Archives June 2020

Glowforge 3D Laser Printer Review [2021]

As 3D printers continue to rise in popularity, you may find that you want to join in the fun of printing your own objects from the comfort of your own home.

While there are plenty of options out there, one of the most popular choices is the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

This exciting printer started in Seattle as a Kickstarter project that garnered plenty of attention and funding. Glowforge captured investments from many venture capitalists, topping more than $70 million for its 3D laser printer.

So what does the Glowforge 3D laser printer have to offer its users? What features are available and how well does it work? We’ll jump into these questions and more as we explore everything about the Glowforge 3D printer.

Before we go into our full Glowforge Review, let’s take a moment and discuss what you may want to consider before you buy a 3D printer.

Buying Considerations

If you’re planning on your hard-earned money on a 3D printer, you want to be sure that it has exactly what you want and need. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money. Here are some items to think about when you’re looking at 3D printers.

Cost

One of the most important factors you should consider before buying a 3D printer is the price. This number is going to be different for everyone depending on budget, so be sure you’re looking at a 3D printer that’s in your price range.

Capability and Features

With a 3D printer, you can create a wide variety of objects and items. Does the printer you’re considering offer the features you need to print what you want?

Speed

How fast do you need your objects printed? 3D printers can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to complete a print job.

Quality

How well does the printer create objects? Can it create objects that require fine precision and detailed accuracy? Some printers provide high-quality prints while others are not as reliable. Be sure you find a printer that won’t create poorly made objects.

Maintenance

Is it difficult to perform regular maintenance on the printer? There are some printers that are designed to allow the user easy access to all areas so upkeep is quick and simple. On the other hand, there are 3D printers on the market that make maintenance difficult and challenging for any user.

Glowforge 3D Laser Printer

Now that you have a solid idea of things to consider before you buy a printer, let’s take a closer look at the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

Out of the Box

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the box containing the Glowforge 3D printer is that the company takes its products seriously. The design is amazing, with a breathtaking exterior that shows Glowforge takes pride in its work.

It doesn’t take long to unbox the device, and once you do, you’ll realize why this 3D printer is one of the highest-rated on the market. With a Glowforge 3D printer, you’ll be completing complex and detailed jobs before you know it.

Setting Up

Getting your Glowforge 3D printer setup isn’t too much trouble. The manufacturer says you’ll be printing within half an hour of taking it out of the box. Arguably, the most difficult part of the process isn’t getting set up but choosing which object you want to print first.

Really the only thing you need to do is plug the device into a standard wall outlet, then connect it to your wifi network. Additionally, be sure you keep it within a few feet of a window so you have a place for the exhaust to go.

It really is that simple, but there are a few additional steps you need to take to ensure everything is just right before you start printing. First, slide in the crumb tray until the feet fall into place. Once that’s done, insert the printer laser head by sliding the metal plate into its slot.

Next, push the arm toward the rear of the device. Find the orange cylinder and slide it into the head of the printer. You’ll know it’s in the proper position when you hear it make a clicking noise.

Now, you’re ready to connect the exhaust. Attach one end of the exhaust hose to your 3D printer, then place the other end so that it’s pointing to an outside window or vent. This helps to keep the fumes from gathering in your home or office.

That’s all you really have to do for set up. Plugin your 3D printer, connect to wifi, then let the laser cutting machine calibrate. When it’s done, you can select an object and start printing.

Features

There is no shortage of features when it comes to the Glowforge 3D printer. This machine is fully capable of printing nearly any object you want no matter how advanced, detailed, or intricate. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more prominent capabilities of this printer.

  • Compact

The Glowforge 3D laser printer is designed with small and home offices. This machine is perfect for your desktop at home or on a work table in your office. With its compact design, the Glowforge is ideal for individual use.

  • Robust

One of the most prominent features you’ll notice with the Glowforge Machine is how sturdy the device is. It is made of high-quality glass, plastic, and metal, so you know it’s sturdy and robust. As a result, you’re not going to run into any issues with reliability throughout the life of your 3D printer.

  • User Friendly

Whether you’re new to the world of 3D printing or an experienced veteran, Glowforge has created a device that is easy for anyone to use. The learning curve is short, which is perfect for anyone who wants to learn about 3D printing but doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about it.

  • Different Materials

If you’re into the laser engraving portion of this device (engraving machine), you’ll have no shortage of materials with which you can work. It is compatible with a wide range of options, including leather, glass, fabric, wood, and cardboard. You can also use aluminum and titanium if you’re into using metal materials.

  • Designed for Safety

The Glowforge 3D laser printer is built with safety in mind. The laser engraving machine can be damaging if you don’t take the proper precautions, which is why the Glowforge machine was built with an enclosed design.

This helps to protect both users and the device itself by preventing users from reaching in and hurting themselves while the machine is in operation.

  • Filtration System

When you’re running your 3D printer, you want to be sure that fumes aren’t gathering in areas that can make it difficult to breathe. That’s why Glowforge uses a built-in air compressor that clears out fumes as it runs. This also helps to safeguard the lens while you’re printing an object.

  • Automatic Optical Adjustments

Speaking of the lens, Glowforge offers one of the most unique features you’re not likely to find with other 3D laser printers. While other 3D printers require their users to manually adjust the lens, the Glowforge printer does it automatically.

Additionally, the baseplate that comes with the printer is honeycomb-shaped, which allows for better heat displacement and transfer between the air and the materials.

  • Closed-Loop Cooling

The Glowforge 3D printer comes with a built-in water cooling system that helps to alleviate the need for extra coolers or water pumps. This helps to ensure that the system won’t overheat while operating, which means you’re spending less on maintenance and upkeep of the device.

As you can see, there are a number of exciting features that make the Glowforge 3D printer one of the best in its class. With a user-friendly interface and sturdy craftsmanship, this 3D printer is ideal for anyone who wants to explore the world of 3D printing.

Glowforge Specs

While the Glowforge 3D printer isn’t the smallest on the market, you still may wind up needing to make room for it. It measures 965mm x 527mm x 210mm. This gives users a work area of roughly 455mm deep by 515mm wide, along with a laser cutting area of 279mm deep and 495mm wide.

Users will also notice the custom carbon dioxide glass tube for laser use. This can be used continually at 10,600nm. It pulls 45 watts, so you might notice a slight uptick in your electric bill if you use it regularly.

Laser Engraving

The Glowforge 3D printer also has laser cutter features and functionality. As stated previously, you can use a wide variety of different materials if you want to laser engrave. These include metals, cardboard, wood, and many others.

Quality

The quality of 3D objects printed with the Glowforge printer is excellent. You can rely on this printer to print out stable and sturdy objects on a regular basis. It is precise and accurate, which means you aren’t printing out objects that may fall apart in just a few days’ time.

Software

If you want to use software with your Glowforge 3D printer, the manufacturer does offer a cloud-based option. However, you can also use third-party platforms like Powerpoint, Adobe Illustrator, or CAD.

Using these programs, you can create popular objects and items when you’re ready to start printing. It might go without saying, but this type of software availability is why your 3D printer should always be connected to your wifi network.

Remaining connected ensures that you receive the latest updates and fixes that keep your 3D printer running the way it should.

Glowforge 3D Printer Alternatives

If the Glowforge 3D printer doesn’t offer the features and functionality you need, you might consider one of the following options.

Monoprice Select Mini – Best for Those on a Budget

If you’re on a budget but really want a 3D printer, this is a pretty good option. For those that have never owned a 3D printer, this is a great way to learn more about them and get your feet wet without putting a dent in your wallet.

The speed and print quality with the Monoprice Select Mini is excellent, however, you’ll want to purchase additional filament as this printer runs through it quickly.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer
The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer is a HIGH quality and budget-friendly option printer, that is very safe to use around children.
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Flashforge Adventurer – Best for Novices

Those looking for a 3D printer that’s easy to use should take a look at the Flashforge Adventurer. This printer is easy to set up, assemble and will have you printing in less than half an hour.

You’ll get solid print quality and speed, so you won’t be sacrificing much in that area. Just open up your box, get your materials together, and get going. There’s not much else to this 3D printer, which makes it one of the best if you’re a DIY enthusiast or an amateur painter.

XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr. Pro Model- Best for More than Printing

This ambitious 3D printer takes things a step further by giving its users the ability to laser engrave materials as well. Using specialized carbon-fiber filament, the da Vinci Jr. Pro Model gives users a multifunctional device that can do more than print.

However, a lack of wifi on this 3D printer can be a hassle if you like to use software platforms the reside in the cloud. Additionally, the non-heated bed can become an issue if you print frequently. Overall though, this is a decent option if you’re in the market for a multi-functional 3D printer.

SOL Laser 3D Scanner – Best for Printing Replicas

If you need an easy way to replicate items, you can do so with the SOL 3D scanner. Basically, its built-in camera and rotating base allow it to build a 360-degree replica, which you can then edit using its 3D software.

All you have to worry about it scanning the object and then importing it into the 3D printer to be printed. One cool feature of this 3D printer is the ability to receive text alerts when the next step in the printing process is reached.

Anycubic Photon – Best for Those that Prefer Resin

For those of you that are dead set on using a resin 3D printer, the Anycubic Photon is probably the best option for you. Resin printers provide high-quality objects while focusing on intricacy and accuracy.

These printers create objects that look like they just came off the factory line. However, resin is more of a challenge to work with than filament, so be sure you know what you’re doing and that you have plenty of ventilation when printing.

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon | AnyCubic

Dead simple to set-up, comes pre-assembled, intuitive touch-screen and exceptional level of detail. This machine empowers CREATORS, without expecting you to be a mechanic. The small - but precise - print bed is perfect for miniatures.

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FAQs

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions in regards to the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

What can I create with my Glowforge 3D laser printer?

With your Glowforge, you can cut fabric, wood, paper, leather, mylar, Plexiglass, rubber, and much, much more. Additionally, your Glowforge can engrave all sorts of items, including coated metal, marble, phones, laptops, tablets, and others.

How often does the Glowforge laser need to be replaced?

You’ll need to replace the Glowforge laser tube every two years. This customer made a piece of equipment is rated for two years. If something goes wrong before that time, it’s covered under Glowforge’s warranty. But be sure you look into that yourself.

What is different about laser engraving and etching?

The biggest difference you’ll discover between etching and engraving is that etching is a process involving chemicals, where an engraving is a physical one. An etcher will burn lines into the material using acid, while a laser engraver uses a sharp tool to cut the lines right into the surface.

Where is Glowforge located?

While Glowforge products are made with parts that are sourced throughout the world, the facility is located in Seattle, Washington. Every unit is designed and produced in this location

What types of products does Glowforge offer?

Glowforge offers a variety of high-quality products based on your intentions and experience level:
Glowforge Basic – 40W Laser Power.
Glowforge Plus – 40W Laser Power and 2x Enhanced Top Speed.
Glowforge Pro – 45W Laser Power and 3x Enhanced Top Speed as well as enhanced cooling and other features.
Additionally, Glowforge has a Glowforge App available for anyone that is a Glowforge owner that gives printing control from iOS devices and allows you to add photos straight from your camera library right to your design.

Final Thoughts: Glowforge Review

It can be useful to own a 3D printer, especially one that can perform multiple functions like the Glowforge 3D laser printer. Being a Glowforge owner will allow you to quickly and easily create and print items that have specific uses and applications.

As seen from our Glowforge review, this can be an affordable alternative to purchasing items over the long term, even if your budget is constrained. With the Glowforge 3D printer, you can create precise and accurate objects. Just remember that you’ll have to keep it connected to your wifi network so you’ll always have the latest updates and features.

Overall, there are some viable alternatives on the market, but if you want something that’s going to be a great 3D printer and excellent laser engraver, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better.

Further Reading on Laser Scanner and Laser Cutter Options:

Solidworks vs CATIA [2021]: Which 3D Modeling Software is Best?

If you want to execute sophisticated 3D printing projects, finding a good modeling software is essential. Today we’re going to compare Solidworks vs CATIA – two popular 3D modeling programs from Dassault Systèmes.

These products have many features and qualities in common, but one of them is more advanced and comprehensive, while the other is more simple and has limited features. This article will guide through their most significant differences and help you choose the one that’s going to work for you.

First, here’s a brief summary of the main differences between Solidworks and CATIA.

Main Differences Between Solidworks vs CATIA

The main differences between Solidworks vs Catia are:

  • Solidworks is easier to learn and more suitable for beginners, whereas CATIA is better for experienced users
  • Solidworks is designed particularly for 3D solid objects modeling, whereas CATIA is an all-arounder
  • Solidworks is compatible with Windows only, whereas CATIA works on Windows and Unix
  • Solidworks is a mid-range product, whereas CATIA is high-end
  • Solidworks doesn’t provide differentiation based on roles, whereas CATIA offers intuitive role-based functionality

Exploring Solidworks and Catia features

Solidworks and Catia are both well-known 3D CAD programs used mainly in fields such as product design, electrical and mechanical engineering, automotive industry and aviation, and architecture.

Although they might look very similar to an untrained eye, when you take a detailed look at some of their functions such as 3D rendering, sketching, role-based differentiation, or integration with some of the libraries, you will discover many notable differences. Let’s compare some of their features and qualities in detail.

Drawing and modeling

Computer-aided design programs are mainly used for precise technical drawings and designs. So whether you’re just designing new requisites for your cosplay costume, or you’re creating a vital component for innovative machinery, this is the feature you need to consider the most.

Both compared programs have sketching, 2D, and 3D drawing capabilities. And both of them, of course, can create printable models for your 3D printer. But which one works better?

Solidworks is mainly designed for 3D modeling, so that’s where the program is really strong and capable. Solidworks is a parametric modeling software, which means that it works with the dimension values provided by the user.

When you modify dimensions, your model is reshaped accordingly by the program. This makes the software great for product design and various projects related to machinery. On the other hand, Solidworks completely lacks some of the tools and skills needed for architecture projects.

CATIA has more sophisticated and versatile tools for drawing, modeling, and sketching. Though their use requires more skills and experience, you will be rewarded for your efforts with the results that are stunningly accurate and imaginative.

This particularly applies to CATIA’s extra smooth 3D rendering and Photo-to-Shape app, which creates immersive 3D models from 2D photographs. Although SolidWorks is also capable of photorealistic rendering, the results are slightly less impressive.

Workflow and collaboration

If you own a 3D printer, you might be working on your private project and depend only on your own capabilities and workflow.

But most of the projects that include sophisticated CAD programs are executed by teams of numerous designers. Software’s ability to manage such collaboration is therefore one of the important factors most of the designers need to consider.

Solidworks provides a cloud environment that facilitates collaboration between multiple team members. It is easy to use and quite intuitive, helping you capture, share, and store all your new ideas easily and quickly. However, collaborative features of this program are quite limited and focused mainly on reviewing and sharing. Solidworks also lacks any form of role-based differentiation.

CATIA offers pretty much everything that comes with Solidworks, but it adds one very important feature, and that’s role-based differentiation of functionality.

With CATIA, you have more than 50 roles at your disposal, so you can manage your projects even more effectively. CATIA’s collaborative designer center is called ENOVIA, and it offers great management solutions even for extended enterprises.

Modules and libraries

Good three-dimensional modeling software is like an open organism – the more flexibility, compatibility, and support it has, the better it usually is.

Solidworks is a relatively thin 3D modeling software, which is great if you want the process to be simple, but it also limits your overall possibilities and options. For example, although Solidworks is compatible with Modelica libraries, they are not integrated into the program itself, which limits their usability.

The program contains several dozens of integrated partner products either for CAD design or Product Data Management, which nicely extends your options, but in comparison with its competition, Solidworks still remains the less flexible software.

CATIA is a robust software that comes with impressive support – since 2006, a new updated version of this software is produced every single year. The software comes with about 129 unique products that provide users with almost unlimited options. CATIA software also integrates Modelica libraries directly, allowing their full utilization.

Thanks to this versatility, CATIA is perceived as one of the most universal and flexible CAD programs on the market. While Solidworks is great when you focus on one particular component or task, CATIA is the program you choose for executing a whole project, whether it concerns aviation, automotive industry, architecture, or educative projects.

