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
$479.99

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

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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.

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 Well Does It Perform?

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

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

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

Phrozen Transform Review

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

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

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

Phrozen Transform Review

LCD Printer: What the Phrozen Transform Uses

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dual or Single Panel

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

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

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

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

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

Tall 3D Models? No Problem

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

What You Will Like About the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

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

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

Phrozen Transform

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

Specifications at a Glance

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

Phrozen Transform: The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Alternatives to the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

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

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

1. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K

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

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

phrozen cure

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

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

This printer costs $2,300.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Has a smaller build volume and slower speeds than the Phrozen Transform
  • Can be very expensive
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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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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

3. Peopoly Phenom

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

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

peopoly

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

FAQs

Question: What is LCD 3D printing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Is Phrozen a trusted brand?

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

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

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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.

Solidworks vs Inventor: How to Decide Which Is The Best Pick?

Solidworks vs Inventor

When designing a prototype or creating something that you’d like to print, you can rely on CAD software to help you with the task. Two of the most recommended programs are SolidWorks vs Inventor. These two give you a range of excellent and easy to use tools to help you create and fine-tune 3D objects for your printing needs.

But if you look into these two more closely, you’d find that some things are different and these differences may help you decide to choose one over the other.

Main Differences Between Solidworks vs Inventor

The main differences between Solidworks vs Inventor are:

  • SolidWorks costs more upfront, whereas Autodesk Inventor is available on a subscription basis that may be cheaper at first, but tends to add up over time.
  • SolidWorks is known for being easy to learn and intuitive to use, whereas Autodesk Inventor comes with a steep learning curve.
  • SolidWorks has a growing and large user community that you can tap if you have problems or questions. whereas Autodesk doesn’t have such an offer within their products.
  • SolidWorks works with resellers that can give you better technical and customer support either via phone or e-mail, whereas Autodesk Inventor users are told to use e-mail for their questions.
  • SolidWorks has more career opportunities available for users, whereas Autodesk has a slim selection of companies and industries that require their employees to have Autodesk Inventor experience and skills.

So what should you know about SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor? Which one is better for you? What are the features and tools that they offer? Pull up a chair, get yourself some coffee, and read on!

What is SolidWorks?

SolidWorks is a suite of tools that allows you to make, publish, simulate, and manage everything about your project and data. The range of products offered is very easy to use and learn. SolidWorks makes designing a lot easier.

Solidworks vs Inventor

The first SolidWorks package was released in 1995, which makes it older than some millennials. Dassault Systemes originally made it to be a complete 3D modeling program that works on Windows, but it has since added features that allow it to compete with the best computer-aided engineering and computer-aided design software.

Over the years, SolidWorks also launched simulation and virtual reality features. Today, design and engineering professionals use SolidWorks for stress testing and prototyping.

SolidWorks Features You Should Know

SolidWorks comes with several tools and features that can make life easier for you. First, they have the sustainability tool that will give show you how your design will impact the environment.

SolidWorks also offer you a range of simulation tools that helps you see how your design will hold up to different temperatures, stress, or pressure. In short, you can see how that particular design will perform in real-world conditions without you having to build it first to test it.

SolidWorks Features

But what makes SolidWorks a more noteworthy program is their use of virtual reality and augmented reality. No longer are you just confined to simulations, you can test your design in different situations and environments.

SolidWorks’ design review can also accommodate millions of components because of its large size. What’s more, you can work with all the components you need without draining your CPU’s resources.

How Much does SolidWorks Cost?

SolidWorks charge both for its license and upgrades. You pay $3,995 for the license and then pay another $1,295 for upgrades and support.

  • SolidWorks Standard is the cheapest option but it already has all the design and modeling tools that other versions offer, plus basic rendering and animation tools.
  • SolidWorks Professional adds tools and features for design checking, visualization, and costing, as well as photo-realistic rendering. Professional also allows you to use a scan of a part and reverse engineer it.
  • SolidWorks Premium is the most expensive version and gives you access to all the features offered by SolidWorks. You will probably need this version if you use simulation tools extensively, as well as routing features.
Product Permanent license Annual subscription
Design
SolidWorks Electrical Professional $9,995 $2,750
SolidWorks Premium $7,995 $1,995
SolidWorks Electrical Schematic Professional $5,995 $1,695
SolidWorks Electrical 3D $5,995 $1,695
SolidWorks Professional $5,490 $1,495
SolidWorks Standard $3,995 $1,295
Design validation
SolidWorks Plastics Standard $4,995 $1,499
SolidWorks Simulation Professional $4,177 $2,375
SolidWorks Simulation Standard $3,995 $1,000
SolidWorks Plastics Premium $22,495 $5,624
SolidWorks Plastics Professional $14,995 $3,794
SolidWorks Flow Simulation $13,995 $3,919
SolidWorks Simulation Premium $11,595 $3,675
Data management
SolidWorks PDM Professional Viewer $2,995 $995
SolidWorks PDM Professional CAD Editor $1,895 $495
SolidWorks PDM Professional Contributor $1,350 $395
Technical communications
SolidWorks Composer $5,490 $1,495
SolidWorks Inspection Professional $3,995 $999
SolidWorks Inspection Standard $2,295 $599
SolidWorks MBD Standard $1,995 $499
Sustainable design
SolidWorks Sustainability $2,995 $995

As you can see, there are a lot of flavors for SolidWorks, so it’s best to talk to a reseller about what you need and allow them to match your requirements with the right version.

