Hatchbox Filament Review: How Good is This 3D Printer Filament?

If you need filament for your 3D printer, then our Hatchbox Filament review will give you everything you need to know. Hatchbox is a Californian based company however the filament itself is manufactured in China.

They have been around since 2013 so they aren’t exactly new to the market and have built up a loyal following. This includes 3D printer enthusiasts and businesses who need filament for 3D printers in various price ranges.

By the end of this review you’ll know all about Hatchbox filament including its different features, how it performs when printing, its pros and cons and also what alternatives are out there.

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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Key specifications of Hatchbox PLA Filament

Find the specifications for the Hatchbox PLA filament below.

Filament size 1.75mm and 3mm
Material Polylactic Acid
Recommended Extrusion/Nozzle Temperature 180°C – 220°C
Spool Diameter 7.88 inches
Spool Width: 2.69 inches
Spool Hub Hole Diameter 2.20 inches
Warranty 30-Day Satisfaction guarantee
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Hatchbox PLA Filament

hatchox pla filament

There are a number of different Hatchbox filaments that you can buy for your 3D printer and we are going to focus on one of the most common – PLA.

Whether you need filament for plastic prints, wood, or even other materials, you should be able to find a Hatchbox branded filament to do the job. There are many different features of Hatchbox filament so let’s dive into the specific features for the PLA filament.

Types 

Affordable

One of the biggest selling points with Hatchbox PLA filament is that it is very affordable when compared to many other filaments on the market.

You won’t need to splash out a ton of money to get a hold of PLA filament from Hatchbox. This is especially good for 3D printing home users who perhaps don’t have a ton of money to spend on the filament. 3D printers can be very affordable however for some people it can still represent a fairly large cost.

By being able to get good quality PLA filament for a low price, it cuts down on the overall price of using your 3D printer. It also means you can print off more objects and use more filament without incurring large costs.

Smooth finish

A testament to the good quality of Hatchbox PLA filament is that it gives smooth finishes to your 3D prints.

It is clog-free which means that there won’t be any air bubble or clogs in the final print. This gives off a nice and professional finish. This filament also gives off a glossy color to your objects. Overall the quality of the filament when in use and also when it is crafted in different 3D objects is very high.

Variety of different colors

Another feature of using Hatchbox PLA filament is that it comes in a wide variety of different colors. This is especially useful if you need to print different objects with several color schemes.

Multi-color 3D printers are becoming more popular as their affordability is rising and the quality for the everyday user is getting better as well. Hatchbox PLA filament comes in a variety of different colors from black to green, white to yellow and you’ll find some great shades in there too such as copper.

If you need a certain color for your 3D printing ventures, you’ll find a Hatchbox PLA filament to do the job.

Works with most 3D printers

Hatchbox PLA filament is available in both 1.75mm and 3mm this means that it will work with the vast majority of 3D printers.

Most 3D printers that are aimed at enthusiasts and small businesses as well as some larger units will use either 1.75mm or 3mm filament which means Hatchbox PLA will be compatible with your 3D printer.

You won’t need to worry about this filament not working with your 3D printer. While some 3D printer manufacturers require you to use their own filament, this isn’t the case with most models.

Moisture-proof

If you live in a humid climate then you will know that moisture can be very troublesome when using and storing filament. It is also a problem in certain workspaces.

Hatchbox PLA is fairly moisture-proof (not completely) and it won’t absorb a lot of moisture. It comes vacuum sealed for added protection as well. One thing to mention with this filament is that the bag that the filament comes in isn’t resealable.

You’ll need to get a dry box or something else that is properly sealed to store it once you open the pack for the first time. That being said, compared to some other filaments it has very good moisture-proof qualities, and when you consider the price it is a great feature that you often find in high-end models.

The spool is well designed

A well documented flaw with Hatchbox spools was that the center hole used to be too small. It only measured 1.25 inches which wasn’t big enough. This meant that you had to 3D print a spool holder or buy one if you wanted to use Hatchbox filament in many 3D printers.

However, this has been updated so the hole now measures around 2.2 inches which means you don’t need to print off a special holder. This is a big upgrade and one that will make your life a lot easier when using Hatchbox PLA.

The spool overall is well designed and it is sturdy as well. It doesn’t have a lot of tightness so the filament can run evenly and smoothly and you shouldn’t come across any filament tangles when using it.

How does Hatchbox PLA Filament perform?

pla filament

When you consider that Hatchbox PLA filament is pretty compared to many other filaments on the market, you might be tempted to think that it is below average. Some cheap filaments don’t perform well at all.

So, what about PLA from Hatchbox?

We have found that it performs really well. When we put it to the famous 3D Benchy test, our models came out really well. There wasn’t any warping and the overall printing process was pretty seamless.

Even with more intricate and differently shaped models, we didn’t come across any noticeable or major issues when using this filament. It offers high quality and a smooth finish and the absence of blemishes or warping is a big bonus. In fact, we’d say it compares to some of the more expensive filaments out there.

All in all, the Hatchbox PLA filament performs very well indeed.

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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Pros of Hatchbox PLA filament

There is a lot to like about Hatchbox filament, here are the best bits.

New spool design

The previous issues with the spools from Hatchbox didn’t completely put us off using it – it was just a hassle having to print off or buy a special spool holder.

The new design with a bigger center hole is a major plus. The overall design also allows the filament to flow smoothly and evenly without encountering any tangling or problems.

Variety of colors

If you need a specific color for your 3D printers or you need several colors to use on a multi-color 3D printer, you’ll find what you need with Hatchbox PLA.

There are a wide variety of different colors with this filament and it is easy to find what you are looking for. Rather than just printing off 3D models in boring monotone colors, with this PLA you can really make some bright and colorful prints.

Very affordable

Some filament brands can be pretty expensive and the higher price does not also represent a jump in quality.

With Hatchbox PLA filament you are not only getting filament that does offer high-quality finishes but the actual cost is low as well. This benefits everyone but especially home users who may be on a tight budget.

Compatible with most 3D printers

As this filament comes in both 1.75mm and 3mm varieties you will be able to use it on the vast majority of FDM 3D printers. If you have an inexpensive 3D printer that you use at home or if you have a more expensive model that you operate for business purposes, Hatchbox PLA filament should work on your printer.

Fairly moisture proof

While the filament won’t completely moisture-proof, it doesn’t absorb a great deal either. This is handy if you live in a humid environment and it can spoil the filament fairly easily if you don’t store it properly. The fact that it has a low moisture absorption constructed is an advantage.

Cons of Hatchbox PLA filament

Before we have a look at some alternative filaments, there are a few cons of using Hatchbox PLA.

The bag isn’t resealable

The bag that the filament comes in isn’t resealable. It is reasonably moisture-proof however you still need to store it properly. This means you’ll need a dry box or something else which is sealed.

It isn’t a massive drawback but we would have liked a resealable bag. It is a fairly simple thing that would make a big difference in how we view this filament.

Support isn’t the best

There aren’t a ton of different ways in which you can contact Hatchbox if you have any issues. They do have a short contact form on their website.

We found that contacting them to be a bit difficult in terms of getting a response and it is something that could definitely be improved upon. They aren’t the worst to get in contact with but it could certainly be a lot better.

Are there any alternatives?

Makerbot PLA Filament

If you don’t want to use Hatchbox PLA filament, an alternative is to use Makerbot PLA filament.

makerbot pla filament

This is another high quality filament that is going to get you really good printed jobs with little to no blemishes.

It is slightly higher priced than the PLA from Hatchbox however it is still very affordable.

You’ll also find this filament in a number of colors as well which is ideal if you want to use it for multicolor printing.

The Makerbot PLA filament is great for printing off objects especially if you have a Makerbot printer and it represents a good alternative to Hatchbox PLA.

OVERTURE PLA Filament

Another filament to consider which also isn’t going to break the bank is the OVERTURE PLA Filament.

OVERTURE PLA Filament

It comes in a wide variety of different colors from black to red to green and many more too. You’ll find a shade that will suit what you need with this filament.

It comes in 1.75mm as well and will fit the vast majority of FDM 3D printers which is handy as well.

Its clog and bubble-free construction mean that you will be able to get high-quality prints with this filament and it isn’t expensive either.

It is in and around the same price as the Hatchbox PLA filament so it’s definitely in the affordable category.

All in all the OVERTURE PLA Filament is pretty decent, offers good quality and reliable prints, and isn’t going to cost a lot of money either.

FAQs

Question: What filament sizes for Hatchbox PLA filament come in?

Answer: Hatchbox PLA filament comes in both 1.75mm and 3mm filament sizes. This means that it will fit and can be used in the vast majority of FDM 3D printers especially those used by home users and small businesses. Some 3D printers may only be able to use filament from the same manufacturer, so make sure that you check this out first.

Question: What is the recommended printer temperature when using Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: The recommended printing temperature with Hatchbox PLA filament is 180°C – 220°C. The bed temperature should be around 60°C as well.

Question: Is Hatchbox PLA filament good quality?

Answer: Yes. Even though this is very much an affordable filament it still prints off objects in high quality with little to no blemishes or imperfections. When we tested the Hatchbox PLA filament we found that our objects came out very well indeed and it represents good value for money.

Question: Can I get Hatchbox PLA filament in different colors?

Answer: Yes. Hatchbox PLA filament comes in a variety of different colors including black, green, white and yellow right through to more unique color schemes such as copper. You should be able to find the shape you are looking for when printing in different colors or using a multi-color printer.

Question: Can I paint over objects after being printed with Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: Yes. When your 3D object has been printed using Hatchbox PLA filament, you can paint it if you wish. We would recommend using acrylic paint rather than oil based paints. If you are using a paint that is oil based, test it out on a scrap piece of PLA first to see how it responds.

Question: Do I need to print off a spool holder to use with Hatchbox PLA filament?

Answer: No. The spool has been upgraded recently with a bigger centre hole. Previously you would need to print off a spool holder in order to use Hatchbox filament effectively however the new design means you don’t need to do this anymore.

Final thoughts

When it comes to using filament on your 3D printer, there are a lot of options out there. While some 3D printers will only use filament from that manufacturer, the majority will be compatible for 3rd party filament.

Hatchbox PLA filament works in most FDM 3D printers.

There is a lot to like about this filament and to be honest there isn’t much we didn’t like about it. That being said, there are a few things to remind you about.

The fact it doesn’t come with a resealable bag is one downside that we think would be a fairly easy thing to fix and would make this filament even better.

Storing it isn’t hard but having a resealable bag is a small thing that would make a big improvement. OK, their support could do with being a bit better as well but these are small niggles with an otherwise great filament.

This PLA filament from Hatchbox is cheap and affordable but that doesn’t mean it isn’t of good quality. Any of the prints that we put this PLA filament to the test with came out really well. There were no clogs or bubbles and it is easy to use.

The upgraded spool is a nice addition and it means you don’t need to print off a spool holder which is a big bonus. This is definitely somewhere they have improved upon in recent years. We also really liked the different colors that you can buy with this filament and it works well in humid climates too.

Overall the Hatchbox PLA filament is a very good filament indeed. It comes in 1.75mm and 3mm varieties, works with most 3D printers and for the price it offers great value for money as well.

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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

 

Best Stepper Motor Driver for 3D Printer

One way you can massively upgrade the performance of your 3D printer is to find the best stepper motor, driver.

This important component plays a vital role in how your 3D printer will perform. Not many 3D printer owners know what this driver does. It isn’t a common piece of 3D printing terminology. However, it is essential in the smooth running of your 3D printer and helps to create accurate and high-quality models.

The best stepper motor drivers for your 3D printer that we are going to show you, can really improve how it operates. We’ll also give you everything you need to know about this component. This includes how it works, the best brands, and things you should consider when buying one.

Best Stepper Motor Driver for your 3D Printer – Overview

As a quick snapshot, these are the top 5 stepper motor drivers that you can get for your 3D printer:

Best for saving money Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver  Check latest price
Best for versatility SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver  Check latest price
Best for DIY 3D printers BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price
Best for upgrading A4988 drivers BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price
Best for reducing 3D printer noise Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver Check latest price

What is a stepper motor driver for a 3D printer?

A stepper motor driver is a component that you will find in every 3D printer. This includes the more affordable models right through to the high-end machines. To understand how it works, we need to look at the actual printing process.

First of all, your 3D models are turned into three-dimensional coordinates that are known as G code. The code also contains information for things such as the speed of the fan and temperatures.

This is fed to the 3D printer microcontroller which is essentially a basic computer within your machine. It reads the code and determines which stepper motors need to be moved in order to create your 3D models.

Each stepper motor has a driver that allows it to move independently.

In order to do this, pulses of electrical current are sent between the microcontroller and stepper motor driver in order for the stepper motors to move correctly.

Types of stepper motor drivers for 3D printers

stepper motor driver

There are different types of stepper motor drivers that are designed for 3D printers.

Here are the three main versions that you will come across.

L/R Stepper Motor Driver

This type of stepper motor driver carried out rotations at a low to medium speed and this can result in fairly limited ranges of power output. They can still offer a full rotation but they don’t usually offer control in regards to variable current levels.

Many people would class the L/R stepper motor drivers as low performance or at least low to medium performance.

Chopper Stepper Motor Driver – Micro-step

A chopper stepper motor driver is also known as a PWM (pulse width modulation) or micro step driver. It works on a solitary supply of high voltage and has output transistors that have come on and off automatically.

These types of stepper motor drivers are able to use a micro step mode. This means that it runs smoother and more efficiently as the current rate is regulated at all speeds. This provides a boost in performance however it comes with a higher price tag and the design is generally more complex.

They are also known to produce RFI (Radio Frequency Interference) and can sometimes overheat too.

Bi-level Stepper Motor Driver

The third type of stepper motor driver is the bi-level and this can use both high and low-level voltages.

It works by powering up to a high rate of current and when it reaches the level that you need, the high voltage is turned off. The low voltage is then used to maintain this level of supply when it is in use.

These stepper motor drivers are usually more efficient than others and they generally come at a fairly low cost as well.

Benefits of upgrading your stepper motor driver

Upgrading this relatively simple component on your 3D printer can produce several benefits.

Let’s have a quick look at why upgrading your stepper motor driver can be advantageous.

They can cut down on the noise your 3D printer produces

3D printers – whether they are fairly affordable models or pricier multi-color machines – usually make some noise. Some will be a bit quieter than others however upgrading your stepper motor driver can help reduce the decibels your printer produces.

Some stepper motor drivers have a silent design and they use technology to cut down on noise. With the right model you may find that your 3D printer operates a lot quieter than it did before.

You can get more reliable prints

As the stepper motor driver is what controls the stepper motors, an upgrade version can help you to get more reliable prints.

Buying the best stepper motor driver can help the motors move more precisely with better positional accuracy.This in turn will ensure that all parts of the 3D printing process benefit. You’ll be able to print off higher quality and better objects simply by upgrading a fairly easy component.

Your 3D printer can save on power

Another benefit of upgrading your stepper motor driver is that it can have an impact on power consumption.

Some stepper motor drivers are smart in that they will reduce the current when not in use. This cuts down on the overall power consumption that your 3D printer uses. The various safety features on some stepper motor drivers can also help prevent damage if there is a surge in power or if it overheats.

Things to consider when buying a stepper motor driver

stepper motor driver

Buying the wrong model or a stepper motor driver that isn’t ideal for what you need can actually have a negative impact on the way your printer performs. These are some things to keep in mind before you purchase one.

Torque

The torque is related to the size of the stepper motor and it is related to how big the motor is. In a simple sense, the more torque the more power. You will need to take this into consideration with what printer you have.

Some 3D printers won’t be able to handle higher torque and some won’t perform correctly with lower torque.

Accuracy

Most stepper motor drivers that are an upgrade on your stock one will probably help create more accurate prints anyway. That being said, you need to consider how much accuracy you need.

This can and often does impact on the price as well. The accuracy is usually determined by either small steps or a convoluted gear train.

Cost

There are a ton of stepper motor drivers out there and many manufacturers have been producing them for years. They aren’t the priciest things you can buy for a 3D printer but even for a small component, you need to factor in the cost to your budget.

Remember that the more a stepper motor driver costs don’t necessarily equate to how well it will perform. Many manufacturers will offer discounts and less price per component the more you buy at once.

Compatibility

Even though the majority of stepper motor drivers are compatible with most 3D printers, you will come across some that are designed for certain models. Make sure you read into the types and makes of 3D printers that the stepper motor driver you want to buy is compatible with before you make a purchase.

Best Stepper Motor Driver Brands

Stepper motor drivers for 3D printers are made by different companies and manufacturers. These are some of the top brands you will come across.

Trinamic

Trinamic is a well-known manufacturer of stepper motor drivers for 3D printers. They have their HQ in Germany but they also have research labs in Estonia and operate across the world.

Trinamic tends to focus on larger orders from big companies but there are many of their stepper driver motors available for everyone to buy.

Pololu

Pololu is an American company that is based in Nevada. They have been around since 2000. They often focus their attention more on individual 3D printer owners, hobbyists, and enthusiasts although they do offer a large amount of stepper motor driver models.

BIQU

BIQU is a relative newcomer to the market and they were established in 2015. They are based in Shenzhen City, China and manufacture and sell stepper driver motors to a global market.

Sparkfun

Sparkfun is based in Colorado, United States. They produce a wide range of different electronic components and they were founded in 2003. Stepper motor drivers is just one area they produce hundreds of different open source kits and boards.

5 Best Stepper Motor Drivers for 3D printers

There are many stepper motor drivers on the market. They can be relatively simple components but they perform a powerful function when 3D printing. Let’s have a more detailed look at the top 5 stepper motor drivers that you can buy for your 3D printer.

Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver

The Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver is a cost-effective stepper motor driver which is ideal for DIY built 3D printers or even many other affordable models.

These drivers are capable of 1/16th micro-stepping and come with various features. They are also capable of five-step modes: full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, and 1/16.

powerday A4988 StepStick Stepper Motor Driver Module

Other features include automatic current decay mode detection, synchronous rectification for low power dissipation, and thermal shutdown.

If you want a stepper motor driver for your 3D printer without paying much money, then the A4988 is really the one to go for. Cheap, cheerful and essentially does what you need it to without a lot of fuss.

Pros

  • Cheap and affordable stepper motor driver
  • Will help the performance of your 3D printer
  • Five-step modes and capable of 1/16th microstepping

Cons

  • Is prone to accidentally burnouts

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SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver

The next stepper motor driver on our list is the SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver which is another fairly low-cost model.

This is a great component if you need some versatility in your driver as it works between 7V and 30V.

SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver

You can use this stepper motor driver with 4, 6, and 8 wire stepper motors as well which is great.

The fact that it can handle higher voltages means that you can get more torque and power with your 3D printer. This stepper motor driver is also easy to use and install and is ideal for beginners and experienced users alike.

Pros

  • Very versatile and works with a wide voltage range
  • Is compatible with 4, 6, and 8 wire stepper motors
  • Easy to install and use

Cons

  • May need some additional parts to install

BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver

The BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver is ideal for replacing a stock A4988 which can help to upgrade your 3D printer.

It is the go-to choice for DIY enthusiasts who build their own 3D printers.

5x StepStick DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver

It comes with a variety of step options which include full-step, 1/2 step, 1/4 step, 1/8 step, 1/16 step as well as 1/32 step.

This is one of the easiest stepper motor drivers to use and that is why it is very popular with people who build their own 3D printers. It is also aimed at people who are upgrading a component for the first time.

It has an over-temperature thermal shutdown as well as over-current shutdown, and under-voltage lockout.

The adjustable current control lets you manually set the output while this is an affordable and cost effective component too.

Pros

  • Range of great features including adjustable current control
  • Easy to install and use for DIY 3D printers
  • Affordable and won’t cost much to buy

Cons

  • Some reports of being quite noisy

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BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver

The BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Driver offers five step modes – full, 1/2, 1/4, 1/8 and 1/16.

This component also comes with a variety of different features including an intelligent chopping control for the selection of the correct current decay mode.

BIQU A4988 Compatible StepStick Stepper Motor Diver Module

There is also a thermal shutdown circuitry and they are an affordable piece of kit for your 3D printer too.

While they aren’t silent and will produce a bit of noise, this isn’t a dealbreaker by any means. There are some issues with the potentiometers in that they are difficult to adjust and also aren’t the most durable.

That being said, these are good stepper motor drivers for 3D printers and would suit anyone who wants to upgrade a4988 drivers.

Pros

  • Very good choice for upgrading a4988 drivers
  • Have an intelligent chopping control
  • Five-step modes and thermal shutdown circuitry

Cons

  • Potentiometers difficult to adjust and not very sturdy

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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver

The Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver is the best choice if you want a silent component to reduce the noise that your 3D printer makes.

It is an upgrade to the previous 2100 model. This stepper motor driver comes with a ton of features which isn’t always a necessarily good thing.

Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver

It can get a bit distracting especially if you are new. However, this is a very good stepper motor driver for the price.

It has a sensorless stall detection, noiseless current control mode as well as stall prevention and lower temperature operation.

A high functional and high performing stepper motor driver for your 3D printer but one that isn’t suited towards beginners.

Pros

  • Has a wide variety of great features
  • Noiseless and quiet operation
  • Upgrade to the 2100 model

Cons

  • Amount of features can be overwhelming

FAQs About Cold Air Intake Systems

Question: Does my 3D printer need a stepper motor driver?

Answer: Yes. Even if you don’t know it, your 3D printer will have a stepper motor driver. It provides a very valuable function in determining how the stepper motors move and operate.

Question: Can I install a stepper motor driver myself?

Answer: In most cases, yes. They aren’t particularly difficult to install and even if you are a beginner when it comes to 3D printers, you should be able to do this. Make sure and read the instructions properly and ensure that you are confident before taking this on.

Question: Will a new stepper motor driver improve my 3D printer?

Answer: It should do. If you upgrade from the stock version on your 3D printer and install a stepper motor driver with more features, you should notice a difference in printing. This includes better torque to produce more power and more reliable prints/.

Question: Are stepper motor drivers for 3D printers expensive?

Answer: No. They are a small component and one that is relatively cheap to buy. As they are so small, you will usually find that you will get better prices the more you buy. That being said, some sellers will offer good prices on low quantities too. The actual component itself is pretty cheap compared to other 3D printer parts.

Question: Will any stepper motor driver work on my 3D printer?

Answer: No. Most are fairly universal with the connections however you should always make sure that it is going to fit and be compatible with your 3D printer. Some will only work with certain brands and others should work with most 3D printer models.

Conclusion – what are the best stepper motor drivers for 3D printers

Upgrading your stepper motor driver on your 3D printer has a number of benefits. While they should all provide more torque which equates to more power and better accuracy with printing, the one you choose depends on what you need.

For example, if you want to reduce the noise with your 3D printer then the Trinamic TMC2130 Stepper Motor Driver is the best option. It comes with technology which produces low to no noise and you should notice a big difference when printing.

For any DIY 3D printing enthusiasts and those that have built their own printer, the BHL DRV8825 Stepper Motor Driver is the better choice. It is favored by many hobbyists for a number of reasons as it is very easy to use.

The SparkFun EasyDriver Stepper Motor Driver is highly versatile and it works with a variety of voltages and 3D printers too. It allows for more torque and power and many beginners like it too because the installation is easy and it is straightforward to use.

Finally, for the budget-conscious, the Hobbypower A4988 Stepper Motor Driver is the best model. It is cheap and does basically what you need it to without much fanfare. It is still a powerful stepper motor driver and one that won’t break the bank when purchasing.

Emblaser 2 Review: How Good is This Laser Engraver?

Emblaser 2 Review

With this in-depth Emblaser 2 review, you will know by the end if you should buy this laser cutter and engraver.

Having a laser cutter and engraver is no longer something that people wished they had or could afford. It has turned into a must-have piece of equipment that isn’t out of the financial reach for most people. The Emblaser 2 is made by Darkly Labs who are based in Melbourne, Australia. With a laser cutter and engraver at home, you can use it for a variety of DIY projects.

Let’s get straight into our Emblaser 2 review where we’ll look at its different features, pros, and cons as well as some potential alternatives.

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01/25/2021 11:10 pm GMT

Key specifications of Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver

You can find the key specifications of the Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver below.

Overall Dimensions 540mm x 720mm x 200mm
Build Volume 500 X 300 X 50 mm
Laser Laser Diode, 5w
Cooling Air Cooled
Connectivity WiFi, USB
Software LightBurn (Windows, Mac OS, and Linux)
Warranty 1-Year Limited Warranty

 

3-Year Warranty on Laser Diode

Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Emblaser 2

A laser cutter and engraver opens up many possibilities for your DIY projects at home. Adding one to your collection of tools is no longer a dream for most people and it isn’t going to cost the earth either. While they can often be a bit more expensive than many other tools that you can buy for home projects, the Emblaser 2 was created to offer an affordable option. This means that most people can afford to buy one.

So, what are the core features of this laser cutter and engraver?

emblacer 2

Automatic Laser Height Control

The Emblaser 2 comes with LightBurn which is a well-known piece of software that is used with many laser cutters. It is available for Windows, Mac OS, and Linux.

When used with the Emblaser 2, it sets the height and offset automatically and the software makes adjustments as it sees fit. This is a really handy feature of the Emblaser 2 and helps to ensure accurate engraving and cutting across a wide range of different materials.

Class 1 Solid State Diode Laser`

The Emblaser 2 has a diode laser and comes with a 445-455nm wavelength. 5w is the average radiant power of this laser cutter and engraver too.

It is actually very powerful and offers a safer and more affordable alternative to CO2 laser cutters. There is a 500 x 300 x 50 mm build volume too.v

While it isn’t the most powerful laser cutter and engraver out there, it offers a good level of power and precision for the price. With a width of 100-150um when it comes to the precision of the light means you’ll get accurate cuts that are even too.

Safe to use

If you are a bit worried about using a laser cutter and engraver you’ll be glad to know that the Emblaser 2 is a very safe machine to use.

The laser doesn’t automatically turn on when you power up the machine. There is a laser enabling switch that you need to press. This can be turned on and off whenever you want and it also won’t come on when the lid is open. You’ll also find a fire safety system that alerts you if the material being engraved or cut catches fire.

You still take the necessary safety precaution when using the Emblaser 2 and this includes investing in safety gear as required, but for first-time users and experienced engravers, it is a safe machine.

Automatic Laser Optic Calibration

Through the powerful LightBurn software, the Emblaser 2 has automatic laser optic calibration.

What this does is it sets the lens with the best focal length and it achieves this without having to use any additional fixtures or parts. Not only does it help with having accurate engraving and cutting but it really adds to how easy the Emblaser 2 is to use.

One of its key selling points is ease of use especially for beginners and the automatic laser optic calibration is a big part of this.

Supports a wide range of file formats

The Emblaser 2 and the LightBurn software that you get with this laser engraver and cutter is compatible with a large number of file formats. This opens the doors to be able to use the Emblaser 2 more widely and it also contributes to how easy it is to use.

You shouldn’t need to convert file as it supports:

  • .ai – Adobe Illustrator
  • .pdf – Adobe Portable Document Format
  • .dxf – Drawing Exchange Format
  • .svg – Scalable Vector Graphics
  • .bmp – Bitmap
  • .jpg/.jpeg – Joint Photographic Exports Group
  • .png – Portable Network Graphics
  • .gif – Graphics Interchange Format
  • .tga – Truevision

Camera and WiFi connectivity

Two really good features of the Emblaser 2 is the fact that it comes with a camera and it also has WiFi connectivity as well.

The camera allows you to keep an eye on the work that the laser engraver is doing remotely if you want to. It means you don’t necessarily need to be standing right beside the Emblaser 2 the whole time that you are using it – although we would recommend that you don’t leave it unattended for a long period of time.

Its WiFi connectivity is great as well. It means you can connect several devices to it and there are also USB connections available too.

How does the Emblaser 2 perform?

darkly labs emblaser 2

Overall we have found that the Emblaser 2 is a powerful laser cutter and engraver that does a really good job.

It is a handy tool to have for a wide variety of DIY projects and the workflow is very intuitive. The machine is easy to use overall which is great if you aren’t particularly experienced in using this type of machine.

The presets that come with the software especially in relation to using different materials as well as the automatic calibration further adds to its usability. It helps the Emblaser 2 perform at the highest level because you have most of the settings already in place. If you are new to laser engraving and cutting you don’t need to spend a lot of time setting things up. While there is a bit of a learning curve it isn’t huge.

We found the results very consistent, engraving, and cutting of high quality and it is a very precise piece of kit as well.

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Pros of Emblaser 2

Here are the things we liked most with the Emblaser 2.

Ideal for beginners

The Emblaser 2 is easy to use. Even if you haven’t operated a diode laser cutter and engraver j?   before you will be able to use this one without any problems. There is a learning curve like most machines – such as power tools – but it isn’t a large one. The presets and straightforward software with intuitive workflow means you’ll pick up the ins and outs of the Emblaser 2 quickly.

Safety is a key component2 

A big pro of the Emblaser 2 is that it is safe to use. You need to press a switch to turn on the laser so it won’t automatically turn on when you power up the machine. It also won’t turn on if you have the lid open. While experienced users of laser cutters and engravers might be comfortable using this machine anyway, new users will be safe in the knowledge that it has these additional measures in place.

Good range of presets and LightBurn software

The LightBurn software that you get with the Emblaser 2 is very powerful and straightforward to operate as well. It features a range of presets for whatever materials you are using and the automatic adjustments and calibration are great features too.

Camera and WiFi

The onboard camera allows you to keep an eye on how your cuts and engraving process is progressive remotely. While we wouldn’t advise not being next to a laser cutter for a long period of time, it is a handy feature if you need to do something else quickly. The WiFi is also a great addition so you can connect various devices and it provides a nice alternative alongside USB connectivity.

Supports many file formats

The Emblaser 2 supports a wide range of different file formats including .ai, .pdf, .dxf, .svg, .bmp, .jpg/.jpeg, .png and more.

Cons of Emblaser 2

There are some downsides to the Emblaser 2 that we haven’t yet touched on in our review..

The laser could be more powerful

While it is a diode laser, it could be a bit more powerful than 5w and for the price you are paying, there are perhaps more powerful lasers out there. Don’t get us wrong, it is fairly affordable for what it is however the Emblaser 2 certainly isn’t the most powerful laser engraver and cutter out there.

Support could be a bit better

Another downside to Emblaser 2 is that getting help if something goes wrong could be quicker. There are various options that you can use to get in contact with Darkly Labs – they have a support section with tutorials and an active community – but the response times from Darky Labs Support were a bit slow. Just something to keep in mind should anything ever go wrong with the Emblaser 2.

Are there any alternatives?

TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver

ten high laser

An alternative laser engraver that is in and around the same price as the Emblaser 2 is the TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver.

It uses a C02 laser as opposed to the diode that the Emblaser 2 has, however, the build volume is close to the Emblaser. It features an engraving speed of 30mm per minute and it can also cut through a variety of materials such as plywood, acrylic, felt and various fabrics. It is fairly easy to use and it is ideal for a desktop laser engraver.

The TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver isn’t a bad machine at all and if you want a CO2 laser that is almost the same cost as the Emblaser 2, this is a fine choice to go for.

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Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver

ruida controller

If you want a slightly cheaper option than the Emblaser 2 and also one that uses a CO2 laser like the TEN-HIGH, go with the Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver.

It comes in a bit less expensive than the Emblaser and it features a 400 x 400 mm working area with a 40-50w laser depending on what model you choose. The Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver has a water cooling protection system and is compatible with various software which includes Coreldraw.

It is a bit more ‘no-frills’ than the Emblaser 2 but if the cost is an important factor and you do want to save a few dollars, it is a decent option that will do what you need it to.

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FAQs

Question: Where is the Emblaser 2 made?

Answer: The Emblaser 2 is made by Darkly Labs which is an Australian company based in Melbourne. It was released back in 2017 and is an upgraded version of the Emblaser 1 which was initially launched in 2014.

Question: What materials can I cut and engrave with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: The Emblaser 2 has a 5w diode laser and while it isn’t the most powerful around it can cut and engrave various materials. Some of the materials that the Emblaser 2 can handle include some plastics, softwoods like balsa and MDF, leather, cotton and corkboard. You can find a full list of what the Emblaser 2 can cut and engrave and also to what thickness on their website.

Question: Does the Emblaser 2 have fume extraction?

Answer: Yes. The Emblaser 2 comes with an inbuilt fume extractor. This is an important part of any laser cutter and engraver as the process lets off various fumes and it also helps with achieving better results as well as cleaning and maintenance. You may need to add an additional Fume Filter System to use completely indoors.

Question: What software can I use with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: You can use the LightBurn software package with the Emblaser 2 and it is straightforward to operate. It comes with various presets so you don’t have to do a lot of work to get this laser cutter to work properly.

Question: What support can I get with the Emblaser 2?

Answer: Darkly Labs which make the Emblaser 2 have a support portal that you can access when you make a purchase. They also have a support section on their website where you can find tutorials and an active community for help if you need.

Question: Do I need to be experienced to use the Emblaser 2?

Answer: No. Even if you haven’t used a laser engraver before you should find the Emblaser 2 easy to use. It has many presets and the automatic laser optic calibration makes things even more straightforward.

Final thoughts

The Emblaser 2 is an affordable desktop laser cutter that could be more powerful but it’s still a good machine Overall the Emblaser 2 is a good device that cuts and engraves a wide variety of different materials.

It uses a 5w diode laser and while we would have liked it to be a bit more powerful, it still does a decent job. There are many things that we do really like about the Emblaser 2. This includes the automatic laser height control and the laser optic calibration. Combined with the LightBurn software and the various presets that are available, it makes this a very straightforward machine to use.

Safety is a big selling point with the Emblaser 2 as well. It has several good safety features which includes the fact that the laser doesn’t automatically turn on when you power it up, and it also won’t turn on when the lid is open.

For the price the Emblaser 2 is affordable. It essentially does what you need it to do. It does fall down in a few areas. The aforementioned laser could be a bit stronger and the response when you need support could also be quicker.

So, is it worth the money?

We think yes.

It could be better in some areas and you can get a better laser cutter and engraver if you want to pay some more money. However, as an affordable option that is easy to use especially for beginners the Emblaser 2 is worth it.

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Read More:

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers – Which is Best?

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

You may have heard of CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers before, but perhaps you aren’t sure what the differences are? If that’s the case, then our CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D printers comparison is going to show what makes these machines unique, and also what their similarities are too.

We’re also going to look at some examples of the best CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers that you are able to buy. Before we get into the ins and outs of these types of 3D printers, let’s look at the main differences between them.

Main Differences Between CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

The main differences between CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers are:

  • CoreXY 3D printers are usually quite quick at printing objects, whereas Cartesian 3D printers are slower.
  • CoreXY 3D printers use belts, whereas Cartesian 3D printers use X, Y, and Z axes to print.
  • CoreXY 3D printers will move at 0 or 90 degrees, whereas CoreXY printers will move at 45 degrees.
  • CoreXY 3D printers can be difficult for beginners to assemble, whereas Cartesian 3D printers tend to be easier to set up

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

Up until 2013, the majority of FDM 3D printers were made with a Cartesian construction and we’re going to have a look at what that means below.

Then along came CoreXY printers.

The design was initially created by MIT and they have since grown into the favored 3D printer for many people. The unique feature with a CoreXY printer is that the belts will move in different planes when in use. This is designed so that there is a reduction in twisting when printing off objects which should result in more accurate printers.

CoreXY 3D Printers

The X and Y motors on a CoreXY 3D printer are also kept in one place which means that the weight of the printer itself is reduced. The belt on a CoreXY 3D printer will move the tool head at a 45-degree angle as well.

The difference is that the belts on a CoreXY printer move in different planes so this reduces the impact on twisting when printing. The X and Y motors are kept in one place so the overall weight of the parts on the printer is reduced as well.

If you pull on the belt of the CoreXY 3D printer it will also move the tool head at a 45-degree angle.

There are some advantages to this design

For one it can result in fast print speeds without a reduction in the quality of your prints and this is mainly down to the fact that it doesn’t have many moving parts. A CoreXY printer will also be generally smaller in overall size without having to sacrifice build volume.

These printers do have some disadvantages

The belt system can mean more time preparing the machine to print and maintenance costs may be higher too. If your frame isn’t assembled into a perfect square it can impact on print accuracy so that is something to keep in mind as well.

What is a Cartesian 3D Printer?

Cartesian 3D printers can be described as almost the more ‘traditional’ model and they are the most common design for 3D printers on the market.

They utilize 3 axes – X, Y, and Z – to move all the different parts associated with 3D printing and this includes the printhead as well as the print bed too. The fact that a Cartesian 3D printer moves things linearly across the X, Y, and Z axes mean things should be kept pretty stable when in use.

Cartesian printers also use Cartesian coordinates in order to map out the areas in which to print in with the end result being 3D printer objects.

There are some advantages to Cartesian 3D printers.

One is that they tend to be among the cheapest 3D printers due to their stereotypical design. This means they are definitely in the affordable category which appeals to many people especially hobbyists and home users. As far as ease of use is concerned they tend to be fairly straightforward to setup and start using too.

Cartesian 3D Printers

There are some downsides to Cartesian 3D printers.

One being that the print speed is often slower than other FDM printers – including CoreXY – and they often take up more space due to having bigger dimensions and a heavy frame.

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D – Ease of Use

So, what is the easier 3D printer to use – one manufactured with a CoreXY design or one with a Cartesian construction?

There is a reason that Cartesian 3D printers are more widely used. Not just because they have been around for longer but also because they tend to be easier to set up and get started with.

This is quite a general claim but it is largely true.

There is less to understand with a Cartesian 3D printer than a CoreXY one. For home users who aren’t using their 3D printer frequently, a Cartesian 3D will more than likely be more straightforward to set up for accurate prints.

There is also quite a lot of community support around Cartesian 3D printers because they are the most commonly used.

It isn’t to say that CoreXY 3D printers are notoriously difficult, just that they take a bit more work to get accurate prints. This is mainly down to the belt system and assembly. As the frame of a CoreXY 3D printer has to be perfectly square when assembled otherwise it’ll cause problems down the line, this can be an issue for new 3D printer users.

The belts also need to be aligned correctly to ensure that the tension isn’t too high or low.

Comparing CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printer – Pricing

Before we get into showing you the best CoreXY 3D printers and best Cartesian 3D printers, is there any difference in the general pricing of these machines?

Overall, Cartesian 3D printers tend to be a bit cheaper but it does depend on the model.

This is because it is the most common form of FDM 3D printer so they are relatively inexpensive compared to other models. You can find decently priced CareXY 3D printers and even for home users, most models won’t be completely out of their price range.

That being said, Cartesian 3D printers tend to be cheaper than CoreXY as a general rule.

Examples of some of the Best CoreXY 3D Printers

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D

This is one of the most popular and widely used CoreXY 3D printers on the market and the Two Trees Sapphire Pro is also a very affordable printer too. It offers a dual-drive extruder in addition to precision linear rails.

It shouldn’t take more than two hours to get this 3D printer up and running. While, like all CoreXY 3D printers, you need to pay close attention to the assembly of the machine, it isn’t as difficult as some others. In fact, there is also a good level of community support with this printer too while you will be able to upgrade and get modifications as well.

Pros

  • Inexpensive CoreXY 3D printer
  • Dual-drive extruder and precision linear rails
  • Will print high quality and precise 3D objects
  • Good level of support and community help

Cons

  • Noise can be a factor
  • Getting to the print bed is a bit harder than it should be
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Tronxy X5SA Pro

TRONXY X5SA Kit

The next CoreXY 3D printer on our list is the Tronxy X5SA Pro. With this 3D printer, you get an auto-bed leveling system, double-axis guide rail and also a filament runout sensor which are all great additions. The print quality and speed is really good with this model as well.

The real downside to the Tronxy X5SA Pro is the fact that you probably need to modify this 3D printer right out of the box. While it isn’t unusable by any means, it is something to consider as it will generally mean a higher cost right away.

The level of support could also be a bit better with this 3D printer and it is a bit tricky to assemble. A good CoreXY 3D printer nonetheless but one that perhaps isn’t ideal for beginners and is more suited to experienced users.

Pros

  • Good price for a CoreXY 3D printer
  • Has a range of good features such as a filament runout sensor
  • Fairly easy to use once you have it assembled correctly

Cons

  • Needs to be modified out of the box
  • Not that suitable for new 3D printer users
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Creative3D Elf Printer

Creatividad CoreXY

The third best CoreXY 3D printer on our list is the Creative3D Elf Printer. Some of the advantages of this model so that it comes with a touchscreen and it’s fairly easy to use as well. The printer itself doesn’t produce a lot of noise which is great if you are using this at home or in an office.

The power failure support is another nice addition as it means the printer will start where it left off if it suffers a power outage. The level of support isn’t amazing with this 3D printer so it’s something to keep in mind while the springs for the bed leveling system are a bit on the short side too.

Pros

  • Assembly can be completed in about 60 minutes
  • Has a large build volume which will suit some people
  • Noise is pretty low for a 3D printer

Cons

  • Could do with better support options
  • Springs for the bed leveling system are a bit short
Runner Up
Creativity CoreXY 3D Printer
$479.99

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

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Examples of some of the Best Cartesian 3D Printers

Creality Ender 3

3D Creality Ender

Getting started with our list of the best Cartesian 3D printers, and the Creality Ender 3 is definitely up there.

Featuring a decent size build volume in addition to a power failure support system, this is an FDM printer that is firmly affordable and produces good results. It is very quick to reach the maximum temperature of the hot bed while the noise levels are pretty low.

You may need additional adhesion to get the prints to stick to the bed properly and manual calibration is required. That being said, for the cost and the outputs, the Creality Ender 3 is ideal as a Cartesian 3D printer.

Pros

  • Very affordable and one of the cheapest 3D printers available
  • Offers good quality printed 3D objects
  • Build volume is a good size
  • Has a power failure support system

Cons

  • Adhesion is often required for prints to stick to the bed
  • Manual calibration is also needed with this printer
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Prusa i3 MK3S

Prusa i3 MK3S kit

The second best Cartesian 3D printer is the Prusa i3 MK3S. It offers one of the highest print qualities out of any Cartesian printer in its price range (although it is a lot more expensive than the Creality Ender 3.

This well-constructed and durable machine has auto-calibration, the ability to pause and restart prints, and the software that comes with it is easy to use.

You’ll find really good support and community help with this printer. There are some issues overprints over a long duration but overall we’ve found that the Prusa i3 MK3S is a fantastic Cartesian printer albeit with a hefty price tag.

Pros

  • Features autocalibration, stop and restart printing functions
  • Produces high-quality 3D printers
  • Is easy to use and has good community support

Cons

  • Is a bit expensive compared to some other models
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Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen

makerbot

Our last Cartesian 3D printer to show you is the Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen.

We’ve had a look at this 3D printer before when we compared it to the Robo 3D R1 Plus. OK, so it isn’t cheap and kind of goes against the whole ‘Cartesian 3D printers are usually cheaper’ but it is a very good 3D printer.

It offers a really easy to use the system so you can get started with 3D printing right away even if you are a complete beginner. The software is great and the build volume is good for decent sized objects too.

This printer does suffer from being a bit loud but as a true ‘plug and play’ device, it is hard to see much better even if it does cost a sizable sum.

Pros

  • Very easy to use and can be set up in minutes
  • Offers high-quality prints
  • Software is good and builds volume is a decent size

Cons

  • Pretty expensive so will be out of the price range for many people
  • Can produce a lot of noise
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Are there any alternatives?

CoreXY and Cartesian aren’t the only type of FDM 3D printers. We also have Delta and H-bot as two alternatives.

Delta 3D printers

FLSUN Q5 Delta printer

A Delta 3D printer works similarly to a Cartesian model as it uses Cartesian coordinates for printing. Where it differs is with the mechanics. These printers use 3 arms which are attached to vertical rails.

These arms work to move the printhead around instead of axes which you find on Cartesian 3D printers. They offer fast print speeds but can be expensive to upgrade or fix while the build volumes tend to be a bit smaller too.

The FLSUN Q5 Delta 3D Printer is a good and affordable option if you want to go down this route. It features reliable prints, a touchscreen, an auto-leveling bed as well as a lattice platform for adhesion and easy removal.

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H-Bot 3D printers

H-Bot is another alternative to Cartesian, CoreXY, and Delta 3D printers are those that have an H-bot construction.

Again, they use Cartesian coordinates to move around however they use belts like CoreXY printers. An easy way to distinguish between an H-bot 3D printer and a CoreXY model is that the belts on an H-bot make an ‘H’ shape whereas the belts on a CoreXY make an ‘A’ shape.

They can be quite expensive and the level of support for these 3D printers isn’t usually as high as other designs. They do however produce quality prints and offer large build volumes.

You can actually print and build an H-Bot 3D printer yourself and many of the designs can be completed for a reasonable price too.

FAQs

Question: Do CoreXY 3D printers have a faster print speed than Cartesian printers?

Answer: CoreXY 3D printers usually have a faster print speed. While much of this will depend on the model of 3D printer, CoreXY 3D printers tend to offer quicker speeds. This is down to the fact that only the printhead moves on a CoreXY 3D printer so this boosts the overall speed and cuts down on vibrations.

Question: Is a CoreXY or Cartesian 3D printer better for small spaces?

Answer: CoreXY 3D printers are better for small spaces, but the Cartesian printers are also compact and will suit small spaces as well.

Question: Are Cartesian 3D printers cheaper than CoreXY 3D Printers?

Answer: Cartesian 3D printers are not always cheaper than CoreXY 3D printers. You can find both categories of 3D printers in different price ranges however Cartesian 3D printers do tend to be a bit cheaper as they are the more common design.

Question: Are Cartesian 3D printers and CoreXY 3D printers open source?

Answer: Most Cartesian 3D printers and CoreXY 3D printers should be open source. This means that the hardware and software are available for wide use and they can be upgraded and modified as you see fit.

Question: Is a Cartesian 3D printer easier to use than a CoreXY 3D printer?

Answer: Sometimes Cartesian 3D printers are easier to clean than CoreXY 3D printers. If you are a beginner then Cartesian 3D printers probably will seem a bit easier as CoreXY 3D printers require more attention in the assembly phase.

Our Verdict: CoreXY vs Cartesian – Which 3D Printer is Better?

Now you should have a much better understanding of what a CoreXY 3D printer is and also what a Cartesian 3D printer looks like.

They do have some similarities in that they are both FDM 3D printers but they have a lot of differences too. Cartesian 3D printers tend to be more suited to beginners as they are easier to set up and printing can be more straightforward as well.

CoreXY 3D printers often produce better and more accurate results (although it does depend on the model) and the print speeds are usually a bit faster too.

So, what should you go with?

If you are new to 3D printing and want a Cartesian model to start you off then we would recommend the Creality Ender 3. It is one of the most popular Cartesian printers and it is very affordable as well.

If you want a CoreXY 3D printer and you are a bit more experienced then opt for the Two Trees Sapphire Pro. It offers great results, can be set up in just a couple of hours and the support options and modifications are good as well.

Both CoreXY and Cartesian 3D printers have their followings and what one you choose will depend on the money you have to spend, how experienced you are with a 3D printer and also the kind of features you need.

Mosaic Palette 2 Review [2021]: Does it Really Work?

In our Mosaic Palette 2 Pro review, we’ll look in-depth at how this piece of hardware performs in helping to improve what your 3D printer can do.

Manufactured by Mosaic Manufacturing which is a Canadian company based in Toronto, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro will give your 3D printer multicolor functionality. It is designed to work alongside your existing 3D printer to improve its performance and output. If you don’t have a multi-material and multi-color 3D printer, this accessory device can be a game-changer.

We will show you the core features that this kit offers, how it performs when used in conjunction with your 3D printer, and also what the pros and cons are.

First, let’s take a dive into the specifications of the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro.

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Key specifications of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

Find the main specifications for the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro below.

Overall Dimensions 9 x 8 x 3.3 inches
Supported Filament 1.75 mm FDM filament (PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU)
Compatible operating systems Windows, Mac and Linux
3D Printer compatibility  Full list available here.
Interface 3.2″ color touchscreen (240 x 320 pixels)
WiFi connectivity? Yes with the Canvas Hub
Warranty 2-year or 50,000 splices
Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro works to extend the overall functionality of your 3D printer. It comes with a number of great features that can boost your productivity and also increase the outputs that your 3D printer provides.

Design

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a fairly compact device even if it is a little on the heavy side (it weighs around 7.9lbs).

That being said, it will fit in well in small spaces as overall its dimensions come in at 9 x 8 x 3.3 inches. So, it is ideal for a cramped workspace either in a professional environment or for home use.

One of the great design features of the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is the 3.5-inch color touchscreen interface. This greatly increases the ease of use and makes everything simple to control. Everything is fairly straightforward as the controls are right at your fingertips.

Mosaic Palette 2 Review

Compatibility

Compatibility is one of the core features of this device because as it is designed to work alongside your existing 3D printer, it needs to work in harmony with it.

The good news is that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with pretty much all 1.75mm filament 3D printers. So unless you have an industrial-scale 3D printer, the Palette 2 Pro will likely be compatible with your existing printer. It also works on Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems too.

Runout detection

One valuable feature of the Palette 2 Pro is the filament runout detection. This is built into the device and it will automatically switch materials during the printing process when one is running low.

This means you don’t need to keep a constant eye on the process. It has four onboard sensors that help to detect when the filament is running low.

Speed

In terms of speed, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is quicker than the non-Pro model. It achieves this by using a Splice Core Pro unit which has been manufactured from aluminum.

This has the effect of a 20% increase in quicker filament splicing which has the knock-on effect of being able to print faster. The filament production is between 166-280 mm per minute (the non-Pro version of this device has a filament production between 120-214 mm per minute).

While 20% may not seem like a huge deal at first glance, on large print jobs and processes that are being carried out over a long period of time, it can make a pretty big difference to timescales.

Touchscreen

One great feature that we mentioned above is the 3.5-inch color touchscreen interface.

This really boosts its simplicity and contributes to the overall ease of use. While the screen itself isn’t going to blow your mind (it is 240 x 320 pixels) and is going to be significantly less quality than your average smartphone, it is still a neat feature.

It is straightforward to select certain print modes, to add textures or style – the touchscreen on the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a fantastic addition.

Mosaic Palette 2 Features

Software

Finally, we have the software.

Something that we have found previously when it comes to multi-material printing is getting the files prepared properly to send to the 3D printer. Using various software has often been a bit challenging to get everything right.

The good news is that the Palette 2 Pro uses Mosaic’s own software which is called Canvas. This slicer software makes it easy to convert single color files into multicolor files or to prepare models that use multi-materials and get them ready for print.

There are also other features within the software that can save you time namely things such as infill transition and layer batching.

Overall the software is a welcome addition. It is easy to use and also has great options to make your life a lot easier when preparing prints.

How does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro perform?

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro has a host of different interesting and useful features to help you get the most out of your 3D printer when it comes to multi-material printing.

How does it actually perform though when put to the test?

When we used the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro we found that the results were very good indeed. Not only is it easy to operate and get started with, it helps immensely in being able to extend the functionality of your 3D printer. In fact, it opens up a realm of different possibilities going forward.

In terms of compatibility, it worked seamlessly with the 3D printers that we tried it out on.

The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro does do things very quickly as well which is also a bonus. It really does have a ‘plug and play’ type setup to it which is very beneficial if you are either new to 3D printing or simply don’t have the time to fiddle about with the settings.

If you add on a Canvas Hub with this piece of kit, you can communicate everything via WiFi as well. You will be able to stop/start prints and monitor their progress too. In terms of performance, this is a great addition to have although you can also upload files via USB and SD too.

All the 3D printers that were tested came out very well indeed and it is no surprise that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro consistently achieves high results.

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Pros of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

There are a lot of good things about the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. Here all the best parts of this functional and impressive device.

  • Compact design – If you don’t have a ton of space left alongside your 3D printer either at home or in a professional environment then you won’t need to find much for the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. It is compact overall and doesn’t take up much space which is ideal for home users and small businesses alike.
  • Compatible with most 3D printers – This is one of the big selling points. The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with most 3D printers which use 1.75 mm filament which basically means the majority of FDM 3D printers especially those in the affordability category.
  • Runout Detection – The device comes with automatic runout detection. It features four sensors that help to detect when the filament is running out. The device will automatically switch materials during the printing process so you don’t have to be on a constant watch over your prints.
  • Touchscreen – The touchscreen isn’t of the highest quality however the main thing is that it is there. It makes operating the Palette 2 Pro a whole lot easier and is a great addition to an already powerful and functional tool.
  • Easy to use software – The software is another big bonus of using the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro. It is very easy to use and makes the process of converting single color prints into multi-color straightforward. You’ll also find a variety of other features and settings that will cut down on the time spent preparing models for print too.

Mosaic Palette 2 pros cons

Cons of Mosaic Palette 2 Pro

While the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a great device overall, there are a couple of downsides we should bring up to give you the full picture.

  • Limited to 1.75mm filament – For most people, the fact that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with 1.75mm filament is great however it does mean that some with certain 3D printers won’t be able to use it. Its limitation in this regard is a drawback but not an overly huge one for most 3D printer users.
  • You’ll use more filament – Again this isn’t a massive drawback because using a tool like this means it’s fairly obvious you’ll need more filament. This is because the whole point is to be able to use multi-color designs however it is something to keep in mind. You will need more filament when using the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro.

Are there any alternatives?

Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S)

The big problem with the Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S) is that it is only compatible with certain 3D Prusa printers. This includes the Prusa’s i3 MK2.5, MK2.5S, MK3, and MK3S 3D printers.

However, if you do have one of these devices then the Prusa Multi Material Upgrade 2S (MMU2S) is a sound alternative. It actually comes in a good bit cheaper than the Palette 2 Pro.

The accessory has a number of great features including a filament loading system, filament buffer, and a filament sensor to cut down on any blockages or print problems. Again, it is only available for Prusa 3D printers but if you do own one and want to upgrade it for multi-material and multi-color functionality, this is exactly what you need.

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Da Vinci Color Mini

Da Vinci Color Mini

Actually separate devices such as the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro and the offering from Prusa are quite scarce – that’s why one of our alternatives is an actual multi-color 3D printer! If you don’t have a 3D printer yet and intend on printing in different colors, it would be better to actually invest in the Da Vinci Color Mini.

It has been specifically designed to print off models in a variety of different colors without needing any extras to do so. It combines filament with inkjet technology in order to do this.

The printer itself is easy to use and get started with so you shouldn’t have any problems if you are new to 3D printing. It has a removable print bed, a fully automatic calibration system as well as supporting third-party materials.

For anyone that doesn’t have a 3D printer yet and needs multi-color functionality, it is hard to go wrong with the Da Vinci Color Mini.

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01/25/2021 10:10 pm GMT

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: Does my 3D printer not have multi-color functionality?

Answer: The chances are that it doesn’t. If you do have a multi-color 3D printer then you don’t need any additional hardware. However, most 3D printers for home use and for small businesses don’t support this out of the box hence why tools like the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro are needed.

Question: Will the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with my 3D printer?

Answer: If your 3D printer uses 1.75mm filament then the chances are that the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro will be compatible with it. It can be used in conjunction with most desktop 3D printers that are on the market at the minute. You can find a list of compatible 3D printers here.

Question: Is the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro fast?

Answer: It is pretty fast. Compared to the previous model, it offers quicker speeds, and the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro offers a 20% increase in filament splicing with a filament production between 166-280 mm per minute.

Question: Does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with Octoprint?

Answer: Yes. Octoprint is a common upgrade people use on their 3D printer and the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is compatible with it. You may need to use the Canvas plugin from Mosaic to get it to work properly.

Question: Does the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro have WiFi?

Answer: Yes. This device has WiFi, USB, and SD card functionality. The WiFi connection works by going through the Canvas Hub which allows the Palette 2 Pro to connect to your 3D printer. You need to purchase the Canvas Hub separately.

Question: Will the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro work with 3D printers that don’t use 1.75mm filament?

Answer: No. The Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is specifically built for use with 3D printers that use 1.75mm filament.

Final thoughts – the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro is a powerful piece of kit that extends the functionality of your 3D printer

What do we think about the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro overall?

Really it can be summed up by saying that it is a great piece of hardware that greatly helps you to boost what your 3D printer can do.

If you don’t have a 3D printer with multi-color technology, this is what you need to make it happen. It has a range of great features beyond simply helping to boost the functionality of your existing 3D printer.

This includes the filament runout sensors which are very helpful. The software is very easy to use as well and has a ton of options and settings to speed up the whole process. Speaking of speed, the Mosaic Palette Pro 2 is pretty fast as well and it is a jump up from the previous model.

We also really like the touchscreen interface. While it is hardly the best ever touchscreen you will come across in terms of resolution, it does what it needs to do. You’ll find it much easier to operate with this feature.

It is compatible with a wide range of desktop 3D printers. Unless you have something pretty obscure, the chances are that this accessory is going to work with your 3D printer.

Overall, the Mosaic Palette 2 Pro vastly increases what your 3D printer is able to do and makes multi-color models very easy to create with a user friendly and straightforward process.

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01/25/2021 11:10 pm GMT

 

How to Find the Best SLA 3D Printer in 2021

Best SLA 3D Printer

If you want to find the best SLA 3D printer, this guide will help.

SLA or resin 3D printing has become very popular as the price of these types of 3D printers have come down quite considerably in recent years. If you aren’t too sure what SLA 3D printing is, we have you covered as well.

We are going to show you what SLA 3D printing actually is, things you should be looking out for before buying an SLA 3D printer, and finally what the best SLA 3D printers are.

First, let’s find out what SLA 3D printing involves.

What is an SLA 3D printer?

Unlike an FDM 3D printer that uses filament to print off models – the SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to create certain processes that ultimately end up as 3D printed objects.

The printing process is also known as Stereolithography.

The resin that is used in these printers is photosensitive and hardens up under UV light. This is how the objects are created. In fact, the process adds to the quality of prints and many resin-based 3D printers can create higher quality objects than more expensive FDM printers.

What is an SLA 3D printer

SLA and DLP 3D printing are quite similar. Both of the processes use liquid resin and light while SLA makes objects through lasers and DLP makes objects through a projector.

Before you go off and buy the first SLA 3D printer that you come across, there are a few things you need to take into consideration first.

What to look for in an SLA 3D Printer?

Buying an SLA 3D printer isn’t as simple as looking at a list and purchasing one right away – you need to think about the following things before you decide on which model to buy.

Build Volume

The build volume of a 3D printer is the maximum size of an object that it is able to print. In our list of the best SLA 3D printers, we have made sure to include a fairly diverse build volume so there should be something for everyone.

Build volume isn’t always directly connected to the price. While many affordable 3D printers may have a smaller build volume than larger and more expensive machines, it isn’t always the case.

You can find cheap SLA 3D printers that have large build volumes too. So, you need to think about what kind of objects you want to print so you can choose a printer with a suitable build volume.

Print quality

Alongside build volume, the overall print quality of a 3D printer is generally the thing that most people look at.

Getting high-quality prints can be a trial and error process especially if you are new to 3D printers. There is often more work involved with resin 3D printing – mainly around cleaning – than other methods.

That being said, resin-based 3D printers will usually produce great results when it comes to their print quality.

Print Speed

Speed is another determining factor in buying a 3D printer.

In many ways, you need to have a trade-off between speed and quality. Printing quickly can often lead to poorer quality prints however depends on what objects you are making.

There are a lot of factors to take into account for the print speeds between FDM 3D printers and SLA 3D printers. SLA tends to be a bit slower than FDM but it does vary between devices.

Ease of use

As 3D printers, in general, have become much more affordable and accessible to a larger market, their ease of use has improved too.

You don’t need to be an engineer to work any of the 3D printers that we are going to show you in a minute. Some are a bit easier to work than others and will have shorter learning curves.

The whole 3D printing process regardless of whether it is SLA, DLP or FDM can take a while to master so patience and a willingness to learn is key.

7 Best SLA 3D Printers in 2020

SLA 3D printers are quite a broad market so we have come up with the best 7 that are not only affordable but also produce great results.

Photon S

The Photon S is among the very best SLA 3D printers and it is placed firmly within the budget category too. This doesn’t mean that it produces inferior results – far from it.

Best SLA 3D Printers

The Photon S is ideal for home use as well as small businesses due to its compact size alongside a high print quality and decent print speed. The build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm is ideal for printing off a range of objects too. The noise level is quite low and is certainly lower than a lot of the FDM printers you find.

There is a full LCD screen with this printer, in addition to the Photon Slicer software and you will also get a carbon filtration system as well.

Overall the Photon S is great for printing smallish objects from resin whether you are a hobbyist or in a professional capacity. See how the Photon S compares to its previous version, the Anycubic Photon.

Pros

  • Good build volume combined with a very affordable price
  • Produces high-quality prints at a decent speed
  • LCD screen and carbon filtration system
  • Tailored Photon slicer software provided

Cons

  • Software is a bit basic but is OK for starting off

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 165mm
  • Overall dimensions: 230mm x 200mm x400mm
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1440)
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Nobel 1.0 A

Even though the Nobel 1.0 A isn’t the cheapest on our list and there are far more budget orientated options out there, it does produce very high-quality prints.

nobel 1.0 a

A big drawback of this SLA 3D printer is that it is very slow. The speed issue is enough to be noticeable however if you aren’t going to be in a massive hurry the quality makes up for this.

With the Nobel 1.0 A, you also get a resin monitoring system as well as the automatic filling of the resin tank which ensures smooth and seamless prints.

The 128 x 128 x 200 mm build volume is also very good and will allow you to print off fairly decent side objects.

This is a high-quality SLA 3D printer for home or small business use (which is reflected in the price) but does come with some drawbacks.

Pros

  • Produces very high-quality prints
  • Automatic resin filler
  • Resin monitoring system
  • Decent build volume

Cons

  • Print speed is very slow compared to other 3D printers
  • Is a bit expensive

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 128 x 128 x 200 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 280 x 345 x 590 mm
  • XY DPI: 130 microns
  • Connectivity: USB

Creality LD-002R

Creality is a well known 3D printer manufacturer and the Creality LD-002R is an ideal choice if you are on a budget.

It is one of the cheapest SLA 3D printers on our list but that doesn’t mean it offers inferior quality. This printer features a build volume of 120mm x 65mm x 165mm and its overall dimensions of 221mm x 221mm x 403mm mean that it won’t take up a load of space either.

For beginners, it is a suitable SLA 3D printer because there isn’t a huge amount of setup required and you can get started quite quickly. The speed is fairly good as well.

Creality LD-002R

The Creality LD-002R is a very good SLA 3D printer that really comes in at a budget price without sacrificing much in the way of quality.

Pros

  • Very cheap and affordable SLA 3D printer
  • Offers high-quality prints
  • Easy to set up and use for beginners

Cons

  • Print speed is a little slow but the quality is worth it

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 65mm x 165 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 221mm x 221mm x 403mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 20-30 mm/h

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The PHROZEN Sonic Mini is a great little compact 3D printer that is easy to install and set up which is a big bonus if you are new to 3D printing.

PHROZEN Sonic Mini

The print speed is actually very good and the prints come out in high quality as well. Given the price which is very affordable, you’d think you would need several upgrades ‘out of the box’ but that isn’t the case. The Sonic Mini is absolutely fine as it is.

The slope on the build platform is a downfall as it means resin is retained but with a good LCD screen, high-quality parts, and very good performance, it is certainly worth thinking about when you consider the cost.

Pros

  • Produces good quality prints with great speeds
  • Very easy to set up and get started
  • Doesn’t really need any upgrades right away
  • Price is very affordable

Cons

  • Slope on the build plate can cause resin retention
  • Is one of the noisier 3D printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 119mm x 66mm x 129mm
  • Overall dimensions: 248mm x 248mm x 327mm
  • XY DPI: 62um
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Print speed: 50 mm / hr

Epax X1

Continuing with our affordable SLA 3D printers, the Epax X1 will cost slightly more than others on this list but is still in the budget category.

It has a 115mm x 65mm x 155mm build volume as well as USB and ethernet connectivity. The 3D printer has a very solid build about it and the setup is easy too. The various preset modes make printing fairly straightforward even for beginners.

The anti-aliasing mode on this printer is very handy as well and helps to create that injection molded look.

Epax X1

The software provided is another bonus with the Epax X1 and while it does have a few drawbacks such as a shorter warranty period it is a high-quality 3D printer all around. Check out our full Epax X1 vs Photon comparison here.

Pros

  • Simple to set up and you can get started in minutes
  • Anti-aliasing mode to adjust stray pixels
  • Good software provided and has several connectivity options

Cons

  • Warranty is a bit shorter than some other printers
  • Lacks SD card functionality but isn’t alone in that regard

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 115mm x 65mm x 155mm
  • Overall dimensions: 350mm x 350mm x 500mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

Prusa SL1

Like the Nobel 1.0 A, the Prusa SL1 is a bit more expensive than many of the other SLA 3D printers we’ve listed.

That being said, the Prusa SL1 provides top quality 3D prints with a host of other features. This includes a 120mm x 68mm x 150mm build volume, an LCD screen for curing resin, and a transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank.

Prusa SL1

Set up is a simple enough process with this 3D printer so even if you are completely new to the game, you shouldn’t have too many issues getting started. The Prusa SL1 has pretty much everything you need from an SLA 3D printer and while slightly more expensive is still within the price range of most hobbyists.

Pros

  • Produces high-quality 3D prints
  • Doesn’t require a lot of set up
  • Transparent and flexible FEP film on the resin tank
  • Has a replaceable carbon filter
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Can’t raise the print bed during printing
  • Isn’t the largest build volume

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 120mm x 68mm x 150 mm
  • Overall dimensions: 400mm × 237mm × 225 mm
  • XY DPI: 47um
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi, Ethernet
  • Print speed: 20mm/h

QIDI TECH S-Box

The final SLA 3D printer on our list is the QIDI TECH S-Box which provides a host of features to complement its high print quality and accuracy.

From an aesthetic point of view, this printer looks really good. It has a build volume of 215mm x 130mm x 200mm and the leveling system is great as well. As far as set up and installation go, this is one of the easier printers to get up and running.

QIDI TECH S-Box

The slicer software is another bonus while it is fairly quiet too and won’t produce a lot of noise when in operation. Some 3D printers suffer from excess noise which can be a real pain at home or in an office but the QIDI TECH S-Box doesn’t produce a lot of decibels.

The cover can feel a little flimsy when operating and getting to the bottom of the vat to clean out the resin is a bit difficult but they are minor complaints in reality. Overall a really good printer for the cost.

Pros

  • The leveling system is a good and easy setup
  • Doesn’t produce a lot of noise
  • Slicer software is great and simple to use

Cons

  • Hinges on the cover can feel a bit flimsy but with the care, they shouldn’t break
  • Cleaning out the vat is a little difficult

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 215mm x 130mm x 200mm
  • Overall dimensions: 565mm x 365mm x 490MM(H)
  • XY DPI: 47um (2560*1600)
  • Connectivity: USB

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an SLA 3D Printer?

An SLA 3D printer uses resin and light to activate processes that turn the resin into printed objects. This is different from an FDM printer that uses filament to create models.

Is an SLA 3D Printer faster than an FDM 3 Printer?

Usually, they are a little slower when printing although this can depend on the model. SLA 3D printers often produce higher quality prints overall.

Are SLA 3D printers expensive to buy?

Not really. Many of the SLA 3D printers that we have listed here are actually very affordable and we have included a mix of budget and more expensive options.

Are these SLA 3D printers hard to assemble?

Most of the printers we have listed come more or less assembled and require very little in the way of set up. This is ideal if you are a beginner to 3D printing and aren’t too sure about assembling one yourself to create accurate prints.

Do I need to wear PPE with an SLA 3D Printer?

Yes. As all of these printers use resin which is toxic and can be harmful to your skin and also if you breathe it in. Make sure you use appropriate PPE when using these printers and the instruction manual should inform you of what you need.

Conclusion: My Best SLA 3D Printer Pick

SLA 3D printers are capable of producing very high-quality prints and they have come right down at price in recent years too. They are affordable to both home users and businesses.

Finding the right one isn’t as easy as purchasing the first 3D printer you see – you need to take several things into consideration first.

This is why we put this list together in order to show you the top SLA 3D printers on the market but we need to pick one.

After a lot of careful consideration, I am going with Photon S.

Not only is it a very affordable SLA 3D printer but it does a fantastic job as well. It isn’t the cheapest on our list but it certainly isn’t the most expensive either. For what you get, the Photon S is ideal for hobbyists and small businesses.

It has a good build volume of 115mm x 65mm x 165mm, LCD screen, carbon filtration system and the slicer software is easy to use and is also a good addition. I was struggling to find much wrong with the Photon S if truth be told. One drawback is that the slicer software can be a bit basic if you are an experienced user but it is completely fine as it is.

If you want an affordable but powerful SLA 3D printer, the Photon S should be right at the top of your list.

Best Large Format 3D Printers in 2021 – How to Pick the Right One

3D printers come in a variety of different shapes and sizes, and today we’re going to let you know about the best large format 3D printers that are currently on the market.

These types of printers have become very popular with small businesses as well as some home users. Not only can they print off bigger than normal objects, but they come with many other great features too.

We’ll go over the things you need to look out for before you make a purchase, and we’ll also show you the seven best large-format 3D printers you can buy.

First, let’s look at why you might need a 3D printer with a larger build volume.

Why use a Large Format 3D Printer?

The main difference between a large format 3D printer and many of the other models you’ll see on the market is the build volume.

As these printers have a larger build volume, it means you can print off bigger objects. This is very useful for businesses, and also many home users will find a larger build volume beneficial.

Using this to print off prototypes and experimental parts for development products can also save money in the long run. Businesses that can do this themselves won’t need to outsource the work, which can get very expensive.

So, really using a large format 3D printer is ideal if you need to print off larger objects and want to cut down on manual work of combining smaller parts down the line.

What to look for in a Large Format 3D Printer?

We’re going to show you the seven best large format 3D printers a little later on, but before we do that, there are a few things you need to consider before you buy one.

Cost

This is important, regardless of what kind of 3D printer you are buying.

3D printers can vary in cost quite considerably, and there are many cheaper models available. In fact, the whole market has become much more accessible in general recently. That being said, you’ll find a lot of expensive 3D printers, especially models that offer a bigger print volume.

Ideally, it would help if you looked at a cost to build volume ratio – the bigger the volume for a low price, but you also need to consider print quality.

Print quality

Something else that you should consider is the overall quality of the prints.

It is all well and good having a larger than normal build volume, but if the prints aren’t coming out to a high standard, then it is essentially useless. Using tests like the #3DBenchy is a common way in which to evaluate 3D printers and the quality of the objects they make.

Ease of use

Similar to print quality, buying a state-of-the-art 3D printer is fine, but if it has a very steep learning curve, you won’t be able to use it to its full potential.

3D printers, in general, have become easier to use. As many are now marketed towards a mass audience, their usability has increased. Most 3D printers these days don’t require you to be an engineer or anything like that, and they can be operated by hobbyists and professionals alike.

Supported materials

The last thing you should consider before you go out and buy a large format 3D printer is what materials it supports.

These 3D printers use a filament to print off objects. Some will support different types of material than others. It is useful to think about this because even though most 3D printers support basic types of filament, you don’t want to buy one only to find out later that it doesn’t support the materials you need.

We’re going to list the filament our top picks for the best large format 3D printer, so you know exactly what they support.

7 Best Large Format 3D Printers

These are the top 7 large format 3D printers you can purchase right now that offer bigger build volumes, high print quality, and much more.

Tronxy X5SA

Tronxy X5SA

The Tronxy X5SA offers a large build volume (330 x 330 x 400 mm) combined with high-quality prints. It features a double Z-axis, which helps to add stability during the printing process, and there is also a silicone sleeve and improved fan to ensure a consistent temperature. The stability is also helped by the box design.

The X5SA is also very budget-friendly. You’ll find large format 3D printers that cost a lot more than this but don’t provide the same quality.

It supports a wide number of filaments, and the touchscreen is a nice addition, too, as are the filament run out detectors.

Overall the Tronxy X5SA is a very good print with a large build volume and a range of extra features.

Pros

  • Offers a large build volume combined with a low price
  • High print quality and stability during the printing process
  • Supports a wide range of different materials
  • Filament run out detectors and touchscreen

Cons

  • Not recommended for beginners due to the assembly process

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 330 x 330 x 400 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, PC, PVC
  • Connectivity: USB, TF-Card
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

FLSUN QQ-S

FLSUN QQ-S

The FLSUN QQ-S is definitely a larger format 3D printer to consider. Even though the build volume is a bit smaller than the Tronxy X5SA, it comes with a host of extra features.

This includes WiFi control, which you often don’t see on many budget 3D printers. That’s another thing, and it is very affordable as well. Given that it supports a wide range of materials and also comes more or less preassembled (around 90% complete), it is ideal for beginners as well.

There are a few teething problems with the FLSUN QQ-S that, if you are new to 3D printing, can take a while to figure out. This includes getting the auto leveling correct as well as some filament dribbling.

That being said, it is a very good and affordable printer for making larger objects.

Pros

  • Comes more or less preassembled with little work to do
  • Prints high quality objects
  • Supports many materials
  • Has WiFi connectivity

Cons

  • Some printing issues that may be hard for beginners to sort out
  • Smaller build volume than the Tronxy X5SA

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 260 x 260 x 320 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, flexible, HIPS, Wood, PVA
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card, WiFi
  • Print speed: 30 – 300 mm/s

Craftbot Flow XL

Craftbot Flow XL

More expensive than the other large 3D printers on our list, the Craftbot Flow XL benefits from being a true out of the box machine.

If you are looking for a real ‘plug and play’ 3D printer, this is it. The printer has a 300 x 200 x 500 mm build volume and can support a range of filaments such as PLA, ABS, Exotics. Like the FLSUN QQ-S, it also has WiFi connectivity.

With linear rails and improved bearings, there isn’t a whole lot of noise that comes out of this 3D printer, either. The print quality is really good (as you’d expect for a printer in its price range), and while it might be out of some peoples’ budget, it is a great machine for printing large scale objects.

Pros

  • ‘Plug and play’ with little setup required
  • Low noise and produces high quality prints
  • Has WiFi connectivity
  • Large build volume

Cons

  • Is a bit on the pricey side compared to other printers

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 200 x 500 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: USB, WiFi
  • Print speed: 200 mm/s

Creality CR-10 V2

Creality CR-10 V2

Moving back into the more affordable range of large format 3D printers and the Creality CR-10 V2 is a high quality 3D printer with a decent build volume of 300 x 300 x 400mm.

It also features an upgraded motherboard, which cuts down on its noise while you will also find dual cooling fans and a filament monitor. It is actually quite straightforward to put together as well, even if you are a beginner. While it does require some assembly, it is easier than other 3D printers.

The Creality CR-10 V2 provides really good quality prints (albeit with a slightly slower printing speed), and for the price, it really has everything you need.

Pros

  • Doesn’t make a lot of noise due to the recent motherboard upgrade
  • Has a handy filament monitor
  • Large build volume and easy to assembly
  • Low cost, so it’s in the affordable category for most people

Cons

  • Printing speed can be quite slow but does produce quality prints

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 300 x 300 x 400mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
  • Connectivity: SD Card
  • Print speed: 30-60 mm/s

gCreate gMax 2

gCreate gMax 2

OK, so the gCreate gMax 2 has a pretty massive build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm, but it comes at a cost – literally. It isn’t cheap, and if you are in the market for a budget option – like the Creality CR-10 V2, FLSUN QQ-S, or the Tronxy X5SA – this isn’t the machine for you.

That being said, it does come with a wide range of different features. This includes WiFi connectivity, a BL touch bed leveling sensor, in addition to being able to use a varied range of materials. It has a filament runout sensor, and there isn’t much setup or assembly required either.

There have been several reports of regular thermistor failures with this 3D printer. However, overall it not only has a really big build volume with a ton of great features, but it offers quality prints too.

Pros

  • It’s ideal for beginners with very little assembly needed
  • Large build volume of 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • WiFi connectivity and BL touch bed leveling sensor

Cons

  • Expensive so perhaps out of the price range for many people
  • Reports of regular thermistor failures

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 457 x 457 x 609 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU, CF-Nylon, CF-Composites, Polycarbonate, Metal Composites
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Modix Big-60 V3

Modix Big-60 V3

The Modix Big-60 V3 is getting us back into the pricier side of large 3D printers, but not only does this machine perform very well, and it also looks great too.

If aesthetics are your thing, then the Big-60 V3 is a fantastic look printer. Even though it is on the expensive side on this list, for what you actually get, it isn’t bad at all. The printer has a 600 x 600 x 660 mm build volume, and you can add an enclosure on as well.

With a BLTouch auto leveling sensor, WiFi connectivity, filament runout sensor, and a dual-zone silicon heater, to name but a few, there is a lot going on with this printer. Costly – yes, but it actually represents good value for a top printer.

Pros

  • Large build volume and aesthetically pleasing 3D printer
  • Has WiFi connectivity alongside USB and SD card options
  • BLTouch auto-leveling sensor and dual-zone silicon heater
  • Can add on enclosure if you wish

Cons

  • Aimed more at professionals rather than for home use

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 600 x 600 x 660 mm
  • Enclosure: Open (can add enclosure addon)
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, Nylon, TPU, HIPS, Exotics
  • Connectivity: WiFi, SD Card, USB
  • Print speed: 150 mm/s

Tronxy X5ST-500

Tronxy X5ST-500

This is this second Tronxy on our list, and the Tronxy X5ST-500 comes with a large 500 x 500 x 600 mm build volume.

The Z-axis double screws help to add stability to the machine while aids precision and printing accuracy. You can pause and resume prints with this printer while there is a filament run-out detector as well.

It also comes in at the budget end of the scale, which is ideal if you need a large-format 3D printer but doesn’t necessarily have a ton of money to spend. There are some issues with heat management. Not only does it heat up slowly, but it can stop working once it reaches a certain temperature.

While there are potential workarounds for this, if you are a beginner, it isn’t really something you should do. The software needs to be updated to be fully functional as well. Overall, it’s a decent large-format 3D printer that does have some downsides.

Pros

  • Has a large build volume for printing big objects
  • Low cost so isn’t going to break the bank
  • Precision and stability with quality prints

Cons

  • Issues around reaching the desired temperatures for print materials beyond PLA
  • The software needs to be updated and doesn’t come with a bootloader

Printer specifications

  • Build volume: 500 x 500 x 600 mm
  • Enclosure: Open
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials supported: PLA, ABS, HIPS, WOOD, PVC, NYLON
  • Connectivity: TF Card, USB
  • Print speed: 100 mm/s

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a large format 3D printer?

If you plan on producing larger than normal prints, then yes. Large-format 3D printers come with a bigger build volume than standard printers so you can print off bigger objects.

Do I lose print quality with a large format 3D printer?

Not really. The print quality should be the same; however, it is important to check out reviews to ensure that you aren’t sacrificing build volume for a high-quality print.

Are large-format 3D printers expensive?

They can be. We have tried to combine both budget options and more expensive options on this list. You can find cheap large-format 3D printers as well as pricier models.

Do I need to assemble a large format 3D printer?

In most cases, some assembly is required. Some printers will require a full assembly, which isn’t ideal for beginners, whereas some large-format 3D printers come almost ‘plug and play’, and you only have some basic tasks before you can print.

Can a beginner use a large format 3D printer?

Yes. While some of the printers on our list aren’t really aimed at beginners due to the assembly required, most of these printers can be used if you are new to 3D printing. You might make a few mistakes at first, but they aren’t overly difficult to operate.

Which is the best large format 3D printer?

Being able to print off large objects with a 3D printer requires a decent size build volume.

To negate having to print off different smaller parts and join them together, later on, printing off a full larger scale model can save both time and money.

All the large format 3D printers we’ve listed here do a very good job at printing off bigger objects, but we need to pick one.

We’re going to choose one in the budget category and go with the FLSUN QQ-S.

It doesn’t have the biggest build volume on our list (260 x 260 x 320 mm) but what it does do is come with a great range of features. For a start, you are getting WiFi connectivity on a 3D printer in a budget price range, which isn’t that common. It also supports a wide range of materials such as PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood as well as PVA, and you get a quick print speed too.

One thing that sets this apart from many other 3D printers is that there isn’t a lot of assembling to do. OK, there are a few drawbacks with this printer for beginners – such as filament dribbling and some issues around the auto leveling – but they’re solvable with experience.

Overall the FLSUN QQ-S offers a large printing bed and high quality printing for a very affordable price.

This is why it is the best large format 3D printer on this list, and if you don’t mind some tinkering and learning as you go, you should definitely consider this 3D printer for printing bigger objects.

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon Compared: Which One Is Right For You?

3D Resin printers are an investment you’d want to get right. Therefore, today we’ll be looking at the Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon and comparing all the details you need to know to make an informed decision.

There are plenty of affordable 3D printers available on the market, but a printer’s features determine its utility to you. Can it deliver the results you need? How long-lasting is it? Is it cost-efficient in the long run?

After all, the main selling point of a resin printer includes its accuracy, intricacy, and its smooth finish. Unlike other Fused Deposition Modeling printers, resin 3d printers are also considerably inexpensive options. However, they are still an investment, and making the right call can save you money.

Moreover, no one printer can be right for everyone. Given the difference in construction and outcomes, each 3D printer serves a purpose.

It is, therefore, important to look at their purpose and whether that aligns with your work style. If you’re a beginner, you’ll have different requirements, such as ease of use. Intermediate or expert users will, instead, want to focus on high-quality finish or efficiency.

Our comparison outlines all the specifications of Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon printers while keeping the above-mentioned questions in mind.

Main Differences Between Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon

The main differences between Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon are:

  • Anycubic Photon uses an FEP Film for resin vat, whereas the Epax X1 uses non-FEP film while compatibility for FEP films.
  • Epax X1 consists of dual steel rods to provide greater stability, whereas the Anycubic Photon uses a single rod
  • Anycubic Photon is more affordable, whereas Epax X1 has a relatively higher price tag
  • Epax X1 uses 50 high energy LEDs as its main light source, whereas the Anycubic Photon uses UV integrated light

Their distinctions don’t stop there, however. To understand each product’s full capabilities, offerings, and differences, let’s take a deep dive into their characteristics.

Exploring Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon features

On a surface level, both printers will seem to operate in a similar way; but their construction and approach differs. As we explore different components of each, keep your projects and goals in mind to figure out which would suit your needs better.

Design & Construction

Closed frame resin printers typically have a similar layout.

Epax X1

Epax X1

The printers are encased in a box fitted with plexiglass. This protects the resin from contaminants and temperature fluctuations. If resin is exposed to external UV rays from outside environments, it may harden quicker or disrupt the printing process. The setup also reduces noise while making printing safer by containing fumes.

Both Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon have a metal housing which provides a durable build. However, while the Photon has plexiglass fitted in each side, the X1 only uses it on its front.

While this allows Anycubic users to view their designs while printing from multiple angles, there is a cost. The plexiglass is a good solution, but it ultimately does let light in. Therefore, it does not disrupt the printing process, but leaving the resin in the printer could harden it on the vat. The Epax reduces risk by only having one viewing window, but it compromises on visibility.

The build volume of the device determines the dimensions of the prototypes or models you can make. Both Photon and X1 printers have the same build volume, i.e. 115 x 65 x 155; therefore either option could work interchangeably in this aspect.

Anycubic Photon

Anycubic Photon

In terms of light source, companies use different approaches. Anycubic Photon uses a UV light to help harden the models and build it layer by layer. Whereas the Epax X1 is equipped with 50 high energy LED light bulbs. The latter provides an even distribution of light which consequently, impacts its finish and quality.

Lastly, the construction of the printer inside differs as well. The Epax X1 has a dual Z-axis rod which is sturdy and provides stability during the printing process. The original Anycubic Photon has a single rod that is known for its wobble that may impact your design.

Notably, however, the Anycubic Photon S does have a dual rod; but it is priced higher with a few other notable shortcomings.

Printing

Moving on to the printing itself, different types of printers have their own methods to produce 3D objects. With resin printers, models are built layer by layer. The process is often slow and will need to be isolated from delivering the best results. Any shakes or outside interference can damage results, especially since many use resin printers to produce intricate designs.

A platform attached to a Z-axis rod level up and down in a pool of resin while being exposed to a light source to produce each layer. Therefore there are a few elements you want to keep in mind here.

The Anycubic Photon has an excellent print quality which lends to its popularity among resin printer users. But, it does notably wobble, as mentioned earlier, due to its single rod construction. This may cause streaks in the design. Moreover, the build plate for the Photon requires manual leveling and sanding to unlock its proper potential.

On the other hand, Epax X1 does not require any adjustments, and its flatbed plate is fully calibrated right out of the box. Add in its dual rod system and it overall produces slightly better results than the Anycubic Photon.

Epax X1 has a definite advantage when it comes to print quality and ease of use. But, there are a few other factors that might matter to you.

Software

ChiTuBox Software

Slicing software of the two companies falls on opposite ends. Anycubic uses its proprietary software, whereas Epax utilizes existing third-party software.

This roughly translates to Anycubic being able to provide support and are directly responsible for their software. Whereas, third-party software is often more flexible and robust.

Anycubic’s slicing software is relatively simple to use and made for all levels of users. There are only 4 settings and provides quick and easy set up.

Epax X1 comes with the popular ChiTuBox software which is an overall more advanced program. With some added features, it enhances the user experience to provide a more flexible working environment. Additionally, it also gets points for improving accuracy.

Alternatively, though, the Anycubic devices can make use of software other than its proprietary software. But, users will have to go through a rather lengthy process to set up.

Your choice may come down to a matter of use and preference. For example, beginners may use simpler, straight-forward software to work with.

This is where Anycubic Slicing software would be a good option. Alternatively, the Epax X1 would be a solid option as a 3D printer for dental work given its smoothness and precision.

Post-Processing

Once your model has been built by the 3D resin printer, it needs to go through post-processing. This process is meant to help the model harden in a uniform way without messing its finish. We know that UV rays cure resin, but the sun’s rays have multiple rays that end up burning or provide uneven curing.

Post-Processing

Therefore, following the proper protocol is important to achieve high quality results.

Luckily, post-processing follows similar steps regardless of which resin printer you have. You will need to dip the model in an alcohol bath before it can be cured. Using an ultrasonic cleaner with 91% alcohol is preferred.

Moreover, the internal resin pool will need to be cleaned within the device to prevent it from hardening.

The Anycubic Photon uses an FEP film which is a transparent, double-layered foil. This layer is chemical resistant and may get damaged from alcohol. Therefore it is important to wash with warm water and dish-wash soap.

That said, Epax X1 uses non-FEP film which is largely more resistant, stable and lasts longer. Hence why it is preferred by many. Not to mention, FEP films will need to be frequently replaced which adds to their overall usage cost.

Specifications for Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon

Epax X1  Anycubic Photon 
Build Volume: 116 x 65 x 165 mm Build Volume: 116 x 65 x 165 mm
Software: ChiTu Software Software: Anycubic Slicing Software
Connectivity: USB, Ethernet Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
Layer Resolution: 47 microns Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns
Anti-aliasing: Yes Anti-aliasing: Yes
Z-axis: Dual rod Z-axis: Single rod

Comparing Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Pricing

Pricing is where a huge chunk of the difference lies between the Epax X1 and the Anycubic Photon. Resin printers are comparatively affordable options as 3D printers, but they still require an investment.

Both companies focus on providing affordable, high quality printers that will last you a while. They have shown their utility by their popularity among users.

However, Anycubic Photon is the company’s older model with the Photon S being its latest iteration. As such, the Photon has a more affordable price tag that will make it an ideal option for some.

There are more considerations, however. The initial price tag may be cheaper, but think about its long term use and cost to you. The Photon comes with gloves and mask, resin vat, toolkit, USB stick, screws, door handle, adapter, scrapper, and a manual. Resin can be purchased with the printer to save time.

Epax X1 has a higher price but is a more stable printer with lesser replacements required. It’s package consists of a USB stick, ChiTuBox software, 2 resin filters, a non-FEP film replacement, an adapter, and a manual. However, no resin can be purchased with the printer.

You may also want to consider other accessories, such as a model bath, a wash and cure box, extra FEP film, Micron paint strainers, and alcohol or other cleaning supplies.

Anycubic Photon vs Epax X1

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Ease of use

Ease of use is rather subjective. Some users could find Anycubic easier to use while others will have a preference for the Epax.

However, using each product’s features and their characteristics, we can determine which is more accessible for different users.

The Epax X1 comes prepared with everything you need to get started (although the resin has to be purchased separately). It provides versatility and flexibility with its use of third party software.

The ChiTuBox is excellent software to start creating resin designs, but there is a learning curve to use. Its settings may need configurations to achieve the results you need. That said, ChiTuBox is a popular slicing software with a community of users and customer service ready to help you out. Nevertheless, its advanced settings should be considered.

Additionally, the Epax X1 also uses a USB connection as well as Ethernet to transfer and build design. The USB option will be quicker overall, but depending on your usage, there is the ethernet option available to you.

Lastly, the X1 comes with its manual to help you get started whether you’re a beginner to Epax or 3D printing in general.

The Anycubic Photon is user-friendly as well, however, users report having to make some changes to the build plate or z-axis to improve its finish. It uses its own software which is simplified by the company to provide the basics to what you need to build design.

Therefore, beginners will not be bogged down with options. Instead, they can create and practice confidently with little setting fluctuations available. The isolated approach can help users hone in on the basics before they start using other third-party software.

The Photon also uses USB and Ethernet to connect, but its Ethernet connectivity is comparatively slower than the Epax X1.

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Support

Both printer software will work with most major systems, such as Windows, Apple, and Linux. The slicing and anti-aliasing should remain consistent regardless of the system you use.

When it comes to their individual company support, both companies have excellent customer service to help you with any problems you may have. To contact, visit Anycubic Support or Epax Support.

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Pros and Cons

Epax X1 Pros

  • Solid metal construction
  • Clamshell lid secures the environment
  • High-quality, precise finish
  • Easy maintenance
  • Uses non-FEP film
  • Anti-aliasing mode
  • Easy plug-and-play set up
  • Friendly customer service available

Epax X1 Cons

  • Has a shorter warranty
  • Comparatively expensive

Anycubic Photon Pros

  • Delivers intricate designs with an overall smooth finish
  • Compact and durable built
  • Easy to use for users of all levels
  • Proprietary software with excellent customer service
  • Comparatively affordable

Anycubic Photon Cons

  • Bedplate and z-axis may need to be adjusted for optimal results
  • May lack flexibility for some users

Are there any alternatives?

Peopoly Phenom

Peopoly Phenom

If you’re looking for something professional and robust, the Peopoly Phenom is an excellent choice.

It is a rather expensive option, but it is faster than most other resin printers, whether that’s printing larger models or a plate full of small ones. Its efficiency comes from its customized light engine that distributes its light evenly and an in-built cooling system to ensure the quality of its results.

The printer uses ChiTuBox software so users can take advantage of this market’s reliable slicing software. This nifty printer is packed with features, providing you with a comprehensive package that should deliver on all your printing needs.

These printers are more for professionals or expert enthusiasts, but if you’re interested in resin printers, the Peopoly printers set a standard, unlike others.

Phrozen Sonic Mini

Phrozen Sonic Mini

As innovations within the 3D space continue, the Phorzen Sonic Mini is a fast, but smaller resin printer. It is a cost-effective option in terms of its initial investment cost and overall running costs as well.

While the Phrozen Sonic Mini cannot be used for large scale modeling, it does have the basics of what you need. It is the perfect option for 3D enthusiasts for miniature printing and other small projects. This is no compromise on quality or detail, instead, it’s an affordable option for those needing smaller build volume.

Frequently Asked Questions about Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon

What To Look For When Buying 3D Resin Printers?

Several of the above-discussed factors make up things you should look for. However, having the parameters categorized can help you stay objective. As such, here’s what look at when buying a 3D resin printer:
•Print Quality
•Print Speed
•Accuracy/Precision
•Self-leveling bed
•Durability
•Connectivity Options
•Noise
•Price
•Accessories
Lastly, and more importantly, a printer should work for you and your projects. You shouldn’t be scrambling to make your printer work for you or adjusting your projects around one. Therefore, take a look at all the above in light of your desired goals

Does Anycubic Photon and Epax X1 Come With Slicing Software?

Anycubic comes with its own proprietary slicing software. The company has been manufacturing 3d printers that have quickly become popular. Using their customer base and understanding, their proprietary software contains everything you need to get started.

Epax X1 uses the ever-popular third party software, ChiTuBox. It adds diversity and contains additional settings and options that the Anycubic’s slicing software lacks.

What Does Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon Come With?

The Epax X1 printers come with:
•ChiTuBox Software
•Replacement non-FEP Film
•Adapter
•2 Resin Filters
•USB stick
•Manual
The Anycubic Photon comes with:
•Gloves and mask
•Toolkit
•USB stick
•Scrapper
•Adapter
•Door Handle
•Resin Vat
•Screws
•Manual
•Resin (Optional purchase)

What, if any, Other Slicing Software Can Be Used With Anycubic Photon?

Aside from their own slicing software, both printers can be adapted to be used with other slicing software, such as
•Zortrax Z-Suite
•Photon Open Slicer
•Formware 3D
•Slic3r

Do I get a warranty with Epax X1 or Anycubic Photon?

Both companies come with their own warranty policies. To learn more, visit their respective website at Anycubic Warranty Policy or Epax Warranty Policy

Our Verdict: Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Which is Better?

In conclusion, both the Epax X1 and the Anycubic Photon are popular printers due to their reliability and quality. They do meet all the criteria to be solid purchases for users. From their results to the product’s durability, both are excellent options you can’t go wrong with.

We recommend Anycubic Photon for those who want to get started with resin printing, but don’t mind a little customization. It is an affordable option that can be improved with a little work.

Whereas the Epax X1 is excellent for individuals that need the flexibility to work on various different projects without fussing the device too.

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Should You Upgrade?

The Anycubic Photon vs Photon S might be a tricky comparison to make given it’s the same printer, with a few upgrades. However, are those upgrades enough for you to switch over?

Resin printers have revolutionized the 3D printing space given their highly accurate results at a relatively affordable price. They’re an easy to use and safer alternative for beginners. Yet, it delivers high quality, smooth, and polished finish. Anycubic printers are no different.

If you’re looking to produce prototypes and products with fine details, Anycubic has a range of affordable printers that might work for you. Their Photon series is one of the most popular due to its versatility, durability, and cost.

Due to its success, the company introduced the Photon S that takes its counterpart to a new level. But, are their differences that significant? And, which one would be right for you?

This guide illustrates the differences between the Anycubic Photon and the Anycubic Photon S and explores which one is worth investing.

Main Differences Between Anycubic Photon vs Photon S

The main differences between Anycubic Photon vs Photon S are:

  • Anycubic Photon has a print speed of 10mm/h, whereas Anycubic Photon S has a slightly higher speed of 20mm/h
  • Anycubic Photon S has dual linear rails, whereas the Anycubic Photon has a single rod as its Z-axis
  • Anycubic Photon is available at a lower price, whereas the Anycubic Photon S is comparatively expensive
  • Anycubic Photon S uses a UV Matrix as a light source, whereas the Anycubic Photon has a UV LED source

Both models are highly rated resin printers; however, keep their main distinctions in mind as you go through the article to make the right purchasing decision for yourself.

Exploring Anycubic Photon and Anycubic Photon S features

The perfect 3D printer gives you the performance you need; therefore, let’s break down each model using a few practical categories to understand the difference between Anycubic Photon vs Photon S.

Design & Construction

Whether you’re new to 3D printing or transitioning from Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) printers, understanding how resin printers work helps.

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S Design

You don’t need to be an expert, but having a basic understanding allows you to grasp the full potential and limitations of the device. Resin printers use ultraviolet (UV) light to harden liquid polymer on a layer-by-layer basis to bring your designs to life.

Each printer has a tray to pool photopolymer resin with UV light shining below. A moving platform adjusts, according to your input, to gradually build each layer. The entire printer is encased within its body to keep it insulated from dirt or dust while also preventing environmental light from affecting the resin.

The original Anycubic Photon has a sturdy metal body fitted with blue plexiglass. On the other hand, the updated Anycubic Photon S has a high-quality and heavy-duty plastic body with blue-amber plexiglass.

Which is better? Some may be inclined to go for the older, metal body. But using plastic in the newer model does not mean its cheaper in quality. The body remains quite durable, yet lighter weight than the former. All in all, in terms of its outer casing, you can’t go wrong with either.

However, the plexiglass color does make a slight difference. The blue-amber color of the newer model provides better UV blocking than the blue color. This means your resin will be less likely to dry up naturally in the printer pool. The original Anycubic Photon does not fall short, but you will need to be extra careful cleaning up.

Survey your workspace and judge the conditions you’ll be working under to make a decision between which factors make a difference to you.

Printing

As mentioned above, resin printers differ from traditional FDM 3D printers by exposing the resin to UV light. The printing process of the two models is similar, but there are subtle differences in their mechanics and results.

The Anycubic Photon uses a solo Z-axis rod that adjusts up and down to build the model layer-by-layer. This results in high-quality prints that can handle reasonably intricate designs with ease.

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S Priting

However, the Photon did receive complaints of its single rod being wobbly; often disturbing the model resulting in streaks or less smoothness.

Therefore, the Anycubic Photon S attempts to rectify its stability issue by changing its single Z-axis rod to a dual one. Consequently, the prints are much smoother and precise—even with smaller parts.

The Photon S has another slight advantage in the printing area as its build volume has been increased by 10 mm. Although the improvement is not significant enough to warrant an upgrade, if you have the original Photon.

Software

All Anycubic devices come with their slicing software. It equips users with the basics of all they need to operate their 3D printers. It allows you to generate models geared towards making detailed and precise designs.

Unlike traditional FDM software, each file is made up on multiple images that allow for constructing layered models.

Anycubic uses the same Slicer program for all its models. Therefore, regardless of the model you have, you’re receiving the same facilities and capabilities.

The print quality of the Photon S is overall better due to its hardware, as described above. But there is some reporting it has more software bugs as opposed to the Photon. Much like the quality differences, however, the issues are not prominent enough to warrant a clear-cut recommendation of either model.

FormWare Slicing Software

Post-Processing

Much like other aspects of a resin 3D printer, there is a slight learning curve for beginners for post-processing as well. It is a crucial aspect of ensuring your results are precise and durable.

After cleaning your model in an alcohol bath, use an ultrasonic cleaner for around 3 minutes using 91% alcohol. Subsequent to this, the model can be cured. Using a UV machine is the recommended way as direct sunlight may cause a reaction resulting in a burnt tint.

Without properly cleaning your device, the resin will harden within the device making the material and the machine’s pool bed unusable. Although the Photon S upgrades its plexiglass by adding a more amber tint, incoming light can still harden the resin. Therefore, drain all liquid and properly clean off any residue before storage to ensure your product’s life.

Specifications for Anycubic Photon and Photon S

Anycubic Photon Anycubic Photon S
Build Volume: 116 x 55 x 165 mm Build Volume: 116 x 65 x 165 mm
Software: Anycubic Slicing Software Software: Anycubic Slicing Software
Connectivity: USB Connectivity: USB
Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns
Anti-aliasing: Yes Anti-aliasing: Yes
Z-axis: Single rod Z-axis: Dual rod

Comparing Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Pricing

The 3D printing niche is still in its infancy, but innovations spring up routinely. Resin printing is in itself an innovation, which made 3D printing easier and more accessible. Unlike traditional heavy-duty printers, you can easily find resin printers at a fraction of the cost.

Moreover, Anycubic prides itself on its affordability and quality. The company focuses on making the space more inclusive to generate more creativity and unlock a person’s inner potential.

As such, the prices of both models are rather economical. However, there is a price distinction between Anycubic Photon and Photon S.

The Photon, being the older model, is considerably lower in price. You can also purchase resin along-with the Photon to use it right out of the box.

Anycubic Photon S Upgraded Pricing

On the other hand, the retail price of Anycubic Photon S is considerably more expensive, but it does come with additional resin and 2 FEP Film.

Therefore, the original Photon model has the upper hand when it comes to the price given it still delivers a quality finish with the same feature list.

When considering cost, you might want to keep 3D printing accessories in mind as well. This includes:

  • UV Resin
  • FEP Film
  • Additional accessories, such as a Quad-HD LCD Screen

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Ease of use

Anycubic is a well-known and established 3D printer manufacturer with a specialty in resin printers. Their devices are manufactured with the end user in mind to make the printing process as smooth as possible.

That being said, 3D resin printing is not a straight forward task to get started with. While being cost-effective for beginners, the device has a learning curve in order to unlock its potential. Once you understand the basics, however, it all comes rather simple and practical.

To help newcomers into the world of resin modeling, Anycubic has installed its easy to use plug-and-play software on a USB. Its software and firmware can also be found on the company’s website, along-with informative guides.

The product manual is detailed, and it explains each step you need to take to build your models like a pro. Each model comes with a handy LCD to help you determine each component is precise, down to the last few micrometers.

Additionally, if you face any issues, Anycubic has an adequate customer service team to help you along the way. Overall, ease of use might be slightly based on individual experiences; however, it focuses on helping you get your bearings until you’re confident.

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Support

As suggested above, Anycubic has accessible and friendly customer service that allows the company to proactive resolve user issues.

Additionally, a community of users of varying levels supports the product. Beginners to Advanced 3D modelers can use the Community Forum to troubleshoot their problems or discuss their findings.

For everything else, you have the company’s manuals and direct customer service features

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Pros and Cons

Anycubic Photon Pros

  • High quality 3D Resin Printer
  • Provides smooth and beautiful prints
  • Made from a solid metal body
  • Relatively affordable
  • Offers the same features as its updated counterpart

Anycubic Photon Cons

  • Touchscreen responsiveness needs work
  • Single Z-axis rod can wobble to disrupt the model design

Anycubic Photon S Pros

  • Smoother, faster, and more precise finish
  • Plastic exterior lowers value price without compromising on durability
  • Updated plexiglass for easy clean-up
  • Uses dual liner rod on Z-axis to provide greater stability and improve the finish

Anycubic Photon S Cons

  • Expensive with no additional benefits
  • Slight glossy finish
  • The plastic casing is an overall downgrade from its metal body.

Are there any alternatives?

Elegoo Mars

elegoo mars

The Elegoo Mars 3D resin printer works similar to the Anycubic Photon, and its most recommended alternative.

It offers an easy printing experience to the user using the same plate mechanics for consistently high-quality prints. Unlike the Photon series, however, the Elegoo Mars requires the build plate to be manually installed. All instructions are provided and the installation is an easy process, but it is not as plug-and-play as its counterpart initially.

Moreover, the Elegoo Mars comes with the ChiTu Box software which is easy to use and offers more flexibility than the Photon proprietary Slicing software. It allows you to build hollow models while providing robust support generation.

In terms of its price, the Elegoo Mars sits between the two Photon models so it could be an affordable alternative to the Photon S.

Wanhao D7

Wanhao D7

Wanhao D7 printer is also a comparative option worth looking into. It delivers similar high-quality results with a layer resolution of 35 microns.

Like the Elegoo Mars, the Wanhao D7 does not come with proprietary software. Instead, it provides access to the Creation Workshop. However this software is rather barebones, and most users tend to use alternative slicer software. Important to note: Its connectivity is through USB only.

The Wanhao D7 has a price comparative to the Anycubic Photon S while lacking some aspects. However, it does provide the same quality and could be an alternative that works for you.

Frequently Asked Questions about Anycubic Photon and Photon S

What Is a Resin 3D Printer?

Resin printers are an innovation that makes 3D technologies more affordable and accessible. Unlike FDM printers that use filaments, these printers use resins to create models on a layer-by-layer basis. It essentially cures liquid resin using UV light to build its structures.

As a result, the prints are more detailed and intricate while requiring less post-processing work. Overall, your printer preference depends on the projects you want to undertake, but a resin printer is a good option for beginners to get started with 3D printing.

Is the printing process slow with the Anycubic Photon or Photon S?

As with most resin printers, the printing process is rather slow as each layer needs to be built up. That said, the Photon S has slightly improved its speed given its UV matrix and increase in power.

Does Anycubic Come With Slicing Software?

Both Anycubic models include the company’s proprietary slicing software which provides you everything you need to get started. Alternatively, you can also use third-party softwares according to your preference.

What, if any, Other Slicing Softwares Can Be Used With Anycubic Photon?

Other Slicing softwares that can be used with Anycubic Photon devices include:
•Zortrax Z-Suite
•ChituBox
•Photon Open Slicer
•Formware 3D
•Slic3r

Do I get a warranty with Anycubic Photon or Anycubic Photon S?

Yes. Buying Anycubic Photon or Photon S from the company’s direct website or through authorized sellers (such as Amazon) qualifies you for warranty. To learn more, check out the company’s Warranty Policy.

Our Verdict: Anycubic Photon vs Anycubic Photon S – Which is better?

In short: The Anycubic Photon and Photon S are solid resin 3D printers that produce high-quality models and prototypes. While they have a learning curve, they enable 3D technologies to be accessible for beginners at a more affordable price.

The utility of 3D resin printers lies in their ability to provide the complete package, and the Anycubic Photon series definitely provides that. Each model comes with their signature Slicing software which allows you to manifest your designs.

So, which is better between the two?

The Photon S brings some improvements to the package in terms of its stability, speed, and overall finish. It builds upon some of the predecessor’s shortcomings and is a well-thought-out device. However, the differences aren’t massive enough to warrant upgrading unless you need a replacement.

Therefore our recommendation for 3D printing beginners is to purchase the Anycubic Photon with its similar feature list priced at a more affordable cost.

If you’re experienced with 3D printers, the Anycubic Photon S may be the better option, due to possible future firmware updates which might not be available for the older model.

Best Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Upgrades to Consider in 2021

Finding the best Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus upgrades can turn this already very competent 3D printer into a great machine.

The Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a slightly differefnt model than the Wanhao i3 that we have reviewed before.

We’ll go over what the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is, why adding upgrades can drastically improve its performance and finally, we’ll show you the best upgrades that you can buy.

What is the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus?

Manufactured by Wanhao which is a Chinese company, the Duplicator i3 Plus comes in at the budget end of the pricing scale. That being said, 3D printers have come away down in price in recent years so even though it is a cheaper printer, that doesn’t necessarily mean it has poor performance.

In fact, the Duplicator i3 Plus provides better print quality than many 3D printers that cost much more money.

The printer comes with a decent build volume of 200 X 200 X 180 mm so it is ideal for home use as well as small businesses. With an extruder temperature of 240°C to 260°C it can handle various types of filament and the print speed is good on this machine as well.

Overall the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a budget printer that offers a high quality experience. You can pay a lot more money for a 3D printer that won’t produce the same results however that isn’t to say that it can’t be improved upon.

Duplicator i3 Plus

Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus specifications

  • Build Volume: 200 x 200 x 180 mm
  • Connectivity: USB, SD Card
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm
  • Hotend Temperature: 240°C – 260°C
  • Print Speed: 10-100mm/s
  • Materials Supported: PLA, ABS, PVA, Stainless Steel, NinjaFlex, Nylon, HIPS, Woodfill, LayBrick, CopperFILL, BronzeFILL, MOLDLAY, Conductive, Carbon Fiber, Polyurethane

Why do you need to add upgrades?

It isn’t that the i3 Plus is a bad printer at all but some choice upgrades can really make the difference in how your prints turn out.

You can certainly use the Duplicator i3 Plus straight out of the box and you will be able to print off high quality objects. Many people don’t upgrade or modify this 3D printer and have never had any problems.

That being said, there are some reasons why it is a good idea to buy some additional parts or upgrade existing components on this printer.

Better 3D printing

As we said, the print quality on this 3D printer is very good but it can always be improved.

By adding in some small upgrades to the i3 plus you will be able to get better and higher quality prints. Some owners will happily keep the stock components on this printer and that’s completely fine however a few upgrades can really take this printer to the next level.

Extra features

Aside from simply improving on the existing parts of the i3 plus, some upgrades can actually add to the overall functionality. This includes adding in additional features to your printer.

For example, adding a camera to keep an eye on your prints or even upgrading the machine so that it is able to connect via WiFi. Out of the box the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus has USB and SD card connectivity so adding to this is a good idea.

Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Features

Improved reliability

Getting reliable and consistent prints is important as a print coming out in high quality. The i3 Plus does a good job at printing reliably however it can be improved upon.

With upgrades to the bed leveling system and the glass bed which we will have a look at later one, the overall performance of your printer will be much better. It means not only will you have high quality prints but you will have these prints on a consistent basis.

What parts of the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus can you upgrade?

The vast majority of components in a 3D printer can be upgraded or modified and this includes the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus.

Some are easier than others. The upgrades we have listed below are all fairly straightforward even if you happen to be new to 3D printers. While there are perhaps more complicated upgrades out there, we want to show you the best ones to get you off to a good start with this printer.

These are the main parts of the i3 Plus that most people tend to upgrade to improve print reliability, quality, and overall performance.

Z Braces

Adding a Z brace to the i3 Plus will improve its stability and make the printer more rigid.

What this means is that you should get more reliable prints on a frequent basis. Because there are several moving parts on the 3D printer, a Z brace stabilizes everything to ensure better quality prints. While this isn’t such a big problem on more recent versions of the Di3, it will ensure better stability to your printer overall.

Print Surface

Adding a glass bed to the print surface is something that a lot of people do to their 3D printer and it isn’t just an upgrade that is limited to the i3+. Most 3D printer owners end up adding on a glass bed at some point if their printer doesn’t have one.

It has several benefits including providing a smooth finish to your prints and an easy removal process of your models from the printer. The advantage glass has over other surfaces such as plastic is that it can withstand high temperatures. This means that it won’t warp or peel so it will rarely need to be replaced. Glass is also easier to clean before and after printing too.

wanhao duplicator i3 plus review

On-board computer

Another common upgrade on the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is the on-board computer.

There isn’t a ton wrong with what is provided with this 3D printer however adding something like a Raspberry Pi can improve its overall performance. It will also ensure that you get increased functionality as well with the 3D printer and can include things like WiFi and adding an on-board camera.

Belt Tension

The springs wirth the i3 Plus are known as having a few problems. This can cause issues with the print quality and a common upgrade is to increase the belt tension.

Doing this will mean that the X and Y belts are more secured which cuts down on movement and will mean better printed models and objects.

Cooling Fan

While there isn’t too much wrong with the stock fan provided, upgrading to a better one will improve this 3D printer overall.

With a better fan, you will notice improved bridges, overhangs, and needle points if you are printing with PLA and other materials. It is a fairly easy modification but one that will bring a lot of advantages.

Buying upgrades v printing upgrades

I’m going to show you the best upgrades you can get for the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus but before I do, I need to tell you about buying an upgraded part or printing an upgrading part.

The beauty of already having a 3D printer is that some parts you can actually print off yourself! While this isn’t true for everything – a new motherboard for example – some smaller parts can actually be made yourself.

On our list of best upgrades for the Duplicator i3+, there is a combination of parts that can be bought and parts that can also be printed.

Best upgrades for the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus

So, let’s find out the best upgrades you can get for your Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus.

#1 Z Braces

Adding Z braces to your Duplicator i3 Plus will improve its stability and add much-needed rigidity to the printer.

z braces i3 plus

This is actually one of the upgrades for the Duplicator i3 Plus that you can print off and attach yourself if you wish. In actual fact it is a fairly easy upgrade and you don’t need to drill any new holes although you do need to replace some short 3mm screws with 10mm screws.

#2 Wisamic Borosilicate Glass Plate Bed

Upgrading the print bed on the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus can make a world of difference to how your prints turn out. It can also make the whole process a bit easier as glass is a lot easier to clean prior to printing and also once your objects have been completed.

The Wisamic Borosilicate Glass Plate Bed is an ideal upgrade for your i3 Plus. It is made from 100% borosilicate glass which means it can cope with high temperatures that this 3D printer needs to reach its potential. You also won’t need to replace this anytime soon due to its durability while you’ll get a consistent heat across the build surface.

Getting your completed prints off the glass bed is a lot easier as well. Given its inexpensive cost and the advantages it brings to your Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus, this upgrade really is a no brainer.

#3 Belt Tensioners

This is another upgrade that you can print off yourself and it can have a positive impact on how your prints turn out.

The springs on the i3 Plus are known for not being particularly stable but some belt tensioners for the X Belt and the Y Belt will mean that everything is a bit more secure.

It is quite a simple fix for a problem that can plague this 3D printer. Even if you are a beginner with 3D printers, printing and installing belt tensioners is fairly straightforward and all the instructions are there to make sure you get it right.

#4 Raspberry Pi with Octoprint

Enhancing the power of your 3D printer while also adding in additional functionality is something that can be achieved with a Raspberry Pi upgrade. Especially when it comes to fairly budget 3D printers, upgrading its processing power and on-board computer can really allow it to reach its potential

By installing this onto your 3D printer and also using Octoprint which creates a web interface for your printer, you will find the i3 Plus easier to use too. With these additions, you can add WiFi functionality and control your 3D printer from another computer as well.

It is another modification that isn’t massively difficult either but will make a ton of difference to how your 3D printer functions.

#5 Raspberry Pi Camera Module

Adding in a camera will let you keep an eye on your prints as they are progressing and the Raspberry Pi Camera Module is a very useful addition.

Raspberry Pi Camera Module

This is another fairly inexpensive upgrade but something that will really add a big functionality boost to your 3D printer. You can also get a mounting arm for the camera as well which you are able to print off yourself.

Combined with the Raspberry Pi with Octoprint, this will greatly extend how your Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus operates and make things a lot easier when printing high quality objects,

#6 DC Brushless Sleeve-Bearing Cooling Blower Fan

The fan with the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus certainly isn’t the worst on the market but there are issues around the noise it makes. The stock fan shroud doesn’t work too well either so it is certainly worth looking into a new part.

This is why the DC Brushless Sleeve-Bearing Cooling Blower Fan is a recommended upgrade to provide better noise control and it will also help with improving bridges, overhangs, and needle points. You can also get a cooler mod for the i3 Plus which can make a huge difference too.

Installing a new fan onto this 3D printer isn’t a difficult job so you should be able to do this with ease.

#7 Filament Guide

The last upgrade that you should get for your Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a filament guide.

This will help with feeding the filament into the 3D printer and should help towards higher quality and more consistent prints. This is an upgrade that you will be able to print off yourself too which is a bonus. Quite a small modification to your i3 Plus 3D printer but it is one that can make a world of difference to print quality and reliability.

Frequently Asked Questions and Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Upgrades

Should I upgrade my Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus?

It is something you should seriously think about. The i3 Plus is a perfectly good printer out of the box and you will be able to print off good quality models. However, with the upgrades that we have listed here, you can take this 3D printer from being a good one to a great machine with new possibilities and potential.

Will upgrading my Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus improve print quality?

It should do. Even though the print quality is pretty good as standard you can increase the quality and reliability with these upgrades. For example, the Z braces, glass plate and filament guide will all help with more reliable outputs.

Is Wanhao a good 3D printer manufacturer?

This Chinese based company is known for producing good quality 3D printers for an affordable price. We have reviewed several of Wanhao’s 3D printers recently including the i3 and the D7.

Can I install these upgrades on my own?

Yes, you should be able to. None of these upgrades are particularly hard to install. Some will take a bit more work than others and if you are new to 3D printers it might take more time. However, you should be able to put these modifications onto your 3D printer on your own.

Do I need to spend a lot of money to upgrade my Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus?

Not necessarily. Most of these upgraded parts are all very inexpensive and some you can even print off yourself. Because the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a reasonably inexpensive 3D printer you can buy some of these upgraded parts and it will still be cheaper than many other models on the market for the same quality.

Can I print some of these upgrades myself?

Yes. Some of the upgrades we have listed can be printed on your 3D printer and then installed. There are also guides as well as printing and installation instructions which will help you to get started.

Conclusion

For the most part, you should be able to print off high-quality objects on your Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus. If you are totally new to 3D printing or just a beginner, it can take a while to learn the basics and get consistently good prints.

The Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus is a very good printer as it is and for the price, it really isn’t that expensive when you consider the quality you get. However, extending its functionality and ensuring that you get reliable prints on a consistent basis will actually save you time and money.

This is why these upgrades are important. They not only provide better-printed objects and models but they also improve the features of your printer as well.

The best upgrades for the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus are:

These upgrades for the Wanhao Duplicator i3 Plus Upgrades can turn your already well functioning printer into a powerful one without the huge cost.