Anycubic 4Max Pro Review: Is It Right For You?

Anyone working with 3D printers or who is interested in 3D printing has probably heard of Anycubic 3D Printers. The Chinese company is known for giving hobbyists the best value for their money with 3D printers with a long list of features, some of the newest technologies, and a price tag that everyone would love.

The company came out with Anycubic 4Max Pro, which helped them cater to the younger set, the beginners, and the education market. This 3D printer wowed the market because of the following characteristics:

  • Generous build volumes
  • Works with a variety of materials
  • Fast printing speeds
  • Teal and black color scheme for the body
  • Safe and easy to use

Should you buy the Anycubic 4Max Pro? Grab a chair and continue reading as we tell you everything about this 3D printer and help you decide if it’s for you.

Anycubic 4Max Pro: What You Need to Know

Anycubic has been coming out with some of the best yet affordable 3D printers of late. One of the printers that fall under this category is the Anycubic 4Max Pro.

You have probably heard about the manufacturer before because of their Anycubic Photon and the i3 Mega. The 4Max Pro is an improvement of the company’s original 4Max, which was released in 2018.

The 4Max Pro, however, has a different look from the original.

Design

One of the first things you will notice about the Anycubic 4Max Pro is that it doesn’t look like the others. With a teal and black color scheme, it’s easy to tell it apart from other similar 3D printers.

The manufacturer also made the Anycubic 4Max Pro more intuitive and safer to use than the original 4Max. The full enclosure ensures that you don’t get in contact with the moving or the hot parts.

This 3D printer has a 3.5-inch (88.9 millimeters) touch display. And this touch screen is easily accessible.

The 4Max Pro measures 17.8 by 18.3 by 16.1 inches (454 by 466 by 410 millimeters) and weighs around 49.6 pounds (22.5 kilograms).

Features

The 4Max Pro uses the Anycubic Ultrabase bed. This heated bed has small holes in the coating, which gives it more adhesion — no more failed prints because your model toppled over. What’s more, finished objects are easily removed.

Printing speeds are rated at around 0.79 to 3.14 inches (20 to 80 millimeters) per second. The extruder can get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius). That means that this printer can handle a wide variety of filaments, including:

  • PLA
  • ABS
  • HIPS
  • TPU

The printer also has an auto-shutdown feature that turns the machine off when your printing job is done. It will further inform you when it’s time to swap out the filament when it runs out.

Who Should Buy the Anycubic 4Max Pro?

Beginners and hobbyists looking for a capable yet affordable 3D printer would do well with the Anycubic 4Max Pro. This fused deposition modeling printer is also superb for educational purposes.

This entry-level 3D printer is a good fit for those who are looking for affordable and eye-catching devices.

The Technical Specifications at a Glance

  • FDM Printer
  • Single Extruder
  • Printer Dimensions: 17.8 by 18.3 by 16.1 inches (454 by 466 by 410 millimeters)
  • Build Size: 10.6 by 8.1 by 8.1 inches (270 by 205 by 205 millimeters)
  • Layer Resolution: 0.05 to 0.3 millimeters
  • X-axis Accuracy: 0.01 millimeters
  • Y-axis Accuracy 0.0125 millimeters
  • Z-axis Accuracy: 0.00125 millimeters
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 millimeters
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75 millimeters
  • Print Speed: 0.79 to 3.14 inches (20 to 80 millimeters per second)
  • Materials:
    • PLA
    • ABS
    • TPU
    • HIPS
  • Compatible with exotic filaments
  • Maximum Temperature for the Extruder: 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius)
  • Maximum Temperature for the Print Bed: 212 degrees Fahrenheit (100 degrees Celsius)
  • Compatible Slicer: Cura, Smplify3D, Repetier-HOST
  • Input Formats:
    • .STL
    • .OBJ
    • JPG
    • PNG
  • Output Formats: GCode
  • Connectivity: SD card and USB

What You Will Love about the Anycubic 4Max Pro

Perhaps the most obvious things you’d love about this 3D printer are its low price and capabilities. With a sizable print area, you will find it challenging to find another printer in its price range that can match the Anycubic 4Max Pro.

This 3D printer is also a good fit for looking for a 3D printer that isn’t an all-black affair or plasticky looking. The teal body with black frames makes this 3D printer not only different in its looks but stylishly chic as well. That’s something that you don’t hear about 3D printers, which are mainly described as drab and utilitarian.

You will also appreciate the large and responsive touch display. This one is easy to use, and the menus are intuitive. It’s also easily accessible because of its location at the top of the 3D printer, rather than hidden away at the bottom like what you see on most other printers.

This 3D printer works quietly, and its enclosure keeps the noise levels down even more. Speaking of the enclosure, it also keeps the noxious odors of the melted filaments in, while keeping the prying hands of kids out of the printer.

Before You Buy: The Downsides of Anycubic 4Max Pro

The Anycubic 4Max Pro comes to you almost completely assembled, but you will still need to fit some of the pieces in before you can use it for the first time.

It’s a set of simple tasks, however. You only have to put in the filament sensor and the spool holder, and then proceed to level the printing bed and then insert the SD card.

At its price, it’s not surprising that the Anycubic 4Max Pro lacks some of the features that we’ve come to expect from today’s 3D printers, such as automatic bed leveling and Wi-Fi connectivity. These and other similar features make using a 3D printer a whole lot more pleasant. As such, using the 4Max Pro might be a bit more cumbersome than other machines.

Anycubic 4Max Pro Alternatives

The biggest draw of the Anycubic 4Max Pro is that it’s an affordable 3D printer with many capabilities for its price. The somewhat stylish printer is easy to use, making it perfect for beginners. However, the manufacturer has discontinued it, and you might not easily find it sold by different retailers.

So what are the alternatives? You can check out:

Anycubic 4Max Pro 2.0

The Chinese company gives you another option: the newer Anycubic 4Max Pro 2.0. How is it any different from the 4Max Pro?

First, the printer is no longer colorful with its all-black exterior. It also sports a dual gear extrusion, and the direct drive helps it be more precise and less prone to slippage.

The 4Max Pro 2.0 also has very quiet stepper drives, an upgraded fan, and dual z-axis motors.

However, the newer 4Max Pro 2.0 has a smaller build area of 10.6 by 8.3 by 7.4 inches (270 by 210 by 190 millimeters).

Qidi Tech X-Pro

If you’re trying to break away from Anycubic, another Chinese-made printer might catch your fancy: Qidi Tech X-Pro. This may cost a bit more money than the original Anycubic 4Max Pro, but it is still a low-priced dual extrusion 3D printer that works more than just fine.

The Qidi Tech X-Pro also has a full enclosure that keeps the temperatures constant for better prints while keeping the odors from permeating throughout your room.

This 3D printer uses an aluminum heated bed that partners with a magnetic build plate to keep your models in place.

However, it does have a smaller build volume at 9.05 by 5.9 by 5.9 inches (230 by 150 by 150 millimeters). Also, the manufacturer has its own slicing software: Qidi Print, which means you will not be able to use any other software that you’re more used to.

The good news is that Qidi Print is easy to use and allows you to customize your prints. So if you’re new to 3D printing, you can use this slicer program and learn it in an instant.

Monoprice MP Voxel

Another 3D printer that’s worth mentioning and also has a full enclosure is the Monoprice MP Voxel. This 3D printer has a long list of usability features that you will want to know.

First off, you don’t have to spend a lot on this printer. It costs less than $400. For that money, you will get a cube printer that has Wi-Fi, an intuitive touchscreen menu, and a smart-looking 3D printer you’d be proud to put on display.

The set-up is very quick. You can take this printer out of the box and be ready to print in no time. What’s more, it uses a flexible build plate that makes it easier for you to remove the finished models without using sharp tools to pry them off.

You set the printer’s settings using the touch display. Plus, you get to see everything as it happens.

The Monoprice MP Voxel has a transparent plastic covering three sides, so you get to keep an eye on your prints. And to help you do that, an array of LEDs shines a light on things. You can also rely on the embedded camera to see your model while it is being printed, even when you’re not at home via the Polar Cloud app.

However, the build volume for this printer is less than the other printers we have here: it can print objects of up to 5.9 by 5.9 inches (150 by 150 millimeters). You should also be aware that the printer uses non-standard G-code, which means you cannot use the slicing program you want.

However, the big picture is that this affordable machine delivers everything you would want in a 3D printer. It’s perfect for beginners and first-timers to get their feet wet with 3D printing without having to spend a lot of money.

Bottom Line

For its price and capabilities, it is not difficult to recommend the Anycubic 4Max Pro. It’s just obvious that it’s one of the best 3D printers to come out from a company that’s known for launching great printers.

It’s a user-friendly printer that you can buy for kids so that they’d be interested in 3D printing and create their own models.

Pros

  • Quiet
  • Generous build volume
  • Great features for its price
  • Intuitive to use, responsive, and large touch display
  • Ultrabase heated bed gives more adhesion for your models
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • No automatic bed leveling
  • Some assembly required
  • No Wi-Fi connectivity

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are our replies to the questions you asked! Keep on sending your comments and questions about 3D printing and 3D printers!

Question: What Is Extruder Temperature?

Answer: When choosing an FDM 3D printer, you will see extruder temperature as one of the specifications being bannered about by the manufacturer. Extruder temperature is simply an indicator of how hot the extruder can get.

The rated temperature will tell you what types of filaments are compatible with your printer. Most of the filaments out there is thermoplastic, but they require different temperatures to properly melt.

Filaments need to be melted. You cannot do much with the stiff, brittle string-like filaments unless they are heated up and melted into the rubbery substance that can be pushed out of the 3D printer’s extruder.

To give you an idea, this table will list some of the most popular filament types and their ideal extruder temperature:

  • PLA: 356 to 446 degrees Fahrenheit (180 to 230 degrees Celsius)
  • ABS: 410 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit (210 to 250 degrees Celsius)
  • PETG: 428 to 482 degrees Fahrenheit (220 to 250 degrees Celsius)
  • Nylon: 464 to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (240 to 260 degrees Celsius)
  • TPU: 410 to 446 degrees Fahrenheit (210 to 230 degrees Celsius)

This means that if your 3D printer has a rated extruder temperature of 356 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius), the only type of filament that you can use among these four is a PLA material. Even then, it’s not an ideal temperature as PLA works best at around 410 degrees Fahrenheit (210 degrees Celsius)

Question: Do you need a heated bed?

Answer: A heated bed is one of the many conveniences that suitable 3D printers give you. It helps your models stay in place so that it doesn’t fall over or rotate in place.

As such, you don’t have to worry too much about your prints failing. Like the extrusion temperature, different filaments will have different requirements for the temperature of the heated bed.

The good news is that PETG and PLA both don’t need heated beds. But other filaments do:

  • ABS: 176 to 230 degrees Fahrenheit (80 to 110 degrees Celsius)
  • Nylon: 158 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit (70 to 100 degrees Celsius)
  • TPU: 86 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (30 to 60 degrees Celsius)

Should You Buy the Anycubic 4Max Pro?

There is no doubt that the Anycubic 4Max Pro is one excellent 3D printer, especially if you take into consideration just how affordable it is. However, this printer is rather old, and Anycubic has discontinued production.

As such, it may be a bit difficult to find a retailer that’s still selling this 3D printer. If you are willing to get an alternative, there are some tradeoffs.

These newer 3D printers might have more advanced technologies and more features, but they have smaller build volumes. As a whole, the Anycubic 4Max Pro has the right combination of price, build volume and a long list of features that make it an excellent printer for beginners.

Prusa i3 mk3 Review: Is It Worth Buying?

The Original Prusa i3 MK3 is probably the best 3D printer that came out during its time. It first became available in late 2017, and it was the talk of the 3D printing world for most of 2018.

The open-source 3D printer was welcomed by fans of the Czechoslovakian company Prusa Research. It offered a lot of improvements to the hardware and software used in the device, a thing that Prusa is known for.

The Prusa i3 MK3 was unbeatable when it came to features and capabilities that no other printer in its price range can even dream of matching.

The Design of the Prusa i3 MK3

The Prusa i3 MK3 had two versions, one that came to you already assembled that sold for $999 and a more affordable kit that you have to put together for $749.

With a $250 price difference, you should get the DIY kit. Bonus points for learning how this 3D printer is built, this way, you can troubleshoot things if they go haywire later. Plus, knowing how to make the Prusa i3 MK3 allows you quickly work with the add-on kits that the company provides.

The Prusa i3 MK3 is an open-framed Cartesian style printer that doesn’t look any different from its predecessor, the MK2, with its black and orange color scheme.

The MK3 has an improved Y-axis and an aluminum frame. The print head has two fans to keep things cool, and it uses a Bondtech extruder designed for more forceful filament extrusion.

If you like working with different materials, then you’d love the E3D V6 nozzle that this printer uses. It has a stable and magnetic heated bed that can hold your models safely in place.

On top, you will find the spool holder. You might think that this is a bad idea because there might be stability issues, but the Prusa i3 MK3 is the exception.

Setting up Your Prusa i3 MK3

Many find themselves wondering how easy it is to assemble the Prusa i3 MK3. For one, every package undergoes strict quality control, and the box is tightly secured. So there is a minimal chance that you’d work with a kit with missing parts.

Those who have experienced assembling a 3D printer know how frustrating it can be. Beginners would swear not to put themselves through that experience again. It’s a challenging process that can mean hours or days of frustration.

The excellent news is Prusa i3 MK3 is an exception. Everything from unpacking the parts to the initial calibration is a breeze. Most people will be able to assemble the kit in just a few hours.

For many people, the instruction manual helped: it is easy to understand, and it covers everything you need to know and do to make the assembly happen.

What’s more, the kit includes PLA filaments, test models on an SD card, a booklet that teaches you the 3D printing basics you need to know, and all the things you need to get started.

When you assemble the Prusa i3 MK3, you will be able to load the filament quickly, while you can rely on the automatic bed leveling to make sure that your printer has a flatbed. Print settings are also pre-set, so you don’t have to tinker around too much.

Prusa’s 3D printer is also compatible with a variety of printing software, including Simplify3D and Cura. You don’t need to learn a new one if you’re currently using a similar slicer.

Prusa i3 MK3: Features

When it comes to features, it will be a long list for the Prusa i3 MK3. But let’s start with how this 3D printer is open source, designed by Josef Prusa for the RepRap project. The source files for the MK3 are online, making it easier for developers to modify the 3D printer according to their needs.

This printer also has a range of sensors that will ensure that your 3D printing tasks are safe, fast, and convenient.

  • The filament sensor monitors the movements of the filament, as well as telling you when to change.
  • The 3D printer will detect when a nozzle gets clogged, wherein it pauses the printing job so you can clean it.
  • This printer will stop printing if the print head stops moving for a reason. For instance, if you forcibly hold it, the MK3 will stop printing.
  • The MK3 has thermistors that will measure both ambient temperature and temperature drift.

EINSY RAMBo motherboard

The EINSY RAMBo that you find on the MK3 sets it apart from other 3D printers in its class. The motherboard gives it a smooth and quiet run, and you can check the printed layers to see if these have shifted. Because of this capability, the Prusa i3 MK3 delivers more consistency between prints.

Resuming Printing After a Power Loss

It takes hours to finish printing an object with your 3D printer. Some of the earlier printers we have will reset if the power goes out in the middle of a print job.

Not the Prusa i3 MK3. This printer will shut down all the components and moves the print head away from the 3D model. When power comes back on, your printer will just resume printing.

Connectivity

The Prusa i3 MK3 comes with a USB port and an SD card drive. You can also opt to add wireless connections to your printer.

Easy Prints, Excellent Print Quality

Printing with the Prusa i3 MK3 is a breeze. You don’t have to adjust anything to load the filament. The printer bed also heats up fast, and the print quality is exceptional.

Models printed with the MK3 have a high level of detail, with smooth surfaces, and are often accurate. What’s more, it prints real fast and can be very quiet as it works even when you’re standing near to the printer while it works.

Another thing that you will like about this printer is that it accepts third-party filaments. Plus, you have upgrade kits that will allow you to get the most out of the Prusa i3 MK3.

Specifications

  • Type: Open-frame Cartesian style 3D printer
  • Resolution: 50 microns
  • Minimum layer height: (0.05 millimeters)
  • Build volume: 9.8 by 8.3 by 8.3 inches (25 by 21 by 20 centimeter
  • Filament: 0.7 inches (1.75 millimeters) filaments on a 0.02 inches (0.4 millimeters) nozzle
  • Filament types supported: ABS, PLA, Flexible, HIPS, Nylon, and others
  • Connections: USB and SD card
  • Automatic bed leveling: Yes
  • Automatic skew axes compensation: Yes

What Makes the Prusa i3 MK3 a Good Deal

As you can see, the Prusa i3 MK3 is a very capable printer. If you don’t like the assembly, you can just purchase the assembled printer, but it’s highly recommended that you do it yourself and save some money.

Customer service offers a good experience, and if you ever get stuck with assembling and subsequently using the printer, you have a lot of resources at your fingertips.

What You Should Know About This 3D Printer

The best way to enjoy the Prusa i3 MK3 is to get the kit. That means that you will need to assemble it yourself, and that can take some amount of work and a lot of time.

The filament sensor might not work well with transparent filaments, telling you that you’re out of filament when you’re not. This means that you have to turn off the sensor if you are printing using transparent materials.

What’s more, this 3D printer may not be readily available to you. Customers would have to wait because the company shipped the 3D printers in batches.

Prusa i3 MK3: The Bottom Line

There are many reasons why you should recommend the Prusa i3 MK3. It works quietly, and it does the job well. It has a range of features and sensors that allows it to be more innovative.

With the Prusa i3 MK3, you get the best of both worlds: an affordable printer that delivers excellent print quality, with all the features you need thrown in.

The thing with this 3D printer is that you’d appreciate it right out of the box. The easy assembly, the automatic bed leveling, and the easy calibration. But you will grow to love it even more as you use it because of the convenience features it offers, including the ability to resume printing after a power outage, being informed when to load a new filament, and easy to remove the print bed, among others.

What’s more, you have the option of getting the printer fully assembled if you don’t want to be bothered with building it. Not that the DIY kit is frustrating: even kids will be able to build the 3D printer just by following the documentation.

Pros

  • Lots of improvements, including a more durable frame, quiet and fast printing.
  • Customer service is excellent, with a well-written manual
  • Better sensors than predecessors protect it from damage and can be convenient for you
  • The removable magnetic print bed
  • Nine-point autocalibration
  • Open source and easy to use
  • Excellent print quality
  • Automatic bed leveling

Cons

  • The filament sensor doesn’t work correctly with transparent filaments
  • Bed adhesion might be problematic

No enclosure

Are there alternatives to the Prusa i3 MK3

If you are not sold on the Prusa i3 MK3, there are some alternatives that you can buy.

Matterhackers Pulse

This 3D printer is based on the design of Prusa’s i3 MK3, and you can customize it the way you want it. The base printer sells for less than $1,000, the same price range as the MK3. Like the MK3, it features automatic bed leveling, a heated bed, and lots of upgrades.

Depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you have a lot of options when it comes to upgrading, which includes:

  • Olsson ruby nozzle, which works with a wide variety of filaments, including those with abrasive additives. Plus, this material is wear-resistant and highly conductive to heat.
  • Bondtech extruder, which works both for speed and precision in your print jobs.
  • Hardened steel for the nozzle
  • Filament sensor
  • Garolite bed
  • Enclosure kit

However, MatterHackers Pulse is somewhat limited when it comes to the filaments that you can use with it. It can handle PETG, ABS, nylon, and other types of filaments, by it shines when you use PLA and similar filaments.

Specifications

  • Build volume: 10 by 9 by 8.5 inches (250 by 220 by 215 millimeters)
  • Dimensions: 19.61 by 21.85 by 24.61 inches (498 by 555 by 625 millimeters)
  • Travel speed: Up to 9.8 inches (250 millimeters) per second
  • Print speed: Up to 2.4 inches (60 millimeters) per second
  • Resolution: 20 microns (0.02 millimeters)
  • Layer height range: 30 microns (0.03 millimeters) to 350 microns (0.35 millimeters)
  • Base extruder: SeeMeCNC EZRstruder
  • Power recovery: Yes
  • Calibration: Yes, automatic print leveling using 25-point BLTouch
  • Remote control: Yes, with the MatterControl Sync portal
  • Open standards: Yes
  • Warranty: Lifetime support with a one-year repair or replacement guarantee

Pros

  • The customizations are paid, but MatterHackers does not charge for labor
  • High-quality parts

Cons

  • LCD interface can confuse you

Creality CR-10S Pro V2

Creality’s 3D printers have always been compared to Prusa’s. The reason is that both companies have been churning out excellent 3D printers at a very affordable price. One of Creality’s 3D printers that you can check out is the CR-10S Pro V2.

This 3D printer has:

  • Auto bed leveling
  • Touchscreen display
  • Filament sensor
  • Mean Well power supply
  • Double gear extruder
  • Can resume prints if ever power fails

Apart from giving you excellent prints, you also get a spacious build volume at 12 by 12 by 16 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters). This means that you will be able to print bigger models. This open-frame printer can use TPU, PLA, and ABS, as well as composite filaments.

But what’s more, it’s being sold at around $600 to $700, which makes it slightly more affordable than Prusa’s i3 MK3.

Tiertime UP mini 2 ES

The Tiertime UP mini 2 ES might be small, but it has several features that the Prusa i3 MK3 doesn’t offer. For instance, it has a HEPA filter that can keep pollutants from getting into the air you breathe. So if you’re working with a particularly noxious filament like ABS, the Tiertime UP mini 2 ES will be your best bet.

What’s more, it has a closed-box design that can protect all parts of the 3D printer. There is also a separate caddy that will keep your filament safe from air exposure. This printer can resume printing jobs when interrupted.

Other features include touchscreen controls, quiet operation, and automatic bed leveling. With a build volume of 4.7 by 4.7 by 4.7 inches (120 by 120 by 120 millimeters) and comes with an SD card slot.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Is there a new version of the Prusa i3 MK3?

Answer: It’s been years since Prusa came out with the i3 MK3. The company has since launched newer versions. Seeing that the MK3 gave the market something to be excited about when it first came out, are there more recent versions?

The company came out with the Original Prusa i3 MK3S+ just recently. The fused deposition modeling 3D Printer is also offered as a DIY kit and as an assembled printer. The MK3S+ has a build volume of 9.8 by 8.2 by 8.2 inches (250 by 210 by 210 millimeters), plus the following features:
• Removable steel print bed that’s coated with PEI
• Bondtech extursion system
• E3D V6 hot end
• Filament sensor

The new MK3S+ gives you excellent quality prints off the bat, and it’s straightforward to use and assemble. It also has several sensors that make it very convenient to use. Some of its smarts make it very intuitive to use.

The MK3S+ solidifies Prusa’s reputation for providing us with printers that work excellently, with detailed prints and the best technologies on board. You can easily print with different filaments using Prusa’s profiles, which can often lead to impressive prints.

However, the MK3S+ does come with some disappointments. For one, it’s not much different from its predecessor, the MK3S. It also doesn’t offer a touch display that allows you to easily set things up, unlike some of the newer printers that we have now. More frustrating is that loading your jobs from the SD card can feel slightly slow; sometimes; it can hang, and the lag can be noticeable.

Nevertheless, the MK3S+ is still an excellent printer that can work well with filaments from the manufacturer and other companies. In fact, you can easily print PC and nylon filaments on this machine.

Question: What are the benefits and drawbacks of enclosed and open-frame 3D printers?

Answer: The Prusa i3 MK3 is an open-frame printer in that there is no encloser. You get to see things being printed, so printing jobs are easier to monitor. With an open printer, you can remove prints, perform some minor cleanup, and do other stuff without anything blocking you.

You also have an easier time maintaining your printer, such as changing the filament or cleaning the nozzle. The Prusa i3 MK3 is also easier to clean because bits and pieces o your models will not end up at corners or at the bottom of the print bed.

However, some people prefer enclosed box printers. There are many reasons for that, including having less noise from the fans and steppers. An enclosed printer is best for those working with filaments that need more temperature, such as PETG or ABS.

Some people may prefer the looks of an enclosed printer, while others would like to keep their printers safe from bumps or being played with by cats or kids.

Should You Buy the Prusa i3 MK3?

The Prusa i3 MK3 might be an old 3D printer, but one thing is sure: it’s one of the best 3D printers to have come out during its time. It is the best way to learn about the components and assemble a 3D printer with detailed and well-written instructions. And once put together, the 3D printer gives you excellent prints and a wide range of enviable features.

What’s more, it costs less than $1,000. However, it’s been more than three to four years since it came out, and other printers have overtaken it. More printers are now becoming more affordable, and the features you see on the Prusa i3 MK3 have long become standard fare for some of the best 3D printers in the market. It also misses out on more advanced features such as touch display.

Nevertheless, the Prusa i3 MK3 is still an excellent printer that you should buy if you can find it.

Tinkercad vs Fusion 360: Which is Right For You?

tinkercad vs fusion 360

Autodesk has been giving 3D modelers a lot of options when it comes to software. The company has come out with a range of software that has helped people with their 3D modeling work. Two of these programs offered by Autodesk are Fusion 360 and Tinkercad.

Main Differences between Tinkercad vs Fusion 360

Here are some of the main differences between these two:

  • Tinkercad is ideal for 3D modeling, whereas Fusion 360 is a full computer-aided manufacturing and computer-aided design suite that does 3D modeling work
  • With Tinkercad, you are limited by their catalog of shapes, whereas Fusion 360 allows you to work with a full range of shapes and even allows you to create your models from scratch
  • Tinkercad is easy to learn, whereas Fusion 360 has some sort of a learning curve.
  • Tinkercad is simple to use, whereas using Fusion 360 might mean you’re spending time finding the tools that you need.
  • Tinkercad can feel rather limited, whereas Fusion 360 offers more tools and features

Tinkercad

Tinkercad

Tinkercad’s biggest selling points are that it’s free to use and it’s simple. Designed by a duo that includes a former Google engineer, Tinkercad is often recommended as a 3D modeling software for kids. That’s how easy it is.

Tinkercad uses constructive solid geometry or using simple shapes and objects to form more complex models. It’s an excellent program for beginners, but you should don’t even think that more advanced users won’t be able to enjoy creating their 3D models on Tinkercad.

Tinkercad can also break down your 3D designs into brick models. These brick models are buildable, so it’s like designing LEGO pieces. This simple to use program also allows you to work in electronic circuits to your designs, as well as some pretty nifty simulation tools.

If you’re looking for inspiration, here are some of the things that the community has made using Tinkercad.

What Might Make You Look Elsewhere

Admittedly, Tinkercad is rather limited when it comes to features, especially when compared to other software such as Fusion 360.

Tinkercad: The Bottom Line

Tinkercad might look like it’s a child’s toy, but the program is pretty powerful. It allows you to transform, join, or remove simple shapes and create complicated and complex models. It’s aimed at beginners, but even expert users who’d like to do a quick 3D model can appreciate what it has to offer.

Fusion 360

Fusion 360

Fusion 360 gives you a 3D modeling software that lives in the cloud. As such, it makes it easier for you to work with a team and collaborate on your designs. You can also work on your 3D models no matter where you are, just as long as you have an Internet connection.

What’s more, Fusion 360 also gives you computer-aided design, computer-aided manufacturing, and computer-aided engineering tools that will help you do more with this program. You get to do any job with just one platform.

When it comes to 3D modeling features, Fusion 360 has a comprehensive set of tools, including:

  • Assemblies
  • Direct modeling
  • Freeform modeling
  • Mesh modeling
  • Parametric modeling
  • PCB design
  • Sheet metal
  • Sketching
  • Surface modeling

What’s more, you also have generative design features at your disposal. For instance, when you’ve finished a design, Fusion 360 can suggest improvements, reduce the mass or weight, consolidate components, and even improve performance.

Fusion 360 also has simulation tools that can give you an idea of ​​how your design would fare in real-world conditions.

These simulations mean that you don’t have to create prototypes first and then go back to designing when they don’t necessarily hold up to everyday use.

The program will be able to suggest improvements and tweaks with its generative design tools, and then the simulations will give you an idea of ​​how it performs when subjected to heat, cold, moisture, and other conditions.

What Can Be Better

Fusion 360 doesn’t have a lot of sculpting tools, which makes it very limited when it comes to organic modeling. You will find it challenging to create artistic models on Fusion 360. If that is what you want, you can check out Rhino or Blender.

Fusion 360: The Bottom Line

Fusion 360 has a lot of tools for industrial and professional users to do what they need to do. Powerful analytical mesh and parametric tools make it ideal for industrial design. It’s also one of the best CAD and 3D modeling software for those who are looking for an easy way to collaborate on projects.

Comparing Tinkercad and Fusion 360

Both Tinkercad and Fusion 360 have their own set of pros and cons.

Tinkercad is very easy to use. If you have kids or other beginners that you would introduce to 3D printing, then Tinkercad will be the best software for them.

With Tinkercad, you can make movable parts and other designs quickly. But you might find it difficult to edit because of the absence of a history tree. Plus, the Web-based program can sometimes hang.

Fusion 360, on the other hand, has very powerful tools for a variety of workloads. This makes Fusion 360 very flexible. But it can be difficult to learn, and the sheer number of tools and features can easily overwhelm.

Are there any alternatives to both Tinkercad and Fusion 360?

If you’re not impressed with either Fusion 360 or Tinkercad, or if you just want to cover all bases before you decide on a 3D modeling software to use, then here are your best bets:

Rhino

Rhino

Like Fusion 360, Rhino brings together 3D modeling, CAD, CAM, and rapid prototyping tools. The comprehensive set of features makes it ideal for use in various workloads for a lot of industries. Unlike other 3D modeling software, Rhino uses NURBS mathematical models in creating your models, which means that you have mathematically need curves and surfaces.

Blender

Blender

Blender is excellent for creating 3D prints, animation, art, interactive designs, and visual effects. As you can guess, there are a lot of tools here that help you do all these. Blender offers a wide range of 3D modeling, simulation, sculpting, rendering, video editing, camera tracking, and compositing tools.

With Blender, you can easily work with meshes, and this program can even repair corrupted meshes. This free program is a great addition for those who work with 3D models, but it can be difficult to learn and master.

SketchUp

SketchUp

Both Rhino and Blender may not be beginner-friendly. If you’re just starting out, you will find the user interface and ease of use that Sketchup brings to the table attractive.

Sketchup is very intuitive to use, and because of the way the tools are presented, you will have an easy time getting a handle on this software.

Sketchup, however, is powerful and flexible enough to be used in a wide variety of applications: 3D modeling, urban planning, construction, engineering, architecture, and interior design, among others.

Sketchup is known for visualizations and its extensions that allow you to get more out of this program. It’s free for personal use.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer the questions that most of you, our readers, ask.

Question: How is Autodesk’s customer support?

Answer: One of the biggest factors in choosing a 3D modeling program is the company’s customer support. If you’re stuck with a problem or have a question to ask, having sucky customer support can break the whole experience. That is especially true if you’re working with software that is as technical as a 3D modeling program.

The good news is that Autodesk, which offers both Fusion 360 and Tinkercad has excellent customer support.

You can access a rich library of learning and support materials that teach you how to install, download, and use their software. You can also join various communities to learn from users like you.

What’s more, Autodesk has separate communities for each user group, including a design and manufacturing community, plus a construction, architecture, and engineering community.

You can also ask questions and get answers from expert users and even the company’s employees. On top of these official support channels, there are a lot of articles on the web as well as videos on YouTube that teach you how to use both Fusion 360 and Tinkercad.

Question: How much do you need to pay to use either Tinkercad or Fusion 360?

Answer: Tinkercad is free to use. All you need to do is create a personal account and start using the software.

On the other hand, Fusion 360 is free but only for non-commercial use and hobbyists. Startups can use this software free if they have been operating for less than three years and have up to 10 employees. Further, students and professors can use this program for free as well.

For the rest, Autodesk charges $60 per month or $495 per year for a subscription. You can also purchase extensions at $200 to $1,000 per month.

Fusion 360 vs Tinkercad: Which Should You Choose?

Both Fusion 360 and Tinkercad are excellent 3D modeling programs that you can access online. They each have different ways of helping you create your 3D models, so you might want to use them both.

However, forced to choose between these two, here’s what we recommend: If you’re new to 3D modeling or you just want to create something quick, then you’re good to go with Tinkercad. But if you need professional-looking models, prototypes, or parts, then Fusion 360 has the tools that you need to accomplish your tasks.

Fusion 360 vs Sketchup: Which is Right for Your Project?

Fusion 360 vs Sketchup

When it comes to computer-aided design software, you have a world of choices. We’ve always said that the best CAD software is the one you’re using, which means these programs have all the features and functionalities you need to do your work and are easy enough for you to learn.

Suppose you are interested in learning which between Fusion 360 or SketchUp is the best for you. In that case, you should definitely continue reading as we discuss the features and functionalities of each program and then look at alternatives to both.

Finally, we delve deeper into the differences between Fusion 360 and SketchUp and which one is best for you.

Main Differences Between Fusion 360 vs Sketchup

Two of the more popular software being used by design professionals today are Fusion 360 and SketchUp. And here are their main differences:

  • Platform. While both programs have a web-based version, Fusion 360 doesn’t have a downloadable program that you can install on your computer. That means you can’t work on your designs offline.
  • Free versions: Both programs have a free version that gives you limited features. However, Autodesk Fusion 360 limits the number of active designs that you can have. Meanwhile, you have up to 10 gigabytes of cloud storage for your files with SketchUp.
  • Full versions: SketchUp Pro is much cheaper than Fusion 360’s full license.
  • User interface: Fusion 360 follows the lead of other CAD programs when it comes to the user interface: view modes, grid systems, design history, and a toolbar. SketchUp looks cleaner with bigger icons showing your most used tools and a top toolbar. When you select a tool, other related settings and options will pop out.
  • Applications: Fusion 360 is more flexible than SketchUp. Fusion 360 might be more focused on helping you create products and mechanical parts, but you can use it for many other applications. SketchUp is better suited for those in architecture, construction, and engineering.
  • Support: Both programs have fantastic support for their users. However, Fusion 360 has employees manning user communities, whereas SketchUp has a more user-driven user community.

What Is Fusion 360?

Autodesk Fusion 360 is a computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing software that lives in the cloud. It allows you to develop your products and designs with a team of contributors without the hassle of sending big files over e-mail, file-sharing services, and others.

Because it is a cloud-based service, you and your team can work on a design together. This program can do organic shapes, manufacturing, and mechanical design. Fusion 360 can also help you with printed circuit boards and engineering designs.

Features of Fusion 360 That You Should Know

One of the things that you will discover the first time you use Fusion 360 is the comprehensive range of tools you have. You have all the standard tools for modeling and design, and then you also can use Fusion 360 to create sheet metal parts and surfaces.

You have simulation tools as well, allowing you to do stress and heat analysis on your designs. If you’re more into manufacturing, you will find that Fusion 360 also has excellent tools for you to use too.

The thing with cloud-based services is that you can access it from a variety of devices, even smartphones, and tablets.

Modeling and Design Tools

With Fusion 360, you can have a wide range of tools to do your modeling and design work. You can do freeform, direct, parametric, sheet metal, surface, and mesh designs using just one software.

This video will help you discover the different modeling techniques that you can do with Fusion 360.

Rendering

Fusion 360 also allows you to see your designs with photorealistic rendering. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about slowing down your computer by letting it render in the cloud rather than using local resources.

PCB Designs

If you want to work with printed circuit boards, Fusion 360 will help you with bi-directional changes with the program’s EAGLE interoperability.

You can even do layout, telling the program where the PCB will be mounted in the design.

Assemblies and Sheet Metal

Fusion 360 has a complete range of tools to help you design sheet metal parts and even use two-dimensional drawings to create flat patterns.

You also get bottom-up, top-down, or middle-out assembly tools to give you an idea of the designs’ assembly motions.

Other Tools

Fusion 360 gives you features and tools that help you manage data, files, versions, and even cloud storage. Aside from these data management tools, you can get collaboration tools, which makes it easier to manage your teams while retaining control on who can access what.

For those who are into 3D printing, Fusion 360 gives you the chance to create and validate prototypes using additive manufacturing tools. Not only that, your tool paths are instantly updated every time you make changes to the design.

The program’s generative design tools will help you create designs ready for manufacturing while improving their characteristics, consolidating parts, and reducing weight.

You also have access to artificial intelligence and machine learning tools that can help you simulate outcomes with your design. Further, some tools can help you with costing your designs.

Lastly, Fusion 360 helps to make simulations and documentation easier. You can see how your designs will stand up to varying temperatures, stress, buckling, and other events. Meanwhile, you can have the program do the documentation every step of the way and even create animations to help you communicate what you have in mind.

See how Fusion compares to other popular software:

Pricing and Subscriptions

You can subscribe to Fusion 360 for only $42 a month or $495 for the whole year. Plus, there is a free trial available. Fusion 360 also has free licenses for personal use, but you can only use this license for 10 active documents, and the program’s functionalities are limited.

Teachers and students can use it for free for three years, while startups with up to 10 employees and earn less than $100,000 yearly can also have it for free.

If you’re only going to use it intermittently, you can pay for monthly access at $60 per month. Meanwhile, extensions can cost you an additional $200 per month or a discounted $1,600 if you pay annually. The Generative Design Extensions will set you back $1,000 a month or $8,000 a year.

What’s Good with Fusion 360

If you are a machinist, mechanical engineer, electronics engineer, or industrial designer, Fusion 360 might make the most sense. This program makes machining and designs a breeze while allowing you to do processes such as tool path generation and design revisions in just minutes rather than the usual hours it takes to finish them.

What’s more, Fusion 360 gives you combined CAD and CAM software without the prohibitive costs. According to Autodesk, Fusion 360 can help machines by:

  • Reducing the time to market by 60 percent
  • Cut costs by saving on person-hours and cycle times
  • Reduce the time needed to create tool paths

What Can Be Better

With all the features that Autodesk tries to pack into Fusion 360, some users complain about a feature that they need but are not offered. There may be some tools that you will miss out on using Fusion 360, so be sure to check it out with a free trial first before subscribing.

Some users complain about the constant lags and crashes when you’re working with larger files.

Fusion 360: The Bottom Line

Fusion 360 is probably one of the most feature-packed software for serious CAD and CAM professionals. It’s accessible anywhere, and you don’t need to install it on your computer. What’s more, you can access cloud resources to do your work, such as rendering and simulation.

Pros

  • Excellent customer service and support
  • It gives you a comprehensive range of tools for you to do your work quickly and allows you to save time
  • Model parts the way you want
  • Good value for money
  • Makes collaboration easy

Cons

  • Extensions will cost you extra
  • issues with crashing and lag
  • It needs an Internet connection

What Is SketchUp?

SketchUp is a 3D modeling program utilized by professionals in interior design, mechanical engineering, landscape architecture, civil engineering, video game design, film, and architecture.

SketchUp: The Features You Like

With SketchUp, you can create 3D models and see them in 3D spaces. You can achieve high levels of detail and accuracy with ease. SketchUp is interoperable and can be used to import and export various file formats.

You can use objects to work faster and generate reports every step of the way. You have access to textures, animations, and lighting effects for excellent design presentations.

With SketchUp, you also get recommendations on your design, allowing you to get tips on how to improve your design based on the type of object you’re making or the weather. You should be able to combine 3D models with text or 2D illustrations.

SketchUp also allows you to view your objects in augmented, virtual, and mixed reality.

SketchUp Pro and SketchUp Studio

SketchUp Pro and Studio versions give you the chance to work on your designs using the company’s web-based program, as well as the ability to download them onto your computer.

These versions allow you to get a more robust set of features than Shop and experience reality headset viewing and plug-in extensions.

If you have more complex workflows, the Studio version will be a better choice. It allows you to import designs from the cloud and work on them with the program’s native toolbox. You also have real-time visualizations, photorealistic images, and animation.

Pricing

As the name suggests, SketchUp Free is free to use, and you already have access to a web-based 3D design tool, a model viewer, and up to 10 gigabytes of storage.

Sketch Shop will cost you $199 a year and comes with everything you can get for free, plus access to prebuilt 3D designs, an augmented reality viewer, and all the cloud storage you can use.

You can choose SketchUp Pro for $299 a year for professionals, and you can get the desktop program and the web-based version, along with a more robust set of tools for 3D modeling, design documentation tools, and an experience reality viewer.

SketchUp also offers SketchUp Studio for more advanced design work, and it comes with the entire range of features and functionalities that the software provides. SketchUp Studio costs $1,199 per year, but you can use promo codes to bring the price down to $799. Students and educators can get access to SketchUp Studio for only $55 a year.

Further, primary and secondary schools can get license grants to use SketchUp Pro for free.

See how Sketchup compares to AutoCAD

The Bottom Line on SketchUp

Most 3D modeling programs force you to choose between the ease of use and the range of features. Not SketchUp. This software is intuitive to use and learn while also giving you tools to create your designs fast. Indeed, even professionals will find SketchUp enough for their needs.

Pros

  • Probably the easiest CAD program to use
  • The free version is an excellent help for casual users
  • VR model views
  • Unlimited cloud storage
  • Access to 3D Warehouse’s library of ready-made 3D models

Cons

  • No lifetime plans
  • You might not have the tools that you’d find for applications outside of 3D modeling.

Fusion 360 vs SketchUp: A Comparison

SketchUp and Fusion 360 are two of the most widely used programs for 3D modeling and computer-aided design today for a reason. These two are among the most capable software that helps professionals do their work, with reasonable pricing and helpful support.

There are a lot of these two programs that overlap. And there are areas where one is better than the other.

When it comes to features and functionalities, Fusion 360 is more flexible with its CAD tools that let you create using all kinds of techniques such as surface, parametric, and direct modeling. Plus, it has tools for CAM, simulation, 2D designs, 3D printing, and rendering.

SketchUp has a narrower focus on 3D modeling. That, however, makes SketchUp easier to learn with a clean user interface. Yet it still offers a lot with its extensions and plug-ins complimenting its already rich native tools.

Platforms

Both Fusion 360 and SketchUp come in different versions, with discounts for students and teachers and free versions for personal use.

Overall, SketchUp offers more affordable licensing, and its free version limits the tools you can use. You’re also limited to 10 gigabytes of cloud storage.

Meanwhile, Fusion 360 limits free users to only 10 active projects, and they won’t be able to use the simulation workspace and other functionalities. Fusion 360 also is purely cloud-based, while you have a downloadable program that you can install locally with SketchUp.

User Interface

SketchUp has a cleaner user interface with a toolbar at the top of the screen, giving you all the tools you can use. Choose a tool, and it might show you a pop-up window with additional options and settings for that selected tool.

Meanwhile, Fusion 360 looks more like all other 3D CAD programs, where you work with tabs, a toolbar, view modes, a grid system, and a parts list. You also have a floating menu that gives you the tools you have recently used, your favorite ones, and some more frequently used and essential tools.

Features and Functionalities

You can safely say that Fusion 360 has many features and tools that make it more beneficial to a broader audience. However, if you look at how these two have a lot of similarities, let focus on that.

Storage

Fusion 360 automatically stores your projects on the cloud while also keeping copies of your work locally. It uses the A360 platform to share, view, and administer these files, while also having apps for Android and iOS phones.

SketchUp requires you to upload your work manually using Trimble Connect. Once you’ve uploaded your files, you can now work on them anywhere using SketchUp’s cloud platforms.

Rendering

SketchUp requires you to install extensions and plug-ins before you can do some rendering on your designs. Meanwhile, Fusion 360 has native rendering tools that are part of the program.

Fusion 360 users have a dedicated workspace for photorealistic renderings.

2D Drawing

Sometimes, all you need is to be able to do a quick two-dimensional drawing. Fusion 360 has a drafting workspace for technical drawings. For SketchUp, you will need to use the Studio or Pro versions to access LayOut, which you can use to do 2D graphics.

SketchUp without using any extension is only for 3D drawings.

Extensibility

SketchUp’s main draw is how you can get more features and tools by getting extensions and plug-ins. Fusion 360 also has the Autodesk App Store, where you can find official extensions. However, most of the extensions, while free, need a full license.

Support

Fusion 360 shines because they have a lot of channels for supporting users. They have official tutorials that allow you to learn about the program, as well as specific features. You have tons of documentation to consult. They also have the Autodesk Design Academy and user community forums.

On the other hand, SketchUp has official support that ranges from tips, troubleshooting advice, blogs, and tutorials. They also have online courses offered by the SketchUp campus.

However, SketchUp’s online user community is less of the company’s initiative. There are a lot of users that help others. Plus, third-party developers are offering extensions and plug-ins.

Are there alternatives to both Fusion 360 and SketchUp?

If you want to make sure that Fusion 360 or SketchUp is the best for you, then you should consider these programs:

  • SelfCAD has a free version that offers you everything you need to design a 3D model and print it. You can create complicated designs while working with an intuitive user interface. You can also save time using generators, so you don’t have to design everything from scratch.
  • TinkerCAD is excellent for beginners. It comes from Autodesk, and it allows you to create easy designs right on your browser. TinkerCAD uses a drag and drop user interface that makes it easier for even CAD beginners to create simple 3D models.
  • LibreCAD is an option if you do 2D modeling. This open-source software has a good set of tools for 2D model creation and has a thriving user community.

Your Frequently-Asked Questions

In this section, let’s answer the questions we usually get from our readers.

Question: What is CAD, anyway?

Answer: Computer-aided design is when your computer helps you to create the design that you have in mind. It’s used in a wide range of industries, allowing you to create models in the work area to visualize an idea that you have quickly.

Computers will help you create a model that gives you an idea of how tall or wide a particular object is. CAD also allows you to see the details of your design and even gives you the chance to improve your design ideas, such as seeking weak points in your design or making it more efficient, lightweight, or stronger.

More importantly, CAD allows you to bring your design ideas to life. Once you have your designs created in CAD software, you can open it in CAM software to help you know just how to make prototypes of your design.

Question: How easy is it to learn to a CAD software?

Answer: You might think it’s challenging to get familiar with and use CAD software, but it’s not. CAD software may be very technical, and it will require a lot of familiarity for you to use it properly, but it’s enjoyable to learn.

Various developers have been making CAD software more intuitive and easy to learn. Plus, these companies have been busy at work coming up with tutorials and documentation that will allow users to learn independently. If you have a particular feature that stumps you, you can get videos that teach you how to master them.

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SketchUp vs Fusion 360: The Final Word

SketchUp and Fusion 360 are both excellent programs that allow you to bring your design ideas to life. You can’t go wrong with choosing between either of them, and the better choice between these two will ultimately boil down to which one suits your needs more.

However, if you’re a more experienced CAD user with a need for software that can handle complex designs, you’re better off with Fusion 360. Sketchup, on the other hand, is ideal for beginners and those who are more into 3D modeling.

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

Fusion 360 vs Rhino

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

Main Differences Between Fusion 360 vs Rhino

The main differences between Fusion 360 vs Rhino are:

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

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

What Is Fusion 360?

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

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

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

3D modeling

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

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

Other Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Collaboration

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

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

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

Extensions

Autodesk offers different extensions for:

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

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

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

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

Pricing

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

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

What You’d Like About Fusion 360

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

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

What Might Be Better

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

Fusion 360: The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

See how Fusion 360 compares to other software alternatives:

What Is Rhino 3D?

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

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

What Can You Get from Rhino 3D?

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

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

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

Highlights of Rhino’s Many Features

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

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

Rhino Pricing

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

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

What You Will Like About Rhino 3D

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

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

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

What You Should Know About Rhino 3D

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

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

The Bottom Line: Rhino 3D

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

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

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

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

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

What Kind of Tools Do They Offer?

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

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

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

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

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

Pricing

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

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

So, Which One Should You Choose?

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

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

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

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

What is the NURBS mathematical model?

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

Why should you use NURBS for computer-aided modeling?

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

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

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

SolidWorks

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

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

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

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

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

Read our full Fusion 360 vs Solidworks Comparison

Onshape

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

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

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

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

SketchUp

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

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

Read our full Sketchup vs Fusion 360 Comparison.

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

Creo

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

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

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

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

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

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

SolveSpace

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

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

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

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

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

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

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

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

Fusion 360 vs Rhino 3D: Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

anycubic wash and cure review

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

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

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

Affordable and Efficient
Wash and Cure Station | AnyCubic

Don't waste your time with DIY garbage. This machine is inexpensive and makes post processing so much easier. Well worth any "premium" vs DIY.

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

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

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

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

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

Washing Your Prints

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

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

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

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

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

Curing

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

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

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

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

Dimensions

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

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

Affordable and Efficient
Wash and Cure Station | AnyCubic

Don't waste your time with DIY garbage. This machine is inexpensive and makes post processing so much easier. Well worth any "premium" vs DIY.

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Pros

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

Cons

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

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

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

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

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

Form Wash and Form Cure: Another Alternative

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

Form Wash

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

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

The Form Wash costs around $500.

Form Cure

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

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

Pros

  • It saves you a lot of post-processing time

Cons

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

The Benefits of Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0

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

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

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

FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Considerable Alternative
Creality 3D UW-01 Machine | Creality 3D Official

With three-gear speed mode, it includes washing and curing. The washing and curing time has 2-90min optional. Delicate models come from the curing and washing.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1. Taking the supports off

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

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

2. Curing the Print

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

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

3. Last Reminder: Be Safe

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

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

Should You Buy the Anycubic Wash & Cure Machine 2.0?

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

Affordable and Efficient
Wash and Cure Station | AnyCubic

Don't waste your time with DIY garbage. This machine is inexpensive and makes post processing so much easier. Well worth any "premium" vs DIY.

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Anycubic Photon Mono Review: Is It Worth Buying

Anycubic Photon Mono Review

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

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

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

Photon Mono 3D Printer | AnyCubic

With the transparent cover, you can watch your prints while still blocking 99.95% of the UV light.

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

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

Features of the Anycubic Photon Mono

Six-inch 2k Monochrome LCD

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

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

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

Easy to Replace FEP Film

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

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

Simple and Functional Design

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

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

Anycubic Photon Workshop

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

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

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

Print Quality

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

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

What You’d Like About the Anycubic Photon Mono

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

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

Anycubic Photon Mono: What Can Be Better

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

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

The Bottom Line

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

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

Photon Mono 3D Printer | AnyCubic

With the transparent cover, you can watch your prints while still blocking 99.95% of the UV light.

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Pros

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

Cons

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

Quick Specifications

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

Other Anycubic Photon Versions

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

  • Photon S
  • Photon Mono SE
  • Photon Mono X

Photon S

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

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

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

Photon S 3D Printer | AnyCubic

Adopt matrix UV lighting and 2k high resolution screen, uniform distribution of energy, both contribute to enhance prototype precision.

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Pros

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

Cons

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

Photon Mono SE

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

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

Photon Mono SE 3D Printer | AnyCubic

The exposure time is reduced to 1 second. The printing speed is 2-3 times faster than the speed of an RGB screen.

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Pros

  • Fine details are possible with this printer
  • Speedy prints

Cons

  • Not exactly accurate

Photon Mono X

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

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

Photon Mono X 3D Printer | AnyCubic

Cooling device for stable printing performance and longer service life.

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Pros

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

Cons

  • It might be too hefty for your desk

Which Anycubic Photon Product Is Right for You?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

System Photon Mono SE Photon S Photon Mono X Photon Mono
Price $380 to $420 $250 to $420 $690 to $760 $220 to $270
Dimensions (millimeters) 220 by 200 by 400 230 by 200 by 400 270 by 290 by 475 227 by 222 by 383
Weight (kilograms) 8.2 9.5 10.8 4.5
Resin Yes Yes Yes Yes
405-Nanometer Light Source Yes Yes Yes Yes
LCD-Based SLA Yes Yes Yes Yes
Rated Power 55W 50W​ 120W 45W
Build Volume (millimeters) 130 by 78 by 160 115 by 65 by 165 192 by 120 by 245 130 by 80 by 165
Layer Resolution (microns) 10 to 150 25 to 100 10 to 150 10 to 150
Top Printing Speed (millimeters per hour) 80 20 60 50
Touch Screen (inches) 3.5 2.8 3.5 3.5
USB Connectivity Yes Yes Yes Yes
XY Resolution (microns) 51 47 50 51
XY Resolution (pixels 2,560 by 1,620 2,560 by 1,440 3,840 by 2,400 3,840 by 2,400
Z-Axis Resolution (microns) 10 1.25 10 10
Fused Deposition Modeling Stereolithography
Excellent Print Resolution No Yes
Highly Accurate Yes Yes
Good Surface Finish No Yes
Easy to Use Yes Yes
Main Selling Point Fast and affordable Very accurate with smooth surface finish
Cons Prints have lower accuracy and level of details Resins should be kept out of UV light
Materials Thermoplastics Resins

SLA: Lasers vs Projectors vs LCD

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

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

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

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

Cost

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

Build Area

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

Printing Speed

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

Alternatives to the Anycubic Photon Mono

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

Elegoo Saturn

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

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

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

ELEGOO Saturn MSLA 3D Printer | Amazon

Saturn 3D Printer comes with 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD screen with 3840 x 2400 HD resolution, reducing layer printing time to 1.5s-2s, which is a 60% faster than Mars Pro but still delivers excellent print results.

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Pros

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

Cons

  • More expensive than the Photon Mono

Quick Specs

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini

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

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini | 3D Printers Online Store

This is a really great budget resin printer and it prints insanely fast. You could print almost anything!

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Pros

  • Fast printing times
  • Affordable
  • Very easy to use

Cons

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

Quick Specs

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

Creality LD-002H

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

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

LD-002H 3D Printer | Creality 3D Official

The Creality LD-002H resin printer is supported by CHITU BOX software for slicing. CHITU BOX is easy to use, with one-key functions to add a model, adjust supports, model size, etc.

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Pros

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

Cons

  • Bed leveling is done manually

Quick Specs

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

FAQs

Question: Is Anycubic a good company?

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

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

Question: What is resin printing?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Buy the Anycubic Photon Mono?

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

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

Photon Mono 3D Printer | AnyCubic

With the transparent cover, you can watch your prints while still blocking 99.95% of the UV light.

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

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

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

CoreXY vs HBot

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

The Main Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot 3D Printers

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

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

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

What Is CoreXY?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Before You Buy: The Weaknesses of CoreXY Printers

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

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

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

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

Pros and Cons of CoreXY Printers

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

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

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

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

The Best Examples of CoreXY Printers

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

Two trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer

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

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

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

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

Two Trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer | 3dPrintersBay

This 3D Printer is mostly assembled, no soldering required. You will just need to connect the upper and lower frame together and plug in some connections. A notable feature is its Strong Double turbo cooling fan which helps achieve a cleaner, more appealing final product.

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Pros

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

Cons

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

Tronxy X5SA PRO 3D Printer

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Creativity CoreXY Structure Remote Range Elf 3D Printer

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

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

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

CoreXY 3D Printers: The Bottom Line

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

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

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

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

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

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

The H-Bot Design Flaw

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

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

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

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

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

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

H-Bot: The Bottom Line

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Differences Between CoreXY vs HBot

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

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions

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

Question: What are Cartesian FDM 3D Printers?

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

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

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

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

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

Question: Why is momentum bad when printing?

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

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

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

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

CoreXY vs HBot: The Final Word

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

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

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

Two Trees Sapphire-PRO 3D Printer | 3dPrintersBay

This 3D Printer is mostly assembled, no soldering required. You will just need to connect the upper and lower frame together and plug in some connections. A notable feature is its Strong Double turbo cooling fan which helps achieve a cleaner, more appealing final product.

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

Elegoo Saturn Review

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

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

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

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

ELEGOO Saturn MSLA 3D Printer | Amazon

Saturn 3D Printer comes with 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD screen with 3840 x 2400 HD resolution, reducing layer printing time to 1.5s-2s, which is a 60% faster than Mars Pro but still delivers excellent print results.

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Monochrome LCD

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

Stereolithography traces its meaning to two Greek words:

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

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

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

Benefits of Masked Stereolithography

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

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

Elegoo Saturn Is Faster than Most Other MSLA Printers

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

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

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

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

High-Resolution LCD

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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

Z-Axis

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

Notable Features

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

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

Resin

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

Pricing

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

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

ELEGOO Saturn MSLA 3D Printer | Amazon

Saturn 3D Printer comes with 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD screen with 3840 x 2400 HD resolution, reducing layer printing time to 1.5s-2s, which is a 60% faster than Mars Pro but still delivers excellent print results.

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Huge Build Volume

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

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

Bottom Line

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • No resin included

Comparison to other Elegoo 3D the printers

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

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

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

Alternatives to the Elegoo Saturn?

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

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

Peopoly Phenom

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

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

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

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

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

Features of the Peopoly Phenom

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

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

Specifications

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini

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

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

Some of the features you should know include:

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

Before You Buy

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

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini | 3D Printers Online Store

This is a really great budget resin printer and it prints insanely fast. You could print almost anything!

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Specifications

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

Pros

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

Cons

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

Photon Mono SE

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

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

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

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

Features You Should Know

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

  • You can use the Anycubic App to see how far along your printing job is going, as well as tweak the print settings even without going close to the printer.
  • The printing platform is made with brushed aluminum
  • Responsive and intuitive user interface
  • Affordable, selling for anywhere from $320 to $420
Photon Mono SE 3D Printer | AnyCubic

The exposure time is reduced to 1 second. The printing speed is 2-3 times faster than the speed of an RGB screen.

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Specifications

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

FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

Question: What are the benefits of MSLA printers?

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

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

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

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

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

Should You Buy the Elegoo Saturn?

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

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

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

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

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

ELEGOO Saturn MSLA 3D Printer | Amazon

Saturn 3D Printer comes with 8.9-inch 4K monochrome LCD screen with 3840 x 2400 HD resolution, reducing layer printing time to 1.5s-2s, which is a 60% faster than Mars Pro but still delivers excellent print results.

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The Final Word on the Elegoo Saturn

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

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

6 Best Sketchup Alternatives in 2021 You’ll Love

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

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

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

  1. Art of Illusion: Best for Professionals as well as Beginners
  2. Fusion 360: Very Powerful Alternative
  3. Autodesk Inventor: Best for Complex Projects
  4. Rhino 3D: Best for turning Sketch into a 3D Model
  5. Tinkercad: Best Easy to Use Software
  6. Blender: Best for Creating Professional-Quality 3D Models

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

What Is Sketchup?

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

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

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

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

1. Art of Illusion

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

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

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

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

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

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

Art of Illusion: Bottom Line

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

2. Fusion 360

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

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

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

Read our full Fusion 360 vs Sketchup comparison.

Fusion 360: The Skinny

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

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

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

3. Autodesk Inventor

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

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

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

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

What You Should Know About Autodesk Inventor

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

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

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

Read our full Autocad vs Sketchup comparison here.

4. Rhino 3D

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

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

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

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

Rhino 3D: The Bottom Line

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

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

5. Tinkercad

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

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

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

See how Tinkercad compares to Fusion 360.

What You Can and Cannot Get from Tinkercad

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

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

6. Blender

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

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

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

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

The Bottom Line on Blender

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

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

Other Software You Can Consider Alongside Sketchup

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

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

Question: What is primitive modeling?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Best Alternatives to Sketchup

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

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

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