are missing, making it difficult to follow.

Even their customer service and website can be quite confusing. Thankfully, the QiDi Tech X Plus is easily assembled following what you can understand in the manual.

Also, some online tutorials and forums can help you figure things out if you’re stuck.

Qidi Tech X Plus: The Bottom Line

When it comes to budget printers, Qidi Tech X Plus shows you that you can save money and still expect quality prints. This 3D printer makes it easier for you to work with a wide variety of filaments without having to go through the trouble of manually changing out the print bed and extruders.

What’s more, there’s no assembly required, so you can start printing once you get it out of the box.

Pros

  • You can use a wide range of filaments
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Good quality prints

Cons

  • Badly written documentation and customer service representatives can use English lessons

FAQs

1. What is an extruder?

The extruder is one of the most important components of 3D printers. The extruder pushes the filament to the hot end where it is melted.

2. What is the difference between a direct extruder and a Bowden extruder?

A direct extruder is one that is attached to the hot end itself. It’s part of the print head and delivers the filament straight to the hot end.
Because the filament travels for a short distance, direct extruders have better extrusion and retraction and the filament is more responsive to it. It also doesn’t take too much power from the stepper motor. Further, direct extruders work with more filaments, even the abrasive and flexible ones.
A Bowden extruder, on the other hand, is not attached to the print head, but someplace else, usually the printer body. It uses a tube to deliver the filament to the hot end.
Because of this, the print head is much lighter, more accurate, and faster because it doesn’t carry the additional weight of the extruder. Products that use a Bowden extruder tend to have higher quality or faster prints.

3. Do you need an auto-leveling 3D printer?

Making sure that the print bed is level is one of the key considerations when you work with a 3D printer. You can do this manually, or you can rely on a printer’s automatic leveling capabilities to do the job for you.
Auto leveling uses sensors attached to the print head to check several points on the bed. It will then send this information to the printer’s computer so that it could adjust the nozzles as it works.
As such, it makes your life a whole lot easier, and your 3D printing jobs a whole lot faster. It’s also a must for beginners who may not have an idea on how to level the printing beds.

4. What are Delta and Cartesian 3D printers?

A Cartesian-style printer uses the Cartesian coordinate system. A Cartesian printer moves linearly on both X and Y axes. They can move:
– Up and down
– Front to back
– Left to right
Cartesian printers can have moving parts that are inordinately heavy and can shake your printer strongly enough to dislodge prints from the bed. It can sometimes lead to inaccurate prints.
It’s also close to impossible for Cartesian printers to change directions in an instant. However, Cartesian printers do shine with horizontal prints and are easier to understand. It’s also user friendly and cheaper than Delta printers in general.

Delta Printers

Delta printers, for its part, have three arms that can go from one point to another but also change the angles as it moves. Delta printers are much lighter than Cartesian mechanisms, which helps make it responsive to changes in angles and directions.

Delta printers use fewer parts, so there’s less chance that it will break down, but it takes up too much space as well. Delta printers are also more lightweight than a similar Cartesian printer and it’s very easy to upgrade or maintain. It also allows for fast and accurate printing.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Predator?

For its price, the Anycubic Predator is surprisingly an excellent printer that delivers finely detailed prints and has a huge build size. You can use this 3D printer for bigger models. It’s very stable and the construction is solid.

There are competitors for the Anycubic Predator, but it wins in one way or another that makes this printer very easy to recommend. For instance, the Sidewinder X1 can give the Predator a run for its money, but it doesn’t have automatic bed leveling.

The Qidi Tech X Plus is better suited for semi-professional print jobs, but it’s more expensive than the Predator and has a smaller build volume. Meanwhile, the Geeetech A20M has a more affordable price tag, but also a smaller build volume.

Further read:

Our Best CoreXY 3D Printers For Your Needs

In this guide, we’ll show you the best CoreXY 3D printers on the market right now. Since 2013, CoreXY has been growing in popularity in the 3D printing market for a number of reasons. As 3D printers vary quite considerably in price range, CoreXY generally isn’t that expensive. That being said, any upgrades and modifications that you need can add to the overall cost.

We’ll have a look at what a CoreXY designed 3D printer actually is, their pros and cons, and also what you need to consider when buying one. We’ll also show you the best CoreXy 3D printers that you can buy.

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

Until 2013, most FDM 3D printers used what is known as a Cartesian design. This is a system that uses individual motors for each axis on the printer. So, the X and Y axes would be used for the nozzle while the print bed would move on the Z-axis.

A new system was then developed by MIT and it became known as CoreXY. 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 move the tool head at a 45-degree angle whereas on a Cartesian system this will move at zero or ninety degrees.

Using a CoreXY 3D printer has several advantages but there are also a couple of downsides too.

Advantages of CoreXY 3D Printers

Fast print speeds

Probably the biggest advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that it allows for faster print speeds without reducing the quality of your objects.

It achieves this by having very little moving parts. Many other 3D printers have a moving gantry with stepper motors that move around during the printing process. This can result in vibrations which often cause issues with printing off high-quality models.

A CoreXY 3D printer has stationary stepper motors and the print bed itself will only move vertically. In actual fact, the only real part that moves with any speed is the tool head. So, there is less chance of vibrations and poor quality prints.

Smaller dimensions but the same build volume

Another advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that the overall size and dimensions of the printer is pretty small. This is useful if you don’t have a ton of space in which to house it.

This doesn’t mean that the build volume is impacted. It achieves this by the fact that the print bed moves vertically. This is a feature that is also present on H-bot printers such as the Creality Ender 4.

On other FDM 3D printer designs, the base is about two times the size of the build volume. This is because the print bed needs to move back and forth – this isn’t the case on a CoreXY. With a CoreXY printer, the printhead can freely move around the build plate so it doesn’t need the extra space.

Open-source

open source printer

The third big advantage of using a CoreXY 3D printer is that it is open source so it is compatible with a wide range of firmware and software.

Open-source 3D printers have been growing massively in popularity. The design and technology behind CoreXY printers mean that there are many open-source projects out there. People have been putting their own spin and modifications on these printers which have produced a variety of great results.

Disadvantages of CoreXY 3D Printers

Belt system

Not everything is rosy with CoreXY printers and there are a couple of downsides to telling you about. The belt system is one.

If the belts aren’t aligned correctly on a CoreXY printer or if the tension isn’t exact (too high or too low), this can cause a multitude of problems. This includes the accuracy of printers and mechanical malfunctions.

It is something to keep in mind because the way CoreXY printers work means that it is heavily reliant on the belts. This can result in higher maintenance costs and more time spent ensuring they are set up properly. If you are a beginner it can seem a bit daunting but with experience, it becomes less of an issue.

Frame

Another potential downside to using a CoreXY 3D printer is the frame. The frame needs to be a perfect square when it is assembled. If it is not, this can cause accuracy problems with your prints. There are things you can do which will help negate any issues with the shape of the frame. This includes using a set square when assembling the CoreXY 3D printer and to add corner brackets to help maintain its shape.

If it is assembled correctly you shouldn’t have any problems however it is a bit more work at the beginning to ensure accurate prints.

What to look for in a CoreXY 3D Printer

Before we get into our best CoreXY 3D printers that you can buy, there are a few things you should consider before you make a purchase.

Cost

Cost is a factor before buying any 3D printer. Even though the affordability of desktop and home models of 3D printers has improved massively, they can still be quite pricey.

If the initial cost is quite low you still need to think about any modifications, upgrades and additional parts you might need to buy. This can often bring up the overall cost of the printer quite considerably.

Support and community

If you are new to 3D printing or have very limited experience, having good support options is a must.

Depending on what CoreXY 3D printer you purchase, the level of community engagement around it can often be different. Look out for 3D printers that have a good maker and designer community because this can be imperative when it comes to getting modifications and upgrades.

Ease of use

Finally, something else to consider is how easy is the CoreXY 3D printer you are thinking of buying to use?

Even though many 3D printers have been aimed at the beginner market, some will be for more advanced users and have more complicated designs and features.

If you are just starting off with a 3D printer, don’t get too far ahead of yourself and pay a lot of money for a printer that is hard to operate. Luckily many CoreXY printers do factor in ease of use to their design and operation but it is something to keep in mind.

5 Best CoreXY 3D Printers

There are a lot of different 3D printers that are based on CoreXY available. We have whittled the list down to the 5 best CoreXY 3D printers.

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

twotrees sapphire pro

The Two Trees Sapphire Pro is one of the most popular CoreXY 3D printers and it has built up a solid reputation as high quality but an affordable machine.

The Pro version isn’t going to break the bank while you can assembly this 3D printer in less than a couple of hours or so. It isn’t actually that hard to get it up and running but there are a few parts that need careful attention. There is a decent community built up around the Sapphire Pro as well so you’ll find various upgrades and mods for this printer.

Overall the Sapphire Pro from Two Tree’s is a well-built machine that features a dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails.

Pros

  • Affordable CoreXY 3D printer that produces high-quality prints
  • Dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails
  • Easy setup and plenty of additional online resources beyond the instruction manual
  • Active community for support, modifications, and upgrades

Cons

  • Accessing the print bead could be easier
  • Can be a bit noisy

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 235 x 235 x 235 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: USB, TF-Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Creative3D Elf Printer

creativity corexy

The Creative3D Elf Printer has a large build volume of 300 x 300 x 350mm and in terms of its costs, it is very competitively priced too.

This CoreXY 3D printer is also fairly quiet as well which is a bonus. In terms of actual operation, the touchscreen is handy and it is one of the easier 3D printers to get set up. Like all the CoreXY printers it does require some careful assembly.

It features power failure support so if you are in the middle of printing and suffer an unexpected outage, the printer can pick up where it left off. Overall this is a very good CoreXY 3D printer that certainly challenges some of the bigger names on the market.

Pros

  • Fairly easy to set up and can be assembled in around an hour
  • Large build volume which may be more suitable to our needs
  • Affordable CoreXY 3D printer
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise

Cons

  • Some reports of the bed leveling springs being too short
  • Support options aren’t as great as some other manufacturers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 350mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: SD
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Tronxy X5SA Pro

tronxy x5sa

This is one of the larger CoreXY 3D printers and the Tronxy X5SA Pro is certainly worth consideration.

It comes with various great features which include an auto-bed leveling system, double-axis guide rail in addition to a filament runout sensor. One thing to mention is that a lot of people have found that you need some modifications right away. While they shouldn’t be too expensive, it is something to factor into the cost.

You’ll find instructions to assemble this 3D printer but in all honesty, it is a bit harder than some of the others on this list. Getting support from the community isn’t as readily available or widespread either but it is there. Overall, not a bad CoreXY 3D printer at all but one that does have a few drawbacks.

Pros

  • Comes with a variety of great features
  • Solid CoreXY 3D printer at a decent price
  • Not a large community support but very helpful
  • User friendly once assembled and working properly

Cons

  • Assembly can be a bit tricky and can take a while
  • Needs modifications right away

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 400 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

SainSmart Coreception CoreXY

sain smart

This CoreXY 3D printer has a direct drive extruder and a 300 x 300 x 330 mm build volume. The SainSmart Coreception CoreXY isn’t a million miles away from the Saffire Pro from Two Trees and many of the features are quite similar.

It doesn’t have an auto-leveling bed which is one drawback. It is very easy to assemble though and should take less than an hour to get up and running. You’ll find a small but enthusiastic community for this 3D printer too as well as various support options.

For the price, this 3D printer presents a very good deal especially when you consider the build volume and some other features such as the direct drive extruder.

Pros

  • Powerful CoreXY 3D printer with direct drive extruder
  • Assembly is fairly straightforward
  • Good community support and help options
  • Great cost for the size of this printer

Cons

  • No auto-leveling bed
  • Manuals can be a bit technical for beginners

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 330 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Drive Mechanism: Direct
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: SD Card
  • Interface: Touchscreen

Vivedino Troodon CoreXY

vivedino

We’re going to finish off with the most expensive CoreXY 3D printer on our list – the Vivedino Troodon CoreX.

It is controlled by a WiFi board and has belts on the Z-axis which helps reduce wobbling and the effect this has on your prints. The printer dual drive extruder, filament runout sensor, and an auto-leveling feature. You’ll also find a built-in HEPA filter with this CoreXY 3D printer as well.

The big upside to purchasing this printer is that you don’t really need any modifications or upgrades. Some of the other printers do require some upgrades pretty much straight out of the box however the Troodon doesn’t.

You get it fully assembled as well which is an added bonus however there isn’t a big community around this 3D printer which could very well be down to its price tag.

Pros

  • A ton of features including a dual drive extruder, filament runout sensor, and an auto-leveling bed
  • Comes fully assembled so no need to spend hours putting it together
  • WiFi controlled and has a HEPA filter
  • No need for upgrades or mods out of the box

Cons

  • A lot more expensive than other printers on our list
  • Doesn’t have a large community following

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400 mm (also 400 x 400 x 500 mm available)
  • Enclosure: Closed
  • Drive Mechanism: Bowden
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Connectivity: WiFi
  • Interface: Touchscreen

FAQs

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

A CoreXY 3D printer differs from FDM printers with a Cartesian design. It features individual motors for each axis and the overall design is more complex. They are usually smaller overall too without sacrificing build volume.

Do CoreXY 3D printers provide good quality prints?

Yes. In fact, in many cases, they provide higher quality than many other FDM printers. This is because they don’t have many moving parts so there is less room for wobbling and vibrations.

Are CoreXY 3D printers more expensive?

Not necessarily. They are often cheaper than many other FDM models and this is because many CoreXY 3D printers require more modifications and upgrades.

Is assembling a CoreXY 3D printer difficult?

It depends on the printer however overall they can be a bit harder than others. This is because the frame needs to be perfectly square. If it isn’t it can cause printing problems. Some do come fully assembled but generally cost a lot more money.

Are CoreXY 3D printers easy to use?

For the most part, yes. They are easier to use than some other 3D printers and if you are a complete beginner you should be able to learn how to make quality prints fairly quickly. Some of these 3D printers often have large communities that can help out.

Which is the best CoreXY 3D Printer?

We’ve looked at the advantages and disadvantages of CoreXY 3D printers, had a glimpse at 5 of the best and their pros and cons – so which one do we choose?

I think all the CoreXY 3D printers we’ve mentioned do a very good job of offering high-quality models for an affordable price. OK, the Vivedino Troodon CoreXY is certainly on the pricey side compared to the rest. In saying that, it removes the need for assembly and upgrades right away so I suppose the extra cost is kind of worth it.

So, which one do I think is the best? I’m going to choose the Two Trees Sapphire Pro. It is one of the most popular CoreXY 3D printers on the market and not only does it provide high quality and precision prints, but it has also been tried and tested time and time again.

Some CoreXY 3D printers have a fairly limited community following but not the Sapphire Pro. There is a very active community on board to help and provide mods and upgrades for this printer.

There is a bit of assembly required that can take a while especially if you are new to CoreXY printers. That being said, its low cost, high-quality prints, and the fact that it is a well-known and respected device with a devout following edge it for me.

Further read: 

Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7: Which One Should You Choose

Our Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 comparison is going to put these two DLP resin 3D printers against each other.

These printers are a bit different than some of the other 3D printer models we have reviewed in the past. Resin DLP printers use liquid resin to produce detailed prints. They use a process called Vat Polymerization to print objects and the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 are two popular printers in this category.

So, let’s find out how these 3D printers compare against each other and discover which one is the better model to buy.

Main Differences Between Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7

The main differences between Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 are:

  • Anycubic Photon has its own dedicated software, whereas Wanhao D7 does not have one.
  • Anycubic Photon has a build volume of 115 x 64 x 155mm, whereas Wanhao D7 has a build volume of 120 x 68 x 180mm.
  • Anycubic Photon has both USB and SD Card connectivity, whereas Wanhao D7 only has USB connectivity.
  • Anycubic Photon has a layer resolution of 25-100 microns, whereas Wanhao D7 has a layer resolution of 35 microns.

These two DLP 3D printers definitely fall into the budget category and you won’t be breaking the bank by purchasing either. How do they both shape up with their features?

Exploring Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 features

photon

Printing

Printing objects and designs with a DLP 3D printer is a bit different than using the FDM 3D printers that we often review. They don’t use filament. With these two 3D printers you use a liquid resin that is cured by light to create objects.

The Anycubic Photon has a build volume of 115 x 65 x 155mm and a laser resolution of 25-100 microns. The prints with the Photon are extremely good. Even with the well known 3DBenchy test – which we use for our FDM 3D printers – the results were fantastic.

The models came out to an extremely high quality and when you consider the cost of the Anycubic Photon, it represents real value for money. Even with complex layers on the print models, this printer was able to handle it with ease.

The Wanhao D7 offers similar results and it has a build volume of 120 x 68 x 180mm with a layer resolution of 35 microns. It uses the same technology to produce highly detailed prints and we also found that it handled the 3DBenchy test very well. There are a lot of printers that are much more expensive that don’t produce the high quality at the Wanhao D7 especially when it comes to complex models.

In terms of print quality, there isn’t much between these two printers. One thing to note is that because they are DLP 3D printers, the print time will generally be a good bit longer. This means they aren’t necessarily designed for mass-producing objects but given their cost, they are certainly ideal for home use.

Post-processing

Both of these printers are aimed at experienced people and they aren’t made or marketed at novices and beginners. This is due to the post-processing tasks that you need to carry out.

With many other affordable 3D printers that use a filament, they can often be a ‘plug and play’ device. While they take some getting used to, most hobbyists can get the basics and produce good prints in no time.

With both the Wanhao D7 and the Anycubic Photon, you need to do something called post-processing. This involves cleaning your printed objects with isopropyl alcohol and the resin that is used when printing the objects is hazardous as well. The post-processing is the same for both of these printers and it is something to keep in mind because it adds an extra task before your models are ready to go.

Cleaning

wanhao duplicator 7

These printers will require a bit more cleaning than many others due to the processes they use to create objects.

You need to clean the Wanhao D7 and the Anycubic Photon before and after you print. This can be a slightly arduous task. It involves pulling out the resin vat and removing any solid parts. The build plate needs to be cleaned each time too.

Both of these 3D printers require more cleaning than the majority of the FDM models. It is something to keep in mind because it does add to the time to print things off. It is also important that you wear all the required safety equipment when printing, post-processing, and cleaning.

Software

With the Anycubic Photon, you will get slicing software provided with your purchase. It is actually one of the easier pieces of software to use with these kinds of printers. It can be a bit limiting with the settings you can change – the adjustable settings including normal exposure time, layer thickness, off time, and bottom and exposure time – but there are preset settings available too. The software allows you to modify things such as scaling and rotating models and it works pretty quickly too.

One thing that is a bit of a downside is the fact that you don’t get much explanation or descriptions of the settings.

There is no dedicated software with the Wanhao D7 but you do get access to Creation Workshop. It isn’t that easy to find the actual download file and many people have complained that it isn’t readily available on their website. You can use other slicer software with this 3D printer but this is the one that you get access to with the product.

In many ways, the lack of a dedicated software with the Wanhao is more indicative of the lack of specialized software with DLP printers. There certainly aren’t as many good options as there are for the FDM 3D printers.

Specifications for Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

Anycubic Photon Wanhao D7
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155mm Build volume: 120 x 68 x 180mm
Software: Has its own dedicated slicing software Software: Doesn’t have its own slicing software. You get access to Creation Workshop
Connectivity: USB, SD Card Connectivity: USB
Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns Layer Resolution: 35 microns

Comparing Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 pricing

These two models of 3D printers certainly come in at the budget end of the spectrum and that is very much the market they are aimed at.

That isn’t to say that because you pay a budget price you get budget quality. As we’ve shown when looking at the printing features above, both produce great prints even with complex models.

So, how do they compare in cost?

The Anycubic Photon really isn’t expensive at all and even when you add in the cost of the resin, it is still coming in very cheap compared to many other models. You will need to add resin which will add to the cost (it is more expensive than filament) but overall it is still very cheap.

The Wanhao D7 3D printer is a bit more expensive. Like the Anycubic Photon, you’ll need to pay for resin as well to produce your prints. This is a bit more than filament so it is something to factor in when you are looking at these 3D printers. That being said, the cost of the Wanhao D7 is still a lot lower than many other models on the market. Even though it is pricier than the Anycubic Photon, it is still an inexpensive DLP 3D printer.

Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 ease of use

Neither of these 3D printers are made for beginners. This is down to the fact that using DLP printers and working with resin is a lot more hazardous than using filament.

The toxic resins require you to use various safety products such as goggles, gloves, and masks. You really don’t want this stuff to touch your skin and even the post-processing and cleaning of the printer isn’t something for novices to do.

In terms of the actual printing of the objects, it is a bit trickier than other 3D printers and that goes for both the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7. If you are a beginner or even if you have a bit of experience with 3D printing, you might find the process a bit cumbersome and long-winded.

That being said, the software isn’t that hard to use. The software with the Anycubic Photon is very easy to operate and the fact that it is dedicated software adds to this. The Wanhao D7 doesn’t have its own software and the one provided is fairly straightforward as well.

Overall, both of these printers are a bit more complex than your average model but that is as much down to the fact that they use resin than anything else.

What support is available for the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

As both of these 3D printers are a bit more complicated, you’ll need to have some decent support options available.

You can find the firmware and software downloads easily on the Anycubic website and they are handily on the actual product page. The manual can be found here as well. They have a contact form on their website as well as a dedicated after-sales support portal you can log into. Overall the support isn’t fantastic but it isn’t terrible either. It is easy enough to get in contact and the software, firmware, and manuals are easily found on the product page.

Wanhao’s support isn’t that great. The actual support section of their website is completely empty. You can find some FAQs, manuals for your 3D printer as well as other information on the product pages. It was difficult to locate the software as well. They don’t offer great options for getting in contact. Whether that is down to where they are based I’m not sure but there are manufacturers that are much easier to get in contact with.

Pros and Cons

Anycubic Photon

Pros

  • Very affordable DLP 3D printer that products high-quality models
  • Isn’t for beginners but easy enough for experienced users
  • Good size of the printer and won’t take up a lot of space
  • Dedicated slicer software which is easy to use
  • Has some support options and manual/downloads straightforward to find

Cons

  • Pre-print and post-processing can be time-consuming
  • Need various safety equipment due to working with toxic materials

Wanhao D7

Pros

  • Low-cost DLP 3D printer that is much cheaper than many other models
  • Produces very good resin prints even with complex designs
  • Well designed and won’t take up too much space
  • Easy to use for those that are experienced with DLP printers

Cons

  • Like all DLP printers, printing, cleaning, and post-processing takes time
  • Doesn’t have dedicated software
  • Support options and the website isn’t great

Are there any alternatives?

Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer

creality ld

If you want an alternative to the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7, the Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer is definitely an option. With a 119 X 65 X 160mm print volume and ability to print off high-quality models, it is a very good entry-level option.

People who are getting to grips with DLP 3D printers will find this one from Creality ideal. It is also priced in and around the same bracket as the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7 (albeit a bit closer to the Anycubic Photon) so you won’t be shelling out a lot of money for this printer. The active carbon air filtering system is a good addition as it cuts down on the smell from the resin too.

Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer

lcd 3d printer

For anyone that wants a smaller build size as well as a cheaper price, the Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer is a good resin 3D printer to buy. It has a build volume of 98mm x 55mm x 125mm and like all resin printers, the usual caveats apply around safety and working with toxic resin.

Again, this isn’t really a printer for a complete novice but it is an easy to use the device. You don’t need to have a ton of experience to operate the Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer but it isn’t a ‘plug and plays’ machine. That being said, this is a great resin printer if you want a smaller build volume and a cheaper price.

FAQs About Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

What is a resin 3D printer?

The difference between a resin DLP 3D printer and a FDM 3D printer is that they don’t use filament. These printers use a liquid resin that is cured by light to create objects.

Is the printing process slow with the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7?

Printing will be slower with these two models and an FDM 3D printer. This is because the process takes longer and you also need to clean the machine more often. Post-processing also has to be carried out on the printed models which can add more time.

Where is the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 made?

Both the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 are manufactured in China.

Does the Anycubic Photon come with slicing software?

Wanhao don’t have their own slicing software but you do get access to Creation Workshop. Their website isn’t that easy to find things and the information is patchy so accessing can be a bit difficult.

Do I get a warranty with the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7?

Yes. Both of these 3D printers come with a warranty. You can find information on the warranty for the Anycubic Photon on their website as different parts have different warranty cover and you get a 1-year warranty with the Wanhao D7.

Verdict: Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 – Which is better?

If you are looking for a budget DLP resin 3D printer and want to know what one to choose between the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7, I’m going to let you know my preference.

Both of these printers produce great results. It is really hard to try and distinguish between the two but I am going to choose the Anycubic Photon.

The actual process of using resin can be cumbersome and it definitely involves much more work than using filament on an FDM 3D printer. There isn’t any real difference in the cleaning/printing process between these printers and also the print quality is very similar. So, why did I choose the Anycubic Photon?

Well, they have their own dedicated slicing software. It might not seem like a massive deal but it does make a difference in my opinion. The Photon also has a bigger layer resolution range and even though the build volume is a bit smaller, they have SD card and USB functionality.

The Anycubic website is also a lot better and more advanced. It is much easier to find downloads for firmware, software and a manual on the product page. Their support options are clearer than Wanhao too.

Overall you can’t really go wrong with either of these 3D printers. They are powerful, budget-friendly, and produce great results. The Anycubic Photon is just better and more user friendly overall and that’s why I would choose the Photon over the Wanhao D7.

Further read: 

FLUX BeamBox Review: Our Complete Guide

While we here at All 3D Printing tend to focus on 3D printers, there are some one-off devices that need to be included. These are items like laser cutters, engravers, or any other tools that creatives might make use of on a regular basis.

There are plenty of 3D printers available that come with these features included. They’re usually hybrid devices that give users a way to perform multiple tasks. Sometimes they make things easier, sometimes they don’t. Regardless, they are designed to perform more than one function.

One such device is the Flux Beambox. This combination of laser cutter and engraver is pretty new to the market, but it still offers plenty of features for its users. But is the Flux Beambox worth the price attached to it?

Let’s take a look at what this device has to offer.

Flux Beambox

beambox

Flux says that with its Beambox, you can easily bring your designs and ideas to life. The device has a sleek design along with a user interface that’s easy to use no matter what your experience level. It’s the perfect item to add to your design studio.

The Flux Beambox is fully capable of engraving or cutting a wide variety of materials and plastics. Basically, no matter what kind of material you’re using, you’re always just a few steps shy of creating an incredible finished project with the Flux Beambox.

Design

Even though the Flux Beambox design isn’t going to set the world on fire, it gets the job done. The device is a simple square-shaped black box. On the right side of the box is an LCD screen that allows you to control how the Beambox behaves. It’s a simple and straightforward design that isn’t going to create a lot of confusion or anxiety for its users.

Features

Flux Beambox has plenty of features for its users. It offers all the tools and options you would expect to find on a quality laser cutter and engraver. Here are just a few of the features you’ll experience with the Flux Beambox.

Water Cooled

No one wants their device to catch on fire while in the middle of an important project, which is why the Flux Beambox using a closed-loop water cooling system. This system aids in keeping the device at just the right temperature when its in use, circulating water throughout the machine.

High-Quality Ventilation

With a top of the line, ventilation fan integrated right into the Flux Beambox, you don’t have to worry about fumes or smoke getting in your way while you’re working on your latest project.

Built-In Camera

With an HD quality built-in camera, the Flux Beambox offers users a way to preview their work using their laptop or smartphone before they get started. This provides a way to view the finished product is exactly the way the user wants it before they get started cutting or engraving.

Prioritize Safety

Not only is the Flux Beambox a completely enclosed device, but it will also immediately pause a process if something goes wrong. The case is enclosed to protect you from fumes and laser lights, but Flux doesn’t believe that’s enough in terms of safety.

That’s why, if the device senses that the lid is opened in the middle of a task, then it will automatically stop. Plus, if you run into an issue and the box doesn’t shut off, Flux has an emergency power switch that you can use to shut the device off immediately.

High-Resolution Laser

Flux Beambox comes with a carbon dioxide laser that works in the 10,640nm wavelength. The thickest cut you’ll get with this laser is 10mm, however, keep in mind that you may get different thicknesses depending on the material you’re using.

You can get thicker cuts if you go across the same cutting area several times or you slow down the machine.

Rotary

flux beambox laser cutter

For those interested in Beambox addons, the device offers a rotary add-on that lets you unlock the full potential of your unit. This add-on allows users to engrave on curved objects, like bottles or other pieces of glassware.

The rotary add-on is easy to install on your Beambox and opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities.

Smartphone Monitoring

Additionally, since the Beambox is powered by the Flux in-house software, users have the option to install the Android or iOS software that works with the devices. With the companion app, users can edit text, modify images, make adjustments, and more, right from the convenience of their smartphone.

Beam Studio

Also part of the Beambox is its Beam Studio software. Integrated into the Flux units, Beam Studio works with Linux, Windows, and macOS. It’s easy to use interface gives users the ability to quickly and easily access all the features that come with the Flux Beambox.

Specs

Laser 50W CO2
Speed 0-300 mm/s
Cutting Thickness 0-12 mm (thickness will vary based on material)
Wavelength 10640 nm
Total Weight 105 pounds
Dimensions 9.8” x 40.5” x 26.3”
Work Area Depth 3.14”
Work Area 23.6” x 14.7”
Power AC 110v/220v
Touch Panel 1024 x 600 LCD
Camera HD CMOS
Camera Preview Area 23.6” x 14.1”
Mode Graphic/Vector (gray scale/monochrome)
Connectivity Options Ethernet and Wireless
Operating Systems Supported Linux, Windows, macOS
File Types Supported PNG, JPG, DXF, SVG

Alternatives

If the Flux Beambox doesn’t sound like something you’d like or isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of alternatives available on the market. Here are some of the more prominent options you’ll find.

VEVOR Laser Engraver – Best for Anything Non-Metal

vevor laser engraver

The VEVOR 40W Co2 Laser Engraver is a great device if you want to cut through leather, paper, wood, cloth, plastic, ceramic, or rubber. However, if you want to cut through metal you’ll have to find another machine to get the job done.

Users get a generous engraving area of 12 inches by 8 inches, along with a cutting speed of roughly 0-1.38 inches each second. Additionally, the VEVOR laser engraver also offers a minimum shaping character or 0.04 inches by 0.04 inches.

A built-in fan ensures that smoke or fumes from the laser engraver are properly removed, and a USB port lets you connect the unit to your computer. Plus, it will work with almost any type of scanner or printer you have.

The VEVOR laser engraver also offers support for TIF file types, along with JPG, PLT, BMP, EMF, and WMF files. This precise and strong laser engraver comes with high-quality motors, a versatile and accurate control board, and a water cooling laser tube to ensure the unit is always the temperature it should be.

Mophorn Laser Engraver – Best for Budget Minded

morph laser engraving machine

Mophorn’s laser engraver is a machine that requires 40W of power. With this device, users can cut through leather, wood, plastic, crystal, and fabrics. It also works well for seal engraving toys or garments.

With an engraving area of 12” x 8”, you’ll have plenty of room to get your work done. Plus, an engraving speed of 0-300mm per second, along with a cutting speed of 1-10mm per second, means you can work as fast, or slow, as you want.

The cutting precision when you’re engraving using the Mophorn is 2500dpi, with an accuracy of 0.01mm, which is pretty darn precise. Plus, the unit comes with CorelDraw, so it will support all the file types that the software supports. Even though the Mophorn laser engraver is on the cheaper end, it still has a high-quality laser that will get the job done.

Ten-High CO2 Engraver Machine – Best for a Variety of Materials

ten high co2

If you use a lot of different materials for your projects, then the Ten-High Engraver might be the machine for you. With the ability to cut and engrave a wide assortment of materials, the Ten-high Engraver is one of the most versatile machines on this list.

This machine works with a variety of materials, including glass, bamboo, wood, paper, leather, and glass. Basically, if it’s not metal, the Ten-High Engraver can handle it. Plus, the Ten-High engraving machine comes with LaserDraw, which is specially designed for the unit itself.

The engraver is also compatible with CorelDraw software, however, CorelDraw does not come with the machine. Plus, the unit will work with any Windows OS you may have, but keep in mind that it’s not compatible with macOS devices.

If you do have a Windows machine, you can connect the Ten-High engraver to it through a USB cable. Unfortunately, this device is not wireless, so you have to be close to the system so you can connect to it manually.

Orion Motor Tech Laser Engraving Machine – Best for Those Who Need a Large Work Area

orion motor tech 40w

Last on our list is the Orion Motor Tech Laser Engraving Machine. At first glance, many confuse this device for a generator or a toolbox, since its black and red design gives it a more rugged look than you’d typically find with an engraver. However, this engraver is designed to work with a wide variety of materials, so you aren’t limited in that area.

In addition to what most other engraving machines can handle, the Orion Motor Tech machine will work with marble, ceramic, mylar, crystal, vinyl, leather, plastic, and rubber. Plus, this machine has one of the largest work areas you’ll find on the market.

The Orion Motor Tech engraver supports a work area of 20 inches by 28 inches, so you have plenty of space to get your work done. Like many other units on the market, the Orion Motor Tech engraver has its own software that comes with the device.

But, unlike other options, this machine gives you the ability to work with many other software selections on the market. You may already own many of these, like CAD or CorelDraw. The Orion engraver also has a built-in air compressor, so any toxic vapors or fumes that you produce are immediately removed.

Part of having a large work area is having a large device. The Orion engraver weighs upwards of 500 pounds, so once you get it where you want it, it’s not moving. Be sure to place it somewhere you can keep it safe. Probably not on your computer desk though.

FAQs

There are plenty of questions that come along with laser cutters and engravers. Here are some of the more commonly asked ones:

How does laser cutting work?

Laser cutting requires using a high-focused, high-powered laser beam to cut through materials. This leaves a smooth, clean-cut when you’re finished. Some laser cuttings work using a continuous beam, while others might use a pulse beam.
A laser cutting starts when the laser puts a small hole in the material and then continues from that point until the cut is complete. You can control the laser’s heat output, length, and intensity, which means you can cut your materials in a variety of ways.

What metals can be cut with a laser?

There are plenty of metals that can be cut using a laser. These include aluminum, nickel, steel, copper, brass, titanium, and many others. Metal is one of the most common materials you’ll find that is cut with lasers.

How accurate can you get when using a laser to cut materials?

Arguably the largest benefit of using a laser to cut your materials is the precision and accuracy that it offers. If you use a narrow, focused laser beam, you can cut your material to a width that’s as small a 0.1mm. That’s pretty accurate if you ask me.

Is the Flux Beambox Right For You?

This is a tricky question to answer because everyone’s needs are going to differ. If you like to use a single device to engrave and cut, then yes, the Beambox might be a solid choice for what you’re doing. But if you want more out of your machine, then you may have to look elsewhere.

There’s plenty to like about the Beambox, including the number of features it offers and the fact that it is relatively small. Sure, 100 pounds is a lot of weight, but in the world of laser engravers, it’s not too bad.

Overall, the Flux Beambox is a solid choice. It’s a quality laser engraver and cutter that will get the job done. It supports a wide variety of materials and has user safety in mind. Plus, it works with your smartphone. If that doesn’t have you running out to get one, I don’t know what will.

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