Archives August 2020

BCN3D Sigma Review – An Expert Opinion

This BCN3D Sigma R19 review is going to go over all the features of this 3D printer so that you can decide if it is worth buying or not.

The latest version of the Sigma is the R19 and it is made in Barcelona by BCN3D and is a part of the University Polytechnic of Catalonia. It was released back in 2018 and is one of the many dual extruder 3D printers that have come onto the market in recent years.

It is often confused with the Sigmax which is also from BCN3D but is a larger version of the Sigma R19 with a few additional features.

We’re going to show you the key components of the BCN3D Sigma R19, how it performs as a 3D printer, what its pros and cons are and we’ll also answer some frequently asked questions about this printer too.

Key specifications of BCN3D Sigma R19

Find the main specifications for the BCN3D Sigma R19 below.

Build volume 210mm x 297mm x 210mm
Build plate maximum temperature 100 °C
Extruder maximum temperature 290°C
Filament types PLA, NYLON, PET-G, ABS, TPU,

 

PVA, Composites,

Filament diameter 2.85 mm
WiFi connectivity? No
Operating System MacOS, Windows and Linux
Warranty 1 Year
Our score 8/10
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of BCN3D Sigma R19

The latest version of the BCN3D Sigma is the R19 which comes packed with a wide range of different features. It’s a powerful 3D printer but let’s look at each aspect of this device and then we’ll see how it actually performs.

Design

The latest Sigma from BCN3D has a build size of 210mm x 297mm x 210mm which means it certainly isn’t the biggest 3D printer out there but it is still a fairly big size for printing 3D models. If you want to be printing on an industrial scale then you might want to consider something bigger like the newly released Epsilon.

If you have used any of the previous versions of the Sigma (the original or R17) or even it’s larger model the Signmax you will be familiar with the design. It hasn’t strayed very far from previous models which isn’t a bad thing as the Sigma looks great and will fit in well in a modern environment.

You get various accessories with this 3D printer as well including lubricants, cleaning solvents as well as metal shims.

Two IDEX printheads

Having two IDEX printheads is what sets the Sigma R19 apart from many other 3D printers and we’ve found that the dual extruders work perfectly to create models (we’ll have a look at how it performs a little later on).

Instead of just having one printhead, the Sigma R19 has two IDEX printheads so you can print off two models at the one time.

Obviously this divides the print area so it does impact on efficiency and how big each print can be although the mirror and dual modes that we’ll look at next is a really good feature.

Mirror and dual modes

The Sigma R19 from BCN3D offers two unique printing models – mirror and dual.

The duplication mode with this 3D printer means that you can print two identical models at the same time. It basically splits the printing volume in half with a 50/50 split.

Mirror mode allows you to print off two mirror designs symmetrically. One slight drawback with this on the Sigma is that it splits the print bed 60/40 between the two extruders so it doesn’t divide it up equally giving you one larger print bed for one extruder to work with and a slightly smaller one for the other. This is something that is rectified with the larger Sigmax.

Print with two different materials

This Sigma allows you to use two different materials to print with at the one time. It features a multi-material mode which means you can combine the properties of two different materials into the same print.

The dual extruders mean that you will waste a good bit of filament as it needs to be purged regularly due to the design. Just something to keep in mind as it is a drawback of how the Sigma has been made.

Software

There is a wide range of different 3D printing software out there that helps you, design models, for printing and ultimately get those models printing on your 3D printer.

The BCN3D Sigma uses an adapted version of CURA which is one of the most well-known pieces of software and crucially it is one of the easiest to use. If this is going to be your first 3D printer or if you have limited experience using one, CURA is probably the go-to program to get accurate and easy prints.

It doesn’t come with WiFi connectivity which is a downside however you can use an SD card or a USB. The software itself is compatible with Windows, Linux, and Mac so pretty much everyone will be able to use it.

How does the BCN3D Sigma R19 perform?

bcn3d sigma r19

One of the best things about the BCN3D Sigma R19 is that you can keep it running for a long time and you won’t encounter any problems with your prints. It has been designed to print for hundreds of hours at a time.

There were a few issues with larger models that have been printing sticking to the print bed and the heating element doesn’t spread the heat too evenly while the nozzles will need to be cleaned on a frequent basis. The aforementioned filament wastage is another thing to make you aware of.

That being said, the actual prints from the Sigma R19 are of very high quality. We really liked how everything came out even if there are a few bumps on the road along the way. The software is very easy to use so you shouldn’t have any problems there and if you are looking for a reliable printer in this price range then you can’t go far wrong.

Sure, there are more expensive 3D printers that perhaps don’t have the drawbacks of the Sigma R19 however for the price and its affordability it prints off high-quality models.

Pros of BCN3D Sigma R19

bcn3d 3d printer

The latest version of the Sigma from BCN3D is packed full of features. Here are the best bits from this powerful 3D printer.

  • Two IDEX printheads – As dual extruders go, this is a great 3D printer and certainly one of the best on the market for its price. The two IDEX printheads will print off models to a high quality and while there are a few drawbacks when put into mirror mode, the printheads themselves are a great feature.
  • Can print for long hours – The Sigma R19 is designed to be used over long periods and even when it has been running continuously for days (and even longer) it doesn’t impact on the overall quality of the prints it produces.
  • Dual and Mirror Modes – The BCN3D Sigma R19 allows you to print in what is known as dual and mirror modes. Dual mode prints two identical models at the same time and splits the print bed 50/50 while the mirror mode lets you print off two mirror designs symmetrically.
  • Fairly inexpensive – There are many cheaper 3D printers out there and there are many models that are much more expensive. That being said, the Sigma R19 is a very reasonably priced printer for what it does and you’ll find 3D printers that cost more which don’t offer the same features or print quality.
  • Easy to use software – BCN3D has a slightly adapted version of the popular CURA software to use with the Sigma. If you are new to 3D printing or have limited experience with it, you’ll find the software very easy to use and operate.

Cons of BCN3D Sigma R19

There are a few downsides with the latest version of the Sigma BCN3D and while it is overall a very good printer for the price, these are the drawbacks that we encounter.

  • Noisy – This probably isn’t going to detract you from buying the BCN3D Sigma R19 however it is a fairly noisy device. It’s just something we think we should make you aware of because it will impact on where you have the printer and the location you will be running it from.
  • Filament wastage – This is due to the dual extrusion design of the Sigma R19. You will encounter a bit of filament wastage. This is down to the regular filament purges you’ll need to do when the 3D printer is in operation – you need to keep the hotends primed – however, it’s a price to pay for having dual extruders.
  • Some issues with mirror mode – Mirror mode allows you to print off two mirror designs symmetrically however it doesn’t split the print bed evenly as it is divided up 60/40 between the two extruders.
  • No WiFi connectivity – While the BCN3D Sigma R19 has both SD card and USB connectivity options it doesn’t come with WiFi which can be a drawback for some people. It is something that is present on other 3D printing models from BCN3D but not on the Sigma.

Are there any alternatives?

BCN3D Sigmax R19

bcn3d sigmax r19

You might think that this isn’t much of an alternative because it is made by the same people and almost has the exact same name. However, the Signmax R19 is the step up from the Sigma as it is much bigger (the build volume is 420mm x 297mm x 210mm) and does come with various other features.

Really this is an ideal alternative if you need a bigger 3D printer with pretty much the same features and you have a bit more money to spend. It also solves the issue of the 60/40 split with the mirror mode. You can have a look at our review of the Sigmax R19 which you can find here.

TierTime UP 300

tiertime up300

The TierTime UP 300 is a Chinese manufactured 3D printer that comes in around the same price as the Sigma R19. There is a mini version available as well we’ve had a look at before.

In terms of specifications, it comes with a similar build size of 205 x 255 x 225 mm although with a smaller filament size of 1.75 mm. One of the big advantages this 3D printer has is that it does come with WiFi connectivity as well as USB and SD. Its enclosed design means that it is ideal for plastics like ABS that need high temperatures although the major downside is that it doesn’t come with dual extruders.

FAQs

Does the BCN3D Sigma R19 have WiFi connectivity?

No, the Sigma R19 doesn’t come with WiFi connectivity although it does have SD and USB functions. The BCN3D Epsilon does have WiFi.

What are dual extruders on the BCN3D Sigma R19?

The Sigma R19 comes with IDEX dual extruders which means you can print with more than one material and in more than one color at the same time.

What materials can I use with the Sigma R19?

The 3D printer supports PLA, NYLON, PET-G, ABS, TPU, PVA, and other composites. Its max temperature of 290°C means that it can use certain engineer-grade materials as well.

Does the BCN3D Sigma R19 printer come with software?

The software that the Sigma R19 uses is a slightly adapted version of the popular open-source CURA which is popular among people that use 3D printers. For beginners especially it is very easy to use.
Specifications:
Windows: Windows Vista or higher, 64 bit
Mac OS: Mac OS 10.11 or higher, 64 bit
Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 or higher, 64 bit
Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64 or newer
205 MB available hard disk space
4GB RAM memory

What is the max temperature for the BCN3D Sigma R19?

The maximum temperature of the build plate is 100 °C while the extruder can reach a temperature of 290°C.

What are the mirror and dual modes on the BCN3D Sigma R19?

Dual-mode means that you can print two identical models at the same time and it splits the print bed evenly at 50/50. Mirror mode is where you can print off two mirror designs symmetrically and the print bed is split 60/40.

Final Thoughts

Let’s finish off this review by saying that the Sigma R19 is a very powerful 3D printer that offers high-quality printing and you can leave it to do its work over a long time.

The cost is also very affordable for what you are getting. There are better 3D printers out there that will cost more but if you are on a budget and need a printer that is going to do the job and do the job well, it is hard to look past the BCN3D Sigma R19.

It does have some drawbacks. Namely the fact that it has no WiFi connectivity although it certainly isn’t alone in this regard for its price and there is quite a bit of filament wastage with this model. Noise is something else to take into consideration but then again that is often the norm rather than the exception with a 3D printer.

Overall it is a very good device.

It prints to high quality, has a decent size print bed, the IDEX dual extruders are great and there are several printing modes that will make your life a lot easier. Couple this with the fact that it comes with easy to use software and for a 3D printer it isn’t going to cost the earth, it is hard to look past the Sigma R19 for high quality and affordable model.

How to Find the Best Resin 3D Printer For Your Needs

You have decided to give 3D printing a try, and you’re interested in using resins to create your works of art. How do you choose the best resin 3D printer?

While there are many features, specifications, and characteristics that you should consider, choosing a resin 3D printer should focus on three things: price, speed, and build quality.

But it’s really not as straightforward at that because there are things that you should decide on first. Read on and find out how you can find the best resin 3D printer out there, and what makes them the best for you.

Our Pick
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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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DLP or SLA? Which One Should You Choose?

There are two main types of 3D printers based on the light source. There’s digital light processing printers and stereolithography printers.

Stereolithography

SLA is the oldest printing techniques used today. SLA printers use lasers to do its work.

The laser light is guided by a pair of galvanometers that directs these beams of light to the right coordinates. As the laser beam travels over the liquid polymer, the material hardens.

Digital Light Processing

DLP printers use photopolymers to create the model you want. It uses a traditional light source such as an arc lamp.

These printers have a vat for the polymer, which is exposed to ultraviolet light in layers. The first layer of the polymer will harden and then the printer will print the next slice until the model is finished.

Unlike SLA printers, the light is not concentrated in a single spot. Instead, DLP printers form the whole layer at once.

DLP and SLA: What’s the Same?

No matter what you choose, you will need a photodegradable initiator substance or resins that can interact with light to form carbene-like compounds, cations, or free radicals. These compounds are necessary for polymerization to take place, and to create your printed object.

DLP and SLA: What’s Different?

As you can guess, the main difference between these two technologies is the light source. DLP printers use UV light with SLA uses a laser.

The UV light in DLP printers remains in place as it produces your print layer by layer. In stereolithography, the beam moves around point by point.

Benefits of SLA Printers

These mechanisms affect how accurate the printed model will be. SLA printers are more accurate because the lasers go to where the point of curing is.

As such, SLA printers produce better quality prints.

Benefits of DLP Printers

However, DLP printers work faster than SLA printers. So if you do not need finely detailed prints, you might be able to save time with a DLP printer.

If you need to change the light source, UV lights are generally more affordable than laser lights.

DLP printers allow you to adjust the intensity of its UV lights, so you can have different effects on the resin. With the lasers in SLA printers, you cannot get the same variance in effects unless you change the laser light with the right beam intensity.

DLP printers are typically easier to maintain. SLA printers require calibration, which is typically done by a professional. What’s more, an SLA printer has a much more complex architecture, so if something goes wrong, you will need a professional to come in and take a look.

DLP vs. SLA: Which One Should You Choose

Which technology should you be using? Here’s a simple guide

Choose an SLA printer if:

  • You require a high level of accuracy and resolutions for your prints.
  • You don’t like dealing with subtle remnants or jaggedness in the edges of your prints.
  • You need to print several intricate and smaller parts at the same time.

Choose a DLP printer if:

  • You want faster prints.
  • You don’t want to do too much post-curing.
  • Your prints are not that detailed.
  • You want a more reliable printer because DLP has fewer moving parts.
  • You want DIY maintenance that is also affordable.
  • You want to save money.

LCD Printers: Some Things You Should Know

Another less common 3D printing technology is LCD. It’s very much like DLP printing, but instead of using a projector, LCD uses an array of LED lights for its UV light source. The LCD acts like a mask, so it reveals only the pixels that are needed to create that particular later.

Unlike both DLP and SLA printers, LCD printers do not have a mechanism that directs lights towards particular parts of the resin.

What’s more, DLP is more of a professional’s 3D printer. Compared to desktop LCD printers, DLP devices are more expensive.

Build Volume Should Be Your First Consideration

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Once you have decided on an SLA, DLP, or LCD 3D printer, it’s time to narrow down your choices.

Build volume will determine how big a model you can print on your 3D printer. A big build volume will allow you to print a large model in one piece. You don’t have to spend time to assemble smaller pieces to get your 3D model. Plus, if you’re forced to print on a smaller scale, you lose some important details on the model.

If the printer you use allows you to print different models in one go, a bigger build volume will also allow you to produce more products in the same batch. And even if you don’t need it now, you may need a printer with a large printing capacity in the future.

However, printers with large build volumes often have hefty price tags. If you’re not into professional 3D printing, you might want to consider a 3D printer that will accommodate most of your printing needs. For instance, if you’re printing miniatures for a diorama you’re working on, then you can probably forego having to pay extra for a larger 3D printer.

What’s more, large build volumes equate to bigger printer dimensions. If you only have a small space, there is no way you can fit a big 3D printer in there.

A Word About Build Volumes

You should know that there are printers that oversell their products’ build volumes. A ZDNet article showed that actual widths and depths can differ from those stated by the manufacturer. The typical printer will print anywhere from 0.1 to 0.4 percent smaller models than what is written in the manual.

For instance, the biggest differences in their tests were found in the Dreammaker Overlord Pro Plus with a claimed build volume of 4.9 by 4.9 by 11.0 inches (125 by 125 by 280 millimeters), but can only print objects of up to 3.1 by 3.1 by 10.0 inches (79 by 79 by 255 millimeters).

What 3D Printers Should You Consider?

What are the best 3D printers with sizable build volumes? Look for:

  • Uniz Slash+
  • Formlabs Form 2
  • Flashforge Hunter
  • Peopoly Moai

Uniz Slash+

Uniz Slash+ offers you a build area of 7.5 by 4.7 by 7.9 inches (190.5 by 121.9 by 198.1 millimeters). Plus, with all that capacity, it prints with impressive speed. It’s also designed to be precise and accurate.

This 3D printer has a resolution of 2,560 by 1,600 pixels at 75 micrometers. It works with several resins and is very reliable.

However, this is one very expensive SLA printer, costing close to $2,900.

Formlabs Form 2

Formlabs Form 2 gives you excellent quality prints, easy to use software, and powerful features that make it t a shoo-in for those who are serious about 3D printing.

It works with third-party materials and the setup is pretty simple. The prints come out with sharp and clean edges, with a lot of intricate details. It also prints out very fast.

However, this is not the printer for those looking for bigger build volumes. It costs around $3,500 and the consumables start at $150 or more.

Flashforge Hunter

Flashforge Hunter comes from a company with a reputation for affordable yet high-quality 3D printers. And the Hunter does not disappoint.

It’s an excellent plug and play 3D printer and has shorter print times than most other SLA printers. It gives you a bigger build area as well at 5.7 by 5.7 by 6.9 inches (145 x 145 x 175 millimeters).

This DLP printer is also very quiet. You will love just how easy it is to use. However, like other 3D printers we have here, it’s also very expensive, costing around $4,000.

Peopoly Moai

We know that you are hating how 3D printers with big build areas also cost a lot. The Peopoly Moai is one excellent and huge 3D printer that doesn’t cost as much. It sells for $1,200.

Peopoly positions the Moai as an affordable yet powerful 3D printer. It has a build volume of 5.1 by 5.1 by 7.1 inches (130 by 130 by 180 millimeters).

What’s more, the Peopoly Moai has an open design that makes it different from the rest. And unlike most other SLA printers, you can adjust the intensity and exposure of the lasers on this printer.

However, this printer needs some assembly, and you might end up getting frustrated trying to put it together even before you start printing.

Further, you will also need to replace the print tray frequently, and preparing your prints needs a lot of tweaking.

A Bigger Print Area Means a Higher Price Tag

If you need a 3D printer that is able to handle big prints, then you should save up and save for a long time. These 3D printers will cost you a lot.

A side-by-side comparison of our recommendations follows:

  Features Build volume (mm) Resolution (μm)

Speed (mm/hr)

Uniz Slash+
  • High-resolution 3D prints
  • Very fast printing speed
  • Works with a wide variety of resins
  • Consistent and reliable
  • Accurate

192 × 120 × 200

75

200

Formlabs Form 2
  • Compact size
  • Modern and sleek design
  • Easy to use
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Excellent customer service

145 x 145 x 175

25

30

Flashforge Hunter
  • Works quietly and fast
  • Optimized DLP projector
  • Models print out in high-resolution
  • Works with third-party materials and resins
  • Easy to use and intuitive user interface.

145 x 145 x 175

62.5

10

Peopoly Moai
  • Very affordable
  • Over the top printer resolution
  • Speedy prints
  • Stellar customer service
  • Models look like they were done by a professional
  • Perfect for big and complex structures
  • Works with a variety of resins

130 x 130 x 180

70

85

Cost: Should You Buy Really Expensive Printers?

Perhaps the biggest consideration most people have when they are choosing a resin 3D printer is how much it’s going to cost them. Some people may think that the more expensive printers are better: they have bigger build volumes, higher resolutions, and are more accurate.

For the most part, these may be true, but there are exceptions to the rule. For example, if you are looking for budget-friendly options, you can take a look at:

Monoprice Mini Deluxe

The Monoprice Mini Deluxe costs around $500. But even at that price, the LCD printer delivers excellent prints with resolutions of up to 20 micrometers.

It measures 7.8 by 7.8 by 16.0 inches (198 by 198 by 406 millimeters). It’s compact and small, making it very easy to move around where you want it.

But it does come with some tradeoffs. For instance, some users might find it difficult to configure.

The compact dimensions of this printer also mean one thing: a small build area measuring 4.7 by 2.8 by 7.8 inches (120 by 70 by 200 millimeters).

Moreover, you might find yourself maintaining this printer more often than what you’d like. You will need to change the base of the vat after every 10 to 20 prints. To do that, you will need to remove 18 different screws and then put back the whole thing after you’re done.

Monoprice Mini Deluxe

Even with a very accessible price, the Monoprice Mini Deluxe printer delivers excellent prints with resolutions of up to 20 micrometers, needing very little space.

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Anycubic Photon

Anycubic sells the Photon printer for around $170.

It’s going to be difficult to top this printer at this very low price. This LCD printer gives you 2K resolution at 47 micrometers. It also comes assembled right out of the box.

Photon is the 3D printer that others have copied or improved on. It’s still on several best-of lists because of its price, decent printing capabilities, powerful LEDs, and its firmware. It also has a decent build volume of 4.5 by 2.6 by 6.1 inches (115 by 65 by 155 millimeters).

Photon also has a vibrant user community that has ensured that you can get help when you run into trouble, gives you tips and tricks, as well as suggest how to improve your printing with this printer.

However, this device can only print 20 millimeters per hour. See how Photon compares to its upgraded version, Photon S here.

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon [New Year Deal]

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.

SparkMaker

With a price tag that hovers around $260, you will be surprised at the set of features that this LCD 3D printer gives you. It comes with a full high-definition 1080-pixel LCD that allows for precise printing.

With a 57-micrometer XY resolution and 42 UV LED light sources, you can have some of the best quality prints from this machine. You don’t have to worry about assembling it; too, making it ready to go once you get it out of the box. The manufacturer delivers it to you with everything in place and the leveling done.

It does have a smaller build volume at 3.9 by 2.2 by 4.9 inches (98 by 55 by 125 millimeters), but that is to be expected because of its compact size. This printer measures only 6.7 by 6.7 by 10.8 inches (170 by 170 by 275 millimeters).

SparkMaker

You will be surprised at the set of features that this LCD 3D printer gives you. It comes with a full high-definition 1080-pixel LCD that allows for precise printing.

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Affordable But Slow

These three 3D printers are going to be some of the most affordable options you have right now. They don’t sacrifice on resolution and features, but they tend to be on the lower end as far as 3D printers go.

These will be perfect for you if you’re just starting out and trying to decide whether 3D printing is something that you really want.

A side-by-side comparison of these three printers will help you choose the best affordable resin 3D printer:

Printers Features Build Volume (mm) Resolution
(μm)
Speed (mm/hr)
Monoprice Mini Deluxe
  • Affordable
  • High resolution
  • Fast printing
  • LCD touchscreen
  • Compatible with third-party resins
  • No problems sourcing inexpensive spare parts

120 x 70 x 200

20

30

Anycubic Photon
  • Has its own slicer
  • Easy to set up and use
  • High resolution
  • Excellent quality prints
  • Easy to follow instructions for assembly and cleaning

115 x 65 x 155

47

20

SparkMaker
  • Affordable and compact resin printer.
    Very quiet.
    You can use third-party resins.
    Easy to use and comes with a dedicated slicer software

98 x 55 x 125

57

25

Managing the Trade-Off

As you can see, there is a trade-off when it comes to price, build size, and speed of 3D printers. The bigger the build size, the more expensive a 3D printer gets. The faster a printer finishes the job, it gets more costly.

The best resin 3D printer would be somewhere along the middle. If you’re not particularly looking to print huge pieces in one go, but would like something that’s faster than most 3D printers without the very high price, then you can consider the following:

  Features Build Volume (mm) Resolution
(μm)
Speed (mm/h) Price Range
Wanhao Duplicator 7
  • Sturdy and durable
  • Easy to use
  • Works with low-cost resins
  • Vibrant and supportive community
  • Excellent quality prints

120 x 68 x 180

25 35

$400 – $500

Micromake L2
  • Affordable
  • Very precise
  • Has a post-curing hood
  • Multi-language user interface
  • Built-in 6 gigabytes of storage
  • Printing is speedy
  • Simple to use
  • 4.3-inch high-definition LCD touchscreen

108 x 65 x 200

57 20

$500 – $600

Best Resin 3D Printers: Other Characteristics You Should Consider

Aside from the price, speed, and build volume of the resin 3D printer, you should also look at the following characteristics in order to choose the best one for your needs:

Accuracy – A 3D printer’s accuracy will determine whether or not the printed model will look like the digital design you created in your slicer or CAD program.

Durability – A 3D printer can cost anywhere from less than $200 to thousands of dollars. If anything, it will be a bummer if your printer breaks down or needs a lot of maintenance. Aside from the interruption of your work, all the troubleshooting and maintenance will add costs to your printing.

Materials – Some 3D printers work only with resins from the same manufacturer. Others will not work with certain kinds of resins. To get the most out of your 3D printers, it should be compatible with different kinds of resins, to ensure that you have the flexibility to create all the 3D models you can think of.

Customer service – A 3D printer may be very complex. It’s a technology that most people, especially beginners, will not be familiar with. Having excellent customer service can get you out of any potential problems you might have with your printer.

Best Resin 3D Printers: Frequently Asked Questions

We try to answer some of the questions that are related to resin 3D printers.

1. Why should you care about resin 3D prints?

Resin printers often have better quality prints than comparable fused deposition modeling printers. This is because lasers or projectors can easily render fine details on resin. As such, they produce more accurate models.
Further, printers using filaments may have more accidents as upper layers may not fuse with the bottom layers as solidly as you would want to.
So, if you’re going for models that have intricate designs, consider resin 3D prints.

2. Is cheaper necessarily better?

In the case of resin 3D printers, you should decide against printers that are cheaper but have lower print quality. Spend a bit more for a more precise 3D printer because it may spell the difference between coming up with a great model, or tons of frustration.

3. What are some resins that you should know of?

There are a lot of materials that are used for resins. Thermoset polymers make it easy to have attractive 3D models with its smooth finish, high level of detail, and sturdiness.
Standard resin produces sturdy and high-resolution models. These are usually used to print prototypes.
Clear resin is like standard resin, but you can see what’s inside because it’s almost transparent.
Tough resins are for those models that need to be stronger, more elastic, and can withstand a tremendous amount of pressure.
Aluminum resin is resistant to wear. It’s the perfect material for those parts that need low friction and flexibility. Aluminum resin often results in a 3D model that has a smooth surface.
There are also specific types of resins for engineers, doctors, dentists, and other professionals. Plus, there are heat resistant resins, as well.
Rubber resins are perfect for parts that will be compressed or bent.
Ceramic-filled resin produces stiff models with a very smooth finish. This resin has pieces of ceramics or glass in it.

Follow This Guide and Buy the Best Resin 3D Printer Today

Our Pick
We love the AnyCubic Photon [New Year Deal]

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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The best 3D printer for you is the one that will meet your printing requirements. It should have a large build area, prints quickly, and is budget-friendly.

You may not be able to do the models you want to create if your 3D printer doesn’t have enough space to build it. Conversely, a 3D printer that takes a long time to complete your model might not be a good idea. And lastly, you may find the best resin 3D printer with a huge build area and fast speeds, but it may not be budget-friendly.

As such, you should strike a balance between the prices, speed, and build capacity.

Intamsys FunMat HT Review: Will This Work for You?

In our Intamsys FunMat HT review, we’re going to go over why this particular 3D printer is a solid choice for small businesses on a tight budget.

While there are many affordable 3D printers out there that are mainly aimed at hobbyists and for personal use, the cost of a 3D printer to print engineering-grade objects can often be very high.

One of the main reasons for this is that industrial 3D printers need to reach much higher temperatures than those that are used at home, and they generally need to be in operation much longer and more frequently as well.

The Intamsys FunMat HT is made in Shanghai, China, and for a small business, it offers a powerful 3D printer that doesn’t have the same high cost as some other models. Does that mean that it is as good as the 3D printers that have a higher price tag?

Let’s find out.

Intamsys FunMat HT Review

Key specifications of Intamsys FunMat HT

We’ll go more in-depth with the main features of this 3D printer later on but here are the key specifications of the Intamsys FunMat HT.

You may find our informative 3D printing glossary useful if you are new to 3D printers or if you are not sure what some of the terms mean.

Build size 260 x 260 x 260 mm
Max hot end temperature 450 °C
Max heated bed temperature 160 °C
Filament types PEEK, Carbon Fiber-filled metal, PLA, ASA, PETG
Filament diameter 1.75 mm
Supports third party filaments? Yes
Operating System Windows, Mac, Linux
Warranty 1 Year
Our score 8/10
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Intamsys FunMat HT

The Intamsys FunMat HT comes with a wide range of features that you’d expect with a 3D printer that has been designed for engineering materials. We’ve compiled the core features of this 3D printer.

Design

This 3D printer has a pretty sleek and understated design, and it doesn’t take up a massive amount of space either. This is pretty useful for small businesses who perhaps don’t have a ton of room to store and use a 3D printer. However, one thing to note is that this printer is pretty heavy and weighs a lot more than you probably expect it to.

While the base model is highly effective at printing engineering-grade objects, there are some upgrades that you can get. This includes a significant upgrade to the extruder with an extruder connector kit, and the borosilicate glass can be upgraded to one made from a glass-ceramic construction.

High-temperature hot end

One of the big selling points to the Intamsys FunMat HT is the high temperatures that it can reach, and this is what sets it apart from the many of the other 3D printers that are mainly designed for home use.

The hot end is made from an all-metal construction, and it can reach temperatures of up to 450 °C, which is ideal for printing off high-end materials. This means that the filament types that this 3D printer supports, such as PEEK, Carbon Fiber-filled metal, PLA, ASA, and PETG, will print off to a high quality without any problems.

Intamsys FunMat HT materials

Heated filament chamber

Another fantastic feature of the Intamsys FunMat HT is the heated filament chamber.

This 3D printer offers a dedicated insulated chamber that is kept at a steady temperature of 90 °C, so this keeps your prints consistent. It is one of the benefits of a 3D printer in this price range, and you won’t usually find this on printers that are designed for home use.

High temperature bed

Like the high-temperature hot end, the bed can reach up to 160 °C.

If you have ever used a 3D printer that can’t reach high temperatures, you will probably have experienced curling and warping of prints on occasion. With the Intamsys FunMat HT, this won’t be a problem due to the high temperature that the bed can reach, and the two glass beds which have a magnetic connection mean that when the print has cooled, it can be easily removed from the print bed.

You can also upgrade the bed from the stock borosilicate glass to a ceramic glass model.

In chamber camera

A really good feature of this 3D printer is the in chamber camera.

A lot of 3D printers don’t give you the ability to monitor how your 3D printers are progressing in real-time. This means you can’t keep a close eye on how your print is turning out. You probably aren’t going to want to do this constantly because many 3D prints, particularly when you are printing engineering-grade materials, can take hours so you’ll want to go off and do something else.

That being said, the in chamber camera on the Intamsys FunMat HT is a really good feature that means you can watch your prints as they are developing. As a small but powerful addition, it will help you to create more accurate and high-quality prints on a consistent basis.

Back up power tool

Another core feature of this 3D printer is the fact that it has a backup a power tool.

In the event that you have a power cut, the last thing you want is for the print that has been processing for the last 3 hours to be ruined. With the Intamsys FunMat HT, if you suffer an unexpected power loss, the printer will not only save your print, but it will move the extruder to a neutral position as well.

So, when the power comes back, you can essentially start where you left off, and your print should still come out at the same high quality as if there was no interruption.

Software

There are a number of open source 3D printers out there that can utilize a number of software applications to operate the printer, and for the Intamsys FunMat HT it is recommended to use the manufacturer’s software called Intamsuite. You get a license for this software when you buy the printer.

You can also use Cura, which is an open-source slicer for 3D printers as well. In terms of operating systems, Windows, Linux, and Mac are all compatible with the software for this 3D printer.

Intamsys FunMat HT software

How does the Intamsys FunMat HT perform?

This 3D printer has been created for high-grade engineering materials, so we’d expect it to perform to a higher standard than many of the other 3D printers we’ve reviewed that are not only cheaper but also designed for hobbyists and occasional use.

One of the best tests to find out how a 3D printer performs is the Benchy Test.

This is where we give the 3D printer a complex model to print to see how it comes out. Overall this is one the best performing 3D printers with the Benchy Test that we have come across. The model came out to an incredibly high standard with great precision, accuracy, and a very good time as well.

We kind of expected this given the market that this 3D printer is aimed at, but we were still a bit surprised at how well the model was printed.

Pros of Intamsys FunMat HT

This 3D printer has many plus points that make it a high-quality printer combined with an affordable price.

  • High-temperature printing – Unlike most 3D printers that are designed for individuals, the Intamsys FunMat HT is aimed at small businesses, and because it is used to print off high-grade materials, it needs to reach a high temperature to do that. The fact that the hot end can reach up to 450 °C and the bed can reach up to 160 °C is a major pro for this model.
  • In chamber camera – Being able to continually watch your prints as they progress isn’t a feature you get on a lot of 3D printers, but it does come with this one. The in-chamber camera is a great addition to an already well-rounded printer and is ideal for ensuring your prints come out accurately.
  • Back up power tool – Similarly, experiencing a loss of power mid-way through a print can be devastating in most cases and results in poor quality prints or having to start the whole process again. The Intamsys FunMat HT has a safeguard procedure where the print is saved, and the extruder moved so it can start back up again as if nothing happened.
  • Cost-effective model– Printing engineering-grade models and using engineering plastics usually means you need to spend a lot on a 3D printer. The Intamsys FunMat HT isn’t exactly ‘cheap’; however it costs much less than a lot of other 3D printers that do the same job so it can be a cost-effective model for small businesses or individuals with a bit of money to spend.

FunMat HT Product

Cons of Intamsys FunMat HT

Even though this 3D printer offers a great entry route into using engineering-grade materials without having an extraordinarily high price, there are some drawbacks.

  • Difficult upgrades – We’ll use the extruder upgrade as an example. It is possible to upgrade the extruder with an extruder connector kit; however, the process is certainly not easy. Accessing the circuit board is hard, and many people have damaged pins and parts of the printer trying to do so.
  • Slow support – Compared to some other 3D printer manufacturers, Intamsys aren´t the quickest at getting back to you. They do offer phone support, which is a bonus, but email and their contact form can mean you need to wait several days for a response.
  • It is a heavy printer – Most 3D printers aren’t exactly lightweight however the Intamsys FunMat HT is extremely heavy. Not that you’ll probably be moving it much, but if you do need to move it around, it won’t be easy.
  • No WiFI connectivity – One big downside with this printer is that it doesn’t support WiFi connectivity. Even though you find WiFi connectivity on less expensive printers, they won’t print to the same high quality as this mode.

Are there any alternatives?

CreatBot PEEK 300

One of the defining features of the Intamsys FunMat HT is the fact that it offers a cost-effective high-quality 3D printer. The CreatBOT PEEK 300 is about the double price, which may rule it out as an alternative to some; however, it is worth mentioning.

Like the FunMat HT, this is a Chinese construction, and it is ideal for printing PEEK and engineering-grade materials. The hot end temperature goes up to 500 °C, and the bed can reach 200 °C, and it also provides a nozzle liquid cooling system.

If you have a bit more money to spend, then this is a credible alternative, although it might be out of the price range if you are looking for an affordable option.

Ultimaker 3

At the opposite end of the price spectrum, the Ultimaker 3 comes in a bit cheaper than the FunMat HT.

It won’t reach the same high temperatures – it has a max hot end temperature of 280 °C, which is significantly below the FunMat HT but still opens it up to being able to use engineer-grade materials although it won’t print to the same high standard.

If you are really on a budget, this 3D printer can be an alternative, but it may be worth paying out the extra money for the FunMat HT.

You can read our Ultimaker 3 comparison here.

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!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Does the Intamsys FunMat HT support engineering grade materials?

Yes. This 3D printer can reach high temperatures, which makes it ideal for using high grade materials such as PEEK, PLA, ASA, and PETG. It is also less expensive than many other 3D printers that can do this, such as the MakerGear Ultra One.

What support is available for the Intamsys FunMat HT 3D printer?

Intamsys provides several support options and methods that you can get in contact with. They have phone support, email, and a contact form on their website.

Does the Intamsys FunMat HT printer come with software?

Yes, you get a license to the Intamsuite software, which is developed by the manufacturer. You’ll need the following computer specifications to run it:
– Operating System: Microsoft XP/7 and above 32/64 bits, MacOX or Linux
– Processor: Intel or AMD Processor 2GHz
– RAM: 2GB minimum, 8GB recommended
– Hard Drive space: 3GB

What is the max temperature for this 3D printer?

The hot end can reach a temperature of 450 °C while the heated bed can reach a temperature of 160°C, which is high enough to use engineering grade materials.

Can I use WiFi to 3D print with the Intamsys FunMat HT printer?

No, there isn’t WiFi connectivity with this printer.

Final thoughts – Intamsys FunMat HT can print with engineering grade materials for a cost effective price

The main thing that people focus on with this particular 3D printer is the price. It comes in well under many other 3D printers that do the same job, and while it lacks some of the frills and features of other printers, it still prints high quality models.

I suppose that is the big selling point. For small businesses on a budget or even individuals who do have some money to spend, the Intamsys FunMat HT can produce very high-quality prints with high-grade materials such as PEEK, PLA, ASA, and PETG for around half the price of other 3D printers in the market.

The Intamsys FunMat HT does have some drawbacks. The lack of WiFi connectivity, the fact that it is strangely heavy even for a 3D printer and their support, could be quicker in responding; however, it still gets a solid 8/10.

If you want a budget option for printing from high quality materials as well as some great features like the in chamber camera, the back up power tool, and the software, you can do a lot worse than opt for the Intamsys FunMat HT.

BCN3D Epsilon Review: Yes or Nah?

Our BCN3D Epsilon review is going to show you the ins and outs of the different features this 3D printer has and how it performs. It is a newcomer onto the market as it was only released at the start of 2020.

Made by the Barcelona based, BCN3D, this 3D printer has been designed as a midway point between home and desktop 3D printers and those that can print on an industrial scale. The price range reflects this but you can find out more about how much 3D printers generally cost here.

Let’s start by looking at the key specifications of the Epsilon 3D printer.

Key specifications of BCN3D Epsilon

The BCN3D Epsilon is a pretty large printer that is designed to be a step up from home desktop 3D printers but not at the same size and power of those that are used for industrial 3D printing.

Here is a list of the specifications.

Build volume 420 x 300 x 400 mm
Build plate maximum temperature 120 °C
Extruder maximum temperature 300 °C
Filament types PLA, PVA, PET-G, TPU, ABS, PP, PA, Fiber filled materials.
Filament diameter 2.85 mm
WiFi connectivity? Yes
Operating System MacOS, Windows and Linux
Warranty 1 Year
Our score 9/10
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of BCN3D Epsilon

bcn3d epsilon printer

The BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer has a range of different features that will suit a wide number of industries. We’ve gathered the core features of this 3D printer to show you what it has to offer.

Design

The BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer looks really good. Even though the actual design of the printer isn’t really high on our list and we’re more concerned with how it functions, this is still a good printer from an aesthetic point of view.

If you have this sitting in an office for example it won’t be an ugly addition by any means. The printer is pretty big and sits in the market between a desktop 3D printer and an industrial model so you will need a bit of space to house it.

One thing to note is that the printer does make a fair bit of noise. This isn’t the actual printing process as such but rather due to the HEPA filters and the fan – so it is something to be a way of depending on where you are going to place the printer and what other work will be carried out in the vicinity.

Two IDEX printheads

One of the big things you’ll notice with the BCN3D Epsilon is the two IDEX printheads. I suppose this is one thing that sets this type of printer apart from some of the more affordable models on the market.

There are two independent print heads on the Epsilon and this has two major benefits. One is that you can print from two different materials and the second is that you can divide up the work for 3D printers between the two print heads as well. Essentially you are getting the processing power of two 3D printers in one.

Mirror mode

The mirror mode on the BCN3D Epsilon is a pretty unique feature and it allows you to print two opposite parts of a print at the same time. Essentially it means that instead of creating two different models and having them print twice, you can create one model, mirror it, and get two parts from that single model.

Automatic pausing

If you encounter any issues with the filaments, the print on the BCN3D Epsilon will be automatically paused. For example, if the materials run out or if there is a problem with feeding it through, the filament flow sensors will cause the print to pause until the user prompts it to start again after the issue is fixed.

This is good because it should prevent any issues from the print coming from a filament problem.

You can also track the progress of your prints through a monitoring system as well.

Isolated chamber

The isolate chamber is equipped with both carbon and HEPA filters.

One issue that has been fixed with the BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer is around the chamber and no notification being generated to tell you that the chamber is open – if it is, your 3D print won’t start. This did lead to some confusion initially as to why the printer was firing up however with the latest firmware update, you now get a notification to tell you to close the chamber door if it is open which cuts down on the time you’ll spend troubleshooting.

Software

The open-source nature of many 3D printers means that different software can be used and with the BCN3D Epsilon 3D printer you can use the well-known program, CURA. This has been slightly modified by BCN3D for specific use with their printers and the Epsilon in particular.

The good news is that the modified version of CURA is very easy to use and navigate your way around. Even if you are someone that has never used a 3D printer before let alone the software to operate one, you shouldn’t have any issues at all with using this program. It is very straightforward and you’ll have your prints ready to go in no time at all.

How does the BCN3D Epsilon perform?

epsilon bcn3d

The BCN3D Epsilon has a range of great features that set it apart from the desktop models – although you can find various dual extruder 3D printers including the Signmax which is also from BCN3D.

So, how does this 3D printer actually perform when it comes to 3D prints?

We’ve found the BCN3D Epsilon to be of particularly high quality. One feature and something that will expand the possibilities of what you can do with this printer is the two IDEX printheads. These do a great job of allowing you to print with different materials at the one time and we especially like the mirror mode too.

All the prints we’ve seen from this machine have been of great quality. It is also a highly reliable 3D printer as well and prints that last several days have come out consistently. Being able to use the BCN3D Epsilon over a few days and having it running over that period of time is another feature that sets it apart from some desktop models that wouldn’t cope too well with this.

We didn’t find any delamination or warping of the models that were printed either.

Overall the BCN3D Epsilon performed as we expected it to and produced high-quality 3D prints with precision and accuracy.

Pros of BCN3D Epsilon

3d printer epsilon

The BCN3D Epsilon has many great features that set it apart from other models in its price range. These are the best.

Two IDEX printheads

The two IDEX printheads on the printer open up a realm of possibilities that you won’t find with many other 3D printers that are in and around this price bracket. It means you are able to print with two materials while you can also divide up the work and basically harness the processing power of two 3D printers in one.

Mirror Mode

Tied in with the two IDEA printheads, the fact that you can print in mirror mode is another major benefit of the BCN3D Epsilon. Rather than having to create two models for two prints, you can simply create one model and have it mirrored so the result is two prints of the same model.

Big workspace

Using this 3D printer on a bigger scale then you would need for a home or small office printers means needing a larger workspace. The 420 x 300 x 400 mm printing volume is ideal for printing off sizable models and also using this on an industrial scale.

Cost-effective model

With all the great features this printer offers, you’d think that it’d come with a really high price tag but that isn’t the case. It is above what you’d pay for a home 3D printer that’s on a desk but it is lower than many other 3D printers that are designed to be used in small businesses and offices.

Easy to use software

The open-sourced CURA software is used for the Epsilon and it has been slightly modified by BCN3D to suit the capabilities and functions of this printer. It is very easy to use and get to grips with so even if you have next to no prior experience of using CURA or software for a 3D printer, you’ll get on fine.

WiFi connectivity

The Epsilon has WiFi connectivity which you’d expect on a printer in this price range but it is still a bonus as you’d be surprised how many 3D printers come without it.

Cons of BCN3D Epsilon

epilon 3d printer

Not everything is plain sailing with the BCN3D Epsilon and we need to make you aware of a few disadvantages to using this printer.

Noise

To be honest we have come across a lot of 3D printers that make noise and a lot of printers that make more noise than the Epsilon. That being said, the Epsilon isn’t exactly quiet so it can be a disadvantage if you have it sitting in an office where you are doing other work especially if it is running for several days.

Accessories

One thing that is a fairly big drawback of this printer is the accessories provided namely the spatula, Magigoo glue, and pliers. They are the same as previous BCN3D models and while it isn’t enough to put us off buying one, we’d expected a bit of an upgrade in this department.

Use of shims

Again, a drawback but not one that detracts from the printer overall. If you are printing in dual or mirror mode we’d recommend using shims when lowering the printheads. It isn’t a massive extra job but it is another process that needs to be carried out if you want accurate and high-quality prints.

Are there any alternatives?

BCN3D Sigmax R19

sigmax bcn3d

One of our alternatives to the Epsilon is the Signmax R19 which is also made from the Barcelona based BCN3D.

It offers similar features such as dual and mirror modes and IDEX printheads. The Sigmax R19 is a bit smaller than the Epsilon so it may be more suitable if you only have a small workplace. The build volume is smaller as a result (420mm x 297mm x 210mm) as is the max extruder temperature of 280 °C and there is no WiFi connectivity.

The bonus is that the Signmax R19 is cheaper (a good bit cheaper as well) and it will still print high-quality models although it doesn’t offer some of the same features as the Epsilon which is the model up from this. We had a look at the Sigmax R19 before which you can find here.

Raise3D Pro2

Pro2

The Raise3D Pro2 is in and around the same price range as the Sigmax R19 so it is going to be cheaper than the Epsilon and it is another dual extruder 3D printer that is worthy of consideration.

With a built-in camera, HEPA filter, touchscreen, and wireless technology, it is a very good device that offers high-quality prints. The hot end can reach temperatures of up to 300° C and the build volume is very good as well coming in at 305 x 305 x 305mm.

While it is a bit smaller than the printers from BCN3D, the Raise3D Pro2 offers a wide range of features which is very good for its price.

FAQs About the BCN3D Epsilon

Does the BCN3D Epsilon have WiFi connectivity?

Yes. Unlike one of its predecessors, the Sigmax R19, it does come with WiFi connectivity which is a great addition to a printer that is already packed with features.

Can I print engineering-grade materials with the BCN3D Epsilon?

Yes. The Epsilon from BCN3D allows you to use a range of materials such as PLA, PVA, PET-G, TPU, ABS, PP, PA, Fiber-filled materials and the 300° C max temperatures are ideal for using with an engineering-grade filament.

Does the BCN3D Epsilon printer come with software?

The printer uses the open-source software CURA which is well known and widely used with many 3D printers. It isn’t hard to operate and BCN3D has slightly modified it to fit in better with the Epsilon.
Specifications:
– Windows: Windows Vista or higher, 64 bit
– Mac OS: Mac OS 10.11 or higher, 64 bit
– Linux: Ubuntu 14.04 or higher, 64 bit
– Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64 or newer
– 205 MB available hard disk space
– 4GB RAM memory

What is the max temperature for the BCN3D Epsilon?

The build plate temperature can reach up to 120 °C while the max temperature for the dual extruders is 300 °C.

What is mirror mode on the BCN3D Epsilon?

Mirror mode means that you can use the two IDEX printheads for two prints but you only need one model.

Final thoughts

Overall you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better printer than the BCN3D in its price range.

That isn’t to say that it is perfect. For some people, the cost may outweigh some of the more impressive features and it is really going to depend on what you need a 3D printer for and how long you plan to use it which will decide if it’s worth the money.

It does suffer some other issues such as noise with the carbon and HEPA filters but the good news is that the latest firmware has fixed the notification problem when the isolated chamber was open.

Aside from that – this is a very good 3D printer. The BCN3D Epsilon comes packed with what you need for high-quality prints including the two IDEX print heads, automatic pausing to prevent filament errors, mirror and dual modes, a large build volume, high temperature, and the software is very easy to use as well.

If you want something that is a step up from the many desktop printers out there and can perform to very high standards, you can do a lot worse than the BCN3D Epsilon.

The Main Differences Between Sketchup and AutoCAD

It is an excellent time to be into 3D printing. For one, printers are getting more powerful and capable while their pricses continue to drop. And you have several options when it comes to 3D modeling and rendering. Two of the best programs out there are AutoCAD and Sketchup, and you are wondering which one is better.

Main Differences Between AutoCAD vs Sketchup

The main differences between AutoCAD vs Sketchup are:

  • AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software, whereas Sketchup is a 3D-modeling program.
  • AutoCAD is more geared towards professional users, whereas Sketchup is an excellent option for hobbyists.
  • AutoCAD is more expensive, whereas Sketchup allows you to save some dollars.
  • AutoCAD offers compatibility with more file formats, whereas Sketchup is simpler to use and master.
Why is AutoCAD 2018 Great?
$200.99
AutoCAD will always be the King of Software that covers a lot of industry functions and gives you data based on your design objects.
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02/27/2021 07:09 am GMT

What Is Autodesk AutoCAD?

autocad

Autodesk AutoCAD is probably one of the best-known computer-aided design software out there, with some of the top organizations in the world using for their needs, including the California Institute of the Arts, the Durst Organization, and Helix Electric.

This CAD and drafting program has been around since the early 1980s, having the distinction of being the first CAD software that ran on desktop computers. Now you have versions of AutoCAD running on the cloud as a web application and a mobile app.

It can be used to create two- and three-dimensional drawings and models. You can draw your designs by hand. You can even group objects or use different layers.

You can work with a database of your objects, which makes it reusable in the future. You can resize, reshape, and relocate various properties of your object.

Who uses AutoCAD? Architects, interior designers, aeronautics designers, artists, cartographers, and graphics artists can enjoy the software’s many features.

There is also a few similar programs like AutoCAD such as Turbocad, Solidworks, Revit etc, so here check how how they all compare, and which would be the best for your type of work…

Autodesk AutoCAD 2021: Features

What are the features that you can expect from a program that is older than some of its users? Not surprisingly, this program offers a lot of functionalities including industry-specific toolsets for:

  • Architecture
  • Electrical
  • Three-Dimensional Map
  • Mechanical
  • Plant 3D
  • Mechanical, Electrical, and Plumbing
  • Raster Design

It also has tools for two-dimensional drafting, annotation, and drawing. You can work with text, centerlines, and even link data from spreadsheets, among other things.

When it comes to 3D modeling and visualization, Autodesk also offers a wide range of features and tools, including:

  • Mesh, solid, and surface modeling
  • Section planes
  • Point clouds
  • 3D navigation
  • 3D rendering
  • Visual styles
  • Cloud rendering

What’s more, Autodesk makes it easy for you to collaborate, allowing you to use PDF files, sheet sets, DGN files, and even use model references.

What Is SketchUp?

skektchup

Sketchup, which used to be known as Google Sketchup is a software that lets you create 3D models. It is very easy to use with its Push and Pull tool, which allows you to make any flat surface into three-dimensional objects. Click on any flat object and then pull on it until it looks the way that you want it to look.

Plus, it has an extensive database of models that other users have created that you can download and use for your own projects.

Video game creators, furniture designers, 3D printers, interior designers, and just about any other design professional can find tremendous help in using Sketchup. Sketchup also allows you to draw in 2D.

What makes Sketchup more fun is the presence of plugins that are created by third-party providers. Sketchup has the Extension Warehouse, where you can download these plug-ins. Think of it as the Play Store for downloading apps for Android devices.

There is also the Sketchup 3D Warehouse that allows you to download files other users created. If you need a model of something, you do not have to create it from scratch. Instead, you can look up the Sketchup 3D Warehouse and search for completed models that you can modify.

Autodesk AutoCAD vs Sketchup Features

If you are trying to decide between Autodesk AutoCAD and Sketchup for your 3D printing needs, then you should know how they differ from one another.

1. User Interface

When you are using Sketchup, you will be more reliant on shortcut keys and the tool icons in designing your objects. The user interface is simple and easy to master, plus you will have no problems finding your way around.

AutoCAD, however, offers you more ways to use it: menus, tool icons, shortcut keys, and command lines.

2. Supported File Formats

Autodesk AutoCAD is compatible with more file formats than Sketchup. Sketchup has a wide assortment of compatible file formats, but AutoCAD works with more.

Both programs work with:

  • 3D Studio 3DS
  • Drawing or DWG
  • Drawing Exchange Format or DXF
  • Filmbox or FBX
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group or JPG
  • Portable Network Graphic or PNG

In addition to these, Sketchup also works with Wavefront OBJ and stereolithography (STL) files, while AutoCAD works with:

  • Rhinoceros 3DM
  • Inventor IPT
  • Portable Document Format
  • The standard for the Exchange of Product Data or STEP files.
  • 3. Budget: Pricing and Licensing

Sketchup offers a lot of pricing and licensing options for its users. There is a free Web-only option for those who will be using it for their own personal purposes. If you like it or if you want to use it for your personal projects, you will need to spend $119 per year for the Sketchup Shop.

If you want to use Sketchup for your professional projects and get access to the desktop version of the program, you can opt for the Sketchup Pro. This plan will set you back $299 a year.

Other plans include:

  • Sketchup Studio for professionals who design buildings, $1,199 per year.
  • Sketchup Studio for students, $55 per year
  • Sketchup Studio for educators, $55 per year
  • Sketchup for Schools, free with a Microsoft education or G Suite account
  • Sketchup pro for computer labs, free with a state grant

If you want access to the 3D Warehouse, you will need a Sketchup Shop account, while a Sketchup Pro account will give you access to the 3D Warehouse and the Extension Warehouse.

Autodesk AutoCAD, on the other hand, has a much simpler scheme. You can get a license for anywhere from $1,400 to $2,400 depending on the frequency of your payments. Students and teachers can enjoy using AutoCAD for free.

If you are a network administrator, you can opt for the network license that will allow you to share one license with a number of users.

4. Ease of Use

Autodesk AutoCAD is a CAD software. It helps you design things easily. Meanwhile, Sketchup is a 3D-modeling program.

Sketchup’s main selling point is how easy it is to use and master. You can probably get the hang of it in a few hours. AutoCAD requires long hours of practice and a lot of familiarities before you can confidently say that you’ve mastered it.

5. System Requirements

AutoCAD requires a faster and more powerful computer to work. For instance, your Windows computer should at least have:

  • 64-bit operating systems
  • A fast processor, they recommend that you should get a three gigahertz processor or faster
  • A minimum of eight to 16 gigabytes of memory
  • A 1,920 by 1,080 pixels display with True Color or a 3,840 by 2,160 4K display
  • 1 GB graphics processing unit
  • Around 7 gigabytes of free disk space
  • .NET Framework version 4.8 or later

Meanwhile, Sketchup works on a Windows machine with:

  • 1 gigahertz processor
  • 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • 500 megabytes of free hard-disk space
  • A 3D class video card that has 512 megabytes of memory or higher
  • The video card should also support hardware acceleration and at least OpenGL 3.1.

6. Toolsets and Extensions

You can use both Sketchup and Autodesk AutoCAD for your design needs. They can help you make detailed and precise drawings and models.

Sketchup makes your life easier with its selection of plugins and tools that they have in the Extension Warehouse. However, you can only access these when you have a Pro or Shop license.

With the Extension Warehouse, you will be able to add more functionality to Sketchup and get tools for very specific workflows and customization. You can get plugins for 3D printing and other activities. You can install only the plugins that you need.

AutoCAD, on the other hand, has toolsets for different activities such as mechanical designs, electrical drawings, and floor plans, among others.

Sketchup vs. Autodesk AutoCAD: Which One Is Better for 3D Printing

autocad

Both AutoCAD and Sketchup are powerful tools for 2D drawings and 3D models. These programs have a range of features that can make your life a whole lot easier.

However, Sketchup is more geared towards 3D modeling than AutoCAD. It is a software that makes 3D easy and has been designed as such from the start. In contrast, AutoCAD can be described as a 2D drawing program that has 3D modeling capabilities.

On the other side of the coin, it can be said that AutoCAD is for those professionals that need high-quality technical drawings. It can create a level of accuracy, adaptability, and detail that Sketchup cannot offer.

As such, Sketchup seems to be the better choice for 3D printing. It can deliver a good-enough level of accuracy, while making modeling easier and visualization a breeze. It is also more affordable than an AutoCAD license.

The Alternatives to Autodesk AutoCAD and Sketchup

If you are figuring out what you to use for your 3D modeling jobs, you might want to consider other software aside from either AutoCAD or Sketchup. Here are some that you can consider:

Autodesk Fusion 360

autodesk

If AutoCAD is geared towards professionals, then consider another product from the same company: Fusion 360. This 3D printing software brings together engineering, manufacturing, and design features in one powerful software.

You will have full control over the shapes, and access powerful features to help you create detailed models. It also allows for quick collaboration work with other hobbyists and designers.

The best thing is that it is cheaper than both the paid versions of Sketchup and AutoCAD. You only pay $42 per month for the annual license and $60 for the monthly license.

Rhinoceros 3D

rhnoceros 3d

Rhinoceros 3D is probably one of the most versatile modeling software that you can find on the market right now. You can enjoy the assortment of design functionalities that it offers.

You can import files coming from different programs, including OBJ, STL, STEP, DXF, and other file formats.

The Free Options

There are also 3D printing programs that you can use for free.

  • Ultimaker Cura is an excellent option for beginners as it provides tips and recommendations while allowing you to create your own 3D designs.
  • TinkerCAD is a web-based tool that gives you an easy to use and simple interface but still allows you to design complex 3D objects. You can proceed to print immediately because it supports STL files.
  • Meshlab gives you the tools to easily process and edit 3D meshes.

FAQs

What is computer-aided design?

Computer-aided design is the process of using computers to help create, modify, analyze, or optimize a design. CAD has several benefits in that it:
– Helps the designer become more productive
– Improve the design’s quality
– Create documentation of the design, which improves communications
– Create a manufacturing database

Is it easy to learn CAD for 3D printing?

While there is a learning curve, it is entirely possible to learn AutoCAD or Sketchup for your 3D printing needs. Between these two, Sketchup is probably your better option if you’re a beginner. But if you’re looking for more powerful designs, then you can try out AutoCAD.

For some designs, you can get into online communities and find ready-made designs that you can use. All you need to do is to customize them to what you need.

Here are some tips on how to learn CAD for 3D printing:

Does Sketchup work with AutoCAD?

Yes. You can import SKP files into AutoCAD using the Sketchup Import plug-in that is provided by Autodesk. You can also type IMPORTSKP command to insert a Sketchup model into your AutoCAD drawings.

Conversely, you can import your AutoCAD drawings into Sketchup.

The Final Word: Sketchup vs. Autodesk AutoCAD

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02/27/2021 07:09 am GMT

Sketchup is a capable software that allows you to make 3D models with ease. It does not have a steep learning curve and has a lot of features that can make your life a lot less complicated.

Its cheaper price point and free Web-only version should draw users into trying it out, but the paid versions allow you to access third-party extension and user-created content that can further help you work smarter.

That being said do not discount Autodesk AutoCAD just yet. If you have plans of going pro with your 3D printing, then AutoCAD will not be a bad investment. It has its own set of features, functionalities, and tools that allows you to get better quality 3D models that are both highly detailed and precise.