What Might Need Improving About SolidWorks

One of the things that you might not like about SolidWorks is the fact that it doesn’t offer students and teachers a free license for their software. Users from the academe can download the student edition, which will cost them $99, and that only lasts for a year.

See how SolidWorks compares to others:

What is the Autodesk Inventor?

Autodesk Inventor came four years after the first SolidWorks came out. The inventor directly challenged SolidWorks as it is also a tool for a mechanical design that allowed you to work with both 2D and 3D designs. It also had a good set of simulation and documentation tools.

What is Autodesk Inventor

How Much Does the Autodesk Inventor Cost?

Autodesk uses a subscription model for Inventor, requiring you to pay $1,985 per year. You can save by paying for a three-year subscription at $5,360.

Autodesk Inventor Features Worth Noting

Autodesk Inventor has some editing tools that make your work faster. First, it automates the math behind complex designs. for example, if you’re designing a kinetic blade, the program will do the advanced math behind the scenes, so you can concentrate on designing while Inventor takes care of the minute details.

You can also do some direct editing and free-form drawings, on top of the parametric design. Software like the Inventor and SolidWorks use parametric modeling, wherein your design’s geometry will be based on and changed by certain values.

The free-form modeling and direct-edits capabilities of Inventor allow you to break free of parametric modeling. Further, the Inventor has simulation features that can help you see how your 3D designs work in real-world situations. You can simulate pressure on the joints, or see what happens when a welded part gives way.

Autodesk Features

Aside from these design and simulation features, Autodesk Inventor is also noteworthy because of its speedy loading times. The program loads your design in lightning-fast times because it can ignore the resources-hogging geometric data when you open a design.

Lastly, Autodesk Inventor offers students and teachers a free subscription. The three-year free plan will be excellent for academics to save a lot of money and still be able to use and learn Inventor, as well as other Autodesk products.

What You Won’t Like About Autodesk Inventor

Autodesk Inventor is notorious for being too difficult for beginners to learn. Autodesk products are not known for ease of use and for being user friendly.

What makes matters worse is that Inventor doesn’t have a thriving online community that can help you when you hit a wall. Autodesk tries to make up for this by releasing support materials and tutorials.

Autodesk also prioritizes users who paid for more expensive licenses for their products. So even if you’re first in line, you get bumped off if there’s somebody else who paid more to use Autodesk products.

See how Inventor compares to others:

Autodesk Inventor vs SolidWorks: The Comparison

If you’re choosing between SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor, we can just imagine how difficult it is for you. These are both very capable CAD and CAM software that focus on machine part design and 3D rendering.

These are also forerunners in the space, with established companies behind them. They have excellent tools for visualizations and simulation.

However, to make it easier for you to decide, here’s what’s the same and what’s different with each one.

What’s the Same?

Both programs share a lot of 3D modeling capabilities as both use parametric modeling but also allow you to directly edit your designs. They both offer policy-based automation, parts library, and design tools for weldments, configurations, and even for creating with metals and plastics.

Further, they can also do the same things when it comes to visualization, utilizing animations, exploded views, lighting, materials, textures, and other visualization tools.

The Differences Between Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks

However, these two programs do have several differences that make one better than the other. What are these?

3D Modeling Features

Autodesk Inventor has 3D modeling features that are absent from SolidWorks, including t-splines, electrical harnessing, and tube routing. However, SolidWorks does have a large design review that allows you to work with a lot of components without slowing things down.

Simulation Features

Autodesk Inventor allows you to do finite element analysis both at the assembly and part level, you can only do part level FEAs with SolidWorks. It also has a shape generator that allows you to fine-tune your design so that it’s lighter or smaller, but still structurally efficient.

You can also do dynamic simulation and injection mold analysis with Inventor. Meanwhile, SolidWorks allows you to quickly conduct symmetry checks and geometry comparisons.

SolidWorks also has closed pipe computational fluid dynamics, which lets you see how gas and liquid can flow through your design. However, the biggest advantage that SolidWorks has over the Autodesk Inventor is its ability to use virtual and augmented reality to simulate real-world situations that can affect your design.

Costs

When it comes to costs, SolidWorks is more expensive upfront: a one-time license fee of around $4,000 for the Standard version. You can also opt to buy a subscription add-on for around $1,300. However, pricing for SolidWorks can vary depending on the version you buy and which reseller you work with.

Autodesk Inventor only charges $1,985 a year. What’s more, Autodesk offers you a free three-year subscription for their products if you are a student or a teacher.

Ease of Use

One of the things that you’d like about SolidWorks is how intuitive its user interface is, and how easy to use it is. Autodesk Inventor can sometimes frustrate users who are just learning to use it.

Demand

More companies are using SolidWorks than Inventor. You can see this in the jobs that require these skills. If you are currently trying to figure out which between these two is more in demand, here’s the number of job openings on Indeed and LinkedIn for SolidWorks and Inventor.

SolidWorks

Indeed.com: More than 6,000 jobs in the United States

Solidworks vs Inventor

LinkedIn: More than 25,000 jobs worldwide.

Autodesk Inventor

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LinkedIn: More than 1,000 jobs worldwide.

Solidworks vs Inventor

Side-by-Side Comparison: Autodesk Inventor vs SolidWorks

To make things easier for you, here are the costs and features of both SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor, side by side aaa.

  SolidWorks Autodesk Inventor
License fee $3,995 N/A
Subscription (per year, per user) $1,295 $1,985
3D modeling features
Part modeling Yes Yes
Assembly Yes Yes
Parametric modeling Yes Yes
Mesh modeling No Yes
Hybrid modeling No Yes
Direct editing Yes Yes
B-rep surfacing Yes Yes
Rules-based automation Yes Yes
Parts library Yes Yes
Bolted connections Yes Yes
Configurations Yes Yes
Weldments Yes Yes
Sheet metal Yes Yes
Plastics Yes Yes
T-splines No Yes
Design accelerators No Yes
Electrical harnessing No Yes
Tube and pipe routing No Yes
Large design review Yes No
Simulation features
Design for manufacturing Yes Yes
Interference checking Yes Yes
Wall thickness Yes Yes
Part level finite element analysis Yes Yes
Draft analysis Yes Yes
Sustainability analysis Yes Yes
Assembly level finite element analysis No Yes
Shape generator No Yes
Dynamic simulation No Yes
Injection mold analysis No Yes
Symmetry check Yes No
Closed pipe computational fluid dynamics Yes No
Geometry comparison Yes No
AR and VR simulation Yes No
Visualization features
Animations Yes Yes
Exploded views Yes Yes
Walkthroughs and flyovers Yes Yes
Camera view controls Yes Yes
Lighting Yes Yes
Materials Yes Yes
Textures Yes Yes
Ray trace photo rendering Yes Yes

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer some of the questions you might find yourself asking when deciding between SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor.

What is CAD software?

Computer-Aided Design software allows design professionals to create more precise designs without spending too much time on it. You only create a 2D shape of the object you’re creating and the software will expand that into a 3D model that you can modify. You can add holes, snaps, and threads to the object as you see fit.

Do you need CAD software for your 3D printing?

For the most part, you can also use 3D modeling software for your 3D printing needs. A 3D modeling program lets you work with 3D shapes instead of starting with a 2D printing. Some 3D modeling software even allows you to shape your 3D object like you would shape real-life clay. Check out software such as SculptGL for programs that offer this functionality.

But which one is the better bet for 3D printing enthusiasts? 3D printing
gear and other simple objects can easily be done with CAD software. But if you have more complex projects such as a character or a figurine, you will want to use a 3D modeling software.

Then again, if you are prototyping a part that you are already designing on CAD software, then you will be happy to know that you can still print these parts, just be sure that your software can save it into STL files so that you can provide the printer with the G-codes it needs to print your object.

Are there any alternatives to SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor?

Yes, there are worthy alternatives to both Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks. some of these are free, while others offer something more than what Inventor and SolidWorks can give you.
Fusion 360, a cloud-based CAD program that allows you to create complex designs and collaborate with a team of designers. What’s more, you can use the resources of the cloud to render your designs. You can store all the steps you made with the design, including the corrections and changes made along the way. Fusion 360 gives you a wide range of features and design capabilities. You pay $297 per year or it comes free for personal use.
FreeCAD is a free program that also gives you parametric 3D modeling. If you’re still starting with CAD designs, this is a good place to start.
AutoCAD is another Autodesk product and is one of the best and most established CAD programs out there. It comes with a steep learning curve and is better suited for 2D drafting, but it does have some 3D capabilities that you shouldn’t snub. You pay $210 per month or $1,690 per year if you choose this program.
CATIA brings together tools and features for CAD, CAM, and CAE. As such, designers, engineers, and product designers can use this for their work. This program also allows for easy collaborations. Made for professionals, this software can be quite expensive with rates starting at $10,000.
OpenSCAD is free CAD software that allows you to create solid 3D models. It allows you to extrude 2D drawings and create a 3D object. Programmers and coders will like using OpenSCAD but the general public will probably find it difficult to use.

Autodesk Inventor vs SolidWorks: Which Should You Choose

When deciding between SolidWorks and Autodesk Inventor, you will probably lean towards SolidWorks more. It’s easier to use and has a better set of features than Inventor. What’s more, if you’re using it for 3D printing, SolidWorks has its roots in 3D modeling.

What’s more, SolidWorks has a vibrant and helpful user community. But don’t discount Autodesk Inventor just yet. This software comes from a company that may be considered as a pioneer in the CAD software space, and they do have free options for students and teachers to learn their software. They also have an excellent range of tools for 3D design.

Elegoo Mars Review: Pros and Cons

The rise of 3D printers has been quick. In the UK alone, 17 percent said that they will buy a 3D printer. This is probably the reason why there are several manufacturers right now who are offering their own 3d printers.

The ELEGOO Mars is one of the more popular recommendations with its incredibly low price and excellent print quality. This 3D printer is also very easy to learn and a very compact design.

What other things should you know about ELEGOO Mars? And are there alternatives if you’re not impressed with the ELEGOO Mars? Read on and find out more about this 3D printer and whether it is the perfect one for you, or if you should keep looking for something else.

What Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer?

elegoo mars uv

When you buy a budget 3D printer, you kinda expect it to suck. After all, the most common tradeoff for getting an affordable printer is that the quality is often compromised.

Not with ELEGOO Mars, though. This affordable 3D printer does not scrimp on the quality of the prints. It looks great too.

ELEGOO Mars is a photocuring LCD 3D printer that uses photopolymer resins to create the prints you want. The low-priced printer promises high-quality prints because it does not use fusion deposition modeling. FDM is when the 3D printer uses hot plastics that are pushed out of extruders for your prints. FDM printers produce smoother surfaces on your prints that are also more detailed. The problem is that FDM printers can cost quite a lot.

ELEGOO Mars cures the resin to create the prints you want. As such, it does not use the expensive FDM technology and you can buy this printer for around $370.

Specifications and Design

But how is the print quality? To say that these are some high-quality output that can rival prints from more expensive devices will surely not be enough. Let’s look at the specs.

ELEGOO Mars measures 7.87 by 7.87 by 16.14 inches (200 by 200 by 410 millimeters) and it has a build volume of 4.7 by 2.6 by 6.1 inches (120 by 68 by 155 millimeters). This 3D printer is a bit on the small size, which can be good or bad depending on how you view it.

The small size means that the printer does not take up a lot of space, so you can be more flexible when deciding where to put it. But the smaller build volume would limit the size of the prints that you can have with this printer.

The ELEGOO Mars has an aluminum base with an orange cover. It does not look like most other 3D printers, with their boring black or white build.

At the front of the base, ELEGOO puts a sensitive touch display that allows you to tweak the controls and settings for your prints. There is a USB port at the back, which is where you put in the flash drive that contains the print files.

Printing with ELEGOO Mars

Aside from being the little printer that could, ELEGOO Mars also prints differently than other printers. We are used to seeing printers with extruders pushing out plastic filaments to create 3D models.

ELEGOO Mars has a vat of resin and the build platform is dipped repeatedly into it. Ultraviolet light will cure the resin layer by layer. So as the build platform goes in and out of the resin tray, another hardened layer is added to it.

What You Will Like About the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

The ELEGOO Mars comes to you already set up. Plus the box already has everything you need to print your first 3D model. That includes the printer, enough resin, gloves, filter funnels, masks, wire cutters, measuring cups, flash drive, and scraper, among others.

Not only that, the ELEGOO Mars has a pretty smooth printing process. That is everything is easy to do even right down to how easy it is to take out the resin tray and put it back.

It is clear that this 3D printer has been thoughtfully designed, so there is no need to push and pull with force worrying about breaking some part or another.

What You Might Not Like About the ELEGOO Mars

elgoo printer

One thing about the ELEGOO Mars that you might find bothersome is this 3D printer makes a loud beeping noise when it starts and finishes a print. You cannot turn it off and it can be pretty annoying.

Another thing is that the consumables can be expensive. ELEGOO manufacturers their own resins, which are available in two volumes: 500 and 1,000 grams (17.6 and 35.3 ounces) and can cost anywhere from $1.13 to $1.60.

And that’s just the resin. You will also need to stock up on gloves because it is not safe to touch the resin without wearing them. Then you also need more filter funnels. Further, you might not like how this 3D printer allows you to do smaller sized 3D objects because of its smaller build volume.

ELEGOO Mars: The Bottom Line

If you have been wishing for a budget-friendly 3D printer that does not produce garbage 3D prints, then the ELEGOO Mars is the answer to your prayers. This affordable 3D printer produces high-quality prints and it does not look cheap at all.

There is a lot of things that go for it as well. The intuitive user interface with its large 3.5-inch, 2560 by 1440 pixels 2K high-definition touch display, makes it very easy to use.

There is a very simple process from setup to printing, so you don’t have to be a techie to learn how to use this device. If you’re looking for a budget printer or just want to try resin printing, this it the best 3D printer for you.

Pros

  • A budget-friendly printer that produces high-quality prints
  • Easy to use with minimal assembly required
  • Eye-catching design that melds aluminum and an orange cover
  • The very simple printing process
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Accessories and supplies can add up to the cost
  • High-pitched beeping noise that you cannot stop or deactivate
  • Smaller than the typical build volume

Alternatives to ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

With dozens of 3D printers out there, the ELEGOO Mars has a number of excellent competition. If you are looking for a similarly affordable 3D printer that doesn’t hurt your pocket, here are some alternatives.

1. X-one2 3D Printer

qidi printer

If you are looking for an even more affordable 3D printer, then you can check out QIDI Tech X-one2 3D Printer.

This printer is pretty much plugged and play and you can start using it the moment you get it out of the box. It is an FDM printer with a single extruder and can work with different filament types such as ABS, TPU, and PLA. It also comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen that allows you to operate the printer and set its configurations easily.

What’s more, it has the features that you would expect from other similar but more expensive printers. It has an enclosed build that helps to keep the temperature constant while keeping dirt, dust, and curious fingers out of the printing area.

It also comes with a heated print bed, which allows you to print with PETG or ABS filaments. It also allows for third-party filaments to be used when you are printing.

However, this printer only gives you a printing size of 5.5 by 5.5 by 5.5 inches (139.7 by 139.7 by 139.7 millimeters), which is significantly smaller than the ELEGOO Mars’ already tiny build volume.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple operation, just feed the printer some filament and start printing

Cons

  • Small build size

2. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 3D Printer Kit

ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 has several excellent features that make it well worth its low price. For one, you can resume printing after a power outage. It also uses an advanced extruder that lessens the possibility of failed extrusion and plugging risk. It is also very quiet and durable.

This fully open-source printer has its source codes available to the community, allowing anyone to make changes and improve the product. What’s more, this printer gives you a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 10 inches (220 by 220 by 250 millimeters).

However, the low price and the decent build volume has some tradeoffs. First, you will need to assemble it. While the whole process is quite easy to do, especially if you follow the manual or find a good YouTube tutorial, it will still take time.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Precise printing at more or less 0.1-millimeter precision
  • Open-source
  • It is possible to get high-quality prints
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Difficult to level
  • You need to manually calibrate the printer
  • You will need to assemble this 3D printer kit

3. QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer

qidi tech shadow

If you would like a non-FDM printer and get something that works with resins, then check out the QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer. This 3D printer sells for around $150, making it much more affordable than an ELEGOO Mars.

What’s more, this 3D printer looks great with its tempered glass construction in red and gold. The Chinese manufacturer might have been going for a bit of an Iron Man look, but that should not be too much of a complaint.

The QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer has a build volume of 4.52 by 2.55 by 5.9 inches (115 by 65 by 150 millimeters). It is able to print with resolutions of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels and you can use third-party resins with this printer.

That means you get excellent details on your 3D prints, and the printer works quietly. Two air filters inside the build chamber infuse the fumes with activated carbon, so there is less stench coming from the resin. However, there are complaints about the printer arriving with dings on the body.

Pros

  • Great for beginners because of the included instruction
  • The air filtration system can fight the stench that normally comes resin printers
  • High-quality prints at a very attractive price point

Cons

  • Quality control issues with the printer, with some components arriving dented, beat up or broken
  • The company does not provide any customer service

FAQs

1. What is FDM printing?

Fused deposition modeling or fused filament fabrication is when your 3D printer extrudes melted material to form your 3D object. FDM technology is the most commonly used in 3D printing, and most people will encounter FDM 3D printers first before any other technology.
FDM technology has some benefits, such as lower costs and a wide range of materials you can use with it. It is also faster because you don’t have to do a lot of post-processing.

2. What is stereolithography?

Stereolithography, or SLA, is a type of 3D printing technology that uses resins to create your model. Unlike FDM, which pushes melted materials out of the extruders, SLA printers use light or lasers to cure resin: turning it from liquid to hard plastic.
FDM printers have their extruders and filaments, while SLA printers have their light sources and vat of resin.
SLA printers often produce stronger models that are water-resistant or waterproof. These 3D printers are also very precise and accurate, with very fine details
You can also have a very smooth finish with SLA printers. Not only that SLA printers are typically less expensive than FDM printers and you can use a wide variety of materials with different characteristics. For instance, your resin can hold a lot of secondary materials such as ceramic or glass.

3. What are the things to remember if you are buying a printer like ELEGOO Mars?

There are some precautions you should take when it comes to working with SLA printers in general.
for one, there is the possibility that it will give off a strong odor or stench while printing. This is the reason why you should always find an SLA 3D printer that has good ventilation or air filtration system.
What’s more, the resins used for this kind of printer tend to come with a lot of caveats. First, you should wear the right protective equipment.
You will need to wear gloves that are made with neoprene or nitrite. You should also use safety goggles and a dust mask when you are sanding parts of your newly printed object.

Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD Printer a Good Buy?

On its own, there are a lot of reasons why you should buy the ELEGOO Mars. For one, it is a budget-friendly printer that delivers excellent print quality. It has a sizable build volume that allows you to create sizable prints.

However, if you zoom out and check out other budget-friendly printers, you would find that it is not a novelty that something so affordable can deliver awesome looking and detailed prints. For instance, you can get two FDM printers that are cheaper than the ELEGOO Mars.

The QIDI Tech X-one2, for one, has similar features as the ELEGOO Mars, but it does have a smaller build area. Nevertheless, it is very easy to operate and learn.

If you like an alternative that uses resin, then check out another QIDI product: the Tech Shadow 5.5 S. This 3D printer can deliver a high-resolution print that retails for less than $150. If you are handy with your hands, you can check out the 3Dpritner kits such as the Creatlity Ender 3D Printer. This printer needs some assembly to work properly.

Overall, it is difficult to find a better 3D printer that can combine low costs and excellent 3D prints, with a vibrant community of users who can help you should you hit a snag.

Further read:

The Anycubic Predator Review [2020]

Build volumes pretty much dictate how big a 3D model you can print with a 3D printer. Bigger build volumes mean that you can print objects that can cover a bigger area, or if you need to put it together into one bigger object, you’d need to have less moving parts.

What’s more, if you’re currently using a mini printer, having access to one that has a bigger build volume means that you can print your current models on a larger scale with more details.

Usually, when you see a 3D printer that has a large build volume, you assume that it’s expensive. Not the Anycubic Predator. This Delta-style printer has a sizable build volume and a frame that’s made with quality materials but with a price tag that you will certainly love.

What are the things that you should know about this 3D printer? Are there some downsides to owning an Anycubic Predator? Are there any alternatives that you can consider? Further, should you buy the Anycubic Predator? Read on and find out.

Anycubic Predator: What You Need to Know

anycubic predator

A do-it-yourself 3D printer kit, the Anycubic Predator is made with solid metal, making it very durable. The frame is also very stable so you don’t have to worry about the 3D printer shaking too much when in use.

The Anycubic Predator has a build volume of 14.6 by 14.6 by 17.9 inches (370 by 370 by 455 millimeters), which is larger than most 3D printers out there. It has a layer resolution of anywhere from 0.05 to 0.3 millimeters and positioning accuracy of 0.0125 millimeters on all three axes.

What’s more, it can use any PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood filled, or TPU filaments that have diameters of 0.4 to 1.75 millimeters. Print speed range from 20 to 150 mm per second (0.79 to 5.9 inches per second).

The Predator comes with an auto leveler that keeps track of 37 points. Plus it can do real-time adjustments, without you having to do anything. The nozzle height is also automatically adjusted in real-time. Other features of the Predator include:

  • Ultrabase Pro: The print bed, which can hold the models in place but still be easily removed. The bed is very durable.
  • Filament sensor: Can alert you when filaments run out or when they break.
  • Touch display: Operate your printer with ease with the full-color control panel with its intuitive user interface.
  • Resume: The printer can resume printing after it’s been interrupted by a power trip. You don’t have to worry about wasted prints that take a long time to finish.

What’s in the Box

The good news is that Anycubic has included everything you need to print and maintain your printer in the box, including the:

  • 10 screws
  • Card reader
  • Gloves
  • PLA filament
  • Plier
  • Scraper
  • SD card
  • Toolset
  • Tweezers
  • USB cables
  • User manual

That means that you can assemble your printer the moment it arrives, and then print your first model shortly thereafter.

What You Would Like About the Anycubic Predator

The Anycubic Predator is a well-built, sturdy, and stable 3D printer that feels rock solid. It does not rock when printing and the extrusions are quite uniform and work as they should. The hardware you see here is excellent, made with quality materials.

What Can Be Better

Some users complain about the Ultrabase Pro because the objects being printed don’t really adhere to the print bed. A good workaround is to use regular school glue before you print anything. You will also need to let the print bed cool off before you remove the print to avoid damaging it. You should not even try to remove it using the scraper that comes with the package.

What some people do not like is that the firmware is not open source. This means that you will not be able to tinker with it, or you might have a challenge doing so.

The biggest tradeoff, however, is the lack of support. If you need to buy parts for your Predator, you might find that the customer service is not that responsive. They do not provide shipping updates, tracking numbers, or general feedback for your purchase.

Also, this printer is huge at 22.8 by 20.5 by 40.2 inches (580 by 520 by 1,020 millimeters). You will really need to find a place for it on your worktable.

Anycubic Predator: The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Predator is an excellent printer with all the great technologies you will expect to find in a more expensive model. It’s also perfect for those who like to tinker with their 3D printers because you will need to assemble it and then twiddle with it to make it better. It uses sturdy and durable materials, offers a sizable print volume, and print quality is okay.

It is, however, bogged by the lack of customer service. That is, it’s a good printer until you need to have some parts replaced.

Anycubic Predator Alternatives & Competitors

If you’re looking for a budget 3D printer that doesn’t scrimp on the quality, the Anycubic Predator can be the right choice for you. But it’s not the only affordable printer out there that offers a huge build volume, excellent prints, and an attractively low price tag.

1. Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

The Geeetech A20M 3D Printer is a 3D printer kit that has an aluminum alloy body and uses a Bowden extruder. Assembly is quite easy, especially if you have another person to help you.

Perhaps, the biggest feature that will intrigue you is the mix-color feature. The A20M has two slots for two different filaments, but it uses only one nozzle. This means that you can blend colors while printing.

You can easily achieve color gradation or having the spectrum effect, using the slow transition from one color to another. You can also have the printer print in the two colors without blending it, making it seem like you’ve changed the filament midway.

What You’d Like About the Geeetech A29M

If you assemble this 3D printer right, you will probably have no problems with it. It’s very stable, and the materials used are durable. It has a high-quality look that makes it more expensive than its price tag.

The color mix feature is a good addition as well. What’s more, the electronics are at the bottom, which makes the printer even more stable.

What Can Be Better

Some users might find it difficult to level the bed, as it can wobble too much if not installed properly. Also, the user interface is not that intuitive. For some reason, the company didn’t include a touch display, so you have to tweak the setting using a dial.

Having to turn the dial is a departure from the tap and click type of interaction that we’re all used to by now. Plus, it might not be easy to find the features that you need.

Geeetech A20M: The Bottom Line

Compared to Anycubic Predator, the Geeetech A20M has a smaller footprint at 17.4 by 17.6 by 18.9 inches (442 by 447 by 480 millimeters), still bigger than your regular desktop FDM printer. It also has a smaller build volume at 10 by 10 by 10 inches (255 millimeters all around).

However, it is also cheaper than the Predator and delivers pretty much similar print quality.

Barring some mechanical issues such as having loose or tight adjustments to the print bed, the Geeetech A20M is an affordable 3D printer kit that does a good job overall.

Pros

  • Sizable build volume
  • Print quality is fine and detailed
  • Can support two filaments with color mix features
  • Affordable

Cons

  • If not properly installed, the base can be wobbly

2. Artillery Sidewinder X1

artillery sidewinder

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 comes from a new company that started offering 3D printers in late 2018. That’s both a good and a bad thing. To be honest, the company’s first products received a lot of bad feedback. But the nice thing about Artillery is that they took these feedback and incorporated changes into their later products.

The Sidewinder X1 features some nifty features such as a silent set of fans and the equally noiseless motherboard. It also has a heated bed and a direct drive system. It boasts of a build volume that measures 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters) on a body that measures 21.7 by 15.9 by 25.2 inches (550 by 405 by 640 millimeters).

The chassis is very sturdy and durable. And it looks great as well. One of the notable design differences that the Sidewinder X1 has is the use of ribbon cables. The ribbon cables reduce the cluttered look of loose cables used by similar printers.

The heated print bed is made with a porous ceramic that is covered by a glass protector. It only takes about 45 seconds to heat the bed to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celcius).

What You Would Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is a budget printer that doesn’t look or work like one. It has quality materials that make up the sturdy frame and a fast-heating print bed.

What’s more, it features a direct drive setup that is rare if you consider its price range. The user interface is intuitive and the 3.5-inch (89 millimeters) touch display is easy to see. Installation and setup is a breeze and fast.

What You Might Not Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

One of the things that this 3D printer lacks is the sensors that will allow you to automatically level the bed. Instead, you have to do some manually leveling.

There are also concerns about the durability of some of the printer’s components. For instance, you might find that the ribbon cables can break over time. What’s more, the printer does wobble when you print something tall using certain filaments.

Should You Choose This Printer over the Anycubic Predator?

There are some things that the Sidewinder X1 has that you cannot find in other affordable Cartesian 3D printer. It’s refreshing to see a direct drive extruder as well as a directly heated print bed on a budget device. It has a sleek look and can work quietly, while also delivering a decent quality for your prints.

Compared to the Anycubic Predator, this printer has a smaller build volume. Plus, you will probably need to fiddle with the settings a bit to get the best quality prints out of this device. The Sidewinder X1 is also more affordable than the Predator.

Pros

  • Well-designed and sleek-looking
  • It heats up quickly allowing you to start printing in a matter of seconds
  • Silent worker
  • The helpful online user community

Cons

  • The filament holder needs to be replaced
  • Uneven heat

3. Qidi Tech X Plus

quidi tech

The Qidi Tech X Plus is yet one of those budget printers that aims to surprise you with quality prints. You can get layers that are as thin as 50 microns. you can also use a wide assortment of filaments.

The Qidi Tech X Plus has two extruders, filament compartments, and a double-sided bed. These accessories allow you to easily change out the various components so you can get the perfect prints depending on your preferred filament.

What’s more, it gives you several options on how to connect Wi-Fi, tethered and untethered USB, and Ethernet. The build volume for the Qidi Tech X Plus is the smallest out of this bunch, measuring only 7.9 by 7.9 by 10.6 inches (200.7 by 200.7 by 269.2 millimeters).

What You Would Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

There are a lot of nifty features on this printer that you will like. There’s the two-extruder setup, where you can use the A Extruder for general printing materials such as TPU, ABS, or PLA. There’s also the B Extruder for special filaments such as carbon fiber, PC, and nylon.

The difference lies in the maximum temperature that each extruder can get. The A Extruder can get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) while the second extruder can get as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius)

It also has a dual-sided print bed that can handle different sets of materials as well. There are two filament holders as well.

Plus, unlike other printers in this roundup, the Qidi Tech X Plus arrives fully assembled, so you don’t have to worry about screwing things together and all that. It’s also fully enclosed, so noise levels are kept at a very quiet 40 decibels.

What You Might Not Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

Qidi Tech has a language barrier problem in that they seem to be struggling to find English speakers and writers who can write their instructions pretty well. The instructions included in the package are confusing and some steps are missing, making it difficult to follow.

Even their customer service and website can be quite confusing. Thankfully, the QiDi Tech X Plus is easily assembled following what you can understand in the manual.

Also, some online tutorials and forums can help you figure things out if you’re stuck.

Qidi Tech X Plus: The Bottom Line

When it comes to budget printers, Qidi Tech X Plus shows you that you can save money and still expect quality prints. This 3D printer makes it easier for you to work with a wide variety of filaments without having to go through the trouble of manually changing out the print bed and extruders.

What’s more, there’s no assembly required, so you can start printing once you get it out of the box.

Pros

  • You can use a wide range of filaments
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Good quality prints

Cons

  • Badly written documentation and customer service representatives can use English lessons

FAQs

1. What is an extruder?

The extruder is one of the most important components of 3D printers. The extruder pushes the filament to the hot end where it is melted.

2. What is the difference between a direct extruder and a Bowden extruder?

A direct extruder is one that is attached to the hot end itself. It’s part of the print head and delivers the filament straight to the hot end.
Because the filament travels for a short distance, direct extruders have better extrusion and retraction and the filament is more responsive to it. It also doesn’t take too much power from the stepper motor. Further, direct extruders work with more filaments, even the abrasive and flexible ones.
A Bowden extruder, on the other hand, is not attached to the print head, but someplace else, usually the printer body. It uses a tube to deliver the filament to the hot end.
Because of this, the print head is much lighter, more accurate, and faster because it doesn’t carry the additional weight of the extruder. Products that use a Bowden extruder tend to have higher quality or faster prints.

3. Do you need an auto-leveling 3D printer?

Making sure that the print bed is level is one of the key considerations when you work with a 3D printer. You can do this manually, or you can rely on a printer’s automatic leveling capabilities to do the job for you.
Auto leveling uses sensors attached to the print head to check several points on the bed. It will then send this information to the printer’s computer so that it could adjust the nozzles as it works.
As such, it makes your life a whole lot easier, and your 3D printing jobs a whole lot faster. It’s also a must for beginners who may not have an idea on how to level the printing beds.

4. What are Delta and Cartesian 3D printers?

A Cartesian-style printer uses the Cartesian coordinate system. A Cartesian printer moves linearly on both X and Y axes. They can move:
– Up and down
– Front to back
– Left to right
Cartesian printers can have moving parts that are inordinately heavy and can shake your printer strongly enough to dislodge prints from the bed. It can sometimes lead to inaccurate prints.
It’s also close to impossible for Cartesian printers to change directions in an instant. However, Cartesian printers do shine with horizontal prints and are easier to understand. It’s also user friendly and cheaper than Delta printers in general.

Delta Printers

Delta printers, for its part, have three arms that can go from one point to another but also change the angles as it moves. Delta printers are much lighter than Cartesian mechanisms, which helps make it responsive to changes in angles and directions.

Delta printers use fewer parts, so there’s less chance that it will break down, but it takes up too much space as well. Delta printers are also more lightweight than a similar Cartesian printer and it’s very easy to upgrade or maintain. It also allows for fast and accurate printing.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Predator?

For its price, the Anycubic Predator is surprisingly an excellent printer that delivers finely detailed prints and has a huge build size. You can use this 3D printer for bigger models. It’s very stable and the construction is solid.

There are competitors for the Anycubic Predator, but it wins in one way or another that makes this printer very easy to recommend. For instance, the Sidewinder X1 can give the Predator a run for its money, but it doesn’t have automatic bed leveling.

The Qidi Tech X Plus is better suited for semi-professional print jobs, but it’s more expensive than the Predator and has a smaller build volume. Meanwhile, the Geeetech A20M has a more affordable price tag, but also a smaller build volume.

Further Reading on Anycubic 3D Printers & Competitors: