Archives July 2020

Anycubic Photon Review [2020]: Will This Work for You?

You can’t beat the reliability and affordability of resin printers. They’re also easy to use and offer a great alternative to SLA printers because they’re safer and easier for beginners. There is a learning curve with some, but it’s worth figuring out so you can reap all the benefits.

DLP, or digital light processing, is a method of 3D printing that uses light to cure the project. Rather than heating up a filament and printing something hot onto a heated bed, it simply cures one layer of the project at a time using liquid resin and UV rays.

Once the layer is cured, the print bed moves to allow for the next layer to be printed. This offers a high level of accuracy, even in the most detailed prints. This liquid resin print doesn’t need to be heated first, and it makes it much safer than an SLA printer.

Anycubic Photon 3D Printer Features

anycubic photon printer

The Anycubic Photon is one such DLP printer. The LCD screen resolution is 2K and the build volume is 115mm x 65mm x 155mm. It’s slightly smaller than some other DLP 3D printers, but it’s all fantastic for the price point.

A lot of times, DLP printers have a powerful resin smell, but the Anycubic Photon has a carbon filter and a fan that helps get rid of some of that. However, there are times when you may notice it a bit more, especially if your printer is set up in a small area.

You can use gloves and a mask when pouring the resin and that will help protect you as well. A large room with windows is best for using this printer. This is a great way to experiment with this type of 3D printing without spending a lot of money.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

Anycubic Photon Setup

The Anycubic Photon comes with everything you need to set it up. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of setups involved. In fact, it comes mostly pre-assembled. In the box, you’ll find the printer, an owner’s manual, a power cable, gloves, and a mask, filters, a resin tank, and a bottle of resin to start resin based printing.

The included 8GB USB flash drive also comes preloaded with models to try. They’re already pre-sliced, so you don’t have to design your own in order to test the printer. Many DLP printers require you to install the print bed before using, and they also don’t offer any resin included in the box, so the Anycubic Photon is already ahead of the competition.

Although the printer comes fully assembled, you do have to screw a knob on the door and level the bed. First, make sure the screen and the print platform are dust-free.

Before you level it, plug it in and remove the resin tank. You can start the leveling process with the touch screen and then manually adjust it to get it just where you want it. It’s similar to how you level an FDM printer, so if you’d had experience with that, you’ll learn how to do this very quickly.

If you don’t know how to do it, you can lower the platform to make it easier. Then pour the resin in the vat and you’re ready to go.

Anycubic Photon Printing

Before printing any of your own designs, test the printer with one of the test jobs on your USB stick. The lattice cube shows off how the Anycubic Photon creates intricate layers and exceptional print quality. It’s a fun way to watch your printer work and see how your jobs will turn out, even those with the most detail. You don’t have to adjust any settings or understand the software to print this first job.

This is the perfect way to get familiar with your printer, taking it slow, and making sure that first, your print job sticks to the bed. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to level it and then try again.

You’ll notice that this particular job results in impressive quality and a smooth surface with the intricate details you might expect from a much more expensive printer. Cleaning and allowing to cure gives you a flawless exterior on a solid print.

If you’re printing something simpler, you’ll still enjoy a layerless look that you’ll only find on high-end 3D printers. For some complex projects, you’ll need to add a few more supports, but you can trust the printer to generate them automatically and slice them in or create them yourselves. When the job is done, it’s easy to snip them off.

Anycubic Photon Software

anycubic photon 3d printer

No other manufacturers have the same software because the Anycubic Photon has a proprietary program. Unfortunately, you won’t be familiar with it right out of the gate, but it’s not hard to get up to speed.

If you’re not familiar with how to use a 3D printer, you shouldn’t modify anything at first. You can leave the default settings alone and still print high-quality jobs. It’s also very simple to adjust the layer thickness, exposure time, and off time.

Support generation is one of the easiest things to do with the Anycubic Photon. It’s far above any other 3D printer when it comes to auto-generating the supports you need for difficult projects. However, if you feel like you’d rather create your own, you can manually insert them wherever you need them for complete control over your jobs. You can adjust placement, length, shape, density, and radius.

You can also rotate, scale, and view your model in a variety of ways with the Photon slicer software. It’s quick and easy. The resulting .photon file can be used with the Anycubic Photon, but not with any other 3D printer. The software is lacking a bit in design, but it explains tasks and operations so they’re easy to understand, and it’s not hard to figure out or use.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compact size
  • Custom slicer with excellent support generation
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Jobs may stick to print bed
  • Small build volume
  • Lack of customizations

Anycubic Photon Alternatives and Competitors

When it comes to 3D printers, there’s surely no shortage of them, no matter what kind of 3D printer you want. Here are a few other options if you’re looking for a DLP resin printer.

Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer

phrozen sonic mini

This is a really great budget resin printer. The layer cure times on this machine are as little as 2 seconds. That’s unheard of in the realm of resin 3D printers. There aren’t many others that can achieve this lofty goal if any at all. It prints insanely fast.

It’s also worth mentioning that this 3D printer has a huge print volume at 276mm x 155mm x 400mm. Why they called it a “Mini” I’m just not sure. You could print almost anything. Costume accessories? Done. Drone replacement parts? Yup. Large items that you would normally have to print in pieces? Absolutely.

You’ll pay for speed and size here, but you could argue it’s worth it if you’re interested in size and speed. After all, they matter.

Peopoly Phenom 3D Printer

peopoly printer

This one boasts another large print volume equal to the Phrozen Sonic Mini. Both far surpass the Anycubic Photon. If build volume is what you’re looking for, you will want to take a serious look at this one.

Again, it’s another 3D resin printer than can handle big projects fast. The productivity of this beast is unmatched, especially when you consider high detail prints. It’s widely used by businesses and professionals because it’s so reliable.

Elegoo Mars 3D Printer

elegoo mars

If you’re not looking for something quite so large or suited for commercial uses, the Elegoo Mars is a great choice on a budget. It offers simplicity and excellent print quality. The print preparation workflow makes it incredibly easy to use.

DLP printers are already pretty straightforward, but this one makes it even easier. The print bed is self-leveling, the software is open source, and the performance is beyond anything else in the price range.

Further Read: Here check how Elegoo Mars Compares with Anycubic Photon

ELEGOO Mars

The Elegoo Mars is great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

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

Formlabs Form 3 3D Printer

formlabs form 3

Formlabs has been around for a while. They make professional-grade 3D printers, and the Form 3 is the third generation of this liquid resin printer. It has a wide range of practical features, meaning it’s a fantastic choice for commercial use.

It’s rather expensive, so it may not be the right choice for individuals unless you are an avid user of 3D printers and need one that is higher quality than most.

Formlabs uses precision, high-quality manufacturing, but many of their products use proprietary resins. Thankfully, the Form 3 has what they call an open mode that allows you to use any resins you’d like.

Here you can read everything about Formlabs Form 2 vs Ultimaker 3 

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

FAQs

Is Anycubic a good brand?

Anycubic is known for making incredible printers on a budget. They’re easy to use and they 3D print in high quality, even on more detailed designs. Sometimes they’re a bit harder to set up, but fortunately, the Photon doesn’t prove to be too difficult at all.

Is Anycubic resin toxic?

There’s some debate about how toxic resin is, but wearing a mask and gloves can help reduce your exposure and the effect of the resin on your eyes and skin. However, there are plant-based resins you can use with the Anycubic Photon that don’t have the same effect.

Whether you want to risk exposure or not, there are definitely a lot of options when it comes to compatible resins for your DLP 3D printer.

Are resin 3D printers better?

The short answer is yes. You yield better results when printing with resin. It’s certainly faster, it can be safer, and it is generally cheaper. While SLA printing and FDM printing rely on a lot of factors to achieve a successful print, DLP tends to be simpler and more efficient.

Do 3D resin printers need ventilation?

All 3D printers need proper ventilation to be used safely. Resin can be toxic when inhaled in an enclosed environment continuously. It’s important to ensure that you’re using your 3D printers properly.

Resin, when inhaled, can cause irritation in the lungs and the esophagus. If you don’t use gloves when pouring resin, it could come in contact with the skin and cause irritation during resin 3D printing.

The Verdict: Anycubic Photon Review

While leveling can prove a bit more difficult than other 3D printers, it’s worth all the setup hassle to get the print quality that the Anycubic Photon offers. You need to make sure the prints stick to the bed, but when they cure, you’ll be more than happy with the result.

Manually creating supports is easy, and you can position them however you like, but it also auto-generates sufficient support most of the time, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Proprietary slicing software creates files you can only use with this printer because the files aren’t interchangeable, but it’s easy to use, and there’s not much of a learning curve for beginners. You don’t have access to a lot of customizable settings, but it’s a great, quality, affordable solution for beginners and advanced users alike.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

Further Reading on 3D Printing and 3D Printer Options:

Best 3D Printers for Medical Masks: Which One Should You Choose?

These days, it’s no surprise that people are looking for medical masks just about everywhere. While bandanas and cloth masks are fine, many are more interested in something that they can put a filter in, cover up with more thoroughly, and filter out more particles.

They’re hard to come by, and many retailers selling these items are reserving their inventory for medical professionals only. If you’re an average citizen without a true medical need for a medical-grade mask, you may be out of luck.

However, if you’re adept at 3D printing already or you simply don’t know where else to turn and are thinking about printing your own medical masks, you can invest in a 3D printer. You can make your own, and the bonus here is that you can also sell them to others to recuperate some of the cost.

Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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

Should You Print Your Own Masks?

face shield

There’s a lot of debate going on about whether or not you should be printing your own masks at home or not. One of the primary reasons for this is that even with the same template, multiple printers can produce a product with a huge range of resulting quality.

Some may be great while others may not. Not only that, but you can’t verify these masks were produced in sanitary environments.

However, you shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t make your own masks at home using a 3D printer you already have or one that you’ve been longing to buy anyway.

What it does mean is that you likely can’t market your masks to local healthcare workers. Healthcare facilities contract with licensed producers of medical equipment to purchase their masks. It’s the only way they can ensure they’re getting the quality disease prevention they need.

But if you decide to print your own masks at home, you can make a huge impact selling them to family, friends, neighbors, and your community. Every little bit helps, and for the average wearer who is already being cautious and practicing social distancing, it can provide them with a piece of much-needed protection in a non-sterile environment.

What to Look For in a 3D Printer

3D PRINTER

If you’re shopping around for the best 3D printer for medical masks, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what you should be looking for.

Review FDA guidelines

In times like these, access to critical medical supplies may be in short supply. Before you buy a 3D printer, review the FDA guidelines for critical medical supplies to make sure you’re making the right kind of masks to protect you and your family.

Find 3D printer companies offering downloads

Many 3D printer companies are printing masks, face shields, and other supplies themselves. You can count on these devices working to print PPE because the company themselves is doing it.

Many of these companies are also offering free downloads so you can get the templates you need straight from the source. This is a helpful way to ensure that the file you’re using to print is compatible with your device.

Do some research on who is currently printing masks and who is offering free templates to their users. These may be the best printers to buy because it’s easy to source the files you need.

Speed

If speed is important to you, you may want to consider a 3D printer that can accelerate the printing process so you’ll have masks available to use right away. More and more cities are requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces, so if you don’t have one, you’ll likely need one very soon.

Many 3D printers give users the ability to speed up the printing process, but be careful of going too fast, because you may sacrifice quality, which isn’t something you want to do when you’re dealing with your health and safety.

Quality

Sometimes price and quality go hand in hand, but not always. There are a lot of resin printers out there that offer a great quality print for a fraction of the price of 3D printers that use filament.

An excellent quality printer will give you the results you want more consistently than one that isn’t built well.

Size

Depending on the type of equipment you’re printing, you’ll have to make sure you get a 3D printer with a build volume big enough. While face shields are easy to print, they’re larger than masks and will require more space.

Masks are intricate and can be more difficult to print, but even the largest masks are quite small and don’t require as much room.

Price

If you’re purchasing a 3D printer for the sole purpose of printing masks, you may not want to spend a ton of money. You’re likely not going to recoup your costs very quickly, if at all. If the good citizen in you doesn’t care, then that’s fantastic. Well done!

However, if you’re concerned about the money you might spend, consider buying a cheaper 3D printer for printing the masks you need.

Here are some of the best options on the market, meeting this criterion, and enabling you to print your own medical masks at home.

Monoprice Voxel

monoprice voxel

Monoprice isn’t new to the 3D printer game, but this model is perhaps one of the best options for most people. It makes it really easy to get started, and the excellent print quality leaves even experienced users satisfied.

It won’t cost you a ton, either, so it’s a great option for beginners who want to buy one just for printing their own masks or for those who have done 3D printing before and want a machine they can use for other projects after they’re done with masks.

This model has a heated print bed so when using materials like ABS, which is recommended for printing masks, you get a more reliable print. It’s also easy to remove your finished products by sliding out the bed and bending it slightly.

It’s ideal for those who want the extra safety of enclosed print space, making it great for homes with kids or beginners who aren’t experienced yet. You’ll also enjoy a speed that’s normally found on more expensive machines. Coupled with the print quality, this is a great feature to have for producing masks. The Voxel can recreate intricate details and capture smooth curves, too.

As with anything, it’s not perfect. There are some minor annoyances when it comes to set up, but when you get it up and running, it’s relatively easy to use.

Features:

  • Great print quality
  • Heated print bed
  • Fast print speeds
Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
$379.99

The Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer makes it really easy to get started, and the excellent print quality leaves every experienced users satisfied.

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

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

These days, resin 3D printers are all the rage. Resin printers don’t use heat, so they’re quite a bit safer than printers that use filament. They feature many of the same benefits as a filament 3D printer but can offer increased reliability, which is definitely a plus when printing masks.

It features a large print area, which can be used for larger PPE items like face shields, or you can keep it and use it for other large projects when you’re done.

The Form 3 is the third in this series from Formlabs, and it features a redesigned optics engine. The optics are sealed in their own package, increasing this printer’s reliability. It keeps dust out of the way of the laser, which can interfere with its ability to cure your final projects.

While every now and again, a print will fail, with this 3D printer, that happens even less, if at all. It also uses Low Force Stereolithography, meaning it works less to create more. It doesn’t need a lot of force to create many hardened layers of your most detailed print.

This thing isn’t cheap, so you’ll want to be sure you need a workhorse like this before purchasing, but it is one of the best resin 3D printers on the market. It’s geared more toward designs and other professionals who need a dependable device.

Features:

  • Reliable and dependable
  • Enhanced optics
  • Excellent print quality

Polaroid PlaySmart

polaroid 3d printer

If you live life in the fast lane, the Polaroid PlaySmart printer can offer you the speed you need to get masks done. For those looking to print a lot of masks in very little time, this is the best option. It’s not surprising that something so fast would come from the company that made instant photos a reality.

It’s a friendly device for beginners but can print your projects faster than most other machines. The quality is good, but not perfect, which is to be expected when printing more quickly.

Other models in this price range aren’t quite as fast, and you’ll still experience smooth, clean output with few problems. It can also support a lot of different materials, meaning you can move from masks to other projects using the same printer.

The print area is a bit smaller, which means it’s great for masks and other small projects, but not for anything large. However, if you’re ready to get the job done quickly, this is definitely one of the safest bets. (Here also check the Polaroid Nano Review before making the final choice!)

Features:

  • Fast print speed
  • Good results
  • Supports many different materials

Ultimaker 3

utimaker 3

You’re going to have to think of the Ultimaker 3 as more of an investment than a toy. It’s pretty expensive, but it’s a fantastic option for 3D printing enthusiasts. If you’ve been looking for an upgrade to your current model, and you’re considering printing some masks along the way, too, get this beast.

Design professionals will enjoy all of the advanced features of this machine and the print quality is by far some of the most excellent you’ll experience. Even draft mode is better than most other printers. It supports a huge variety of materials, but you can’t expect speed. If you’re printing masks and you want them done right, you can count on the Ultimaker 3 to print the most accurate final job you’ve seen.

However, you’ll wait a while for the completed product because it definitely takes its time to get it right. It also has a huge build area, making it the ideal choice for more than just a mask or two. The software is easy to manage and it features a redesigned print head that gives it more flexibility for intricate detail. (Here check our Formlabs Form 2 vs Ultimaker 3 Comparison [2020] and Prusa i3 MK3 vs Ultimaker 3 [2020])

Features:

  • Fantastic print quality
  • Great software
  • Supports a wide range of materials
Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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

Peopoly Phenom

peopoly

This one definitely makes the list for its affordability. Not only is it capable, but it costs less than comparable devices. Many other SLA printers are pricey, while this one offers a large print volume at a more accessible price point. It is compatible with many different resins without sacrificing print quality or speed. While you likely need to have some experience with 3D printing to understand how it works, you’ll enjoy a lot of features.

It has a few quirks when it comes to setting up and customizing, and it may require a bit of patience, but Wi-Fi connectivity makes it a bit easier. It also tends to be a noisier printer, so make sure you can handle the sound or put it in its own dedicated space.

It’s a large printer, but well worth it for the expanded build area. You can create a lot more than just masks with this one.

Features:

  • Supports many different resins
  • Huge print area
  • Affordable

FAQs

Do 3D-printed masks protect against the coronavirus disease as well as N95 respirators?

The short answer is no. N95 respirators are designed for contaminated environments. They filter the air in, but they do not filter the air you breathe out. They protect the wearer from contaminants, but they do not protect others.

Masks made from a 3D printer may look similar to other PPE, but it all depends on how they’re made and how you wear it. Some 3D printed masks have places where you can insert a filter, meaning you can choose how well it filters the air based on what type of filter you use.

It also depends a lot on the design. Everyone’s face is a different shape, and some 3D printed mask designs may fit your face well, while others do not. If the mask doesn’t fit your face as it should, it won’t protect you, no matter what type of filter you put in it.

When 3D printing masks, you have to be very careful about which design you use, and it’s up to you to remain safe by choosing the one that will work best for you.

What type of face mask is best during the coronavirus disease pandemic?

This is another answer that will vary from person to person. Different masks are used for different purposes. N95 respirators are designed for contaminated environments while surgical masks are designed for sterile environments. They work in different ways.

When adding cloth masks and 3D printed masks to the mix, it can get confusing. The most important thing to remember is that no mask will work the way it should if it’s not covering both your nose and your mouth. You can wear any type of mask you choose, as long as you’re careful to wear it correctly and then clean or dispose of it properly. Disposable masks should be switched out after every use while cloth masks should be washed daily.

Depending on the material, 3D printed masks can be sanitized effectively, but if you’re inserting a filter into your mask, you also need to make sure you switch it out frequently as well.

Does CDC recommend people to use surgical masks or N95 respirators?

If you already have some of these supplies at home, you can use them. However, if you’re looking to buy some, you won’t find them anywhere. These items are being reserved for essential healthcare workers.

Rather than look for surgical masks or N95 respirators, you can make your own masks at home. Many people are using bandanas or other fabrics to cover their faces, but you can also 3D print your own if you’d like.

How can I best protect myself during the coronavirus disease pandemic?

Along with washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, practicing social distancing, and staying home when you are sick, you can wear a mask when you go out to help protect yourself. While surgical masks and N95 respirators are being reserved for medical personnel, you can always wear a cloth mask or a mask you 3D printed at home.

The Verdict

Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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

If you’re thinking about 3D printing masks at home for yourself, family, friends, neighbors, or your community, you can certainly contribute to the cause. Evaluate the most important features of a 3D printer and make sure you get one that will fit your needs.

Don’t expect to make your money back on the project though. Doing it out of the kindness of your heart will ensure that you feel fulfilled by your good deeds while staying safe.

As an added bonus, you can continue to use your 3D printer for other fun projects when you’re done printing masks.

Best Tevo Tornado Upgrades: All You Need To Know

Even though the Tevo Tornado 3D printer is fine ‘straight out of the box’, with the best Tevo Tornado upgrades you can really ramp up the capability of your 3D printer.

3D printers are much more affordable these days as well and the Tevo Tornado is a model that is within the price range of most people who are interested in investing in this hardware.

We’ll look at why you should upgrade your Tevo Tornado 3D printer, which parts are commonly modified for better performance and also I’ll go into the best upgrades you can get right now.

What is the Tevo Tornado?

Before we get into the ins and outs of upgrading the Tevo Tornado, first let’s look at this 3D printer itself.

Tevo is a Chinese company that has been around since 2015. Their Tornado 3D printer is firmly set in the affordability category in many ways it rivals the Creality CR-10 and we’ve compared these two 3D printers before.

The Tevo Tornado is one of the most user-friendly 3D printers in this price bracket as well. While it has a fairly basic design, it is small enough to fit on a desk in your home so it benefits from being powerful enough to print out some great 3D designs without taking over a large amount of space.

Even though the Tevo Tornado is a very decent 3D printer in its original form, you are able to add upgrades and mods which will drastically improve its performance. This also extends to safety because one of the criticisms of the Tevo Tornado is the wiring.

The Tevo Tornado wiring which operates the power supply is directly attached to the bed by soldering. There is a not so unrealistic chance that the live wires could come loose and fall into the frame which would cause an electric shock. It might not happen the first few times you use this 3D printer but over time it does pose a real safety hazard.

Why do you need to add upgrades?

The more you spend on a 3D printer then, in many cases, the less likely you’ll need to upgrade parts of it. It isn’t always true and upgrades and modifications exist for high-end 3D printers that are perhaps out of the price range of hobbyists and casual users.

With affordable printers like the Tevo Tornado, upgrades can massively improve many aspects of it. The printer itself is usable and very good as it is however there are some reasons why investing in some upgraded parts can make all the difference.

Safety

Enhancing safety is one of the main reasons why you may want to upgrade parts of your 3D printer.

The Tevo Tornado for example does have a safety flaw in its wiring. While it isn’t a critical issue (otherwise it wouldn’t be as popular as it is), it is something to take into consideration. Adding modifications and some new parts can drastically improve the safety of the 3D printer overall.

Improved performance

It isn’t just safety that causes many enthusiasts to upgrade their 3D printer, having better performance is another reason to invest in some new components.

This isn’t just better printing but it also extends to keeping the printer cool so it doesn’t overheat which means you can use it for longer as well as reducing filament slips and upgrading the processor for new features and improved performance.

Better 3D printing

With an upgrade and a new part, you can make better and more accurate 3D printers.

After all, this is the main function of the device and while the Tevo Tornado does deliver accuracy for its cost, getting better 3D printing with a few choice upgrades will increase the performance of your printer.

What parts of the Tevo Tornado can you upgrade?

The good news about 3D printers and especially the Tevo Tornado is that it has many components that can be changed for better versions or even completely adding new parts to the printer.

These are some of the most popular parts of the Tevo Tornado that you can upgrade.

Extruder

The extruder is the part of the 3D printer that you feed the material into and is then heated up to be moved into the X, Y, and Z-axis which is then used to make layers for your prints.

They work by being heat sensitive so there is a minimum temperature that is required to keep everything flowing smoothly and maximum temperature to prevent overheating. In fact, you can get 3D printers with dual extruders now.

Print Surface

This is the part of the 3D printer that forms the foundation for your prints. An issue with many 3D printers especially in the budget range is that the prints tend to stick to the surface.

By replacing this with an upgraded component, there is less chance of your prints sticking which will reduce damage to your prints as well as your 3D printer.

On-board computer

Whatever 3D printer you choose, it has an on-board computer that essentially runs the machine.

Some are better than others and upgrading the computer and processor can make a big difference to how your 3D printer performs, the features it has, and how accurate your prints will be.

Smoothers

The smoothers on a 3D printer are a common upgrade but one that can make all the difference to your prints.

Some 3D printers suffer from not having a smooth finish to their prints and this comes from a discrepancy between the supply voltage and the printer’s motor voltage. With the addition of smoothers which are installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get better finishes to your prints.

Cooling Fan

3D printers are notorious for getting hot and overheating. The cooling fan is one of the most important components you can buy and in many 3D printers, an upgrade is necessary.

By upgrading to a better cooling fan, you’ll be able to create better temperature-sensitive prints and also use the 3D printer for longer.

Buying upgrades v printing upgrades

Before we get into the best upgrades that you can get for your Tevo Tornado, we should mention that there are two kinds of upgrades – ones that you can purchase as hardware and upgrades that you can actually use your 3D printer to print yourself.

Some of the upgrades I’m going to show you below are upgrades you can buy and some you will be able to print. By being able to print some upgrades you can modify your printer in a more cost-effective way so it is worth looking into this if you’re on a budget.

Best upgrades for the Tevo Tornado

So, let’s find out the best upgrades you can get for your Tevo Tornado.

#1 – E3D Titan Extruder

Upgrading your extruder is a common modification with any 3D printer and the Tevo Tornado is no exception. The extruder that comes with this 3D printer is perfectly fine and it is actually a version of the E3D Titan so it will work well but upgrading to the property E3D Titan will add much better performance.

It is compatible with 1.75mm and 3.00mm filament and it will add more power and reliability to your printer. This is a pretty lightweight extruder that has been manufactured using injection molded parts so you’ll get reliability as well as longevity so you shouldn’t need to replace it for a long time.

E3D Titan Universal Extruder
$58.85

This is a pretty lightweight extruder that has been manufactured using injection molded parts so you’ll get reliability as well as longevity!

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11/24/2020 04:10 am UTC

#2 – Borosilicate Glass Plate

A common problem with the Tevo Tornado is that the printing bed often causes the print to stick to the surface. Removing it can not only be a bit of a challenge but it can damage the print and also the print surface.

Upgrading this to a glass plate that sits over the printing bed means you’ll get less ‘stickiness’ and a better chance of getting your print off the actual printer. The Borosilicate Glass Plate is specifically made for Tevo Tornado printers and the screw holes are pre-drilled which is a big bonus in my opinion.

The fact you can remove this print bed, as well as a great feature and the glass construction, is one of the common upgrades that make your 3D printing so much easier.

Borosilicate Glass Plate
$59.95

Borosilicate Glass Plate is specifically made for Tevo Tornado printers and the screw holes are pre-drilled which is a BIG bonus!

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11/24/2020 12:10 pm UTC

#3 – TL Smoother

If you remember I spoke about some 3D printers not having a smooth finish to their prints and the Tevo Tornado can suffer from this – it’s called the ‘salmon skin’ effect.

Smoothers negate the need to try and replace the drivers which are good because the Tornado has these fixed onto the mainboard so getting them off is going to be a pain. With a TL Smoother which is installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get a smoother and more refined finish to your prints.

They are really easy to install as well so they are one of the most straightforward but worthwhile upgrades you can get for your Tevo Tornado.

TL Smoother
$9.99

With the TL Smoother is installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get a smoother and more refined finish to your prints.

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11/24/2020 10:09 am UTC

#4 – DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with the cooling fan that comes with the Tevo Tornado. It will do the job pretty adequately however if you want an increase in performance and better temperature regulation, the DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan is a recommended upgrade.

It’s 24v which is compatible with the Tevo Tornado and it should add to the longevity of how long you can use the printer for as well as helping with better temperature-sensitive designs.

DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan

If you want an increase in performance and better temperature regulation, the is DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan a recommended upgrade.

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#5 – Raspberry Pi with Octoprint

This is an upgrade that can really change the overall performance of your Tevo Tornado. Octoprint is a web interface for your 3D printer and it’ll add wireless printing capability and you can even keep an eye on the status of your printer too.

The Raspberry Pi single-board computer will boost the power of your 3D printer and it isn’t even that expensive to purchase. As an upgrade, it can make a world of difference to what you can do with the Tevo Tornado 3D printer. You can even print off a case for the Raspberry Pi processor itself which will make everything look a bit tidier.

Raspberry Pi with Octoprint
$38.91

Raspberry Pi with Octoprint will boost the power of your 3D printer and it isn’t even that expensive to purchase. As an upgrade, it can make a world of difference to what you can do!

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11/24/2020 10:09 am UTC

#6 – BLTouch: Auto Bed Leveling Sensor

The print bed on the Tevo Tornado has a single aluminum extrusion which means that the print bed can become unlevered pretty easily. This can happen when you are trying to remove prints.

With an Auto Bed Leveling Sensor, you won’t need to do any fine-tuning or manual work to level the print bed. The BL Touch uses a push pin that detects any tilts in the print bed across a number of points and then feeds this back to the 3D printer and will let you know if your print bed is leveled properly. It is a tough little sensor as well so shouldn’t be impacted by any humidity, temperature changes, or different materials.

BLTouch: Auto Bed Leveling Sensor
$37.98

With an Auto Bed Leveling Sensor, you won’t need to do any fine-tuning or manual work to level the print bed and will let you know if your print bed is leveled properly.

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11/24/2020 10:09 am UTC

#7 Shock proofing your Tevo Tornado

One of the main criticisms of the Tornado 3D printer is around its safety over time. It doesn’t have a MOFSET and the way in which it has been wired means that a live wire could potentially hit the frame and cause a very real threat of an electric shock.

This probably won’t happen if you’ve just got the printer and even down the line it may never happen but the point is that the potential is very much there. So, enhancing its safety through a few choice upgrades is recommended. By purchasing an Electric Ring Terminal, Grounding Wire, and an RCD Protector you can ground the printer to improve the safety of the Tornado overall.

#8 Filament Holder

You can print many upgrades for your Tevo Tornado yourself and a Filament holder is one of them.

Many 3D printers come without a filament spool holder and with this quick addition to your 3D printer you will have a handy holder for your filament so that it comes out continuously and smoothly. It is really easy to print and is a cost-effective upgrade that will make a big difference in how you use your Tevo Tornado.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to upgrade my Tevo Tornado?

This really depends on what type of upgrades and modifications you are hoping to make. The vast majority of the changes to the stock Tevo components or adding new ones completely are fairly straightforward so you shouldn’t have many problems installing them. Some are a bit trickier but there are plenty of online guides and videos to help.

Do I really need to upgrade my 3D printer?

Not necessarily. Even though the Tevo Tornado is an affordable printer that isn’t going to eat too much into most people’s budgets, it is a powerful enough device straight out of the box. These upgrades however will not only make your 3D printer better but safer too so it is recommended that you install at least some if not all of the top modifications.

Is Tevo a good 3D printer manufacturer?

For the most part, yes, Tevo is a good manufacturer. They are based in China and even though their Tarantula 3D printer perhaps left a bit to be desired compared to some other models, their Tornado printer is one of the best in its price category.

I’m worried about the safety of my printer – does upgrading solve this?

One of the things to be wary of with the Tevo Tornado is the possibility of the live wire falling onto the frame. It’s pretty unlikely but the more you use the printer the higher the chance this will happen. By upgrading your printer by shock proofing it, this should sort any safety problems out.

Conclusion

The Tevo Tornado is among one of the best affordable 3D printers. It isn’t setting the world alight as such but for the price it does a very decent job especially when you compare it to some other 3D printers in the same category.

While the straight out of the box version is sufficient for many people, adding some choice upgrades can really help to boost its performance which will not only add functionality to the printer but make it safer and more efficient too.

You don’t necessarily need to implement all 8 of the upgrades I’ve spoken about here and even two or three will help you notice a big difference in how it performs. The top upgrades for performance and safety with the Tevo Tornado are:

The Raspberry Pi addition will improve your overall functionality of your Tevo Tornado as well and there are some upgrades you can simply print off too.

The Tevo Tornado is a worthy budget 3D printer and with some sensible upgrades, you can turn it from a decent out of the box model to one that is more powerful and better suited to your needs.

Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon [2020]: Which Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that uses resin rather than filament, you may be looking at a DLP printer as opposed to an FDM machine.

The Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon are both really great, affordable options.

They each have their own advantages, so let’s dive into the differences and a comprehensive review so you’ll know which one is best for you.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: If you want to be able to create customized, high quality, and complex prints, buy the Anycubic Photon here. For everyone else focused on affordabilty, go with the Elegoo Mars here for the best value in class.

Main Differences Between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon

The main difference between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon are:

  • Elegoo Mars requires you to install the build plate yourself, whereas Anycubic Photon comes fully assembled
  • Elegoo Mars does not come with a bottle of resin, whereas Anycubic Photon does.
  • Elegoo Mars comes with ChiTu Box software, whereas Anycubic Photon comes with proprietary software.
We love the AnyCubic Photon

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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Elegoo Mars

elegoo mars printer

The Elegoo Mars offers an easy 3D printing experience that’s great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

ELEGOO Mars

The Elegoo Mars is great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

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Technology

The reason the Elegoo Mars is so easy to use is that it features masked stereolithography technology rather than the fussy fused deposition modeling of other 3D printer varieties.

3D resin printing isn’t for everyone and the cleanup process can be quite messy. It involves washing finished pieces with ethanol, allowing them to cure, and cleaning off the build plate. Not to mention, the smell of the resin is quite powerful. However, as far as 3D resin printers go, this is one of the easier ones to maneuver.

It uses a viscous liquid resin that oozes more smoothly across a resin vat, a single moving axis that moves at a quiet whirr, and no filament wrangling. Because there are no hot ends or nozzles, there’s no drama.

The build plate itself moves layer by layer rather than two axes moving simultaneously, cutting out the noise and making it much easier to operate and maintain. While the stereolithography is simple, it makes the entire process easier. Beginners enjoy a clean experience while even experienced users will appreciate the lack of unnecessary bloat.

In addition, this technology prints great. The ratio of price to performance is much better than most other 3D printers, putting it in a class all its own.

The unit is well balanced without being too heavy. You can slide it easily if you need to, which may be more often than you like because of poor USB port placement at the rear of the machine.

Even if you have to slide it forward, it will resist tipping or rocking, so you can navigate the machine for general use without worrying.

There is a removable UV-blocking lid that can be inconvenient. You have to remove it completely to access the resin and print vat. However, over time, you’ll find that there’s clearance around the Z-axis to allow for you to get it on and off quickly.

With the lid out of the way, you get unrestricted access to your resin tank and you don’t have to remove the vat at all. Removing prints is also much easier on this printer than on many others.

The print volume is 120mm x 68mm x 155mm, so it’s a little smaller than some others, but for the price, it’s well worth sacrificing a little. It’s one of the cheapest 3D printers out there.

Elegoo Mars Setup

The Elegoo Mars comes with complete instructions, but it really doesn’t need them. Just loosen two screws, lower the plate into the bottom, and level. It takes about two minutes to set up, plugin, and print.

Printing

elegoo printer

While the printer doesn’t come with any resin, it’s compatible with any 405nm UV sensitive resins. The company also offers plenty of options that you can order directly from them so you can test them out.

Resin printing has a lot less drama than traditional filament printing, and it prints as expected without much fuss, even on the default settings without any tweaking. If you do want to fiddle with the settings a bit, you can adjust layer heights and it won’t result in failures out of the gate.

The standard layer heights of 0.01-0.02 are perfect and not worth changing. Your prints will finish with much more detail than a similarly priced FDM printer. You can boost printing ability using the included ChiTu Box slicing software, and adjusting the anti-aliasing print settings.

In most cases on an LCD printer like the Elegoo Mars, you can see a grid pattern on the surface of the print job. That’s because every slice of your print is a 2D grid made of square pixels. The pixels are realized in 3D, called voxels.

When printed, these voxels are visible. When the voxels are small enough, they are invisible in the final print job. By using the anti-aliasing settings, you can lessen this aesthetic effect. It bridges sharp corners you would normally find in the voxels.

This technique is likely more useful in larger layer heights. It can help preserve detail while still maintaining speed. You generally wouldn’t need it at small layer heights because they’re already capable of smoothing out your finish without it.

Elegoo Mars Software

The ChiTu firmware and ChiTu Box software offer a contemporary combination that’s super easy to use. Perhaps the best thing about the Elegoo Mars is that it doesn’t use proprietary software, so you can streamline your workflow, making printing prep and the machine itself pretty straightforward.

It includes all of the main features you need for printing including the two most important: model hollowing and robust support generation. You can also take advantage of other user-friendly things that allow you to make adjustments without wrecking the whole job.

Out of the box, the Elegoo Mars offers a single-program solution that is more than capable of doing anything you need it to do. You can even reposition your model without deleting supports.

Pros:

  • Minimal setup
  • Fantastic print quality
  • Simple to use
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The USB port is inconveniently located
  • Prolonged use may cause firmware malfunctions
  • Loud fan

The Verdict on Elegoo Mars

If you’ve been thinking about buying a resin printer but you’re on a budget or unsure of which one to get, the Elegoo Mars is a great option. For the price, you won’t waste your money and you’ll still get an incredible printer that performs just as well as some of the higher-priced models.

It’s easy to use so it’s perfect for beginners, and the software makes the experience even better.

Anycubic Photon

anycubic photon 3D printer

While resin printers offer excellent print quality and ease of use that often far surpass that of an FDM printer, Anycubic offers a solution that does all of this at the same low price point. It has a bit of a learning curve, but nothing that’s not worth mastering to reap the benefits.

Anycubic Photon Features

The Anycubic Photon is another desktop DLP 3D printer that uses liquid resins cured by UV or laser rather than the traditional filament used by FDM printers. The DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, and it involves a process in which the entire image of your print job is cured with light, layer by layer.

Once your layer is resin is cured, the build plate moves up accordingly and the machine prints the next layer. One benefit of this method is a high level of accuracy and detail. The screen resolution on the Photon is 2K, which is great for the low price point.

Build volume is 115mm x 65mm x 155mm, so it’s slightly smaller than the Elegoo Mars. However, it’s a great way to experiment with this type of printing technology without spending your life savings.

The Anycubic Photon features a carbon filter with a fan, to eliminate some of the powerful resin smell, but it can still be quite strong at times. You should always wear a mask and gloves when pouring resin. A large room with open windows won’t hurt either. (Here Check Out the Full Reviews for Anycubic Kossel Delta and Anycubic i3 Mega Review before the final decision!)

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

Anycubic Photon Setup

Luckily, the entire machine comes pre-assembled. You’ll find everything you need including the printer, power cable, owner’s manual, resin tank, gloves and maks, a bottle of resin to start, filters, and an 8GB USB flash drive.

This USB drive has a few pre-sliced models for you to try. Already, the Anycubic Photon beats out the Elegoo Mars by coming fully assembled, including the build plate, throwing in a bottle of resin, and offering a few test models to get you started.

It may come fully assembled (except for a tiny little knob you need to screw on to the door), but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to print just yet. You need to open the cover to make sure the screen and platform are free of dust. Now you can plug it in and level it. Just remove the resin tank, use the touchscreen to start the leveling process, and then tweak the platform to level it the way you need it.

This leveling process is very similar to how an FDM printer gets manually calibrated, so if you’re familiar with doing that, you’ll have no trouble getting this one leveled perfectly. If you don’t know what you’re doing quite yet, lower the platform slowly to make it easier.

Now you can pour the resin in the vat and be on your way to printing.

Printing

To get started, use a test print job included on the USB stick. The lattice cube is a great way to demonstrate how the Anycubic Photon works. It has plenty of intricate layers that will show off the print quality and give you a better idea of how your jobs will turn out.

Because the design is already sliced and uploaded, you don’t have to familiarize yourself with the software just yet. It’s a great way to take it one step at a time, making sure your print jobs will stick to the bed. If they don’t, you may need to relevel and try again.

The print quality is impressive and the surface of the final item is smooth with intricate details. After cleaning and allowing to cure in the sun, you’ll have a solid print with a flawless exterior.

Simple designs have a virtually layerless look, which is indicative of an extremely high-quality printer. Complex projects may require a few more support structures, but you can generate those automatically and slice them in. Once the job is done, you can snip these support structures off easily.

Software

The Anycubic Photon has proprietary slicing software, so you won’t find any other manufacturers that feature the same program. However, it’s very simple to use, so you shouldn’t have any trouble, even if you’ve never used it before.

Leaving the default settings intact is your best bet if you’re unfamiliar with how to modify anything. These settings are defined well and should still result in high-quality prints. However, you can change normal exposure time, bottom exposure time, layer thickness, bottom layers, and off time.

Where the Anycubic Photon really shines is support generation. You can auto-generate supports or manually insert them wherever you need them, giving you more control over your prints.

While you have control over the placement, shape, length, radius, and density, the auto-generated supports are sufficient enough for most jobs.

You also have a variety of ways you can scale, rotate, and view your model using the slicer software. Slicing is quick and creates a Photon file you can use exclusively with this printer. While the software itself is lacking in design, it does give explanations for how to perform all of your necessary tasks and seems to be relatively easy to use.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compact size
  • Custom slicer with support generation

Cons:

  • Small build volume
  • Jobs will sometimes not stick to print bed
  • Not as much customization

The Verdict: Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon?

The Anycubic Photon requires a bit more work to get it level and to make sure that the prints stick to the bed, but once you have it figured out, it produces very high-quality jobs. You can manually create supports if the already incredible auto-generated supports aren’t sufficient.

The proprietary slicing software produces files that you can only use on this printer, so the files are not interchangeable. However, the software is very easy to use, even for beginners. While you can’t change a lot of settings, it’s a good solution for beginners.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

FAQs About 3D Printers

Is a 3D printer worth buying?

If you’re looking to print the periodic project, a DLP 3D printer is a much more cost-effective option than purchasing a traditional FDM 3D printer that uses filament. DLP 3D printers are a bit smaller, so they won’t take up as much room, and they’re a lot cheaper.

Does Elegoo Mars come with resin?

While the Elegoo Mars prints with resin, it doesn’t come with any, so you’ll have to get your own before printing. However, you can order some online from many different retailers, and you can even order it separately from Elegoo when you order your printer.

Is the Anycubic Photon worth it?

What you’ll find with the Anycubic Photon is that it prints very high-quality results at a very low price. It’s affordable, and definitely worth it whether you’re printing seldom or often. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s easy to use.

Which One is Right for You?

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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.

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

Your experience with the Elegoo Mars will be nearly flawless. After long stretches of printing, you may find that the firmware tends to trip up on a new print. However, you can turn it off and back on again to clear the issue.

It’s a fantastic solution for beginners and experienced printers who want an insanely affordable and easy to use system that comes with the ChiTu Box software. It allows you to use the fantastic default settings or customize many of the things you may need to get a better job.

The Anycubic Photon comes with proprietary software that’s also very easy to use and comes with great default settings. You can’t customize as much, but this is great for beginners who don’t know much about how to change the settings.

It’s still an affordable solution that produces great print quality. There’s a bit more of a learning curve on the Photon, but you’ll eventually plateau and want more features and customized options that you won’t get with this one.

If you want something that’s affordable and has a third party software that’s easy to customize and use, get the Elegoo Mars. If you’d rather get something that allows you to customize your supports for high quality, complex print jobs, get the Anycubic Photon.

Bottom Line Summary: If you want to be able to create customized, high quality, and complex prints, buy the Anycubic Photon here. For everyone else focused on affordabilty, go with the Elegoo Mars here for the best value in class.

Further read:

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth It?

MakerGear Ultra One is a heavy-duty 3D printer created for professional industrial markets. But it can also be used for business, educational, and personal purposes. It boasts a riveted sheet metal enclosure that allows it to print a wide variety of engineering-grade models and large-scale parts.

This ultra-durable and the flexible 3D printer has a build volume of 16 by 14 by 13 inches (406.4 by 355.6 by 330.2 millimeters) and delivers high-quality FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) prints with speed and precision. It prints at high temperatures, so it can work with a variety of filaments, including Nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, metal composites, carbon fiber composites, wood composites, and more 1.75-millimeter filaments.

It also works with a variety of plastic filaments such as ABS, HIPS, PET-G, PET-T, PLA, ASA, BVOH, TPE, and TPU. Its heated build plate, which is made of Borosilicate Glass Plate with a polyimide film coating, can reach a temperature of up to 140 degrees Celcius.

What else do you need to know about the MakerGear Ultra One? Should you buy one for your professional 3D printing needs? Read on to find out more about the Ultra One.

Everything You Need to Know About MakerGear Ultra One

maker gear ultra one

Ohio-based 3D printer manufacturer MakerGear is known in the 3D printing world for its reliability, and you can expect no less from the Ultra One. Priced at $12,500, the Ultra One is different from other industrial printers in that it gives you the flexibility and freedom to pick your filament grade and your filament supplier. As such, you are able to create a broad range of projects while also reducing your production costs.

MakerGear Ultra One Features

Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) System

The Ultra One runs two extruders simultaneously and this makes the multi-material printing and use of soluble supports a fast process. Moreover, this independent dual extrusion system allows the Ultra One to provide twice the production capacity of other fixed-head dual extrusion units for single-print jobs.

Touch Probe Leveling

The Ultra One’s reliable Touch Probe feature will assist you in manually leveling the bed and will automatically make small adjustments if necessary from one print job to the next.

Once the Touch Probe Leveling feature has determined the levelness of the bed, it will use these measurements to “instruct” the printer to level your bed by adjusting the z-motors at all corners and to maintain this level throughout heavy printing jobs. The printer also generates a mesh of the print surface before it starts printing to compensate for the variations from perfect flatness.

WiFi/Ethernet Connectivity

You can connect the Ultra One to your WiFi network or via an Ethernet cable, allowing you to control it remotely and to monitor printing status.

Complex Printing

You can use soluble BVOH and HIPS support materials to print complex objects. This printer can combine rigid and flexible elements to achieve more complicated mechanical, chemical, and thermal properties. It can also print objects in multiple colors.

Industrial-grade Linear Rails

Industrial-grade linear rails in the motion system offer true CNC reliability. This feature guarantees consistent material performance from the full printer enclosure.

Simplify3D

Simplify3D is the 3D printing industry’s leading independent slicing software. It is included in the Ultra One without maintenance fees and with free lifetime updates.

OctoPrint for MakerGear

OctoPrint, fitted especially for MakerGear’s control interface, makes the printer controllable from any web browser and highly configurable through plugins. With OctoPrint, you can access features like direct design-to-print integrations and one-click file preparation.

LCD Screen and USB Port

The Ultra One has an LCD screen and USB port to allow you to print files that are stored on your flash drive.

Warranty

The new Ultra One printers come with a 12-month limited warranty. The manufacturer also offers warranty extension options through its MakerGear Protection Plan.

As stipulated in MakerGear’s warranty terms and conditions, the company will replace any defective parts on the Ultra One. Replacement parts may either be new or refurbished. These will be shipped via USPS Priority or FedEx Ground, but only in the United States.

There are, however, exceptions to this warranty. For one, the MakerGear hot-end is covered under warranty only if filaments and authentic components from MakerGear are used. Moreover, the one-year warranty does not cover any abuse on the printer.

What You Would Like About the MakerGear Ultra One

makergear ultra one industrial printer

Aside from all the main features of the MakerGear Ultra One that make it an industry-grade 3D printer, you would love its amazing compatibility. It works with a wide range of devices, browsers, and operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. Its network connectivity options make the Ultra One suitable for any installation scenario.

You would also love the fact that it includes an onboard computer with more than 10 GB of storage capacity.

Users also admire how the MakerGear Ultra One allows them to use nozzles of different sizes. This 3D printer is sold with a 0.5-millimeter standard brass nozzle, but you can also get and use brass nozzles with a diameter of 0.35 to 0.75 millimeters and stainless steel nozzles with a diameter of 0.35 to 0.5 millimeters.

What’s more, this printer operates very quietly, thanks to its sheet metal enclosure.

MakerGear Ultra One: What Can Be Better?

printing

The MakerGear Ultra One does not come cheap at all. With a very steep price tag, this printer is indeed intended for professional industrial use and business purposes.

In other words, many hobbyists would find it an unaffordable, and even unattainable, machine. It is best to consider this printer investment and to use it for printing jobs that would somehow help you recoup your costs instead of using it for personal projects.

Other than its price point, which is not exactly that big of a disadvantage considering how it gives you your money’s worth, there isn’t a lot of complaints about the Ultra One. There were comments about its lack of an air filtration system, which makes it quite unsuitable for office use. However, MakerGear had explained that the printer will be upgraded to be equipped with a HEPA filter.

Users may also find the Ultra One too tall for typical desktop installation. If you place it on a standard desk, its lid is going to open too high for you to reach.

MakerGear Ultra One: The Bottom Line

The Ultra One is MakerGear’s first industrial 3D printer and it is a powerful machine that can print large-scale parts and assemblies with precision. The key is its all-new motion system, which operates smoothly, and massive build volume, which meets speed and reliability for professionals.

Its gantry system is incredibly rigid and is composed of:

  • X gantry, which contains independent heads driven by fiberglass-reinforced belts and guided by a precision linear rail.
  • Y gantry, which is driven by two fiberglass-reinforced belts and guided by two precision linear rails.

All in all, the MakerGear Ultra One comes from a 3D printer manufacturer that continues to innovate to bring us products that get better and better and more refined than their predecessors. The Ultra One is its first industrial machine and, by far, the most advanced yet.

So if budget is not the problem and you intend to use your 3D printer for industrial and business purposes, the MakerGear Ultra One would make a great investment. With its flexibility in terms of materials, its high connectivity, its great compatibility, and its high-end performance, you will get your money’s worth — if not more.

Alternatives to the MakerGear Ultra One

If you are weighing your options before purchasing, there are some alternatives to the MakerGear Ultra One that is worth checking out. Two are industry-grade 3D printers in that they produce end-user products and commercial-quality prototypes quickly.

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

The Formlabs Form 3 is touted as one of the best 3D resin printers for 2020. The Formlabs Form 3 is a versatile laser-based stereolithography apparatus (SLA) printer that is complemented by software that makes it easy to operate.

But while traditional SLA setups utilize a stationary laser, wherein the beam is directed by a pair of mirror-toting galvanometers to trace and cut an object into the resin, the Formlabs Form 3 has the Low Force Stereolithography (LFS), which bounces the laser beam through a chain of a single galvanometer, mirror, and parabolic mirror, and at the same time rowing the entire laser module back and forth along the print’s X-axis.

This extended path for the laser beam ensures that the resin is hit perpendicular to any point on the build plate, delivering scalability, and consistent edge-to-edge print quality.

The Form 3 sports Formlabs’ all-new proprietary printing system that is distinctive for its Light Processing Unit (LPU). Complementing this new LPU-enabled printing method is an array of print monitoring sensors that are geared toward micromanaging every little aspect of a printing job.

You can pair this printer with a computer and use its large color touchscreen to view the material cartridge used, the paired resin vat, the milliliters of resin used, the final print time, the number of layers, the resolution, and a complete history of prints. The Form 3 has a 145- by 145- by 185-millimeter print volume.

With the Form Wash and Cure stations, you will be able to handle a printing job one-handed, from preparation to post-processing.

Formlabs Form 3: What You Would Like

The Form 3 only takes a few moments to set up and a few moments to start a part-automated print job. It was designed to let you spend as little time as possible manning or operating the printer and more time monitoring the workflow. In other words, this 3D printer provides all the tools you need for oversight and resource management.

You would also love how the Form 3 gives you a superior printing experience through usability print quality. Needless to say, this is a great 3D printer for small-batch, high-detail, and fast prototyping.

Moreover, you would appreciate how the Form 3 has a complimentary wash and cure stations to make washing and curing a hassle-free task, especially since resin is rather nasty stuff. Between flipping the build plate lock open and using the wash and cure stations, minimum input is required on the part of the operator.

What Can Be Better About the Formlabs Form 3

The Formlabs Form 3 has its share of shortcomings. You could experience infrequent artifacts or flaws on your prints, which could be due to either an issue with the disposable resin vats or the dust on the LPU’s glass window.

Some users also complain about Formlabs’ consumables being pricey. However, in exchange for their reliability, they might be worth the cost.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

  • Easy to use and one-click, part-automated printing
  • Has compatible wash and cure stations
  • High-quality output
  • Has a compact design
  • Cost-effective

Cons:

  • No OFF button
  • Early issues with dust inside the laser unit
  • Resin cartridges are a little wasteful

How the Formlabs Form 3 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

While both the Ultra One and the Form 3 are high-quality printers that strike a great balance between speed and detail, with high reliability and repeatability, they are different types of 3D printers. The Ultra One is a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer while the Form 3 is an SLA printer. This means the two use different materials for printing 3D models; the Ultra One uses filaments while the Form 3 uses resin.

Moreover, the Ultra One is more expensive than the Form 3, and it is quite understandable, just considering the former’s much larger print volume, among others.

Ultimaker S5

ultimaker s5

The Ultimaker S5 is considered one of the best dual extruder 3D printers available in the desktop 3D printing market. It is known for its incredible print quality and intuitive guidance, from the setup of a print job to removal. It has a larger-than-life build volume of 330 by 240 by 300 millimeters.

This piece of hardware is designed for the professional, high-end market, including professional designers, engineers, and small businesses. It was also built to run continuously and to maximize uptime. It boasts a layer resolution of down to 20 microns.

Moreover, this printer is compatible with carbon fiber filament as well as high-strength glass. It has an open filament system and can print with any 2.85-millimeter material.

Ultimaker S5: What You Would Like

You would love how the Ultimaker S5 gives you a simple setup, high uptime, and reliable dual extrusion, making it is a complete professional 3D printing solution. Design-wise, you would like how it has a 4.7-inch intuitive touchscreen interface.

You’d also appreciate how you can upgrade your 3D printer. For one, you can get the Ultimaker S5 Material Station and add capacity for six front-loaded material spools. The printer will automatically switch between materials and control for filament humidity. There’s also the Air Manager, which will enclose your printer’s build chamber and filter up to 95 percent of ultrafine particles.

What Can Be Better About the Ultimaker S5

The Ultimaker S5’s $5,995 price tag is considered rather steep for this type of printer. The printer is also relatively slow when it comes to set up and the printing itself. Plus, there are a few kinks that the hardware and the software, Cura Connect, need to be work out between them.

Moreover, while the Ultimaker S5 is capable of multi-material printing, it is not necessarily great with multiple colors. When printing with two different-colored PLA filaments, for instance, the print quality had taken a noticeable dip.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Exceptional print quality
  • Has large build volume
  • Has excellent multi-material capabilities
  • Touchscreen interface that walks guides you through every step of the printing process

Cons

  • It is an expensive 3D printer
  • Has relatively slow print time, depending on layer height
  • Camera feed sometimes freezes
  • More difficulties with certain materials

How the Ultimaker S5 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

The Ultimaker S5 has a large print volume, but the print volume on the Ultra One is larger. This difference, however, is not that massive. Both printers use filaments, including PLA, ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, CPET, and carbon fiber. They also apply FFF print technology. Both also have dual extrusion print heads.

FlashForge Creator Pro

flashforge 3d printer

The Creator Pro is one of the more affordable yet capable dual extrusion 3D printers available today. It boasts sturdy construction, a fully enclosed build chamber, and a heated build plate, all allowing for multi-material printing and the printing of temperature-sensitive materials that would typically warp with other printers.

It has a build volume of 227 × 148 × 150 millimeters and a layer height of 100 microns. It is a pretty straightforward printer that is based on FFF technology.

The FlashForge Creator Pro has a versatile dual extruder. However, unlike IDEX systems, wherein the nozzles independently move from each other on the x-axis, the Creator Pro’s set-up uses a pair of aligned print heads. This allows for quicker dual extrusion prints since the traveling time of the print heads has decreased. However, there might be a need to tinker and adjust retraction times a bit to prevent material from oozing out the inactive nozzle.

FlashForge Creator Pro: What You Would Like

The FlashForge Creator Pro makes a great budget pick for a dual extruder 3D printer with its relatively low price point. At less than $800, this 3D printer is a good choice for personal use and small- to mid-sized businesses. It allows 3D printing hobbyists to afford rapid prototyping without compromising high-quality products.

Other than the affordability, you would also love how the FlashForge Creator Pro has an active and supportive user base. Moreover, the dual extruder system makes it possible for the Creator Pro to print with a wide variety of materials, including PVA, PLA, ABS, HIPS, Flex, T-glass, and composites like CopperFill, Woodfill, and BrassFill.

Additionally, the Creator Pro comes in a user-friendly and stylish design. It is ready to use out of the box.

What Can Be Better About the FlashForge Creator Pro

The Creator Pro does not have its own software. However, it is an open-source printer and is therefore compatible with a number of slicing software, including FlashPrint, ReplicatorG, Cura, and Simplify3D.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros

  • Has a sturdy and stable metal frame
  • Warp-resistant 6.3-millimeter aluminum build platform
  • The new heavy-duty z-axis guide rod ensures steady and precise movements
  • Has an acrylic enclosure for the chamber to insulate and protect ABS prints.
  • Has an integrated LCD screen.

Cons

  • Does not have its own slicing software
  • Not recommended for industrial 3D printing purposes because speed is not a strong point

How the FlashForge Creator Pro Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

Both FlashForge Creator Pro and MakerGear Ultra One are dual extruder printers, but the Creator Pro does not have an IDEX system. The price points between the two printers are worlds apart, making the Creator Pro a much more recommended unit for personal or hobby printing purposes.

FAQs About 3D Printers

What is the difference between FDM and SLA Printers?

The main difference between an FDM printer and an SLA printer is the materials they use. While an SLA printer uses resin as the material for its models or prototypes, an FDM printer uses filaments, such as those made of plastic, nylon, and other materials. An FDM printer builds a model by melting the filament and pushing it out of its extruders one layer at a time.

Filaments are available in a wide variety of colors and you can use the colors you need. For resin, the color options are very limited. Most SLA printers also require you to use resins from the same manufacturer. This means that if a particular SLA printer manufacturer only offers white, black, gray, and clear resins, you may have to limit your models to just these colors.

Another difference between the two types of printers is the post-processing requirements. With an FDA printer, printed models are easy to remove. But with an SLA printer, removing the finished product can be messy and a bit of a hassle. Additionally, for FDM printer models, you need to remove the supports and any excess plastic, then do some sanding to smoothen out the surface. Meanwhile, SLA models need to be cleaned and cured. You need to soak them in a cleaning solution to get rid of any leftover residue, then cure the resin under high wavelength UV light.

What is Extrusion and What Does it Mean to Have Dual Extruder?

Extrusion is the process of creating models or objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile, where the material is pushed out of a die. In the case of Ultra One, the filament is pushed out.

Dual extruder printers are equipped with two extruders and nozzles. Through a dual extrusion process, you can print 3D models with multiple filaments. With two spools loaded, your 3D printer alternates between these spools printing one at a time.

What is the OctoPrint Feature?

OctoPrint is the interface through which you can access and control your MakerGear printer. Think of it as your car’s dashboard, which offers you access to the vehicle’s controls.

By navigating to your Ultra One’s unique web address, you will be able to get total control of the printer through any web-browsing device. With the OctoPrint feature, you will be able to address and control most of your 3D printing needs and processes, such as heating the printer, preparing your files, monitoring the progress of a print job, and calibration and maintenance.

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth Getting?

If the budget is out of the question, the MakerGear would make a great investment. It offers precision, accuracy, repeatability, and speed, which you will need if you are printing 3D models and assemblies for commercial and industrial use.

Ultra One also has the largest build volume among all the printers mentioned, so if you want to make big models in one go, this printer is for you. (Here check MakerGear M2, MakerGear M2 vs Replicator 2 and Ultimaker 2 vs MakerGear M2 before making the final choice!)

However, if the price is a big consideration, there’s always a much cheaper alternative for whatever it is you need and want in a 3D printer. If you are looking for a 3D printer to use for your hobby, you might want to get the FlashForge Creator Pro. It is a much cheaper printer that is still capable of giving you high-quality prints.

If you are looking for an industry-grade printer that you can pretty much leave as it does its job, you would find Formlabs Form 3’s one-click feature attractive. Of course, Ultra One does have the OctoPrint, but Form 3 costs a lot less.

Meanwhile, you may consider getting the Ultimaker S5 if you are looking for a dual extruder printer with a larger build volume than the two other alternatives.

Further read:

Blender vs Fusion 360: Which One Will You Like More?

When you want to come up with your own designs for 3D printing, there is several computer-aided design software that you can use. Two of the best are Blender and Autodesk Fusion 360. Both are widely used and have a range of features that you can use. But which one should you choose?

Main Differences Between Blender vs Fusion 360

The main differences between Blender vs Fusion 360 are:

  • Blender has a confusing user interface, whereas Fusion 360 has a more intuitive user interface that relies on drop-down menus.
  • Blender requires plugins so it can work well with 3D printing, whereas Fusion 360 has more advanced and enhanced 3D modeling and printing tool.
  • Blender is free to use with an open-source license, whereas Fusion 360 costs around $500 and is free only for hobbyists and start-ups earns no more than $100,000 annually.

Read on as we discuss each software, their features, and go more in-depth about their differences. Finally, we answer the question of which one you should use.

Autodesk Fusion 360: Everything You Need to Know

Autodesk Fusion 360 offers you mechanical design, manufacturing, and organic shapes modeling all in one package. This computer-aided design, computer-aided engineering, and computer-aided manufacturing software are cloud-based, making collaboration easy in every stage of product development. It allows iteration and exploration with ideas, as well as collaboration even with a product team with members distributed around the world.

Computer-aided modeling

With Autodesk Fusion 360, you can use a comprehensive suite of modeling tools that allows you to guarantee fit, function, and form of whatever product you have. When it comes to modeling you can create and edit sketches. You can also import geometry into the program and edit and repair it. You can do some parametric modeling, which allows you to change the shape of the object you’re designing by changing the dimension value.

Further, you can design the components that use sheet metal parts and keep track of flat patterns using DXFs and two-dimensional drawings. You can also create designs that specify cutting strategies for plasma, laser, or water jet machines.

If you plan to do some mesh modeling, you can just import mesh models or scans into Fusion 360 and be able to change or repair these. Fusion 360 also has tools that will allow you to analyze assembly motion.

Other 3D modeling features you can get from Autodesk Fusion 360 include:

  • Freeform modeling
  • Surface modeling
  • PCB design integration

Electronics

fusion 360

Autodesk Fusion 360 makes it easy for you to add electronic intelligence using functionalities integrated into this software, such as the schematic design, PCB layout, and routing. You can create and edit schematics, even design a complete PCB layout and even generate drill and assembly files with just one button click.

Further, you can check the integrity of your circuit design and see how the circuit will behave with the integrated SPICE (simulation program with integrated circuit emphasis) simulation.

With Fusion 360, you can set manufacturing requirements with configurable design rules. And because this software integrates both manufacturing and electronics CAD, you can be sure that tour PCB fits. Fusion 360 also makes it easier by offering you a component library that allows you to use ready-made parts rather than creating your own. Lastly, Autodesk Fusion 360 allows you to design an electronics cooling system.

Other features that you can enjoy include:

  • Data management made easy because of a unified development process. You have more control over user permissions, cloud storage, and version control.
  • Collaboration is possible and quickly done because your teams are connected, as well as your customers. Everyone can communicate in real-time and project activity is all in one place.
  • You can design and manufacture prototypes in record time. Your design changes will not mean that your project will need a restart.
  • Enjoy generative design wherein you can specify your design specifications while also improving performance, reducing weight, and using fewer parts.
  • You can test your designs when you simulate real-world conditions and see where the problem areas are, and how to address the issues.
  • You can make animations, renderings, and drawings for your design, making it easy to communicate it to your clients and other stakeholders, while also making documentation a breeze.
  • Program your computer numerical control machines with Fusion 360.
  • You can integrate advanced manufacturing technologies into your design, making it easy to automate while also having more control over the processes and your machine.

Benefits of Using Autodesk Fusion 360

Using this cloud application, you can save time. In fact, some users note that processes and models that used to take days to finish can now be completed in just hours.

No matter what CAD, CAM, or CAE needs you have, Fusion 360 has a tool for that. You have a wide range of modeling tools, as well as environments for making sheet metal parts and surfaces. You also get a simulation environment that will let you see your design and prototype at work. There are also rendering tools that you can use for making drawings, renderings, and animation.

You will be hard-pressed to find another software that offers these many functionalities, features, and tools. What’s more, you have the processing and computing power of the cloud to do all of these things, which means your computer will not crawl to a stop as you conduct a rendering or a mechanical stress test on your designs.

Updates and maintenance are also simplified. Rather than installing, upgrading, and maintaining your CAD software, you only need to install the client. Not only do you avoid spending weeks and weekends planning and executing the installation or upgrade, but you also do not have to worry about servers that might need upgrading.

Autodesk Fusion 360: What Can Be Better

While there is round-the-clock support for this software, you will need to rely on documentation for training your staff. Autodesk does no offer in person or live online training for this software. They also don’t have webinars that you can learn from.

Also, easy collaboration is one of the selling points for this software. However, as far as collaboration tools go, this one is very limited. You can enjoy task and project management tools and version control, but that’s pretty much it. There is no easy way to brainstorm, manage content, documents, and calendar schedules. It doesn’t support discussion boards or video conferencing as well.

Another cause for concern is that it is cloud-based, which might prevent some companies from using it because of regulatory compliance or security concerns.

The Skinny on Autodesk Fusion 360

This cloud-based CAD, CAM, and CAE application is an excellent choice for those who want either a primary design software or a supplemental program to their current design software. You will appreciate how extensive the tools it has, as well as the easy collaboration on data. It really does streamline your design process, helping you save hours and hours of work.

It may not have all the tools and features that you are using with your existing design software, but that should be no problem as Autodesk has been constantly developing and upgrading this program. If you would like to know how Autodesk Fusion 360 compares, check Fusion 360 vs Inventor and Fusion 360 vs AutoCAD.

What You Should Know About Blender

blender 3d modeling

Blender is a free animation and 3D modeling suite. This open-source software helps you create animated movies, video games, 3D printing models, among others.

Features

Blender is an excellent software for 3D modeling. You have a variety of features at your disposal such as animation, modeling, rigging, rendering, motion tracking, and making composites. To make it easier and faster for you to create 3D models, you can use keyboard shortcuts for some common operations. It also has N-Gon support, edge slide, bridge fill, grid fill, and others.

You can also make use of modifiers that can automatically apply effects to your models, saving a lot of tedious steps and time. Meanwhile, the UV unwrapping features allow you to paint on your models directly. You can have fast cube, sphere, camera, and cylinder projections. You can even work with multiple UV layers and paint directly on the mesh.

Sculpting is also faster and easier with Blender. You can work with 20 different brush types such as blob, clay, crease, deepen, smooth, nudge, and snake hook. Each one of these brushes will have a different effect on your model. Blender also allows for mirrored sculpting and multi-res sculpting.

When it comes to animation, Blender allows you to add movements to your character. You can even edit poses, or give your characters independent movements with non-linear animation. The software will also allow you to synchronize sound. With its rigging features, you can transform your model into a posable character in no time.

The use of constraints can also help you limit an object’s animation. You can use shape keys, which act as morph targets. These shape keys allow you to change your character’s facial expressions, as well as tweaking a skeletal rig. Blender also has video editing and game creation features. If you want to customize specialized tools or customize your Blender, you can do that as well. It works on a variety of platforms including macOS, Linux, and Windows

What Can Be Better About Blender

Blender is not one of those software that are easy to master. There is a steep learning curve and it can take a long time before you can comfortably work with the software. This is true even if you have worked with other animation and modeling software before.

Blender: The Bottom Line

With the sheer number of features, you will find that Blender is a great tool for 3D printing enthusiasts. It’s difficult to believe that it’s free software. It does take time to learn, however, and you can expect to spend a lot of time watching tutorials or checking out the documentation. Trust us, however, when we say that it’s worth it.

The Main Differences Between Blender and Fusion 360: An In-Depth Look

blender modeling

If you are choosing between Autodesk Fusion 360 and Blender, it helps to go beyond just the features that they offer.

Community

Blender has been around since 1998 and it has a lot of users that translate to a vibrant and helpful community. It helps that it is an open-source program, which allows you to customize everything. Blender Foundation, the people behind the program, has also been hard at work incorporating features for exporting STLs, animation, image manipulation, 3D modeling, simulation, game development, and video editing.

Fusion 360 has not been around as long as Blender, having been launched only in 2013. Autodesk has maintained and run the software since then, and most of the support materials that you can find for this software comes from the company.

What It Can Do

Blender has tools for 3D modeling, animation, video and image editing, simulation, and game development.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is great for machining, engineering, and design. It cannot be used for video editing and game development.

Price

Blender has been free to use from the start. Autodesk Fusion 360 works on a cloud-based model and costs around $500 a year. However, it’s free to use for startups that earn less than $100,000 annually or for hobbyists.

Ease of Use

While a common complaint about Blender is how difficult it is to master, the 3D modeling environment is intuitive. You can rely on hotkeys and shortcuts to execute commands quickly, plus you have access to modifiers and add-ons that can help make your job easier and faster.

Natural shapes are quite easy to model in Blender, allowing you to deform, distort, and modify them fast.

While Blender is intuitive and can feel natural, Fusion 360 feels more professional and precise. The workspace is streamlined, but you can easily call up the tools that you need from a menu.

Autodesk Fusion 360 is easier to use with its streamlined interface and the use of large drop-down menus. Blender users rely on hotkeys and the user interface can be a bit daunting for most. Even the revamped UI introduced in Blender 2.8 can’t hold a candle to the user-friendly workspace you see on Fusion 360.

What It Is Best for

Because of its focus on precision, Fusion 360 is for the serious designer who wants to create a fast and functional prototype of his or her product. However, Blender is for those who want to work with 3D objects without putting much thought into it.

FAQs About Blender vs. Fusion 360

Do you really need to have CAD software?

Hobbyists looking for STL files on several websites such as Pinshape, MyMiniFactory, or Thingiverse to find models to 3D print. You have a lot of choices and you will probably run out of filament many times before exhausting all the STL files available on these sites.

But if you have a particular 3D object in mind, then you will need a CAD software such as Blender or Autodesk Fusion 360 to come up with an STL file for your printer to work with.

Are there alternatives to both Blender and Fusion 360?

If you’re not convinced with either Blender or Fusion 360, there are other CAD software that you can use.

  • Rocket 3F is a polygonal modeler that is fun, friendly, and fast. It has all the tools you need to create your 3D models.
  • Daz Studio is an excellent 3D model customization, animation, and posing tool that even beginners can use.
  • Houdini Apprentice allows you to create 3D animation and visual effects
  • Hexagon is a surface modeler that is easy to use.
  • Sculptris is an excellent sculpting tool.
  • Modo is a paid software but has powerful 3d modeling and rendering features.

How do you choose a 3D modeling software?

The thing with 3D modeling software is that it’s not a one-size-fits-all thing. What may be the best software for you is not the best for everyone. There are some considerations that you should take:

  • Do you have enough RAM and disk space? Most 3D modeling software needs at least 16 gigabytes of RAM and around 5 gigabytes of storage space.
  • Will you need a powerful graphics card? Check to see if your graphics card, processor, and memory are up to par with the minimum requirements that the software recommends you to have. This will allow you to avoid any lags when you’re creating 3D images.
  • Free or paid? There are some notable 3D modeling software that are free but have features that you can find on paid programs. On the other hand, paid software should deliver great support, ease of use, and intuitive interfaces.

Blender vs. Fusion 360: Which One Should You Choose?

Blender has its draws. It’s free and it has all the features that you will need to do excellent animation, 3D art, sculpting, and video effects. Plus, it’s easy to make organic shapes and structures and it was a helpful community of users you can rely on. However, Blender does neglect 3D printing and you will need to rely on add-ons.

Fusion 360, on the other hand, allows you to create 2D drawings, transform it into a three-dimensional format, and then print your design as you have envisioned it. You can also rely on this software for easy export for laser cutting, plasma cutting, water jet, or CNC machines. Perhaps, for 3D printing enthusiasts, the best feature of Fusion 360 is the enhanced tools for 3D printing it offers, such as slice preview.

But if you’re a hobbyist, both the Blender and Fusion is free to use, so why not use both software if you have the time and patience to learn.