MatterControl vs Cura [2020]: 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 [2020]: 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 [2020]: 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

Indeed.com: Around 400 jobs in the United States.

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 That You’ll Love

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.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Predator

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 read:

Is Ultimaker S3 Worth It?

It used to be that industrial-grade 3D printers are so bulky that they often take up most of the room you put it in. Today, you have compact 3D printers that are affordable but still delivers excellent quality prints. Ultimaker S3 is one of these printers.

What should you know about the Ultimaker S3? What features and technologies does it have? And are there worthy alternatives for this 3D printer?

What Is Ultimaker S3?

One of the selling points of Ultimaker S3 is how easy it is to use. You get a high-quality 3D print that is composite ready using only the printer and a desktop computer. This 3D printer proves that the latest technologies shouldn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

What Is Ultimaker S3

Features

The Ultimaker S3 boasts of the following features:

  • A sizable build volume of around 9.0 by 7.4 by 7.9 inches (230 by 190 by 200 millimeters) that means that you can create bigger 3D prints with very minimal hassles.
  • A very fine 20-micron, or 0.001-inch, layer resolution, which gives you very fine details and ultra-smooth surfaces.
  • Uses an open filament system that allows you to work with carbon and glass fiber composites and third-party materials.
  • A big 4.7-inch touchscreen interface that allows you to easily tinker with teh settings and options, as well as when operating the printer.
  • Dual filament flow sensors that can tell you when it is time to buy new filaments.
  • A smaller footprint at only 15.5 by 19.3 by 25.1 inches (394 by 489 by 637 millimeters), which means that it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk top. It is also lightweight at only 31.7 pounds (14.4 kilograms).
  • Build speed of around 24 cubic millimeters per second.
  • Silent operation at less than 50 decibels, which is as loud as a normal conversation at home or living in a quiet suburb.

Printing with Two Materials

The Ultimaker S3 allows you to use two different materials in one print job. Ultimaker has perfected its print cores, which is a collection of hot ends that can handle specific materials and print properties.

The print cores can easily be placed inside the printer with just one button push so that it’s easy to set up your prints and maintain the printer.

What’s more, the print cores bring with it a lot of benefits. For one, you don’t waste filaments because the printer doesn’t purge materials when printing.

Automatic Bed Leveling

The Ultimaker S3’s build volume is impressive, but that is made even more remarkable by the heated bed that comes with a removable glass sheet. Plus, the Active Bed Leveling feature ensures that the materials are extruded evenly across the surface.

The S3 also has a semi-enclosed printing space, with a glass door that protects the front of the printer. The semi-enclosed environment ensures a stable atmosphere inside the printing area that is beneficial for those materials that are sensitive to temperature changes.

Connectivity

The Ultimaker S3 connects to the Cura software via Wi-Fi, so you can send print jobs over the air. With this wireless connection, you can allow for remote viewing of any printing in progress and manage printing jobs on queue.

If you have more than one Ultimaker S3 or other printers from the same company, one printer can act as a network host and connect to the other. As such, a networked Ultimaker S3 can scan the network and send printing jobs to printers that have the right materials or print cores.

ultimaker s3 features

What You Would Like About the Ultimaker S3

One of the things that you’d love with the Ultimaker S3 is how reliable it is. It has an advanced active leveling mechanism, as well as a stiffer build platform, that allows you to get the best quality prints.

You will also love how there are a variety of support options that you can use when learning how to use the Ultimaker S3. For one, there are training modules online that you can use to help you understand how to create with your 3D printer. Ultimaker’s local service partners can also provide you with the training, should you need it.

The Ultimaker S3 has a 12-month warranty period, as well as expert technical support via phone or e-mail. They also have online resources as well as an extensive manual for you to learn from. Plus, they maintain a very thorough and detailed knowledgebase as well.

But you may not need all that training because this printer is easy to use. It has a touch interface that allows you to input whatever it is you want it to do. What’s more, the print cores are very easy to swap, while you can get preset print settings so you spend less time trying to figure out what settings to use for a particular print.

The Ultimaker S3 also has an open filament system, so you can choose what kinds of material you want to use. When it comes to materials, you will never be limited to Ultimaker S3.

Out of the box, this 3D printer is compatible with a wide assortment of both proprietary and third-party filaments

What Can Be Better

There is no question that the Ultimaker S3 is one of the best professional 3D printers available now, but that kind of reputation comes with a hefty price tag. Starting prices for this 3D printer starts at more than $3,800. Buying it bundled with some filaments can easily jack the price up by around $500 to $1,000, depending on the types and number of filaments you choose.

If you want to print glass or carbon composites, you will need to buy a separate print core, the CC Red 0.6.

ultimaker s3 pros and cons

Pros and Cons

To sum up the pluses and negatives for the Ultimaker S3, here are its pros and cons.

Pros

  • You can use a wide variety of materials, which allows you to opt for more affordable third-party filaments or specialized ones such as glass fiber
  • Easy management and monitoring because of the included network connectivity
  • Filament flow sensor and automatic bed leveling features
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • This 3D printer is more on the expensive side

Alternatives to the Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker S3 is one of the best 3D printers for professionals, businesses, and prosumers, thanks to its high-end features and technologies. However, the world of professional 3D printers is getting larger every minute, with more and more brands joining in the fray. Here are three other 3D printers that you can consider along with the Ultimaker S3.

1. Ultimaker S5

ultimaker s5

If you are currently on the lookout for a professional 3D printer, there is no doubt that you would have come across the Ultimaker S5. If you are wondering what’s the difference between the S3 and the S5, the short answer is: not that many.

The S3 and the S5 share a lot of the same technologies and offer similar features. But what makes the S5 more expensive is the bigger print volume at 13 by 9.4 by 11.8 inches (30 by 240 by 300 millimeters).

The Ultimaker S5 is also compatible with several peripherals such as the Material Station and Air Manager, which the S3 doesn’t have.

The Material Station allows you to add six front-loaded material spools for increased productivity, automatic switching between different filaments, and humidity control. Meanwhile, the Air Manager can filter out up to 95 percent of fine particles within the build chamber.

When it comes to deciding between the Ultimaker S3 and the Ultimaker S5, it will boil down to two considerations:

  • Do you need the extra build volume?
  • Can you afford it?

Pricing for the Ultimaker S5 is at least $2,000 more than the S3, so if you are not frequently printing larger prototypes, you might want to go with the S3. What’s more, the S3 uses less power than the S5 because of its smaller build plate.

See how Ultimaker S3 compares to S5 here.

2. Zortrax M200 Plus

Zortrax M200 Plus

Sometimes, you need a 3D printer that can work for long hours without you needing to worry about it overheating or getting overworked. The Zortrax M200 Plus is designed as a workhorse with its advanced cooling system and industrial-grade construction.

This sturdy piece of 3D printing equipment can work for long hours and has a built-in camera that allows you to monitor the print job from anywhere in the world. It works with a wide number of filaments, as well.

It’s easy to use and set up, with a plug-and-play concept. Because it connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can operate this printer remotely. What’s more, the four-inch IPS touchscreen panel it has not only makes it easier for you to control and set up print jobs, but it also displays a preview of your models.

The Zortrax M200 Plus has a build volume of 7.9 by 7.9 by 7.1 inches (200 by 200 by 180 millimeters). Pricing starts at $2,290.

3. Original Prusa I3 MK3S

Original Prusa I3 MK3S

If you are looking for a 3D printer that can give you excellent quality prints without making your wallet thinner than it should be, then go for the Original Prusa I3 MK3S.

This 3D printer retails for $1000 if you want it to come fully assembled, or $750 if you choose the kit. It has a build volume of 9.8 by 8.3 by 8.3 inches (250 by 210 by 210 millimeters) and it’s pretty straightforward to use.

It has an easy to access extruder, a stable frame, a removable heated bed, filament sensor, and automatic bed leveling. In short, it has the features that you will expect from higher-end and more expensive printers.

Plus, this open-source 3D printer is pretty much customizable. Hack it to upgrade it or make it do what you need it to do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions are normal if you are trying to decide on a 3D printer that you can use for your business. It becomes more important to ask questions if you consider how much you are going to pay for one. So here are some of the most often asked questions regarding professional 3D printers.

1. How do you choose the best professional 3D printer?

Choosing the best professional 3D printer will depend on what you plan to print. If you want to print bigger models, then choose one that has a big build volume. If you want to save on energy, then get one with a smaller heated bed.
Choose a 3D printer that has high resolutions and allows you to easily adjust the final print’s resolution. Some important factors to consider is the layer height and belt tension.
Also, look for high-quality features that can spell the difference between an excellent and headache-free 3D printing and one that is fraught with problems. These features might include dual filament support, heated glass beds, and touch interfaces.
Lastly, don’t scrimp on safety features. Safety features usually mean a well-designed 3D printer. For instance, a well designed printer will move the nozzle away from the object when you pause printing, and this will prevent excess filaments from getting onto your printed object.

2. Will having a 3D printer with dual extruders help me print faster?

It’s a common misconception that printers having two extruders mean that it prints a whole lot faster, maybe even cutting printing time in half.
However, this is not true. Having two extruders means that the 3D printer can have two or more filaments in place and ready for use. Usually, only one of the extruder is used, while the other is on standby.

3. Are dual extruders worth the extra price?

If you are a hobbyist, you will probably do fine with a single extruder. But for professional printing, you will want a printer with dual extruders to help save time when doing multi-colored prints.
If only for the fact that dual extruders help to make your job easier and save you time in having to change out extruders, it’s worth the extra dollars you pay for a 3D printer that has it.

Ultimaker S3: The Bottom Line

There are a few printers out there that can rival the Ultimaker S3. This 3D printer gives you high-quality prints with excellent resolutions. It offers a wide range of high-end features that makes your printing jobs a whole lot faster and easier to deal with.

What’s more, it works with both proprietary and third-party materials, so you can have the flexibility in your 3D models and prototypes. But it can be quite expensive.

If you are impressed with the features and technologies you see on the Ultimaker S3 but you need a 3D printer with a bigger build volume, go for the Ultimaker S5.

Go for the Original Prusa I3 MK3S if your budget is a bit limited, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality.

If you are looking for a plug and play professional 3D printer that is easy to use without the hefty price tag of the Ultimaker S3, then you can’t go wrong with Zortrax M200 Plus.

Further read:

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

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

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

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

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

DLP or SLA? Which One Should You Choose?

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

Stereolithography

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

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

Digital Light Processing

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

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

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

DLP and SLA: What’s the Same?

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

DLP and SLA: What’s Different?

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

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

Benefits of SLA Printers

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

As such, SLA printers produce better quality prints.

Benefits of DLP Printers

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

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

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

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

DLP vs. SLA: Which One Should You Choose

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

Choose an SLA printer if:

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

Choose a DLP printer if:

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

LCD Printers: Some Things You Should Know

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

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

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

Build Volume Should Be Your First Consideration

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Word About Build Volumes

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

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

What 3D Printers Should You Consider?

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

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

Uniz Slash+

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

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

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

Formlabs Form 2

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

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

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

Flashforge Hunter

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

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

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

Peopoly Moai

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

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

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

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

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

A Bigger Print Area Means a Higher Price Tag

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

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

  Features Build volume (mm) Resolution (μm)

Speed (mm/hr)

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

192 × 120 × 200

75

200

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

145 x 145 x 175

25

30

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

145 x 145 x 175

62.5

10

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

130 x 130 x 180

70

85

Cost: Should You Buy Really Expensive Printers?

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

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

Monoprice Mini Deluxe

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

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

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

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

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

Monoprice Mini Deluxe
$408.90

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/27/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Anycubic Photon

Anycubic sells the Photon printer for around $170.

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

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

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

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

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

SparkMaker

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

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

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

SparkMaker
$199.99

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

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/27/2020 12:10 pm UTC

Affordable But Slow

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

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

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

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

120 x 70 x 200

20

30

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

115 x 65 x 155

47

20

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

98 x 55 x 125

57

25

Managing the Trade-Off

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

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

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

120 x 68 x 180

25 35

$400 – $500

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

108 x 65 x 200

57 20

$500 – $600

Best Resin 3D Printers: Other Characteristics You Should Consider

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

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

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

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

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

Best Resin 3D Printers: Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

2. Is cheaper necessarily better?

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

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

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

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

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

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

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

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

The Main Differences Between Sketchup and AutoCAD

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

Main Differences Between AutoCAD vs Sketchup

The main differences between AutoCAD vs Sketchup are:

  • AutoCAD is a computer-aided design software, whereas Sketchup is a 3D-modeling program.
  • AutoCAD is more geared towards professional users, whereas Sketchup is an excellent option for hobbyists.
  • AutoCAD is more expensive, whereas Sketchup allows you to save some dollars.
  • AutoCAD offers compatibility with more file formats, whereas Sketchup is simpler to use and master.
Why is AutoCAD 2018 Great?
$200.99
AutoCAD will always be the King of Software that covers a lot of industry functions and gives you data based on your design objects.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/27/2020 12:10 pm UTC

What Is Autodesk AutoCAD?

autocad

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

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

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

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

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

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

Autodesk AutoCAD 2021: Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is SketchUp?

skektchup

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

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

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

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

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

Autodesk AutoCAD vs Sketchup Features

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

1. User Interface

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

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

2. Supported File Formats

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

Both programs work with:

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

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

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

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

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

Other plans include:

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

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

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

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

4. Ease of Use

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

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

5. System Requirements

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

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

Meanwhile, Sketchup works on a Windows machine with:

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

6. Toolsets and Extensions

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

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

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

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

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

autocad

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

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

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

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

The Alternatives to Autodesk AutoCAD and Sketchup

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

Autodesk Fusion 360

autodesk

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

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

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

Rhinoceros 3D

rhnoceros 3d

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

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

The Free Options

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

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

FAQs

What is computer-aided design?

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

Is it easy to learn CAD for 3D printing?

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

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

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

Does Sketchup work with AutoCAD?

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

Conversely, you can import your AutoCAD drawings into Sketchup.

The Final Word: Sketchup vs. Autodesk AutoCAD

Why is AutoCAD 2018 Great?
$200.99
AutoCAD will always be the King of Software that covers a lot of industry functions and gives you data based on your design objects.
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
10/27/2020 12:10 pm UTC

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

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

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

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth It?

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

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

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

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

Everything You Need to Know About MakerGear Ultra One

maker gear ultra one

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

MakerGear Ultra One Features

Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) System

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

Touch Probe Leveling

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

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

WiFi/Ethernet Connectivity

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

Complex Printing

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

Industrial-grade Linear Rails

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

Simplify3D

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

OctoPrint for MakerGear

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

LCD Screen and USB Port

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

Warranty

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

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

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

What You Would Like About the MakerGear Ultra One

makergear ultra one industrial printer

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

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

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

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

MakerGear Ultra One: What Can Be Better?

printing

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

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

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

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

MakerGear Ultra One: The Bottom Line

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

Its gantry system is incredibly rigid and is composed of:

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

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

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

Alternatives to the MakerGear Ultra One

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

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

Formlabs Form 3: What You Would Like

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

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

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

What Can Be Better About the Formlabs Form 3

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

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

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

How the Formlabs Form 3 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

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

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

Ultimaker S5

ultimaker s5

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

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

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

Ultimaker S5: What You Would Like

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

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

What Can Be Better About the Ultimaker S5

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

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

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

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

Cons

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

How the Ultimaker S5 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

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

FlashForge Creator Pro

flashforge 3d printer

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

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

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

FlashForge Creator Pro: What You Would Like

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

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

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

What Can Be Better About the FlashForge Creator Pro

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

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros

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

Cons

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

How the FlashForge Creator Pro Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

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

FAQs About 3D Printers

What is the difference between FDM and SLA Printers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the OctoPrint Feature?

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

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

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth Getting?

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

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

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

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

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

Further read: