CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers: Which is Right For You?

CoreXY vs HBot

A 3D printer’s motion system is essential to its operations. It brings the print head to that point where it needs to extrude material to create your models. For fused filament fabrication devices, two of the most popular motion systems are the CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers.

The Main Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers

Here are the main differences between CoreXY and HBot 3D Printers:

  • The CoreXY typically uses longer or more belts, whereas the H-Bot design is much simpler.
  • The CoreXY is much more stable, and the motors are stationary, whereas the H-Bot design can be very unstable, so accuracy is a rather sticky issue with these printers.
  • CoreXY mechanisms are compact, accurate, linear, and repeatable, whereas the H-Bot needs to have tight tolerances to make it more stable.

What are the benefits and drawbacks of using CoreXY and H-Bot for your 3D printer? Read on as we get into detail between these two systems to help you discover more about these motion mechanisms and decide for yourself which one you should use when you’re building out your own 3D printer.

What Is CoreXY?

CoreXY refers to a printer’s motion mechanism, or quite simply how the machine was designed to move along these three axes: X, Y, and Z.

CoreXY needs two, not three, stepper motors to do its work, and these motors can move simultaneously and independently of each other. In older Cartesian printers, each axis had its own motor.

The printer bed moves on the Z-axis, where you get the depth for your 3D object, while the Y and X-axis were earmarked for the nozzle.

CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers

The CoreXY improved on the Cartesian system. For one, CoreXY has several planes so that the belts move freely, and there is less twisting that happens when the motors go the same way.

What’s more, the motors for both the X and Y axis are kept stationary. That results in the fact that you have less moving parts to worry about. And because these motors do not move in their place, there is less inertia, which allows for faster acceleration.

CoreXY is also a straightforward concept. You can implement it with only three structural plates. All of these three plates may nest during operation.

The design is also very flexible when it comes to the types of materials used, as well as the size of the printer. CoreXY is very easy to implement, that you can use different materials to construct it.

Before You Buy: The Weaknesses of CoreXY Printers

As a movement system for your 3D printers, CoreXY relies heavily on belts to do its job. The problem is that you will need to align these belts, so they are perfectly parallel to each other.

There’s also the headache of having too much or too little tension, leading to printing issues. The belt itself can also wear down your 3D printer quickly or make it less precise and accurate.

When assembling a CoreXY printer, you will need to make sure that the frame is a perfect cube. If not, your prints will be a bit skewed.

Most of the more affordable options for this type of printer come as kits, so you will need to assemble it. And for some 3D printers, it’s not even that easy!

Pros and Cons of CoreXY Printers

As with any device, there are benefits to owning a 3D printer that uses CoreXY mechanisms. These are:

  • Fast and high-quality printing, especially when compared to other fused filament fabrication printers.
  • You get a bigger build volume than the printer’s size, meaning you can print larger objects on a CoreXY printer without needing to get an overly big device.
  • Very stable because of the stationery motors and the lightweight gantry

However, this isn’t a perfect concept. There are downsides as well:

  • You will spend more time maintaining a CoreXY printer because of the variety of planes, and each belt would need to be correctly tightened.
  • This printer requires more energy. With two motors, the printer will suck up electricity and may also need a lot of tuning.
  • It might have more printing failures than comparable 3D printers.

The Best Examples of CoreXY Printers

With its speed, simplicity, and flexibility, there are a lot of 3D printer manufacturers that have used this motion mechanism for their printers. And here are the best ones:

Two trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer Facesheild Corexy

The Two Trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer is an aluminum CoreXY printer with a smooth print surface and subdivided motor drive. This printer is quieter than similar printers that don’t have a CoreXY movement mechanism.

This printer is also very stable and speedy. It also comes with extra features such as the ability to resume printing when the material runs out or if you power off the printer.

To make it easier for you to operate this printer, it has a 3.5-inch (8.89 centimeters) touch display. It also comes with an automatic leveling technology that uses sensors to help you calibrate the printer faster without tinkering with it too much.

It’s very durable too, with an all-metal body. With a hotbed that measures 92.5 inches (235 millimeters) on all sides, you can get prints of up to 86.6 by 86.6 by 92.5 inches (220 by 220 by 235 millimeters) with this printer.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Pros

  • Very affordable, especially if you consider the features
  • Excellent user community and round-the-clock user support
  • Dual drive extruder
  • Very precise

Cons

  • It may be a bit challenging to assemble, which can take hours to finish even with the included manual.
  • Some complaints about how the electronics inside this machine can be a lot better

Tronxy X5SA PRO 3D Printer

X5SA PRO 3D Printer

The Tronxy X5SA PRO 3D Printer is a very stable printer that gives you precise prints. It features the Titan extruder that allows you to use a wider variety of consumables and filament materials.

This printer employs a very tidy looking and simple cabling system, as well as a 24-volt power supply that heats the hotbed quickly. You can print objects of up to 13 by 13 by 15.8 inches (330 by 330 by 400 millimeters) with this CoreXY device.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Pros

  • Excellent customer service
  • It does get better and better the more you use it.
  • Very stable and ideal for tall prints
  • Great printing results

Cons

  • This printer is not ideal for beginners because it needs to be assembled.
  • Not a direct drive extruder
  • Encrypted mainboard means that it’s not as DIY friendly as other printers.

Creativity CoreXY Structure Remote Range Elf 3D Printer

Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer

The Creativity CoreXY Structure Remote Range Elf 3D Printer gives you a pair of rods where the z-axis is mounted so that it can print fast and with higher precision than other printers.

This machine measures 18.9 by 18.9 by 23.2 (480 by 480 by 590 millimeters), and you can print objects of up to 11.8 by 11.8 by 13.8 inches (300 by 300 by 350 millimeters)

It also has sensors to detect when filaments run out, and it can even resume printing when it’s interrupted by a power failure. It starts printing again from where it was interrupted, so you don’t waste any filaments by having to start all over.

This printer utilizes a C-magnet build surface plat that is very durable while ensuring uniform temperature throughout the bed. There’s also a built-in power supply.

Are you worried about customer service? You get lifetime technical support 24 hours a day with this printer.

Runner Up
Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer
$479.99

Easy to set up, large build area, and quiet printing make the Creativity CoreXY a great pick for larger projects in non-industrial settings.

Buy on Amazon Buy on 3DPrintersStore
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Pros

  • Easier to assemble than other CoreXY printers
  • Fast and precise 3D printer

Cons

  • Product may arrive with scratches and dents
  • No auto-leveling feature

CoreXY 3D Printers: The Bottom Line

It’s hard to dismiss CoreXY printers because of their potential to make FDM printers faster. It also allows you to get a 3D printer that can print large objects without the device occupying a lot of space.

But is that enough reason to ignore that it’s going to cost you more money to buy a CoreXY printer than other printers using a different motion mechanism? Or the potential issues of an improper assembly and wrongly tensioned belts?

Yes. If you look at professional FDM printers, most of them implement a CoreXY design. The reason for this is because of the advantages you get from it. When it’s assembled correctly, and the belts have the right amount of tension, you can use your CoreXY printer without too many hitches.

But Wait, There Are H-Bot 3D Printers, Too!

The H-Bot design gets its name because the setup looks like the letter H. This setup has a six-axis design that can be used for different applications such as inspection systems, pick and place, and e3D printing.

The H-Bot 3D printer uses two motors, rails mounted perpendicularly to each other, and a timing belt. At first look, you will see that the H-Bot is much simpler than the CoreXY.

The H-Bot Design Flaw

Hurrah! A more straight forward design with a more straightforward movement mechanism is a good thing, right? Well, not really in this case.

The H-Bot design is flawed right from the start. It can be unstable, especially when the axes are moving. Without going into the technical details outlined by Joshua Vasquez, the design will flex a bit when it moves.

CoreXY vs HBot

The reason for this is because one end of the X-axis will lag behind the other, resulting in lousy print quality and may even bind the mechanisms.

However, H-Bot systems are still popular with the maker community, with enthusiasts pointing out that the motion system is found in some high-performance industrial systems. It’s also easier to implement and understand because you don’t have to worry about arms and plotters.

But then CoreXY is still more affordable and more lightweight, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best. This motion system requires a lot more inside idlers, anchors, and tension along the belt path.

That movement will take its toll on the preciseness of your printer. Further, this design flaw will be costly to correct. You will need high-end and expensive tight tolerance hardware to minimize the rocking. And these parts are Japanese or German made, and certainly not cheap.

H-Bot: The Bottom Line

The H-Bot is definitely worth a look if you’re into building 3D printers. It’s much simpler than the CoreXY motion system and doesn’t require a lot of parts. However, you will need to build it right. The design has an inherent flaw that lends itself prone to racking.

A badly-built and lightweight H-Bot 3D printer will have print quality issues.

Pros

  • Simple, using only one belt
  • It can be very precise if built right.

Cons

  • It needs to be perfectly aligned.
  • Minimal torques can result in low print quality.

Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot

While both CoreXY and H-Bot are based on the Cartesian coordinate system, there are some distinct differences between these two motion mechanisms. First, CoreXY has longer belts and pulleys. As such, there is not too much torque.

Without too much rotating force, the belts and pulleys are subjected to less wear and tear, so it’s more durable. What’s more, with its stepper motors firmly fixed, CoreXY printers can give you more speed while maintaining a high level of print quality.

CoreXY printers move horizontally across both the X and Y-axis. H-Bot printers have two motors that drive the timing belt along one axis.

On the other hand, CoreXY printers are more complicated than an H-Bot printer. Further, you will need the frame to be perfectly square, or your prints will lack dimensional accuracy. H-Bot printers are not free from this complication, as they need to be perfectly aligned, or print quality will be bad.

Frequently Asked Questions

We know that such a technical topic can be very daunting for beginners, so we try to answer our readers’ questions.

Question: What are Cartesian FDM 3D Printers?

Answer: Cartesian FDM 3D Printer uses the Cartesian coordinate system that you may be familiar with from your math class. The technology uses X, Y, and Z axes to locate a point so that it can find the correct positions as well as the directions where the print head should go.

Question: Which should you use to make your own 3D Printer? CoreXY or H-Bot?

Answer: It depends on your skills. While the H-Bot design is more straightforward than CoreXY, you will need to have very tight tolerances. Because of the high level of specifics needed for H-Bot setups, it’s rarely recommended for beginners.

What’s more, while both CoreXY and H-Bot needs perfectly aligned frames for the best print quality, Core XY can be more forgiving, and it’s easier to correct. With CoreXY, you only need to assemble the frame with a fixed square, and corner brackets can keep it perfectly square.

There’s no such thing as a fast and easy fix for H-Bot systems. Not only will it be close to impossible to achieve perfect alignment, but you will also need to work hard and know what you’re doing to get the alignment right and minimize the effects of excessive torque.

Question: Why is momentum bad when printing?

Answer: One of the touted advantages of both CoreXY and H-Bot systems is that it decreases the momentum you have with the hot end. Older Cartesian systems have more acceleration on the Y-Axis than CoreXY and H-Bot and the same level of momentum on the Y-Axis.

More momentum on the hot end results in two negative things:

• More oscillation for the print head, which creates more shadows when you’re printing objects with sharp corners
• Your prints may have more skipped steps because faster printing will cause the motors to move the gantry.

Speaking of advantage, both the H-Bot and CoreCY makes not only faster and more accurate printers, but they also weight less and have fewer moving parts.

CoreXY vs HBot: The Final Word

If you are just a newcomer in the world of 3D printers and you’re looking for a device that you can use to bring your creation to life, then most probably, you’d do better with a CoreXY system. For one, it’s much easier to create or assemble, and if there are mechanical issues affecting the print quality, CoreXY systems are more easily corrected than H-Bot systems. Plus the task is cheaper too.

Further, there are CoreXY systems that are commercially available. Some of the best FDM 3D printers available now use CoreXY for its motion system.

However, H-Bot can technically give you a more accurate and better quality print. However, it may need a high level of expertise and understanding of how H-Bot works before you can achieve unassailable print quality. Plus, H-Bot has an inherent design flaw that may need expensive materials to correct.

Elegoo Saturn Review: Is This the Best 3D Printer For You?

Elegoo Saturn Review

It’s incredible how 3D printers have come a long way from as recently as five years ago. Back then, when you say 3D printer, people would think of a costly machine that would take too long to print something. And they wouldn’t be right.

But things have changed. You now have 3D printers that are speedy and can be within budget. But even when they’re affordable, there are no apparent tradeoffs. You still get a quality machine that can deliver eye-catching prints in high resolution.

The Elegoo Saturn is one of these devices. Using masked stereolithography technology, the Elegoo Saturn can deliver speedy print times with decent resolutions. It’s also a printer that offers a big build volume at a price that you would love.

What are the features of the Elegoo Saturn that you should know? And should you buy it? Read on and discover more about this 3D printer.

Monochrome LCD

Elegoo Saturn

If you only need to read one section, then this should be it. Elegoo Saturn is a masked stereolithography 3D printer.

Stereolithography traces its meaning to two Greek words:

  • Stereo, which means solid
  • Lithography, which means writing

Your stereolithography printers are creating objects using light. Probably the best-known types of stereolithography use laser and digital light processing.

  • Laser-based stereolithography uses an ultraviolet laser to create your prints. These lasers are reflected onto the print area, and the light solidifies the resin on a layer per layer basis.
  • DLP stereolithography, on the other hand, projects light onto the resin.
  • Masked stereolithography replaces the laser and projector with an LCD screen.

Benefits of Masked Stereolithography

Masked stereolithography prints your objects faster than a laser SLA printer, especially when you’re printing denser and larger items. What’s more, because these LCD panels are the same ones used for smartphones, availability is not an issue.

They are mass-produced, so LCD panels in these 3D printers cost less too.

Elegoo Saturn Is Faster than Most Other MSLA Printers

If MSLA printers, in general, are faster than laser stereolithography printers. That is because of the technology that allows the printer to print an entire layer of your object as opposed to the piece by piece printing done by lasers.

But because the typical MSLA uses the same LCDs as your smartphones, these colored LCDs have filters to deliver red, green, and blue to your screen. These filters are blocking some of the light that would typically go straight to the resin and cure it.

So when it comes to MSLA printers, monochrome LCDs are not a bad thing. It just means a printer can print your objects a lot faster than most MSLA printers.

And true enough, the Elegoo Saturn has a printing speed of 1.2 inches (30 millimeters) per hour. The monochrome LCD significantly reduces the curing times of the resin because it has a more intense light.

High-Resolution LCD

Not only is the Elegoo Saturn fast, but prints are impressive as well. The 4K screen measures 8.9 inches (226.06 millimeters) with a 3,840 by 2,400 pixels resolution. That is four times the number of pixels compared to 2K screens.

However, because of the huge build size of Elegoo Saturn, its overall X/Y pixel size rests at 50 microns, which is slightly less detailed than the X/Y pixel size of both Mars Pro and Mars.

Design

The Elegoo Saturn’s design draws comparison to the company’s own Mars and Mars Pro printer: Saturn looks the same as Mars and Mars Pro, only bigger.

Saturn’s base measures 11 by 9.4 inches (280 by 240 millimeters) with an all-metal build. It puts the control panel at the front. This touch display measures 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters), and it is how you interact with the printer.

The USB slot of this printer is located on the right side, fortunately making it more accessible than the USB slot on the Mars that Elegoo put at the back of the machine.

The vat where you put the resin is also larger than the one on Mars and Mars Pro, measuring 7.6 by 4.7 inches (192 by 120 millimeters). Putting in or changing the resin is now easier and less messy because of the pouring aid.

Z-Axis

You will surely be impressed with the Elegoo Saturn’s Z-axis. The lead screw is sandwiched between two linear rails, making it very stable and sturdy.

Notable Features

Elegoo Saturn 3d printer

So what are the features that you should know about the Elegoo Saturn?

  • The 4K monochrome LCD delivers a more intense light source for faster curing times. This LCD panel is much bigger and more durable than the ones you find on Mars and Mars Pro.
  • Dual linear rails provide more stability to the printer.
  • A print resolution of 50 microns means that this printer can deliver bigger prints with the same level of detail as the Elegoo Mars.
  • Two cooling fans help to keep the temperatures low while also helping to make the LCD last longer.
  • The touch display is big enough at 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters), allowing you to operate the device efficiently.
  • Ethernet connectivity is a technology that allows you to print from your computer and even remotely.
  • The prints will adhere better to the bed because of the sandblasted surface. That means that you’d have less printing errors.

Resin

Elegoo Saturn works with a wide variety of resins. What’s more, the company manufactures and sells its own resins, but you can use third-party products with this printer.

Pricing

With all the nifty features, a sizable print volume, fast printing times, and other attractive benefits, you’d expect to pay a lot for the chance to own an Elegoo Saturn.

However, this printer retails anywhere from $300 to $600, depending on where you look. It is sold on Amazon, as well as other online retailers. But it is always out of stock.

Huge Build Volume

We’ve saved the best for last. What can make an affordable and fast 3D printer even better? A significant build volume, of course.

In this regard, the Elegoo Saturn doesn’t disappoint. It has a build volume of 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 inches (192 by 120 by 200 millimeters). These dimensions significantly beat out the Elegoo Mars: Saturn has 3.5 times the print volume of the Elegoo Mars.

Bottom Line

We certainly wish that all companies, no matter what their product is, would be like Elegoo. They have taken an excellent product in the Elegoo Mars and made it better, faster, and bigger.

The company has not disappointed its users with the release of both Elegoo Mars and Mars Pro, and they didn’t start disappointing with the Saturn. With a massive build volume and faster printing times, while keeping the price down and the print resolutions the same, Elegoo has made Saturn the go-to 3D printer for people who like the have professional quality prints without spending too much.

Pros

  • Works really fast and efficiently
  • Breezy and headache-free operations right out of the box
  • Compatible with 405 nm UV-sensitive resins

Cons

  • No resin included

Comparison to other Elegoo 3D the printers

We’ve compared the Saturn with Elegoo’s earlier printers: Mars and Mars Pro. It is easy to see just how the company has improved its offerings over time. The Saturn is bigger and faster than both of its older siblings and yet delivers the same print resolutions as the smaller printers.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of these three printers to make it easier for you to see how the Saturn compares to earlier devices from the same company.

Model Elegoo Saturn Elegoo Mars Pro Elegoo Mars
3.5-inch touchscreen operation Yes Yes Yes
Slicer software Chitu Box Chitu Box ChiTu DLP Slicer
Connectivity USB USB off-line printing USB
Technology LCD UV Photocuring LCD UV Photocuring LED Display Photocuring
UV integrated LED lights Yes Yes Yes
Wavelength 405 nm 405 nm 405 nm
XY Resolution, millimeters 0.05 0.047 0.047
XY pixel resolution 3,840 by 2,400 2,560 by 1,440 2,560 by 1,440
Z-axis accuracy, millimeters 0.00125 0.00125 0.00125
Layer thickness, millimeter 0.01 – 0.15 0.01 – 0.2 0.01 – 0.2
Printing speed, millimeters per hour 30 22.5 22.5
Printer dimensions LWH, inches 11 by 9.4 by 17.6 7.9 by 7.9 by 16.1 7.9 by 7.9 by 16.1
Printer dimensions, centimeters 28 by 24 by 45 20 by 20 by 41 20 by 20 by 41
Build volume, LWH, inches 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 4.5 by 2.6 by 5.9 4.7 by 2.7 by 6.1
Build volume, centimeters 19.2 by 12 by 20 4.5 by 2.6 by 5.9 12 by 6.8 by 15.5
Weight, pounds 29.8 16.5 13.7
Weight, kilograms 13.5 7.5 6.2

Alternatives to the Elegoo Saturn?

If you’re not impressed with the Elegoo Saturn, there are other Elegoo printers such as the Mars and Mars Pro that you can look at.

But if you’re looking for a printer from other manufacturers, here are similar 3D printers that we can recommend:

Peopoly Phenom

Peopoly Phenom

The Peopoly Phenom stands out because of the build volume that it offers, something that you cannot find in other resin-based 3D printers. You can easily create tall 3D models that can reach up to 1.6 inches (40 centimeters) high. This printer is one of our recommended alternatives for the Phrozen Transform.

The Peopoly Phenom is an MSLA printer, much like the Elegoo Mars and Saturn. As such, it is also faster than a laser SLA printer because it prints one whole layer at a time.

This printer has a bigger LCD screen, measuring 12.5 inches (317.5 millimeters) with a 4K resolution. It also features an array of fans and a heat sink, which helps keep the 3D printer cool while it is hard at work.

And if you’re opting to buy the Peopoly Phenom, you will want to clear out a lot of space on your desk. This 3D printer is huge, measuring 17.8 by 14.3 by 30.7 inches (452 by 364 by 780 millimeters). It weighs 92.5 pounds (42 kilograms).

The color touchscreen, which is the 3D printer’s user interface, measures 4.3 inches (109.2 millimeters). It is big enough to operate the printer efficiently, and it comes with all the information you need. You can know the printing time, a live visualization of the layers being printed, and the total number of layers.

Features of the Peopoly Phenom

Other interesting things that you should know about this huge 3D printer include:

  • USB and Ethernet connectivity
  • Quick setup
  • A resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, or 72 microns
  • Uses the ChiTuBox slicer

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.8 by 14.3 by 30.7 inches (452 by 364 by 780 millimeters)
  • Weight: 92.5 pounds (42 kilograms)
  • Build Size: 10.9 by 6.1 by 15.7 inches (276 by 155 by 400 millimeters)
  • LCD: 12.5 inches (317.5 millimeters) 4K color LCD
  • Pixel Resolution: 3,840 by 2,160 pixels
  • XY Resolution: 72 microns
  • Manual bed leveling
  • Vat can hold 1.8 kilograms of resin
  • Touchscreen: 4.3 inches (109.2 millimeters)
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
  • No resin sensor or camera

Pros

  • Big build volume
  • Bed leveling is a breeze
  • Very responsive user interface

Cons

  • Prints sometimes do not adhere to the bed, which results in printing errors
  • Can be very loud
  • There are no fill indicators

Phrozen Sonic Mini

phrozen sonic mini

The Phrozen Sonic Mini features a monochrome LCD like the Elegoo Saturn, which means that it prints faster than other SLA printers out there. The Sonic Mini is one of our choices for the best 3D SLA printer for 2020.

The thing with the Sonic Mini is that it is very affordable. This printer was introduced and sold for less than $200. But because of its performance and printing speed, prices increased over time.

Some of the features you should know include:

  • Monochrome LCD: Gives you fast printing times because the resin is exposed to more intense light, and you get an entire layer being printed.
  • XY resolution of 62 microns
  • Uses ChiTu board and ChiTuBox software, which is a breeze to use when you’re preparing your model
  • Affordable price, at around $200 to $300

Before You Buy

With the super-fast printing speed at a very low price, the Phrozen Sonic Mini does have a few tradeoffs. For one, the printer’s outer shell is made of molded plastic, not metal.

The resin vat is also plastic. What is more, this printer may use the same monochrome LCD as the Elegoo Saturn, but it has a much smaller build volume at only 4.7 by 2.7 by 5.1 inches (120 by 68 by 130 millimeters).

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.8 by 9.8 by 13 inches (250 by 250 by 330 millimeters)
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms)
  • Technology: LCD-based masked stereolithography
  • Monochrome LCD: Measures 5.5 inches (139.7 millimeters) with resolutions of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
  • Light source: ParaLED 2.0 Lite, 405 nm
  • Build volume: only 4.7 by 2.7 by 5.1 inches (120 by 68 by 130 millimeters)
  • Z-layer resolution: 10 microns
  • XY resolution: 62 microns
  • Touchscreen display: IPS measuring 2.8 inches (71.12 millimeters)
  • Connectivity: USB

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Straightforward operation
  • Faster than most 3D printers

Cons

  • The USB port is difficult to reach
  • Small print volume

Photon Mono SE

anycubic photon mono se

The Photon Mono SE comes from Anycubic, another reputable manufacturer of 3D printers. The Photon Mono SE uses a monochrome LCD to cure the resins for your 3D objects. And like the Elegoo Saturn, you can expect fast printing times with this 3D printer.

The monochrome LCD screen measures six inches with resolutions of 2,560 by 1,620 pixels with an XY-resolution of 51 microns. It is not the most precise 3D printer available today, but the print quality is still good.

The Photon Mono SE has a build volume of 5.1 by 3.1 by 6.3 inches (130 by 78 by 160 millimeters). That is more than the Phrozen Sonic Mini, and the Elegoo Mars Pro can give you.

This 3D printer has an upward opening door, which might present a problem when you’re refilling the resin. It uses two linear rails for its Z-axis, while its shell is made with metal. These materials make the printer more stable.

Features You Should Know

The Anycubic Photon Mono SE has several features that can help you decide whether to buy it or not.

  • You can use the Anycubic App to see how far along your printing job is going, as well as tweak the print settings even without going close to the printer.
  • The printing platform is made with brushed aluminum
  • Responsive and intuitive user interface
  • Affordable, selling for anywhere from $320 to $420
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 7.9 by 7.9 by 15.7 inches (220 by 200 by 400 millimeters)
  • Build volume: 5.1 by 3.1 by 6.3 inches (130 by 78 by 160 millimeters)
  • Weight: 18.1 pounds (8.2 kilograms)
  • Touch display: 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters)
  • Connectivity : USB
  • Light source: high-quality filament
  • Light source wavelength: 405nm
  • XY resolutions: 0.05 millimeters
  • Pixel resolution: 2,560 by 1,620 pixels
  • Printing speed: 3.1 inches (80 millimeters) per hour

FAQs

Question: What is the big deal with bigger build volumes anyway?

Answer: A lot of 3D printing enthusiasts will tell you to get a printer with a significant build volume. There are many benefits of owning one.

Print Bigger Pieces:
You get to print the 3D model in its entirety. A big build volume allows you to print your models in one piece, rather than printing it in parts and then assembling them afterward.

Not only does printing and assembling more parts take time, but it also costs more. What’s more, if you have to work with a smaller printer, you will lose details in the 3D model because you are forced to scale everything down.

Batch Printing
When you have a bigger build volume, you can have more pieces when you print in batches. For instance, you can easily print ten small 3D models with a printer that has a massive build volume as opposed to only three to five in smaller printers.

In effect, you save a lot of time and resources with a bigger build volume because you no longer have to do a lot of batches.

Question: What are the benefits of MSLA printers?

Answer: We have touched on how MSLA printers cost less and print faster than other types of stereolithography printers.

But there are more benefits to owning an MSLA printer like the Elgoo Saturn:

• It can produce more accurate parts, as well as include more details than other types of 3D printers.
• It has a smooth finish, so you can create stunning prototypes without spending a plot of time post-processing.
• There are many specialty resins available not just for MSLA printers but also for other types of SLA printers. You can get castable and flexible resins if you need them.
• There are some interesting things that you should know about SLA printers, as well.

These are what you might call the downsides of owning one:

• SLA Printer parts are less durable than those printed with other types of 3D Printers, such as those that use fused deposition modeling technology. As such, if you ar printing functional parts, it is best to avoid doing so with an SLA printer.
• SLA prints are vulnerable to sunlight. As such, these parts will change, deteriorate, and degrade over time.
• When printing with an SLA printer, you typically need strong supports. This process might add to post-processing time and work.

Should You Buy the Elegoo Saturn?

When it comes to affordable 3D printers, the Elegoo Saturn ticks a lot of boxes. Aside from the attractive price, you also get a printer that has a massive build volume, allowing you to get prints that measure 282 cubic inches (4,624 cubic centimeters).

It uses one of the newest technologies, MSLA, with a monochrome LCD that allows it to cure resins in two seconds and print up to slightly more than an inch (30 millimeters) per hour.

So while the Elegoo Saturn can be hefty and heavy, it’s really a difficult printer to pass up. However, it’s not always available and can be out of stock at several retailers, including the company’s own online store. Fortunately, there are alternatives that you can find.

If you want something with a bigger build volume, you can go for the Peopoly Phenom. This printer can give you a build volume of 1,043.9 cubic inches (17,106.3 cubic centimeters) and almost twice the maximum height. But you might be turned off by the price, which is more than six times that of Elegoo Saturn at $2,000.

If you’re working within a smaller budget, both the Phrozen Sonic Mini and the Photon Mono SE are closer to the Elegoo Saturn when it comes to pricing. Both of these printers use monochrome LCD and can deliver fast printing times. But both have smaller build volumes than what’s offered by Elegoo Saturn.

The Final Word on the Elegoo Saturn

The Elegoo Saturn is one of those 3D printers that gives you what you want: fast printing times, huge build volumes, and 4K clear printing resolutions. It also helps that the manufacturer doesn’t scrimp on the materials, giving you a sturdy, durable, and stable printer. Plus, it will not cost the buyer an arm and a leg to own this device.

It’s hard to go wrong with such a 3D printer, and we don’t have problems recommending it at all, if only Elegoo manufactured more of them, as it’s almost always out of stock.

How to Find the Best 3D Printer Build Plate

Best 3D Printer Build Plate

With all of the features of 3D printers, you may overlook the bed as one of the most important. However, you might want to think again. It can be the most noteworthy feature on your print quality, and it can define how easy it is to remove your print when it’s done.

While print beds come in many different materials, with various thermal characteristics, and at other price points, the whole point of the built plate is to offer a flat surface where the bottom layer of your print can rest.

It also provides an adhesive surface to which your print can adhere. The plastic extruded from the print head should form a temporary bond with the build plate without sliding around. This ensures that the print is built precisely.

If the build plate itself does not have an adhesive layer, it should provide a surface to which an adhesive layer can be applied.

Luckily, there are a lot of different options for build plates. Each has its own unique properties. Some 3D printers come with really fantastic build plates, and sometimes you need to buy your own and install it on top of your stock build plate.

Why a Build Plate is Important

buildplate

The first layer of your print is the most important. As your first layer goes down on the build plate, it needs to adhere correctly. If the first layer moves, the additional layers won’t line up correctly, and your final project won’t look the way it’s supposed to look.

You’ll find plenty of resources online to tell you why the first layer is the most important and why your build plate is the most critical feature of your 3D printer. If your first layer fails, the rest of your print will fail as well. Your first layer is a good indicator of the quality of the rest of your print. So, you can probably tell that the build plate is essential.

You simply can’t build without a build plate and how well the first layer gets created depends entirely on the build plate’s characteristics.

These characteristics include thermal variations, flexible materials, and many different price points. But it’s also important to remember that there are other factors to successful printing, like printing temperature and extruder height, just to name a couple.

To get the best accuracy, you have to tweak multiple settings until you get it just right, and it will be different for every job.

It also doesn’t mean you need to buy the 3D printer that comes with the best build plate. While some 3D printers come with really fantastic build plates, you can also purchase aftermarket build plates or use other adhesive solutions that will make your build plate function better.

Best Build Plate Surfaces

There are a lot of really great choices for build plate surfaces. What you choose will depend on what you need. As 3D printing has evolved, there’s been a lot of research into the area of build plates and adhesion.

Here are some of the most popular choices and why they’re great.

Glass

Glass is one of the most popular building surfaces because it’s simple. A glass sheet is an easy solution for most printers. It’s stiff and flat, so it won’t warp over time, meaning it’s a great long term solution that will only cost you a one-time fee upfront.

It’s a great solid surface that’s dense with low thermal conductivity. It takes longer to heat up than other materials, but it will spread the heat more evenly across the entire surface. Varieties include borosilicate glass sheets and mirror tiles.

glass buildplate

Most people pair their glass sheets with the painter’s tape, hairspray, or a glue stick to get the adhesion they need for the bottom layer and avoid delamination during printing. If you use hairspray or a glue stick, your print will likely have an incredibly smooth finish on the bottom.

You can also use adhesive stickers like PEI sheets or BuildTak with glass, which we’ll get to in a minute.

The main downfall of using glass is that it’s incredibly fragile, which means you have to use care when removing your print from the bed. It’s not flexible, so manually separating your print from the bed must be done very carefully to avoid breaking either.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Anycubic Ultrabase

The Anycubic Ultrabase is also made of glass, but it contains nanoparticles on its surface that give it a few extra features, making it easier to use. The print will cling to the build plate while it’s hot, but the plate will release the object once it cools.

Because the Ultrabase is made of glass, it retains all of the same great properties like conductivity, flatness, and stiffness. Unfortunately, the bottom of your prints won’t have the same smooth finish. They’ll be slightly porous, which is what helps them release so easily.

Anycubic Ultrabase

You also can’t use any additional adhesive solutions like hairspray, glue, or Buildtak because it could damage the nanoparticles. However, you wouldn’t want or need to use these solutions because the Ultrabase is already adhesive enough.

Damaging the nanoparticles would result in a typical piece of glass that could still be used as a build plate, but you’ve just paid a premium for a regular piece of glass.

One downside to the Ultrabase is that this built-in adhesive does wear out over time and can be damaged from improper use. You will eventually have to replace it, which becomes costly for those who print a lot.

For those who want the ease of adhesion without the need for additional tools like hairspray as well as easy removal without damage to the glass, this is definitely worth the investment.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

BuildTak FlexPlate

This build plate system originally came with the Prusa i3 MK3, but now you can add it to almost any 3D printer. The BuildTak FlexPlate is a unique system that allows you to snap your prints off the bed just by flexing the bed.

It’s made of magnets along with a removable spring plate that’s made of steel. All you do is remove the build plate surface, which is interchangeable, and flex the steel to pop your print off of the surface.

BuildTak FlexPlate

This allows for faster printing, assuming you have multiple print plates that you can put in its place. It’s common in production environments where many prints need to be made in succession.

The FlexPlate is made to be used with BuildTak adhesive stickers or with PEI, but you can also use other brands of adhesive stickers as well as painter’s tape. However, you probably shouldn’t risk using hairspray or a glue stick directly on the spring steel.

It’s also not recommended to print directly on the build plate surface, which may inconvenience some who just want to put the build plate in place and go.

The FlexPlate does need to be installed on a perfectly flat surface, like glass. If it’s not, your printer needs to have a mesh leveling system, and the surface needs to be flat. Without a flat surface, likely, your prints won’t stick well to the bed, which will cause warping.

BuildTak Printing Build Surface
$50.30 ($16.77 / BuildTak Sheet)
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Easy-Peelzy

The Easy-Peelzy is another solution for those who want a removable, flexible build plate. It’s similar to the FlexPlate. It has a flexible magnetic sheet that you can peel off of the magnetic base. Once that’s done, you can peel it off of the bottom of your prints.

This system is very kid-friendly, so it’s a popular system among schools and 3D printers meant for kids. There are no tools involved with removing prints, and there are no sharp edges, spring steel, fragile build plates, or heavy objects.

Easy-Peelzy 3D Printer Build Plate

The built-in surface is similar to BuildTak in that it doesn’t require any additional adhesive help like hairspray or a glue stick. It’s also not advised that you use painter’s tape or anything else to avoid damage to the surface. It’s meant to be adhesive but easy to peel.

However, it’s also similar in that it must be installed on a completely flat surface, like a glass build plate, or it will cause warping. It also shares the same problem as the Anycubic Ultrabase in that it will wear out over time and can be damaged if it’s used incorrectly.

This can be costly over time, but it’s still the best solution by far for those who are just starting in the world of 3D printing or who want a safe and effective solution for children who will be using the 3D printer.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Polypropylene

You can use polypropylene sheets, and it’s another common solution because they offer good adhesion for an affordable price. You don’t need to use additional adhesive solutions on top of these sheets either.

These sheets are durable with proper care, and they won’t wear out as quickly as things like the BuildTak or other stickers. They’re almost as smooth as glass, and you’ll get a very smooth finish on the bottom of your print.

Mamorubot Polypropylene Build Plate

It acts much like the Ultrabase, and your prints will stick well when it’s hot but release easily after it’s cool. You can also clean the surface quickly with water or alcohol, which means maintenance of polypropylene is a breeze.

You can use build surface stickers with polypropylene, and they’ll work reasonably well, but they’re not necessary. It almost seems as if there are no downsides to using this solution at all.

Unfortunately, there’s always something. Many people report that these sheets scratch very easily if they’re not cared for properly, and they warp over time, so they don’t stay as flat as glass for as long. They’ll need to be replaced. Luckily, you can afford to do so.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Aluminum

This is the most common 3D printing surface after glass. It’s a conductive metal, which means your print bed will reach the appropriate level of heat and distribute it uniformly throughout.

However, it’s also susceptible to expansion under higher temperatures, which can cause warping or poor adhesion in your first layer.

Even still, aluminum is used so widely because it can withstand the rough removal of prints from the bed. It’s an affordable option and can take a lot of wear and tear before needing to be replaced.

It’s one of the best and most affordable options for distributing heat evenly, especially when it comes to uniform adhesion at the first layer, as long as it doesn’t get too hot.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Heated vs Non-Heated Beds

Now that you have a better idea of which materials may be right for you, it’s time to look at whether or not you should be using a heated bed or a non-heated bed for all of your 3D printing.

Most 3D printers on the market today come with a heated bed. While a heated bed definitely gives you some distinct advantages, it’s not always necessary. And there’s never going to be a one-size-fits-all solution.

3d printer heated bed

Whether or not you need a heated bed depends on how you’re using the machine.

Advantages of a heated bed

The primary advantage of a heated bed is to prevent warping at the first layer. We all know that even adhesion at the first layer is critical to establishing a firm foundation for the rest of the print’s quality.

Without this first layer, the rest of the print would fail. It helps to maintain uniform heating of the material and eliminate uneven cooling problems when the job is finished.

The print bed’s temperature is based on the melting point of the material you are using, so it will vary from one filament to the next. This factor will help you determine what kind of bed you need.

Some beds can be heated to higher temperatures than others, so be aware of the filaments you’re using before you determine what kind of build plate to buy.

Disadvantages of a heated bed

The one drawback to a 3D printer with a heated bed is that it consumes a lot of power. If you don’t need a heated bed, you may reconsider getting one. It can cost a lot of money to power this machine.

You’ll pay extra in your monthly bills, plus you may have to install an enclosure to keep your components hot. It’s not worth the extra hassle if you don’t need it.

Filaments like PLA don’t need a heated bed at all, so if that’s all you plan to print with, you don’t need to worry about it. However, more complex materials like ABS do. If you plan to print with multiple materials in the long run, get the heated bed now, so you don’t end up spending more money later.

If you don’t get a heated bed, your creation will be limited, which may be acceptable in the near term, but you’ll regret it once you start expanding your horizons, and you’ll wish you would have gotten a 3D printer to grow with you.

Bed Additives

Not only do you need to decide on a build plate and whether you want to heat it or not, but you also need to consider whether or not you want to use any bed additives. You don’t always have to enhance your adhesion, but you can, and sometimes you may need to.

Easy-Peelzy 3D Printer Build Plate

Glue sticks

Hearkening back to the days of elementary school supply shopping, you may remember the cheap, washable glue sticks your mom bought. They didn’t exactly work well on paper, and your third-grade art project fell apart by the time you turned it in, but they work great here.

They’re a simple favorite when it comes to attaching the first layer of a print job to your build plate. They’re washable, so you can apply them directly to the print surface and then wipe them off later with water.

They’re affordable, so you will have to go through a lot of glue sticks before you ever pay for a fancy Anycubic Ultrabase.

Spread the glue evenly over a glass or aluminum build plate, and you’ll experience perfect adhesion at the first layer with little to no effort. Your finish will be just as smooth as glass.

Hairspray

Hairspray is virtually the same as a glue stick. It works with most of your standard materials and filaments. Spray it on in an even layer, and you’ll get great adhesion and a smooth finish. Aquanet isn’t just for your grandma anymore.

Unfortunately, it can get smelly, and it can also be a little bit harder to clean than a glue stick. It also doesn’t work well with polycarbonate or ABS. It makes those materials more susceptible to warping.

Aqua Net Hair Spray (Unscented)
$12.08 ($0.55 / Ounce)
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Painter’s tape

Applying painter’s tape to a glass or aluminum build plate offers a rough surface for your first layer to grab onto. It’s like the tread on your tires providing traction. Your first layer will hold firmly to the bed, and it can help prevent warping.

One problem with painter’s tape is that you may find small amounts of curing at the corners, but you won’t be able to see them unless you look closely. The surface finish also won’t be as smooth as it will with a glue stick or hairspray.

PEI

PEI has a rougher surface than painter’s tape so that it can offer even more traction for your materials. There are more bumps for your filaments to hold onto. You can use it with materials that require a heated bed, the prints are easy to remove, and you’ll notice little to no warping.

Of course, as you can probably imagine, your surface finish will be very rough.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

FAQs

Question: What is the best surface to 3D Print on?

Answer: The most popular 3D Print bed material by far is glass. It’s simply the easiest solution for most people. Because it’s stiff, it won’t warp. It’s solid and flat, so your prints will always have a smooth surface.

It may be fragile, but as long as you treat your glass bed with care, you’ll get great life out of this solution and likely never have to replace it. For the best adhesion, use glue sticks or hairspray.

Question: Why is my 3D Print not sticking to the bed?

Answer: There could be a lot of reasons why your print isn’t sticking to the bed. Don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that you’re not using the right type of bed or the right type of adhesive.

Instead, make sure you have it set at the ideal temperature for your print material. If it’s not too cold, the material won’t adhere. If it’s too hot, the material will soften too much and peel right off.

You can also try switching up your adhesive technique. If you’re using hairspray, switch to a glue stick, or vice versa. Coat your build surface with a thin, even layer and try again.

If neither of those things works, try a thorough cleaning of your print bed surface. Water or rubbing alcohol can go a long way to ensuring that you have removed any dust you can’t see that could be interfering with your adhesion.

Question: What kind of tape is used for 3D Printing?

Answer: If you’ve decided to go the painter’s tape route for adhesion on your print bed, most users go with Gizmo Dorks blue painter’s tape. It’s affordable, and it works the best. Both PLA and ABS stick well to this type of tape. It offers strong adhesion and it’s easy to remove later on.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Final Thoughts

Because the first layer is so important for successful printing overall, your build plate is one of the most essential features of your 3D printer. Ensuring you have a great print bed will set you up for achieving your 3D printing goals from the start.

It will ensure reliable adhesion, prevent warping, and can go farther in guaranteeing that your entire print will not have any deformities.

A heated print bed increases the number of filament types with which you can print, and a glass print bed will give you the most versatile and long-lasting solution. Although you may need to be prepared to use additional adhesives, it’s one of the most popular choices.

There are many other options out there for specific needs, so make sure you do your research before making your decision. You’ll get the best, most accurate results if you know your options and know what you need before you buy!

Hatchbox Filament Review: How Good is This 3D Printer Filament?

If you need filament for your 3D printer, then our Hatchbox Filament review will give you everything you need to know. Hatchbox is a Californian based company however the filament itself is manufactured in China.

They have been around since 2013 so they aren’t exactly new to the market and have built up a loyal following. This includes 3D printer enthusiasts and businesses who need filament for 3D printers in various price ranges.

By the end of this review you’ll know all about Hatchbox filament including its different features, how it performs when printing, its pros and cons and also what alternatives are out there.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Key specifications of Hatchbox PLA Filament

Find the specifications for the Hatchbox PLA filament below.

Filament size 1.75mm and 3mm
Material Polylactic Acid
Recommended Extrusion/Nozzle Temperature 180°C – 220°C
Spool Diameter 7.88 inches
Spool Width: 2.69 inches
Spool Hub Hole Diameter 2.20 inches
Warranty 30-Day Satisfaction guarantee
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Hatchbox PLA Filament

hatchox pla filament

There are a number of different Hatchbox filaments that you can buy for your 3D printer and we are going to focus on one of the most common – PLA.

Whether you need filament for plastic prints, wood, or even other materials, you should be able to find a Hatchbox branded filament to do the job. There are many different features of Hatchbox filament so let’s dive into the specific features for the PLA filament.

Types 

Affordable

One of the biggest selling points with Hatchbox PLA filament is that it is very affordable when compared to many other filaments on the market.

You won’t need to splash out a ton of money to get a hold of PLA filament from Hatchbox. This is especially good for 3D printing home users who perhaps don’t have a ton of money to spend on the filament. 3D printers can be very affordable however for some people it can still represent a fairly large cost.

By being able to get good quality PLA filament for a low price, it cuts down on the overall price of using your 3D printer. It also means you can print off more objects and use more filament without incurring large costs.

Smooth finish

A testament to the good quality of Hatchbox PLA filament is that it gives smooth finishes to your 3D prints.

It is clog-free which means that there won’t be any air bubble or clogs in the final print. This gives off a nice and professional finish. This filament also gives off a glossy color to your objects. Overall the quality of the filament when in use and also when it is crafted in different 3D objects is very high.

Variety of different colors

Another feature of using Hatchbox PLA filament is that it comes in a wide variety of different colors. This is especially useful if you need to print different objects with several color schemes.

Multi-color 3D printers are becoming more popular as their affordability is rising and the quality for the everyday user is getting better as well. Hatchbox PLA filament comes in a variety of different colors from black to green, white to yellow and you’ll find some great shades in there too such as copper.

If you need a certain color for your 3D printing ventures, you’ll find a Hatchbox PLA filament to do the job.

Works with most 3D printers

Hatchbox PLA filament is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm this means that it will work with the vast majority of 3D printers.

Most 3D printers that are aimed at enthusiasts and small businesses as well as some larger units will use either 1.75mm or 3mm filament which means Hatchbox PLA will be compatible with your 3D printer.

You won’t need to worry about this filament not working with your 3D printer. While some 3D printer manufacturers require you to use their own filament, this isn’t the case with most models.

Moisture-proof

If you live in a humid climate then you will know that moisture can be very troublesome when using and storing filament. It is also a problem in certain workspaces.

Hatchbox PLA is fairly moisture-proof (not completely) and it won’t absorb a lot of moisture. It comes vacuum sealed for added protection as well. One thing to mention with this filament is that the bag that the filament comes in isn’t resealable.

You’ll need to get a dry box or something else that is properly sealed to store it once you open the pack for the first time. That being said, compared to some other filaments it has very good moisture-proof qualities, and when you consider the price it is a great feature that you often find in high-end models.

The spool is well designed

A well documented flaw with Hatchbox spools was that the center hole used to be too small. It only measured 1.25 inches which wasn’t big enough. This meant that you had to 3D print a spool holder or buy one if you wanted to use Hatchbox filament in many 3D printers.

However, this has been updated so the hole now measures around 2.2 inches which means you don’t need to print off a special holder. This is a big upgrade and one that will make your life a lot easier when using Hatchbox PLA.

The spool overall is well designed and it is sturdy as well. It doesn’t have a lot of tightness so the filament can run evenly and smoothly and you shouldn’t come across any filament tangles when using it.

How does Hatchbox PLA Filament perform?

pla filament

When you consider that Hatchbox PLA filament is pretty compared to many other filaments on the market, you might be tempted to think that it is below average. Some cheap filaments don’t perform well at all.

So, what about PLA from Hatchbox?

We have found that it performs really well. When we put it to the famous 3D Benchy test, our models came out really well. There wasn’t any warping and the overall printing process was pretty seamless.

Even with more intricate and differently shaped models, we didn’t come across any noticeable or major issues when using this filament. It offers high quality and a smooth finish and the absence of blemishes or warping is a big bonus. In fact, we’d say it compares to some of the more expensive filaments out there.

All in all, the Hatchbox PLA filament performs very well indeed.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Pros of Hatchbox PLA filament

There is a lot to like about Hatchbox filament, here are the best bits.

New spool design

The previous issues with the spools from Hatchbox didn’t completely put us off using it – it was just a hassle having to print off or buy a special spool holder.

The new design with a bigger center hole is a major plus. The overall design also allows the filament to flow smoothly and evenly without encountering any tangling or problems.

Variety of colors

If you need a specific color for your 3D printers or you need several colors to use on a multi-color 3D printer, you’ll find what you need with Hatchbox PLA.

There are a wide variety of different colors with this filament and it is easy to find what you are looking for. Rather than just printing off 3D models in boring monotone colors, with this PLA you can really make some bright and colorful prints.

Very affordable

Some filament brands can be pretty expensive and the higher price does not also represent a jump in quality.

With Hatchbox PLA filament you are not only getting filament that does offer high-quality finishes but the actual cost is low as well. This benefits everyone but especially home users who may be on a tight budget.

Compatible with most 3D printers

As this filament comes in both 1.75mm and 3mm varieties you will be able to use it on the vast majority of FDM 3D printers. If you have an inexpensive 3D printer that you use at home or if you have a more expensive model that you operate for business purposes, Hatchbox PLA filament should work on your printer.

Fairly moisture proof

While the filament won’t completely moisture-proof, it doesn’t absorb a great deal either. This is handy if you live in a humid environment and it can spoil the filament fairly easily if you don’t store it properly. The fact that it has a low moisture absorption constructed is an advantage.

Cons of Hatchbox PLA filament

Before we have a look at some alternative filaments, there are a few cons of using Hatchbox PLA.

The bag isn’t resealable

The bag that the filament comes in isn’t resealable. It is reasonably moisture-proof however you still need to store it properly. This means you’ll need a dry box or something else which is sealed.

It isn’t a massive drawback but we would have liked a resealable bag. It is a fairly simple thing that would make a big difference in how we view this filament.

Support isn’t the best

There aren’t a ton of different ways in which you can contact Hatchbox if you have any issues. They do have a short contact form on their website.

We found that contacting them to be a bit difficult in terms of getting a response and it is something that could definitely be improved upon. They aren’t the worst to get in contact with but it could certainly be a lot better.

Are there any alternatives?

Makerbot PLA Filament

If you don’t want to use Hatchbox PLA filament, an alternative is to use Makerbot PLA filament.

makerbot pla filament

This is another high quality filament that is going to get you really good printed jobs with little to no blemishes.

It is slightly higher priced than the PLA from Hatchbox however it is still very affordable.

You’ll also find this filament in a number of colors as well which is ideal if you want to use it for multicolor printing.

The Makerbot PLA filament is great for printing off objects especially if you have a Makerbot printer and it represents a good alternative to Hatchbox PLA.

OVERTURE PLA Filament

Another filament to consider which also isn’t going to break the bank is the OVERTURE PLA Filament.

OVERTURE PLA Filament

It comes in a wide variety of different colors from black to red to green and many more too. You’ll find a shade that will suit what you need with this filament.

It comes in 1.75mm as well and will fit the vast majority of FDM 3D printers which is handy as well.

Its clog and bubble-free construction mean that you will be able to get high-quality prints with this filament and it isn’t expensive either.

It is in and around the same price as the Hatchbox PLA filament so it’s definitely in the affordable category.

All in all the OVERTURE PLA Filament is pretty decent, offers good quality and reliable prints, and isn’t going to cost a lot of money either.

FAQs

Question: What filament sizes for Hatchbox PLA filament come in?

Answer: Hatchbox PLA filament comes in both 1.75mm and 3mm filament sizes. This means that it will fit and can be used in the vast majority of FDM 3D printers especially those used by home users and small businesses. Some 3D printers may only be able to use filament from the same manufacturer, so make sure that you check this out first.

Question: What is the recommended printer temperature when using Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: The recommended printing temperature with Hatchbox PLA filament is 180°C – 220°C. The bed temperature should be around 60°C as well.

Question: Is Hatchbox PLA filament good quality?

Answer: Yes. Even though this is very much an affordable filament it still prints off objects in high quality with little to no blemishes or imperfections. When we tested the Hatchbox PLA filament we found that our objects came out very well indeed and it represents good value for money.

Question: Can I get Hatchbox PLA filament in different colors?

Answer: Yes. Hatchbox PLA filament comes in a variety of different colors including black, green, white and yellow right through to more unique color schemes such as copper. You should be able to find the shape you are looking for when printing in different colors or using a multi-color printer.

Question: Can I paint over objects after being printed with Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: Yes. When your 3D object has been printed using Hatchbox PLA filament, you can paint it if you wish. We would recommend using acrylic paint rather than oil based paints. If you are using a paint that is oil based, test it out on a scrap piece of PLA first to see how it responds.

Question: Do I need to print off a spool holder to use with Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: No. The spool has been upgraded recently with a bigger centre hole. Previously you would need to print off a spool holder in order to use Hatchbox filament effectively however the new design means you don’t need to do this anymore.

Final thoughts

When it comes to using filament on your 3D printer, there are a lot of options out there. While some 3D printers will only use filament from that manufacturer, the majority will be compatible for 3rd party filament.

Hatchbox PLA filament works in most FDM 3D printers.

There is a lot to like about this filament and to be honest there isn’t much we didn’t like about it. That being said, there are a few things to remind you about.

The fact it doesn’t come with a resealable bag is one downside that we think would be a fairly easy thing to fix and would make this filament even better.

Storing it isn’t hard but having a resealable bag is a small thing that would make a big improvement. OK, their support could do with being a bit better as well but these are small niggles with an otherwise great filament.

This PLA filament from Hatchbox is cheap and affordable but that doesn’t mean it isn’t of good quality. Any of the prints that we put this PLA filament to the test with came out really well. There were no clogs or bubbles and it is easy to use.

The upgraded spool is a nice addition and it means you don’t need to print off a spool holder which is a big bonus. This is definitely somewhere they have improved upon in recent years. We also really liked the different colors that you can buy with this filament and it works well in humid climates too.

Overall the Hatchbox PLA filament is a very good filament indeed. It comes in 1.75mm and 3mm varieties, works with most 3D printers and for the price it offers great value for money as well.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

 

6 Best Sketchup Alternatives in 2021 You’ll Love

The thing with 3D modeling programs is that there’s one or two that’s perfect for you. You can have a lot of options when you’re looking for the best one.

A lot of people will suggest Sketchup, but what if you’re not entirely sold on this program just yet?

The good news is that you have fairly competitive alternatives in:

  • Art of Illusion
  • Fusion 360
  • Autodesk Inventor
  • Rhino 3D
  • Tinkercad
  • Blender

What should you know about all of these Sketchup competitors? And should you stick with Sketchup, or are they better?

What Is Sketchup?

sketchup

Sketchup is one of the most intuitive computer-aided design software that can help you create two- and three-dimensional sketches with ease. This software was once known as Google Sketchup.

It comes with a variety of features and tools that you can use to create your models. Plus there are no steep learning curves when using Sketchup. Using the program is very much like using a pen and paper to draw your designs. What features should you know?

  • Push and Pull, helps you convert flat surfaces into 3D objects just by clicking and then pulling on it to make it look how you want it to appear
  • Access to a vast database of pre-made models that you can down and use, eliminating the need to create from scratch
  • If there are functionalities that you are missing, then you can use a third-party plugin that can serve the purpose
  • You also have customizable palettes that allow you to rearrange, remove, or add palettes to make it easier for you to find things
  • Sketchup also uses icons rather than feature lists that most other CAD software have
  • A free version is available, while the paid versions can cost you $119 annually for personal projects and $299 for the Pro version
  • Overall, Sketchup is known for how easy it is to use, from having a very intuitive user interface to user-friendly features and tools. It’s also known for its rendering capabilities that are native to the program, the plugins that make it more useful and powerful, and the free option.

So if you’re not sold with Sketchup, what are the alternatives that you should be looking at?

1. Art of Illusion

art of illusion

Art of Illusion is a 3D rendering and modeling program that has capabilities that are on par with other software. The biggest difference is that Art of Illusion is free to use.

The open-source program is very powerful and can be used even by serious illustrators, designers, and other professionals for their work. Beginners, on the other hand, will like the surface-based modeling features. These tools are very easy to use and understand.

As you advance in your skills, you will like the advanced tools, such as those for creating textures and animation. This program can also give you easy 3D renderings as well as an extensive range of lighting options. You can do primitive modeling and 3D sculpting to create your objects.

What’s more, the user interface is fully customizable. This feature is a big plus for beginners, as well as the help files they offer. the tools have contextual help as well as detailed explanations of what each tool does.

If you’re ready to dip your hands into 3D modeling, you can start with the software’s tutorial on how to create an hourglass. Plus it works on just about any operating system, including macOS, Windows, Linux, Unix, and others. The source code is also available.

Art of Illusion also has its Plug-in Manager feature that allows you to download and use plug-ins and scripts that allows you to extend the program’s functionality.

Art of Illusion: Bottom Line

Overall, Art of Illusion can help you come up with some high-end animations and 3D models. You can customize the user interface, expand its features and functionality, and not only is it easy to use, but it also offers a lot of help. And you get to enjoy all that for free.

2. Fusion 360

fusion 360

If you’re looking for an alternative to Sketchup because you need something more powerful, then look at Fusion 360. This software has more capabilities such as animation, simulation, and 3D rendering features that are not found in Sketchup.

You can even use Fusion 360 for computer-aided manufacturing. It comes from Autodesk and uses parametric modeling techniques.

You can also use Fusion 360 for slicing your 3D models for printing. The software is free for hobbyists, students, and educators. Startups can also use this program for free, provided that they don’t earn more than $100,000 a year. If you don’t fall into these categories of users, you will need to pay $60 per month to use Fusion 360.

Fusion 360: The Skinny

You will love how Fusion 360 allows you to design 3D objects and slice them without using another program. This software is an excellent choice for those that need precise 3D models and even the free version is fully-featured.

However, Fusion 360 is only available on Mac and Windows machines. Plus the interface is not that user friendly. What’s more, Fusion 360 might be powerful for those who like to do technical or mechanical designs, but it’s not the best when it comes to 3D rendering.

Fusion 360 can also get very slow if you have a bad Internet connection. It can also drain your device’s memory.

3. Autodesk Inventor

autodesk

Autodesk Inventor is very much like Fusion 360, but this program is made for professionals and those people who may have complex projects that they need to handle efficiently. Inventor is largely for industry users.

Needless to say, this program suffers from a steep learning curve, often requiring users to have some knowledge in engineering. But if you’re looking for a powerful CAD program that can adequately handle both 2D and 3D designs, then this is probably your best choice.

With Autodesk Inventor, you can do computer-aided design and engineering. You can also perform manufacturing and simulation, as well as other tasks. Inventor is best known for its tools that allow you to design parts and assembly.

With the current version of Inventor, you now have a cleaner and mobile-friendly user interface, a good number of modeling tools that you can see on Fusion 360, and more.

What You Should Know About Autodesk Inventor

With Inventor, you can do a whole lot more than just 3D modeling. You will be able to come up with computer-aided manufacturing and engineering. But it comes at a cost: a single license will cost you $260 per month, less if you opt for a longer contract.

On that note, you might be better off getting Autodesk’s Product Design & Manufacturing Collection where you pay $2,720 a year and you get access to Inventor, AutoCAD, Fusion 360, and Navisworks Manage.

Back to Inventor, you should know that it is not for everyone. For one, it is not easy to learn, which delegates Autodesk Inventory to professional users rather than for the 3D printing enthusiast.

Read our full Autocad vs Sketchup comparison here.

4. Rhino 3D

rhinoceros

Perhaps, Rhino 3D’s strongest point is the ability to allow you to easily visualize a 2D drawing in 3D. It has some free-from 3D tools that you can find in more expensive software.

You can use this software to create prototypes or tinker with the designs of whatever it is you want to create. It will help you engineer, manufacture, or analyze everything.

It also allows you to work with files from other software, and can even repair meshes and IGES files. And the thing is that it has all of these advanced features yet remains very intuitive, easy to learn, and accessible.

Further, the Rhino is pretty lightweight. It doesn’t hog too much of your resources, nor would you need stellar computer specifications to use it. And yes, it’s easily extensible with plugins that can help you do your tasks with more ease.

Rhino 3D: The Bottom Line

If you’re into turning a sketch into a 3D model, then Rhino will be for you. You can have an easy to use and intuitive 3D modeling program and still get quality renderings that even professionals can use. It’s great for creating complex and complicated geometry.

However, it might not be as precise as other CAD software. You will also be hardpressed to get support from the company itself. The good news is that there are user communities online that can help you if you do get into a bind while using Rhino.

5. Tinkercad

tinkercad

For beginners who are looking for easy to use CAD software, Tinkercad will be a good choice. It uses primitive modeling that makes it easier to piece together your 3D model even if you’re not a technical person.

Tinkercad’s biggest draw is the tutorials that can help novices come up with their 3D models with ease. The interface itself is all drag and drop. Once you’re done, you can upload your work to the Gallery of Things, where you can find other user-generated models that you can also use for your own projects.

You can create 3D models for printing using Tinkercad and it’s easy to learn that you will probably not have any problems figuring it out even if you’re using it for the first time.

What You Can and Cannot Get from Tinkercad

Tinkercad is an excellent introduction to 3D modeling. You can use geometric shapes and reshape them to create your 3D models and you have access to a library of drawings that other people made. It’s free and you don’t even have to install it on your computer. You only need a browser to use Tinkercad.

However, Tinkercad does have some limitations. It’s not as powerful as other programs on this list and there are only a few rendering features. There are no lighting options, either. And when your Internet suddenly goes off, you will not be able to use Tinkercad.

6. Blender

blender 3d

Blender is one of those 3D design software that proves that you don’t have to compromise on features just because it’s free. You can create professional-quality 3D models and animation and you have a well-thought-out user interface to work in.

Blender is feature-rich with tools for 3D unwrapping, physics, real-time creation, and shading. You can render edges with ease, simulate collisions, or use procedural brushes for both 2D and 3D designs.

This software is also compatible with a wide variety of file formats, allowing you to work with other software and with a wide range of filetypes. Plus with all those features, you have a large work area and drop-down windows to keep everything easily accessible.

Blender is not easy to learn, which is probably what most beginners complain about. But there are a lot of help options that you can take advantage of and these materials are comprehensive and extensive.

The Bottom Line on Blender

If you only have to work on 3D models or animation, then Blender should be a good choice for you. It has an extensive array of tools that you get to use for free.

However, if you’re in a hurry to create your 3D masterpieces and you’re new to Blender, then you might be turned off by how difficult it is. But don’t worry, help is always available.

Other Software You Can Consider Alongside Sketchup

While these six programs are the ones that you should consider first, here are four more that you can check out if our top recommendations are not what you’re looking for.

1. Shapr3D is an excellent tool if you are an Apple user and would like to create 3D drawings on the go. You will need the Apple Pencil to create your 3D renders. This app is only free for two of your designs or with an educational license. You will need to pay $240 for using the Pro version.

2. Maya is one of the software that you may want to check out if you can splurge on a 3D modeling software. This software has everything you need for your 3D models, including texturing, rendering, and lighting tools. You can easily add cloth textures, hair, particles, and even character animation and fluid simulations. But it costs $1,620 per year and you may not even need some of its features.

3. Lightwave 3D is an excellent 3D modeling software that used to be the darling of science fiction shows on TV. If it’s good enough for TV production, then you should check out the features it offers, especially the physically-based rendering engine that’s quite speedy and fully interactive. You will need to pay $995 for Lightwave 3D, but you might want to consider other alternatives because most of the features they offer are quite outdated.

4. ZBrush is the go-to software if you want to do some sculpting for your 3D models. There are so many features that it’s easy to become overwhelmed, and it shows in their user interface. Nevertheless, they do have the ZBrush Classroom where you can find video tutorials.

You will positively love Dynamesh, which allows you to stretch the mesh when you’re sculpting, as well as PaintStop for those who like 2D drawings. ZBrush charges $40 per month for a subscription or $895 for a perpetual license.

FAQs

Question: What is primitive modeling?

Answer: Primitive modeling is a modeling technique that uses a base object such as a sphere or cube. you use geometric forms as your starting point and you modify these by making them bigger or smoother.

This video will explain what primitives are and how you can use these geometric shapes to create your 3D model:

Contrast this with digital 3D sculpting, which allows you to use brushes to work on details, shapes, and edges.

It’s similar to shaping a piece of clay, as this video explains:

Further, you also have parametric modeling where you can change your 3D models easily just by inputting the dimensions.

You only need to enter one dimension and the CAD software will make adjustments to the entire object.

Question: What should you look for in a 3D modeling software anyway?

Answer: There are several 3D modeling programs that you can choose from and sometimes too many options may not be a good thing. If you’re confused, here’s how you should narrow down your choices:
a. What do you need the program for? Sometimes, 3D modeling software is packaged as different things, and it comes with functionalities and features that you might not even need. If you’re looking to use the software to come up with 3D models for printing, and that’s all you plan to do, then you can save more by not getting a more expensive software because of features you will not use. Then check if your chosen software has all the tools that you need.
b. Choose software that’s compatible with your operating system. This might sound basic, but it’s worth repeating. You may find a 3D modeling software that’s free and full-featured, but if you’re using a Mac and it’s only for PC machines, then you should be looking at something else.
c. Consider industry-based software. There are 3D modeling programs that are geared towards a certain industry. For example, RhinoGold is made for jewelry designers, while ArchiCAD is best suited for architects and interior designers.
d. Stay within budget. There are free, yet very powerful, 3D modeling software out there. You should have a budget and try to see if you can afford your preferred software. Some programs are accessible via a one-time purchase price, while others are available by subscription.
e. Look at the user community. You will want to know how helpful the user community is, or how much education and training material is available for your chosen software. Having excellent support and an active online community will help you if you’re stuck on something while using the software, or if you’re a beginner and still learning.

Question: What are the things that you should remember when you’re creating a 3D model for printing?

Answer: The best 3D software like Sketchup and any one of its alternatives are not guaranteed that you will have a successful print if you don’t consider the following:
a. Material physics. When you’re creating a 3D model, you don’t have to worry about such things as physics. The 3D model will float and you can rotate or flip it without problems. It doesn’t work that way with real-life objects. So be sure to consider this when you’re still working on your 3D model.
b. Weight distribution. Ensuring that your 3D prints will not be unstable and keep falling over is also one of the things that you need to remember when you’re designing your 3D prints.
c. What printer do you have? You should create 3D models that are too big for your 3D printer. Also, you might want to ease off on the elaborate details if your 3D printer cannot handle accuracy and precision to flesh out the intricate designs you have created.

The Best Alternatives to Sketchup

While Sketchup might be one of the best 3D modeling software right now, it’s not for everybody. If you’re looking for a suitable alternative, then the programs we mentioned here are your best bets. To make it easier, you can think of it this way:

For those who are just beginning their journey in making 3D drawings, Art of Illusion is the ideal choice: it’s free and it serves the purpose. If you want something quick and easy, there’s Tinkercad. This program is perfect for those simple 3D models, or perhaps to introduce kids to 3D modeling.

Further, if you’re working on a technical design, you will love the parametric modeling used by Fusion 360, but it may not be the best 3D rendering program out there. Then for turning 2D sketches and ideas into 3D models, you have Rhino 3D. And if you like a powerful suite of tools, there’s always Blender.

Phrozen Transform Review [2021]: How Well Does It Perform?

LCD 3D printers are the new kids on the block, but they are getting noticed because they can give better prints than other resin 3D printers. They are more affordable too. The Phrozen Transform gives you a chance to work with resins to create large prints.

Is the Phrozen Transform the way to go? What are its features that you should know? We will be looking at the technologies, specifications, and functionalities that you can expect to get from Phrozen Transform.

Plus, we will also present alternatives for this printer to help you decide on whether the Transform is really what you need, and if you should buy it.

Phrozen Transform Review

The Phrozen Transform is huge, measuring 14.9 by 13.7 by 24 inches (37.8 by 34.8 by 61.0) but there is a good reason for its significant size. This printer is one the very few that deliver a sizable print volume at 11.5 by 6.5 by 15.75 inches (29.2 by 16.5 by 40.0 centimeters).

There are downsides and upsides to this. But looking at the benefits, you will be able to print huge things with fewer parts. If you have to assemble a lot of small prints to create a big costume, then there will be a lot of weak points that can affect its durability.

With the huge build size of the Phrozen Transform, you are no longer limited to miniature action figures, you can create sizable ones as well. The downside is that you will need a lot of desktop space for your printer.

Phrozen Transform Review

LCD Printer: What the Phrozen Transform Uses

The Phrozen Transform uses masked stereolithography technology to deliver your 3D prints. MSLA uses liquid crystal display to work on the resin and create your prints.

The LCD takes the place of the lasers used in laser stereolithography and the projector used in digital light processing 3D printers. The LCD exposes the liquid resin to light, which hardens the resin.

Two types of LCD are used in Phrozen Transform printers. The standard LCD is in full color, the same type that is used in smartphones. However, because color LCDs have color filters (green, red, and blue), it lowers the amount of violet and ultraviolet light getting to the resin.

Because of this, color LCDs in 3D printers are both a blessing and a curse. It’s a good idea as it is cheaper than lasers, projectors, or even monochrome LCDs because these are mass-produced for smartphones.

But it works slowly because of the filters. With filtered light reaching the resin, it will need more exposure time. The longer exposure results in the resin taking quite a while to cure.

Monochrome LCDs do not have these filters and can get more light to the resin. This ability makes it faster for it to cure. The reduction in printing time is significant. But because monochrome LCDs are not as widely manufactured as colored ones, they tend to be more expensive.

Further, finding a replacement for the monochrome LCD can prove to be difficult or expensive.

Phrozen Transform, as we mentioned, offers monochrome and colored LCD versions. However, you will need to decide beforehand if you’d be willing to pay more for faster printing times. The monochrome LCD version of the Phrozen Transform sells for $2,700, while the standard version with the colored LCD sells for $700 less at only $2000.

But how fast is fast? Phrozen Transform printers with the monochrome LCD can print 1.57 inches (40 millimeters) per hour, while standard Transform printers can only print a quarter of that at 0.39 inches (10 millimeters) per hour. That puts the monochrome LCD four times quicker than colored LCDs.

Version Fast Standard
Print Speed 40 millimeters per hour 10 millimeters per hour
LCD Panel 13.3-inch monochrome LCD 13.3-inch RGB LCD

Dual or Single Panel

On top of the monochrome or colored LCD options, you can use the 13.3-inch (33.78 centimeters) panel or the dual panel that measures 5.5 inches (13.97 centimeters) each.

One advantage of having a big print volume is that you can easily print a number of different models simultaneously. Phrozen Transform allows you to do that using two different plates.

Not only can this 3D printer accommodate several models, but you can even print them on two different plates. This capability helps you to save a significant amount of time.

What’s more, you can easily swap panels in a matter of seconds. And the resolutions on both of these panels are nothing to sneeze at. The 13.3-inch panel delivers an XY resolution of 76 micrometers while the dual panel has resolutions of 47 micrometers.

Panel 13.3 Full Panel Dual Panel
Build Volume 11.5 by 6.5 by 15.75 inches 4.97 by 2.68 by 15.75 inches per tray
XY Resolution 76 micrometers 47 micrometers
Z Resolution 10 micrometers 10 micrometers

Tall 3D Models? No Problem

If you’re looking for a printer that can print tall 3D models, then Phrozen Transform is worth looking at. It can print objects as tall as 40 centimeters (15.75 inches). This is roughly as tall as a bowling pin.

What You Will Like About the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

Users who are looking for a 3D printer that will allow them to print huge objects can rely on Phrozen Transform to do just that. Not only that, the print quality of this printer should be amazing.

This 3D printer is also efficient because of the ParaLED Optical Engine feature that can deliver a more focused angle for the light. This focus allows the light to penetrate better.

Phrozen Transform

What’s more, this 3D printer is very stable with aluminum support for the Z-axis, as well as double linear rails and ball screws. This kind of setup is usually found on more expensive printers.

Specifications at a Glance

Dimensions 15.16 by 14.02 by 24.29 inches
Weight 72.75 pounds
Light Used 405nm Ultraviolet LED with ParaLED Matrix Technology
Z-axis Mechanisms Ball screws and dual linear rails
Cooling System Multiple fans
Support Software ChiTu Box
Operating System Proprietary (Phrozen OS 1.0)
Touch Display Yes, 5-inch touch panel
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB, and LAN

Phrozen Transform: The Bottom Line

For a consumer 3D printer, the Phrozen Transform has a huge build volume. This capacity allows you to take advantage of the space and print bigger parts or print several small prints simultaneously to save time.

Apart from the build volume, the Taiwanese company offers its users a lot of choices to make 3D printing more convenient. For one, you can choose to save money with the standard version or create faster prints with the fast version.

You can also choose to print huge 3D objects using the full LCD panel. Or literally, divide the task using the dual LCD panel that allows you to print two separate objects at the same time.

And there’s not much downside to getting Phrozen Transform, too. The biggest complaint we’ve seen is that the printer doesn’t come with free resin, so you will have to remember to buy it separately if you want to start printing immediately.

Pros

  • Huge build volume
  • ParaLED lights
  • Stable Z-axis, which is twice as tall as comparable 3D printers
  • Options that will allow you to save money or get fast print speeds
  • 405-nm ultraviolet LED makes it compatible with most resins
  • Solid built with top-notch materials
  • Wi-Fi, LAN, and USB Connectivity

Cons

  • The company doesn’t ship free resin with your purchase
  • Can be more expensive than comparable printers

Alternatives to the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

If you’re not convinced with Phrozen Transform, there are several competitors that you might want to consider. The Phrozen Transform stands out because of its build volume, attractive price point, and use of LCD technology.

Its competitors, the Sonic XL 4K from the same company, the Tronxy X5SA, and the Peopoly Phenom, all bring something different to the table. Is the Phrozen Transform the better choice, or should you buy one of its alternatives?

1. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K

The Phrozen Sonic XL 4L 3D printer is another LCD printer that can selectively harden resin to create your prints.

It uses a 4K LCD that has a pixel resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels.

phrozen cure

This printer has a build volume of 4.7 by 7.5 by 7.9 inches (12 by 19 by 20 centimeters).

It has printing speeds of 7.9 inches (20 centimeters) per hour, mainly because of the monochrome LCD used by this printer that only needs 0.2 seconds to cure the resin.

This printer costs $2,300.

Pros

  • Ideal for dental uses
  • High level of detail at 4K resolutions
  • Large build volume means that you can print several models simultaneously
  • Works with most resins, even third-party products

Cons

  • Has a smaller build volume and slower speeds than the Phrozen Transform
  • Can be very expensive
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

2. Tronxy X5SA

The Tronxy X5SA is an excellent 3D printer that can similarly handle large prints.

It has a build volume of 13 by 13 by 15.8 inches (33 by 33 by 40 centimeters) and a printing speed of four inches (10 centimeters) per second.

TRONXY X5SA 3D Printer

However, instead of working with resins, you will be using filaments for this 3D printer. The single extruder will push out the hot plastic to form your 3D model. The Tronxy X5SA is compatible with different kinds of materials, including HIPS, ABS, PVC, PC, and PLA.

Features on this 3D printer include automatic bed leveling, resume print, filament level detection, and a 3.5-inch (8.9 centimeters) touch display. In short, it has all the features you would expect from a Bowden-type extrusion 3D printer.

But the most impressive thing about this large-format 3D printer is that it’s very affordable. It sells for less than $400.

Pros

  • Very affordable, especially when you consider the sizable build volume
  • Stable build
  • Fast printing times

Cons

  • The 3D printer comes to you as a kit that you will need to assemble
  • Some quality control issues where some parts may be missing or broken
  • Support and help documentation can be a lot better
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

3. Peopoly Phenom

The Peopoly Phenom stands out with a height of 30.7 inches (78 centimeters).

This budget 3D printer allows you to print large projects with a build volume of 10.8 by 6.1 by 15.8 inches (27.4 by 15.5 by 40.1 centimeters).

peopoly

This LCD printer uses a 4K laptop LCD screen as well as ultraviolet light to harden the resin. Plus, it costs only $2,000.

The Phenom can deliver quality prints, but you might find yourself tweaking on the settings too much to get there. Another problem is that the software can feel a bit unpolished sometimes.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compatible with a wide assortment of resins
  • Big print volume

Cons

  • It can get really noisy when it’s running
  • Wi-Fi connectivity is not offered
  • Might not be a good match for beginners or those who like to switch up when it comes to resins

FAQs

Question: What is LCD 3D printing?

Answer: 3D printers use different kinds of light sources to harden the resin and give you your prints. In the case of LCD printers, LCD panels are used. These panels are similar to the ones you see on your smartphones.

LCDs replace the projectors and the lasers found on other types of 3D printers.

Laser stereolithography uses lasers to cure the resin. Lasers make for fast printing times, can accommodate a large build area, and high-quality prints, but they can be very expensive.

Meanwhile, digital light projection technology makes use of projectors instead of LCDs or lasers. Projectors in 3D printers allow you to have speedy printing time, much faster than laser printers. However, because DLP also needs digital micromirror device chips, these 3D printers can be very expensive with a limited build volume.

Compared to these two technologies, LCD 3D printing can be very inexpensive. LCD panels are widely manufactured because it’s being used by mobile tablets and other devices. What’s more, LCD 3D printers do not need expensive DMD chips.

However, because the light is not that intense as lasers or projectors, LCD printing can take a lot longer and the print quality might not be as good as the resolutions you see on DLP and laser printers.

To give you an idea, here are the three technologies and their rankings.
Build area:
• Laser 3D printers top this category as the lasers can shine on a wider coverage area
• LCD 3D printers are the runners-up in this category, as they can accommodate a bigger build area by using more LCD panels
• DLP 3D printers are limited by the DMD chips, which usually measure only 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
Price:
• LCD 3D printers are very affordable compared to laser and projector-based 3D printers.
Printing seed
• Projector-based 3D printers are some of the fastest out there, with laser printers coming in a close second
• LCD 3D printers are the slowest because you need more time for the light to cure the resin
Print quality
• Both laser and DLP 3D printers can deliver high print resolutions and intricately detailed prints
• LCD printers are not known for their astounding print quality

Question: Are all resins compatible with LCD 3D printing?

Answer: Seeing that there are significant differences in these three technologies harden your resins, you may be wondering if all resins are compatible with all LCD, DLP, or laser 3D printers.

If you’re thinking that the answer is no, then you’re correct. For instance, if you have an LCD 3D printer, you will want a fast curing resin because of the low intensity of light it has.

You should first read the data sheets provided by the resin’s manufacturer if you’re going to use third party products. Or you can always just buy from your 3D printer’s manufacturer.

The good news is that Phrozen has its own line of resins that works quite well with the Transform.

Question: Is Phrozen a trusted brand?

Answer: Phrozen is a Taiwanese company that launched its first 3D printer via Kickstarter. They initially wanted $30,000 to develop their prototype, but got more than ten times that amount in funding: $375,000. They subsequently did another crowdfunding drive with an initial goal of $30,000 but got $519,000 in 2019.

The company has been churning out LCD 3D printers since its 2017 launch, along with toners and resins. They also sell replacement parts and accessories for 3D printers.

So far, Phrozen has been coming out with quality 3D printers, slowly solidifying its reputation in the 3D printer market. They have several innovations under their belt, including the ParaLED ultraviolet engine and the use of linear bearings on a pair of sturdy rails for the Z-axis movement.

What’s more, the brand is known for its affordable products. When you check their technical characteristics, you will find that their closest competitors can be twice as expensive as their printers.

Final Thoughts

LCD 3D printers are proving that you don’t have to spend too much on a stereolithography printer. The Phrozen Transform doesn’t disappoint with its large build volume, fast printing speeds, and reasonable price tag.

If you’ve always wanted to work with resins, then the Phrozen Transform should be a perfect choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a printer that can handle elaborate and intricate details, you should give the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K a try.

Or, if you’re not averse to tweaking and configuring, the Peopoly Phenom might allow you to save money on your resin printer. Further, if the budget is a little tight, you might want to skip the resin and just go for filaments with the Tronxy X5SA.

Best Stepper Motor Driver for 3D Printer

One way you can massively upgrade the performance of your 3D printer is to find the best stepper motor, driver.

This important component plays a vital role in how your 3D printer will perform. Not many 3D printer owners know what this driver does. It isn’t a common piece of 3D printing terminology. However, it is essential in the smooth running of your 3D printer and helps to create accurate and high-quality models.

The best stepper motor drivers for your 3D printer that we are going to show you, can really improve how it operates. We’ll also give you everything you need to know about this component. This includes how it works, the best brands, and things you should consider when buying one.

Best Stepper Motor Driver for your 3D Printer – Overview

As a quick snapshot, these are the top 5 stepper motor drivers that you can get for your 3D printer:

Best for saving money Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver  Check latest price
Best for versatility SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver  Check latest price
Best for DIY 3D printers BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price
Best for upgrading A4988 drivers BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price
Best for reducing 3D printer noise Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price

What is a stepper motor driver for a 3D printer?

A stepper motor driver is a component that you will find in every 3D printer. This includes the more affordable models right through to the high-end machines. To understand how it works, we need to look at the actual printing process.

First of all, your 3D models are turned into three-dimensional coordinates that are known as G code. The code also contains information for things such as the speed of the fan and temperatures.

This is fed to the 3D printer microcontroller which is essentially a basic computer within your machine. It reads the code and determines which stepper motors need to be moved in order to create your 3D models.

Each stepper motor has a driver that allows it to move independently.

In order to do this, pulses of electrical current are sent between the microcontroller and stepper motor driver in order for the stepper motors to move correctly.

Types of stepper motor drivers for 3D printers

stepper motor driver

There are different types of stepper motor drivers that are designed for 3D printers.

Here are the three main versions that you will come across.

L/R Stepper Motor Driver

This type of stepper motor driver carried out rotations at a low to medium speed and this can result in fairly limited ranges of power output. They can still offer a full rotation but they don’t usually offer control in regards to variable current levels.

Many people would class the L/R stepper motor drivers as low performance or at least low to medium performance.

Chopper Stepper Motor Driver – Micro-step

A chopper stepper motor driver is also known as a PWM (pulse width modulation) or micro step driver. It works on a solitary supply of high voltage and has output transistors that have come on and off automatically.

These types of stepper motor drivers are able to use a micro step mode. This means that it runs smoother and more efficiently as the current rate is regulated at all speeds. This provides a boost in performance however it comes with a higher price tag and the design is generally more complex.

They are also known to produce RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and can sometimes overheat too.

Bi-level Stepper Motor Driver

The third type of stepper motor driver is the bi-level and this can use both high and low-level voltages.

It works by powering up to a high rate of current and when it reaches the level that you need, the high voltage is turned off. The low voltage is then used to maintain this level of supply when it is in use.

These stepper motor drivers are usually more efficient than others and they generally come at a fairly low cost as well.

Benefits of upgrading your stepper motor driver

Upgrading this relatively simple component on your 3D printer can produce several benefits.

Let’s have a quick look at why upgrading your stepper motor driver can be advantageous.

They can cut down on the noise your 3D printer produces

3D printers – whether they are fairly affordable models or pricier multi-color machines – usually make some noise. Some will be a bit quieter than others however upgrading your stepper motor driver can help reduce the decibels your printer produces.

Some stepper motor drivers have a silent design and they use technology to cut down on noise. With the right model you may find that your 3D printer operates a lot quieter than it did before.

You can get more reliable prints

As the stepper motor driver is what controls the stepper motors, an upgrade version can help you to get more reliable prints.

Buying the best stepper motor driver can help the motors move more precisely with better positional accuracy.This in turn will ensure that all parts of the 3D printing process benefit. You’ll be able to print off higher quality and better objects simply by upgrading a fairly easy component.

Your 3D printer can save on power

Another benefit of upgrading your stepper motor driver is that it can have an impact on power consumption.

Some stepper motor drivers are smart in that they will reduce the current when not in use. This cuts down on the overall power consumption that your 3D printer uses. The various safety features on some stepper motor drivers can also help prevent damage if there is a surge in power or if it overheats.

Things to consider when buying a stepper motor driver

stepper motor driver

Buying the wrong model or a stepper motor driver that isn’t ideal for what you need can actually have a negative impact on the way your printer performs. These are some things to keep in mind before you purchase one.

Torque

The torque is related to the size of the stepper motor and it is related to how big the motor is. In a simple sense, the more torque the more power. You will need to take this into consideration with what printer you have.

Some 3D printers won’t be able to handle higher torque and some won’t perform correctly with lower torque.

Accuracy

Most stepper motor drivers that are an upgrade on your stock one will probably help create more accurate prints anyway. That being said, you need to consider how much accuracy you need.

This can and often does impact on the price as well. The accuracy is usually determined by either small steps or a convoluted gear train.

Cost

There are a ton of stepper motor drivers out there and many manufacturers have been producing them for years. They aren’t the priciest things you can buy for a 3D printer but even for a small component, you need to factor in the cost to your budget.

Remember that the more a stepper motor driver costs don’t necessarily equate to how well it will perform. Many manufacturers will offer discounts and less price per component the more you buy at once.

Compatibility

Even though the majority of stepper motor drivers are compatible with most 3D printers, you will come across some that are designed for certain models. Make sure you read into the types and makes of 3D printers that the stepper motor driver you want to buy is compatible with before you make a purchase.

Best Stepper Motor Driver Brands

Stepper motor drivers for 3D printers are made by different companies and manufacturers. These are some of the top brands you will come across.

Trinamic

Trinamic is a well-known manufacturer of stepper motor drivers for 3D printers. They have their HQ in Germany but they also have research labs in Estonia and operate across the world.

Trinamic tends to focus on larger orders from big companies but there are many of their stepper driver motors available for everyone to buy.

Pololu

Pololu is an American company that is based in Nevada. They have been around since 2000. They often focus their attention more on individual 3D printer owners, hobbyists, and enthusiasts although they do offer a large amount of stepper motor driver models.

BIQU

BIQU is a relative newcomer to the market and they were established in 2015. They are based in Shenzhen City, China and manufacture and sell stepper driver motors to a global market.

Sparkfun

Sparkfun is based in Colorado, United States. They produce a wide range of different electronic components and they were founded in 2003. Stepper motor drivers is just one area they produce hundreds of different open source kits and boards.

5 Best Stepper Motor Drivers for 3D printers

There are many stepper motor drivers on the market. They can be relatively simple components but they perform a powerful function when 3D printing. Let’s have a more detailed look at the top 5 stepper motor drivers that you can buy for your 3D printer.

Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver

The Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver is a cost-effective stepper motor driver which is ideal for DIY built 3D printers or even many other affordable models.

These drivers are capable of 1/16th micro-stepping and come with various features. They are also capable of five-step modes: full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16.

powerday A4988 StepStick Stepper Motor Driver Module

Other features include automatic current decay mode detection, synchronous rectification for low power dissipation, and thermal shutdown.

If you want a stepper motor driver for your 3D printer without paying much money, then the A4988 is really the one to go for. Cheap, cheerful and essentially does what you need it to without a lot of fuss.

Pros

  • Cheap and affordable stepper motor driver
  • Will help the performance of your 3D printer
  • Five-step modes and capable of 1/16th microstepping

Cons

  • Is prone to accidentally burnouts

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver

The next stepper motor driver on our list is the SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver which is another fairly low-cost model.

This is a great component if you need some versatility in your driver as it works between 7V and 30V.

SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver

You can use this stepper motor driver with 4, 6, and 8 wire stepper motors as well which is great.

The fact that it can handle higher voltages means that you can get more torque and power with your 3D printer. This stepper motor driver is also easy to use and install and is ideal for beginners and experienced users alike.

Pros

  • Very versatile and works with a wide voltage range
  • Is compatible with 4, 6, and 8 wire stepper motors
  • Easy to install and use

Cons

  • May need some additional parts to install

BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver

The BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver is ideal for replacing a stock A4988 which can help to upgrade your 3D printer.

It is the go-to choice for DIY enthusiasts who build their own 3D printers.

5x StepStick DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver

It comes with a variety of step options which include full-step, 1/2 step, 1/4 step, 1/8 step, 1/16 step as well as 1/32 step.

This is one of the easiest stepper motor drivers to use and that is why it is very popular with people who build their own 3D printers. It is also aimed at people who are upgrading a component for the first time.

It has an over-temperature thermal shutdown as well as over-current shutdown, and under-voltage lockout.

The adjustable current control lets you manually set the output while this is an affordable and cost effective component too.

Pros

  • Range of great features including adjustable current control
  • Easy to install and use for DIY 3D printers
  • Affordable and won’t cost much to buy

Cons

  • Some reports of being quite noisy

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver

The BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver offers five step modes – full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16.

This component also comes with a variety of different features including an intelligent chopping control for the selection of the correct current decay mode.

BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Diver Module

There is also a thermal shutdown circuitry and they are an affordable piece of kit for your 3D printer too.

While they aren’t silent and will produce a bit of noise, this isn’t a dealbreaker by any means. There are some issues with the potentiometers in that they are difficult to adjust and also aren’t the most durable.

That being said, these are good stepper motor drivers for 3D printers and would suit anyone who wants to upgrade a4988 drivers.

Pros

  • Very good choice for upgrading a4988 drivers
  • Have an intelligent chopping control
  • Five-step modes and thermal shutdown circuitry

Cons

  • Potentiometers difficult to adjust and not very sturdy

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver

The Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver is the best choice if you want a silent component to reduce the noise that your 3D printer makes.

It is an upgrade to the previous 2100 model. This stepper motor driver comes with a ton of features which isn’t always a necessarily good thing.

Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver

It can get a bit distracting especially if you are new. However, this is a very good stepper motor driver for the price.

It has a sensorless stall detection, noiseless current control mode as well as stall prevention and lower temperature operation.

A high functional and high performing stepper motor driver for your 3D printer but one that isn’t suited towards beginners.

Pros

  • Has a wide variety of great features
  • Noiseless and quiet operation
  • Upgrade to the 2100 model

Cons

  • Amount of features can be overwhelming

FAQs About Cold Air Intake Systems

Question: Does my 3D printer need a stepper motor driver?

Answer: Yes. Even if you don’t know it, your 3D printer will have a stepper motor driver. It provides a very valuable function in determining how the stepper motors move and operate.

Question: Can I install a stepper motor driver myself?

Answer: In most cases, yes. They aren’t particularly difficult to install and even if you are a beginner when it comes to 3D printers, you should be able to do this. Make sure and read the instructions properly and ensure that you are confident before taking this on.

Question: Will a new stepper motor driver improve my 3D printer?

Answer: It should do. If you upgrade from the stock version on your 3D printer and install a stepper motor driver with more features, you should notice a difference in printing. This includes better torque to produce more power and more reliable prints/.

Question: Are stepper motor drivers for 3D printers expensive?

Answer: No. They are a small component and one that is relatively cheap to buy. As they are so small, you will usually find that you will get better prices the more you buy. That being said, some sellers will offer good prices on low quantities too. The actual component itself is pretty cheap compared to other 3D printer parts.

Question: Will any stepper motor driver work on my 3D printer?

Answer: No. Most are fairly universal with the connections however you should always make sure that it is going to fit and be compatible with your 3D printer. Some will only work with certain brands and others should work with most 3D printer models.

Conclusion – what are the best stepper motor drivers for 3D printers

Upgrading your stepper motor driver on your 3D printer has a number of benefits. While they should all provide more torque which equates to more power and better accuracy with printing, the one you choose depends on what you need.

For example, if you want to reduce the noise with your 3D printer then the Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver is the best option. It comes with technology which produces low to no noise and you should notice a big difference when printing.

For any DIY 3D printing enthusiasts and those that have built their own printer, the BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver is the better choice. It is favored by many hobbyists for a number of reasons as it is very easy to use.

The SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver is highly versatile and it works with a variety of voltages and 3D printers too. It allows for more torque and power and many beginners like it too because the installation is easy and it is straightforward to use.

Finally, for the budget-conscious, the Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver is the best model. It is cheap and does basically what you need it to without much fanfare. It is still a powerful stepper motor driver and one that won’t break the bank when purchasing.

Emblaser 2 Review: How Good is This Laser Engraver?

Emblaser 2 Review

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Key specifications of Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver

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

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

 

3-Year Warranty on Laser Diode

Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Emblaser 2

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

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

emblacer 2

Automatic Laser Height Control

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

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

Class 1 Solid State Diode Laser`

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

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

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

Safe to use

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

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

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

Automatic Laser Optic Calibration

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

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

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

Supports a wide range of file formats

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

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

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

Camera and WiFi connectivity

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

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

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

How does the Emblaser 2 perform?

darkly labs emblaser 2

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

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Pros of Emblaser 2

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

Ideal for beginners

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

Safety is a key component2 

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

Good range of presets and LightBurn software

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

Camera and WiFi

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

Supports many file formats

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

Cons of Emblaser 2

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

The laser could be more powerful

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

Support could be a bit better

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

Are there any alternatives?

TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver

ten high laser

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 09:10 pm GMT

Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver

ruida controller

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

FAQs

Question: Where is the Emblaser 2 made?

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

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

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

Question: Does the Emblaser 2 have fume extraction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

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

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

So, is it worth the money?

We think yes.

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Read More:

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers – Which is Best?

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

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

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

Main Differences Between CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

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

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

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

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

Then along came CoreXY printers.

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

CoreXY 3D Printers

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

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

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

There are some advantages to this design

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

These printers do have some disadvantages

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

What is a Cartesian 3D Printer?

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

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

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

There are some advantages to Cartesian 3D printers.

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

Cartesian 3D Printers

There are some downsides to Cartesian 3D printers.

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

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D – Ease of Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comparing CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printer – Pricing

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

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

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

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

Examples of some of the Best CoreXY 3D Printers

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Noise can be a factor
  • Getting to the print bed is a bit harder than it should be
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Tronxy X5SA Pro

TRONXY X5SA Kit

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Needs to be modified out of the box
  • Not that suitable for new 3D printer users
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Creative3D Elf Printer

Creatividad CoreXY

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Could do with better support options
  • Springs for the bed leveling system are a bit short
Runner Up
Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer
$479.99

Easy to set up, large build area, and quiet printing make the Creativity CoreXY a great pick for larger projects in non-industrial settings.

Buy on Amazon Buy on 3DPrintersStore
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Examples of some of the Best Cartesian 3D Printers

Creality Ender 3

3D Creality Ender

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Adhesion is often required for prints to stick to the bed
  • Manual calibration is also needed with this printer
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.

Prusa i3 MK3S

Prusa i3 MK3S kit

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

This well-constructed and durable machine has auto-calibration, the ability to pause and restart prints, and the software that comes with it is easy to use.

You’ll find really good support and community help with this printer. There are some issues overprints over a long duration but overall we’ve found that the Prusa i3 MK3S is a fantastic Cartesian printer albeit with a hefty price tag.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Is a bit expensive compared to some other models
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen

makerbot

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

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

It offers a really easy to use the system so you can get started with 3D printing right away even if you are a complete beginner. The software is great and the build volume is good for decent sized objects too.

This printer does suffer from being a bit loud but as a true ‘plug and play’ device, it is hard to see much better even if it does cost a sizable sum.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Pretty expensive so will be out of the price range for many people
  • Can produce a lot of noise
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Are there any alternatives?

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

Delta 3D printers

FLSUN Q5 Delta printer

A Delta 3D printer works similarly to a Cartesian model as it uses Cartesian coordinates for printing. Where it differs is with the mechanics. These printers use 3 arms which are attached to vertical rails.

These arms work to move the printhead around instead of axes which you find on Cartesian 3D printers. They offer fast print speeds but can be expensive to upgrade or fix while the build volumes tend to be a bit smaller too.

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

H-Bot 3D printers

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

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

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

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

FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what should you go with?

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

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

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

Mosaic Palette 2 Review [2021]: Does it Really Work?

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

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Key specifications of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

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

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

Core features of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

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

Design

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

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

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

Mosaic Palette 2 Review

Compatibility

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

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

Runout detection

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

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

Speed

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

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

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

Touchscreen

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

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

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

Mosaic Palette 2 Features

Software

Finally, we have the software.

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

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

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

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

How does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro perform?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Pros of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

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

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

Mosaic Palette 2 pros cons

Cons of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

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

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

Are there any alternatives?

Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S)

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT

Da Vinci Color Mini

Da Vinci Color Mini

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

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

Question: Is the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro fast?

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

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

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

Question: Does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro have WiFi?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
01/25/2021 10:11 pm GMT