Fusion 360 vs Rhino: Which is Best Fit For Your Needs

Fusion 360 vs Rhino

When it comes to CAD programs, you certainly have a choice from a variety of software that can do an excellent job with fair pricing and helpful support. Two of the most affordable CAD and 3D modeling programs out there are Autodesk Fusion 360 and Rhino 3D. What are the differences between these two?

Main Differences Between Fusion 360 vs Rhino

The main differences between Fusion 360 vs Rhino are:

  • Fusion 360 is cloud-based, whereas Rhino 3D needs to be installed on your computer.
  • Fusion 360 excels when you need to collaborate, whereas Rhino 3D is easier to learn.
  • Fusion 360 is better suited for 2D drawings and 3D models, whereas Rhino 3D does a better job at 3D modeling.
  • Fusion 360 makes it easy to do simple animations on your models, whereas Rhino 3D only lets you manipulate the angle of the camera and the lighting.
  • Fusion 360 has a free trial available, whereas Rhino 3D doesn’t offer a free trial.
  • Fusion 360 is more affordable for short-term projects with its $500 subscription fee, whereas you can save with Rhino 3D in the long run because you pay $1,000 to use the program outright.

While these two programs differ on these points, both are excellent options for those who are looking for an easy way to flesh out their design ideas. Learn what each of these programs can do and figure out which one is perfect for you. Go ahead, grab a comfortable chair and continue reading!

What Is Fusion 360?

Fusion 360 is a different type of CAD software in that it lives in the cloud instead of needing to be installed on your machine. As such, it delivers its features and functionalities where you need them.

Fusion 360

With Fusion 360, you can design products to make sure that they fit to form. You can also revise your designs faster and easier.

Fusion 360 also allows you to know if it is feasible to manufacture your design.

3D modeling

Fusion 360 gives you a comprehensive range of tools for 3D modeling. These tools allow you to easily create a 3D model and see if it will fit the overall design. Some of the 3D modeling tools you can use are:

  • Sketching: These tools allow you to create and revise your sketches with specific dimensions and constraints. You also get a variety of tools that can help you create sketches easily.
  • Direct modeling: You can repair or edit objects created with other programs and save them in other file formats.
  • Surface modeling: You can now create complex surfaces that can help patch, repair, or design various shapes and geometry
  • Parametric modeling: This allows you to change the shape and geometry of a model just by changing the dimension values.
  • Mesh modeling: Create, edit, and repair mesh models.
  • Freeform modeling: Gives you the freedom to design complex models and then edit them just by using pushing or pulling gestures.
  • Rendering: You can create realistic-looking models.
  • PCB design: This gives you an easy way to see how your electronics designs work.
  • Sheet metal: You can now create sheet metal parts

Other Features

People might know Fusion 360 as a precise modeling software for both 2D and 3D designs. But it can do so much more, such as:

  • Prepare your models for CNC machining
  • Simulate how loads affect your design
  • Render your models
  • Prototyping

Fusion 360 supports computer-aided manufacturing, so if CNC machining is your thing, you’d appreciate the features that it has. You can use Fusion 360 and then add the attributes of your tools to the ones provided by the program. You can even see how the CNC machine would create the object you’re designing so you’d be able to avoid costly problems in production.

If you like to see how your models would look like, you can render it too. You can assign a particular material to your design, including wood, metal, marble, or glass. You can make your models look photorealistic.

Another feature of Fusion 360 is the animation. This program allows you to do some keyframe animation, so you can see how your designs move.

You can also try load simulation, where you can see how different weights would affect your design, where the stress points are, and get a better understanding of how your design will perform.

Other than 3D modeling, Fusion 360 allows you to program your computer numerical control machines. You can now create with difference axis milling, mill turning, probing, and other tools.

Electronics is also a breeze with Fusion 360. It allows you t to work with different tools that can simplify PCB layouts and schematic designs, among other things.

Other industries and tasks that Fusion 360 will be helpful in are additive manufacturing, generative design, simulation, and documentation.

Collaboration

Fusion 360 also makes data management and collaboration a whole lot easier. So you can work in teams without the hassle of sending files from one person to another and waiting on the others to finish their work.

You have a way to securely view the designs your team is working on. All changes are centralized, and you can leave comments on each design for everyone to see.

What’s more, all projects and their comments are viewable with only a browser, a smartphone, or tablet.

Extensions

Autodesk offers different extensions for:

  • Machining
  • Generative Design
  • Nesting and Fabrication
  • Additive Builds

These extensions allow you to get the latest tools you need for the job. Because these are essentially add-ons, you will not be paying too much for the main Fusion 360 program.

These extensions cost $200 per month, except for generative design extensions that cost $1,000 a month.

This lengthy video will show you what you can do with Autodesk Fusion 360.

Pricing

Autodesk Fusion 360 has two pricing packages that you can get. There’s the monthly package where you only pay $60 per month to use Fusion 360.

There’s also the yearly subscription that costs $495, which cuts the monthly fee to only $42. Autodesk offers a free trial that lasts 30 days. Students, teachers, startups, and other professionals may qualify to use the free version of this program.

What You’d Like About Fusion 360

For design, engineering, and other technical design needs, you really can’t go wrong with Fusion 360. You have all the tools that you’d want and need to create your models. What’s more, you can collaborate with a team when you’re working on a project.

One of the things that are often praised about this software is the amazing support that comes with it. People are raving about the responsive and helpful customer service. What’s more, it has a thriving online community, available documentation, video tutorials, and others.

What Might Be Better

Some users, even expert CAD developers, find this difficult to learn. The difficulty means that you’d need a lot of time to learn this software. If you’re serious about 3D modeling and would see yourself using Fusion 360, it is worth investing the time to learn it.

Fusion 360: The Bottom Line

Autodesk Fusion 360 is an excellent 3D computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing tool that can easily help your design people collaborate on a project.

It offers you all of the tools you need to do your work and is backed by a lively and helpful online community that creates content and tutorials that can help you learn this somewhat challenging program.

The company provides a lot of help, as well. Outstanding customer service is one of its strongest selling points. The helpful customer service and resources are good, as some users report that Fusion 360 is not easy to learn, but others say that it’s easy to use.

Pricing starts at $60 per month for every user, or you can save with an annual subscription at $500. There are free versions for students and a free trial for those who want to see if Fusion 360 is perfect for them.

Pros

  • Easy to learn and helpful customer support
  • You can easily create a prototype without taking too long
  • You get the tools to create the designs you want

Cons

  • Might not have all the functions or features that you can get from competitors
  • You’re somewhat limited by the speed of your Internet connection because it’s cloud-based
  • Mac users might have a hard time using this program
  • Compared to AutoCAD and Inventor, this is not an easy product to use

See how Fusion 360 compares to other software alternatives:

What Is Rhino 3D?

Rhino 3D is one of the better computer-aided design software that can help you create industrial, architectural, and jewelry designs with ease. You can quickly create prototypes and help you visualize your ideas in no time.

Rhino 3D

Rhino 3D is ideal for those professional designers who like to design using the NURBS mathematical model. You can use it for additive manufacturing, reverse engineering, rapid prototyping, CAD, and CAM. What you get from Rhino is a mathematically accurate design, allowing you to get smoother and more precise freeform drawings and curves.

What Can You Get from Rhino 3D?

Rhino 3D has a user interface that allows you to see all the tools you need and work most easily. You get a dockable or floating command area and a list of recent commands you used, among other things. You also have construction aids that can help make your design time a whole lot faster.

Rhino’s set of model creation tools allow you to work with points, curves, surfaces, solids, and meshes. Plus, the program gives you the refinements and enhancements you need to do your best work.

You also get editing tools that allow you to delete, join, trim, merge, split, extend, chamfer, fillet, and other ways to directly manipulate an object. You can also transform your objects, along with other ways to manipulate your models.

Highlights of Rhino’s Many Features

Rhino boasts of many features that it’s going to take a long time to list down. But what follows here is a short rundown of the most important ones you should know:

  • Free-form tools: Rhino gives you a range of free-from tools to make 3D modeling easier. Before Rhino, these tools were only available in programs that were so much more expensive. You now have access to tools that lets you create everything you can think of.
  • Accurate rendering: Rhino’s formidable set of tools helps you create accurate models so you can come to create prototypes and designs for manufacturing, cost analysis, and engineering.
  • Cross-platform compatibility: This allows you to use Rhino to work on designs and models from other CAM, illustration, and animation software. You can also work with meshes.
  • Easy to learn: There are no steep learning curves with Rhino, which allows you to start working on your designs even if it’s your first time using a CAD program.

Rhino Pricing

Rhino costs $995 for a single-user license. However, if you are using an older version of the software, you only need to spend $595 to upgrade to the latest one.

For the academe, pricing is deeply discounted to only $195. You can also pay only $95 to upgrade for a single-user license.

What You Will Like About Rhino 3D

Rhino is very easy to learn and use. It’s not a subscription product, so you pay to use a particular version of the product forever. It has a command-line where you have another way to interact with the models you are creating.

Rhino is simple too. You can start with a simple and straightforward sketch and then manipulate it to your liking. But what makes Rhino more appealing is the fact that you can create add-ons to get more out of the program.

You will also love the clean user interface that you can personalize according to your liking. Rhino is primarily a surface modeling program, but it’s flexible enough for use in other designs. It’s compatible with STL, STEP, Solidworks, AutoCAD, IGES, DXF, SketchUp, and OBJ files, among others.

What You Should Know About Rhino 3D

Don’t get us wrong. Rhino 3D is very easy to use, and learning how to use it is a very straightforward process. However, it offers a lot of tools. The range and variety of the tools being offered will mean that it will take you some time to master this program.

What’s more, you buy the license to a particular version of Rhino 3D. You might need to pay for the next version.

Rhino 3D moddeling

The Bottom Line: Rhino 3D

It’s easy to recommend Rhino 3D to people who are looking for an easy-to-use, accurate, and fast 3D design program. Interior designers, jewelry makers, and other industries that need image renderings, prototypes, and packaging can rely on Rhino 3D to help them deliver their ideas into something visual.

Pros

  • Extensible with add-ons
  • Affordable one-time fee
  • Easy to use and learn
  • Excellent customer service and online community

Cons

  • It’s easy to be overwhelmed because of the sheer number of tools
  • Some extensions might not integrate properly with the main program

Which One Should You Use: Rhino 3D or Autodesk Fusion 360?

Both Rhino and Fusion 360 are capable and powerful programs that can help you create 3D models. But which one is perfect for you?

Fusion 360 lives on the cloud, allowing you to access the program and your designs from anywhere if you have a browser and an Internet connection. Rhino 3D is installed on your machine, which makes it less portable than Fusion 360. You’d be limited to working on your computer to create your designs.

Fusion 360 is excellent when you create both 2D and 3D models. Rhino 3D can be used for 2D models, but most of its features are for accurate and precise 3D modeling.

What Kind of Tools Do They Offer?

Fusion 360 gives you tools that allow you to do parametric, polygonal, and surface modeling. You will need to combine these tools to get the results you need. Rhino 3D is based on non-uniform rational B-splines or NURBS modeling.

If you do a lot of animation, you might be better off using Fusion 360 with its keyframe animation features. Rhino 3D has very limited animation tools, where you can only move the lighting or the view of your models. Rendering an animation on Rhino 3D can take a lot longer than on Fusion 360.

Image rendering on Fusion 360, you just drag and drop the patch icon over your model to change its properties. You can set the material, quality, and environment from a flyout toolbar.

With Rhino 3D, you will get color images with bumps, textures, transparency, and light. You can add the light, choose a material for your objects, and then repeat the process to get the look you want.

Fusion 360 is preferred by those who work with electronics, mechanical design, furniture making, and aerospace design. Rhino is more for those who like industrial and architectural designs. You can also use it to create jewelry and accessories.

Pricing

You can use Fusion 360 for free if you’re a teacher or student, a hobbyist, or a small non-profit business with yearly revenues of less than $100,000. If not, you can use it by subscribing to the product for around $500 a year.

Rhino 3D doesn’t have a free version or a free trial. You’d need to pay $995 to use the program for life.

So, Which One Should You Choose?

When it comes to tools and features, it seems that Rhino 3D is on an equal footing with Fusion 360. So your decision on which one to choose will largely depend on what you prefer.

You should go with Fusion 360 if you’re part of a design team and you need to collaborate on a project. The online environment will help facilitate teamwork while reading and keeping track of all the notes and comments on the design.

Go with Rhino 3D if you want a more accurate model and you like software that you don’t have to pay for year after year. What’s more, Rhino 3D is for those who work on architectural and industrial design.

Meanwhile, Fusion 360 is great for working with furniture, electronics, mechanical, and aerospace models.

What is the NURBS mathematical model?

Non-uniform rational B-splines or NURBS are a way to present 3D geometry using numbers. This mathematical representation can easily describe shapes such as curves, arcs, lines, and circles.

Why should you use NURBS for computer-aided modeling?

  • You can create your models using NURBS, and rest assured they can be opened and accessed by a variety of rendering, animation, engineering, and modeling programs.
  • The mathematical representation is very precise, so you can work with both standard shapes and free-form objects.
  • NURBS is taught at many colleges and universities, so finding talent is easy.

Are there alternatives to both Fusion 360 vs Rhino 3D?

You might have a variety of reasons for not wanting to use either Rhino 3D or Fusion 360. Lucky for you, you have an option to choose from quite a few programs that you can use as an alternative to Fusion 360 and Rhino 3D. Here are some of them and why you should consider using them.

SolidWorks

Fusion 360 Rhino Alternative

Just like its name, this program has been a solid contender in the CAD/CAM space. Its forte is 3D modeling and engineering design. SolidWorks allows you to document all individual parts and create new ones that you can use for your object. If you need to animate or render your designs, there are extensions and add-ons that you can use.

Simulations are excellent, and you can create really detailed models with SolidWorks.

This program offers a lot of features, more than Fusion 360. These features might add more complexities, especially when you’re learning. It doesn’t have a sculpt mode.

However, SolidWorks can be expensive with tiered pricing starting at around $4,000 and can reach around $18,000 for businesses to use.

  • More information and download it here.
  • Price: $3,995, with discounts for educators and students

Read our full Fusion 360 vs Solidworks Comparison

Onshape

Oneshape

If you’re trying to find another cloud-based solution, then you should look at Onshape. This program is also 100-percent accessible online but allows for stress-free collaboration. Onshape is perfect for beginners too. The features it offers focus on CAD. That is to say that if you need to do some CAE or CAM work, then you should look elsewhere.

Beginners will also love it that there’s a ton of content available for learning Onshape. Combine those resources with the innate simplicity of Onshape, and you’d be learning CAd in no time.

Onshape costs $1,500 annually, but students and teachers can use it for free.

  • More information and download it here.
  • Price:$1,995

SketchUp

Sketchup

SketchUp holds the distinction of having been once owned and developed by the search giant Google. Sketchup is free to use. You only pay when you want to use plugins. There’s also a professional application that supports STL export.

You will like SketchUp if your work is focused on CAD, but you might want to use another program to do 3D printing or CNC machining.

  • More information and download it here.
  • Price: $299 annually, but there is a free version

Creo

Creo

Creo gives you all the necessary features of an excellent CAD program and continues to update the range of functionalities that you can get with it.

Creo offers parametric modeling, animations, rendering, augmented reality, and ergonomic simulations. After you have designed your model, you can get a list of materials you’re going to need to create the product.

Creo also gives you the chance to do some advanced analyses and simulations on your models.

Like SolidWorks, Creo might be a pricier alternative, especially for Rhino 3D. You can get a basic license for $2,200, but more expensive packages include more tools for simulations and machining.

What’s more, the user interface can be very confusing. This program might be more ideal for industry professionals than the at-home hobbyist.

  • More information and download it here.
  • Price: $2,200

SolveSpace

Solvespace

If you’re a Linux user, then you’re probably out of luck with both Fusion 360 and Rhino 3D. However, give SolveSpace a try.

This program is for Linux users and offers a wide range of tools for you to do some serious CAM and 3D modeling. But it’s also available for Mac and Windows. What’s more, it’s open-source and free to use.

It’s also very straightforward, and learning how to use SolveSpace should be as easy, if not easier, than learning Rhino 3D.

Features-wise, you won’t miss anything by using SolveSpace, even if you’ve been using Rhino or Fusion 360. You get parametric 3D modeling, 2D sketching, STL repair, and Boolean operations. You can prepare G-code and export it into a variety of file types.

However, you might want to consider another program if you need to do some simulations or stress tests. This free program can also have performance drawbacks when doing boolean operations and complicated drawings.

  • More information and download it here.
  • Price: Free

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer our readers’ most-asked questions.

Question: What are the main differences between CAD and CAM?

Answer: Computer-aided design is when you use a computer to make 2D drawings and 3D models. It’s when you showcase your part’s geometry.

On the other hand, computer-aided manufacturing is when you use computers to control machine tools when making the parts you designed. CAM is more closely associated with turning your design and ideas into real-world products.

To make this easier to understand, you will create models with your CAD software and then use that model to instruct machines on how to create the CAD-generated model you have.

Fusion 360 vs Rhino 3D: Final Thoughts

Sometimes, two programs are both excellent, that it’s difficult to make a clear recommendation and tell people to use one over the other. Fusion 360 and Rhino 3D are two of these programs.

But now that you know what each one offers, what they’re good at, and which users can benefit more from what they’re offering, you can decide for yourself which one is perfect for your needs.

You can’t go wrong with either Rhino 3D or Fusion 360.

Anycubic Wash and Cure Review: Is It Worth Buying in 2021

anycubic wash and cure review

One of the things that you always do when dealing with resin printing is to wash and cure your models after they are printed. Every expert and enthusiast will recommend both activities for post-processing. Thankfully, devices like the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 make post-processing a lot easier and faster.

There are currently two versions of the Wash & Cure Machine. The original is no longer available from the Anycubic online store except if you’re in the United Kingdom. They sell the original Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine for $99.

The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 sells for $50 more and is available from the manufacturer’s website.

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Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0: Everything You Need to Know

anycubic wash and cure station

The most significant draw of the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 is that you only need to use one machine to wash and then cure your 3D prints. That makes the whole process less complicated.

In fact, this machine will help you do all your post-processing work by pressing a few buttons. Everything runs automatically.

You can clean your prints and then harden them at the same time. Plus it has all the materials you need. The package includes:

  • Cure platform
  • Power cord
  • Reflector
  • Service card
  • Stainless steel bearing
  • Toolset
  • User manual
  • Washing basket
  • Washing container
  • Washing rack

Washing Your Prints

When you have just finished printing using a resin printer, it’s going to be slimy and sticky. The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 gives you an easy way to get rid of that sticky feeling.

The machine has a detachable washing container that you can fill with the cleaning solution. At the bottom of the wash container, you will find a small agitator or rotor, similar to the ones you find on a washing machine. Magnets power this agitator, and like a real washing machine for clothes, it spins forwards and in reverse.

There are two different methods in which you can wash your prints. First, you can use the washing rack that has a holder for your 3D printer’s platform. This method allows you to wash the 3D model without taking it off the platform first and is useful for smaller prints.

If your object is bigger than 4.5 inches (115 millimeters), you can take it out of the platform and put it into the washing rack.

In both scenarios, you will need to make sure that the entire print is submerged before you start washing.

Curing

After washing the model, you will need to take off all the supports before you cure it. The curing process will smoothen the surface further and harden the resin.

Just take the wash container out of the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 and replace it with the cure platform. The curing platform rotates, so the 3D model hardens from all sides evenly. You no longer have to place your 3D models out in the sun, which may result in uneven curing and warping of some parts.

The machine has a turntable and an array of lights that can cure your model in no time. Just place the 3D object on the cure platform and select how long you’d like it to cure. The general rule is that if your model has a diameter of 1.2 inches (30 millimeters), you only need to cure it for two minutes.

If your model is bigger than 30 millimeters, or if it has a very complicated shape and surface area, then opt for longer curing times.

Dimensions

You will need a big space on your desk or work table to make room for the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0. It measures 8.9 by 9.3 by 14.4 inches (225 by 235 by 365 millimeters).

However, that size makes it possible for the machine to accommodate a wash container that measures 4.7 by 2.9 by 6.5 inches (120 by 74 by 165 millimeters). That volume means that you can wash most prints using this machine.

You can also cure 3D models as big as 5.5 inches (140 millimeters) in diameter and 6.5 inches (165 millimeters) tall.

The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine can be hefty for some people. It weighs 8.2 pounds (3.7 kilograms).

The Bottom Line

If you have done some post-processing work for your resin-based 3D prints, then you’d know how easy it is to screw things up. You can get a model that’s been in alcohol for longer than it needs to be. The resin is unevenly hardened, or some parts of it might warp.

The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 makes everything easier. You just put the wash container or the cure platform, add your newly printed model, and press a few buttons, and that’s it. All you have to do is wait.

With this machine, your models are thoroughly washed and evenly cured.

Pros

  • The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 allows you to avoid leaving the print in an alcohol bath longer than necessary
  • No more dealing with alcohol fumes
  • Washing the 3D model takes away the slimy feeling
  • You can use alcohol, detergent solution, and other washing liquids that you have in the house

Cons

  • Spare parts for this machine might be difficult to come by

Comparing the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 and the Creality UW-01 Washing and Curing Machine

To make it easier to compare these two machines, check out this comparison table:

Brand Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 Creality UW-01 Washing and Curing Machine
Pricing $149 $149
Two-in-one wash and cure Yes Yes
Dimensions (LWH, millimeters) 225 by 235 by 365 225 by 225 by 370
Weight (kilograms) 3.7 6.5
Touch screen controls Yes Yes
Washing    
Maximum dimensions of 3d model (millimeters) 120 by 74 by 165 170 by 120 by 160
Enclosed container Yes Yes
Curing    
Number of LED lights 12 18
Maximum dimensions of 3d model (millimeters) 140 by 140 by 165 165 by 165 by 200
Rotating curing platform Yes Yes
UV Top Cover Yes Yes

As you can see, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 has the same price as the Creality UW-01 Washing and Curing Machine. However, the latter is better suited both for washing and curing larger 3D models. It also has more LED lights, which makes the curing process a lot faster.

Form Wash and Form Cure: Another Alternative

If you have a FormLabs 3D printer, you can opt to get the company’s own Form Wash and Form Cure machines. Unlike the Creality UW-01 and the Anycubic Wash & Cure 2.0, you won’t have a single machine to do both processes. Each one does washing and curing your models separately.

Form Wash

After printing, you can put the just finished models directly into the Form Wash. Or you can just rinse it without removing it from the build platform.

This way, you can get a consistent and thorough wash every time. It uses isopropyl alcohol to wash your prints. And if you’re busy, the Form Wash has a mechanism that will raise the wash basket when it’s done. That way, you do not have to fret about over-soaking your prints and warping them.

The Form Wash costs around $500.

Form Cure

The Form Cure helps you get stronger and more durable parts. What’s more, if you’re using FormLabs resins, you can set this machine to use settings that can cure it perfectly, using configurations that are specific to a particular material. This machine costs around $700.

Because you have two machines to work with, the Form Wash and Form Cure is ideal for those bigger jobs. You can cure a washed printed material and start a new batch on the Form Wash. This saves you the time you need to wait for the Anycubic or Creality two-in-one machines to finish both washing and curing your prints before you can start on another batch.

Pros

  • It saves you a lot of post-processing time

Cons

  • Very expensive to get both machines
  • Better suited for those who are using FormLabs 3D printers, specifically the Form 3, 3L, 3B, 3BL, and Form 2

The Benefits of Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0

As you can see, post-processing can be hazardous and tedious. That’s especially true if you’re printing several 3D models. The Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 can help you do away with all the waiting and minimizes the amount of contact you have with the resin.

You can wash several pieces together instead of manually moving the printed models in alcohol. Post-processing work done on several pieces simultaneously will help you save time.

What’s more, using a machine like Anycubic’s will ensure more thorough washing and even curing.

FAQs

Question: Are there any alternatives to the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0?

Answer: If you’re considering the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0, you shuld look at similar products to see if it’s the best for your needs. Check out the Creality UW-01 Washing and Curing Machine.

Like the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0, the Creality UW-01 washing and Curing Machine is a two-in-one machine. You can wash your 3D Prints and then cure them without the need for two devices taking up at least twice as much space on your desk.

The washing container measures 6.7 by 4.7 by 6.3 inches (170 by 120 by 160 millimeters), which is bigger than the Anycubic machine. This means that if you regularly print larger models, this might not be for you.

On the other hand, the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0 will require you to store the cleaning solution in another container. You simply cannot leave the cleaning solution inside the wash container.

With the Creality UW-01, you can just leave the solution inside the washing machine container. It will not oxidize or evaporate because it is sealed.

This machine also uses magnets for its curing platform. Your 3D model rotates all the way around, ensuring even curing. There are double-row LED lights that handle the curing process.

You can dry or cure models that are as big as 8.9 by 8.9 by 14.5 inches (225 by 370 millimeters)

Pros

• You can leave the cleaning solution inside the washing container for storage
• Compared to the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0, this has a larger washing container.
• Less expensive than Anycubic

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Question: Why do you need to wash and cure a resin printed object?

Answer: If you want a better looking and longer-lasting 3D Printed part, then you should spend time with post-processing work.

Post-processing will allow you to get better looking 3D Prints. All 3D Printed parts need some kind of post-production work and are an important finishing touch for your prints. It is in print processing that you remove the supports or any extra material. You should also wash and cure your models.

Washing takes care of the extra resins and gives your model less gloss and none of that sticky feel. Curing hardens your prints and makes them more durable.

Washing and curing will allow you to have the best print quality that your SLA printer can give you. If done right, it can improve both the aesthetics and the physical quality of your models.

Question: Can you do the washing and curing without buying a machine?

Answer: Start with washing your newly printed 3D model. You can use an ultrasonic bath, which uses a cleaning fluid that you can wash away the uncured resins off your models. You can also dunk the 3D object in a tub filled with isopropyl alcohol and then move it around

Dunking and rinsing your 3D objects in isopropyl alcohol may need at least two rinses because manually moving around the print will not be as thorough as putting it in a washing machine.

1. Taking the supports off

After washing, you can now proceed to clean your 3D Prints by taking off the supports and cleaning away any excess material. You can simply break them off using nothing but your hands.

However, if your model has intricate details, you will need to use flush cutters to make sure that you get the cleanest break possible.

2. Curing the Print

If you don’t want to buy any type of machine, you can go outside and put your models to cure under the heat of the sun. You will need to guard over your model, though, to ensure that it doesn’t warp and that the curing is even.

There are several options that let you avoid that hassle, however. You can buy a curing station from the same manufacturer who made your printer. Or you can use a nail polish curing lamp, which is more affordable than 3D printer curing lamps

3. Last Reminder: Be Safe

Always wear the right gear when handling resins. You will need safety glasses, a neat work area, and nitrile gloves.

If the resin gets in contact with your skin, wash it off right away. Plus, you should wipe any surface where resin gets spilled before it hardens.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0?

If you want to save time and costs with your post-processing work, you should seriously consider getting the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0. You get the best-printed parts without the hassles!

Considerable Alternative
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Anycubic Photon Mono Review: Is It Worth Buying

Anycubic Photon Mono Review

Stereolithography 3D printers are ideal for those people who want a high level of detail and accuracy to their prints. But they have always been a bit pricier than similar printers using fused deposition modeling. Fortunately, the entry of LCD-based SLA printers has made resin printing more accessible to more people.

The Anycubic Photon Mono is one of those printers that can satisfy even the most demanding 3D printer enthusiast. It uses a monochrome LCD to harden the resin, which means that it’s fast, accurate, and gives you high-resolution prints.

Should you buy the Anycubic Photon Mono? Here are the facts about the 3D printer that can help you decide whether or not to get this affordable and fast 3D printer.

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Anycubic Photon Mono Resin 3D Printer: What You Need to Know

Anycubic Photon Mono

The Anycubic Photon Mono Resin 3D Printer is among a new line of printers that have made SLA printing more accessible even to the casual enthusiasts who’d like better details on their 3D prints. Reading the specifications, however, you’d instantly know that while print quality and speed are worth noting, there is really no groundbreaking features to expect here.

Features of the Anycubic Photon Mono

Six-inch 2k Monochrome LCD

The Anycubic Photon Mono uses a high-resolution monochrome LCD. Monochrome LCDs are better than colored LCDs because these screens don’t have tints or filters.

These filters are what creates the red, green, or blue colors in regular colored LCDs. Without anything blocking the light, monochrome LCDs have a more intense light and are able to cure the resin a lot faster.

What’s more, monochrome LCDs use less electricity as well. So you not only save on time, but also on costs of printing. Monochrome screens are also more durable than colored LCDs. The LCD panel you see on the Photon Mono is a six-inch (152.4 millimeters) panel.

Easy to Replace FEP Film

The FEP is a transparent film that is placed between the ultraviolet screen and the build pate. It’s very useful to ensure that the light cures the resin properly. Over time, the FEP film will get deformed, perforated, or bent. When this happens, your prints have a higher chance of failing.

The Anycubic Photon Mono gives you an easy and quick way to replace the FEP film.

Simple and Functional Design

This printer is elegant and clean-looking, and it catches the eye with its transparent yellow blocking lid. All in all, it measures 9.0 by 8.7 by 15.1 inches (227 by 222 by 383 millimeters), which makes it ideal for the average work desk. That size allows the Photon Mono to have a build volume of 5.1 by 3.1 by 6.5 inches (130 by 80 by 165 millimeters).

You can get the lid off so the resin is fully accessible. Upfront, you gave the 2.8-inch (71 millimeters) touch screen display that allows you to operate the machine. A USB slot is found at the side of the 3D printer.

Anycubic Photon Workshop

When you use the Photon Mono printer, you should know that the company recommends its own slicer, the Anycubic Photon Workshop.

If this is your first Anycubic machine, then you should take the time to familiarize yourself with the program. The good news is that one can download the software free on both macOS and Windows, and it’s relatively easy to figure out.

If you don’t understand something, the manual is written in English, so you would probably have no problems with the instructions. What’s more, the slicer has a lot of nifty features, including being able to add supports automatically.

Print Quality

anycubic mono 3d printer

The Anycubic Photon Mono has a rated 51 microns of XY resolution, which translates to 2,560 by 1,620 pixels. If you are no idea or are not familiar with what those numbers mean, you should know that the prints come out highly detailed with excellent surface quality.

Plus, you don’t waste a lot of the resin with supports. The Anycubic Photon Mono requires very minimal support when you are printing complex models.

What You’d Like About the Anycubic Photon Mono

The Photon Mono does not have a massive build volume, but it’s a lot more spacious than other resin 3D printers at its price. You will also like how this printer can finish printing fast because of the monochrome LCD. You can expect curing times for this printer at around 1.5 seconds for every layer.

Moreover, the Anycubic Photon Mono delivers print resolutions of 2,560 by 1,620 pixels. That’s about 51 microns for the XY resolution. People who have tried or seen resin printing before will probably like how the Photon Mono does not smell that much when it’s printing. It’s also quieter than other similar printers.

Anycubic Photon Mono: What Can Be Better

The USB slot at the side is a bit inaccessible. If you use a USB drive for your designs, you will need to give the Photon Mono more space on the right side to insert it into the port. It would have made a lot of sense if the USB port was out front.

You may also have problems with the touch display used to operate the 3D printer. Because of its small size, it may be an issue with those who have bigger fingers to tap on the choices they want. The user interface will also take quite some time to get used to and there are more intuitive UIs out there.

The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Photon Mono was not made to impress us with groundbreaking features, huge build volumes, or being packed with functionality. But that does not really mean that you should just snob this 3D printer.

For its price, it has a good print resolution, a decent build volume, and fast printing speeds. But it’s nothing to write home about. If you are looking for a reliable 3D printer that can do the job, then the Anycubic Photon Mono is for you.

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Pros

  • Excellent level of details and print quality
  • Very fast printing, especially when compared to other printers
  • The resin does not emit that bad odor that other SLA printers have

Cons

  • The touchscreen is small and has a limited viewing angle
  • The build volume can be restricting

Quick Specifications

  • LCD 3D printer for resin printing
  • No assembly required
  • Build volume (millimeters): 130 by 80 by 165
  • XY resolution (microns) : 510
  • XY resolution (pixels): 2,560 by 1,680
  • Z-axis positioning accuracy: 0.01 mm
  • Printing speed: 50 millimeters per hour
  • Compatible with third-party materials: Yes
  • Materials: 405 nm UV resin
  • Recommended Slicer: Anycubic Photon Workshop
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Dimensions (millimeters): 227 by 222 by 383
  • Weight: 4.5 kilograms

Other Anycubic Photon Versions

Aside from the Photon Mono X, Anycubic offers several other printers under the Photon line:

  • Photon S
  • Photon Mono SE
  • Photon Mono X

Photon S

anycubic photon s

The Photon S is an affordable resin printer that does not disappoint when it comes to print quality. It is also a sensical option for beginners because it is relatively straightforward to operate, and you can buy and try out 3D printing without having to shell out oodles of money.

This 3D printer uses a 2K LCD screen and delivers an XY resolution of 47 microns. It has a print volume of 4.5 by 2.6 by 6.5 (115 by 65 by 165 millimeters), which makes it ideal for small models.

Printing with the Photon S allows you to get more details on your prints.

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Pros

  • The quality of the prints is more than what you’d expect for the price
  • No assembly is needed, and operation is easy
  • Excellent level of details for a budget printer

Cons

  • Quality control might be an issue
  • Flimsy build
  • Bed leveling might be a problem

Photon Mono SE

anycubic photon mono se

The Photon Mono, Mono SE, and Mono X were unveiled at the same time to celebrate Anycubic’s fifth anniversary. This budget 3D printer features a 2K monochrome LCD to harden the resin and an XY resolution of 51 microns.

Because the Mono SE has a monochrome LCD, it can print your models very fast: the LCD can quickly cure your resins in two to three seconds.

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Pros

  • Fine details are possible with this printer
  • Speedy prints

Cons

  • Not exactly accurate

Photon Mono X

photon mono x printer

Two things set the Mono X from all other flavors of Photon Mono: a bigger build volume and the use of a 4K monochrome LCD. You can print objects measuring 7.6 by 4.7 by 9.6 inches (192 by 120 by 245 millimeters) with this printer.

Like Mono and Mono SE, the monochrome LCD gives rise to faster print speed.

Pros

  • Huge build volume
  • 4K monochrome LCD
  • Fast very detailed prints

Cons

  • It might be too hefty for your desk

Which Anycubic Photon Product Is Right for You?

If you like the affordable price of Anycubic’s Photon line, here is what you should know.

The Photon S uses a colored LCD, which helps bring the price down. Meanwhile, as the name implies, the three Photon Mono variants use a monochrome LCD to cure the resin. As such, they can print a lot faster than the Photon S.

How much faster? The Photon Sprints at a maximum of 0.8 inches per hour (20 millimeters per hour). That’s less than half the 2.0 inches per hour (50 millimeters per hour) print speed provided by the Photon Mono.

Meanwhile, the Photon Mono X has a print speed of 2.4 inches per hour (60 millimeters per hour), while the speediest of them is the SE, which prints at 3.1 inches per hour (80 millimeters per hour).

If you are looking for the Photon model with the biggest build volume, then get the Photon Mono X. You can print 3D models measuring 7.6 by 4.7 by 9.6 inches (192 by 120 by 245 millimeters).

Side-by-Side Comparison of Currently Available Photon Mono Products

To make it easier for you to really compare the four Photon models that are available right now, check out this table.

System Photon Mono SE Photon S Photon Mono X Photon Mono
Price $380 to $420 $250 to $420 $690 to $760 $220 to $270
Dimensions (millimeters) 220 by 200 by 400 230 by 200 by 400 270 by 290 by 475 227 by 222 by 383
Weight (kilograms) 8.2 9.5 10.8 4.5
Resin Yes Yes Yes Yes
405-Nanometer Light Source Yes Yes Yes Yes
LCD-Based SLA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rated Power 55W 50W​ 120W 45W
Build Volume (millimeters) 130 by 78 by 160 115 by 65 by 165 192 by 120 by 245 130 by 80 by 165
Layer Resolution (microns) 10 to 150 25 to 100 10 to 150 10 to 150
Top Printing Speed (millimeters per hour) 80 20 60 50
Touch Screen (inches) 3.5 2.8 3.5 3.5
USB Connectivity Yes Yes Yes Yes
XY Resolution (microns) 51 47 50 51
XY Resolution (pixels 2,560 by 1,620 2,560 by 1,440 3,840 by 2,400 3,840 by 2,400
Z-Axis Resolution (microns) 10 1.25 10 10

 

  Fused Deposition Modeling Stereolithography
Excellent Print Resolution No Yes
Highly Accurate Yes Yes
Good Surface Finish No Yes
Easy to Use Yes Yes
Main Selling Point Fast and affordable Very accurate with smooth surface finish
Cons Prints have lower accuracy and level of details Resins should be kept out of UV light
Materials Thermoplastics Resins

SLA: Lasers vs Projectors vs LCD

If an SLA printer is a better choice for you, you will need to narrow it down further to the type of light source used to harden the resin.

Lasers in 3D printers have been around the longest. These devices use a laser, and the resin cures where the light hits them. When an entire layer is cured, the build platform rises, and the next layer is printed.

Meanwhile, in digital light processing printers, projectors are used to harden the resin. Conversely, LCD panels are used in LCD-based 3D printers.

Which resin curing printer is the best? It depends on what you are after.

Cost

Laser and DLP printers are often more expensive than LCD. The reason for this is because LCDs are readily available as they are used in other devices such as smartphones, TVs, and tablets.

Build Area

DLP printers often have a smaller build area because one component, the digital micromirror device, typically has resolutions of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels. You can find DLP printers with build volumes larger than that, but these often have print quality problems.

Printing Speed

Because of the way they work, laser 3D printers are often slow compared to both LCD and DLP printers, which can expose and harden an entire layer. Between colored LCDs and projectors, DLP printers used to have an edge when it comes to fast printing times. That is no longer true with the introduction of monochrome LCD printers.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Photon Mono

When we said that there’s a lot of choices when it comes to LCD printers and resin printers, we weren’t kidding. If you are not sold on Anycubic’s products, here are the top options that you have.

Elegoo Saturn

elegoo saturn printer

Elegoo Saturn is perfect if you need a 3D printer with a larger build volume. The Saturn gives you the chance to print objects as large as 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 inches (192 by 120 by 200 millimeters).

This printer sells for more than double the price of the Photon Mono, but it does come with a 4K monochrome LCD. It delivers print resolutions of 3,840 by 2,400 pixels.

It also has cooling fans that help keep the temperatures down and prolonging the life of the LCD screen. You can also enjoy the Ethernet connectivity, which allows you to print remotely.

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Pros

  • Bigger build volume means that you can now print bigger models
  • Ready to print even if you’ve just taken it right out of the box
  • Compatible with third-party resins
  • Excellent print quality

Cons

  • More expensive than the Photon Mono

Quick Specs

  • Light Source: 8.9-inch (226.1 millimeters) 4K mono-LCD
  • Build Volume: 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 inches (192 by 120 by 200 millimeters)
  • XY Resolutions: 50 microns
  • Z Resolutions: 10 microns
  • Pricing: Around $500

Phrozen Sonic Mini

phrozen sonic mini uv

If you are searching for a 3D printer that is more affordable than the Photon Mono, you should consider the Phrozen Sonic Mini. This 3D printer is one of the first to enter the market with a monochrome LCD.

There are some trade-offs for its lower price, such as having a 1,920 by 1,080 pixels LCD panel and you are working with an older printer, but print quality is excellent, and printing times are very short.

Pros

  • Fast printing times
  • Affordable
  • Very easy to use

Cons

  • Build volume is smaller than that of the Photon Mono
  • A full HD LCD panel is not 2K

Quick Specs

  • Light source: 5.5-inch (140 millimeters) full high definition monochrome LCD
  • Build volume: 4.7 by 2.7 by 5.1 inches (120 by 68 by 130 millimeters)
  • XY resolution: 62 microns
  • Z resolution: 10 microns
  • Price: Around $200

Creality LD-002H

creality 3d printer

Another entry in the budget LCD printer space, the Creality LD-002H, also boasts a 2K monochrome LCD. This 3D printer has roughly the same build volume and print resolution and as the Photon Mono.

The Creality LD-002H includes an air filtration system that uses activated carbon, which helps some of the smell produced by the machine.

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Pros

  • Very similar to the Photon Mono in print quality, print size, build volume, and even printing speed

Cons

  • Bed leveling is done manually

Quick Specs

  • Light Source: 6.08-inch (154.4 millimeters) 2K mono-LCD
  • Build Volume: 5.1 by 3.2 by 6.3 inches (130 by 82 by 160 millimeters)
  • XY Resolution: 51 microns
  • Z Resolution: 30 microns
  • Market Price: Around $240

FAQs

Question: Is Anycubic a good company?

Answer: Anycubic is a Chinese company that is known for its affordable yet very capable printers. If you are looking for a 3D printer that does not break the bank, yet delivers outstanding print quality, a high level of detail, and fast printing times, then you should give their printers a try.

What’s more, the company has been innovating with its 3D printers. You will find that they have all the latest technologies that are used for 3D printers, and they also have their proprietary technologies.

Question: What is resin printing?

Answer: When it comes to 3D printing, the first thing that most people encounter is fused deposition modeling printers. These are printers where filaments are pushed out of the print heads to make a layer. Resin 3D printing, or stereolithography, uses resin instead of filaments. The resin is hardened layer by layer to create your models.

There are different types of light sources that are used for resin printing, including laser, projectors, and LCD. The Anycubic Photon Mono uses an LCD to harden the resin and create your models.

Question: Are LCD 3D printers better than other types of printers?

Answer: As mentioned above, there are two popular technologies used in 3D printing, FDM and resin curing, and each one brings with it its own set of benefits and downsides.

Both SLA and FDM printers are easy to use. Still, with all things equal, an FDM printer will pale compared to an SLA printer when it comes to print accuracy and resolution, surface finish, and the ability to create intricate designs.

As such, SLA printers deliver better models but are more expensive than FDM printers. SLA 3D printers are more ideal for functional prototypes, dental uses, and molds. It’s also better to use an SLA printer if you are making models, patterns, and jewelry. FDM printers, on the other hand, allows you to create affordable prototypes and proof-of-concept models.

Another advantage when using FDM printers is that you can be very creative because it allows you to use a wide range of materials in an assortment of colors.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Photon Mono?

The Anycubic Photon Mono enters the market at a time when there are a lot of monochrome LCD printers. The Photon Mono does not really have any groundbreaking features. In fact, it has middle of the road functionalities that you can find in other similar printers.

But that is not to say that you shouldn’t buy the Photon Mono. It works fast, and it has excellent print quality. You can get 3D models that look good because of the Photon Mono’s high resolutions and level of detail.

Before deciding, however, there are some options for you to consider. For instance, three printers from the same company use LCD to create your 3D objects, and two of them are worthy alternatives to the Photon Mono. If you like a bigger build volume, you should certainly buy the Anycubic Photon Mono X.

Speaking of which, you can buy the Elegoo Saturn and also get a 3D printer that has a bigger build quality. However, if you are looking to save money, the Phrozen Sonic Mini is worth a look. It has comparable components and technologies with the Photon Mono, but with a more wallet-friendly price tag.

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

CoreXY vs HBot

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

The Main Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers

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

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

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

What Is CoreXY?

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

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

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

CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers

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

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

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

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

Before You Buy: The Weaknesses of CoreXY Printers

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

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

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

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

Pros and Cons of CoreXY Printers

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

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

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

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

The Best Examples of CoreXY Printers

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

Two trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer Facesheild Corexy

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

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

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

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

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Pros

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

Cons

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

Tronxy X5SA PRO 3D Printer

X5SA PRO 3D Printer

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

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

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Pros

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

Cons

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

Creativity CoreXY Structure Remote Range Elf 3D Printer

Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer

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

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

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

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

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

Runner Up
Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer
$469.99

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

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Pros

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

Cons

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

CoreXY 3D Printers: The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

The H-Bot Design Flaw

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

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

CoreXY vs HBot

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

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

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

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

H-Bot: The Bottom Line

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot

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

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Question: What are Cartesian FDM 3D Printers?

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Why is momentum bad when printing?

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

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

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

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

CoreXY vs HBot: The Final Word

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

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

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

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

Elegoo Saturn Review

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

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

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

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

Monochrome LCD

Elegoo Saturn

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

Stereolithography traces its meaning to two Greek words:

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

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

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

Benefits of Masked Stereolithography

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

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

Elegoo Saturn Is Faster than Most Other MSLA Printers

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

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

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

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

High-Resolution LCD

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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

Z-Axis

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

Notable Features

Elegoo Saturn 3d printer

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

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

Resin

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

Pricing

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

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

Huge Build Volume

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • No resin included

Comparison to other Elegoo 3D the printers

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

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

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

Alternatives to the Elegoo Saturn?

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

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

Peopoly Phenom

Peopoly Phenom

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

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

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

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

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

Features of the Peopoly Phenom

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

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

Specifications

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini

phrozen sonic mini

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

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

Some of the features you should know include:

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

Before You Buy

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

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

Specifications

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Photon Mono SE

anycubic photon mono se

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

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

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

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

Features You Should Know

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

  • You can use the Anycubic App to see how far along your printing job is going, as well as tweak the print settings even without going close to the printer.
  • The printing platform is made with brushed aluminum
  • Responsive and intuitive user interface
  • Affordable, selling for anywhere from $320 to $420
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Specifications

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

FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: What are the benefits of MSLA printers?

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Buy the Elegoo Saturn?

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

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

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

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

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

The Final Word on the Elegoo Saturn

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

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

6 Best Sketchup Alternatives in 2021 You’ll Love

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

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

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

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

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

What Is Sketchup?

sketchup

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

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

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

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

1. Art of Illusion

art of illusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art of Illusion: Bottom Line

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

2. Fusion 360

fusion 360

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

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

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

Fusion 360: The Skinny

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

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

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

3. Autodesk Inventor

autodesk

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

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

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

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

What You Should Know About Autodesk Inventor

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

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

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

Read our full Autocad vs Sketchup comparison here.

4. Rhino 3D

rhinoceros

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

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

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

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

Rhino 3D: The Bottom Line

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

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

5. Tinkercad

tinkercad

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

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

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

What You Can and Cannot Get from Tinkercad

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

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

6. Blender

blender 3d

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line on Blender

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

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

Other Software You Can Consider Alongside Sketchup

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

Question: What is primitive modeling?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Best Alternatives to Sketchup

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Phrozen Transform Review

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

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

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

Phrozen Transform Review

LCD Printer: What the Phrozen Transform Uses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dual or Single Panel

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

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

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

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

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

Tall 3D Models? No Problem

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

What You Will Like About the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

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

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

Phrozen Transform

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

Specifications at a Glance

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

Phrozen Transform: The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Alternatives to the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

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

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

1. Peopoly Phenom

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

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

peopoly

This LCD printer uses a 4K laptop LCD screen as well as ultraviolet light to harden the resin. Plus, it costs only $2,000 (check out the latest deals on MatterHackers here).

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

2. Tronxy X5SA

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

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

TRONXY X5SA 3D Printer

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • The 3D printer comes to you as a kit that you will need to assemble
  • Some quality control issues where some parts may be missing or broken
  • Support and help documentation can be a lot better
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04/09/2021 06:10 pm GMT

3. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K

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

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

phrozen cure

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

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

This printer costs $2,300.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Has a smaller build volume and slower speeds than the Phrozen Transform
  • Can be very expensive
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04/09/2021 06:11 pm GMT

FAQs

Question: What is LCD 3D printing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Is Phrozen a trusted brand?

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts: Is the Phrozen Transform Worth It?

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

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

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

Further Reading:

MatterControl vs Cura [2021]: Which is The Best Your Needs

MatterControl vs Cura

MatterControl vs Cura: Which one is better and does it really matter which slicing software you use? Before you can start 3D printing, you’ll need your design to be modeled and adapted for being printed as a 3D object.

Slicing software, or Slicers, translate 3D models into layers that a 3D printer can understand and print. Not all slicing programs provide equal utility or results, however. Given their impact on the quality of your model, it’s important to find a software that works for you.

Cura, for example, is one of the most popular slicing software, which comes prepackaged with many printers. However, MatterControl has risen to popularity in recent years as well. Both are cutting edge slicers, therefore deciding between the two can be a little tricky.

Our comparison guide is here to clear up the confusion between the two. We’ll dive into the similarities, differences, pros, and cons of each software. Thereby, you can test each option out having a good basic understanding of what they offer. Let’s get started.

Main Differences Between MatterControl vs Cura

The main differences between MatterControl vs Cura are:

  • MatterControl needs 100 gigabytes of hard disk space and 6 gigabytes of RAM, whereas Cura needs 600 megabytes of hard disk space and 8 gigabytes of RAM.
  • MatterControl is more expensive as it wastes more material, whereas Cura comes cheaper as it operates with less material.
  • MaterControl utilizes a tab-based UI system, whereas Cura has a single-view with only a few settings accessible through its settings menu.
  • MatterControl has integrated slicing and modeling option, whereas Cura does not have any customization features, therefore models have to be edited in separate CAD software.
  • MatterControl has comparatively less frequent updates, whereas Cura has weekly updates and bug fixes.
  • MatterControl offers Gcode input and output, whereas Cura only allows for Gcode input

Read on and find out which of these two would suit your needs better. How does MatterControl compete against Ultimaker Cura? What are the features that each one offers? And which one is the better slicer?

What Is MatterControl?

MatterControl vs Cura

MatterControl is a program that you can use to carry out a lot of processes and tasks when you are 3D printing. Most people might think that 3D printing is like regular paper printing where you can start the process with a button click, and then leave it for a few seconds and everything’s okay.

But as anybody who’s ever tried or seen 3D printers in action knows, it’s not that simple. 3D printing has a lot of tasks and processes that you need to do, and MatterControl can help you with that.

What’s more, MatterControl allows you to use one user interface to operate different 3D printers. If this software allows you to do various 3D printing tasks, you expect it to have a long list of features.

MatterControl Features

MatterControl has several features that allow you to do several things when you’re working with 3D models.

It has both a 2D viewer and a 3D viewer. The 2D viewer allows you to see the layers when you slice your design, while the 3D viewer allows you to scale, mirror, or rotate your design to make sure everything is in order before you print or slice it.

Main Features:

  • The library allows you to store, manage, organize, and search for your designs.
  • Print Queue that helps you organize and handle large projects.
  • Printer dropdown list to help you easily work with a variety of 3D printers that you have connected with MatterControl
  • Quick printer wizard to set up different 3D printers
  • Switch for different slicing engines, allowing you to use Slic3r, MatterSlice, Cura, and others.
  • Terminal for both viewing and editing G-code

Printer Controls

MatterControl gives you the ability to interface with your 3D printer easily. When you start printing, MatterControl will call up a new section: Tuning Adjustment.

This interface will allow you to adjust the speed and temperature of the printer. It also allows you to tinker with the extrusion settings. You can do all these even while the print is in progress.

With the temperature control feature, you can manually heat the printer’s extruder and bed. Just slide the temperature slider for the bed and the extruder to make sure that they are heated to your liking. Or you can choose the presets for PLA and ABS if these are the filaments that you’re going to use.

Filament Bed Extruder
PLA 70º C 180ºC
ABS 130º C 230ºC

What’s more, this section will also show the actual temperatures for both the extruder and the bed.

Movement Control

You can also control the movements of the three axes. You can set these axes together or individually. You can get more precision by moving the X, Y, and Z axes by either 0.1, 1, or 10 millimeters. You can only control the movements of these axes before you start printing.

Setup Features

mattercontrol

Aside from the printing controls, MatterControl will also allow you to calibrate the bed with its automatic leveling feature. This functionality will measure a number of points on the printing bed, see what the angle of the bed is so that it can compensate while printing.

MatterControl also gives you a terminal that will allow you to tinker with the G-code of the object that you are going to print as well as the 3D printer itself.

In a separate settings tab, you can choose what level of settings you want: simple, intermediate, and advanced. This means that you can easily control every aspect of your print when you choose the advanced settings, but you can keep it very straightforward when you choose simple.

Here are the settings that you can adjust with each level:

Simple

  • Fill density
  • Layer height
  • Support material and rafts selection

Intermediate

  • Brims
  • Filament specifications
  • Infill
  • Layer or perimeter customization
  • More details for your rafts and support materials
  • Printer specifications
  • Skirts

Advanced

  • Everything that you can control with simple and intermediate setting levels
  • Additional slicing options
  • Output options
  • Repairs
  • Settings for two or more extruders
  • Switch between a variety of slicing engines

Image Converter

MatterControl also comes with an Image Converter that allows you to easily convert a 2D image into a 3D model.

MatterControl Cloud Sync

MatterControl offers a cloud storage service that lets you store your designs on the cloud and access it from anywhere.

You also have access to the web portal to check on your prints. That means you can see if your 3D prints are completed or not even when you’re miles away from the printer.

MatterControl Design Apps

The Design Apps give you all the tools you need to create or modify any design. That means that you can use MatterControl to design something from scratch. But you can also save time by having access to pre-made designs that you can modify to your liking.

For instance, if you want to 3D print a cup, you can find a design for it. You can then tweak it to be larger, or have a bigger handle for it. You can also add or modify text on the cup, so you can personalize it.

System Requirements

MatterControl doesn’t take too many resources to run. You can use it on Windows PCs, macOS, or Linux. You would need:

  • 2 gigabytes for 64-bit RAM
  • 6 gigabytes of hard disk space
  • An 800 by 600 pixels display
  • At least 1 gigahertz processor
  • DirectX 9 with WDDM 1.0 driver

For smoother operations, you can outfit your computer with a faster processor at least 3 gigahertz, 6 gigabytes of RAM, 100 gigabytes of hard disk space, and a larger display.

What Can Be Better

The Design Apps only allow you to use models that you have previously designed yourself, although there are plans to allow users to share their own designs for everyone’s use.

MatterControl: The Bottom Line

You will love just how MatterControl brings together design, printing, and preparation features into one program. It’s easy to create a design or bring in a design that you can customize according to your preferences.

What’s more, it’s free. Imagine being able to flex your creativity and imagination. You can create the parts and 3D objects you want without being bridled by software limitations. You can also apply customizations as you see fit and work with different slicer programs all within MatterControl.

Everything You Need to Know About Ultimaker Cura

ultimaker cura

Cura is a slicer software that comes from Ultimaker, which makes 3d printers. Anybody can visit the Ultimaker website and download the program for free. They can use it if they have a compatible 3D printer.

Ultimaker Cura is currently the most widely used 3D printing software in the world, with millions of users. You can use it to prepare your prints easily and quickly, customize your printing settings, and even have it work with your CAD program to make your workflow easier and faster.

Features of Ultimaker Cura

As you can guess, Cura also has a range of tools and features that you should know.

Ultimaker Cura’s Slicing Tools

Cura has a flexible and powerful slicing engine that allows you to customize your print settings with just a few clicks. It has pre-set profiles that you can use for reliable printing. You can customers more than 400 different settings, which allows you granular control.

Integrations

Cura is compatible with a lot of devices and third-party software. You can use it to work with a wide variety of files, including

  • 3D Manufacturing File (3MF)
  • Bitmap Image Files (BMP)
  • Graphical Interchange Format files (GIF)
  • Joint Photographic Experts Group files (JPG)
  • Portable Network Graphic files (PNG)
  • Standard Triangle Language and stereolithography files (STL)
  • Wavefront 3D Object files (OBJ)
  • Xara3D Project files (X3D)

What’s more, Cura works seamlessly with Ultimaker 3D printers, as well as CAD programs such as Autodesk Inventor​, Siemens NX, SolidWorks, and others.

Ease of Use

Ultimaker Cura makes 3D printing a whole lot easier. You only spend a few minutes to prepare your model, less if you use the recommended settings. You only have to choose the quality and speed settings to begin printing.

Updates and More

What’s more, Ultimaker regularly updates Cura. This ensures that you have the best tools and the most advanced technologies at your fingertips.

You also have access to the Ultimaker Marketplace, which allows you to download plugins that can better enhance your printing, as well as material profiles so that you don’t have to go through manual inputting when using and setting up third-party materials.

Lastly, you will be awed by the support materials available. There are official support channels for Cura, hundreds of Youtube tutorials on how to use the program, and a knowledge base that has more than 26,000 contributors.

That means that if you encounter a problem or have an issue using Cura, you can rely on both the company and the community of users for some help.

Minimum and Recommended Requirements

You can run Ultimaker Cura on your computer if you have the following specs:

  • 1024 by 768 pixels for the display
  • 4 gigabytes of RAM
  • 550 megabytes of available hard disk space
  • Graphics card that is compatible with OpenGL 4.1
  • Intel Core 2 or AMD Athlon 64

But for Cura to run smoothly, you will need at least an Intel Core i3 or an AMD Athlon 64, 600 megabytes of free hard disk space, and at least 8 gigabytes of RAM.

Ultimaker Cura: The Bottom Line

The thing with using this software is that you can make it as simple as you want. You can just use the recommended profiles and load up your 3D object to start printing. But you can certainly tweak the settings to your heart’s delight if you want full control of your 3D prints.

You can use Cura for machines that have either single or dual extruders. Cura also makes it easy for you to create or revise your design. This program has easy to use tools for that.

Cura lets you do a lot of things, and for the most part, they provide features, functionalities, and tools that perform well. What’s more, Cura is extensible, with a variety of plugins and extensions that you can use.

MatterControl vs Ultimaker Cura: The Showdown

While both MatterControl and Ultimaker Cura are open source and have a wide range of compatibility, there are some minor differences between the two. What are these?

Pricing

Cura and MatterControl are open-source, community-based software that are completely free to use. Cura comes with a number of 3D printers or can be downloaded from the company’s or retailer’s website. MatterControl can be downloaded directly from the company’s website.

Therefore, if you’re unsure which software to go for, you can always try out both. Knowing which one is right will help you save time, money, and material; but you can give both a shot to know which one serves your project’s needs better.

MatterControl vs Cura – Ease of use

Ease of use in 3D slicing software is a rather subjective element. But we rate apps according to its accessibility for beginners. If those starting out can get a hang of software with ease, it should be easy to use.

Between Cura and MatterControl, Cura may seem to have an advantage given its widespread popularity and preset profile options. It is used by beginners and advanced users alike to print models for personal or commercial use. Therefore, it certainly passes the threshold of ease of use with flying colors. However, we’d argue Cura ultimately falls short where MatterControl shines.

MatterControl allows modeling within its app is a huge plus point. It also gives the user the ability to customize G-codes… Coupled with possessing features any quality slicer should, MatterControl is a solid product that is fairly easy to use by individuals of all levels while still providing flexibility and slicing functionality.

MatterControl vs Cura – Support

Support plays a big role in leveling up as a 3D enthusiast or manufacturer. Bugs are part of any software and proactive slicers will routinely update their software to remove bugs, as well as add in other quality of life updates.

Moreover, support can also help with diagnosing any issues you face with your software/printer so you can understand how to optimize your system for your use.

MatterControl and Cura have excellent support backing their open-source software. They are both communities based on their own mod/marketplace and are relatively responsive to consumer feedback.

If you do face any issues with either company, contact their customer service or reach out within their community forums.

MatterControl vs Cura – Pros and Cons

cura printing

MatterControl Pros

  • Free, open-source software
  • Modeling + Slicer in one package
  • Easy to use interface
  • Advanced functionality to fine-tune your printer
  • Excellent results with minimal support and material wastage
  • Frequent updates
  • A diverse community with an integrated software marketplace

MatterControl Cons

  • Slicing may be a bit slower than other option on the matter

Cura Pros

  • Free, open-source software
  • Traditional Slicer with enhanced features
  • A quick, efficient, and visual workspace
  • Customizable
  • High-quality models
  • Updates weekly

Cura Cons

  • Models will need to be edited in a separate CAD file for adjustments
  • Cannot output G-codes
  • Requires more tinkering to get the settings right

Mattercontrol Wastes More Material for the Support

In this video, you will see that using Cura and MatterControl to print the same object, Cura uses far more material to make a brim, while MatterControl has close to no brim.

However, Cura uses less filament to create support than MatterControl. In the end, Cura helps you save more of your filament.

Cura Takes Longer to Finish Printing

MatterControl only took 56 minutes, which is two minutes faster than Cura. That may not sound like a lot of time, but in the video, the sample print was quite small. If you were to print a bigger object, that time difference will be more significant.

Both Makes It Easy to Get the Support off the Print

Support structures and brims are necessary to ensure the stability of your 3D print, so it doesn’t topple over or make sure that one layer holds up even after succeeding layers have been printed.

Some slicers often make it difficult for you to remove the support, which damages the print itself. Thankfully, it’s easy to remove the support and the brim when you use either MatterControl or Cura.

Print Quality

When it comes to print quality both Cura and MatterControl delivers. However, MatterControl did have more contact points between the support and the model itself.

It did, however, used a minimal amount of support that looked more like tree branches that were placed where it was needed.

On the other hand, Cura proved to have a very detailed model that can show you even the smallest detail. Cura used a very minimal amount of filament for the supports and had very few contacts between the support and the print.

Comparison to Other Free Slicer Programs

The thing with the difference between MatterControl and Cura is that they are so small that it’s easy to discount one and go with the other. This fact is more apparent if you compare these two to other free slicer programs such as PrusaSlicer and Ideamaker.

PrusaSlicer

PrusaSlicer is an open-source program that offers a variety of features and comes with regular updates to make sure that things get better as time wears on. You can use it on Linux, Mac, and Windows machines.

prusa slicer

It is currently available in 14 languages and comes with more than 110 resin and filament profiles out of the box. Anybody can use it, be it beginners, advanced users, or experts.

Features of PrusaSlicer

One of the biggest draws of PrusaSlicer is that it manages to keep the user interface clean and straightforward even with all the features that it offers.

You can use the automatic settings for support, or you can customize it to your liking. It can work with a variety of materials and filament profiles are updated automatically.

These are just some of the features that you can expect from PrusaSlicer.

How Does PrusaSlicer Compare with Both MatterControl and Cura

Compared to both Cura and MatterControl, PrusaSlicer uses more material to create support structures than both programs. It also takes significantly longer to finish printing at 73 minutes

When you take off the support for 3D prints, there are a lot of places where the support made contact with the 3D model. This makes the 3D object look dirty and rugged.

Ideamaker

Ideamaker lets you prepare your files for your 3D prints. You can work with compatible file formats such as STL, OBJ, OLTP, and 3MF in just two clicks.

This free slicer has some of the more advanced features that you’d expect from paid software. You can customize the profiles and supports to make each print perfect.

ideamaker

Other features you can expect from Ideamaker include:

  • 3D and cross-section views
  • 64-bit processing
  • Automatic layout of a variety of files that you can print in one go
  • Automatic separation of parts if you’re printing something that needs to be assembled
  • Available in a variety of languages
  • Customizable layer heights
  • IdeaMaker’s library of printing templates, slicing profiles, printing files, and model files
  • Sequential printing

How Does IdeaMaker compare with MatterControl and Cura?

Ideamaker compares with both MatterControl and Cura in that it doesn’t waste too much material when coming up with support structures. What’s more, it prints really fast. Compared to almost an hour for both MatterControl and Cura, IdeaMaker only needs 41 minutes to completely print a similar model.

However, support structures are difficult to remove when you print with IdeaMaker. This can lead to poor print quality and a longer time spent on post-processing.

Simplify3d

simplify3d

If you’re looking for a reliable slicing program with some premium features, Simplify3d cannot be beaten. It has several resources and features to help bring your ideas to life.

Not to mention, if you’re a beginner who learns through the structure, the company provides several tutorials and resources to help you learn the ins-and-outs of 3D printing with Simplify3d. It is also highly visual with easy setup and navigation for users. Adjustments can also be visually seen; thereby improving its overall output.

However, unlike others mentioned in this article, Simplify3d is a paid software that needs to be purchased through the company’s website. It is compatible with most printers and a list can be viewed on their website before purchasing.

Overall, it’s a good, reliable program that many within the industry swear by.

FAQs

What’s the difference between CAD and slicer programs?

When you are 3D printing, you really need two pieces of software that allow you first design your 3D object and then prepare your files for printing.

CAD programs and 3D design software allow you to create 3D models. Some of it can be very easy to use, allowing you, for instance, to draw a circle and the program will take care of making it into a sphere.

Others can get complicated, needing you to specify each dimension that you want to create. Meanwhile, a slicer will “cut” your 3D designs into different layers. These layers will tell your 3D printer where to send the extruder.

Slicers do a lot of stuff in the background such as computing the infill, coming up with the necessary support, and knowing where the outside loops are. But basically, it tells the extruders where it should go. It converts your 3D objects into slices which is what your 3D printers will understand.

Are all slicer programs free?

While MatterControl, Cura, and several others are open source, there are some programs out there that are paid. If you’re wondering, however, how good free programs are, the answer is that they’re pretty good.

In truth, there is not much differentiation between the free programs and the paid ones. Paid programs might get updated more frequently and have dedicated customer support, though. But usually, free programs like the Ultimaker Cura can have a similarly comprehensive technical support, as well as a helpful community.
For paid options, you have quite a number of choices:
KiSSlicer, which beginners and advanced users can use has a free option, but the Pro and Premium versions can cost $35 to $40
•Netfabb Standard, which is geared towards more advanced users can cost you $240 to close to $14,000 yearly
•Simplify3D costs $150 to use

Why is choosing a good 3D slicer important?

You might not think about it too much, but a good 3D slicer can improve the quality of your prints. And the reverse is true: it can ruin a perfectly good print even when you’re using a top-notch 3D printer.
Having a bad 3D slicer program will open your 3D printing process to more mistakes such as failed prints, nothing getting printed, or prints looking bad.

Can MatterControl or Cura open Gcode?

Both MatterControl and Cura allow users to open Gcode. But MatterControl also gives you additional input and output Gcode options, whereas Cura only lets you input Gcode.

How To Print With Cura or MatterControl?

As outlined above, the steps of setting up and accessing print settings do differ in their position, but the process of printing a model is straightforward in both devices.
•Connect your printer to the software
•Set up your preferred settings or load a preset
•Import your model and select your slicing options
Once all parameters have been met, you can simply print the model
Additionally, Cura and MatterControl allow you to set presets with linked printers; thereby you will need to import the model and print directly without any additional steps. It’s a great option for 3D printers in schools.

Does MatterControl or Cura have a Marketplace?

If you are in need of a mod or additional plugins, MatterControl has an integrated marketplace for easy access. Cura has a modding community that you can find to help you out. Additionally, both come with additional plug-in compatibility to boost their functionality.

MatterControl vs Ultimaker Cura: Which One Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for the better slicer, then you can safely consider both MatterControl and Ultimaker Cura. Both are very capable slicers that give you excellent print quality, speedy print times, and you get to use both programs for free. They also don’t waste too much of your filaments and the support and brim are easy to remove from your prints.

As slicer programs go, Ultimaker Cura is slightly better than MatterControl. For one, Cura uses less material for support than MatterControl. It also has fewer contact points between the support and the 3D object you’re printing. It also gives you access to a library of plugins and profiles, some of them are contributed by the user community. Plus, Cura gets updated a lot.

But MatterControl might make sense for some people. For one, it allows you to create your own design within the program itself. Unlike Cura, which works around this using integrations with CAD software.

On top of being a one-stop-shop for your 3D printing tasks, MatterControl does a good job with its slicer tasks. For one, it delivers comparable print quality and doesn’t waste too much of your materials.

Its print times are also slightly faster than Ultimaker Cura. You might want to consider, however, that Cura is updated more frequently than MatterControl.

Ultimaker S3 vs S5 Comparison [2021]: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

It’s a great time to be a 3D printing enthusiast, largely because of the choices in equipment that we have right now. We have 3D printers from some of the most reputable brands on the planet, as well as those from startups. You can find a 3D printer that fits your needs and budget.

Sometimes, we find ourselves narrowing down Ultimaker S3 and Ultimaker S5 options to two 3D printers from the same company. People who are looking for the best 3D printers will no doubt come across Ultimaker’s line of products. Two of the best in the company’s line-up

Main Differences Between Ultimaker S3 vs S5

The Main Differences Between Ultimaker S3 vs S5 are:

  • Ultimaker S5 has a bigger build volume at 13 by 9.4 by 13 inches (330 by 240 by 330 millimeters), whereas Ultimaker S3 only has 9 by 7.6 by 7.9 inches (230 by 192 by 200 millimeters).
  • Ultimaker S5 can use up to 30 percent more electricity than the S3 to get to the same temperatures, whereas Ultimaker S3 can use up to 350 watts of power compared to the S5 which takes up to 500 watts.
  • Ultimaker S5 comes with some peripherals, whereas Ultimaker S3 doesn’t have these peripherals available
  • Ultimaker S5 is around $2,000 and it’s the more expensive option, whereas Ultimaker S3 is the budget-friendlier than the Ultimaker S5

But what are the things that you should know about these two 3D printers? Which one is better suited for your needs?

Ultimaker S3 vs S5: What’s the Same?

Much of the technology being used by both printers are the same. For instance, both of these use fused filament fabrication technology, which layers melted filament on top of each other to create your 3D model. They also work best with filaments with diameters of 2.85 millimeters (0.11 inches).

What Is Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker S3

Print Quality

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 can print layers that are as thin as 20 microns thin, which means you can get finely detailed 3D objects with them. Both printers are also very accurate with XYZ resolutions rated at 6.9, 6.9, and 2.5 microns.

Touch Display

Both models use a touch display that measures 4.7 inches (119 millimeters). The full-color display allows you to know the status of your printer, as well as providing an easy way to configure or set your preferences.

Dual Extrusion and Print Cores

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 benefits from having print cores that allow it to use two filaments while printing a job. The dual extrusion is made possible by the proprietary print cores that these printers use.

These proprietary print cores are specifically tailored for different materials. For instance, you have a print core for those filaments that require high temperatures, and another one that will work with abrasive filaments.

What’s more, it’s easy to switch out the print cores, as they only click into place with one button push. The S3 and S5 come to you with two print cores: AA and BB. You can buy the CC Red 0.6 print core that can handle abrasive materials such as glass and carbon composites.

Automatic Bed Leveling

These printers come with a heated bed that is protected by a glass panel. The heated bed has the Active Bed Leveling technology, which is Ultimaker’s version of automatic leveling.

Enclosed Printing Area

The S3 and S5 have a semi-enclosed build area that is protected by a glass door. This feature helps ensure that you will have no problems with filaments that are sensitive to changes in temperature.

Ultimaker S5

Ultimaker S5

Connectivity and Software

These Ultimaker printers now have more connectivity options. For one, both can be used as a network host and can connect to compatible printers that are connected to the same local network. As such, the Ultimaker S3 and S5 can manage and assign print jobs to machines that may have the appropriate print cores that are needed for a particular print job.

Ultimaker works with Cura as its slicing software. Cura has a feature that allows you to monitor printers. The S3 and the S5 can use Cura to send the print jobs over the air and even allow you to watch the printing using the embedded camera.

Speaking of software, both printers also have direct CAD integration using plugins that allow it to use Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks files.

Compatible with Third-Party Materials

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 printers allow you to use third-party filaments, but they also have their own materials that you can use. This means that you can have your pick of materials to use with both of these printers. For instance, you can save money by using a third-party filament that’s a more affordable 3D Printer than Ultimaker’s.

Both printers also have filament sensors that tell you when the material runs out and needs to be replaced. These sensors can also detect if there is a blockage that you will need to attend to.

So What Are the Differences Between the Ultimaker S3 and S5

So if the technology and features offered by the Ultimaker S5 and S3 are mostly the same, why is the Ultimaker S5 around $2,000 more expensive? Is it worth the extra dough?

Ultimaker S3 vs S5

The Ultimaker S3 Has a Smaller Build Volume

The Ultimaker S3 only has a third of the S5’s build volume. The Ultimate S3 allows you to build models up to 9 by 7.6 by 7.9 inches. The S5 has around three times the size at 13 by 9.4 by 13 inches.

This means that you can print bigger models with the S5, with finer and more intricate details than the S3. You can also print a model in one piece, rather than having separate parts that need to be assembled later on.

If you are doing some batch printing, the Ultimaker S5 will allow you to produce more in a series than the S3.

Dimensions Are Different, As Well

The S5 is also a bigger printer, measuring 19.5 by 23 by 30.7 inches (495 by 585 by 780 millimeters) and weighs more at 45.4 pounds (20.6 kilograms). Meanwhile, the S3 measures 15.5 by 19.3 by 25.1 inches (394 by 489 by 637 millimeters) when fully assembled. It weighs 31.7 pounds (14.4 kilograms).

Ultimaker S3 Printers Are for Homes Only

Ultimaker S3 is built to comply with EMC Class B standards, which means that it’s marketed for use in homes and has a stricter electromagnetic compatibility limits than Class A devices.

Class A devices are suited for commercial, business, and industrial environments. The Ultimaker S5 used to comply with EMC Class A standards but has since been upgraded to comply with Class B standards.

Ultimaker S5 Uses More Power

The build plate on the Ultimaker S5 is bigger than the one you see on the S3. The difference in size means that it will take more power to heat up the S5’s build plate when compared to the S3.

The S3 can use up to 350 watts to heat up its build plate, while the S5 will use up to 500 watts to get the build plate to the same temperature.

ultimaker 5 print

Peripherals

The Ultimaker S3 is currently a standalone device and that limits the features and functionalities that you can get from the 3D printer. Meanwhile, there are peripherals that are available for the Ultimaker S5.

Ultimaker Air Manager

The Air Manager makes your prints with the Ultimaker S5 a whole lot better and more efficient. It uses an E10 filter that can trap ultrafine particles, while also putting up a physical barrier around your printer to make sure that airborne particles do not interfere with your prints.

The Air Manager can also regulate its fan speed depending on what material you are using to create better prints.

Ultimaker Material Station

Meanwhile, the Material Station allows your printer to use up to six material spools. You can easily see what spools are loaded, and which extruders are using which material.

The printer can also switch filaments automatically when the material runs out. The Material Station is also an excellent way to store your filaments because of the humidity control in its chamber.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ultimaker S3 vs S5

We know you still have questions, so here are some of the most often asked questions from people who are deciding between the Ultimaker S5 and S3.

Is Ultimaker a good brand for 3D printers?

Ultimaker is based in the Netherlands and is a reputable 3D printer manufacturer. The company aims to make industrial 3D printing accessible. Founded in 2011, the company has been launching 3D printers that are easy to use and hassle-free.

Support is helpful. They have a help section on their products, including printers and peripherals. You can download the firmware, user manuals, and other software straight from their site. Plus a knowledge base that is constantly updated and proves to be very helpful to Ultimaker owners.

Aside from 3D printers, the company also has its own line of materials as well as a range of software such as the subscription-based Ultimaker Essentials package and the Ultimaker Cura slicer program.

What are the technologies that Ultimaker uses for their 3D printers?

Ultimaker promises to bring the best features to their 3D printers, and right now, they have the following features:
Geared feeder: Has better torque and grip, which means the filament doesn’t skip in the extruder motor.
Heated build plates: Your 3D models adhere securely to the build plate, which results in fewer failed prints
Dual extrusion: Allows you to print models with two materials
Network connectivity: Printing over the network is possible if you use your 3D printer with Ultimaker Cura
Print cores that can be swapped out: You can easily and quickly swap print cores, which means faster maintenance and more uptimes
Touchscreen user interface: Allows you to control your printer’s operation and settings easily and quickly
Filament flow sensor: These sensors will monitor if you’ve run out of filament while printing. It will then pause the process so you can add more filament.

How much can you expect to pay for an Ultimaker printer?

Ultimaker 3D printers can prove to be quite expensive, but if you consider that these printers have some of the best technologies available right now and the build area, you may find them reasonable. Price points are:
•Ultimaker S3: $3,895
•Ultimaker S5: $5,995
Previous models of Ultimaker 3D printers had the following price points, build area, and extruder type.

PrinterPriceBuild Area (Inches)Dual Extursion
Ultimaker 3$3,4958.5 by 8.5 by 8Yes
Ultimaker 3 Extended$4,2958.5 by 8.5 by 12Yes
Ultimaker 2 +$2,4999 by 9 by 8No
Ultimaker 2 Extended +$2,9999 by 9 by 12No
Ultimaker 2$1,8999 by 9 by 8No
Ultimaker 2 Extended$2,2999 by 9 by 12No
Ultimaker 2 Go$1,1995 by 5 by 5No
Ultimaker Original+ Wood Kit$9958 by 8 by 8No

Ultimaker S3 vs S5: Which Should You Buy?

While the Ultimaker S3 and S5 have are almost the same save for some minor differences, there are still situations where it makes more sense to choose one over the other. Which between the Ultimaker S5 and S3 should you buy?

Buy the Ultimaker S3 if you are an enthusiast looking for a capable printer for home use. The S3 is also perfect for those who are looking to print smaller models.

The S3 can help save you money with its smaller heated bed needing only up to 350 watts of power to reach the maximum temperatures, and definitely uses a lot less power to heat the print bed to a certain temperature when compared to the S5.

Further, the S3 will make more sense if you are looking for a more affordable 3D printer that doesn’t take up too much space on your desktop.

Meanwhile, the Ultimaker S5 is perfect for those who are planning to make a business out of their 3D printing. The printer can handle bigger models, which means better details and fewer components to assemble.

The peripherals that are available for the S5 also make it a better option for those who are looking for headache-free and near-perfect prints. What’s more, it’s well worth its price tag if you plan to use it for commercial purposes and it prints really well even with such a big build volume.

Anycubic Chiron Review [2021]: Is It The Best Pick For You?

For most people, when they think about 3D prints, they often associate it with smaller objects such as an action figure, a small boat, or perhaps a tiny model of your house. But there are times when large-scale printers make more sense. The problem is that 3D printers with a huge build volume often means you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of owning it.

Not with the Anycubic Chiron. This 3D printer shows the world that bigger printers need not be expensive. It’s priced at less than $500 but offers a wide range of features that you will typically find in an excellent 3D printer today. Plus it allows you to print bigger things.

Sounds like it’s too good to be true? Read on and find out. We will touch on the features and reasons why Anycubic Chiron is more than worth its price. We will also explore some alternatives to the Chiron, as well as help you decide on whether to buy this 3D printer or not.

Anycubic Chiron: What You Need to Know

The Anycubic Chiron 3D printer has a build volume of 15.7 by 15.7 by 17.7 inches (400 by 400 by 450 millimeters) allowing you to print large scale models with ease. What’s more, the printing platform works with most filaments. Your prints will adhere to the heated bed with ease, while it’s easy to pry them off the platform when it’s cold.

The short-distance extruder allows for a smooth release of the melted filaments. This process allows the printer to ensure higher print accuracy between 0.002 to 0.012 inches (0.05 to 0.3 millimeters).

This printer comes with a full-color touch display that allows you to control the settings and operate your printer. The user interface is intuitive and easy to figure out.

anycubic chiron review

The Anycubic Chiron also comes with a filament sensor that will alert you if the printer runs out of filament or if it breaks while printing. Other features that you should know about the Anycubic Chiron include:

  • Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
  • X, Y, Z positioning accuracy rated at 12.5, 12.5, and 2 microns
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.016 inches (0.4 millimeters)
  • Print speed: 0.79 to 3.94 inches per second (20 to 100 millimeters per second)
  • Compatible materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood, TPU
  • Ambient Operating Temperature: 46.4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (8 to 40 degrees Celsius)
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius)
  • Connectivity: Memory card and data cable

Pricing

Anycubic Chiron sells for around $430 and that comes with a pound (0.5 kilograms) of PLA filament. You can opt to order the printer with 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms) of filament for $50 more.

What’s in the Box

The Chiron comes to you with a bit of assembling necessary. The good news is that putting it together will take you 30 minutes to 1 hour at most. Plus, the package gives you everything you need to assemble the 3D printer, including:

  • 10 M5 Screws
  • Glove
  • PLA Filament
  • Pliers
  • Power cord
  • Scraper
  • SD card
  • SD Card reader
  • Tool set
  • Tweezer
  • USB cable
  • User manual

What You Would Like About the Anycubic Chiron

The Ultrabase Pro print bed with its microporous coating can really hold on to your models so they don’t topple over while printing is in progress. Plus, unlike other heated beds with a good hold, it’s easy to pry off the finished prints after you have let the bed cool down completely.

What’s more, the Anycubic Chiron works with a wide assortment of filaments so you can use the materials that you need. Everything is easy to do, from assembly to printing.

But this printer’s main selling point is the huge build volume without the expected expensive price tag.

Anycubic Chiron Features

What Might Turn You Off from the Anycubic Chiron

For those who feel clumsy, you might want to skip on the Chiron as you will need to assemble it before you can use it. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to figure out how to assemble the machine and the instructions help too.

While this printer offers automatic bed leveling, there are some issues. For one, you will need to manually adjust the bed first to make sure that it’s level. Calibrating the bed can be quite a pain as well, so it’s a shame that the auto bed leveling is not up to par with some of Chiron’s competitors.

Pros

  • Huge build volume
  • Removable stepper drivers
  • Ultrabase Pro bed is excellent
  • Intuitive user interface and touch display

Cons

  • Loud fans
  • Auto leveling needs work

Anycubic Chiron: The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Chiron gives you the chance to print large models without any problem. This printer has one of the biggest build volumes you can find right now. And because of that, you should know that you will need a big space to accommodate it as well.

Fully assembled, this printer measures 25.6 by 24.1 by 28.3 inches (651 by 612 by 720 millimeters). That’s right, it’s more than two feet all around.

There are some issues with the automatic bed leveling, but it’s something that you can probably remedy by doing what the manufacturer: do the adjustments manually at first.

Print quality can be excellent if you can find the right profiles for this printer. And with its below-$500 price tag and huge build volume, you will not regret buying this 3D printer.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Chiron

For those people who like to have their 3D printers come to them fully assembled, you should look at these products. The same goes for those who are looking for an alternative to the Chiron.

The good news is that there are options for you. In fact, there is quite a handful of 3D printers that offer huge build volumes at different price points.

1. Raise3D Pro2 Plus

With a jaw-dropping price tag at $6,000, Raise3D Pro2 Plus is sure to raise some eyebrows. However, all indicators seem that it has enough features and good things to justify that price.

For one, this 3D printer gives you a huge build volume of 12 by 12 by 23.8 inches (305 by 305 by 605 millimeters). While it can’t match the width and depth of prints that the Chiron can give you, it certainly allows you to significantly taller 3D objects.

Raise3D Pro2 Plus

What’s more, the Raise3D Pro2 Plus comes with electronic extruders. These dual extruders have retracting hot ends that can print even the most complicated parts. Plus you can also use multiple filaments.

This printer also uses interchangeable nozzles with diameters of 0.008 inches (0.2 millimeters) that translates to even finer details. This is also a very accurate and precise 3D printer with astounding print quality. It boasts of a layer resolution of 0.01 millimeters.

You will also like the seven-inch touchscreen on this printer, which allows you to easily control the printer, change the settings, and see what’s going on. You can review the status of the printing, even see how much work has been done so far, as well as get other information that you may need.

Further, because the extruders can get as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius), it works with more filaments such as:

  • ABS
  • ASA
  • HIPS
  • Nylon
  • PC
  • PETG
  • PLA
  • PP
  • PVA
  • TPE
  • TPU
  • Carbon fiber infused
  • Glass fiber infused
  • Metal fill
  • Wood fill

You can also do things wirelessly such as upload a design to the printer over the air. You can also control and monitor your prints even when you’re halfway across the world. The 3D printer also safeguards the air quality in the room where it’s working with the HEPA air filter included in the machine.

Lastly, you’d like the excellent build plate system that is made with aerospace-grade aluminum. This plate system can get very hot to ensure better adhesion.

Pros

  • Resumes printing after a power loss
  • Tells you when you’ve run out fo filament
  • Can be accessed, tracked, and controlled remotely
  • connectivity options include Wi-Fi, USB port, live camera, and LAN
  • Works with a wide assortment of filaments
  • Consistently excellent print quality
  • The fully enclosed print area for better heat management
  • Integrated software
  • Heated magnetic aluminum bed
  • HEPA filter

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Has a large footprint measuring 24.4 by 23.2 by 43.5 inches (620 by 590 by 1,105 millimeters)

2. Modix Big-60

The Modix Big-60 gives you a huge build volume at 23.62 by 23.62 by 23.62 inches (600 by 600 by 600 millimeters). That’s roughly two feet all around and that’s definitely larger than the build volumes of both Anycubic Chiron and Raise3D Pro2 Plus. It retails at $3,700.

You will need to assemble it yourself and it might require a couple of people to finish. Fully assembled, this machine measures 36 by 42 by 53 inches (906 by 1,060, by 1,356 millimeters) so you need to earmark space for this printer.

Modix Big-60

The Modix Big-60 has gone through three iterations. The latest version 3 comes with a lot of new features that you will love. You get a professional 3D printer that has a black and red color scheme. It uses high-quality aluminum and other quality materials for its construction and the V3 has the E3D Aero extruder.

This printer has one extruder, but you can set it up so that it can work with a dual-extruder setup that allows you to print with two filaments.

The V6 Volcano hot end features interchangeable nozzles. The printer can work with a variety of materials, even the rare and exotic ones. What’s more, you can fit it with different nozzles as long as the diameter falls between 0.02 to 0.05 inches (0.4 to 1.2 millimeters).

The touchscreen interface is huge at seven inches. You can use the interface to operate the printer, as well as to see the status of your prints in real-time. the Modix Big-60 can also connect to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the machine from your computer or mobile phone.

Pros

  • Automatic bed leveling
  • One of the largest build volumes around
  • Heated bed featuring a dual-zone heater
  • Filament sensor

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Needs to be assembled

3. Creality CR-10S Pro V2

The second version of the Creality CR-10S Pro gives you a build volume of 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters), which is smaller than the build volume you see on the Anycubic Chiron. Plus at $630, this 3D printer is more expensive as well.

Creality CR-10S Pro V2

But why is it on this list despite the smaller build volume and more expensive price tag? It’s because this 3D printer is known to be reliable and powerful.

For one, it looks great with its sleek and modern design. the wires are safely hidden away so it doesn’t look cluttered. Printing on the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 is also very easy.

The printer comes with a powerful 480-watt Mean Well power supply, Capricon filament tubing that is heat resistant, a filament sensor, and an easy to understand user interface. This printer can also resume printing

Pros

  • Automatic bed leveling
  • Mean Well power supply
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some placements are not intuitive, such as the power switch located towards the back and the input slots are placed towards the front
  • Your print sometimes stick to the print bed

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we try to answer some of the questions that readers often ask us about large 3D printers.

1. Aside from the Anycubic Chiron, are there any other large 3D printers that sell for less than $1,000?

You have options like the Tronxy X5ST-500 and the Creality CR-10 S5 that has a build volume of 19.7 by 19.7 by 23.6 inches (500 by 500 by 600 millimeters) and 19.7 by 19.7 by 19.7 inches (500 by 500 by 500 millimeters), respectively. Both of these single-extruder 3D printers accept third-party filaments and costs around $700 to $800.

You can also check out the Tronxy X5SA, which has a build volume of 13 by 13 by 15.7 inches (330 by 330 by 400 millimeters) and sells for less than $400.

3D Printer Tronxy X5ST-500 Creality CR-10 S5 Tronxy X5SA
Price $700 $800 $360
Build Volume (mm) 500 by 500 by 600 500 by 500 by 500 330 by 330 by 400
Extruder Heads 1 1 1
Min. Layer Height 100 μm 100 μm 40 μm
Printing Speed 100 mm/s 200 mm/s 100 mm/s
Open Source No Software No
Third-party Filament Yes Yes Yes
Heated Bed Yes Yes Yes
Filament Diameter 1.75 mm 1.75 mm 1.75 mm

2. What is the biggest 3D printer that you can own today?

While the world of 3D printers changes constantly, several professional 3D printers can now print larger models. For instance, there’s the BigRep PRO that has a build size of 40.2 by 38.2 by 38.6 inches (1020 by 970 by 980 millimeters).

This printer comes with a dual metering extrusion system and the spool chamber is safe from humidity. It also has a closed print chamber. The company doesn’t mention pricing details for this machine, but you can spend at least $150,000 on this machine.

Another huge 3D printer is the Cosine Additive AM1 that gives you a build volume of 43.3 by 33.5 by 33.5 inches (1,100 by 850 by 850 millimeters).

3. Why do you even need a large scale printer?

Would you need to print really large objects? Yes, there are instances when you will want to have a large scale printer, such as:

  • Single-body parts. For instance, if you’re printing a cosplay costume, you can probably get away with printing out smaller parts and then assembling it later on. However, these will not be as durable as printing a particular part as a single piece.
  • Reduced weight. Take for example you want to 3D print a stool, which is usually made with wood. If you print a stool using plastics, the resulting object will be a whole lot lighter than a wooden stool.
  • Faster prints when compared to your ordinary hobbyist 3D printer. On top of being more durable, being able to use a large 3D printer will make the whole process faster because you don’t have to cut up your large model into smaller components. You also save time from having to assemble these smaller parts.
  • Batch printing is easier. With a large printer, you can save time when you print in batches. Say you need 100 pieces of an iPhone case. With ordinary printers, you will probably need to print in several batches to get those 100 pieces. Large scale printer needs significantly fewer rounds.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Chiron?

The Anycubic Chiron is an FDM printer that can give you high-quality prints and has the features that you will expect from a high-end and more expensive printer.

It works with a wide range of filaments, has a heated bed that can automatically level itself, and a full-color touch display for the user interface. In short, it gives you everything that a reasonably priced 3D printer can give, plus some extras.

But what sets it apart is big the build volume is. With the Anycubic Chiron, you can print 3D models that are more than a feet big all around. Plus, this printer is a fast worker as well, clocking in at 0.79 inches per second for high-resolution prints but can go as fast as four inches per second.

You get all that while dropping only less than $500 for this printer. There are better printers, such as the Modix Big-60 and the Raise3D Pro2 Plus. However, these machines will see you dropping some serious money.

So for its build volume, features offered, and affordable pricing, you can’t go wrong with the Anycubic Chiron.