Flashforge Creator 3 Review [2020]: Our Honest Opinion

Flashforge Creator 3 Review

This great 3D printer is designed and marketed toward universities for use in their engineering departments. It’s a professional system at an affordable price, making it accessible for anyone who needs a machine for a group of people.

It’s a desktop-sized printer and is priced at the high end of the market for those looking for an at-home piece of equipment, but it’s still rather accessible if you’re a serious hobbyist. It’s loaded with features that make it a worthwhile investment.

Specifications

  • Technology: Fused filament fabrication (FFF)
  • Build volume: 300mm x 250mm x 200mm
  • Printer weight: 40kg
  • Printer dimensions: 627mm x 485mm x 615mm
  • Layer height: 0.05-0.4mm
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Position precision: X, Y: 11 microns / Z: 2.5 microns
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, 3D cloud, USB, Ethernet
  • Print bed: PEI sheet on the glass
  • Heated plate: Yes
  • Maximum plate temperature: 120°C
  • Third-party filament: Yes
  • Printable materials: ABS, PC, PLA, PVA, HIPS, PETG, nylon, W.P.C.
  • Built-in camera: Yes
  • Extrusion: Dual
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 300°C
  • Touchscreen 4.5 inches
  • Software: FlashPrint
  • File input types: OBJ, FPP, PNG, JPG, JPEG, STL, 3MF, BMP
  • File output type: GX/G
  • Supports: Mac, Windows, Linux

Setup

At first glance, you might notice that the Flashforge Creator 3 is rather compact. It makes a nice addition to your workspace and doesn’t take up too much room. However, the total build space is much larger than most others on the market, making efficient use of the space.

It’s also built of a full metal chassis, affording you good stability so you get great quality out of your prints. The clear, plexiglass doors give you visibility to your jobs while the enclosed area maintains an optimal environment.

flashforge creator 3 review

When it comes to set up, it may be a time consuming and tricky process, but much of it is enabled and monitored through the touchscreen and Flashcloud program. It requires setting up the camera, loading the material, calibrating the bed, and setting up the Wi-Fi.

The camera is positioned nicely, but setting it up can be the most finicky part of the process. Once you’re done with it, it’s easy to monitor and really convenient.

The touchscreen allows you to select multiple languages, view previews, and manage settings. It also makes loading materials easy. The screen guides you through the entire process, although it does take some practice.

Bed calibration is also guided by the touchscreen and prompts you to turn dials on the inside of the machine. It takes about two minutes to complete the entire process effectively. The calibration check before each print ensures the bed is leveled correctly.

There’s also a button for troubleshooting bugs on the Z-axis. While this is useful, it would be nice to see the printer correct itself instead of needing further input from the user.

Wi-Fi setup takes another couple of minutes, and after it’s done, you can send files directly from your computer to your printer. You can also load files onto a USB drive and load prints this way, although not nearly as convenient as using Wi-Fi.

Features

As with any 3D printer, it’s all in the features. This is where the value truly lies, and the Flashforge Creator 3 is pretty impressive. The full list of features may have you jumping at the bit to shell out the big bucks.

IDEX

The Flashforge Creator 3 brings a whole other level of amazing to the dual extruder idea. Not only does it feature dual extruders, but each extruder moves independently of the other. This independent dual extruder system, or IDEX for short, includes a range of modes.

Mirror mode can print two identical projects at the same time, which is useful if you’re replicating items and saves time if you need more than one of the same print. And because each extruder can use a different material while working simultaneously, it’s ideal for printing complex geometrical patterns.

https://www.canva.com/design/DAD_McuJB7M/share/preview?token=Q9mfb7B_fne1iQMoqvmZuA&role=EDITOR&utm_content=DAD_McuJB7M&utm_campaign=designshare&utm_medium=link&utm_source=sharebutton

Built-in HD camera

Plenty of 3D printers these days have built-in cameras so you can monitor your prints from another location. However, the camera included in the Flashforge Creator 3 displays your job in all of its HD glory.

No need to watch your printer up close for hours while it completes the job. You can walk away and still keep an eye on what it’s doing. This is a fantastic feature for people who have multiple printers at work at the same time or who simply don’t want to have to babysit the printer.

Fully enclosed design

Designed with students in mind, the fully enclosed structure offers additional safety for all users. This feature makes it a great printer for younger users and beginners who aren’t yet familiar with how 3D printers work.

It’s also an excellent way to learn how to print with tricky materials that are more sensitive to temperature. It helps to maintain a steady internal temperature without the fluctuations of an open-air design.

It also features an enclosed area for the filament spool on the side of the machine that protects it from moisture in the air.

Flexible removable build plate

The build plate has a ton of really great features that enable great prints. It’s heated, to prevent warping and improve the quality of the print job. Not only that, but it’s removable, which makes it so much easier to get your final job out of the enclosed machine.

But wait. That’s not all. The bed is flexible, so after you remove it, simply bend it slightly, and the print should pop right off.

Auto shut-off

If the printer detects any filament feeding problems, it will automatically stop printing. That way you can adjust or clean as needed and then restart your job. This will help make sure all of your prints are successful without errors or mistakes.

3D cloud

Flashforge offers a cloud management system with all of its 3D printers so you can upload and store your files. You’ll have your own library of models online and you can use the onboard touchscreen to access them.

Just navigate to your list of prints, select one, and your printer will get to work building right away.

Software

The Flashforge Creator 3 uses proprietary FlashPrint software to slice all print jobs. It’s easy for beginners to use, but it’s robust enough for experienced users to find the tools they need to create advanced jobs.

If you’ve used other slicing software before, you’ll find that the controls match closely enough that you’ll know you’re way around, and the program is quite intuitive. The menu is laid out well and easily recognizable.

Buttons on the left offer quick access to buttons you might use frequently like cutting, rotating, scaling, or repositioning.

Once you load and position your design, you are directed to support options so you can select the type of supports your print needs. Generate your own support placement or auto-generate supports. You can also manually add or remove supports.

After designing your print, you can select your settings such as material, print speed, resolution, retraction, temperature, and more.

While it’s not open source, FlashPrint still seems to be familiar and easy to use. In fact, it’s one of the easier slicers on the market. The interface and options are straightforward.

flashprint flashforge software

Performance

Overall, the Flashforge Creator 3 produces incredibly high-quality prints. You’ll experience a smooth surface with little to no imperfections such as stringing. You may find some defects in areas where you lack the right supports, but they’re easily cleaned up using a scalpel or grit paper.

The quality of each print demonstrates that while the X and Y axes struggle to repeat the same print identically each time, the retraction capabilities are perfect. Every print is of excellent quality.

If you truly wanted to test the capability of this printer, you could print objects of high complexity without supports and you would see very little stringing that could be cleaned up easily with grit paper and a scalpel.

With the right supports, your prints are nearly perfect. Surfaces are smooth and defect-free, even with finicky and sensitive materials, but may require adjusting some settings to get it right.

Alternatives

If you’re shopping around for 3D printers, there are plenty of options on the market. It may make your head spin trying to figure out which one is best for you. If the Flashforge Creator 3 is a contender, here are some others you may want to take a look at.

CraftBot Flow

CraftBot Flow

The CraftBot Flow is another IDEX 3D printer, offering a small, but robust machine for slightly fewer dollars than the Creator 3. CraftUnique’s Flow Generation line improves on their previous CraftBot 3 printer with a sleek, white exterior design, a steel frame, all-metal hot ends, Wi-Fi connectivity, a built-in camera, and 4GB of external storage.

It has a build volume of 425mm x 250mm x 250mm, but if you’re looking for something bigger, you can also get the CraftBot Flow IDEX XL with 425mm x 250mm x 500mm.

Ultimaker 3

ultimaker 3

Where the Ultimaker 3 falls short is the dual extruder design. However, it does feature a dual print core design that enables rapid retooling. It enables the inactive core to move out of the way, reducing contamination while still allowing for printing with multiple materials.

Wi-Fi connectivity and excellent performance offer a professional experience at roughly the same price point, while the Ultimaker 3 Extended gives you the same high uptime with a larger print volume.

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
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Raise3D Pro2

Raise3D Pro2

For truly unmatched professional quality, the Raise3D Pro2 is a dual extrusion printer that features effortless operation. The 7-inch color touchscreen and Wi-Fi connectivity make it easy to operate, well, all the time, no matter where you are.

It also has a huge build volume and a fully enclosed chamber as well as high-temperature hot ends. While it only has a single printhead design, it does have two independent nozzles with heating blocks that move out of the way when idle.

There’s also a built-in camera, a HEPA filter, and a removable print bed.

Raise3D Pro2 3D Printer - Where to Buy
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FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

3D printing is pretty cool, but it’s not worth it for everyone. A lot of people spend tons of time and money on 3D printers and printing, but you have to decide whether it’s worth all of the effort and the strain on your personal budget.
For a school or university, it’s probably worth a few extra bucks to spring for something that offers excellent quality prints and will last. Even for a serious hobbyist, it may be an excellent addition to the home office.
However, you need to be sure you’re going to get good use out of it, so if you’re unfamiliar with them or you’re not 100% on board with buying one, it may not be the best idea.

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

Sure, you can sell items you make with your 3D printer. You can even offer up your at-home 3D printer as a commercial service. Websites like Hubs allow you to list your 3D printer as a service or take orders for things you produce.
However, be careful with this because if you aren’t familiar with how to print or you’re not printing quality items, you may not be able to make much money and people won’t be happy with the end result.

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

While 3D printing is fun and can be an excellent resource, there are some disadvantages. For instance, there are a lot of materials available, but the selection isn’t endless. The build size is also restricted by the volume of the printer you choose.
Design inaccuracies can leave you with imperfect final results and if you choose to sell your items, you can sometimes run into copyright issues with current manufacturers.

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

Generally, yes, it’s cheaper to build a 3D printer than it is to buy one. You can save money on the assembly by doing it yourself, plus you can customize your printer with the high-end parts you want and only spend a little bit more.
However, keep in mind that it’s nothing like building a PC. It’s hard work getting the right components and fitting them together. It’s a work of engineering and if you’re not up for the task, it’s worth the extra money to buy one. Building it incorrectly will result in a printer that doesn’t work and then your money will be wasted.

Final Thoughts

While it has some flaws, the Flashforge Creator 3 is definitely worthy of the price you’ll pay. It’s a high-end printer that produces quality prints using a variety of materials like ASA, ABS, PLA, PLA wood, PETG, PC, and nylon. You’ll also experience a lot of success with materials that are more demanding, like polymers.

Some of the setups is tricky, but most of it is quick and easy, thanks to the touchscreen assistance. The UI is logically arranged for clear and consistent use.

The IDEX design is a great opportunity for students, professionals, and hobbyists to experiment with projects that use two different materials and how they work together.

FlashPrint, Flashforge’s slicer is one of the easiest slicers on the market to use for both beginners and professionals, and the controls are arranged in a way that’s organized and makes sense.

Without supports, you may find some stringing that needs to be cleaned up afterward, but other than that, it’s easy to use and produces excellent results. Plus, the Wi-Fi connectivity and the built-in camera allow you to use it from anywhere.

The Creator 3 is always fun to use and most users will be impressed. It’s intended for experienced users, but even beginners can use it safely because of its intuitive controls. Anyone can unlock its full capabilities.

Check out similar 3D Printers in the Flashforge Creator series:

Kodak Portrait 3D Printer Review [2020]: All You Need to Know

kodak portrait 3d printer review

You’ve probably noticed that the market for 3D printers is more competitive than ever. When looking at low-cost 3D printers for home use in the hobbyist market, there are too many to count.

The historic company, Kodak, enters the market here with the Kodak Portrait. However, this printer wasn’t actually developed by the company itself. They licensed their name to an Argentinian startup named Smart International for manufacturing.

Kodak has an image to keep up, and the debut of this machine helps to maintain that image. It has all the features you need with easy plug and plays operation.

When getting up close and personal with this printer, it’s hard to find any flaws, which is something you can’t say about many other 3D printers on the market.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
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Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Kodak (Smart International)
  • Technology: FDM
  • Arrangement: CoreXY
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Compatible materials: Kodak ABS, HIPS, Flex 98, Nylon 6, Nylon 12, PLA Tough, PLA+, PETG, PVA
  • Accepts 3rd-party materials: Yes
  • Layer height: 20-250 micron
  • Extruder type: Single print head, dual hot end
  • Feeder system: Bowden
  • Nozzle size: 0.4mm
  • Maximum heat bed temperature: 295°C
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 105°C
  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi, LAN, USB
  • Built-in camera: Yes
  • Bed leveling: Assisted manual
  • Display: 5-inch color touchscreen
  • Extras: Moisture blocking filament cartridges, HEPA + activated carbon air filter

Kodak

Setup

The Kodak Portrait comes fully assembled. After unboxing, you’ll find a toolkit and all the accessories you need, like an unclogging needle, a calibration card, and lubrication. You also get two spools of PLA filament, spool holders, and filament cases.

The instructions will guide you as to how to secure a few of the additional accessories to the printer before use. It takes a mere ten minutes to get it up and running.

You’ll notice right away how robust the printer is, with its full steel chassis and plexiglass panels. It helps to reduce shaking while giving you a great visual of the build area.

While bed calibration is automatic and seems to be simple, it can prove tedious at times. You can choose from multiple languages, intuitive temperature profiles, and compatible materials.

Spool feeders are accessible via the backplate, so if you set your printer up against a wall, they can be difficult to reach, which is one downside to the set up of this particular printer.

Features

The Kodak Portrait is a professional-quality 3D printer priced low enough for in-home use. It competes nicely with other hobbyist machines and uses dual extrusion FDM technology. The feature list will have you drooling.

Dual print cores

The Kodak Portrait allows for printing with multiple materials at the same time thanks to dual print cores. It follows a similar design as the Ultimaker 3. The system can accept any combination of all-metal hot ends or PTFE.

It requires some manual work to remove the print head housing and switch out the materials. When you’re ready to switch, the nozzle retracts clear of your print to prevent oozing and assist with cleaner transitions.

Filament cartridges

Not only does the Kodak Portrait have a dual Bowden extruder, but it feeds from reusable filament cartridges. These filament cartridges are moisture resistant, and while they’re not very high tech, they allow you to print for a long time without worrying about moisture build-up.

These lockable clear plastic cases that include compartments for silica pouches are a thoughtful and rare inclusion. In some cases, they may be too small for your filament reels, but they are the perfect size for Kodak’s spools.

Print area and temperatures

At 200 x 200 x 235, the print area on the Kodak Portrait is average. However, it does have a removable glass bed that holds into place with magnets. The bed heats to 105 degrees Celsius and the hot ends heat to 295 degrees Celsius, which makes it easy to print with a wide range of materials.

Bed leveling can prove to be difficult. At first glance, you might think that using the touchscreen is no problem. However, it’s painfully slow, making it difficult to tell which direction the bed is moving.

What’s more, there’s no bed level sensor, so it’s impossible to know whether it’s level or not, and you can’t level it manually via any nuts, levels, or knobs. You’re at the mercy of the software.

kodak portrait review

Steel frame

The all-steel frame and clear acrylic sides offer a sturdy, enclosed print chamber with visibility to your print. In conjunction with the heated bed and hot ends, it’s the perfect environment for printing with temperature-sensitive materials.

It even has a HEPA and carbon air filter for attacking the VOCs the printer releases during the print process.

It has a CoreXY arrangement with linear rails in the X and Y axes that offer great stability. There is a precision ball screw in the Z-axis.

Cloud-based printing

If you’ve been shopping around for 3D printers long, you’ve likely noticed that there’s a healthy mix of those with Wi-Fi capability and those without. Being able to control and monitor your prints from another machine or another location altogether can offer a convenient experience, for sure.

The Kodak Portrait offers effortless operation via a cloud-based printing feature called 3DPrinterOS. They made sure to color it in the signature Kodak yellow and brand it Kodak 3D Cloud.

It offers simplicity in printing and removes the guesswork, trial, and error. It’s accessible via a web browser so you can get to it from anywhere you have an internet connection. With this approach to print management, you can use your 3D printer anytime, anywhere.

The printer also has Raspberry Pi 3 built-in so you can operate it directly via the 5-inch color touchscreen. Offline operation is also available using the Kodak 3D Slicer and connect using LAN or USB.

kodak portrait

Performance

It may take some adjustments to get the Kodak Portrait printing as it should. Temperatures, print speeds, and fan speeds will all need to be tinkered with to yield outstanding prints using a variety of different materials.

However, the Kodak Portrait has the ability to print using a wide variety of materials and offer excellent results with smooth curvature, great detail, and no stringing.

It can recreate shapes with consistency. When printing shapes repeatedly, the standard deviation is almost indistinguishable and prints at professional-grade status, although it will sometimes struggle with micro-movements on the XY plane.

Any system that claims to be professional should be able to print with professional materials, and the Kodak Portrait doesn’t disappoint. Even with filaments that are notoriously troublesome, like PETG, it handled them with no major issues.

There was some stringing on the corners and layer lines, but has excellent overhand abilities and can handle even uncooperative materials like nylon.

When it comes to dual extrusion, you may be skeptical, and for good reason. A key feature of the Kodak Portrait is the dual nozzle assembly, but does it work as well as they want you to think?

You’ll be happy to know that it’s truly excellent. It maintains strength while keeping a strong interface between the two materials. It’s a valuable feature for professional users and at-home designers.

printers on the market.

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Alternatives

If you’re interested in the Kodak Portrait, there are some other alternatives worth a look. Make sure you shop around to find the best one for you.

Ultimaker 3ultimaker 3

The Ultimaker 3 falls in the same price point as the Kodak Portrait, and with many of the same features. It has the same dual print core design and Wi-Fi connectivity. However, where it differs is the open front design and dual extruder.

The Ultimaker 3 is also an excellent performer that won’t disappoint. You may find the screen on the unit lacking, though. It’s not a touch screen, it’s not color, and it’s not very large. Nonetheless, it’s a quality machine at a price point that many can afford to justify.

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
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Prusa i3Prusa i3

The Prusa i3 is a quality machine at an incredibly affordable price. The completely open design allows you complete access to your print but can make it more dangerous for beginners and younger users.

Where it shines is the value it offers at the price. You can choose to purchase the kit and build it on your own or purchase it fully assembled.

Formlabs Form 3Formlabs Form 3

Here’s another professional printer that rings up at a slightly higher price point. However, they’ve completely reinvented what it means to print with just a click. It’s so easy to use that it might just be worth the money.

It features efficient print management via a web dashboard and great for prototyping. It also comes with some of the best software available, making the workflow even easier to use and understand.

FAQ

If you’re not sure which 3D printer is right for you, here are some frequently asked questions to help you understand more about which may be the best choice.

What is the best 3D printer for the money?

The Formlabs Form 3 and the Ultimaker 3 are two of the best printers for the money. They offer great value with professional prints and great features. The Kodak Portrait is following closely in their footsteps with awesome features that you would normally have to pay a lot more money for.

While there are more great 3D printers on the market than you can count, these are some that always seem to float to the top of the list.

What should I know before buying a 3D printer?

There are several things to think about before buying a 3D printer. Price is a big factor. It should fit in your budget. And while the Kodak Portrait may be pricey, it’s well worth it. Value is also something to consider. The printer should include all the features you want at a price that you feel is worth it.

Other things to consider are materials, safety, quality, type of printer, file type, software, and connection types.

What software do you need for 3D printing?

There are a lot of really great 3D printing software options out there. While some 3D printers, like the Kodak Portrait, come with their own proprietary software, others use open source software that’s easy to use and repurpose for many uses.

Great 3D printing software options include Ultimaker Cura, Autodesk AutoCAD, Autodesk Fusion360, and Solidworks.

Final Thoughts

Despite the auto-leveling issues, the Kodak Portrait is an awesome printer. It has plenty of great features that blow the competition out of the water, even at a similar price point. It has a household name stamped across the front, even though it’s manufactured by a third party.

It features a sleek design with an enclosed space that keeps it safe and professional while enabling it to host a variety of difficult materials. It’s a high-quality printer and an interesting option for those who want a professional printer in their home.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
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Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse Review: Everything You Need to Know

Lulzbot is pretty well-known for developing reliable 3D printers. They’re powerful machines worth the price. They use open-source software and accept plenty of filament types, so their ease of use helps them adapt to personal and professional use alike.

When they released the TAZ Workhorse, they had big shoes to fill. This beast has a 14% bigger build volume and is equipped with all the essentials. It’s marketed to produce even better, more accurate results.

It’s said to enhance the experience of its predecessor, the TAZ 6, so I wanted to give it a shot and decide for myself.

Specifications

  • Build volume: 280 x 280 x 285 mm
  • Printer dimensions: 832 x 510 x 520 mm
  • Net weight: 16.78 kg
  • Technology: FDM
  • Layer resolution: 0.05 – 0.4 mm
  • Extruder Quantity: Single
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 290℃
  • Filament diameter: 2.85 mm
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.5 mm
  • Materials: ABS, PLA, PETG, PETT, PVA, PVB, HIPS, TPU 85A, TPU 95A, Nylon 645, carbon fiber reinforced blends, copolyester, polycarbonate
  • Maximum print bed temperature: 120℃
  • Slicer software: Cura Lulzbot Edition
  • Connectivity: USB serial, USB flash drive
  • Software input formats: OBJ, STL, G, GCODE, 3MF, X3D, JPG, PNG
  • Power supply: Auto-switching MeanWell RSP-500-24
  • Input rating: 110VAC – 240VAC
  • Output: 24V DC, 500 watts, 21 amps

Setup

The Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse comes packaged securely in a box with foam inserts to hold it in place. After removing the printer from its box, you’ll notice the clean, effective packaging. It’s packaged with all of the tools you need for maintenance as well as some documentation.

Included is a guide for using the printer with images of all the components with clear explanations so you can familiarize yourself with the machine.

It comes completely assembled, so the setup is relatively simple. In conjunction with the automatic leveling, the self-cleaning nozzle, and the pre-programmed filament profiles, it’s a breeze to start printing right away.

Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse

Features

While the Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse contains many of the features that were well-loved by users of previous versions, it also contains some notable features unique to this particular machine. While the company attempts to keep a fair balance between balance and practicality, they also strive to bring extraordinary performance to the table.

With that, they’re delivering the following features that help make this printer even better than the last.

Sturdier frame

The TAZ Workhorse is designed to offer greater stability over the previous version. It features a sturdier frame than the last with strengthened components so it can withstand the stress and motion of higher performance.

Heated build plate

The build plate is made of heated borosilicate glass coated in PEI. It enhances adhesion at the first layer, which helps when printing with ABS and nylon. However, it’s also capable of plenty of other materials, too.

Modular bed:

The modular print bed system on the Workhorse ensures you won’t wait long for it to heat up. It’s useful and versatile, considering that you wait mere seconds for it to reach maximum print bed temperature.

Supported materials

Much like the TAZ 6, the Workhorse supports a wide range of materials, which is really quite impressive when comparing it to other printers. You can now print with high heat composite polymers thanks to the steel tool head.

E3D hot end and 360 cooling

With a lightweight tool head design, hardened steel E3D Titan Aero hot end, and 360-degree part cooling, you get excellent accuracy and precision. The combination of these features means fast heating, excellent components, and fast cooling for more versatility.

lulzbot taz workhorse features

Automatic calibration

This isn’t a new feature, but it’s a necessary one. However, it’s a unique concept. New to the Workhorse is a proprietary X/Y/Z Backlash Compensation System, based on professional-grade CNC machines.

With this idea, the Workhorse can use the calibration cube to measure backlash and calculate the lost motion in the mechanical system to help users get the most accuracy in their prints.

Belt-driven Z-axis

This is something unique to Lulzbot machines, but it’s been in every one of them. The printer does a better job of controlling or eliminating wobbling in the Z-axis by making it belt-driven. The design is made of threaded rods and is also effective at surging the cycle times.

Automatic nozzle cleaning

The benefit of cleaning your nozzles frequently is that you can keep your hot ends in better working condition and prevent filament jams. The Workhorse cleans the nozzle automatically before starting any new print.

You don’t have to do it manually and you can ensure that your hot end will remain free of jams and in optimal working order for every job.

3.5” graphical LCD

The touch screen included on the Workhorse is a 3.5” LCD. It’s interactive and intuitive so it’s easy to understand for beginner users who want to get started right away while still including the features that advanced users want and need.

Swappable tool heads

The ability to swap out tool heads means you can use other nozzles for more advanced printing. While it comes with a hardened steel HE tool head and a 0.5 mm nozzle, you can swap it out.

The HE tool head with an SL tool head has a 0.25 mm nozzle, which is great for printing small layers with much more precision. However, if you’re printing with high strength parts, you can swap it for the HS tool head and 0.8 mm nozzle.

You can also switch the tool head out for an HS+, which has a 1.2 mm nozzle. Being able to swap between a wide variety of sizes gives you better control of printing with more finicky materials. It prints quality prints with a lot of reliability.

lulzbot taz workhorse package

Open design

This printer is open from all sides. It features a sleek, professional design, but it’s important to use caution when printing. Keeping it away from children is important.

What is nice about this design is that it gives you a view of your print progress from all sides. And much like other open design 3D printers, it works best with PLA.

Full assembly

The Workhorse comes fully assembled so you can start printing right out of the box. It also provides default profiles for multiple filament types so you can speed up the print process without a lot of configuration, which is nice for testing the machine.

Performance

The quality of the Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse is excellent. It’s a great printer for professional use, but even extreme hobbyists may want to spring for it as well. It can produce fine details, great precision, and high-resolution prints, especially when using the right nozzle and adjusting the settings accordingly.

This is a very competitive printer in the professional range because it can produce medical or automotive parts with ease while costing quite a bit less to purchase and maintain than other professional models.

The Lulzbot series is known for its impressive quality, but the Workhorse is even better. It can also print faster than many similarly priced 3D printers, although you may lose some quality at higher speeds, which is typical.

The Workhorse is capable of creating sharp edges and geometric shapes with ease. It’s a practical printer for industries like aerospace as well, but if you like to tinker at home and you’re looking for an upgrade, this may be the one for you.

What you will miss out on are some features like Wi-Fi connectivity and a dual extruder design, which you can find in some even cheaper printers, but you’ll likely sacrifice quality.

Software

The Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse uses open-source software. It comes with the Cura Lulzbot Edition. It’s pre-programmed with a lot of advanced tools and features to make operation easier.

It comes with the pre-programmed filament profiles but you can also manually change the settings if you want more customization. You have complete freedom to slice the design quickly and with user-friendly controls.

Cura has a lot of features, but it’s also relatively easy to use, so it’s a great option for beginners and advanced users alike.

Cura Lulzbot Edition

Customer Service

When dealing with complex machines that cost quite a bit of money, it’s nice to know the company is on your side when something goes wrong. The Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse comes with a one-year manufacturer’s warranty.

Their customer service department is available 7 days a week and their website has plenty of self-serve information regarding the setup and use of your Workhorse 3D printer. The community of users is also huge, so you can use forums as a resource when needed, too.

Price

The Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse is a pretty affordable option considering it’s a professional-quality device. It’s also pretty accessible for serious hobbyists who want an excellent quality printer because they care about the results.

It’s ideal for high-end applications and commercial use, but if you have a limited budget, it might be tough to stomach the upfront cost.

Thankfully, the upfront cost is the most you’ll likely ever spend, aside from any upgrades you might want to make. Maintenance of the Workhorse is relatively inexpensive.

The FDM printing process is incredibly affordable and with a wide compatibility of filament types, you can always choose the cheapest ones. You have a lot of flexibility in your budget once you get the printer home.

Because the printer is made with quality parts, maintenance is pretty minimal. The nozzle takes care of itself and the machine should work for years without any trouble.

Pros:

  • Incredible accuracy
  • Automatic nozzle cleaning
  • Automatic bed leveling
  • High-speed printing
  • Heated, PEI coated bed
  • Swappable tool heads
  • E3D extruder

Cons:

  • No Wi-Fi
  • No remote access
  • Expensive for home users

Alternatives

There are a lot of 3D printers on the market, so if you’re looking for something for personal or professional use, you may want to evaluate some of these alternatives.

Lulzbot TAZ Pro

Lulzbot TAZ Pro

The features of the TAZ Pro are nearly identical to the Workhorse, but the price is not. It’s quite a bit more expensive than the Workhorse; however, it may be the right choice for you if you’re looking for a dual extruder design.

The touch screen is also quite a bit bigger than the Workhorse, at 5 inches. It still uses the same software, has the same build volume, has swappable tool heads, includes the same inputs, and accepts the same wide variety of materials.

Lulzbot TAZ 6

lulzbot taz 6

This predecessor to the Workhorse rings up at a slightly lower price point, but it’s still dependable and has only a slightly smaller build volume. It auto-calibrates has a self-cleaning nozzle and accepts a wide variety of print materials.

However, you’ll find differences like USB and SD connectivity. The downside is that you’ll experience a slightly slower setup, but it’s a reliable, high-speed printer that produces acceptable results for many users.

Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3

While the Ultimaker 3 design is a bit weary, it’s instantly recognizable to those who are familiar with this series. It features a mostly enclosed case with an open front, which some people like and some people don’t.

It features an antiquated scroll wheel menu, but again, this will be familiar to long-time users. The true benefit to this printer is the dual extruder design, the high-temperature hot end capability, and the Wi-Fi connectivity.

While you can also connect via USB, Wi-Fi makes the printer easier to access and use. It also supports open-source hardware and software as well as multiple filament types. While you can still print with a single nozzle for acceptable results, it truly shines when both extruders work in tandem.

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

This printer is a resin 3D printer that uses fused filament fabrication (FFF) technology, which up to this point hasn’t been as good as SLA in terms of exact detail, castability, or biocompatibility. However, the Form 3 challenges that with an excellent one-click printing feature.

It’s slightly more expensive than the Workhorse, but it’s easy to use and is an obvious recommendation for small or medium businesses that need an exceptional amount of detail in their prints.

FAQ

If you still can’t decide which 3D printer is right for you, these frequently asked questions may help you out.

If you’re on the fence about whether a budget 3D printer is right for you, check out some of these frequently asked questions to set the record straight.

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

Many 3D printers on the market today are ideal for beginners. The Anycubic Photon is a great option for resin printing while the Flashforge Adventurer 3 is one of the easiest 3D printers to use overall.
However, if you’re looking for value, you might want to take a closer look at the Monoprice Select Mini V2. While there are a lot to choose from, it will depend on the features you need and your budget.

The Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse may be pricey, but if you’re looking to advance your skills, it’s an excellent option because it comes fully assembled, is easy to use, and includes a lot of features you’ll grow to love as you get better acclimated to the 3D printing tools it offers.

How much does it cost for a 3D printer?

The cost of a 3D printer will vary based on size, manufacturer, and features. There are plenty of affordable options like the Anycubic Photon or the Artillery Sidewinder X1. Ringing up at less than $500, you’ll get a great beginner 3D printer.

However, if you want additional features or a printer that offers more advanced operations, you’re going to get a better value out of a printer that costs a bit more. Extreme hobbyists and small businesses will have better success with a printer that costs anywhere from $1000-5000.

What you choose to spend will depend on your budget and the features you need. There are affordable options for recreational users or more expensive options for serious users.

What is a 3D printer good for?

You can tackle all kinds of projects with a 3D printer. Small businesses can create prototypes while large businesses can manufacture parts. They’re excellent learning tools for children and students.

Schools throughout the world purchase 3D printers to give their students more hands-on experience with evolving technology, but even recreational users at home can enjoy printing small projects.

The Verdict

Lulzbot produces some of the most reliable 3D printers on the market, and the Workhorse is no exception. They have a great reputation for being easy to use while still producing fantastic results.

While you might find that it’s lacking in the dual extrusion space, you’ll find versatility in the number of materials you can use, the swappable nozzles, and fast cooling.

The Workhorse contains nearly every awesome feature that each of its predecessors had, but with some great new ones. You can rely on this sturdy printer for high-end results. It’s a wonderful option, albeit slightly more expensive, for beginners and professionals alike.

Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review: Is It Worth Buying?

Artillery is pretty green. They’ve only been around since October of 2018, but they got off on the right foot, releasing a 3D printer that goes toe to toe with plenty of other quality, budget 3D printers.

Their first printer, the Artillery Sidewinder X1 rings up at less than $500, which is a steal in this sector. But don’t let that fool you. It still has an impressive list of features.

Artillery also plowed through plenty of negative user feedback to produce subsequent iterations that work more smoothly. The manufacturer always seems to have an ear to the ground with quick fixes for an already rock-solid printer.

They’re currently on their fourth generation Sidewinder X1, and it definitely lives up to my expectations.

Specifications

artillery sidewinder x1

It’s not always all about the specs, but it’s a quick peek at the size, design, and features.

  • Version: Artillery Sidewinder S1 V4
  • Year: 2019
  • Assembly: Pre-assembled
  • Technology: FDM
  • Mechanical arrangement: Cartesian-XY-Head
  • Build volume: 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.75 inches (300 x 300 x 400 mm)
  • Outer dimensions: 550 x 405 x 640 mm
  • Weight: 16.5 kg
  • Layer height: 0.05 mm
  • Nozzle type: Volcano
  • Nozzle size: 0.4 mm
  • Extruder type: Direct drive
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 240°C
  • Maximum heated bed temperature: 80°C
  • Bed leveling: Manual
  • Print bed: Rapid-heating AC bed
  • Print chamber: Open
  • Frame: Aluminum
  • Display: Touchscreen
  • Connectivity: SD, USB cable
  • Print recover: Yes
  • Built-in camera: No
  • Filament sensor: Yes
  • Filament diameter: 1.75 mm
  • Materials: ABS, HIPS, PLA, flexible PLA, PVA, TPU
  • Third-party filaments: Yes
  • Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux
  • Recommended slicer: Cura, Simplyfy3D, Slic3r

Setup and Settings

The Sidewinder X1 comes pre-assembled in an organized box, and the setup is seamless. The only things you have to do are attach the gantry to the base with screws, plug in the ribbon cables, and bolt the filament holder to the top.

Unfortunately, there are no bed leveling sensors, so it’s a manual process. However, it does come with an assisted leveling system to make the task less complicated.

Artillery doesn’t have a proprietary slicer, which is nice for those who like open-source slicers like Cura. Cura offers a full range of controls that allow you to experiment and fine-tune your settings.

The default Artillery settings will work fine for beginners, though. The only thing you may have to do is reduce the print speed for better quality. It’s tempting to reduce printing time, but large prints will wobble much more at high speeds and the printer performs much better at low speeds.

Technology

artillery printer

A 3D printer is really only as good as the technology it’s equipped with. After all, you could have a fantastic design and huge print volume, but if it’s built using low-quality materials, you’ll never be able to experience its true potential, or yours.

Artillery is based in Shenzhen and I discovered after some research that they also market their devices under the brand name Evnovo. The Sidewinder X1 is their first 3D printer, but they’re currently offering the fourth version, with many improvements over the first.

If features top of the line capabilities like a sturdy chassis, large print bed with fast heating, and a direct drive extruder system. These have all been present since the beginning, but the latest version is just so much better, so let’s dig into more detail.

Design

While the Artillery Sidewinder X1 takes a lot of inspiration from the Creality CR-10-style, it’s so much sleeker in my opinion. Plus, the technology is more than a mere clone as well.

The mainboard, touchscreen, and power supply are all stored on the base unit so it looks more uniform, it’s much more convenient, and it adds to the design rather than detracting from it.

It has a sleek and professional appearance which is a huge step up from similarly priced alternatives.

The Sidewinder X1 is also much different from competitors in terms of the use of ribbon cables. From a design perspective, this 3D printer moves to the top of the list. Other budget desktop printers have huge, mangled messes of cabling, but this one offers neatly arranged ribbon cables instead.

In previous iterations, these ribbon cables were nothing but complicated. They broke and they wore out thanks to the printer’s rapid motion. While I have had limited contact with the machine compared to those who use their daily, the ribbon cables on this iteration seem to handle the stress much better.

Thankfully, the company listens to user feedback and fixes issues. They also threw in an extra set of ribbon cables, just in case. There are also some interesting workarounds on Thingiverse if you’re interested in prolonging the life of your cables.

Framework

While it’s fairly common to see sturdy Y-axis rails, even on budget printers these days, a hefty X-axis rail is harder to come by. But, as you may have already guessed, the X1 has it. A 20 x 60 mm extrusion lends support to the direct drive setup.

A dual lead screw design operates the Z-axis, equipped with anti-backlash nuts to keep everything synchronized. There’s also a connector belt with a pulley to prevent desyncing over time.

It’s not the most elegant solution (dual end stops would be better), but it functions fine for a printer at this price point, and you really can’t expect much more.

There are 20 x 40 mmm extrusions on the base unit, held in place by four screws. This solid scaffold prevents wobbling of the Z-axis, which is especially handy when you have such a tall build space.

It could be improved with an angle connector to prevent even more wobbling because the X1 does tend to wobble toward the top. Aside from that, this printer has a sleek and sturdy appearance.

Print Bed

At the heart of every 3D printer is a bed, and the Sidewinder X1’s heart beats for you. It offers a huge 300 x 300 x 400 mm space with a porous glass surface coated in ceramic.

The volume of the X1 is definitely above average, but it really shines when you evaluate its ability to go from zero to printing in mere seconds. 45 to be exact. The print bed heats from room temperature to maximum temperature that fast.

Artillery equipped the bed to heat so quickly by mounting the heater on the underside of the glass with no metal plate in between the two. It’s AC heated rather than DC heated, so it’s heated with 220/110V rather than 24V. It’s one of the only printers to do it this way.

Of course, there’s always a downside. In this case, you run the risk of electric shock, especially with connectors exposed to motion a lot of the time. However, all of the wires are insulated, so that alleviates the problem somewhat.

While the spec sheet indicates a max heated bed temp of 80°C, it is actually capable of 120°C, which comes in handy when printing with temperature-sensitive materials. Unfortunately, the bed doesn’t do a great job of temperature dispersion, so it’s cooler along the outer edges, causing adhesion problems with larger objects.

The ceramic glass plate does offer great bed adhesion though because it expands with heat and shrinks again as it cools down. The final prints literally pop right off. One other drawback is that you can’t remove the bed. With such a large print volume, it would be nice to remove the bed for better access, but as the prints pop off so easily, it’s not really necessary.

Extruder

The extruder is where the real magic happens. The Sidewinder X1 is equipped with a direct drive Titan Aero extruder and a Volcano hot end. Direct drive extruders are rare at this price point, but Artillery included it because, well, it’s better.

Just like the print bed, the hot end heats up to its max temp rather quickly. And once again, despite an advertised max temp of 240°C, it can actually reach 270°C. It’s safer and more effective at around 240 or 250°C just to ensure the cold end isn’t damaged.

The Volcano hot end has an elongated melt zone, giving you high flow rates and enabling the use of nozzles with larger diameters like 0.8 or 1mm.

It has two fans. The one that cools the extruder does a fine job but the one that cools the prints could be better. You’re better off reserving your first print job for a fan duct alternative to improve this piece. Not only is it one of the smallest pieces of the printer, but it’s also the loudest.

UI and Connectivity

connectivity

The 3.5-inch color touchscreen is a lot more than you’ll get with many other comparable 3D printers. It’s easy to use and features different colors for each submenu. Every feature is accessible from this menu, unlike other firmware that offers only a subset of operations on the touchscreen.

The Sidewinder X1 offers support for both USB and micro SD. The USB connection makes it easy to plug your computer directly into the printer while the micro SD is ideal for those who don’t work in the same room as they print.

Performance

Overall, the performance of the Sidewinder X1 is excellent. However, as i mentioned before, you may want to print an alternative fan for cooling your print jobs in addition to a filament spool holder.

Changing the filaments is less than ideal and could be made easier. The stock filament holder has two parts bolted to the frame. If you only use one brand of filament, you can adjust these screws once and be done.

However, if you swap brands or switch back and forth frequently, you’ll constantly be adjusting the holder. It’s also not the easiest part of the printer to access if it’s sitting on a shelf or against the wall. Using the ever-so-common PLA filament really didn’t put the printer through its paces, so I increased the difficulty to really test it out. PLA is always a solid choice. Everything turns out well, even at a higher speed.

However, it also handles ABS well without any warping, despite the print bed’s inconsistent heat dissipation. It helps to use a lot of glue beforehand, just to make sure. It’s always surprising to find an open printer that prints well with ABS, and the Sidewinder X1 does.

You’ll run into quite a few problems if you try to print with PETG, which was surprising, given its ability to handle inconsistent temperatures well. Unfortunately, PETG resulted in some blobs and failing in the first layer. This problem isn’t specific to the Sidewinder X1 and is actually common in Volcano hot ends. You can manage it by adjusting the retraction settings and enabling the Cura coasting feature, but you may still encounter problems.

The direct drive extruder handles flexible filaments with no feeding problems. It may string a bit occasionally, but that’s what I expected. Overall, the Sidewinder X1 can print with plenty of different materials, but the everyday use of PLA is where it really shines.

Usability

Like I said before, the menu is colorful and easy to use. You touch it and it responds accordingly. Built-in features like resume print and the filament runout sensor work great. As a bonus, the heated bed stays heated while you add more filament.

You can even come back hours later to add the material and restart the print without worrying about it detaching. Nifty, right?

And while you can’t bump the bed when switching out filament, you can move axes via the touch screen before resuming. Obviously, in the case of a power outage, the bed does not stay heated, but it will still resume the print with no problem once the power comes back on.

The Sidewinder X1, with the exception of the cooling fan, is rather quiet in comparison to other alternatives. It operates at about 45 dB.

Pros:

  • Sleek design
  • Fast heating
  • Silent operation
  • Surprising performance
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Less than ideal filament holder
  • Uneven heat dissipation

Alternatives

At this price point, you’ll find quite a few comparable alternatives. Here are some of your options.

Mingda D3 Pro

mingda d3 pro

This is another lesser-known brand that offers an excellent alternative to the Sidewinder X1. It has an even larger print volume than the Sidewinder X1, plus it has a removable heated bed, giving you better access to your completed prints.

This one also has a direct drive extruder and a touch screen, but it ups the ante with auto-leveling. It features a similar design and falls in the same price point, so it seems like it might be a better value.

It’s a bit harder to set up and wire management isn’t as great, so there are some trade-offs.

Creality CR-10

creality cr-10s

The Sidewinder X1 takes its design cues from the Creality CR-10, so it’s pretty comparable in terms of not only design but price and functionality. The print volume is identical but Creality offers other models with even bigger print volumes whereas Artillery doesn’t.

The assembly is easy and the control box is intuitive, but the print bed is removable, which is an improvement over the Sidewinder. Downsides are that the print bed takes a long time to heat up, print setup can be tedious, and the filament holder is prone to tangling.

Prusa i3

the original prusa i3

The Prusa i3 is another open-source 3D printer offering an affordable price and plenty of features. The print volume is double that of the Sidewinder and it has a removable bed, but performance is sometimes less than reliable.

It operates best with the Slic3r software, although you can use Cura if you prefer. It has an auto-leveling feature and features a very sturdy frame, offering support for its large build volume. However, it’s about double the price of the Sidewinder.

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

There are plenty of great options for beginners. The Anycubic Photon is great for printing with resin, the Monoprice Select Mini V2 is the best value for the price, and the Flashforge Adventurer 3 is the easiest to use.
It still all depends on which features you want, how much you want to spend, and how much room you need to grow your skills.

How much does it cost for a 3D printer?

3D printers vary in price quite a bit. Some of the more affordable solutions, like the Artillery Sidewinder X1, are less than $500. However, there are plenty of upgrades that add to the cost, not to mention higher quality printers that cost in excess of $1000. Some even cost multiple thousands.
How much you spend depends on the features you need. Beginners and recreational users will likely not spend as much money while serious hobbyists or small businesses might opt for something more feature-rich and more costly.

What is a 3D printer good for?

3D printers are good for all kinds of projects. They’re great for small businesses to create prototypes or for large businesses to manufacture objects. They’re also great learning tools for small children as well as students of all ages.
Universities everywhere invest in 3D printers so students can work with the latest technology, but even if you’re just a hobbyist at home, you may enjoy a 3D printer for small projects and replicas.

Final Thoughts

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 features innovative technology like the AC heated bed and direct drive extruder. It also has a rather large print volume and decent performance. However, you’ll probably have to replace some of the less-than-perfect parts right away.

It also tends to wobble at the top of the Z-axis, but it’s an affordable printer that’s incredibly user friendly and capable of quality prints that may surprise you.

The list of features is impressive, the technology is superb, the price is right, and it beats out most of the competition in terms of ease of use and fun.

Ultimaker S5 Review: Is it Any Good?

Consumers and small businesses demand excellent 3D printers to meet their recreational and commercial needs. Large-format 3D printers are fantastic options for product development and creating prototypes without investing in a full-scale solution.

For individuals who want to take on big projects at home or small businesses needing a large, professional 3D printer the Ultimaker S5 with its large print volume and detailed results might just be the right solution for you.

Ultimaker S5

Design

ultimaker s5

A large print volume means a large printer. You need a lot of room for the Ultimaker S5, but it’s worth it. It’s a large white box, measuring 20.5 x 19.5 x 19.5 inches. This helps accommodate the 13 x 9.4 x 11.8 inches of print volume, which gives you 1442 cubic inches.

The bottom of the print area features a heated glass print bed that you can easily remove to take your prints off. Because it’s heated, you can print more easily with materials like ABS. It can heat to 140 degrees Celsius, meaning it can also accommodate high-temperature nylon.

For a time, Ultimaker also offered an aluminum print bed with your purchase, so you may be able to get ahold of one of these for a varied print experience.

The Ultimaker S5 has two interchangeable print heads that are easy to remove via the on-screen menu option. You can swap them out for print heads designed to accommodate different materials and you can also print with two colors at once.

The printer comes with three printheads. Two of these are AA 0.4mm print heads for ABS and PLA and the third is a BB 0.4MM print head for PLA. However, there are more options available if you want to print with other materials.

Controls

The Ultimaker S5 has an interface included and you can control it easily from the screen onboard the printer. You can also control it from the Cura software on your computer or the Ultimaker app on your smartphone.

You can control almost everything from the LCD screen on the printer. It will allow you to load filament and start a print from your USB drive. The display keeps you apprised of your print’s status and will tell you which filaments, print heads, and bed temperatures are in place.

However, the most comprehensive way to control your Ultimaker S5 is through the Cura app. Cura is an open-source 3D printer app that Ultimaker uses for its printers. Ultimaker has customized the app to make it easier to use with your specific printer, and you can get it on Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Load your model, scale it, and adjust it directly on the print surface. You can even load several models at once and the program will create supports automatically.

While Cura is feature-rich, there can be a learning curve associated with it, especially if you’ve never used it before. A prime example is its lack of print quality selection. Most 3D printer applications will allow the user to choose the fastest, best quality, or something in the middle.

Instead of making it simple, Cura has a slider for layer height, which is the primary factor when determining print quality, but that’s not too intuitive for first-time users. However, it does allow you to create print profiles, including layer height and other features, making it easier to select what you want in the future.

After setting up your print configurations, the app will slice the model and create the print files. It might sound complicated, but it really doesn’t take too long. You then send the file to the printer using Wi-Fi. You can also hook it up to Ethernet or use a USB drive instead.

The great thing about the Ultimaker app is that you can monitor these prints on your smartphone, and it’s available for both Android and iOS. The printer contains a built-in webcam, so you can watch it work, pause, stop, or cancel.

And while the app doesn’t allow you to start a new print via the app, you can scroll through recent prints and reprint one of those.

Printing

ultimaker s5 printer

The print process is relatively simple and straightforward. Because it features Wi-Fi, an Ethernet port, and a USB port, you have several options for printing however you like it best. You can connect it and control it through your home network and then monitor it while you’re away.

You can control your print queue as well as the actual printer through the software and give multiple users access to add their own prints to the queue. Everyone will be notified when their prints are done.

One important step to remember is also a minor aggravation. You have to press the button on the screen, indicating the print has been removed. If you forget to do this step, the printer will show that it’s still in use.

You could back up the print queue for other users if you don’t clear the bed and press that one tiny button. However, if you’re using it in an office environment with a lot of other users, this one extra step could prevent destroying your job as well as others.

Print Speed and Quality

Even in the lowest quality mode, the Ultimaker S5 can be a bit slow. Even printing a small test could take up to 6.5 hours on the lowest quality setting. Increasing print quality only increases time.

Comparable 3D printers are much faster, but simply changing out the stock print heads for some other alternatives could help improve your print times for a minimal investment. Something with a large hole would allow more melted filament through at a time, laying the levels down faster.

The benefit of this painstaking print speed is excellent quality and detailed results. The Ultimaker S5 can produce much smoother and higher quality results than most other FDM printers on the market today.

It handles these jobs without issues and consistently produces smooth curves, sharp points, clean edges, and intricate details, even on the most complex models.

Print Materials

The heated print bed and variety of print heads available contribute to the wide range of materials the Ultimaker S5 is capable of using. As it comes, you can print with PVA, TPU, CPE, Nylon, ABS, and PLA. The PVA is especially useful for generating flexible supports that are easy to remove by dissolving in warm water.

The other nice thing about your wide range of filament options is that Ultimaker doesn’t use proprietary materials. You can obtain your filament from any manufacturer you prefer. Plus, the Cura software has presets for 11 different materials and most manufacturers offer material profiles that you can download and add to Cura.

Ultimaker’s filament does come with NFC tags to identify color and type, making it easy to change the filament frequently and ensure the app recognizes the right one.

Alternatives

There are a lot of 3D printers out there. If you’re looking for something comparable to the Ultimaker S5, here are some other options for you to consider.

LulzBot Taz 6 – Best Print Volume

lulzbot taz 6

The LulzBot Taz 6 has a print volume that’s almost as big as the Ultimaker S5, at 1238 cubic inches. However, the design of the LulzBot is a bit less professional. It’s open and features a more basic look.

The Taz 6 prints quite a bit faster, even on the highest quality setting, so if print speed is a factor, you may want to consider this alternative. But don’t be fooled by the print speed. If you want print quality, you won’t find it here. The highest quality print on a Taz 6 is comparable to the lowest quality print on the S5.

The primary reason you might go with the Taz 6 over the S5 is for recreational or hobby printing, large print volume, and a more affordable price.

Markforged Mark Two – Best for Professionals

This particular printer may be out of reach of hobbyists. It’s definitely geared toward businesses and has an insanely high price point. However, for businesses that need a variety of high-quality print materials, this is the way to go.

The Mark Two accepts materials like fiberglass, carbon fiber, and kevlar. The build volume isn’t bad either, at 12.6 x 5.2 x 6 inches. It’s a true workhorse backed by a manufacturer known for making quality 3D printers.

Raise3D Pro2 Plus – Best for the Budget Minded

Raise3D

This 3D printer falls in line with the Ultimaker S5 when it comes to price. They both cost about the same amount, so it can be out of reach for some users who don’t want to spend thousands.

However, it shares some design features, like the fully enclosed print area and dual extrusion. It also has a huge print volume of 12 x 12 x 23.8 inches. It has the capability to handle incredibly large prints and plenty of tricky materials.

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

If you’re just starting out and you don’t know what you’re getting into, the Ultimaker S5 is something to work up to. It’s better to start with something smaller and more simple, like the Monoprice Voxel.
The print area is smaller, it’s more affordable, and it gives you a space to learn without the overwhelming amount of controls available on something more professional.

What is the best 3D printer for home use?

Even for experienced 3D printer hobbyists, the Monoprice Voxel is a great option. However, the Formlabs Form 3 or the Ultimaker 3 are great options for a bit more print volume and customizable settings.
They’re still affordable, but Form 3 allows for multiple users at once while the Ultimaker 3 features the same great software as the Ultimaker S5.

What is the best 3D printer on the market?

The Ultimaker S5 is definitely on the list. While pricey, it offers high-quality professional prints, customizable settings, and extreme accessibility via multiple access points. However, there are plenty of others out there.
The best printer for you is going to be the one you can afford that has everything you need. You don’t need something as big or capable as the Ultimaker S5 if you’re not producing high-volume or high-quality prints frequently.

Final Thoughts

If you’re serious about 3D printing and you have a sizable budget, the Ultimaker S5 is the way to go. It prints flawlessly using a wide variety of materials. The heated print bed and the interchangeable nozzles make it easy to print and the print volume is nothing to sneeze at.

It’s ideal for small businesses, schools, or people who do a lot of 3D printing at home for more than just recreation. However, for many print enthusiasts, it’s too large, too expensive, and offers much more than they’ll ever need.

The good news is that Ultimaker makes a lot of different 3D printers that are easy to use and offer great quality. They’re smaller and cheaper, but everything a hobbyist needs.

For those who truly do a lot of printing for work or school, the Ultimaker S5 is the best, most flexible option.

Further read: 

FLUX BeamBox Review: Our Complete Guide

While we here at All 3D Printing tend to focus on 3D printers, there are some one-off devices that need to be included. These are items like laser cutters, engravers, or any other tools that creatives might make use of on a regular basis.

There are plenty of 3D printers available that come with these features included. They’re usually hybrid devices that give users a way to perform multiple tasks. Sometimes they make things easier, sometimes they don’t. Regardless, they are designed to perform more than one function.

One such device is the Flux Beambox. This combination of laser cutter and engraver is pretty new to the market, but it still offers plenty of features for its users. But is the Flux Beambox worth the price attached to it?

Let’s take a look at what this device has to offer.

Flux Beambox

beambox

Flux says that with its Beambox, you can easily bring your designs and ideas to life. The device has a sleek design along with a user interface that’s easy to use no matter what your experience level. It’s the perfect item to add to your design studio.

The Flux Beambox is fully capable of engraving or cutting a wide variety of materials and plastics. Basically, no matter what kind of material you’re using, you’re always just a few steps shy of creating an incredible finished project with the Flux Beambox.

Design

Even though the Flux Beambox design isn’t going to set the world on fire, it gets the job done. The device is a simple square-shaped black box. On the right side of the box is an LCD screen that allows you to control how the Beambox behaves. It’s a simple and straightforward design that isn’t going to create a lot of confusion or anxiety for its users.

Features

Flux Beambox has plenty of features for its users. It offers all the tools and options you would expect to find on a quality laser cutter and engraver. Here are just a few of the features you’ll experience with the Flux Beambox.

Water Cooled

No one wants their device to catch on fire while in the middle of an important project, which is why the Flux Beambox using a closed-loop water cooling system. This system aids in keeping the device at just the right temperature when its in use, circulating water throughout the machine.

High-Quality Ventilation

With a top of the line, ventilation fan integrated right into the Flux Beambox, you don’t have to worry about fumes or smoke getting in your way while you’re working on your latest project.

Built-In Camera

With an HD quality built-in camera, the Flux Beambox offers users a way to preview their work using their laptop or smartphone before they get started. This provides a way to view the finished product is exactly the way the user wants it before they get started cutting or engraving.

Prioritize Safety

Not only is the Flux Beambox a completely enclosed device, but it will also immediately pause a process if something goes wrong. The case is enclosed to protect you from fumes and laser lights, but Flux doesn’t believe that’s enough in terms of safety.

That’s why, if the device senses that the lid is opened in the middle of a task, then it will automatically stop. Plus, if you run into an issue and the box doesn’t shut off, Flux has an emergency power switch that you can use to shut the device off immediately.

High-Resolution Laser

Flux Beambox comes with a carbon dioxide laser that works in the 10,640nm wavelength. The thickest cut you’ll get with this laser is 10mm, however, keep in mind that you may get different thicknesses depending on the material you’re using.

You can get thicker cuts if you go across the same cutting area several times or you slow down the machine.

Rotary

flux beambox laser cutter

For those interested in Beambox addons, the device offers a rotary add-on that lets you unlock the full potential of your unit. This add-on allows users to engrave on curved objects, like bottles or other pieces of glassware.

The rotary add-on is easy to install on your Beambox and opens up a whole new world of creative opportunities.

Smartphone Monitoring

Additionally, since the Beambox is powered by the Flux in-house software, users have the option to install the Android or iOS software that works with the devices. With the companion app, users can edit text, modify images, make adjustments, and more, right from the convenience of their smartphone.

Beam Studio

Also part of the Beambox is its Beam Studio software. Integrated into the Flux units, Beam Studio works with Linux, Windows, and macOS. It’s easy to use interface gives users the ability to quickly and easily access all the features that come with the Flux Beambox.

Specs

Laser 50W CO2
Speed 0-300 mm/s
Cutting Thickness 0-12 mm (thickness will vary based on material)
Wavelength 10640 nm
Total Weight 105 pounds
Dimensions 9.8” x 40.5” x 26.3”
Work Area Depth 3.14”
Work Area 23.6” x 14.7”
Power AC 110v/220v
Touch Panel 1024 x 600 LCD
Camera HD CMOS
Camera Preview Area 23.6” x 14.1”
Mode Graphic/Vector (gray scale/monochrome)
Connectivity Options Ethernet and Wireless
Operating Systems Supported Linux, Windows, macOS
File Types Supported PNG, JPG, DXF, SVG

Alternatives

If the Flux Beambox doesn’t sound like something you’d like or isn’t in your budget, there are plenty of alternatives available on the market. Here are some of the more prominent options you’ll find.

VEVOR Laser Engraver – Best for Anything Non-Metal

vevor laser engraver

The VEVOR 40W Co2 Laser Engraver is a great device if you want to cut through leather, paper, wood, cloth, plastic, ceramic, or rubber. However, if you want to cut through metal you’ll have to find another machine to get the job done.

Users get a generous engraving area of 12 inches by 8 inches, along with a cutting speed of roughly 0-1.38 inches each second. Additionally, the VEVOR laser engraver also offers a minimum shaping character or 0.04 inches by 0.04 inches.

A built-in fan ensures that smoke or fumes from the laser engraver are properly removed, and a USB port lets you connect the unit to your computer. Plus, it will work with almost any type of scanner or printer you have.

The VEVOR laser engraver also offers support for TIF file types, along with JPG, PLT, BMP, EMF, and WMF files. This precise and strong laser engraver comes with high-quality motors, a versatile and accurate control board, and a water cooling laser tube to ensure the unit is always the temperature it should be.

Mophorn Laser Engraver – Best for Budget Minded

morph laser engraving machine

Mophorn’s laser engraver is a machine that requires 40W of power. With this device, users can cut through leather, wood, plastic, crystal, and fabrics. It also works well for seal engraving toys or garments.

With an engraving area of 12” x 8”, you’ll have plenty of room to get your work done. Plus, an engraving speed of 0-300mm per second, along with a cutting speed of 1-10mm per second, means you can work as fast, or slow, as you want.

The cutting precision when you’re engraving using the Mophorn is 2500dpi, with an accuracy of 0.01mm, which is pretty darn precise. Plus, the unit comes with CorelDraw, so it will support all the file types that the software supports. Even though the Mophorn laser engraver is on the cheaper end, it still has a high-quality laser that will get the job done.

Ten-High CO2 Engraver Machine – Best for a Variety of Materials

ten high co2

If you use a lot of different materials for your projects, then the Ten-High Engraver might be the machine for you. With the ability to cut and engrave a wide assortment of materials, the Ten-high Engraver is one of the most versatile machines on this list.

This machine works with a variety of materials, including glass, bamboo, wood, paper, leather, and glass. Basically, if it’s not metal, the Ten-High Engraver can handle it. Plus, the Ten-High engraving machine comes with LaserDraw, which is specially designed for the unit itself.

The engraver is also compatible with CorelDraw software, however, CorelDraw does not come with the machine. Plus, the unit will work with any Windows OS you may have, but keep in mind that it’s not compatible with macOS devices.

If you do have a Windows machine, you can connect the Ten-High engraver to it through a USB cable. Unfortunately, this device is not wireless, so you have to be close to the system so you can connect to it manually.

Orion Motor Tech Laser Engraving Machine – Best for Those Who Need a Large Work Area

orion motor tech 40w

Last on our list is the Orion Motor Tech Laser Engraving Machine. At first glance, many confuse this device for a generator or a toolbox, since its black and red design gives it a more rugged look than you’d typically find with an engraver. However, this engraver is designed to work with a wide variety of materials, so you aren’t limited in that area.

In addition to what most other engraving machines can handle, the Orion Motor Tech machine will work with marble, ceramic, mylar, crystal, vinyl, leather, plastic, and rubber. Plus, this machine has one of the largest work areas you’ll find on the market.

The Orion Motor Tech engraver supports a work area of 20 inches by 28 inches, so you have plenty of space to get your work done. Like many other units on the market, the Orion Motor Tech engraver has its own software that comes with the device.

But, unlike other options, this machine gives you the ability to work with many other software selections on the market. You may already own many of these, like CAD or CorelDraw. The Orion engraver also has a built-in air compressor, so any toxic vapors or fumes that you produce are immediately removed.

Part of having a large work area is having a large device. The Orion engraver weighs upwards of 500 pounds, so once you get it where you want it, it’s not moving. Be sure to place it somewhere you can keep it safe. Probably not on your computer desk though.

FAQs

There are plenty of questions that come along with laser cutters and engravers. Here are some of the more commonly asked ones:

How does laser cutting work?

Laser cutting requires using a high-focused, high-powered laser beam to cut through materials. This leaves a smooth, clean-cut when you’re finished. Some laser cuttings work using a continuous beam, while others might use a pulse beam.
A laser cutting starts when the laser puts a small hole in the material and then continues from that point until the cut is complete. You can control the laser’s heat output, length, and intensity, which means you can cut your materials in a variety of ways.

What metals can be cut with a laser?

There are plenty of metals that can be cut using a laser. These include aluminum, nickel, steel, copper, brass, titanium, and many others. Metal is one of the most common materials you’ll find that is cut with lasers.

How accurate can you get when using a laser to cut materials?

Arguably the largest benefit of using a laser to cut your materials is the precision and accuracy that it offers. If you use a narrow, focused laser beam, you can cut your material to a width that’s as small a 0.1mm. That’s pretty accurate if you ask me.

Is the Flux Beambox Right For You?

This is a tricky question to answer because everyone’s needs are going to differ. If you like to use a single device to engrave and cut, then yes, the Beambox might be a solid choice for what you’re doing. But if you want more out of your machine, then you may have to look elsewhere.

There’s plenty to like about the Beambox, including the number of features it offers and the fact that it is relatively small. Sure, 100 pounds is a lot of weight, but in the world of laser engravers, it’s not too bad.

Overall, the Flux Beambox is a solid choice. It’s a quality laser engraver and cutter that will get the job done. It supports a wide variety of materials and has user safety in mind. Plus, it works with your smartphone. If that doesn’t have you running out to get one, I don’t know what will.

Further read: 

MakerGear M3 Review: A Complete Guide

The idea of owning a 3D printer is exciting and invigorating as you consider the possibilities that exist. But even though these devices are now manufactured for users like you and me, they were initially made for large corporations or universities.

Fortunately, there exist printers that blur the line a little between mass manufacturing and individual use. The MakerGear M3 is one such 3D printer. Let’s take a closer look at this interesting 3D printer.

MakerGear M3-ID Desktop 3D Printer
$3,299.00

MakerGear’s M3 3D printer is a high-quality printer that can easily make the transition from manufacturing to home workshop.

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

MakerGear M3

3D printers typically fall into one of two categories: consumer and industrial. The MakerGear M3 falls into the latter category, manufacturing commercial-grade printers for schools and businesses that need them.

Founded in 2009 in Beachwood, Ohio, MakerGear is one of the largest industrial-grade 3D printer manufacturers in the United States. The company focuses heavily on creating and producing 3D printers with the best degree of precision on the market.

MarkerGear’s M3 device is a solid steel unit with an aluminum framing. This 3D printer is easy to calibrate and sets up quickly. Once it’s done, you don’t have to mess with calibrating it again. The M3 has a compact and simple design that still offers plenty of room to print your favorite objects.

Plus, the device supports all metals and can reach a temperature of up to 300-degrees Celsius, which means you can print with nearly any material you want. The intention of the M3 is to provide a device that removes the pain point that’s often associated with stock printing kit extruders.

When 3D printers first came into the market, the extruders were typically poorly designed and implemented, causing users problems they didn’t expect. Even the best 3D printers at the time experienced these types of issues.

That’s why MakerGear chose to become one of the best 3D equipment and printer manufacturers in the world. Their goal is to create 3D printers that set the standard for durability and precision.

MakerGear M3

Setting Up the MakerGear M3

Overall, setting up your MakerGear M3 is generally simple and straightforward. This 3D printer offers users exceptional quality when printing. Plus, the craftsmanship of the M3 sets the standard for all other companies that manufacture 3D printers.

User Guide

One of the best things about the MakerGear M3 is that it comes with a user guide that walks you step-by-step through unpacking and setting up your 3D printer. The M3 offers wifi connectivity through Bonjour Print services, while also including OctoPrint as part of its default package.

OctoPrint, for those not familiar with the software, is a Software-as-a-Service, or SaaS interface that you can pull up in your browser. MakerGear walks you through getting the M3 connected to your wireless network so you can access the printer’s full potential.

Another cool feature you get with the OctoPrint software is how the top of the models are printed. OctoPrint pauses the hot end of the printer between layers while the small surfaces are printing.

This type of behavior allows for the material that exists between the layers to cure, which helps to prevent blobs and clumps from forming. As a result, users get a clean top surface that is free of blemishes.

Nozzle Changing

Changing the nozzles on the M3 is a bit different than what you’ll experience with other 3D printers. The hot end of the printer is completely taken off while the nozzle is changed out using a proprietary tool.

This task is performed by using a threading process that won’t allow the nozzle to go straight into the heater block. As a result, users experience less damage and fewer installation errors in both the heater block and the nozzle.

setting up makergear m3

MakerGear M3 Features

If you’re in the market for a well-built, reliable, sturdy 3D printer, then the MakerGear M3 just might be the printer you need. Hobbyists will have no trouble using this 3D printer, however, keep in mind that it’s intended for large manufacturers.

As a result, the M3 has no shortage of features. Let’s take a closer look at what the MakerGear M3 has to offer.

Wireless Connectivity

The MakerGear M3 will connect through either Ethernet or wifi connectivity, which users can set up through their browser. Once this is set up, users can control their OctoPrint software and begin printing objects.

Additionally, users can begin to load their favorite designs by using .obj or .stl files. When these are uploaded, they can make adjustments and edits, then send the finished product to the M3 for printing.

Profiled Rails

Instead of using standard round rails for its 3D printers, MakerGear implements profiled rails, which creates precision linear motion. Located on both the y-axis and the x-axis, these rails are used to provide excellent accuracy on the x-y plane.

The printer has shown to have an accuracy as small as 20 microns as it creates objects. With the help of the profiled rails, MakerGear is significantly reducing the chances that imperfections and issues will occur while a 3D object is printing.

Steel Components and Frames

The pieces for the MakerGear M3 printer that users can’t buy straight off the shelf are all made of steel. None of the pieces are 3D printed or made of inferior materials. This is quickly evident when you lift the machine, as it checks in at a hefty 26.5 pounds.

Calibration Using True Leveling

Part of the MakerGear M3 that users like is its True Leveling feature that aids in calibrating the 3D printer. This is a particularly useful feature because many 3D printers use a calibration method that requires the user to jump through a series of hoops to get their device properly calibrated.

This is completed by asking the user to look at three pictures and determine which one is closest to what they see in regards to the offset distances between the bed and the nozzle. This step is continued until both the picture and the offset are where they should be.

Hot End

This feature is exclusive to MakerGear 3D printers with its uniqueness lying in the configuration and size of the hot end. The device’s heater block is small, which allows for consistent heating of the filament that lies on the z-axis.

As a result, users get a consistent filament feed throughout the printing cycle. Plus, MakerGear printers offer unique nozzles that you won’t find on many other printers. These nozzles have female threads as opposed to male threads.

Giving their nozzles this type of flexibility allows MakerGear users to have the option of doing a cold nozzle changeout. Typically this type of change would result in damage to the heater block, however, since the nozzles are female threads, users won’t run into this issue.

makergear m3 print

Cooling

Most 3D printing companies on the market create a cooling system for their devices that is something of a hybrid. Typically these systems work for both the filament and the hot end at the same time.

However, MakerGear’s M3 3D printer, the fans are already set up so that they provide cooling explicitly for the area intended, with no bleed over occurring. For example, the cooling fan for the filament is pointed directly at it and sits parallel to the print bed.

Additionally, the hot end fan aim straight at the gearing mechanism used for the extruder. This, along with the heat break that sits in the middle of the heater block and the heat sink, means users won’t experience heat creep. Plus, it ensures that the nozzle and heat block are continually hot throughout the print.

Multiple Models

Users will discover two available models of the MakerGear M3. The original MakerGear M3 includes the standard heated build plate, a .35mm nozzle, and wifi connectivity. The MakerGear M3 Dual Extruder also comes with wifi connectivity and a heated build plate.

The latter model also includes two direct-drive tool heads, both of which have an extruder combination and a moving hot end. As a result, users can print objects with two different colors.

Accessories

Also included with the MakerGear M3 are plenty of accessories. These include tweezers, brushes, filament guide tubes, hex keys, an M3 driver, extra fastening clips, and a feeler gauge.

MakerGear M3 Specs

MakerGear M3-ID Desktop 3D Printer
$3,299.00

MakerGear’s M3 3D printer is a high-quality printer that can easily make the transition from manufacturing to home workshop.

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

Here’s a look at some of the specs and properties associated with the MakerGear M3 3D printer:

Technology FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Build Volume 203mm x 254mm x 203mm
Extrusion Single Extrusion
Filament Diameter 1.75mm
Build Plate Temperature 20-130 degrees Celsius
Print Head Speed Range 30-450 mm/s
Assisted Leveling Method True Level Calibration
Nozzle Temperature 180-300 degrees Celsius
Nozzle Heat Up Less than 2 minutes
Build Plate Heat Time Less than 4 minutes
Connectivity USB, LAN, Wifi
Operating Sound Less than 65 dB
Supported Materials ABS, Nylon, PET-G, PET-T, PLA, TPE, HIPS, TPU, wood composites, carbon fiber composites, metal composites

Alternatives

Of course, there’s always the possibility that the MakerGear M3 isn’t your cup of tea. If that’s the case, here are some alternative 3D printers to consider.

Creality Ender 3 Pro – Best for the Budget Minded

Creality Ender 3 Pro

If you’re on a budget, the Creality Ender 3 Pro is a solid option. This 3D printer comes with both a heated bed and LCD, which is basically unheard of at its price point. Of course, part of the reason it’s so affordable is due to the fact that you have to assemble the printer yourself.

Arguably the best thing about the Ender 3 is that it has an amazing community. You’ll find all the answers to your problems on the Ender 3 subreddit, plus ideas for prints and modifications. Overall, if you have the time and the patience to put your own 3D printer together, Ender 3 might be right up your alley.

Creality Ender 3 (Prusa i3)
$206.00

For most useres I recommend STARTING with this Creality Ender 3 Prusa i3 model here. It produces more consistent quality prints and is MUCH easier to assemble, let alone being more affordable. Clear choice for me.

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10/27/2020 05:10 pm UTC

Vivedino T-Rex 3 – Best for Those Who Want Everything

For those that don’t mind shelling out a little extra money to get what they want, the Vivedino T-Rex 3 is perfect. With this printer, users get dual independent extruders, auto-bed leveling, massive build volume, Trinamic stepper drivers, and an AC heated bed.

The drawback, unfortunately, is that the microcontroller for the T-Rex is a bit underpowered for a 3D printer of its stature. As a result, users experienced reduced speeds, which make printing a painfully slow process. Still, this is an impressive 3D printer with plenty of features.

Taz Workhorse – Best for 3D Printing Enthusiasts

This vibrant and exciting 3D printer will quickly draw you in if you’re a 3D printing enthusiast. The Taz Workhorse offers a strong frame, large build volume, and one heck of a sticker price. You’ll pay for this amazing 3D printer, but there are plenty of users out there who believe it’s worth it.

For example, the Taz Workhorse has a steel nozzle, which allows users to print with exotic filaments. The include filaments that have wood, sand, and metal fillers, which could quickly wear down a brass nozzle.

The drawback to this printer is that it’s only a single extruder, but there are plenty of positives to outweigh the few negatives. Its build area is one of the largest in its market, plus the Workhorse lineup is well-known for being durable and reliable, something you don’t find with a lot of 3D printers.

FlashForge Creator Pro – Best Portable 3D Printer

The FlashForge Creator Pro comes with handles on each side, so you can easily move it wherever you need it. Plus, the Creator Pro is a durable printer, so you don’t have to worry about causing damage when you move it.

On the downside, the Creator Pro isn’t as reliable as other 3D printers. For example, one common problem users experience is the extruder jamming up on them. While this isn’t the worst thing in the world, it can be a pain if you have to consistently deal with this type of issue.

Sill, the Creator Pro is an excellent 3D printer with a fantastic community. If you’re looking for a solid 3D printer that won’t kill your budget, the Creator Pro is an excellent option.

FAQs

There are many questions associated with 3D printers, but here are some of the more commonly asked ones:

How do I prevent clogs?

If you want to prevent clogs in your 3D printer, your best bet might be what’s called a Cold Pull. This involved using old filament to stick to the current filament so you can pull it out of the printer. Another option is to remove the nozzle and soak it in acetone to loosen up any clogged filament.

What color filament is best?

Many users will tell you that the best filament color to use is typically plain white. This is especially true if you don’t plan on painting your printed objects. While other colors are pretty easy to use, there are users who experience brittle or spotty prints when using a color other than white.

Where can I find ideas for printing?

One of the best places online for printing idea is Thingiverse. This is a massive online warehouse full of 3D printing files. Anything you can imagine is more than likely in this repository.

Final Thoughts

MakerGear’s M3 3D printer is a high-quality printer that can easily make the transition from manufacturing to home workshop. However, it’s in a manufacturing environment that this printer really makes a name for itself.

If you want precision and quality and you plan on printing a lot of objects, the MakerGear 3D printer is a great choice.

Anycubic Photon Review [2020]: Will This Work for You?

You can’t beat the reliability and affordability of resin printers. They’re also easy to use and offer a great alternative to SLA printers because they’re safer and easier for beginners. There is a learning curve with some, but it’s worth figuring out so you can reap all the benefits.

DLP, or digital light processing, is a method of 3D printing that uses light to cure the project. Rather than heating up a filament and printing something hot onto a heated bed, it simply cures one layer of the project at a time using liquid resin and UV rays.

Once the layer is cured, the print bed moves to allow for the next layer to be printed. This offers a high level of accuracy, even in the most detailed prints. This liquid resin print doesn’t need to be heated first, and it makes it much safer than an SLA printer.

Anycubic Photon 3D Printer Features

anycubic photon printer

The Anycubic Photon is one such DLP printer. The LCD screen resolution is 2K and the build volume is 115mm x 65mm x 155mm. It’s slightly smaller than some other DLP 3D printers, but it’s all fantastic for the price point.

A lot of times, DLP printers have a powerful resin smell, but the Anycubic Photon has a carbon filter and a fan that helps get rid of some of that. However, there are times when you may notice it a bit more, especially if your printer is set up in a small area.

You can use gloves and a mask when pouring the resin and that will help protect you as well. A large room with windows is best for using this printer. This is a great way to experiment with this type of 3D printing without spending a lot of money.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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Anycubic Photon Setup

The Anycubic Photon comes with everything you need to set it up. Fortunately, there’s not a lot of setups involved. In fact, it comes mostly pre-assembled. In the box, you’ll find the printer, an owner’s manual, a power cable, gloves, and a mask, filters, a resin tank, and a bottle of resin to start resin based printing.

The included 8GB USB flash drive also comes preloaded with models to try. They’re already pre-sliced, so you don’t have to design your own in order to test the printer. Many DLP printers require you to install the print bed before using, and they also don’t offer any resin included in the box, so the Anycubic Photon is already ahead of the competition.

Although the printer comes fully assembled, you do have to screw a knob on the door and level the bed. First, make sure the screen and the print platform are dust-free.

Before you level it, plug it in and remove the resin tank. You can start the leveling process with the touch screen and then manually adjust it to get it just where you want it. It’s similar to how you level an FDM printer, so if you’d had experience with that, you’ll learn how to do this very quickly.

If you don’t know how to do it, you can lower the platform to make it easier. Then pour the resin in the vat and you’re ready to go.

Anycubic Photon Printing

Before printing any of your own designs, test the printer with one of the test jobs on your USB stick. The lattice cube shows off how the Anycubic Photon creates intricate layers and exceptional print quality. It’s a fun way to watch your printer work and see how your jobs will turn out, even those with the most detail. You don’t have to adjust any settings or understand the software to print this first job.

This is the perfect way to get familiar with your printer, taking it slow, and making sure that first, your print job sticks to the bed. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to level it and then try again.

You’ll notice that this particular job results in impressive quality and a smooth surface with the intricate details you might expect from a much more expensive printer. Cleaning and allowing to cure gives you a flawless exterior on a solid print.

If you’re printing something simpler, you’ll still enjoy a layerless look that you’ll only find on high-end 3D printers. For some complex projects, you’ll need to add a few more supports, but you can trust the printer to generate them automatically and slice them in or create them yourselves. When the job is done, it’s easy to snip them off.

Anycubic Photon Software

anycubic photon 3d printer

No other manufacturers have the same software because the Anycubic Photon has a proprietary program. Unfortunately, you won’t be familiar with it right out of the gate, but it’s not hard to get up to speed.

If you’re not familiar with how to use a 3D printer, you shouldn’t modify anything at first. You can leave the default settings alone and still print high-quality jobs. It’s also very simple to adjust the layer thickness, exposure time, and off time.

Support generation is one of the easiest things to do with the Anycubic Photon. It’s far above any other 3D printer when it comes to auto-generating the supports you need for difficult projects. However, if you feel like you’d rather create your own, you can manually insert them wherever you need them for complete control over your jobs. You can adjust placement, length, shape, density, and radius.

You can also rotate, scale, and view your model in a variety of ways with the Photon slicer software. It’s quick and easy. The resulting .photon file can be used with the Anycubic Photon, but not with any other 3D printer. The software is lacking a bit in design, but it explains tasks and operations so they’re easy to understand, and it’s not hard to figure out or use.

Pros:

  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compact size
  • Custom slicer with excellent support generation
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Jobs may stick to print bed
  • Small build volume
  • Lack of customizations

Anycubic Photon Alternatives and Competitors

When it comes to 3D printers, there’s surely no shortage of them, no matter what kind of 3D printer you want. Here are a few other options if you’re looking for a DLP resin printer.

Phrozen Sonic Mini 3D Printer

phrozen sonic mini

This is a really great budget resin printer. The layer cure times on this machine are as little as 2 seconds. That’s unheard of in the realm of resin 3D printers. There aren’t many others that can achieve this lofty goal if any at all. It prints insanely fast.

It’s also worth mentioning that this 3D printer has a huge print volume at 276mm x 155mm x 400mm. Why they called it a “Mini” I’m just not sure. You could print almost anything. Costume accessories? Done. Drone replacement parts? Yup. Large items that you would normally have to print in pieces? Absolutely.

You’ll pay for speed and size here, but you could argue it’s worth it if you’re interested in size and speed. After all, they matter.

Peopoly Phenom 3D Printer

peopoly printer

This one boasts another large print volume equal to the Phrozen Sonic Mini. Both far surpass the Anycubic Photon. If build volume is what you’re looking for, you will want to take a serious look at this one.

Again, it’s another 3D resin printer than can handle big projects fast. The productivity of this beast is unmatched, especially when you consider high detail prints. It’s widely used by businesses and professionals because it’s so reliable.

Elegoo Mars 3D Printer

elegoo mars

If you’re not looking for something quite so large or suited for commercial uses, the Elegoo Mars is a great choice on a budget. It offers simplicity and excellent print quality. The print preparation workflow makes it incredibly easy to use.

DLP printers are already pretty straightforward, but this one makes it even easier. The print bed is self-leveling, the software is open source, and the performance is beyond anything else in the price range.

Further Read: Here check how Elegoo Mars Compares with Anycubic Photon

ELEGOO Mars

The Elegoo Mars is great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

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Formlabs Form 3 3D Printer

formlabs form 3

Formlabs has been around for a while. They make professional-grade 3D printers, and the Form 3 is the third generation of this liquid resin printer. It has a wide range of practical features, meaning it’s a fantastic choice for commercial use.

It’s rather expensive, so it may not be the right choice for individuals unless you are an avid user of 3D printers and need one that is higher quality than most.

Formlabs uses precision, high-quality manufacturing, but many of their products use proprietary resins. Thankfully, the Form 3 has what they call an open mode that allows you to use any resins you’d like.

Here you can read everything about Formlabs Form 2 vs Ultimaker 3 

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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FAQs

Is Anycubic a good brand?

Anycubic is known for making incredible printers on a budget. They’re easy to use and they 3D print in high quality, even on more detailed designs. Sometimes they’re a bit harder to set up, but fortunately, the Photon doesn’t prove to be too difficult at all.

Is Anycubic resin toxic?

There’s some debate about how toxic resin is, but wearing a mask and gloves can help reduce your exposure and the effect of the resin on your eyes and skin. However, there are plant-based resins you can use with the Anycubic Photon that don’t have the same effect.

Whether you want to risk exposure or not, there are definitely a lot of options when it comes to compatible resins for your DLP 3D printer.

Are resin 3D printers better?

The short answer is yes. You yield better results when printing with resin. It’s certainly faster, it can be safer, and it is generally cheaper. While SLA printing and FDM printing rely on a lot of factors to achieve a successful print, DLP tends to be simpler and more efficient.

Do 3D resin printers need ventilation?

All 3D printers need proper ventilation to be used safely. Resin can be toxic when inhaled in an enclosed environment continuously. It’s important to ensure that you’re using your 3D printers properly.

Resin, when inhaled, can cause irritation in the lungs and the esophagus. If you don’t use gloves when pouring resin, it could come in contact with the skin and cause irritation during resin 3D printing.

The Verdict: Anycubic Photon Review

While leveling can prove a bit more difficult than other 3D printers, it’s worth all the setup hassle to get the print quality that the Anycubic Photon offers. You need to make sure the prints stick to the bed, but when they cure, you’ll be more than happy with the result.

Manually creating supports is easy, and you can position them however you like, but it also auto-generates sufficient support most of the time, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Proprietary slicing software creates files you can only use with this printer because the files aren’t interchangeable, but it’s easy to use, and there’s not much of a learning curve for beginners. You don’t have access to a lot of customizable settings, but it’s a great, quality, affordable solution for beginners and advanced users alike.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

Further Reading on 3D Printing and 3D Printer Options:

Best 3D Printers for Medical Masks: Which One Should You Choose?

These days, it’s no surprise that people are looking for medical masks just about everywhere. While bandanas and cloth masks are fine, many are more interested in something that they can put a filter in, cover up with more thoroughly, and filter out more particles.

They’re hard to come by, and many retailers selling these items are reserving their inventory for medical professionals only. If you’re an average citizen without a true medical need for a medical-grade mask, you may be out of luck.

However, if you’re adept at 3D printing already or you simply don’t know where else to turn and are thinking about printing your own medical masks, you can invest in a 3D printer. You can make your own, and the bonus here is that you can also sell them to others to recuperate some of the cost.

Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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Should You Print Your Own Masks?

face shield

There’s a lot of debate going on about whether or not you should be printing your own masks at home or not. One of the primary reasons for this is that even with the same template, multiple printers can produce a product with a huge range of resulting quality.

Some may be great while others may not. Not only that, but you can’t verify these masks were produced in sanitary environments.

However, you shouldn’t throw in the towel just yet. That doesn’t mean that you can’t or shouldn’t make your own masks at home using a 3D printer you already have or one that you’ve been longing to buy anyway.

What it does mean is that you likely can’t market your masks to local healthcare workers. Healthcare facilities contract with licensed producers of medical equipment to purchase their masks. It’s the only way they can ensure they’re getting the quality disease prevention they need.

But if you decide to print your own masks at home, you can make a huge impact selling them to family, friends, neighbors, and your community. Every little bit helps, and for the average wearer who is already being cautious and practicing social distancing, it can provide them with a piece of much-needed protection in a non-sterile environment.

What to Look For in a 3D Printer

3D PRINTER

If you’re shopping around for the best 3D printer for medical masks, there are a few things to keep in mind. Here’s what you should be looking for.

Review FDA guidelines

In times like these, access to critical medical supplies may be in short supply. Before you buy a 3D printer, review the FDA guidelines for critical medical supplies to make sure you’re making the right kind of masks to protect you and your family.

Find 3D printer companies offering downloads

Many 3D printer companies are printing masks, face shields, and other supplies themselves. You can count on these devices working to print PPE because the company themselves is doing it.

Many of these companies are also offering free downloads so you can get the templates you need straight from the source. This is a helpful way to ensure that the file you’re using to print is compatible with your device.

Do some research on who is currently printing masks and who is offering free templates to their users. These may be the best printers to buy because it’s easy to source the files you need.

Speed

If speed is important to you, you may want to consider a 3D printer that can accelerate the printing process so you’ll have masks available to use right away. More and more cities are requiring masks to be worn in all public spaces, so if you don’t have one, you’ll likely need one very soon.

Many 3D printers give users the ability to speed up the printing process, but be careful of going too fast, because you may sacrifice quality, which isn’t something you want to do when you’re dealing with your health and safety.

Quality

Sometimes price and quality go hand in hand, but not always. There are a lot of resin printers out there that offer a great quality print for a fraction of the price of 3D printers that use filament.

An excellent quality printer will give you the results you want more consistently than one that isn’t built well.

Size

Depending on the type of equipment you’re printing, you’ll have to make sure you get a 3D printer with a build volume big enough. While face shields are easy to print, they’re larger than masks and will require more space.

Masks are intricate and can be more difficult to print, but even the largest masks are quite small and don’t require as much room.

Price

If you’re purchasing a 3D printer for the sole purpose of printing masks, you may not want to spend a ton of money. You’re likely not going to recoup your costs very quickly, if at all. If the good citizen in you doesn’t care, then that’s fantastic. Well done!

However, if you’re concerned about the money you might spend, consider buying a cheaper 3D printer for printing the masks you need.

Here are some of the best options on the market, meeting this criterion, and enabling you to print your own medical masks at home.

Monoprice Voxel

monoprice voxel

Monoprice isn’t new to the 3D printer game, but this model is perhaps one of the best options for most people. It makes it really easy to get started, and the excellent print quality leaves even experienced users satisfied.

It won’t cost you a ton, either, so it’s a great option for beginners who want to buy one just for printing their own masks or for those who have done 3D printing before and want a machine they can use for other projects after they’re done with masks.

This model has a heated print bed so when using materials like ABS, which is recommended for printing masks, you get a more reliable print. It’s also easy to remove your finished products by sliding out the bed and bending it slightly.

It’s ideal for those who want the extra safety of enclosed print space, making it great for homes with kids or beginners who aren’t experienced yet. You’ll also enjoy a speed that’s normally found on more expensive machines. Coupled with the print quality, this is a great feature to have for producing masks. The Voxel can recreate intricate details and capture smooth curves, too.

As with anything, it’s not perfect. There are some minor annoyances when it comes to set up, but when you get it up and running, it’s relatively easy to use.

Features:

  • Great print quality
  • Heated print bed
  • Fast print speeds

Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer
$399.99

The Monoprice Voxel 3D Printer makes it really easy to get started, and the excellent print quality leaves every experienced users satisfied.

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10/27/2020 07:11 am UTC

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

These days, resin 3D printers are all the rage. Resin printers don’t use heat, so they’re quite a bit safer than printers that use filament. They feature many of the same benefits as a filament 3D printer but can offer increased reliability, which is definitely a plus when printing masks.

It features a large print area, which can be used for larger PPE items like face shields, or you can keep it and use it for other large projects when you’re done.

The Form 3 is the third in this series from Formlabs, and it features a redesigned optics engine. The optics are sealed in their own package, increasing this printer’s reliability. It keeps dust out of the way of the laser, which can interfere with its ability to cure your final projects.

While every now and again, a print will fail, with this 3D printer, that happens even less, if at all. It also uses Low Force Stereolithography, meaning it works less to create more. It doesn’t need a lot of force to create many hardened layers of your most detailed print.

This thing isn’t cheap, so you’ll want to be sure you need a workhorse like this before purchasing, but it is one of the best resin 3D printers on the market. It’s geared more toward designs and other professionals who need a dependable device.

Features:

  • Reliable and dependable
  • Enhanced optics
  • Excellent print quality

Polaroid PlaySmart

polaroid 3d printer

If you live life in the fast lane, the Polaroid PlaySmart printer can offer you the speed you need to get masks done. For those looking to print a lot of masks in very little time, this is the best option. It’s not surprising that something so fast would come from the company that made instant photos a reality.

It’s a friendly device for beginners but can print your projects faster than most other machines. The quality is good, but not perfect, which is to be expected when printing more quickly.

Other models in this price range aren’t quite as fast, and you’ll still experience smooth, clean output with few problems. It can also support a lot of different materials, meaning you can move from masks to other projects using the same printer.

The print area is a bit smaller, which means it’s great for masks and other small projects, but not for anything large. However, if you’re ready to get the job done quickly, this is definitely one of the safest bets. (Here also check the Polaroid Nano Review before making the final choice!)

Features:

  • Fast print speed
  • Good results
  • Supports many different materials

Ultimaker 3

utimaker 3

You’re going to have to think of the Ultimaker 3 as more of an investment than a toy. It’s pretty expensive, but it’s a fantastic option for 3D printing enthusiasts. If you’ve been looking for an upgrade to your current model, and you’re considering printing some masks along the way, too, get this beast.

Design professionals will enjoy all of the advanced features of this machine and the print quality is by far some of the most excellent you’ll experience. Even draft mode is better than most other printers. It supports a huge variety of materials, but you can’t expect speed. If you’re printing masks and you want them done right, you can count on the Ultimaker 3 to print the most accurate final job you’ve seen.

However, you’ll wait a while for the completed product because it definitely takes its time to get it right. It also has a huge build area, making it the ideal choice for more than just a mask or two. The software is easy to manage and it features a redesigned print head that gives it more flexibility for intricate detail. (Here check our Formlabs Form 2 vs Ultimaker 3 Comparison [2020] and Prusa i3 MK3 vs Ultimaker 3 [2020])

Features:

  • Fantastic print quality
  • Great software
  • Supports a wide range of materials

Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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Peopoly Phenom

peopoly

This one definitely makes the list for its affordability. Not only is it capable, but it costs less than comparable devices. Many other SLA printers are pricey, while this one offers a large print volume at a more accessible price point. It is compatible with many different resins without sacrificing print quality or speed. While you likely need to have some experience with 3D printing to understand how it works, you’ll enjoy a lot of features.

It has a few quirks when it comes to setting up and customizing, and it may require a bit of patience, but Wi-Fi connectivity makes it a bit easier. It also tends to be a noisier printer, so make sure you can handle the sound or put it in its own dedicated space.

It’s a large printer, but well worth it for the expanded build area. You can create a lot more than just masks with this one.

Features:

  • Supports many different resins
  • Huge print area
  • Affordable

FAQs

Do 3D-printed masks protect against the coronavirus disease as well as N95 respirators?

The short answer is no. N95 respirators are designed for contaminated environments. They filter the air in, but they do not filter the air you breathe out. They protect the wearer from contaminants, but they do not protect others.

Masks made from a 3D printer may look similar to other PPE, but it all depends on how they’re made and how you wear it. Some 3D printed masks have places where you can insert a filter, meaning you can choose how well it filters the air based on what type of filter you use.

It also depends a lot on the design. Everyone’s face is a different shape, and some 3D printed mask designs may fit your face well, while others do not. If the mask doesn’t fit your face as it should, it won’t protect you, no matter what type of filter you put in it.

When 3D printing masks, you have to be very careful about which design you use, and it’s up to you to remain safe by choosing the one that will work best for you.

What type of face mask is best during the coronavirus disease pandemic?

This is another answer that will vary from person to person. Different masks are used for different purposes. N95 respirators are designed for contaminated environments while surgical masks are designed for sterile environments. They work in different ways.

When adding cloth masks and 3D printed masks to the mix, it can get confusing. The most important thing to remember is that no mask will work the way it should if it’s not covering both your nose and your mouth. You can wear any type of mask you choose, as long as you’re careful to wear it correctly and then clean or dispose of it properly. Disposable masks should be switched out after every use while cloth masks should be washed daily.

Depending on the material, 3D printed masks can be sanitized effectively, but if you’re inserting a filter into your mask, you also need to make sure you switch it out frequently as well.

Does CDC recommend people to use surgical masks or N95 respirators?

If you already have some of these supplies at home, you can use them. However, if you’re looking to buy some, you won’t find them anywhere. These items are being reserved for essential healthcare workers.

Rather than look for surgical masks or N95 respirators, you can make your own masks at home. Many people are using bandanas or other fabrics to cover their faces, but you can also 3D print your own if you’d like.

How can I best protect myself during the coronavirus disease pandemic?

Along with washing your hands, avoiding touching your face, practicing social distancing, and staying home when you are sick, you can wear a mask when you go out to help protect yourself. While surgical masks and N95 respirators are being reserved for medical personnel, you can always wear a cloth mask or a mask you 3D printed at home.

The Verdict

Why Go With the Ultimaker 3?

I'll be honest, the Ultimaker 3 is one of my FAVORITE 3D Printers of all time. Not trying to hype it, but it's still the go-to for reliable performance and durability over time. It actually gets BETTER the MORE you use it... Weird!

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

If you’re thinking about 3D printing masks at home for yourself, family, friends, neighbors, or your community, you can certainly contribute to the cause. Evaluate the most important features of a 3D printer and make sure you get one that will fit your needs.

Don’t expect to make your money back on the project though. Doing it out of the kindness of your heart will ensure that you feel fulfilled by your good deeds while staying safe.

As an added bonus, you can continue to use your 3D printer for other fun projects when you’re done printing masks.

Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon [2020]: Which Should You Choose?

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that uses resin rather than filament, you may be looking at a DLP printer as opposed to an FDM machine.

The Elegoo Mars and the Anycubic Photon are both really great, affordable options.

They each have their own advantages, so let’s dive into the differences and a comprehensive review so you’ll know which one is best for you.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: If you want to be able to create customized, high quality, and complex prints, buy the Anycubic Photon here. For everyone else focused on affordabilty, go with the Elegoo Mars here for the best value in class.

Main Differences Between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon

The main difference between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon are:

  • Elegoo Mars requires you to install the build plate yourself, whereas Anycubic Photon comes fully assembled
  • Elegoo Mars does not come with a bottle of resin, whereas Anycubic Photon does.
  • Elegoo Mars comes with ChiTu Box software, whereas Anycubic Photon comes with proprietary software.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

Elegoo Mars

elegoo mars printer

The Elegoo Mars offers an easy 3D printing experience that’s great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

ELEGOO Mars

The Elegoo Mars is great for beginners. It’s forgiving and rewarding at a great price point so you can enjoy consistent successful prints, high-quality performance, and little effort.

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

Technology

The reason the Elegoo Mars is so easy to use is that it features masked stereolithography technology rather than the fussy fused deposition modeling of other 3D printer varieties.

3D resin printing isn’t for everyone and the cleanup process can be quite messy. It involves washing finished pieces with ethanol, allowing them to cure, and cleaning off the build plate. Not to mention, the smell of the resin is quite powerful. However, as far as 3D resin printers go, this is one of the easier ones to maneuver.

It uses a viscous liquid resin that oozes more smoothly across a resin vat, a single moving axis that moves at a quiet whirr, and no filament wrangling. Because there are no hot ends or nozzles, there’s no drama.

The build plate itself moves layer by layer rather than two axes moving simultaneously, cutting out the noise and making it much easier to operate and maintain. While the stereolithography is simple, it makes the entire process easier. Beginners enjoy a clean experience while even experienced users will appreciate the lack of unnecessary bloat.

In addition, this technology prints great. The ratio of price to performance is much better than most other 3D printers, putting it in a class all its own.

The unit is well balanced without being too heavy. You can slide it easily if you need to, which may be more often than you like because of poor USB port placement at the rear of the machine.

Even if you have to slide it forward, it will resist tipping or rocking, so you can navigate the machine for general use without worrying.

There is a removable UV-blocking lid that can be inconvenient. You have to remove it completely to access the resin and print vat. However, over time, you’ll find that there’s clearance around the Z-axis to allow for you to get it on and off quickly.

With the lid out of the way, you get unrestricted access to your resin tank and you don’t have to remove the vat at all. Removing prints is also much easier on this printer than on many others.

The print volume is 120mm x 68mm x 155mm, so it’s a little smaller than some others, but for the price, it’s well worth sacrificing a little. It’s one of the cheapest 3D printers out there.

Elegoo Mars Setup

The Elegoo Mars comes with complete instructions, but it really doesn’t need them. Just loosen two screws, lower the plate into the bottom, and level. It takes about two minutes to set up, plugin, and print.

Printing

elegoo printer

While the printer doesn’t come with any resin, it’s compatible with any 405nm UV sensitive resins. The company also offers plenty of options that you can order directly from them so you can test them out.

Resin printing has a lot less drama than traditional filament printing, and it prints as expected without much fuss, even on the default settings without any tweaking. If you do want to fiddle with the settings a bit, you can adjust layer heights and it won’t result in failures out of the gate.

The standard layer heights of 0.01-0.02 are perfect and not worth changing. Your prints will finish with much more detail than a similarly priced FDM printer. You can boost printing ability using the included ChiTu Box slicing software, and adjusting the anti-aliasing print settings.

In most cases on an LCD printer like the Elegoo Mars, you can see a grid pattern on the surface of the print job. That’s because every slice of your print is a 2D grid made of square pixels. The pixels are realized in 3D, called voxels.

When printed, these voxels are visible. When the voxels are small enough, they are invisible in the final print job. By using the anti-aliasing settings, you can lessen this aesthetic effect. It bridges sharp corners you would normally find in the voxels.

This technique is likely more useful in larger layer heights. It can help preserve detail while still maintaining speed. You generally wouldn’t need it at small layer heights because they’re already capable of smoothing out your finish without it.

Elegoo Mars Software

The ChiTu firmware and ChiTu Box software offer a contemporary combination that’s super easy to use. Perhaps the best thing about the Elegoo Mars is that it doesn’t use proprietary software, so you can streamline your workflow, making printing prep and the machine itself pretty straightforward.

It includes all of the main features you need for printing including the two most important: model hollowing and robust support generation. You can also take advantage of other user-friendly things that allow you to make adjustments without wrecking the whole job.

Out of the box, the Elegoo Mars offers a single-program solution that is more than capable of doing anything you need it to do. You can even reposition your model without deleting supports.

Pros:

  • Minimal setup
  • Fantastic print quality
  • Simple to use
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • The USB port is inconveniently located
  • Prolonged use may cause firmware malfunctions
  • Loud fan

The Verdict on Elegoo Mars

If you’ve been thinking about buying a resin printer but you’re on a budget or unsure of which one to get, the Elegoo Mars is a great option. For the price, you won’t waste your money and you’ll still get an incredible printer that performs just as well as some of the higher-priced models.

It’s easy to use so it’s perfect for beginners, and the software makes the experience even better.

Anycubic Photon

anycubic photon 3D printer

While resin printers offer excellent print quality and ease of use that often far surpass that of an FDM printer, Anycubic offers a solution that does all of this at the same low price point. It has a bit of a learning curve, but nothing that’s not worth mastering to reap the benefits.

Anycubic Photon Features

The Anycubic Photon is another desktop DLP 3D printer that uses liquid resins cured by UV or laser rather than the traditional filament used by FDM printers. The DLP stands for Digital Light Processing, and it involves a process in which the entire image of your print job is cured with light, layer by layer.

Once your layer is resin is cured, the build plate moves up accordingly and the machine prints the next layer. One benefit of this method is a high level of accuracy and detail. The screen resolution on the Photon is 2K, which is great for the low price point.

Build volume is 115mm x 65mm x 155mm, so it’s slightly smaller than the Elegoo Mars. However, it’s a great way to experiment with this type of printing technology without spending your life savings.

The Anycubic Photon features a carbon filter with a fan, to eliminate some of the powerful resin smell, but it can still be quite strong at times. You should always wear a mask and gloves when pouring resin. A large room with open windows won’t hurt either. (Here Check Out the Full Reviews for Anycubic Kossel Delta and Anycubic i3 Mega Review before the final decision!)

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

Anycubic Photon Setup

Luckily, the entire machine comes pre-assembled. You’ll find everything you need including the printer, power cable, owner’s manual, resin tank, gloves and maks, a bottle of resin to start, filters, and an 8GB USB flash drive.

This USB drive has a few pre-sliced models for you to try. Already, the Anycubic Photon beats out the Elegoo Mars by coming fully assembled, including the build plate, throwing in a bottle of resin, and offering a few test models to get you started.

It may come fully assembled (except for a tiny little knob you need to screw on to the door), but that doesn’t mean it’s ready to print just yet. You need to open the cover to make sure the screen and platform are free of dust. Now you can plug it in and level it. Just remove the resin tank, use the touchscreen to start the leveling process, and then tweak the platform to level it the way you need it.

This leveling process is very similar to how an FDM printer gets manually calibrated, so if you’re familiar with doing that, you’ll have no trouble getting this one leveled perfectly. If you don’t know what you’re doing quite yet, lower the platform slowly to make it easier.

Now you can pour the resin in the vat and be on your way to printing.

Printing

To get started, use a test print job included on the USB stick. The lattice cube is a great way to demonstrate how the Anycubic Photon works. It has plenty of intricate layers that will show off the print quality and give you a better idea of how your jobs will turn out.

Because the design is already sliced and uploaded, you don’t have to familiarize yourself with the software just yet. It’s a great way to take it one step at a time, making sure your print jobs will stick to the bed. If they don’t, you may need to relevel and try again.

The print quality is impressive and the surface of the final item is smooth with intricate details. After cleaning and allowing to cure in the sun, you’ll have a solid print with a flawless exterior.

Simple designs have a virtually layerless look, which is indicative of an extremely high-quality printer. Complex projects may require a few more support structures, but you can generate those automatically and slice them in. Once the job is done, you can snip these support structures off easily.

Software

The Anycubic Photon has proprietary slicing software, so you won’t find any other manufacturers that feature the same program. However, it’s very simple to use, so you shouldn’t have any trouble, even if you’ve never used it before.

Leaving the default settings intact is your best bet if you’re unfamiliar with how to modify anything. These settings are defined well and should still result in high-quality prints. However, you can change normal exposure time, bottom exposure time, layer thickness, bottom layers, and off time.

Where the Anycubic Photon really shines is support generation. You can auto-generate supports or manually insert them wherever you need them, giving you more control over your prints.

While you have control over the placement, shape, length, radius, and density, the auto-generated supports are sufficient enough for most jobs.

You also have a variety of ways you can scale, rotate, and view your model using the slicer software. Slicing is quick and creates a Photon file you can use exclusively with this printer. While the software itself is lacking in design, it does give explanations for how to perform all of your necessary tasks and seems to be relatively easy to use.

Pros:

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Compact size
  • Custom slicer with support generation

Cons:

  • Small build volume
  • Jobs will sometimes not stick to print bed
  • Not as much customization

The Verdict: Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon?

The Anycubic Photon requires a bit more work to get it level and to make sure that the prints stick to the bed, but once you have it figured out, it produces very high-quality jobs. You can manually create supports if the already incredible auto-generated supports aren’t sufficient.

The proprietary slicing software produces files that you can only use on this printer, so the files are not interchangeable. However, the software is very easy to use, even for beginners. While you can’t change a lot of settings, it’s a good solution for beginners.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

FAQs About 3D Printers

Is a 3D printer worth buying?

If you’re looking to print the periodic project, a DLP 3D printer is a much more cost-effective option than purchasing a traditional FDM 3D printer that uses filament. DLP 3D printers are a bit smaller, so they won’t take up as much room, and they’re a lot cheaper.

Does Elegoo Mars come with resin?

While the Elegoo Mars prints with resin, it doesn’t come with any, so you’ll have to get your own before printing. However, you can order some online from many different retailers, and you can even order it separately from Elegoo when you order your printer.

Is the Anycubic Photon worth it?

What you’ll find with the Anycubic Photon is that it prints very high-quality results at a very low price. It’s affordable, and definitely worth it whether you’re printing seldom or often. There’s a bit of a learning curve, but it’s easy to use.

Which One is Right for You?

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

Your experience with the Elegoo Mars will be nearly flawless. After long stretches of printing, you may find that the firmware tends to trip up on a new print. However, you can turn it off and back on again to clear the issue.

It’s a fantastic solution for beginners and experienced printers who want an insanely affordable and easy to use system that comes with the ChiTu Box software. It allows you to use the fantastic default settings or customize many of the things you may need to get a better job.

The Anycubic Photon comes with proprietary software that’s also very easy to use and comes with great default settings. You can’t customize as much, but this is great for beginners who don’t know much about how to change the settings.

It’s still an affordable solution that produces great print quality. There’s a bit more of a learning curve on the Photon, but you’ll eventually plateau and want more features and customized options that you won’t get with this one.

If you want something that’s affordable and has a third party software that’s easy to customize and use, get the Elegoo Mars. If you’d rather get something that allows you to customize your supports for high quality, complex print jobs, get the Anycubic Photon.

Bottom Line Summary: If you want to be able to create customized, high quality, and complex prints, buy the Anycubic Photon here. For everyone else focused on affordabilty, go with the Elegoo Mars here for the best value in class.

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