Compatibility with different platforms

If you’re not ready to adjust your whole technical setup to the 3D modeling software of your choice, consider the program’s compatibility with your devices carefully. This is especially important if you’re working with multiple collaborators, who can have all the different technical equipment. Unfortunately, both programs we compare today are rather limited in this regard.

Solidworks, for example, is currently working only on Windows computers. If you want to use it on your Mac, you can theoretically run Solidworks with virtual Windows parallels, since the program recently started supporting this, but you should prepare for various drawbacks and limitations that make this solution quite unfavorable.

However, Solidworks has developed several other products for macOS: they include eDrawings Viewer, eDrawings, and eDrawings Professional.

CATIA is also compatible mainly with Windows, but in addition to that, it also works with Unix operating system, which is renowned for its great multitasking and multi-user functionality.

Both Solidworks and CATIA can also be accessed via smartphone applications thanks to the Dassault Systèmes’ 3DEXPERIENCE cloud platform. Solidworks also offers an educational application for kids and young thinkers.

Price

As you probably already know by now, Solidworks represent more simple and less complex 3D modeling software that is more suitable for beginners, smaller enterprises, and those on a budget. CATIA is more robust, capable, versatile – and also more expensive. Here’s an overview of prices for both products:

Solidworks licenses come in three alternative versions – commercial, academic, and research. There are also 3 available packages to choose from: Basic, Professional, and Premium. If you’re a student, you can get a Solidworks license for one year for $150, but note that this will not be the program’s full version.

Basic license for Solidworks software will cost you $3,995, and be prepared to pay another $1,295 annually as a maintenance fee. An alternative plan allows you to get a term license at $810 per 3 months. The basic license includes the following features:

  • 3D Modelling
  • Mold Design
  • Assembly
  • Static Stress Simulation
  • CAM Standard
  • Weldments
  • Plastic Parts
  • Sheet Metal

The Professional Solidworks costs $5490 + an annual fee of $1495 (or $1080 per 3 months). On top of the standard features, you’ll also get:

  • PDM Standard
  • Photorealistic Rendering
  • Cost Estimation
  • Part Libraries
  • Circuit Works
  • Advanced simulation features

A premium license is available at $7995 with a $1995 annual fee (or $1450 per 3 months). It comes with these exclusive features:

  • Structural part and assembly analysis
  • Wire, pipe and duct routing
  • Analysis of the environmental impact
  • Advanced surface flattening
  • Premium simulation features

You can also request a free Solidworks demo or test-drive the program online to understand its basics and determine, whether it really is the best solution for you. To request a personalized quote, you have to fill a simple form on the official Solidworks webpage or ask your authorized reseller.

CATIA is designed mainly for larger enterprises, and its prices accurately reflect the software’s bold functionality. But it also comes with more affordable basic plans for small entrepreneurs or even truly a budget-friendly option for students, who can enjoy some of the program’s distinct qualities for just $99 per year.

The final price quote for your CATIA license will be affected by several different factors, so the only way to know how much will it actually cost you is to ask for a quote through the official website or your authorized reseller.

In any case, be prepared to pay approximately $11,200 for CATIA’s Basic license (one-time payment) plus an annual maintenance fee of $2,000. If you’re not ready to invest so much at once, you can also lease the program, which will cost you $1,700 per three months or $4,500 annually.

CATIA’s standard modules include:

  • Mechanical design
  • Generative shape design
  • Analysis & Simulation features
  • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction layout designing
  • Machining
  • Digital Mockup (DMU)
  • Machining Simulation
  • Equipment & Systems
  • Ergonomics Design & Analysis

If you want to invest in additional role-based modules, you will pay $2,700 – $19,000 on top of the basic price plus an 18% annual maintenance fee. Unlike Solidworks, CATIA is not available in a free trial CATIA version, but you can request a demo.

Solidworks vs CATIA Ease of use

If you’re a 3D printing rookie who needs to learn how to use 3D modeling programs from scratch, Solidworks will most likely be your best choice. This program is very intuitive and it’s easy to orientate in its interface and somehow limited modules. That allows you to master your designing and modeling skills relatively fast and easy.

CATIA computer-aided designing program is much more complex, so it might be a bit overwhelming for a total beginner. On the other hand, it’s obvious that CATIA’s creators invested a lot of time and effort into the program’s excellent user experience.

Once you orientate in all of its features and modules, you will find them very logical and intuitive too. If you have previous experience with Solidworks before trying out CATIA, it will be your advantage, because these programs are navigated and controlled quite similarly.

What support is available for Solidworks and CATIA

Dassault Systèmes, a French company that produces both Solidworks and CATIA programs, is renowned for providing a thorough and complex support system. You can download all the necessary documentation directly from their web site, or you can access their vast Knowledge Base, where most of your questions can be answered and issues resolved.

Both Solidworks and Catia also come with large user communities – some of them are managed directly by the brands, others are independent. Dassault Systèmes also runs a hotline for all specific questions and inquiries.

If you need professional technical support (whether cloud-based or on-site), your products must be certified and eligible for the desired type of support. During the “Full Support Phase”, there are two available levels of Support Services:

  • SECURE: Basic support which enables a customer to report defects and malfunctions
  • ADVANTAGE: Advanced support available only for certain products and plans

On top of that, you can also buy various optional Support Services.

Of course, CATIA as a more sophisticated and expensive software comes with more support options than its mid-range counterpart.

Pros and Cons

Solidworks

Pros

  • It’s easy to navigate and suitable for beginners
  • It allows collaboration to multiple users (mostly reviewing and viewing)
  • Mid-range product with affordable prices
  • Great for solid modeling projects related to mechanics and machinery
  • Good rendering skills
  • You can request a demo or trial version

Cons

  • It’s good for 3D modeling but lacks many other features
  • It has limited support
  • It works only with Windows
  • No role-based differentiation

CATIA

Pros

  • Robust program with complex features and tons of modules
  • Compatible with Windows and Unix
  • Comes with extensive support
  • Can be used for complex projects in many different fields
  • Integrated Modelica libraries
  • New updates and upgrades are published frequently

Cons

  • Expensive high-end program
  • No trial version available (only demo on request)
  • Probably too complex for a beginner

Are there any alternatives?

Inventor

Inventor is a computer-aided design application by Autodesk that was created specifically for 3D modeling. However, it also allows 2D and 3D integration in a common environment, which enables you to create complex models and very accurate simulations in many different situations and projects.

Inventor includes direct edit, freeform and parametric modeling tools and uses Autodesk’s proprietary modeling kernel ShapeManager. Although Inventor could hardly compete with CATIA’s complexity and sophistication, it’s a very competitive alternative to Solidworks. You can learn more about Inventor software in our Autocad vs Inventor comparison here.

Our Pick
Why go with Autodesk Inventor?

Easier to use, easier to collobarate with others (and teams), better built-in documentation, and better design testing framework makes Autodesk Inventor my pick here.

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Creo Parametric

Creo Parametric is a powerful and flexible 3D modeling software that blends popular features from many other programs, aiming to provide its users with complex experience. Creo is capable of parametric, direct, and assembly modeling, catering to many different fields and tasks.

PTC, Creo’s creator, claims that this is the only modeling software you will ever need – a bold statement, which is supported mainly by Creo’s great compatibility with many other tools and its numerous built-in integrations. This enables seamless collaboration among team members who use various different programs and tools. Creo’s license for 1 year starts at $2,390.

FAQs About Solidworks and CATIA

Can I run any of these programs on Mac?

Solidworks and CATIA are both designed mainly for Windows computers (CATIA also runs with Unix). If you want to use CATIA and Solidworks on a Mac computer, you have to install a parallel Windows OS on your Mac first. As a result, you might be able to use these programs on your Mac with some possible limitations.

Is there a trial version for CATIA or Solidworks?

Solidworks can be tried for free thanks to its demo and trial versions. You can experience the program for free even without the necessity to download and install anything. CATIA comes only with a limited demo version, which is available on request.

Which notable companies use CATIA software?

CATIA is a preferred CAD software in many automotive companies including Škoda, Renault, Volvo, BMW, Fiat, Scania, Tesla Motors, and Porsche. Additionally, CATIA is also used at SpaceX and Boeing.

Where can I get some training if I am a total beginner?

Dassault Systèmes, the producer of all CATIA and Solidworks products, offers various onsite and e-learning training programs that can help you master your 3D modeling skills. You can also become a member of dedicated user communities, where users share their knowledge and help each other overcome various obstacles.

How expensive are these 3D modeling programs?

If you’re a student and need just some of the basic modeling features, you can have the CATIA tool for just $99 per year or Solidworks for $150. Premium version of CATIA that includes all advanced modules can cost you tens of thousands per year for the license plus additional maintenance fees. Solidworks is cheaper, starting at $3995 + $1295 fees annually and offering its Premium version for $7995 + $1995 per year.

Conclusion: CATIA vs Solidworks Tool

Solidworks is a great 3D modeling software that works neatly in many different kinds of assignments. Its strength lies mainly in the 3D modeling itself, and it’s also a good starting point for those, who are new to the computer-aided design software.

But if you can afford to invest in CATIA, we believe you really should. The complexity of this software will allow you to experiment, grow, and broaden your horizons with each new project. Whether its construction, product design, and styling, or systems engineering, the CATIA 3D design CAD program is an all-arounder, that will give you unlimited possibilities.

Thanks to the massive support and various training programs that come with this product, you don’t really need to worry about learning how to work with this comprehensive software. With advanced features for collaboration, CATIA is also great for larger teams.

Of course, we understand that CATIA’s price might be quite discouraging, especially if your project lacks the commercial potential that would outweigh the initial investment. In its class, Solidworks still remains a great option with thousands of satisfied professional users around the world.

Buy 3D Modeling Software | Autodesk

From beginners to professionals, Autodesk has 3D modeling software designed to meet your needs.

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Further Reading on CAD Software, 3D Model Tools, and 3D Design:

Simplify3d vs Slic3r [2021] Which Suits Your Needs?

There are three main components that you need for 3D printing: the filaments, the 3D printer, and the slicing software.

There are several slicing programs available right now, but two of the most popular are Slic3r and Simplify3D.

Main Differences Between Simplify3D vs Slic3r

The Main Differences Between Simplify3D vs Slic3r are:

  • Simplify3D is ideal for beginners, whereas Slic3r is geared towards professional and advanced users
  • Simplify3D’s upgrades are few and far between, whereas Slic3r is constantly being upgraded
  • Simplify3D costs $150, whereas Slic3r is free
  • Simplify3D is not compatible with Linux machines, whereas Slic3r is

Now let’s delve deeper into the differences between Slic3r and Simplify3D.

Slic3r Overview

Slic3r is an open-source slicing software that is very popular with 3D printing enthusiasts. It may be free, but it has some of the most useful and powerful features available today.

Like all slicing programs, Slic3r whittles down your models to different layers and then translates these layers to a set of instructions called G-code. Your 3D printer will then receive these instructions and accurate print what you want.

Slic3r Software

Interfaces

Slic3r has three different user interfaces. There’s the desktop app, the command-line tool, and the libslic3r. Each one of these interfaces has its own functions and features.

Slic3r Desktop App

The desktop app allows you to turn your models into g-code and gives you a preview of the toolpaths. It also allows you to easily configure everything, plus get personalized g-codes with conditional logic.

The app also allows you to print on several machines at the same time, or send commands to OctoPrint. With the use of modifiers, you can get customized regions with their own set of settings.

What you’d like about Slic3r’s interfaces is that it’s very minimalist with no unnecessary frills. You see the most important settings, configurations, and features all on one screen.

  • Command Line Tool

The command-line tool is one of Slic3r’s strongest plus points. The entire program is fully usable through the command line and it gives the ability to do almost all the things that Slic3r can do, so it’s easier to do batch and custom operations.

For instance, you can generate g-code in batches, export SVG slices. You can also use the command-line tool to convert between several file formats, and manipulate your 3D models.

  • Libslic3r

If you want to create customized applications that work with Slic3r, you will appreciate the libslic3r. This C++ library helps you handle 3D models from opening them, to repairing, transforming, and then converting to another format. You can even create G-code in different formats and generate infill patterns.

Libslic3r

Slic3r Features That You Should Know

Slic3r is compatible with a wide range of 3D printers, including Reprap, Lulzbot, Ultimaker, Makergear, Makerbot, and some DLP printers.

With Slic3r, you can easily customize settings from your objects. The print settings help you customize the layers and parameters, set adaptive slicing, and even use a skirt and brims with your project.

Meanwhile, it can also control the filament settings, including the cooling and temperatures necessary for each type of printing you’re going to do. It also allows you to control the retraction speed and length, as well as several other parameters.

The printer settings will allow you to control the extruders and even setup connectivity options.

What You’d Like About Slic3r

Slic3r has a wide range of features and functionalities that you will find necessary when 3D printing. It has a no-frills user interface that helps you focus on the more important features and settings. What’s more, they have tooltips or quick help that gives you tips on what each parameter or value does, and how you can configure it.

Compared to others, Slic3r creates G-codes at a much faster rate. You don’t have to wait for hours for even the most detailed models you have. What’s more, this program can read a wide variety of formats, including STL, OBJ, or AMF. It can then output it in SVG or G-code files.

There is also no need to install this program. You just download and run it, and that’s it. You can use it on any computer running on Linux, Windows, or macOS X.

Lastly, the biggest draw for Slic3r is that it’s open-source, plus there is a very committed community behind it. This means that it quickly and continuously improves.

Slic3r Manual

Other advantages

What other features are there?

  • You can generate a base flange for your 3D printing projects, which makes it adhere to the build plate more securely. You can also easily remove the base flange after you’re done printing.
  • The program allows you to work with several objects with its plating features. But you can opt to print one object at a time.
  • Slic3r can also control fan and print speeds that will guarantee that every layer cools down before the next layer is printed on it.
  • If you’re using multiple filaments and machines, you can manage all of these using Slic3r.

What Can Be better

Slic3r doesn’t have presets for even the most popular filaments or printers. Having these presets should make it easier for you to tweak the settings for these devices or materials.

Simplify3D Overview

Simplify3D is another slicing program that translates your model into instructions for your 3D printer. The company promises that you will get better prints using their software because your 3D printers get better instructions.

This program works with a wide range of 3D printers, so there is a good chance you can benefit. If you’re not sure, you can check your 3D printer’s compatibility here.

This wide range of compatibility will also help you if you have two or more 3D printers. You no longer have to learn different slicing software or switch from one program to another. You can just use Simplify3D for all your machines.

simplify3d

Simplify3D Features

With Simplify3D, you can:

  • Simulate your prints in advance so that you can see what your 3D printer will be doing without wasting filaments. You can see how each layer is printed, so you’d have an idea if there is going to be something wrong with your print. The pre-printing simulation will include settings, sequences, and exact speeds. You don’t only avoid failed prints, but you also save time.
  • Create better support structures that help to get the surface quality your print needs for complex designs. You don’t have to worry because these support structures are easy to remove once you’re done. The best thing about this is that you don’t have to worry about where to put these support structures: Simplify3D will these support structures should be located. You can also customize the positioning, add more supports, and remove those that you think will be useless.

What You’d Like About Simplify3D

Simplify3D has several resources that you can use to improve your 3D printing or get ideas. For instance, it has a blog that includes learning resources, design ideas, and others. Thye also has a community-led forum and official tech support.

You will also love how easy it is to install, to use, and set everything up. Not only do they have customer support, but they also have visual guides that can help you. This is a fast and reliable software that has powerful features. It also has an excellent visualization that can help you see how your printer will print out your design so that you can adjust and correct any issues before printing.

What’s more, you can download profiles for more than 100 3D printers. If you’re using a printer without a readily available profile, you can just add your own easily.

Overall, this slicer software helps you get top-quality and accurate 3D prints. And even with all the features and tweaks that you can do, the program is intuitive and easy to figure out. They also have excellent support and documentation and customizable supports.

slic3r vs simplify3d

What Can Be Better

While this software does a lot of things and does it exceptionally well, it is not free. You can buy it for $149. Similar programs are distributed free. Other programs are paid, but not as expensive as Slic3r. For instance, SelfCAD is available for around $10 per month while KISSicer can be used for free or with a $35 payment.

Comparing the Simplify3D and Splic3r

Simplify3D is an excellent slicing program that can be used by total beginners right through advanced and professional users. Slic3r is pretty much a tool for advanced and professional users.

Slic3r has a steep learning curve and it may be a bit confusing to figure out, but ultimately it’s a free program with a vibrant community. Simplify3D requires you to pay $150 to use the software.

There is also about the issue of upgrades. While Splic3r gets fast, continuous, and free upgrades, Simplify3D doesn’t. For a time, the upgrades for Simplify3D were too slow in coming, or too insignificant.

Version 5.0 was also planned for 2019. It didn’t come to pass, plus the planned upgrade was supposedly a paid one. Slic3r, on the other hand, started off with faster upgrade releases and tapered off. Nevertheless, the people behind this program has been updating almost daily.

Lastly, if you are using a Linux machine, Simplify3D won’t work for you as it’s only for use with Mac or Windows PCs. Slic3r, on the other hand, works with Linux, Windows, and Mac.

Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the questions we get about Slicer programs are here.

1. What Is G-Code?

According to this page, G-code is a programming language that everyone involved in computer numerical control machining. In short, g-code is the language you use in computer-aided manufacturing, including 3D printing. It’s how you tell a 3D printer how to do what you want.

There are many variants of g-code, which would explain why it has several file extensions such as:

  • .gcode
  • .mpt
  • .mpf
  • .nc

G-code is written uniquely depending on the machine it’s used for. For instance, Ultimaker Original uses RepRap, while Ultimaker 2 uses UltiGCode and Ultimaker 3 uses Griffin.

This video will introduce you to the basics of G-code.

what is g-code

2. What is a slicing program?

A slicing program is one that cuts your 3D models into slices or layers. When each layer is done, the program will then interpret it in G-code.

As you know, G-code is a set of instructions that tells your 3D printer what to do, where to position the tool head and make sure that your prints follow the settings.

3. What should you look for in a 3D slicer software?

There are several variables that you should consider when looking for a slicer program:

  • Standard Triangle Language import speed: Helps you save time when doing complicated models on a slow computer
  • Viewer: Your chosen program should display your printable file and you should be able to zoom or turn the image in any which way you want.
  • STL repair: The slicer program should be able to tell you that there are errors in your model
  • Easy to use: Make sure that your slicer program is very intuitive and easy to use.
  • Preview: Make sure that your 3D slicer software will be able to tell you how long it would take to print your 3D models, as well as the materials used.
  • Support: You should be able to get onscreen help, as well as rely on the community for some assistance and answers to your questions.

Splic3r vs Simplify3D: Which One Should You Use?

There are advantages to both the Splic3r and Simplify3D. They are both capable and very powerful slicing programs. However, that’s just the problem: it would seem that as far as features and functionalities are concerned, they both deliver. Simplify3D, however, does offer slightly more features and functionalities that other programs do not, including Splic3r.

But you pay $150 for Simplify3D while you get Splic3r for free. Plus, Splic3r is continuously updated with new features and bug fixes. That is something that you don’t get with Simplify3D.

Also, the truth with slicer programs is that they’re only as good as the amount of time you put into fine-tuning it. For instance, if you have been using Splic3r for a year and you switch to Simplify3D, then your prints will probably go back to a lot of failures and look pretty bad. That being said, it’s better to go for a free program and improve on it, than buy one and do the same.

The only downsides to Splic3r are that it doesn’t have custom supports, and it doesn’t give you a preview on the duration and materials used in your print.

The bottom line is that Simplify3D is a good program that has an outstanding set of features and equally helpful documentation. It would have been a whole lot better if it were free, or at least cheaper than the current $150 price tag it has. On the other hand, Slic3r might be free but it also has leading-edge features that you cannot find elsewhere.

Other CAD Options for 3D Printing

Peopoly Moai Review [2021]: Is It Worth Buying?

The Peopoly Moai is a stereolithography apparatus (SLA) printer, which uses resins to create models, patterns, parts, and prototypes.

Simply put, it is a resin 3D printer. And to create a high-resolution three-dimensional product, it does its printing layer by layer.

The thing with SLA printers is that they are often more expensive than fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. In fact, the Peopoly Moai costs more than $1,000, which is way more than the cost of some higher-end FDM printers.

Peopoly Moai: What You Should Know

One thing that can describe the Peopoly Moai is that it’s big. It stands around 26 inches tall and looks rather severe with its dark plastic casing. The front has the control dial, the small LED screen, and the power button.

When you open the door, you will find the 3D print area, which can create objects with dimensions of around 7 by 5.1 by 5.1 inches. This means that the Peopoly Moai can easily handle tall 3D prints.

The resin goes into the tray located at the bottom area of the printer. The resin printer trays cost around $50 to $60 and you will need to replace it once the 3D print degrades, which the manufacturer says is after you have used up around four liters of resin or so.

The print base is found just above the resin tray.

Peopoly Moai Review

What Features Should You Expect from the Peopoly Moai?

The Peopoly Moai has a sizable build volume, measuring 5.1 by 5.1 by 7.1 inches. It also has a laser spot of about 70 microns, which means that you can get finer details. This 3D printer works with a wide variety of resins. This means that you can print anything using more expensive specialty resins or use more budget-friendly ones.

This 3D printer is also compatible with G-code. Moreover, you can use Cura and other slicing programs that you are already familiar with.

The Peopoly Moai is also compatible with just about any resin that you have. The company sells its own resins, but you can use products from other manufacturers.

When it comes to printing, you can get layers that are as thin as five microns, depending on the resin that you use.

Should You Buy the Pre-Built or the Kit?

The Peopoly Moai comes in three different versions. The original one costs around $1,400

There’s also the Moai 130 that comes in two flavors: Kit and Assembled. The Kit costs around $1,500 while the Assembled version costs around $1,600 (check MatterHackers here for the latest). The kit needs to be assembled: it’s easy to do so, but it can take a lot of time.

What are the Differences Between the Original Moai and the Moai 130?

Looking at both printers side by side, you will see that nothing much has changed with the Peopoly Moai 130. It’s still the same big and black printer. But inside, you will find that there are now better pieces of hardware. For instance, the Moai 130 has a new print plate that is very easy to level, unlike the aluminum block that came with the original.

You also have the FEP resin vat that means your print quality degrades over a longer period of time. You have to clean it less frequently, as well. The newer Moai model also has an LED UV lamp and a heater block.

in short, the Moai 130 tries to correct everything that people complained about in the original Moai. No more tedious leveling and you don’t need to pay it as much attention as before.

Moai vs Moai 130

What You Would Like About the Peopoly Moai

The biggest draw of the Peopoly Moai is the low cost. It’s one of the most affordable SLA printers out there and it delivers quality prints as long as you know what you’re doing. What’s more, you can get support from an active community of users.

If you’re an old-timer in 3D printing, you will certainly like the level of control that the Peopoly Moai gives you. You can change the settings to control every aspect of printing.

Peopoly Moai Pros and Cons

Peopoly Moai Pros

  • Solid and sturdy
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent support materials and guides
  • Compatible with third-party resins and software
  • Elegant look
  • Outstanding print quality with minimal post-processing work

What Can Be Better

The package doesn’t include any resin, so you will have to buy them separately. But more than that, this 3D printer is not for beginners. Just preparing the 3D models is enough to confuse you if you don’t have experience printing 3D models. It also doesn’t have network connectivity and doesn’t allow you to hook up any USB connections. You will need to use a USB card to load your files.

There is also no software or web camera to monitor your printing progress. Instead, you need to open the door to see if your print is done. However, Peopoly does give you a list of software that are compatible with their product, including Meshmixer and Cura.

Peopoly Moai Cons

  • Printing jobs can be messy
  • Leveling the bed can be a bit maddening
  • There is no air filter

The Bottom Line: Peopoly Moai

The Peopoly Moai may look like an introductory SLA 3D printer because of its simple and no-frills design and its relatively easy operation. But there are certain things about the Peopoly Moai that are not ideal for beginners.

For one, you will have to do a lot of tweaking in its settings and controls for you to get the best quality of 3D prints. And with the higher costs associated with SLA printers, trial and error with your prints should be at a minimum.

What’s more, this printer has no complementary washing station and there isn’t any guideline for how to deal with the mess of the SLA 3D prints. There is also no official Peopoly Moai software solution you can use for preparing 3D models for slicing.

However, the Peopoly Moai is pitched as an ideal machine for those who love to experiment on their 3D prints, given its flexibility and its ability to accept third-party resins. Users can use the Peopoly Moai to build their knowledge base on it.

Peopoly Moai users also contend that the main issue does not pertain to the printer itself but lies more in the learning curve if SLA technology. The printer offers joy in its design and in the products you get to create with it. As long as you have no qualms about getting your hands dirty, the Peopoly Moai may very well be the finest piece of equipment you can get in your foray into SLA 3D printing.

Should I Buy Peopoly Moai

Frequently Asked Questions

We will try to answer some of the questions that people ask when it comes to SLA printers.

1. SLA vs FDM Printers: What is the Difference?

You may also want to know the difference between an SLA printer and an FDM printer before making the decision to get the Peopoly Moai. Knowing this should give you an understanding of how the Peopoly Moai differs from FDM 3D printers available today.

Materials and Colors

The main difference between an SLA printer and an FDM printer is the materials and colors they use. While an SLA printer uses resins, an FDM printer uses filaments that are made of plastic, nylon, and other materials and specialty products. An FDM printer creates a model or object by melting the filament and pushing it out of its extruders layer by layer.

While filaments are available in a variety of colors, depending on what you need and prefer, the color options for resins are very limited. Moreover, most SLA printers would require you to exclusively use resins from the same manufacturer. So, generally speaking, if a particular SLA printer manufacturer only makes white, gray, black, and clear resins, then you can only print objects in any of these colors.

Printing Precision

If you want to print a 3D object with minute details using an FDM printer, you primarily consider two things: the size of the printer’s nozzle and the accuracy of its X/Y axis movements. If you are using an SLA printer, you consider the optical spot size.

So which of the two printers generally deliver finer and more accurate 3D prints? An SLA printer delivers a smoother and more accurate output than an FDM printer. This is because an SLA printer’s resolutions rely on the size of the optical spot and less force is applied on the object while being printed.

Post-Print Processing

With an FDM printer, the printed objects are easy to remove. But with an SLA printer, removing the 3D prints can be a cumbersome task. It can also be rather messy, with a lot of resin left on the platform.

FDM and SLA printers also differ in the post-print processing they require. For objects printed using an FDM printer, you will need to remove the supports and all the excess plastic. You will also need to do some sanding for a smoother finished product.

Meanwhile, models created using an SLA printer need to be cleaned and cured. You will need to soak them in a cleaning solution, usually isopropyl alcohol, to get rid of any residue. Some people even use an ultrasonic cleaner. After the cleaning, you will have to cure the resin using a high wavelength UV light (UV resin light).

Cost

Over time, FDM printers are less costly. Aside from the fact that SLA printers are pricier than FDM printers, the materials you’ll need for FDM printing are also not as costly. In fact, you can get filament for less than $30 per kilogram.

With SLA printers, on the other hand, you will have to stock up on resin, which is already rather pricey. Moreover, you will also need to change the resin tank after you use up two to three liters of resin.

2. How Does an SLA Printer Work?

Before we go into the things you need to know about the Peopoly Moai, let’s get one thing out of the way first: How does an SLA printer work?

An SLA 3D printer is equipped with an ultraviolet laser that hardens liquid resin contained in a reservoir to form your desired 3D shape. In other words, the printing process involves converting photosensitive liquid into a solid, three-dimensional plastic shape layer by layer using low-power laser and photopolymerization.

As the printer finishes one layer, if lifts the model to allow more resin to come in. It will then zap the new layer of resin with its UV laser.

3. When does it make sense to use an SLA printer?

If you are currently using FDM printers and you are thinking about trying out resin printing, here are some things that you should know:

  • If you are going for a budget SLA printer, then you should know that you are probably going to be limited to smaller build volumes.
  • SLA printing can be very messy.
  • SLA printing has more consumables.
  • Resin printing makes sense if you need to print in batches because cleanup is required after every print, no matter how big or small the job is.

When you consider resin printing, you should be aware that there are hidden costs to it. Unlike FDM prints where you only worry about the filaments, resin printing involves more than just the printer price and the price of a bottle of resin. Nevertheless, one of the best reasons why you should go for SLA printing is because the prints just look great.

Peopoly Moai Alternatives and Close Competitors

If you would like to explore your other options, here are a few alternatives to the Peopoly Moai that you might want to check out:

1. Phrozen Sonic Mini

Phrozen Sonic Mini

The Sonic Mini from Taiwanese manufacturer Phrozen is a budget resin 3D printer, launching at $200. It is an LCD-based Masked Stereolithography (MSLA) printer. This professional high-speed machine can print models as fast as five centimeters per hour given optimal conditions.

Users love how this printer is easy to set up and a breeze to use. The Phrozen Sonic Mini is also touted for its LCD panel’s ability to allow much more light through than that of other budget resin printers. As a result, it is able to cure a layer of resin in less than two seconds.

The print resolution is not as good as that of its competitors, but users would argue that the print quality is not so bad. In fact, considering that it prints fast and it is a cheap printer, they would say that the quality of the print is better than expected.

The Sonic Mini runs on an off-the-shelf ChiTu board and you can prepare the model using the user-friendly ChiTuBox software.

Phrozen Sonic Mini | 3D Printers Online Store

This is a really great budget resin printer and it prints insanely fast. You could print almost anything!

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Phrozen Sonic Mini vs Peopoly Moai

The Sonic Mini is much cheaper than the Peopoly Moai, but it also has a lower print resolution. It does, however, print faster. Moreover, just like with the Peopoly Moai, you are able to use resin from third-party suppliers with the Sonic Mini.

Phrozen Sonic Mini: Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up and user-friendly
  • Fast printing

Phrozen Sonic Mini: Cons

  • Smaller than the average build volume
  • Slight resolution hit
  • Obscured USB input

2. Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

Formlabs Form 3 is the ideal printer for printing small batches of excellent-quality, high-detailed prototypes. This printer introduces Low Force Stereolithography 3D printing to the desktop and offers the perfect balance between speed and detail, as well as reliability and high repeatability.

Moreover, the Form 3 boasts a custom-designed Light Processing Unit inside, as well as a compact system of integrated mirrors and lenses to consistently produce accurate prints. The printer’s updated optical system features a dense and precise laser spot that also contributes to easy clean-up after printing and smoother parts for the 3D prints with tear-away light-touch supports.

The Form 3 does not need specialized training to operate. You can plug it and print it right out of the box. It also has user-replaceable components and, with a streamlined cartridge system, you can switch between materials in just a matter of seconds.

Additionally, the Form 3 is complemented by easy-to-use software. Not to mention Formlabs’ post-processing tools: the Form Wash and Form Cure stations. The combination of all these tools allows you to handle a particular print job one-handed and with as less input and less contact with resin as possible – from the preparation stage to washing and curing.

However, while the Form 3 sounds like a dream, it comes with its own share of faults. For one, dust and particles accumulate on the LPU’s glass window and block the light paths rather too soon. Another issue pertains to its disposable resin vats, which tend to wear out very quickly, as well.

Formlabs Form 3 vs Peopoly Moai

A traditional SLA setup like that of the Peopoly Moai uses a stationary laser to trace the model into the resin, with its beam directed by a pair of mirror-toting galvanometers.

However, the Form 3’s LFS bounces the laser beam through an extended path – through a chain of a single galvanometer, mirror, and parabolic mirror – while rowing the laser module back and forth along the print’s X-axis.

This extended path for the laser beam ensures that it can hit the resin perpendicular to a point on the print plate and this ensures print scalability and consistent edge-to-edge quality.

The Form 3 may be way more expensive than the Peopoly Moai, with prices ranging from $3500 to $9700, but it offers industrial prints at a price that is still a fraction of the price of traditional industrial printers.

Formlabs Form 3: Pros

  • Speedy printing without compromising print quality
  • Very accurate prints, with smooth surfaces and sharp details
  • One-click printing
  • Compatible software and post-processing tools from the same manufacturer

Formlabs Form 3: Cons

  • Early issues with dust collected in the laser unit
  • Wasteful resin cartridges
  • Can only use Formlabs resin
  • Absence of “off” button

3. Creality Ender 5 Pro

Creality Ender 5

With a price tag of $390, the Creality Ender 5 Pro is another 3D printer under $500. However, it is an FDM 3D printer, so you can really expect it to be more affordable and budget-friendly than most SLA machines.

The Creality Ender 5 Pro carries the same specs and looks as its predecessor, the Creality Ender 5, but with upgraded features. For one, this 3D printer has a large metal extruder frame and an expanded build volume. The frame allows it to provide stronger pressure while pushing the melted filament through the printer’s nozzle. It also works more quietly and has an improved filament tubing that produces a smoother printing output.

This printer has a 260 degrees Centigrade nozzle temperature, making it compatible with various filaments. In terms of output quality, the Ender 5 Pro can print shapes with a 100-micron resolution.

Like the Creality Ender 5 before it, the Ender 5 Pro is a relatively easy-to-build do-it-yourself kit with pre-assembled axes. All you need to do is just attach the Z-axis to the base, plug the printer in, and be ready to print. The assembly required for the Ender 5 Pro takes less than an hour to finish.

Moreover, the Ender 5 Pro’s X- and Y-axis measurements are the same as its predecessor, but it has more print area on the Z-axis. Its double Y-axis control system is also a unique feature. Its Y-axis motor directs both sides of the gantry to simultaneously create a smoother movement and reduce any potential vibrations that may create flaws in your printed models.

Additionally, the Creality Ender 5 Pro has a flexible and detachable magnetic print bed that allows you to easily remove prints. This print bed is self-adhesive and can, therefore, be quickly mounted back onto the build plate (build platform).

Overall, the Ender 5 Pro is a solid and reliable printer that is able to quietly print smooth objects with fine details. You would also love how it has a power supply protection device, wherein it would stop then resume its printing function in case of a sudden power interruption.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 Pro 3D Printer Upgrade Silent Mother Board Metal Feeder Extruder and Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing 220 x 220 x 300mm Build Volume
$399.99

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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05/13/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Creality Ender 5 Pro vs Peopoly Moai

It may be hard to compare these two 3D printers as they have different printing technologies. The Ender 5 Pro is an FDM printer that uses filaments while the Peopoly is an SLA printer that uses resin. However, both are affordable for a printer under their respective categories, and both of them offer solid print quality.

The Ender 5 Pro also has a significantly larger build volume than the Peopoly Moai at 220 x 220 x 300 millimeters versus the latter’s 130 x 130 x 180 millimeters. And because the Peopoly Moai does not have its own proprietary software, you may use ones that are also compatible with the Ender 5 Pro, such as Cura and Simplify3D.

Creality Ender 5 Pro: Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Reliable
  • Solid print quality
  • Super quiet printing
  • Game-changing Capricorn Bowden tube
  • Power supply protection device
  • Power and micro USB slots are located at the front

Creality Ender 5 Pro: Cons

  • Flimsy magnetic bed
  • Wires can drag on the build plate
  • Bed leveling is tricky
  • No runout sensor for filament

Should You Buy the Peopoly Moai?

For those who already know the basics of 3D printing, the Peopoly Moai resin is a great tool to invest in. With this printer, you can get 3D shapes with excellent quality. And while it is significantly pricier than any comparable FDM printer, it has an entry-level price for an SLA printer.

In a nutshell, getting the Peopoly Moai is really a question of preference. If you are looking for something that is easier on your budget, then get an FDM printer such as Creality Ender 5. If better quality prints are your priority, then get an SLA 3D printer such as Formlabs Form 3. And if you want an SLA printer that is not too steeply-priced, then go for the Peopoly Moai.

Further Reading on 3D Printing & Printer Model Evaluations:

Muse vs Glowforge [2021] Which Laser Cutter Is The Best?

In my Muse v Glowforge comparison, I’m going to show you which is the best laser cutter you can use alongside a 3D or just on its own.

While 3D printers work by creating shapes out of filament, laser cutters can create flat objects quicker and it is a process of subtraction. You can use laser cutters to create a wide variety of objects from jewelry, art, home, decor designs, and much more.

I will go over the ins and outs of a Muse and Glowforge laser cutter, including the features of each device, how easy they are to use, what their cost comparison is like, and finally which one we recommend and why.

My Bottom Line Up Front Summary: While both cutters are competent, I personally prefer the Muse Laser Cutter here as it’s more affordable, compatible with more materials, comes with a a user friendly LCD screen, and doesn’t rely entirely on a cloud based architecture.

Main Differences Between Muse vs Glowforge

The main differences between Muse vs Glowforge are:

  • Muse uses an external water cooling unit, whereas Glowforge has a built-in internal cooling system.
  • Muse laser cutter can be used offline, whereas the Glowforge relies on cloud-based software so you need to be connected to the internet
  • Muse has an LCD touch screen, whereas the Glowforge does not
  • Muse has only basic support, whereas Glowforge have many support options including a community forum.

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter? | Matter Hackers

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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Both of these laser cutters are powerful devices and they can be used both at home by individuals and hobbyists as well as in small businesses.

Exploring Muse and Glowforge features

For this comparison, I am going to look at two popular laser cutters, the Muse from Full Spectrum Lasers and the Glowforge Pro Plus.

Cutting

Let’s start off with the main reason you will be investing in a laser cutter – cutting up objects to make shapes and designs. While you can find a range of affordable 3D printers nowadays, you’ll still likely need something to cut prints and etch designs. This is why laser cutters are a helpful thing to have and they can be used in their own right to cut out designs from various materials.

The Muse laser cutter uses a 45W laser with a resolution of 1000 dpi and it works well to cut into materials such as acrylic, wood (such as MDF and plywood) and leather. It is powerful enough as well to engrave metal. You can purchase a rotary attachment which will allow you to engrave curved objects although it will cost extra on top of the price of the laser cutter itself.

The Glowforge Pro Plus also uses a 45w laser to cut into objects. It also offers a more powerful experience than some of the other laser cutters from Glowforge (namely the Basic and Plus models) and it does this very quickly. If speed is what you are after without loss of precision, the Glowforge does this very well. You can cut into a wide variety of ‘soft’ materials such as wood, leather, acrylic and more while ‘hard’ materials such as glass and metal can be engraved.

Cooling

Laser cutters can and do get very hot and this is why they come with cooling systems. You’ll still need to keep the cutters in a ventilated area which is something to think about if you are planning on buying one.

The Muse laser cutter has an external water cooler which helps keep the temperature down on the device. You’ll need to keep this in mind when it comes to where you are going to put the Muse laser cutter. The external water pump will take up some extra room. That being said, it works really well to keep the cutter cool so it doesn’t overheat and if you don’t have an upgraded exhaust system on the Muse you’ll need to keep it beside a window to get rid of any fumes it produces.

One of the big differences between the Muse and the Glowforge is in its cooling system and rather than having an external water pump to do this, the Glowforge comes with a closed-loop self-contained internal cooling system. This helps save on space and it uses air from the room that it is situated in to reduce the heat of the device. It works between temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16C) and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24C).

 

Software

Like 3D printers that rely on different types of software to create models and designs, laser cutters need software too so that cuts are accurate. Muse and Glowforge use different software to achieve this.

The Muse laser cutter uses a touch screen which is fairly standard for the price range it is in and it also uses software called RetinaEngrave. It is pretty straightforward to use and the big advantage here is that it can be used offline so you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to use this laser cutter. There is a camera system too which will help with the alignment of your cuts.

The Glowforge Plus is a bit different. It operates using cloud-based software that is native to Glowforge so you need to sign up to the web app and be connected to the internet. This is fine if the laser cutter is set somewhere with a good internet connection however because it relies on cloud technology, any interruptions of the internet will cause problems. That being said, the software has a lot of presets to work with which makes cutting a lot less time-consuming.

Platforms

The software that you use with a laser cutter should be compatible with various platforms and operating systems. If you predominantly use a Mac then your laser cutter software that is only available on Windows and Linux isn’t going to be problematic.

Luckily both Muse and Glowforge use software that is compatible with a variety of platforms. The software that Glowforge uses is cloud-based and can be used with any OS from Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and the RetinaEngrave that Muse has can be used on a variety of operating systems too from Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Specifications for Muse and Glowforge

Muse Glowforge
Cooling: Closed-loop self-contained internal cooling Cooling: Water cooling
Software: Glowforge native software Software: RetinaEngrave V2 software
Beam Power: 45w (upgrade) Beam Power: 45w
Tech: CO2 Laser tube Tech: CO2 Laser tube

Comparing Muse and Glowforge pricing

Just as 3D printers have come down in price in recent years as the tech advances and they become more accessible, laser cutters are the same. They aren’t the cheapest pieces of kit you can buy however they aren’t completely out of the price range for many people either.

 

The Muse 2D from MatterHackers costs around $3,500 for the base cutter / engraver / coolbox here. This includes the standard 40w laser (the 45w is an upgrade), external cooling system, and a one year warranty as well as the RetinaEngrave software that I spoke about above.

The Muse 3D Vision Autofocus version is a step up significantly in price to $7,249 via MatterHackers here. This leverages the latest 3D Vision technology from FDL.

You can also add various additional elements for an extra costs such as:

The Glowforge Pro is a little bit more expensive at around $5995. For that price, you get the laser cutter, inbuilt cooling system, and one year of a comprehensive warranty.

You can also add an additional air filter which is an external unit to clean the fumes and air that comes from the cutter. It isn’t necessary but it will negate the need to keep the laser cutter beside a window.

 

Muse v Glowforge Ease of Use

As laser cutters like Muse and Glowforge have become more accessible to the wider market, their ease of use has got better too. Having a difficult to operate piece of kit isn’t going to appeal to the masses who might be using these cutters for hobbies or just on an occasional basis. So, how easy are these two devices to use?

  • The Muse has the benefit of an LCD screen which greatly enhances its operation and makes things a lot more straightforward. The RetinaEngrave software is fairly easy to use as well so you shouldn’t encounter any problems. The camera is great for ensuring accurate and straight cuts and overall the muse is intuitive and user friendly even to those who have little to no experience of operating a laser cutter.
  • The Glowforge is in the same easy to use category. While it doesn’t benefit from an LCD screen, the cloud-based software isn’t difficult to get to grips with and its various features are user friendly as well. All updates are installed via the cloud so you don’t even have to worry about updating the software on your own either.

What support is available for Muse and Glowforge

Even if you aren’t using a laser cutter for the first time, you may need help so it is ideal to have a good system of support in place should you require it.

Glowforge has various options if you need any help using the laser cutter. They have a live chat and message option on their website or you can email them and contact them via their social media channels if you wish.

There is also a handy FAQ section to the site and the Community has regular updates. The Community Forum is also a great place to interact with other Glowforge users and there are forums for free laser designs, tips and tricks and general and technical queries too.

Laser Spectrum, which are the creators of Muse, do not offer the same level of support as Glowforge although they do have a contact form on their website and some guides including video tutorials which are helpful. It would be nice to see a community forum like Glowforge where you can interact with other users.

Pros and Cons

Muse

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter? | Matter Hackers

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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Muse Pros

  • Affordable and powerful laser cutter
  • Can cut into various materials and engrave metal
  • Comes with an LCD screen for ease of use
  • Software is straightforward to operate
  • Offer video tutorials and design samples
  • Can use this laser cutter offline

Muse Cons

  • Needs an external cooling system which takes up space
  • Support options could be better

Glowforge

Glowforge Plus 3D Laser Printer | Amazon

Push the button and the powerful 40 watt laser creates meaningful gifts for your friends, unique products to sell, or something personalized just for you.

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Glowforge Pros

  • Easy to use laser cutter with a reasonable price tag
  • Can cut into a variety of materials
  • Has an internal cooling system
  • Wide range of support options should you need help
  • Software is intuitive and straightforward

Glowforge Cons

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

Are There Any Other Laser Cutter Alternatives?

FLUX BeamBox Pro (50W)

 

If you need a bit more power than the Muse or Glowforge, check out the FLUX BeamBox Pro here.

The powerful 50W CO2 laser features a in-built HD camera, closed loop internal cooling system, integrated ventilation and additional safety features (emergency shut off, smart lid, etc…). The bse version is a bit of a price increase at $4,299 via MatterHackers here, but not so much as to but it into the fully commercial grade (see further down this list).

Boss LS-1416 (Commerical Grade)

 

As an alternative to both the Laser Spectrum Muse and the Glowforge Pro, the Boss LS-1416 is a powerful laser cutter that comes in at a cheaper price for the standard package. You’ll get a 50w CO2 laser tube and it uses a water pump cooling system.

The Lightburn software is included and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices and you can add in extras such as better fume extractors and rotary attachments. The base price is just shy of $4000 (although this can rise considerably with upgrades) but the standard ‘out of the box’ model is a powerful cutter.

Dremel Digilab LC40

A halfway point between the desktop studio options and the commercial grade players (below), the Digilab LC40 is a more polished offering from a reputable name in the industry (Dremel makes many popular 3D printers).

The Digilab LC40 is available for about $6,500 via MatterHackers here.

Our Pick
We Prefer the Dremel Laser Cutter | Matter Hackers

Dremel is just a better system for extended use. UL approved, modular components (easy replacement), full color touch controls and offline printing capability make it the clear choice.

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ZMorph VX Multitool

The ZMorph is not purely a cutter, it’s actually a printer, cutter, and engraving multitool. It might sound like it’s too good to be true, but it’s actually reasonably competent. Read our full ZMorph VX Review for further details.

Frequently Asked Questions about Muse and Glowforge

Question: Do I need a laser cutter and a 3D Printer?

Answer: Not always, although you may need to cut some 3D Prints for better accuracy depending on what you are printing and the type of 3D printer you have.

Question: Can I use the laser cutters without accessing the internet?

Answer: The laser cutter from Glowforge requires an internet connection as it is cloud-based; however, the Muse doesn’t, and you can use it offline.

Question: What operating systems can I use the Glowforge Pro on?

Answer: As it is cloud-based you can use it on virtually any OS including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android and Linux.

Question: What operating systems can I use the Muse on?

Answer: Muse uses softwaare called RetinaEngrave and it can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Question: Can a laser cutter overheat?

Answer: Yes. Overheating can be a problem with laser cutters depending on how often and how long you are using them. Both of these laser cutters have cooling systems though. The Muse has an external one, and the Glowforge has an in-built one to help combat this problem. Overheating can lead to CO2 bursting, so, make sure you monitor how hot the device gets.

Question: What types of material can I cut?

Answer: Afforable laser cutters like the two I have compared can cut a variety of softer materials such as woods like MDF, leather, acrylic, while they also have the capability of engraving harder materials such as metal and glass.

Question: What support is available?

Answer: Both Laser Spectrum and Glowforge have various support options available, however, Glowforge has more comprehensive help due to their active community forums.

Conclusion: Muse or Glowforge?

These two laser cutters are powerful enough to carry out a range of functions for both small businesses and individuals alike. Laser cutting has become much more accessible for hobbyists too as the price is now a lot more affordable.

Both Muse and Glowforge have their merits and they both perform their functions very well.

Which is the best though?

It is a close call but I would have to go with the Muse for a few reasons. For one it doesn’t operate solely on the cloud which is a big bonus for me. While under normal circumstances there isn’t anything wrong with cloud-based technology. If your internet stops working or is interrupted you’re going to run into problems. I also like the fact that the Muse has an LCD screen which is a great addition.

It does have a few drawbacks such as the extra space the water cooling pump takes up and the different support options aren’t great. The community at Glowforge is much better.

That being said, for the price the Muse from Laser Spectrum is a great piece of kit. It not only cuts into a wide range of materials and does it with precision and accuracy but it’s affordable and really easy to get to grips with as well.

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter? | Matter Hackers

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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Further Reading on Laser Scanners:

Ender 3 vs Ender 5 [2021]: Which One Is The Big Winner?

Creality has always been coming out with a 3D printer that has good print quality at prices that you will love.

There are a lot of Ender models out there, with the company coming out with Pro and Plus versions of different models. The Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5 are two of the company’s best known 3D printers.

How does one compare to the other? Which one is the better printer for your needs?

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: It’s easy to recommend the more current tech, faster printing, and bigger build area provided by the Creality Ender 5 here. That said, if you are very sensitive to price or just buying your first 3D printer to tool around on, the Creality Ender 3 is a still a great printer here.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 Pro 3D Printer Upgrade Silent Mother Board Metal Feeder Extruder and Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing 220 x 220 x 300mm Build Volume
$399.99

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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05/13/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Main Differences Between Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5

The Main Differences Between Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5

  • The Ender 5 has a bigger build volume at 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches, whereas Ender 3 only has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches.
  • The Ender 5 is easy to set up and takes only around half an hour to finish the assembly with an easy to understand user guide, whereas the Ender 3 takes significantly longer with an estimated assembly time of around two to three hours.
  • The Ender 5 uses an MK10 hot end, whereas Ender 3 uses an earlier version: MK8.
  • The Ender 5 uses a Meanwell PSU, whereas Ender 3 has a generic power supply unit.
  • The Ender 5 is more expensive option priced at $330, whereas Ender 3 sells for around $190

Creality Ender 3: What You Need to Know

Two things make the Creality Ender 3 a stand out. For one, it has an amazingly low price: it sells for less than $200. Secondly, It is possibly the best printer out there at that price with a few tweaks and a little work.

The Creality Ender 3 has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches, a power recovery mode, and a heated build plate. That’s just some of its unexpected features that you can only find on more expensive models. This 3D printer can work with a wide variety of filaments, including ABS, PETG, PLA, and some exotic filaments.

What Features Can You Expect from the Creality Ender 3?

This fused deposition modeling printer has a sizable print bed. To give you an idea, the Ender 2’s the heated print bed is around half as big as the one you see on Ender 3. There are also fewer chances of your prints coming off the bed in the middle of your print.

If it loses power during printing, the printer can just resume where it left off when you turn it back on. The Creality Ender 3 also has an LCD with a control wheel. It is also open-source, which means that the designs and components are freely available for you to copy or look at. What’s more, printing speed can reach up to 7.9 inches per second with a 0.1-millimeter layer resolution.

What Is in the Box?

The Ender 3 package comes with the 3D printer components that you will need to assemble. It also has:

  • Tools, including hex keys, wrenches, and screwdrivers
  • Nozzle cleaner
  • Sample filament
  • Zip ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Spatula
  • Nozzles

It also has a USB stick that contains the test models, the manuals, and other files that you need to print your first models.

The Bottom Line

With the Creality Ender 3, you get an affordable printer that has a good print volume and good quality prints. It is also open source and has a tight filament path that allows you to use flexible filaments. Plus you can make it better with upgrades that you can 3D print.

Of course, It is not without its weaknesses. It does have an uneven base, which makes it a bit wobbly, and leveling it can be a chore. It also needs to be calibrated manually and the bed will need to be re-leveled over time.

Overall, this is a great printer for beginners and those who are on a budget.

Great and Affordable Alternative
Official Creality Ender 3 3D Printer | Creality

Advanced Extruder Technology: Upgraded extruder greatly reduces plugging risk and bad extrustion; V-shape with POM wheels make it move noiseless, smoothly and durable.

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Creality Ender 5: What Can You Expect

The Creality Ender 5 came out not long after the company released the Ender 3 Pro, and it looks way different from its predecessors. The Ender 5 now has a box frame that is made of aluminum.

The Creality Ender 5 has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches, with a Z-axis that is bigger than the Ender 3. All three axes of the Ender 5 has its stepper motor. This is a stable printer that is powered by a Meanwell 350-watts power supply that is found on the Ender 3 Pro. The use of this power supply means that you can heat the bed a whole lot faster than when your 3D printer has a generic power source.

The Bottom Line

The Creality Ender 5 is one of those low-cost printers under $500 that really delivers when it comes to top-quality prints. This 3D printer can handle faster prints achieving 3.1 inches per second without compromising on quality. Plus the magnetic bed that it has allowed you to remove the prints with ease. The Ender 5 is also upgradeable, so you can change any component or print 3D updates to make it work better.

However, this 3D printer is far from perfect. The Creality Ender 5’s magnetic bed is not durable and is rather flimsy. Some owners complain about how difficult it is to lad filaments. Plus, the printer menu does not include some functions. Bed leveling is also done manually.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 Pro 3D Printer Upgrade Silent Mother Board Metal Feeder Extruder and Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing 220 x 220 x 300mm Build Volume
$399.99

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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05/13/2021 04:11 pm GMT

What Are the Main Differences Between the Ender 3 and Ender 5?

So now that you have a clear grasp of both the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5, It is time to drill down and learn the differences between these two models.

1. Build Volume

The building size of the Creality Ender 3 measures 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches. Meanwhile, Ender 5’s building size is 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches. The differences in print volume mean that you can do bigger models on the Ender 5. The bigger size will also make the Ender 5 more stable than its predecessor when printing.

Winner: Ender 5. Having a bigger build volume will allow you to print a wider variety of models, even bigger ones. If you are only into printing minis, then Ender 3 is more ideal for you.

2. Setup and Assembly

Between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5, setting up and assembling the latter is a much easier and faster undertaking. You can finish assembling the Ender 5 in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes.

A big part of this is that Ender 5 has a guide book that is easy to understand and follow. It also has fewer parts to put together.

Ender 3, with more parts to assemble, can take more than two to three hours to finish. There are also complaints that the Ender 3’s assembly instructions are difficult to understand, with missing steps and poor instructions.

Winner: Ender 5. Nothing ruins a good product more than confusing assembly instructions. The Ender 5’s user guide makes you feel like the company is taking time to make everything easier for you.

3. Hot End

The Creality Ender 5 has a better hot end. This 3D printer uses a Creality MK10, while the Ender 3 has an MK8. The MK10 results in less clogging and it also has fewer filament jams.

Winner: Ender 5.

4. Power Supply

The stock power supply on the Creality Ender 3 is a generic China-made product, while the Ender 5 uses a Meanwell PSU. What does this mean? Well, the Ender 5 uses the power supply that is safer than the stock power source you see on the Ender 3. Mean Well are safer and more reliable, and you are sure that the company uses top-quality components that result in fewer power sags and spikes.

It is also quieter because the fans only run when needed, which is less than 20 percent of the time. Using a Mean Well power supply also keeps the power consistent, which helps avoid problems with bed-leveling. It is also smaller in size than the Ender 3’s generic power supply.

It is easy to upgrade to a Meanwell PSU, but it can cost you some significant amount of money. For instance, a one-pack LRS-350-24 Single Output Switchable Power that has 350.4 watts and can deliver 24 volts and a current of 14.6 amperes costs around $33.

Winner: Ender 5.

Meanwell PSU | Amazon
$34.16

The Meanwell PSU is a great and easy way to upgrade your 3D Printer, so you can get the best of it!

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05/13/2021 02:09 pm GMT

5. Thermal Runaway Protection

Thermal runaway is when your 3D printer gets hot, which only makes it hotter. The increase in temperature will cause further increases in temperature. The domino effect resulting in more and more temperature increases.

In 3D printing, thermal runaway can cause your printer to reach dangerous temperatures. The Creality Ender 3 has thermal runaway protection. For instance, if the printer keeps attempting to heat the filaments and it gets dangerously hot, the system will cool it down when it gets too hot. The Ender 3 can monitor the temperatures and compare them to the ideal levels.

The Ender 5 did not initially have this feature, but some newer buyers are reporting that their newer Ender 5s already have thermal runaway protection. This might mean that the Ender 5 now has the V1.1.4 board that has this feature, instead of the old v1.1.3 mainboard. So It is best to ask first before you key in your credit card details. That, or it has a new firmware.

Winner: Ender 3, but not by much.

6. Print Quality

Between the Creality Ender 3 and the Ender 5, the Ender 5 is closer to a Core XY printer. The Ender 5 moves along both the X and Y axes, while the Ender 3 only moves along the X-axis. What is more, Ender 5 has a box frame, which lends more stability when it prints.

Most of the other specifications for both printers are roughly the same.

Winner: Ender 5.

7. Pricing

On the official site, the Ender 3 sells for $205.99, while the Ender 5 sells for $499.99.

Winner: Save more with Creality Ender 3.

Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are currently looking for a 3D printer, then you are sure to have a lot of questions. Fire away while we answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the differences between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5.

1. What is Creality?

Creality is a Chinese 3D printer manufacturer based in Shenzhen China. the company is known for its excellent 3D printers that are packed with features and a wallet-friendly price tag. According to the company, yearly shipments of 3D printers and other products is now more than 800,000 units.

But what makes Creality’s products even more attractive is the vibrant user community it has. The company reports that they have more than 200,000 users in the community.

2. What are the similarities between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5?

Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5 are both upgradeable. That means if you do not want to manually level the beds on these machines, you can just fit in a BL Touch device to automatically do it. Or you can pop in a Silent Motherboard to keep the noise levels down.

More than that, both Ender 3 and Ender 5 have the same extruder and hot end assemblies, as well as the same mainboard.

3. Are there differences between the Plus and Pro versions of Creality’s Ender Series printers?

Creality often comes out with a Pro and a Plus version of their 3D printers. For instance, the Ender 5 has an Ender 5 Pro version that has better extender frames, filament tubes, and mainboard, as well as other components. As a result, Ender 5 is quieter, more durable, and fewer failures in printing.

Meanwhile, the Ender 5 Plus features a bigger build volume, BL touch, and tempered glass plates, all of which are not found on the original Ender 5.

Ender 5 Compared to Ender 3 Pro

The Ender 5 has a bigger build volume, which allows for bigger models. It is a bit faster than Ender 3. It also has a better power supply. The Ender 5 also has a better print quality and a better filament pathway than the Ender 3.

It is easy to recommend the Creality Ender 5.

However, some people might prefer Ender 3 because of its budget-friendly price tag and more compact size. If you do not have too much space in your work area or if you do not have too much money to spare, then go with the Creality Ender 3.

The thing is, you can never go wrong with either model. You will need to spend quite a significant amount of time tweaking these models for better prints, but getting a high-quality print is very much possible. However, if you do have the money to pay for the Creality Ender 5, think about getting that 3D printer instead.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: It’s easy to recommend the more current tech, faster printing, and bigger build area provided by the Creality Ender 5 here. That said, if you are very sensitive to price the Creality Ender 3 is a still a great printer here.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 Pro 3D Printer Upgrade Silent Mother Board Metal Feeder Extruder and Capricorn Bowden PTFE Tubing 220 x 220 x 300mm Build Volume
$399.99

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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05/13/2021 04:11 pm GMT

Related Reading on Comparable 3D Printers:

Cura vs Slic3r [2021] Which Slicing Program Is The Best For You?

Slicing programs are very important when you are into 3D printing. You should choose two things very carefully: your 3D printer and the slicing program that you use. There are several options when it comes to slicers, and each one has its charms and pitfalls.

Two of the most talked-about slicers out there are the Ultimaker Cura and Slic3r for 3D printer use. These open-source programs both have a solid community behind them. They also offer an excellent set of features that you wouldn’t expect a free program to offer.

Which one is better for you?

Main Differences Between Ultimaker Cura vs Slic3r

The Main Differences Between Ultimaker Cura vs Slic3r are:

  • Ultimaker Cura has two layouts recommended for beginners and custom for more advanced users, whereas Slic3r uses categories and sub-categories to organize its settings.
  • Ultimaker Cura allows for easy positioning and rotation for your models, whereas Slic3r’s movement icons are quite difficult to master.
  • Ultimaker Cura gives you a lot of model information, whereas Slic3r only tells you the length of the filament used.
  • Ultimaker Cura allows you to remove supports where they are not needed, whereas Slic3r has yet to include this feature.
  • Ultimaker Cura has hundreds of printer settings profiles ready for use, whereas Slic3r will require you to source your printer’s profile and import them into the system. Either that or you input them manually.

Ultimaker Cura: Everything You Need to Know

Originally developed by David Braam, Cura had its start as open-source software. It was maintained by Ultimaker and its users. Ultimaker eventually hired Braam. According to a 2019 Manufactur3D report, Cura has half a million unique users every month. The software assists more than 1.4 million prints a week.

Knowing that Cura is a pet project of one 3D printer brand, you might be concerned that your 3D printer might not be compatible with the software. Put those fears to rest because Cura works with several other brands.

How Does Ultimaker Cura Work?

Ultimaker Cura slices your models into layers (layer height) and then creates a list of instructions called g-code. The g-codes are printer specific and can immediately be sent to your 3D printer for manufacturing the prints. What’s more, these profiles are tested by experts, so you can be sure that you have the right settings without worrying about it too much.

Cura works with some of the most commonly used 3D formats:

  • STL
  • X3D
  • OBJ
  • 3MF

It can also work with image files such as JPG, PNG, GIF, and BMP.

Ultimaker Cura: Features

With Cura, you are using a very powerful and features-packed slicing engine.

  • Easy to use. Cura promises that you can prepare your prints with just a few clicks. You can choose one of the recommended profiles, but you can also go into custom mode if you want a high level of control over your prints.
  • Easier workflow. You can integrate it with your CAD software, such as Siemens NX, SolidWorks, or Autodesk Inventor​.
  • Plugins now allowed. Cura now accepts plugins that you can use to enhance your 3D printing experience. These plugins are duly rated by the community.

The thing with Cura is that it’s constantly evolving and new features and functionalities come out every so often.

What You Would Like About Ultimaker Cura

Cura works with almost all 3D printers out there, with ready to use profiles. But what makes it better is the fact that you can tweak every parameter such as the perimeters, density, padding, supports, layer height, and others, before printing.

You can also change the g-codes even in the middle of printing. Plus, it’s free to use.

Ultimaker Cura: What Can Be Improved

Ultimaker Cura can be quite a memory hog. It requires four gigabytes of RAM. Even then, there are reports that the program can take its time when loading large files. Further, it can crash and stop working in some instances.

Plus there are some parameters that require some trial and error because Cura doesn’t really explain how you should modify them.

Further, there are complaints that the printing time estimates are inaccurate, sometimes missing the mark by 10 to 20 percent.

Ultimaker Cura: The Bottom Line

If you’re looking for a slicing program that allows you to work with a wide range of file formats, and even repairing your models when necessary, then you should really look at Cura.

More than that, it gives you pre-tested profiles for beginners while giving you the freedom to tweak the parameters so you can control just about everything. It also supports plugins, making the printing process more customized for your needs. Lastly, it’s free and allows you to do some dual printing.

What You Need to Know About Slic3r

Slic3r is yet another open-source slicer program that transforms the layers of your model into a g-code. You can use the desktop app to do this, with a visual preview of the tool paths.

Slic3r gives you a great degree of control will the advanced configuration management and the custom g-code with conditional logic. You can even print on multiple machines and print bed setups all at the same time.

There is also the command-line tool that allows you to generate g-code in batch mode and export SVG slices. You can use this tool to cut, repair, and transform the models you want to print and even convert one file format to another.

But the biggest plus factor for Slic3r is the libslic3r. This library helps you create custom applications that will allow you to handle and manipulate 3D models, such as repairing and transforming them.

These applications will also allow you to slice vector data, generate g-code in a variety of formats, create infill patterns, get estimates on the printing time, and even add connectivity options such as being able to send g-code over a serial port.

Slic3r Features

Slic3r is compatible with a wide range of 3D printers including those from Makerbot, Ultimaker, TAZ, MakerGear, Mach 3, and Rostock. It can read STL, OBJ, and AMF files, and can give you g-code and SVG output files.

Slic3r is an open-source program that has no dependencies. You can run it on macOS X, Linux, and Windows. You only have to download it and run it. You can use Slic3r to print with multiple extruders, that way you can have one extruder printing the main object, another doing the supports, and yet another doing the infill.

Other features you can expect from Slic3r include:

  • Using brim for better adhesion, which uses a base flange around your printed object. You can just remove the flange later on.
  • Micro layering that helps you save time and improve accuracy
  • Built-in plating interface where you can place objects via drag-and-drop, and then scale or rotate them as necessary
  • Automatic creation of supports
  • Cools down your 3D printer by regulating your fan speed and print speed. This guarantees that the preceeding first layer cools down enough before the next layer height is put on it

What You Would Like About Slic3r

If you are new to the world of 3D printing, there is something to be said about Slic3r’s efforts to make everything easy and simple. They have an online manual that you can consult if you have any problems from downloading to making your first 3D print, to getting the configurations down.

Beginners will appreciate the software’s beginner model with fewer options to think about. Meanwhile, advanced users will also love the level of control they have.

Slic3r works fast, even if you have a slightly older and slower computer. What’s more, the program will only re-calculate the affected areas when you change a setting. For free software, it has a lot of features and functionalities that you will love.

What Can Be Better

Slic3r doesn’t have estimates for both materials used and print time. Further, because of the overload of features, it’s going to be easy for newbies to get lost and overwhelmed using this program.

The Bottom Line on Slic3r

Slic3r is an excellent and free slicing program that has advanced features for everyone to enjoy. It makes preparing your model a whole lot easier and makes printing faster. What’s more, it’s supported by a vibrant and helpful community that makes upgrades a whole lot faster with very few headaches involved.

The Slicing Program Showdown: Comparing Slic3r and Ultimaker Cura

So you’re probably wondering which slicing program is the best for your needs. Both Slic3r and Cura have a ton of features that can help you get the most out of your 3D printing, with fewer headaches. What’s more, both are free.

If you’re having a difficult time deciding, here are the areas where you should focus.

1. Profiles

Ultimaker Cura is known for the wide assortment of profiles it has that makes it possible for you to get the best settings for every print. If there are profiles not available on Cura, the manufacturer can send their own profile settings and you can upload it to Cura.

Slic3r will require you to manually enter printer settings if you don’t have the profile on hand.

Because of this Cura is more ideal for those people who have numerous 3D printers from different manufacturers.

2. Information About Your Models

Getting information about the filament usage, material costs, and print time can help you keep track of your consumables, or assign costs to a client.

Cura gives you the print time, the filament used, the print cost and the time break down. All of this information can help you optimize the settings to reduce costs and print times.

Slic3r only gives you the filament used by length.

3. User Experience

Ease of use has always been Cura’s main selling point. With the ready-made profiles, it is very easy for even the greenest of beginners to use. That ease of use carries over to the interface: Cura makes a solid effort to be user-friendly and it guides first-time users, as well.

Cura has a beginner-friendly layout that you can choose. They also have the custom tab for more advanced users, allowing them to tweak a variety of settings.

What’s more, it’s easy to move and position a model in Cura print. When you select a part, the scale, rotation, and movement tabs are highlighted. You can move or rotate the model in 15-degree increments. Cura also allows you to remove supports where they are not needed.

On the other hand, Slic3r’s user interface presents the settings in tightly organized categories, and these categories are further broken down into different subheadings. With this layout, users are presented with settings in bite-sized and easy to understand chunks, rather than overwhelming them with the features and possibilities.

What’s more, moving and orientating your model with Slic3r can be a pain. The rotation icons need a bit of getting used to. Unlike Cura, you can rotate your model at any angle. There is no way for you to remove supports

Further, Cura can handle large files faster than Slic3r.

Frequently Asked Questions

To better help you decide on whether to go with Ultimaker Cura or Slic3r, we answer some of the most often asked questions about 3D printing and slicing programs.

1. What are slicers and why do you need them?

A slicing program turns your 3D model files and your preferences into G-code. In short, you will need a slicing program, or slicer, to create a set of commands that your 3D printer will use to print your objects.

G-code tells your 3D printer were to go along all the axes. G-code commands also include instructions for the servos, the leveling sensors, heaters, and other components.

An excellent slicer will help ensure that you get the best quality and good resolution for your 3D prints.

2. What are the things that you should consider when choosing a slicing program?

Some 3D printing experts are saying that you should really invest time in choosing a slicer software because the quality and accuracy of your prints will depend on these programs. In short, using the right slicer software will either make your 3D prints look great or ruin the look and quality of your prints.

But how exactly do you choose a slicing program? First off, you should choose how easy it is to use. There are several options out there and each one is geared towards different users. For instance, there are slicers that are best for beginners such as Cura, Craftware, and SelfCAD.

Some are good for intermediate users and enthusiasts, such as Repetier and KISSlicer. Expert users would like Slic3r or IceSL.

Another consideration will be the features and functionality offered. This criterion is tightly associated with how involved the community is. A vibrant community means that upgrades and new features are fast and continuous. What’s more, if there is a feature that you would like to have, you can always ask the community.

Aside from that, you will want to get a slicing program that already has the features you need. There is no sense in using a program and hope that the community or developer comes out with the features you want soon when another program already offers that functionality.

Other considerations that you should have include:

  • Price. There are open source and free programs that you can use and this doesn’t mean that it’s bad. In fact, some of the best slicing programs out there are free. However, there is an allure to using programs that you pay for. For one, there’s a good level of support for these programs.
  • Platforms. Some slicing programs work just about anywhere: on Windows PCs, Mac machines, or Linux devices. What’s more, they don’t have too many dependencies. Others work only for a specific platform.
  • Compatibility with your 3D printer. If you already have a 3D printer, it might help you save time if the slicing program you have has a settings profile for your printer. This way you get to avoid having to manually enter your printer’s details, which could take a long time.

3. Are there other slicer software out there?

When you are choosing between Cura and Slic3r, you might want to compare both to other slicing software out there. As we have hinted above, there are a lot. But which ones are worth considering?

  • OctoPrint is more than just a 3D slicer, it allows you to monitor your 3D printer from your smartphone or desktop computer. you can even use plugins and webcams to make the job better. The 3D slicer program it offers uses CuraEngine.
  • MatterControl is a one-stop-shop where you can do everything to print a model without using any other program.
  • Simplify 3D is an excellent slicer for professionals. It is compatible with just about any 3D printer and has ready profiles for each one. There are a lot of things that you can do with the program, including importing, scaling, and repairing your 3D models. Simplify 3D is very intuitive to use and you won’t get overwhelmed by the number of features and functionalities it offers.

Ultimaker Cura vs. Slic3r: Which One Should You Choose?

It is not an exaggeration to say that you can choose either Ultimaker Cura or Slic3r and still get the best slicing program available right now. These two represent the best out there and both are free. There is literally no reason why you shouldn’t pick either one. However, if you look at the nitty-gritty, you will find that Cura does some things better than Slic3r.

The biggest draw with Cura, however, is for beginners. Having ready-made settings profiles, a more intuitive user interface, and fast regular updates put it above Slic3r. In these areas, it’s easy to recommend Cura over Slic3r or every other slicing programs out there.

Snapmaker Review [2021] An Affordable 3-in-1 Printer?

If you’re familiar with our site, then you’re well aware of the new and exciting ways that 3D printers are impacting our society. But even if you just want to get one to print some interesting and creative objects, you can do that too.

When it comes to 3D printing, the only limitation is you. You can create any object you want. Collectibles to put on the shelf objects that you can use around the house, and utensils for eating are just a few of the things you can make with your 3D printer.

In addition to printing 3D objects, 3D printers themselves are becoming more versatile. Snapmaker, for example, brings its 3-in-1 3D printer to the table by offering a device that will not only print but will also work as a CNC carver (CNC mill) and a laser engraver.

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$719.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

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Snapmaker 3D Printer

This unique and interesting device started out as a Kickstarter campaign where it raised over $2 million in funding. The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features.

While the Snapmaker does have a limited amount of printing space, it packs plenty of potential for anyone looking to get started with 3D printing. But before we get too far into what the Snapmarker 3-in-1 has to offer, let’s talk about considerations before buying a 3D printer.

What to Consider

If you’re in the market to purchase a 3D printer and you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on the Snapmaker 3-in-1, here are a few things to consider before you make a final buying decision.

Cost

One of the primary items to consider when buying a 3D printer is the cost. Is it affordable? Will it get the job done for you or your business without breaking your budget? If so, then maybe this is the 3D printer you need.

Practical Use

How practical is the printing you’re considering? Will it do what you want it to do? How will it benefit your small business? There are plenty of learning opportunities available when it comes to 3D printing, so be sure to take a moment and consider what makes sense for you.

Snapmaker Review

Capability

Is the printer capable of working different materials and programs? It’s nice to have a device that is versatile and has the ability for utilization across various applications.

Speed

While it’s nice to be able to print objects quickly, some fast 3D printers are willing to sacrifice on quality. That means the object you’re printing may not be as durable as one that took a little longer to print.

Quality

Are the printed objects free of stringing and warping? Does the printer create quality, durable products? You’ll want a 3D printer that prevents these types of problems.

Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D Printer

Design

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$719.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

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Snapmaker’s printer is one of the more unique designs on the market as it offers its users a device that supports three 3d printing technology applications simultaneously. The intention of the machine is to make it useful, friendly, and easy to use.

With a sturdy body and beautiful look, this Snapmaker 3D printer boasts both trust and reliability among its users. Its modular design and solid frame leave many users impressed with this 3D printer.

This all-metal machine is designed and built with care, providing a stable and precise experience. The Snapmaker is durable as well, which means you’ll be able to use it over the long haul without experiencing a lot of problems along the way.

Additionally, the Snapmaker has a very clean and tidy design in regards to loose wires. Printer wires are hidden out of sight behind the metal frame. The few wires that are visible can be easily adjusted so your printer always looks nice and neat.

Frame

This 3D printer has an entirely open frame, which means it’s easy to work on and maintain if needed. Even though it’s open, the printer looks professional and sleek. It’s easy to see that Snapmaker went to great lengths to provide a 3D printer that looks great and performs well.

Features

There are plenty of features available with the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer that are sure to make things easier for you as you print your favorite objects. Here are just a few that we picked out that you’re sure to appreciate.

LCD Touchscreen

Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer comes with an LCD color touchscreen. At 3.5 inches, it’s big enough for you to easily make changes and adjustments through the interface. It also makes selecting a file on a USB drive much easier than it is on other 3D printers.

snapmaker features

Supports Multiple Filament Types

There are some 3D printers that can only use one type of filament, but the Snapmaker 3-in-1 is not one of them. If you’re just starting out sticking with one filament type might be best, but as you progress, it’s nice to have options.

Snapmaker supports ABS, PLA, and several other filament types, which means you have the freedom to print objects with different textures and properties.

Heated Bed

A heated bed can make a significant difference when it comes to 3D printing. Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer has a heated bed that can reach up to 80 degrees Celsius. As a result, you’ll have an easier time printing with materials that are known for warping or being difficult to manage.

Changeable Modules

We’ve already mentioned that the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer has three different modules. Each one serves its own purpose, making this a great option for anyone getting into 3D printing. However, Snapmaker goes the extra mile by making these modules easy to change.

You can easily insert the module you need so you can print exactly what you want. It’s so easy, that even those new to the world of 3D printing should have no trouble figuring it out.

Laser Engraving

Another great feature of the Snapmaker 3-in-1 that we’ve mentioned is its laser engraving laser module. With this 3D printer, you can use its workspace to create laser engraving projects. The Snapmaker has a decent laser, offering 405nm wavelength and 200mW of power.

Just like the 3D printer piece of the Snapmaker, you can engrave on a variety of materials. These include wood, plastic, leather, paper, fabric, and leather. However, there are materials that you shouldn’t use, like laser cutter applications for glass, metal, and others.

CNC Carving [CNC Module]

When it comes to CNC carving (CNC milling), your area is restricted a little more, but you should still have enough room to do some basic carving. With a 19,000 RPM spindle speed and a shank diameter of 3.175mm, you’ll be able to perform simple carvings anytime you want.

You can work with a variety of materials such as wood, PCB, carbon fiber, acrylic, and many others. This functionality also allows you to use different file types, including DWG, IGS, DXF, STEP, IGES, SVG, along with third-party software like Autodesk Fusion.

snapmaker cnc carving

What’s Included

Upon opening the box that the Snapmaker comes in, you’ll quickly realize that this is a company that is serious about its products. While the device does not come pre-assembled, it does come in neat and professional packaging.

Parts are snugly shipped in cut foam to ensure they don’t move during shipment, and any tools or additional accessories are stored in separate boxes so they are easily accessible during assembly.

Along with the parts needed for the printer, you’ll also get a spool of PLA filament, plus the filament holder. Also included is the material you can use for laser engraving, safety goggles, and a power pack.

Setting Up

Even though putting together a desktop 3D printer sounds intimidating, it’s actually very easy with the Snapmaker 3-in-1. Just follow the provided instructions and before you know it, you’ll be ready to print your favorite objects.

Every module of the printer includes the motors, rails, bearing, and wiring necessary for operation. This helps to make assembly quick and simple, so you don’t have to waste a lot of time trying to figure out what goes where.

Once you have your Snapmaker put together, you’re ready to calibrate it. Fortunately, Snapmaker makes this process just as easy as the printer assembly process. If you have experience with calibrating a printer, you’ll find the Snapmaker process quick and painless.

But even if you’re a newcomer, calibrating your new printer isn’t too complicated. You’ll have to make some manual adjustments to the printer, along with some refining of the settings through the touch-screen, but Snapmaker does a great job of walking you through the process.

Overall, Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer is easy to setup. Whether you’re an amateur in the world of 3D printing or someone with lots of experience, unboxing, assembling, and calibrating this printer is quick, simple, and hassle-free.

Filament Type

While the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer supports a wide variety of filaments, the printer comes with FDM. This helps with cost, as you don’t have to buy a spool of filament right out of the gate. You can just set up your printer and start printing.

However, keep in mind that if you decide to use a filament type that isn’t recommended by the printer, you may see poor results in print quality.

Quality

Speaking of quality, how well does the Snapmaker 3-in-1 stack up with other printers? To put it bluntly, it performs very well. When you print with this 3D printer, you won’t run into problems like stringing or issues with adhesion that you might find with other printers in the same market.

The Snapmaker 3-in-1 was designed to give its users the best prints possible, which it does quite well. However, one area where this 3D printer could improve is noisiness. You might be alarmed by how much noise the Snapmaker makes while it’s printing an object.

It is a far cry from some of its competitors that offer noiseless options. Any time you’re printing something with the Snapmaker, you’re aware of it. Some users are put off by this, however, there are those that say if everything else prints off the way it should and there are no problems, what’s a little noise?

The other modules with the printer work great. You can easily switch between the CNC carver, the laser engraver, and the 3D printer at any time. All you have to do is loosen a few screws, remove one module, and put the other in its place.

Snapmaker stands out in this area, as there are many multi-functional printers on the market that require disassembling the entire machine and then putting it back together to switch from one function to another.

Software

Included with the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer is the company’s Snapmakerjs software. This software works with all three modules included with the device, so no matter what you’re doing, you’ll have the aid of the software if you need it.

Along with the software are great features and tools users have access to through the touch interface on the printer itself. When you change the module on the application, you can change the type of work the machine is capable of doing.

The Snapmakerjs software is interactive, allowing users to perform tasks and create objects while tapping into their inner creativity. Additionally, this device supports a wide range of third-party software, so you’re not limited to only using the application that comes with the Snapmaker 3-in-1.

snapmaker software

3D Printer Specs

The Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer offers its users a build space of 125mm x 125mm x 125mm. It supports a variety of printing material types, including ABS, PLA, and many others. The recommended filament diameter for this 3D printer is 1.75mm.

However, if you do decide to choose a filament that’s not recommended by Snapmaker, be sure you aren’t using one that isn’t supported. These include graphite, Alumide, and others, which could do significant damage to the printer.

The nozzle is 0.4mm in diameter and can travel at speeds of up to 100mm/second. The printer can reach a temperature of up to 250-degrees Celcius.

Snapmaker 3-in-1 Alternatives

If you don’t think the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer is the right one for you, here are a few alternatives you can consider.

Anycubic Photon

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon | AnyCubic

Dead simple to set-up, comes pre-assembled, intuitive touch-screen and exceptional level of detail. This machine empowers CREATORS, without expecting you to be a mechanic. The small - but precise - print bed is perfect for miniatures.

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Consider the Anycubic Photon if you are doing high precision detail oriented projects like 3D printing miniatures, representational models, or other finely crafted objects.

Further Read: Full Anycubic Photon Review.

Stepcraft 2 – Best for Functions Other than 3D Printing

Like Snapmaker, Stepcraft had a successful Kickstarter campaign that got the brand headed in the right direction.  While the Stepcraft 2 is primarily designed for cutting, it does include basic packages that allow for 3D printing.

It also allows for milling, plotting, engraving, wood burning, and vinyl cutting, if you are interested in those types of tasks. These versatile machines come in a wide range of sizes, so you should have no trouble finding one that will fit in your workspace.

Atom 2.5 EX – Most Stylish

Atom 2.5 EX

One of the sleekest looking multi-functional 3D printers on the market is the Atom 2.5 EX. This amazing device is a 3D printer first but can perform many other tasks. With a multi-color nozzle and the ability to print with various materials, the Atom 2.5 EX is a great alternative to the Snapmaker 3-in-1.

As a result of its sliding arms and magnetic ball joints, this 3D printer can quickly and easily switch between tasks. Just swap out the printer head for the laser engraving module and before you know it, you’re experimenting with engraving for your friends and family.

In addition to using filament for 3D printing, you can also use leather, cardboard, paper, and other materials when you want to switch over to laser engraving. 

FLUX Delta+ – Best for Those Who Like to Experiment

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose 3D printer that will let you explore the edges of what it can do, look no further than the FLUX Delta+. This device provides an open SDK for its users, which means they can play around with its capabilities and really discover what it can do.

This all-in-one can do more than 3D print. It can scan, draw, laser engrave, and cut as well. With a motion system and bevy of tool heads, you know you’re going to get accurate and quick results no matter what you’re doing.

The drawing functionality is especially interesting, as you can connect pens, pencils, brushes, and various other tools to it for precision drawings from your computer software program.

Aether 1 – Best for BioPrinting

Aether 1

Most of the 3D printers on this list provide a variety of capabilities like engraving, milling, and even carving. However, the Aether 1 might be the only device that is designed specifically for Bioprinting.

This cool feature uses syringes filled with bio-inks, liquids, and pastes to print off parts that imitate the naturally occurring mechanics that make up our bodies. Most bioprinting revolves around repairing damaged joints and ligaments or drug and cell research.

Aside from bioprinting, the Aether 1 can also use a mounted laser to perform precise and accurate cutting if needed. While this printer is mostly relegated to the medical field, it’s still a cool alternative to the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer.

BoXZY – Best for Cutting Steel

The BoXZY multi-functional 3D printer is another all-in-one option that started out as a Kickstarter project. Once it was successfully funded, it became a mainstay in the world of all-in-one 3D printers.

BoXZY makes the cut because it is one of the few all-in-one 3D printers on the market that can cut through steel. The CNC laser engraver and mill uses a tool head that goes through steel like a hot knife through butter.

Its all-metal design makes BoXZY one of the heavier 3D printers on the market, so if weight is a concern, you may need to go in a different direction. However, due to its weight, there’s little chance this 3D printer is going to slide or skip around while it’s in the middle of printing an object.

FAQs

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions about 3D printers and the Snapmaker 3-in-1 device.

Where is Snapmaker headquartered?

Snapmaker is a small tech startup headquartered in Walnut, California, and Shenzen, China. The team consists of designers and engineers who are excited about what they do and how they are impacting the world around them.

These professionals have experience in a range of fields, including 3D printing, robotics, and even aviation.

What does CNC carving mean?

CNC stands for computer numerical control, which means you’re using a machine to cut the material as opposed to operating a manual, hand-held router. You can use CNC carving to cut hard material like aluminum, steel, foam, wood, and plastics.

What does it cost to design and build a 3D printer?

The answer to this question really depends on how you’ll be using your 3D printer. Some printers can be built for as little as a few hundred dollars, while others can wind up costing thousands of dollars to build.

Final Thoughts on the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D Printer

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$719.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

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If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to get started in the world of 3D printers, Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 3D printer is an excellent option. Using this printer can open the doors to a whole new world of excitement, education, and practicality.

Outside of being a little on the noisy side, there isn’t much this 3D printer can’t do. It’s easy to set up and calibrate, which means it won’t take long to start printing anything you want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can engrave and carve with it as well.

The Snapmaker is a great 3D printer that’s designed for those new to the 3D printing game or those with a lot of experience under their belts. Either way, it’s tough to go wrong if you decide to use the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer for your 3D printing needs.

How to Find the Best 3D Printer for Flexible Filament [2021]

Most flexible filaments are referred to as TPE or TPU. They have elastic properties that create a final product that’s stretchy. The great thing about flexible filament is that it’s resistant to fatigue, it’s soft, and a heated bed isn’t required for printing.

However, there are some things you need to consider when looking for a 3D printer to use with flexible filament.

Best Printers for Flexible Filament

3D printers with direct-drive extruders are the best options for printing with flexible filament. There are plenty of options on the market, but here are some of the best.

1. FlashForge Creator Pro

creator pro

FlashForge makes some of the best printers for beginners that you can buy. They’re great for the classroom as well. The FlashForge Creator Pro isn’t the top of the line, but for the moderate price tag, you’re getting a workhorse of a 3D printer.

It has a metal frame, acrylic covers, dual extruder with two spools, and an optimized build platform. It also works with ABS and PLA. This direct drive 3D printer delivers a lot for the price.

The Creator Pro is reliable and long-lasting. It’s built on an open-source platform, so it’s easy to adjust and customize to make it your own. This is one of the reasons it works so well with flexible filament. You can adjust all of the settings to create an optimal printing environment.

The metal platform can withstand high print bed temperatures and also offer a sturdy platform for more stability during vertical movement. It’s also sturdy enough to reduce wobbling during printing.

The powder-coated steel frame backbone holds the mechanisms for motion in place during printing to make it faster and more precise when you’re not using flexible filament. This versatility makes it an ideal solution for those who want to print using other materials.

The downside to the Creator Pro is that it has a closed unit, which reduces the print volume. However, it does help to maintain consistent temperatures and it offers more safety for younger printers, beginners, or in a classroom setting.

Setup is a cinch because it comes fully assembled. The front door opens to almost 180 degrees, giving you full access to your completed job so you can remove it easily when it’s done. While it’s not a touch screen, it does have Wi-Fi, so you can connect your mobile device via the smartphone app and monitor your jobs.

FlashForge Creator Pro | 3D Printers Online

FlashForge Creator Pro makes some of the best printers for beginners that you can buy. For the moderate price tag, you’re getting a workhorse of a 3D printer.

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Features:

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 200mm x 145mm x 150mm
  • UI: Button controls
  • Wi-Fi enabled
  • Heated bed
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Fast and accurate
  • 3-point leveling system
  • An open-source platform for extra customization

Cons:

  • No touchscreen
  • Small build volume

FlashForge Creator Pro | 3D Printers Online

FlashForge Creator Pro makes some of the best printers for beginners that you can buy. For the moderate price tag, you’re getting a workhorse of a 3D printer.

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2. Dremel 3D45

dremel digilab

This award-winning 3D printer comes with a heated build plate, connections to all of your smart devices, Wi-Fi, a built-in HD camera, and compatibility with ECO ABS, PLA, PETG, and Nylon filament types. While you’ll never find a 3D printer that’s good at everything, this one comes close. Its impressive list of features makes it appealing to a wide range of users and helps it stand out among its competition.

It’s a more expensive solution, but for many, the easy setup, reliability, consistency, and high-quality finished prints will make up for that. The closed frame controls print jobs in a regulated environment and keeps users safe. Two plastic doors that open outward give easy access to the print area. The doors are clear, helping you monitor your jobs with ease.

The large print volume will accommodate most jobs and the huge 5-inch touchscreen is intuitive and easy to understand.

One problem you may run into is that Dremel only supports their own filament, so if you do use another brand and run into trouble, you won’t find help from the manufacturer. However, it’s fully capable of printing with third party materials, and people familiar with 3D printing shouldn’t have a problem.

Dremel also only offers a limited range of colors, so if you want more than the 10 they offer, you’ll have to look elsewhere. Loading filament is straightforward and the direct drive extruder eliminates some of the problems you might have with flexible solutions.

With connections like Wi-Fi, Ethernet, or USB, you can print from almost anywhere. There’s also a printing app so you can use your phone to slice files, send prints, and monitor progress, thanks to the built-in camera.

One of the cool things about this printer is that after your build is done, it creates a time-lapse video of the whole job so you can download and view it.

Dremel DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer
$1,751.17
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05/13/2021 10:09 am GMT

Features:

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 255mm x 155mm x 170mm
  • UI: 5-inch full-color IPS touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • Smartphone app
  • Heated bed
  • Max print speed: 100mm/s

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Great print quality
  • Semi-automatic bed leveling
  • Automatic filament detection
  • Smartphone app

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Doesn’t support third-party filaments

3. QIDI-Tech X-Pro

x-plus

QIDI Tech produces a line of quality 3D printers that many experienced users love. The X-Pro is labeled as a commercial printer with Wi-Fi, dual extruder, and high precision double color printing with ABS, PLA, and TPU filament.

At its moderate price point, it’s an affordable, industrial-strength 3D printer. The enclosed design makes it ideal for temperature-sensitive ABS filament and ensures the safety of beginners.

With a large clear door, you can still easily monitor your job while maintaining a controlled environment. Plastic and metal construction gives this machine a premium look.

The stylish design is shipped almost fully assembled. A small amount of setup will have you up and running in no time.

The direct drive extruder and heated aluminum build plate make this product ideal for flexible filament because it can solve many of your common problems. From jamming to slipping on the print bed, many of your challenges will be alleviated.

You’ll find that the build volume is much larger than the Creator Pro but still smaller than the Monoprice Maker Select Pro. An LCD touchscreen makes it easy to interact with the printer and the build plate can be removed completely to access your completed job.

QIDI TECH X-Pro 3D Printer X-Pro | Amazon
$469.00

Useful for consumers and schools, easy to set up and use, does not require a lot of maintenance, and has reasonably good print quality.

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Features:

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 230mm x 150mm x 150mm
  • UI: LCD touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • Max bed temperature: 110 degrees Celsius
  • Max nozzle temperature: 250 degrees Celsius
  • Max print speed: 150mm/s

Pros:

  • Removable build plate
  • Dual extruder for multi-color jobs
  • Durable construction and premium design
  • Large LCD touchscreen

Cons:

  • Noisy fans
  • Wi-Fi can be unreliable

4. Monoprice Maker Select Plus

monoprice maker select plus 3d

The large heated bed, LCD touchscreen, and MicroSD card loaded with printable models make this a worthwhile purchase. The direct drive extruder moves along X and Z axes and it shares a lot of features with other popular 3D printers but at a super affordable price.

With the Monoprice Maker Select Plus, you’ll get a bigger print volume than the Creator Pro at a fraction of the cost, and it also has a smaller footprint, thanks to the control box integrated beneath the print bed. Even if you have a limited workspace, you can still take advantage of a large print volume for your flexible filament products.

The convenient touchscreen in the front makes it easy to control the print settings and a USB connection means you can print even when your computer is offline. While the open design doesn’t make this printer ideal for ABS, you can still print with a wide variety of filaments, including the most flexible ones.

You can use your own designs with this one, but it also comes with a MicroSD card loaded with 3D print designs that you can use for practice, making it a good, affordable purchase for beginners.

Further Read: Monoprice Maker Select Plus Review.

Monoprice Maker Select V2 3D Printer | Amazon

The large 8 x 8 inches build plate and generous 7 inches vertical spacing means that you can print larger, more complex models.

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Features:

  • Nozzle: 0.4mm brass
  • Filament: 1.75mm
  • Print volume: 200mm x 200mm x 180mm
  • UI: 3.25-inch touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • Heated bed
  • Max print speed: 150mm/s

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • User-friendly touchscreen
  • Wi-Fi
  • USB enabled

Cons:

  • Not ideal for ABS
  • No auto-leveling mechanism

Monoprice Maker Select Plus | Amazon

The large heated bed, LCD touchscreen, and MicroSD card loaded with printable models make the Monoprice Maker Select Plus a worthwhile purchase.

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5. Tevo Tornado

This is another great option for flexible filament 3D printing, particularly if you are in the market for a BUDGET 3D printer.

Further Read: Tevo Tornado Review.

Overview of Flexible Filament

flexible filament

Thermoplastic Elastomers, or TPE, are a material made from a blend of rubber and hard plastic. It’s an elastic material that allows the plastic to be stretched. While there are several different types of TPE, Thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU, is the most common.

A lot of times you’ll see these two names used interchangeably. The brand name Ninjaflex also falls into this category and is used commonly to describe flexible filament, even though it may be a different brand.

How much the material stretches depends on the chemical composition chosen by the manufacturer. While some filaments are somewhat flexible, like the rubber used to make car tires, other types can be fully elastic, like a rubber band.

Pros:

  • Impact resistance
  • Long life
  • Great vibration dampening
  • Soft and flexible

Cons:

  • Doesn’t work well with Bowden extruders
  • Can blob or string
  • Doesn’t bridge well
  • Difficult to print

Types of Flexible Filament

Before printing, it’s important to understand the types of flexible filament available to you. There are many, but here’s a quick overview of some of the most common types.

NinjaFlex

ninjaflex

NinjaFlex TPE is soft but very strong. The low-friction exterior helps to speed up printing without causing a lot of buckling. Users online give it good reviews, but there have been some problems feeding. A low heat bed is best for this type of filament.

The makers of NinjaFlex also make SemiFlex, which you may have guessed based on the name is only semi-flexible and not as soft as the NinjaFlex.

FlexSolid

This product made by MadeSolid has good elasticity but is still very strong. If your final product needs to be highly durable, this is a great choice. It works for mechanical items and sporting equipment.

It’s best used in simple designs. Intricate details may come out stringy using this type of filament. If you keep it simple, it’s relatively easy to print with compared to others.

FlexiFil

flexifil

FlexiFil is still very strong and soft, but not as soft as NinjaFlex. It’s a TPC (Thermoplastic Co-Polyester) material, so it’s incredibly flexible. It’s also resistant to high temperatures and environmentally friendly.

It’s made from renewable carbon content, which makes it a great responsible solution, but it can get clogged in the extruder easily.

Fila Flex

This type of TPE is made from the same materials as NinjaFlex, so it has similar properties, but it’s not as strong. It’s really soft and because it’s highly adhesive, the layers of your job will stick together well.

It’s more elastic than NinjaFlex and is great for final products that need a lot of stretches. However, that also makes it very hard to print with. Because it’s soft, it can come out stringy and it can clog the nozzle. It can be printed on a cold bed rather than a heated one.

Makerbot

This polyester-based filament is more firm than FlexiFil and NinjaFlex. With a lower melting point, it’s a lot easier to extrude. The cool thing about Makerbot’s flexible filament is that you can run it under hot water to reshape it.

It has a glossy, iridescent finish, but you may have some trouble with tangling while feeding.

Further Read: Makerbot 3D Printers.

Flexible Resin

This type of filament only works with SLA 3D printers. The good thing about it is that SLA doesn’t use a feeding system, so you won’t encounter the same challenges that other flexible filaments do.

If you have an SLA 3D printer, this material is great for tactile designs. Watch bands, stamps, grips, and other things you touch frequently are great projects for this type.

See the best flexible resins and 3D Printers here:

Challenges of Printing

As with any technology, printing with flexible filament can be very useful, but it does come with some challenges.

Feeding

Because the flexible filament is so soft, it can be difficult to feed through the extruder. It can jam, clump, and string. When feeding the filament through to the hot end of the extruder, it needs a direct path so it doesn’t get deformed and stuck.

Buckling

If you print too quickly with flexible filament, it tends to buckle when it gets pushed through the hot end of the extruder. It can also happen if you don’t have a tight or narrow enough pathway from the extruder to the hot end.

Buckling is pretty annoying and can ruin the whole job. It can also cause jams, which means you have to stop the whole job to clean the extruder.

Difficulty sticking

Sometimes you’ll encounter shrinkage or your print job won’t stick to the bed, causing problems with slipping. It may require adjusting the print bed temperature, but often it can be solved with just a bit of hairspray or painter’s tape.

Stringing

When pressure builds up in the extruder, it can release extra filament and create a messy or a stringy print. This happens more often with flexible filament than other types. It can be caused by speed, temperature, or retraction settings.

Tips

If you’re going to print with flexible filament, here are some tips for ensuring a successful job without any problems.

Print slowly

It’s recommended that you print with flexible filament between 30mm and 40mm per second. Every manufacturer will have different recommendations. FlexiFil recommends you print with their filament at 10mm to 20mm per second.

You could set your print speed as low as 5mm per second if you want more precision. It’s slow, but it will increase your chances of a perfect finished product because it helps to avoid pressure build-up in the extruder, which we already know leads to buckle and messy prints.

Use direct drive extruders

If you want to avoid jamming at the extruder, the best thing you can do is give your filament a direct path from the cold end to the hot end. Many people love Bowden extruders, but they aren’t ideal for flexible filament. It’s not impossible, but it does make it challenging.

If you need some quick tips on how to print flexible filament with a Bowden extruder, this video is pretty great.

Set the ideal temperature

You want your flexible filament to flow easily through the nozzle without buckling, getting jammed, or creating a messy print. However, heating up your extruder too much can cause stringing, oozing, or uneven prints.

While every printer is different and will require some slight adjustments, it’s always best to check on the material, which are the recommended temperatures for use.

Adjust your retraction settings

Retraction relieves pressure from the hot end of the extruder and keeps your filament from oozing through the nozzle when you’re not printing. You can adjust these settings based on your specific problem.

If it’s clogging, you may need a lower retraction setting. You may even try setting it at zero. You want the lowest retraction setting you can get away with to avoid stringing.

Adjust bed temperature and use tape

While you can use hairspray on your print bed to avoid slipping, usually adjusting the bed temperature and using painter’s tape works better. Temperature settings vary depending on the type of filament you’re using, but most flexible filament manufacturers recommend temperatures of 113-140 degrees Fahrenheit.

Flexible filament sticks well to blue painter’s tape, so lining your print bed with some blue painter’s tape can help with slipping, which creates an uneven print job.

FAQs About 3D Printing Materials

What is the most flexible 3D printing material?

While it can be confusing because there are many different brand names, thermoplastic polyurethane, or TPU, is the most commonly used flexible filament. There are many manufacturers who make TPU, so whether you’re buying a brand name product or not, if you’re looking for something very flexible, make sure it’s TPU.

What is the strongest 3D filament?

If you want a printer that’s versatile enough to print with several different types of filament, you may want to look into using polycarbonate. It’s the strongest material used for 3D printing, surpassing even nylon.

It’s the best choice for high-strength components if you don’t need them to be flexible.

How do I print with flexible filaments?

It can be tricky to print with flexible filaments, especially if you’ve just started experimenting with a 3D printer. PLA is the most forgiving and is a great place to start. However, if you need to print something with flexible filament, check out this guide.

Can Ender 3 print flexible filament?

Yes, Ender 3 has a direct drive extruder ideal for printing with flexible filament. There are several others besides what is reviewed here. You can check out the JGAURORA A8 for an extremely large print volume, the Original Prusa i3 for incredibly slow print speeds, ideal for printing with flexible filament.

The Verdict: Findning the Right Flexible Filament 3D Printer

If you’re looking for 3D printers ideal for printing with flexible filament, you’ll want to pay attention to a lot of different things. Specifications like slow print speeds and direct drive extruders are important.

You also want to make sure you have complete control over your retraction and can adjust every aspect of the job for optimal performance. Other considerations you might want to make are features like Wi-Fi, print volume, smartphone apps, and touchscreen UIs.

All of these 3D printers are fantastic, but there are many others. Choose the right one for you based on the specifications you need for the jobs you plan to print.

Further Reading:

Turbocad vs Autocad Compared [2021]: Which one is better?

If you want to start creating designs for 3D models or drawings for various items, my Turbocad vs Autocad comparison will help you to choose which one is best.

These are two popular computer-aided design pieces of software but if you are stuck trying to figure out which one to use, I can help. I’m going to go over the different features of each product, how easy they are to use, and what support is available and show you which one is better.

First, let’s look at the main differences between Autocad and Turbocad.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: While these are both capable software tools, I much prefer more capable and versatile Autocad solution here, particularly if you are past the hobby level. Turbocad is fine as a short term budget pick, but most of the world is moving towards Autocad (and for good reason). 

Why Go With AutoCAD LT? | Autodesk

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Main Differences Between Autocad vs Turbocad

The main differences between Autocad vs Turbocad are:

  • Autocad has a dedicated app for Android and iOS, whereas Turbocad does not.
  • Autocad has a steeper learning curve, whereas Turbocad is said to be easier to use.
  • Autocad offers a 30-day free trial, whereas Turbocad only offers a 15-day free trial.
  • Autocad requires you to renew your subscription every year, whereas Turbocad allows you to buy the product for a one-off fee.
  • Autocad offers a free subscription to students, whereas Turbocad does not.

Exploring Autocad and Turbocad features

 

Autocad and Turbocad are both computer-aided design software so they have many overlapping features when it comes to drawing, workflow, flexibility, modifications, and also what platforms and computer systems you can use them on.

Drawing and design

Really the primary function of both of these programs to make more accurate and better drawings and designs. The days of doing all this manually with a pen and paper are long gone – you can even get 3D printing pens now! – so people use computer-aided design software.

Autocad provides an experience that is very much like drawing on a bit of paper except you are doing this on a computer. It allows for free form drawing and you have many methods to create accurate shapes, geometrics, and ultimately designs. For anyone that wants a great deal of freedom over what they produce with this type of software, Autocad is to the go-to program. It was mainly built for 2D drawings however it has evolved so that it now incorporates 3D shapes that can be used for printing and more.

Turbocad is very similar. It also allows the user to draw free form in 2D and has command lines as well as a dynamic input cursor. Turbocad also has 3D functionality and if you want photorealistic renders then Turbocad has the edge over Autocad on how they turn out. In terms of the main functionality of drawing and creating designs, it is similar to Autocad in what it can produce although the means to do it is a bit different.

Workflow

You may be working on these programs and a project by yourself especially if you own a 3d printer however in most cases, computer-aided design software is utilized by teams. This means the workflow through the process needs to be as seamless as possible.

One of the issues with Autocad is that each part of the design is separate. It isn’t all linked together and joined up as some other software. You create free form drawings with Autocad so the workflow can feel a bit disjointed and often doesn’t feel as if everything is linked together as you are working on separate layers.

Turbocad does offer good workflow options between drawing designs and fieldwork. Designs can be uploaded to TurboSite which is an iOS app and the designs can be used to put in the site and other fieldwork information. This is then sent back to the Turbocad program with the new data which is a pretty good feature.

Flexibility

 

Both of these programs have a good degree of flexibility in their usage.

Autocad achieves this with its solid commands and use of surface mesh for 3D modeling that provides a good degree of freedom. The fact that you can customize the look of Autocad is great too because it means you can display the tools you use a lot and hide the ones you don’t. You can create a layout that is unique to you and what you use the program for.

Turbocad has a large amount of flexibility too and its mechanical design tools add to this. The program is used a lot for things like theatrical design as well as with furniture and woodworkers. Turbocad is ideal for a variety of sectors and like Autocad, it offers customizable options such as hiding tools and editing the layout of toolbars.

Modifications

 

A drawing or design isn’t going to be right the first time so modifications and changes are the norms when using computer-aided design software.

The process of modifying designs in Autocad can be time-consuming and it isn’t the easiest. Each part of a design has to be modified individually rather than as a whole. They also don’t update automatically unlike other programs such as Solidworks across all the views so this has to be done manually.

Turbocad will automatically update views which can make the modifications process a bit easier. The use of the TurboSite iOS app is another great addition where field data can be entered which will be fed back to the main Turbocad system and updated with relevant information so that modifications can be made if necessary.

Platforms

Whether you predominantly use Windows computers or Macbooks, computer-aided design software should be available in both. This is especially important if you are working across different locations or on the move if you need to update models when you are out of the office.

Autocad is well known to work on both Windows and Mac computers. There is also a mobile app available for Autocad which can be used on iOS, Android, and Windows devices. If you need additional storage for using Autocad, you have the option of adding cloud storage onto your subscription as well.

The good news for anyone who is leaning towards Turbocad is that it is also available on both Windows and Mac devices so you have cross-platform support too. Turbocad has a variety of mobile apps including TuroSite for feeding back fieldwork, Turboreview for reviewing 2D and 3D CAD documents, DroneScout which is for collecting aerial data via DJI Phantom Series drones, amongst others. So, you can use a variety of different apps to complement the main Turbocad program. There isn’t an app as such for the Turbocad program but rather a series of apps to complement it.

Here you can check more information before making the final decision on whether to stick with AutoCAD or Solidworks for 3D printing and even compare Autocad with Revit as well.

Comparing Autocad and Turbocad pricing

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You will find free trial options with both these products as well as regular subscriptions.

Autocad costs around $1690 to get access to the program for one year per user. You can also opt to take out a monthly license which is $210 per month or if you envisage using this in the longer term, there is a 3-year license available for $4565. You’ll get a variety of different tools which you subscription too which includes:

  • AutoCAD Architecture
  • AutoCAD Electrical
  • AutoCAD Map 3D
  • AutoCAD Mechanical
  • AutoCAD MEP
  • AutoCAD Plant 3D
  • AutoCAD Raster Design

There is a 30-day free trial option for Autocad and if you are a student, you can get a one-year free license.

Turbocad has a couple of pricing options to suit your needs. You can pay for it once and get a permanent license for $1499.99 which is cheaper than Autocad at first glance however you will need to pay for an upgrade when new versions are released (currently this costs $399).

The one-off price is for one user. They also offer a subscription cost of $499 per year per user and this includes upgrades to new software as well. There is a 15 day free trial with Turbocad as opposed to the 30-day free trial that Autocad offers.

Autocad v Turbocad ease of use

If you are interested in either Autocad or Turbocad then it is likely that you are working in modeling and ensign already or contemplating buying a 3D printer and experimenting. They aren’t a product that someone with just a passing interest is going to buy and start using as they have a bit of a learning curve. So, how easy are they to use?

Autocad can take a while to get the hang of and this is largely down to the separate processes that it uses. The whole program can appear very complex in the beginning however the fact that you are able to customize it as you go along with the Custom User Interface Editor means that when you get used to the software you can really make it your own. It doesn’t require years and years to get the main functionality nailed down but you won’t learn it in a few hours.

Turbocad is an easier program to learn and if you’re new to modeling and creating 2D or 3D designs, you’ll more than likely get to grips with this program before you’ll learn how to use Autocad to its full potential. The issue is that many people report hitting a ‘productivity ceiling’ with Turbocad.

This means that you’ll come to a point where you can’t carry out processes any quicker. Autocad has the advantage here because people who use it become much more familiar with the layout and become faster in doing tasks on the software.

What support is available for Autocad and Turbocad

 

The good thing about both these programs is that there is support on hand to help if you encounter any problems.

Autocad is run by Autodesk so you get access to their Learning Section which has tutorials, video guides and other information to commonly asked questions. If you can’t find an answer to your issue here, you can go to the forums that are frequented by experienced users. There is also the option of submitting a support ticket to Autodesk if you require more assistance.

Turbocad has its own Knowledge Base with guides and tutorials that can help you with the software. They also offer a Community Forum where you can ask other users about any issues you are having or you can submit a support ticket through their website Turbocad also have the option of phone support too which is a nice feature if you need to get an answer quickly.

Pros and Cons

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Autocad

Pros

  • Has both 2D and 3D modeling functionality
  • Standard software used in the industry so plenty of knowledge from other professionals
  • You can customize its layout to increase productivity
  • Can work without internet access as it uses local and network files
  • Compatible with both Windows and Mac and has a mobile app
  • Cloud storage is available if you need additional space

Cons

  • Isn’t the easiest software to learn and will take a while to get the hang of
  • Doesn’t have a joined-up to the connected approach to its workflow
  • Manual update of modifications to designs

Turbocad

Pros

  • Easier to learn from out outset especially for new users
  • Can buy the product outright although you’ll need to pay for upgrades
  • Has 2D and 3D functionality with freeform drawing
  • Able to customize its layout to enhance productivity
  • Use of TurboSite app for fieldwork is a great addition
  • Get access to the suite of TurboApps for various functions
  • Is available on Windows and Mac

Cons

  • Can experience glitches with color rendering
  • Only has a 15-day free trial
  • Lacks dedicated Turbocad app

Are there any alternatives?

Solidworks

 

This is a very good alternative to both Autocad and Turbocad. Solidworks has both 3D modeling and 2D drawing functionality so it matches Autocad and Turbocad in that regard. It is also similar to Turbocad in that it has a one-off payment option as well as a subscription model too.

Solidworks is only available on Windows operating systems which does hold it back a bit especially if you use Mac OS however it is popular computer-aided design software that has been around for a few decades now. Another popular option is Fusion 360, so here check the comparison in detail between Solidworks vs Fusion 360.

Inventor

 

inventor autocad

Inventor often doesn’t have the same recognized name as Autocad however it is closer to Turbocad in its makeup as it is a 3D modeling software as default whereas Autocad started out as 2D and incorporated 3D functionality.

Inventor is a bit more user friendly as well with its interface although it does come with a higher price tag for a year’s subscription. It has been around since 1999 and is also only available for Windows like Solidworks so it does lack cross-platform compatibility.

If you are interested in how Invertor compares with similar software, check the detailed comparison between Fusion 360 vs Invertor.

FAQs About Autocad and Turbocad

Can I use Autocad for free?

There is a free trial available for Autocad that lets you try out the product for 30 days. Students can get a one-year free license as well which is a pretty cool feature and Autocad offers monthly, yearly, or 3-yearly subscription models.

Can I use Turbocad for free?

Turbocad has a 15-day free trial available where you can try to product out. It offers a one-off payment to be able to use the software for life but that doesn’t include upgrades which will cost extra. There is also a subscription model available.

What operating systems can I use Autocad on?

Autocad is available on both Windows and Mac computers and there is also a mobile app that you can use as well.

What operating systems can I use Turbocad on?

Turbocad also has both Windows and Mac OS versions so it matches Autocad in that way. You’ll also get access to the Turbocads app suite which offers handy apps to complement the work that Turbocad does.

Are these programs customizable?

Yes. Autocad especially is very customizable with its Custom User Interface Editor where you can hide tools, change the layout, and more to make things easier for you. Turbocad also offers a custom experience to increase productivity.

Is it easy to use these programs?

Turbocad is considered to be an easier program out of the two. Both will take time and effort to get used to as they are complicated programs performing complex processes.

Can I use these programs for 3D printing?

Both Autocad and Turbocad can be used to create models for 3D printing and can be used with open-source printers too.

What support do Autocad and Turbocad offer?

Autocad has a Learning Section which offers a range of guides and tutorials while there is an online forum where you can ask questions to other users. There is also a support ticket system on their website. Turbocad has its own Knowledge Base, forum and you can contact them via phone.

Conclusion: Autocad or Turbocad?

Autocad is perhaps the most well-known computer-aided design software on the market. Even people who aren’t involved in drawing, modeling, and 3D printing know the brand name.

Both of these pieces of software are powerful and very good at what they do. Turbocad perhaps has the edge when it comes to 3D because that is its primary purpose whereas with Autocad it feels like a bit of an added extra given its main focus was 2D.

Neither of these products is going to be learned right away by someone who is completely new and they do have a learning curve and will take time and a lot of practice to get the hang of. The good news is that there is a wealth of information out there for both in the form guides, tutorials, and forums that can help.

It is quite hard to choose a winner between these two because they have many overlapping features.

I would go with Autocad if I really had to choose for a few reasons.

One is that it offers an industry-standard product that has been used for decades while it provides good cross-platform functionality in terms of its Windows, Mac, and mobile versions. That isn’t to say that Turbocad doesn’t offer Windows and Mac versions but that Autocad’s mobile app is very useful.

While certain things in Turbocad might be easier to learn it does have a ceiling in what you can do and in the long run you would probably be better taking more time to get equipped with Autocad.

Bottom Line Summary: While these are both capable software tools, I much prefer more capable and versatile Autocad solution here, particularly if you are past the hobby level. Turbocad is fine as a short term budget pick, but most of the world is moving towards Autocad (and for good reason). 

Why Go With AutoCAD LT? | Autodesk

The Gold Standard for industrial CAD, AutoCAD LT can flexibly adapt to 2D or 3D projects, while using local network drives if connection speeds are limited. Most additive manufacturing speaks AutoCAD.

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Further Reading on CAD Software for 3D Printing: