Category 3D Printer Comparisons

Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge: Which Will You Love?

In this Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge comparison, we’re going to explore the features of these two fantastic laser cutters to help you decide which one is best for you, either to use alongside your 3D printer or by itself. These are both high quality, powerful laser cutters that can be used for a wide range of projects for home or small business use, hobbies, and crafting.

We will look at both of these popular laser cutters, describing the features of each device, how user friendly they are, what they cost, and finally our recommendation for you.

Main Differences Between Dremel vs Glowforge

The main differences between Dremel vs Glowforge are:

  • Dremel is UL approved, whereas Glowforge is not.
  • Dremel is modular allowing easy replacement of the laser tube, whereas Glowforge requires to be sent off to the service team.
  • Dremel has a full-color touch screen, whereas Glowforge does not have any control screen on the device and must be managed through your computer.
  • Dremel’s Digilab software is run from the laser cutter while offline, whereas Glowforge requires internet access.

Exploring Dremel and Glowforge features

dremel lc40

We’re focusing here on the features of the Dremel LC40 and the Glowforge Plus laser cutters.

Cutting

A laser cutter can be used for both cutting and engraving or etching. If you have a 3D printer already, you’ll most likely be using your laser cutter to cut out flat shapes from various materials to use with the pieces you build with your 3D printer.

The Dremel LC40 laser cutter uses a 40W laser tube to cut a variety of materials. It works really well to cut a range of materials cleanly, such as wood cardboard, and acrylic. The result is a clean and very accurate cut.

The Glowforge Plus also uses a 40w laser to cut into objects. The Glowforge is able to engrave with 1000 DPI resolution, with a kerf size (the width of material removed in the cut) of 0.008” – 0.025”.

Both have excellent feedback on their cutting, providing clear, accurate, and very detailed cuts. The Dremel outperforms the Glowforge in cutting speed, though they are both pretty good at this. A basic design can take as little as two to three minutes to engrave, while a detailed full-sheet engraving or cutting might take a couple of hours.

Cooling

It’s no surprise that a cutter using a laser beam to burn through materials will get very hot, which is why they come with cooling systems. You’ll also need to keep them in a well-ventilated space as the material being burned can give off smoke or fumes too, so this is something to think about when you’re deciding where to put your cutter.

The Dremel LC40 has something called the HexBox, an external box that will sit on the shelf below or above your laser cutter and recirculates cool water around the unit and through the laser tube, significantly reducing overheating and allowing the laser cutter to be used for longer periods.

The Glowforge Plus uses an internal closed-loop liquid cooling system using the ambient air drawn in from the room to remove the heat. While this does help save space, on a warm day or in a hotter climate, this can mean that cutting is paused to allow the unit to cool down. The system is designed for function between 60 and 75 degrees Fahrenheit.

Software

glowforge plus

The software that your laser cutter uses turns images or designs into cutting or engraving. There are a few different types of software being used for this in different laser cutters and Dremel and Glowforge both use different ones.

The Dremel LC40 accesses the software through a web browser but runs from the laser cutter. This means that you don’t need an internet connection to work the machine. The software interface is incredibly intuitive and also includes a library of materials with suggested cutting and engraving settings.

A really popular feature of this software is the grids, rulers, and snaps which help with placing designs easily and accurately. The Auto-Array function also automatically duplicates designs on the material. In addition, the LC40 keeps the last 30 jobs you did in its onboard memory so you can run them again from the touchscreen on the machine.

The Glowforge Plus software comes as a free app. The software is web-based so you do need an internet connection to start your print off, but it does work fine with slow connections and once you’ve started your print, you can continue offline. The software has a lot of preset functions and projects, and especially if you are using their Proofgrade™ materials which are tested and specially formulated for their machines.

Platforms

You’ll want your laser cutter software to be compatible with all the different platforms and operating systems that you use. You would be disappointed if you bought a laser cutter and then found that it didn’t work with your Mac!

Fortunately, both Dremel and Glowforge software is compatible with almost any operating system from Windows, iOS, and Android.

Specifications for Dremel and Glowforge

Dremel Glowforge
Cooling: external water cooling system Cooling: Built-in closed-loop water cooling
Software: Dremel software Software: Glowforge cloud-based software
Beam Power: 40w Beam Power: 45w
Tech: CO2 Laser tube Tech: CO2 Laser tube

Comparing Dremel and Glowforge pricing

As laser printer technology advances and becomes more accessible for small business and hobby users, the prices are gradually reducing.

TheDremel LC40 is slightly more expensive for the standard package. This includes the Hexbox, an external cooling system, and a one year warranty. You can purchase additional fans or ventilation units depending on your use and where it will be positioned.

The GlowforgePlus (the model being reviewed here is a little cheaper. Other models available are the slightly cheaper Glowforge Basic and the more expensive Glowforge Pro. For that price, you get the laser cutter, inbuilt cooling system, and one year of warranty. You can also purchase an additional air filter if you are unable to have the cutter next to an open window.

Dremel vs Glowforge ease of use

dremel

Over the last decade, laser cutters have moved from industrial machines to be accessible by students in schools and crafters in their homes. As a result, it’s become very important that you don’t need a degree in engineering to work on them, they have to be user-friendly so that anybody can use them on an occasional basis. So how do these two machines measure up?

The Dremel Digilab LC40 has a large, color touchscreen on board the machine. It takes you intuitively through common tasks and troubleshooting and means that you can run projects from right there on the machine. Its intuitive ease of use is one of the major advantages of the Dremel and has made it very popular with users. In particular, school users have found that students can confidently use the Dremel even with no experience at all.

The Glowforge, while not benefiting from any sort of screen on the machine itself, is still user-friendly and easy to get the hang of. The cloud-based software makes a lot of sense and has a lot of easy to use features. It is also regularly updated within the cloud.

What support is available for Dremel and Glowforge

Customer service and technical support is a really good indicator of how important the customer is for a company. Even if you’re an experienced user, there may be times when you have a technical question that you need help with. So how helpful are they at Dremel and Glowforge?

Dremel’s support page gives options for Phone, e-mail, and live chat support, and a good selection of articles and trouble-shooting guides to choose from. Reviews suggest that technical support is generally very quick, friendly, and helpful.

Glowforge also has a great support page on their website. They have great step-by-step guides on the page for everything from getting set up and using the laser cutter to maintenance and moving. In addition, they have email and live chat options on the website, social media channels, and a great search function for their extensive selection of support and troubleshooting articles.

Not only that, but there is also an active Community Forum where you can interact with other Glowforge users for advice, tips, technical questions, and inspiration.

Pros and Cons

Dremel

Pros

  • great level of precision in both cutting and engraving.
  • Can cut into various materials and engrave metal
  • It comes with an interface touch screen that is convenient and user friendly
  • Great safety features including water-cooling for the laser tube, air assist, and the on-board ventilation fan.
  • Wireless operation so you can organize your workshop to suit you
  • UL certified

Cons

  • The external Hexbox cooling system which takes up space
  • The price is quite high
  • Honeycomb bed is a bit flimsy

Glowforge

Pros

  • Easy to use and intuitive
  • Can scan drawings into the cut
  • Proofgrade™ materials are quality, tested materials available from Glowforge to take the guesswork out of materials and settings
  • Great design catalog available

Cons

  • Software is cloud-based so needs internet to use
  • No LCD screen on the device

Are there any alternatives?

Orion Motor Tech 40W Laser Cutter

orion motor tech

For those with a budget in mind, you might wish to consider the Orion Motor Tech laser cutter. It features an integrated cooling fan, digital controls with LCD display, and a stability clamp for irregular items.

While this laser cutter is better for engraving or for cutting thinner materials, if that’s what you’re looking for then this is a great investment, especially if you’re willing to upgrade to better software or even hardware like the exhaust fan or water pump.

Ten-High 40W Laser Cutter

ten hugh 3020

Another great laser cutter you could consider is the Ten-high. This laser cutter has some super features and might be what you are looking for. This is a small model with a lot of energy and great function. The 40w machine is ideal for engraving, and the 60w, 80w, or 100w versions might be a better choice for regular cutting.

FAQs About Dremel and Glowforge

Do I need a laser cutter and a 3D printer?

It depends on what you are using them for. For some projects, you can use a laser cutter to cut pieces from a wide variety of materials, combined with building other parts using a 3D printer. Having both means that you have a much wider variety of projects that you can do. There are some machines coming on to the market that combine 3D printing with laser cutting.

Can I use the Dremel or the Glowforge laser cutters without accessing the internet?

The Dremel software is internet-based but the projects are managed from the laser cutter itself, so you don’t need to be connected to the internet. On the other hand, the laser cutter from Glowforge is cloud-based so does require an internet connection.

What materials can the Dremel and the Glowforge laser cutters operate on?

A huge number and variety of materials! Some metals can be cut, others only engraved (lasers do not work well on aluminum due to its reflective properties), silicon, ceramics, glass, plastics and polymers (avoid PVC, PVB, PTFE/Teflon as these can give off poisonous gases), wood and gemstones.

How long will the Dremel and Glowforge last?

The average lifetime of a laser tube is about 80 to 1500 hours under normal operating conditions (it will wear out faster with cutting than engraving).
That means that you are likely to need to change it every couple of years. You’ll notice that this needs doing when you are struggling to cut something you have been able to cut previously, or if the laser appears to burn rather than cut. You would be able to change the Dremel tube yourself, where the Glowforge would need to be sent off for a replacement. Other than the laser tube, with careful handling and maintenance, your laser cutter should last many years.

Can a laser cutter overheat?

They can do, and this is both a fire risk and harmful to the laser tube. It’s a good idea to avoid placing it in direct sunlight, allow plenty of air ventilation, make sure the cooling system is working correctly, and give your laser cutter a break every now and then if you are doing a lot of cutting. The Glowforge has an inbuilt cooling system, and the Dremel has the external Hexbox.

How does laser cutting work?

A high-powered laser beam runs through a lens and then into a material, melting or burning it away and leaving an edge with a high-quality, clean finish.

What are the advantages of laser cutting?

Laser cutting offers great precision and detail in cutting. It works on a wide variety of materials and offers a clean, smooth cut. Laser cutting uses very little power, so apart from the purchase of the laser cutter, it is not an expensive cutting method and is also much faster than conventional cutting methods.

Our Verdict: Which is Better between Dremel Laser Cutter vs Glowforge?

dremel lc40 printer

Both the Dremel Digilab LC40 and the Glowforge Plus offer a huge range of features that would make them very popular in schools, in small businesses, and for home users. While not a cheap option, their ease of use has made laser cutting manageable for a whole new group of users. Both laser cutters perform extremely well. So which is the best?

This is a very close run race, but we would recommend the Dremel. The key reasons are the intuitive, easy to use interface, the excellent attention to detail, and the additional built-in safety features. The touchscreen on the Dremel and the ability to operate with or without the internet are big positives, plus the more advanced cooling system.

Of course, there are a few negatives, such as the extra space taken up by the external cooling system, and the “Community” on Glowforge is a great way to interact with other users and get quick feedback and advice – something Dremel should definitely consider adding to their Customer Service options.

The Glowforge Plus is still a brilliant laser cutter. The Proofgrade™ materials take a lot of the guesswork out of your projects and the quality and customer service are fantastic. Another very user-friendly and high-quality laser cutter. You would definitely be happy with either of these two laser cutters.

Further read: 

Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7: Which One Should You Choose

Our Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 comparison is going to put these two DLP resin 3D printers against each other.

These printers are a bit different than some of the other 3D printer models we have reviewed in the past. Resin DLP printers use liquid resin to produce detailed prints. They use a process called Vat Polymerization to print objects and the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 are two popular printers in this category.

So, let’s find out how these 3D printers compare against each other and discover which one is the better model to buy.

Main Differences Between Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7

The main differences between Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 are:

  • Anycubic Photon has its own dedicated software, whereas Wanhao D7 does not have one.
  • Anycubic Photon has a build volume of 115 x 64 x 155mm, whereas Wanhao D7 has a build volume of 120 x 68 x 180mm.
  • Anycubic Photon has both USB and SD Card connectivity, whereas Wanhao D7 only has USB connectivity.
  • Anycubic Photon has a layer resolution of 25-100 microns, whereas Wanhao D7 has a layer resolution of 35 microns.

These two DLP 3D printers definitely fall into the budget category and you won’t be breaking the bank by purchasing either. How do they both shape up with their features?

Exploring Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 features

photon

Printing

Printing objects and designs with a DLP 3D printer is a bit different than using the FDM 3D printers that we often review. They don’t use filament. With these two 3D printers you use a liquid resin that is cured by light to create objects.

The Anycubic Photon has a build volume of 115 x 65 x 155mm and a laser resolution of 25-100 microns. The prints with the Photon are extremely good. Even with the well known 3DBenchy test – which we use for our FDM 3D printers – the results were fantastic.

The models came out to an extremely high quality and when you consider the cost of the Anycubic Photon, it represents real value for money. Even with complex layers on the print models, this printer was able to handle it with ease.

The Wanhao D7 offers similar results and it has a build volume of 120 x 68 x 180mm with a layer resolution of 35 microns. It uses the same technology to produce highly detailed prints and we also found that it handled the 3DBenchy test very well. There are a lot of printers that are much more expensive that don’t produce the high quality at the Wanhao D7 especially when it comes to complex models.

In terms of print quality, there isn’t much between these two printers. One thing to note is that because they are DLP 3D printers, the print time will generally be a good bit longer. This means they aren’t necessarily designed for mass-producing objects but given their cost, they are certainly ideal for home use.

Post-processing

Both of these printers are aimed at experienced people and they aren’t made or marketed at novices and beginners. This is due to the post-processing tasks that you need to carry out.

With many other affordable 3D printers that use a filament, they can often be a ‘plug and play’ device. While they take some getting used to, most hobbyists can get the basics and produce good prints in no time.

With both the Wanhao D7 and the Anycubic Photon, you need to do something called post-processing. This involves cleaning your printed objects with isopropyl alcohol and the resin that is used when printing the objects is hazardous as well. The post-processing is the same for both of these printers and it is something to keep in mind because it adds an extra task before your models are ready to go.

Cleaning

wanhao duplicator 7

These printers will require a bit more cleaning than many others due to the processes they use to create objects.

You need to clean the Wanhao D7 and the Anycubic Photon before and after you print. This can be a slightly arduous task. It involves pulling out the resin vat and removing any solid parts. The build plate needs to be cleaned each time too.

Both of these 3D printers require more cleaning than the majority of the FDM models. It is something to keep in mind because it does add to the time to print things off. It is also important that you wear all the required safety equipment when printing, post-processing, and cleaning.

Software

With the Anycubic Photon, you will get slicing software provided with your purchase. It is actually one of the easier pieces of software to use with these kinds of printers. It can be a bit limiting with the settings you can change – the adjustable settings including normal exposure time, layer thickness, off time, and bottom and exposure time – but there are preset settings available too. The software allows you to modify things such as scaling and rotating models and it works pretty quickly too.

One thing that is a bit of a downside is the fact that you don’t get much explanation or descriptions of the settings.

There is no dedicated software with the Wanhao D7 but you do get access to Creation Workshop. It isn’t that easy to find the actual download file and many people have complained that it isn’t readily available on their website. You can use other slicer software with this 3D printer but this is the one that you get access to with the product.

In many ways, the lack of a dedicated software with the Wanhao is more indicative of the lack of specialized software with DLP printers. There certainly aren’t as many good options as there are for the FDM 3D printers.

Specifications for Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

Anycubic Photon Wanhao D7
Build Volume: 115 x 65 x 155mm Build volume: 120 x 68 x 180mm
Software: Has its own dedicated slicing software Software: Doesn’t have its own slicing software. You get access to Creation Workshop
Connectivity: USB, SD Card Connectivity: USB
Layer Resolution: 25-100 microns Layer Resolution: 35 microns

Comparing Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 pricing

These two models of 3D printers certainly come in at the budget end of the spectrum and that is very much the market they are aimed at.

That isn’t to say that because you pay a budget price you get budget quality. As we’ve shown when looking at the printing features above, both produce great prints even with complex models.

So, how do they compare in cost?

The Anycubic Photon really isn’t expensive at all and even when you add in the cost of the resin, it is still coming in very cheap compared to many other models. You will need to add resin which will add to the cost (it is more expensive than filament) but overall it is still very cheap.

The Wanhao D7 3D printer is a bit more expensive. Like the Anycubic Photon, you’ll need to pay for resin as well to produce your prints. This is a bit more than filament so it is something to factor in when you are looking at these 3D printers. That being said, the cost of the Wanhao D7 is still a lot lower than many other models on the market. Even though it is pricier than the Anycubic Photon, it is still an inexpensive DLP 3D printer.

Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 ease of use

Neither of these 3D printers are made for beginners. This is down to the fact that using DLP printers and working with resin is a lot more hazardous than using filament.

The toxic resins require you to use various safety products such as goggles, gloves, and masks. You really don’t want this stuff to touch your skin and even the post-processing and cleaning of the printer isn’t something for novices to do.

In terms of the actual printing of the objects, it is a bit trickier than other 3D printers and that goes for both the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7. If you are a beginner or even if you have a bit of experience with 3D printing, you might find the process a bit cumbersome and long-winded.

That being said, the software isn’t that hard to use. The software with the Anycubic Photon is very easy to operate and the fact that it is dedicated software adds to this. The Wanhao D7 doesn’t have its own software and the one provided is fairly straightforward as well.

Overall, both of these printers are a bit more complex than your average model but that is as much down to the fact that they use resin than anything else.

What support is available for the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

As both of these 3D printers are a bit more complicated, you’ll need to have some decent support options available.

You can find the firmware and software downloads easily on the Anycubic website and they are handily on the actual product page. The manual can be found here as well. They have a contact form on their website as well as a dedicated after-sales support portal you can log into. Overall the support isn’t fantastic but it isn’t terrible either. It is easy enough to get in contact and the software, firmware, and manuals are easily found on the product page.

Wanhao’s support isn’t that great. The actual support section of their website is completely empty. You can find some FAQs, manuals for your 3D printer as well as other information on the product pages. It was difficult to locate the software as well. They don’t offer great options for getting in contact. Whether that is down to where they are based I’m not sure but there are manufacturers that are much easier to get in contact with.

Pros and Cons

Anycubic Photon

Pros

  • Very affordable DLP 3D printer that products high-quality models
  • Isn’t for beginners but easy enough for experienced users
  • Good size of the printer and won’t take up a lot of space
  • Dedicated slicer software which is easy to use
  • Has some support options and manual/downloads straightforward to find

Cons

  • Pre-print and post-processing can be time-consuming
  • Need various safety equipment due to working with toxic materials

Wanhao D7

Pros

  • Low-cost DLP 3D printer that is much cheaper than many other models
  • Produces very good resin prints even with complex designs
  • Well designed and won’t take up too much space
  • Easy to use for those that are experienced with DLP printers

Cons

  • Like all DLP printers, printing, cleaning, and post-processing takes time
  • Doesn’t have dedicated software
  • Support options and the website isn’t great

Are there any alternatives?

Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer

creality ld

If you want an alternative to the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7, the Creality LD-002R LCD Resin 3D Printer is definitely an option. With a 119 X 65 X 160mm print volume and ability to print off high-quality models, it is a very good entry-level option.

People who are getting to grips with DLP 3D printers will find this one from Creality ideal. It is also priced in and around the same bracket as the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7 (albeit a bit closer to the Anycubic Photon) so you won’t be shelling out a lot of money for this printer. The active carbon air filtering system is a good addition as it cuts down on the smell from the resin too.

Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer

lcd 3d printer

For anyone that wants a smaller build size as well as a cheaper price, the Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer is a good resin 3D printer to buy. It has a build volume of 98mm x 55mm x 125mm and like all resin printers, the usual caveats apply around safety and working with toxic resin.

Again, this isn’t really a printer for a complete novice but it is an easy to use the device. You don’t need to have a ton of experience to operate the Sparkmaker SLA 3D Resin Printer but it isn’t a ‘plug and plays’ machine. That being said, this is a great resin printer if you want a smaller build volume and a cheaper price.

FAQs About Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7

What is a resin 3D printer?

The difference between a resin DLP 3D printer and a FDM 3D printer is that they don’t use filament. These printers use a liquid resin that is cured by light to create objects.

Is the printing process slow with the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7?

Printing will be slower with these two models and an FDM 3D printer. This is because the process takes longer and you also need to clean the machine more often. Post-processing also has to be carried out on the printed models which can add more time.

Where is the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 made?

Both the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7 are manufactured in China.

Does the Anycubic Photon come with slicing software?

Wanhao don’t have their own slicing software but you do get access to Creation Workshop. Their website isn’t that easy to find things and the information is patchy so accessing can be a bit difficult.

Do I get a warranty with the Anycubic Photon and Wanhao D7?

Yes. Both of these 3D printers come with a warranty. You can find information on the warranty for the Anycubic Photon on their website as different parts have different warranty cover and you get a 1-year warranty with the Wanhao D7.

Verdict: Anycubic Photon vs Wanhao D7 – Which is better?

If you are looking for a budget DLP resin 3D printer and want to know what one to choose between the Anycubic Photon and the Wanhao D7, I’m going to let you know my preference.

Both of these printers produce great results. It is really hard to try and distinguish between the two but I am going to choose the Anycubic Photon.

The actual process of using resin can be cumbersome and it definitely involves much more work than using filament on an FDM 3D printer. There isn’t any real difference in the cleaning/printing process between these printers and also the print quality is very similar. So, why did I choose the Anycubic Photon?

Well, they have their own dedicated slicing software. It might not seem like a massive deal but it does make a difference in my opinion. The Photon also has a bigger layer resolution range and even though the build volume is a bit smaller, they have SD card and USB functionality.

The Anycubic website is also a lot better and more advanced. It is much easier to find downloads for firmware, software and a manual on the product page. Their support options are clearer than Wanhao too.

Overall you can’t really go wrong with either of these 3D printers. They are powerful, budget-friendly, and produce great results. The Anycubic Photon is just better and more user friendly overall and that’s why I would choose the Photon over the Wanhao D7.

Further read: 

Glowforge vs Epilog: Which One Can Win This Battle?

Glowforge vs Epilog: Which Laser Cutter is Better?

In this Glowforge Pro v Epilog Zing 16 Laser comparison we’re going to find out which of these two laser cutter models is better. While we normally put our focus on 3D printers, laser cutters are important too. They are ideal for cutting shapes and creating different objects as well as engraving on different materials.

In fact, having a laser cutter either as a hobbyist at home or in your workplace can open up a range of possibilities when working with woods and metals. In this comparison we’ll look directly at the features both of these laser cutters have, what their overall specs are, pros and cons and we’ll find out which one you should choose.

Main Differences Between Glowforge vs Epilog

The main differences between Glowforge and Epilog are:

  • Glowforge has an internal closed-loop cooling system, whereas Epilog uses air-cooled laser tubes and fans to regulate the temperature.
  • Glowforge can be used on many platforms as it is cloud-based, whereas Epilog can only be used for Windows.
  • Glowforge requires an internet connection, whereas Epilog does not.
  • Glowforge has a 45w laser, whereas Epilog has a 30w or 40w laser.

Exploring Glowforge and Epilog features

glowforge

Cutting

OK, so the primary reason you’re looking at these two models is for laser cutting. So, how do the laser cutters from Glowforge and Epilog match up?

The Epilog Zing 16 Laser has two laser options – 30w and 40w. The engraving area is ideal as a desktop laser cutter as well and the dimensions are 16” x 12” (406 x 305 mm). We’ve always found the Zing 16 Laser to be very fast and precise when cutting objects. Epilog is often seen as a more ‘traditional’ brand to use however this means that they are dependable. As far as a desktop laser cutter goes, the Epilog Zing 16 is not only reliable but can cut and engrave into a wide range of materials too.

You’ll find a stronger laser on the Glowforge Pro – 45w – and it is a step up from the other Glowforge models such as the Basic and Plus. Like the Zing 16, the Glowforge cuts at a very good speed but also combines this with precision and accuracy. Soft materials like leather and certain woods can be cut into easily and you can engrave other materials like metals too. The bed dimensions are 11″ x 19.5 (279 mm x 495 mm).

Overall you won’t find many materials that both of these laser cutters are not able to handle.

Cooling

One important aspect of any laser cutter is its cooling system. The process of laser cutting and engraving means that the machine can get very hot so it needs a cooling system in order to regulate the temperature. This prevents overheating, allows the machine to operate for longer, and improves efficiency too.

The Epilog Zing 16 Laser uses air-cooled laser tubes in order to ensure that the temperature is kept consistent and doesn’t overheat. There are also cooling fans and cooling vents that are located on the side of the machine as well. You don’t need any additional cooling systems in place with the Epilog Zing 16 and the technology used in the lasers in addition to the cooling vents and fans do a good job of keeping the temperature down.

The Glowforge is a little different as you’ll know if you’ve read our previous review of the Glowforge laser cutters.. You don’t need an external cooling system with the Glowforge Pro but it does have its own internal cooling system which helps to regulate the temperature. It is a closed-loop system and it uses air from the room that the laser cutter is placed in to ensure the machine doesn’t overheat.

The cooling system on the Glowforge works between temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16C) and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24C)

Software

epilog laser

In order to cut accurately and engrave different types of material, laser cutters need to use the software much in the same way that a 3D printer does.

The Zing Laser uses the Epilog Job Manager to control cutting, engraving, and all the jobs you send to the machine. It is natively installed on your computer and the Epilog Dashboard is also provided as a CD or you can download the drivers.

The good thing is that you don’t necessarily need to be connected to the internet in order to use the Zing 16 Laser from Epilog. You can also buy additional software from Epilog such as PhotoLaser Plus Software which is used for photoengraving.

Glowforge uses cloud software in order to control the machine and ensure accurate cutting. You will need to be connected to the internet to use it because it is all done through the cloud and a web app. There are upsides and downsides to this.

On one hand, the cloud technology is continually updated and if you have a decent internet connection things should run smoothly. On the other hand, internet service interruptions can disrupt the process. The cloud software does some with a wide range of presets which makes your life a lot easier with this machine.

Platforms

One of the big differences between the Epilog and Glowforge is the platforms that the machine and the software can be used on.

Glowforge is cloud-based so can be used on any platform to access the web app as long as you have an internet connection. So regardless of whether you have a Windows computer, Mac, Linux you can use the Glowforge Plus. It can also be operated via a tablet or Smartphone as well.

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Muse vs Glowforge [2020] Which Laser Cutter Is The Best?

In my Muse v Glowforge comparison, I’m going to show you which is the best laser cutter you can use alongside a 3D or just on its own.

While 3D printers work by creating shapes out of filament, laser cutters can create flat objects quicker and it is a process of subtraction. You can use laser cutters to create a wide variety of objects from jewelry, art, home, decor designs, and much more.

I will go over the ins and outs of a Muse and Glowforge laser cutter, including the features of each device, how easy they are to use, what their cost comparison is like, and finally which one we recommend and why.

My Bottom Line Up Front Summary: While both cutters are competent, I personally prefer the Muse Laser Cutter here as it’s more affordable, compatible with more materials, comes with a a user friendly LCD screen, and doesn’t rely entirely on a cloud based architecture.

Main Differences Between Muse vs Glowforge

The main differences between Muse vs Glowforge are:

  • Muse uses an external water cooling unit, whereas Glowforge has a built-in internal cooling system.
  • Muse laser cutter can be used offline, whereas the Glowforge relies on cloud-based software so you need to be connected to the internet
  • Muse has an LCD touch screen, whereas the Glowforge does not
  • Muse has only basic support, whereas Glowforge have many support options including a community forum.

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter?

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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

Both of these laser cutters are powerful devices and they can be used both at home by individuals and hobbyists as well as in small businesses.

Exploring Muse and Glowforge features

For this comparison, I am going to look at two popular laser cutters, the Muse from Full Spectrum Lasers and the Glowforge Pro Plus.

Muse vs Glowforge

Cutting

Let’s start off with the main reason you will be investing in a laser cutter – cutting up objects to make shapes and designs. While you can find a range of affordable 3D printers nowadays, you’ll still likely need something to cut prints and etch designs. This is why laser cutters are a helpful thing to have and they can be used in their own right to cut out designs from various materials.

The Muse laser cutter uses a 45W laser with a resolution of 1000 dpi and it works well to cut into materials such as acrylic, wood (such as MDF and plywood) and leather. It is powerful enough as well to engrave metal. You can purchase a rotary attachment which will allow you to engrave curved objects although it will cost extra on top of the price of the laser cutter itself.

The Glowforge Pro Plus also uses a 45w laser to cut into objects. It also offers a more powerful experience than some of the other laser cutters from Glowforge (namely the Basic and Plus models) and it does this very quickly. If speed is what you are after without loss of precision, the Glowforge does this very well. You can cut into a wide variety of ‘soft’ materials such as wood, leather, acrylic and more while ‘hard’ materials such as glass and metal can be engraved.

Cooling

Laser cutters can and do get very hot and this is why they come with cooling systems. You’ll still need to keep the cutters in a ventilated area which is something to think about if you are planning on buying one.

The Muse laser cutter has an external water cooler which helps keep the temperature down on the device. You’ll need to keep this in mind when it comes to where you are going to put the Muse laser cutter. The external water pump will take up some extra room. That being said, it works really well to keep the cutter cool so it doesn’t overheat and if you don’t have an upgraded exhaust system on the Muse you’ll need to keep it beside a window to get rid of any fumes it produces.

One of the big differences between the Muse and the Glowforge is in its cooling system and rather than having an external water pump to do this, the Glowforge comes with a closed-loop self-contained internal cooling system. This helps save on space and it uses air from the room that it is situated in to reduce the heat of the device. It works between temperatures of 60 degrees Fahrenheit (16C) and 75 degrees Fahrenheit (24C).

glowforge laser printer

Software

Like 3D printers that rely on different types of software to create models and designs, laser cutters need software too so that cuts are accurate. Muse and Glowforge use different software to achieve this.

The Muse laser cutter uses a touch screen which is fairly standard for the price range it is in and it also uses software called RetinaEngrave. It is pretty straightforward to use and the big advantage here is that it can be used offline so you don’t necessarily need an internet connection to use this laser cutter. There is a camera system too which will help with the alignment of your cuts.

The Glowforge Plus is a bit different. It operates using cloud-based software that is native to Glowforge so you need to sign up to the web app and be connected to the internet. This is fine if the laser cutter is set somewhere with a good internet connection however because it relies on cloud technology, any interruptions of the internet will cause problems. That being said, the software has a lot of presets to work with which makes cutting a lot less time-consuming.

Platforms

The software that you use with a laser cutter should be compatible with various platforms and operating systems. If you predominantly use a Mac then your laser cutter software that is only available on Windows and Linux isn’t going to be problematic.

Luckily both Muse and Glowforge use software that is compatible with a variety of platforms. The software that Glowforge uses is cloud-based and can be used with any OS from Windows, Linux, iOS, Android, and the RetinaEngrave that Muse has can be used on a variety of operating systems too from Windows, Mac, and Linux.

Specifications for Muse and Glowforge

Muse Glowforge
Cooling: Closed-loop self-contained internal cooling Cooling: Water cooling
Software: Glowforge native software Software: RetinaEngrave V2 software
Beam Power: 45w (upgrade) Beam Power: 45w
Tech: CO2 Laser tube Tech: CO2 Laser tube

Comparing Muse and Glowforge pricing

Just as 3D printers have come down in price in recent years as the tech advances and they become more accessible, laser cutters are the same. They aren’t the cheapest pieces of kit you can buy however they aren’t completely out of the price range for many people either.

Muse Laser Spectrum

The Muse 2D from MatterHackers costs around $3,500 for the base cutter / engraver / coolbox here. This includes the standard 40w laser (the 45w is an upgrade), external cooling system, and a one year warranty as well as the RetinaEngrave software that I spoke about above.

The Muse 3D Vision Autofocus version is a step up significantly in price to $7,249 via MatterHackers here. This leverages the latest 3D Vision technology from FDL.

You can also add various additional elements for an extra costs such as:

The Glowforge Pro is a little bit more expensive at $5995. For that price, you get the laser cutter, inbuilt cooling system, and one year of a comprehensive warranty.

You can also add an additional air filter which is an external unit to clean the fumes and air that comes from the cutter. It isn’t necessary but it will negate the need to keep the laser cutter beside a window.

glowforge pro laser

Muse v Glowforge Ease of Use

As laser cutters like Muse and Glowforge have become more accessible to the wider market, their ease of use has got better too. Having a difficult to operate piece of kit isn’t going to appeal to the masses who might be using these cutters for hobbies or just on an occasional basis. So, how easy are these two devices to use?

The Muse has the benefit of an LCD screen which greatly enhances its operation and makes things a lot more straightforward. The RetinaEngrave software is fairly easy to use as well so you shouldn’t encounter any problems. The camera is great for ensuring accurate and straight cuts and overall the muse is intuitive and user friendly even to those who have little to no experience of operating a laser cutter.

The Glowforge is in the same easy to use category. While it doesn’t benefit from an LCD screen, the cloud-based software isn’t difficult to get to grips with and its various features are user friendly as well. All updates are installed via the cloud so you don’t even have to worry about updating the software on your own either.

What support is available for Muse and Glowforge

Even if you aren’t using a laser cutter for the first time, you may need help so it is ideal to have a good system of support in place should you require it.

Glowforge has various options if you need any help using the laser cutter. They have a live chat and message option on their website or you can email them and contact them via their social media channels if you wish. There is also a handy FAQ section to the site and the Community has regular updates. The Community Forum is also a great place to interact with other Glowforge users and there are forums for free laser designs, tips and tricks and general and technical queries too.

Laser Spectrum, which are the creators of Muse, do not offer the same level of support as Glowforge although they do have a contact form on their website and some guides including video tutorials which are helpful. It would be nice to see a community forum like Glowforge where you can interact with other users.

Pros and Cons

Muse Pros

  • Affordable and powerful laser cutter
  • Can cut into various materials and engrave metal
  • Comes with an LCD screen for ease of use
  • Software is straightforward to operate
  • Offer video tutorials and design samples
  • Can use this laser cutter offline

Muse Cons

  • Needs an external cooling system which takes up space
  • Support options could be better

Glowforge Pros

  • Easy to use laser cutter with a reasonable price tag
  • Can cut into a variety of materials
  • Has an internal cooling system
  • Wide range of support options should you need help
  • Software is intuitive and straightforward

Glowforge Cons

  • Software is cloud-based so needs internet to use
  • No LCD screen on the device

Are There Any Other Laser Cutter Alternatives?

FLUX BeamBox Pro (50W)

If you need a bit more power than the Muse or Glowforge, check out the FLUX BeamBox Pro here.

The powerful 50W CO2 laser features a in-built HD camera, closed loop internal cooling system, integrated ventilation and additional safety features (emergency shut off, smart lid, etc…). The bse version is a bit of a price increase at $4,299 via MatterHackers here, but not so much as to but it into the fully commercial grade (see further down this list).

Boss LS-1416 (Commerical Grade)

Boss LS-1416

As an alternative to both the Laser Spectrum Muse and the Glowforge Pro, the Boss LS-1416 is a powerful laser cutter that comes in at a cheaper price for the standard package. You’ll get a 50w CO2 laser tube and it uses a water pump cooling system.

The Lightburn software is included and works on Windows, Mac, and Linux devices and you can add in extras such as better fume extractors and rotary attachments. The base price is just shy of $4000 (although this can rise considerably with upgrades) but the standard ‘out of the box’ model is a powerful cutter.

Dremel Digilab LC40

A halfway point between the desktop studio options and the commercial grade players (below), the Digilab LC40 is a more polished offering from a reputable name in the industry (Dremel makes many popular 3D printers).

The Digilab LC40 is available for about $6,500 via MatterHackers here.

LightObject Falcon (Commercial Grade)

LightObject Falcon

If you have a bit more money to spend, the LightObject Falcon is a good alternative although it does come in a bit pricier at $6750. It features a powerful CO2 laser tube that can cut into a variety of materials and the RayCam software is straightforward to operate as well.

Like most laser cutters the price can go up depending on what upgrades and extras you require however the standard version is powerful enough for a range of jobs. There is an air cooling system built into the Falcon while you can add a rotary attachment for curved objects as well.

ZMorph VX Multitool

The ZMorph is not purely a cutter, it’s actually a printer, cutter, and engraving multitool. It might sound like it’s too good to be true, but it’s actually reasonably competent. Read our full ZMorph VX Review for further details.

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter?

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Muse and Glowforge

Do I need a laser cutter and a 3D printer?

Not always although you may need to cut some 3D prints for better accuracy depending on what you are printing and the type of 3D printer you have.

Can I use these laser cutters without accessing the internet?

The laser cutter from Glowforge requires an internet connection as it is cloud-based however the Muse doesn’t and you can use it offline.

What operating systems can I use the Glowforge Pro on?

As it is cloud-based you can use it on virtually any OS including Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and Linux.

What operating systems can I use the Muse on?

Muse uses software called RetinaEngrave and it can be used on Windows, Mac, and Linux platforms.

Can a laser cutter overheat?

Yes, overheating can be a problem with laser cutters depending on how often and for how long you are using them. Both of these laser cutters have cooling systems – the Muse is external and the Glowforge is inbuilt – to help combat this problem. Overheating can lead to the CO2 bursting so make sure you monitor how hot the device gets.

What types of material can I cut?

Affordable laser cutters like the two I have compared can cut a variety of softer materials such as woods like MDF, leather, acrylic while they also have the capability of engraving harder materials such as metal and glass.

What support is available?

Both Laser Spectrum and Glowforge have various support options available however Glowforge have more comprehensive help due to their active community forums.

Conclusion: Muse or Glowforge?

These two laser cutters are powerful enough to carry out a range of functions for both small businesses and individuals alike. Laser cutting has become much more accessible for hobbyists too as the price is now a lot more affordable.

Both Muse and Glowforge have their merits and they both perform their functions very well.

Which is the best though?

It is a close call but I would have to go with the Muse for a few reasons. For one it doesn’t operate solely on the cloud which is a big bonus for me. While under normal circumstances there isn’t anything wrong with cloud-based technology. If your internet stops working or is interrupted you’re going to run into problems. I also like the fact that the Muse has an LCD screen which is a great addition.

It does have a few drawbacks such as the extra space the water cooling pump takes up and the different support options aren’t great. The community at Glowforge is much better.

That being said, for the price the Muse from Laser Spectrum is a great piece of kit. It not only cuts into a wide range of materials and does it with precision and accuracy but it’s affordable and really easy to get to grips with as well.

Our Pick
Why go with the Muse Laser Cutter?

I prefer the Muse cutter here as it's generally more affordable, comes with a user-friendly LCD screen, is compatible with a wider array for materials, and doesn't rely entirely on cloud-based infrastructure.

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

Further Reading on Laser Scanners:

Ender 3 vs Ender 5 [2020]: Which One Is The Big Winner?

Creality has always been coming out with a 3D printer that has good print quality at prices that you will love.

There are a lot of Ender models out there, with the company coming out with Pro and Plus versions of different models. The Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5 are two of the company’s best known 3D printers.

How does one compare to the other? Which one is the better printer for your needs?

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: It’s easy to recommend the more current tech, faster printing, and bigger build area provided by the Creality Ender 5 here. That said, if you are very sensitive to price or just buying your first 3D printer to tool around on, the Creality Ender 3 is a still a great printer here.

Main Differences Between Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5

The Main Differences Between Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5

  • The Ender 5 has a bigger build volume at 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches, whereas Ender 3 only has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches.
  • The Ender 5 is easy to set up and takes only around half an hour to finish the assembly with an easy to understand user guide, whereas the Ender 3 takes significantly longer with an estimated assembly time of around two to three hours.
  • The Ender 5 uses an MK10 hot end, whereas Ender 3 uses an earlier version: MK8.
  • The Ender 5 uses a Meanwell PSU, whereas Ender 3 has a generic power supply unit.
  • The Ender 5 is more expensive option priced at $330, whereas Ender 3 sells for around $190

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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

Creality Ender 3: What You Need to Know

Two things make the Creality Ender 3 a stand out. For one, it has an amazingly low price: it sells for less than $200. Secondly, It is possibly the best printer out there at that price with a few tweaks and a little work.

The Creality Ender 3 has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches, a power recovery mode, and a heated build plate. That’s just some of its unexpected features that you can only find on more expensive models. This 3D printer can work with a wide variety of filaments, including ABS, PETG, PLA, and some exotic filaments.

Creality Ender 3

What Features Can You Expect from the Creality Ender 3?

This fused deposition modeling printer has a sizable print bed. To give you an idea, the Ender 2’s the heated print bed is around half as big as the one you see on Ender 3. There are also fewer chances of your prints coming off the bed in the middle of your print.

If it loses power during printing, the printer can just resume where it left off when you turn it back on. The Creality Ender 3 also has an LCD with a control wheel. It is also open-source, which means that the designs and components are freely available for you to copy or look at. What’s more, printing speed can reach up to 7.9 inches per second with a 0.1-millimeter layer resolution.

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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09/28/2020 06:11 am

What Is in the Box?

The Ender 3 package comes with the 3D printer components that you will need to assemble. It also has:

  • Tools, including hex keys, wrenches, and screwdrivers
  • Nozzle cleaner
  • Sample filament
  • Zip ties
  • Wire cutters
  • Spatula
  • Nozzles

It also has a USB stick that contains the test models, the manuals, and other files that you need to print your first models.

Creality Ender 3 Features

The Bottom Line

With the Creality Ender 3, you get an affordable printer that has a good print volume and good quality prints. It is also open source and has a tight filament path that allows you to use flexible filaments. Plus you can make it better with upgrades that you can 3D print.

Of course, It is not without its weaknesses. It does have an uneven base, which makes it a bit wobbly, and leveling it can be a chore. It also needs to be calibrated manually and the bed will need to be re-leveled over time.

Overall, this is a great printer for beginners and those who are on a budget.

Creality Ender 5: What Can You Expect

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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

The Creality Ender 5 came out not long after the company released the Ender 3 Pro, and it looks way different from its predecessors. The Ender 5 now has a box frame that is made of aluminum.

The Creality Ender 5 has a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches, with a Z-axis that is bigger than the Ender 3. All three axes of the Ender 5 has its stepper motor. This is a stable printer that is powered by a Meanwell 350-watts power supply that is found on the Ender 3 Pro. The use of this power supply means that you can heat the bed a whole lot faster than when your 3D printer has a generic power source.

Creality Ender 5

The Bottom Line

The Creality Ender 5 is one of those low-cost printers under $500 that really delivers when it comes to top-quality prints. This 3D printer can handle faster prints achieving 3.1 inches per second without compromising on quality. Plus the magnetic bed that it has allowed you to remove the prints with ease. The Ender 5 is also upgradeable, so you can change any component or print 3D updates to make it work better.

However, this 3D printer is far from perfect. The Creality Ender 5’s magnetic bed is not durable and is rather flimsy. Some owners complain about how difficult it is to lad filaments. Plus, the printer menu does not include some functions. Bed leveling is also done manually.

What Are the Main Differences Between the Ender 3 and Ender 5?

So now that you have a clear grasp of both the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5, It is time to drill down and learn the differences between these two models.

1. Build Volume

The building size of the Creality Ender 3 measures 8.7 by 8.7 by 9.8 inches. Meanwhile, Ender 5’s building size is 8.7 by 8.7 by 11.8 inches. The differences in print volume mean that you can do bigger models on the Ender 5. The bigger size will also make the Ender 5 more stable than its predecessor when printing.

Winner: Ender 5. Having a bigger build volume will allow you to print a wider variety of models, even bigger ones. If you are only into printing minis, then Ender 3 is more ideal for you.

2. Setup and Assembly

Between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5, setting up and assembling the latter is a much easier and faster undertaking. You can finish assembling the Ender 5 in a matter of 20 to 30 minutes.

A big part of this is that Ender 5 has a guide book that is easy to understand and follow. It also has fewer parts to put together.

Ender 3, with more parts to assemble, can take more than two to three hours to finish. There are also complaints that the Ender 3’s assembly instructions are difficult to understand, with missing steps and poor instructions.

Winner: Ender 5. Nothing ruins a good product more than confusing assembly instructions. The Ender 5’s user guide makes you feel like the company is taking time to make everything easier for you.

ender 3 vs ender 5 assembly

3. Hot End

The Creality Ender 5 has a better hot end. This 3D printer uses a Creality MK10, while the Ender 3 has an MK8. The MK10 results in less clogging and it also has fewer filament jams.

Winner: Ender 5.

4. Power Supply

The stock power supply on the Creality Ender 3 is a generic China-made product, while the Ender 5 uses a Meanwell PSU. What does this mean? Well, the Ender 5 uses the power supply that is safer than the stock power source you see on the Ender 3. Mean Well are safer and more reliable, and you are sure that the company uses top-quality components that result in fewer power sags and spikes.

It is also quieter because the fans only run when needed, which is less than 20 percent of the time. Using a Mean Well power supply also keeps the power consistent, which helps avoid problems with bed-leveling. It is also smaller in size than the Ender 3’s generic power supply.

It is easy to upgrade to a Meanwell PSU, but it can cost you some significant amount of money. For instance, a one-pack LRS-350-24 Single Output Switchable Power that has 350.4 watts and can deliver 24 volts and a current of 14.6 amperes costs around $33.

Winner: Ender 5.

Meanwell PSU

Meanwell PSU

 

5. Thermal Runaway Protection

Thermal runaway is when your 3D printer gets hot, which only makes it hotter. The increase in temperature will cause further increases in temperature. The domino effect resulting in more and more temperature increases.

In 3D printing, thermal runaway can cause your printer to reach dangerous temperatures. The Creality Ender 3 has thermal runaway protection. For instance, if the printer keeps attempting to heat the filaments and it gets dangerously hot, the system will cool it down when it gets too hot. The Ender 3 can monitor the temperatures and compare them to the ideal levels.

The Ender 5 did not initially have this feature, but some newer buyers are reporting that their newer Ender 5s already have thermal runaway protection. This might mean that the Ender 5 now has the V1.1.4 board that has this feature, instead of the old v1.1.3 mainboard. So It is best to ask first before you key in your credit card details. That, or it has a new firmware.

Winner: Ender 3, but not by much.

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.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2020 06:11 am

6. Print Quality

Between the Creality Ender 3 and the Ender 5, the Ender 5 is closer to a Core XY printer. The Ender 5 moves along both the X and Y axes, while the Ender 3 only moves along the X-axis. What is more, Ender 5 has a box frame, which lends more stability when it prints.

Most of the other specifications for both printers are roughly the same.

Winner: Ender 5.

ender 3 vs ender 5 prints

7. Pricing

On the official site, the Ender 3 sells for $189.99, while the Ender 5 sells for $329.99.

Winner: Save more with Creality Ender 3.

Creality Ender 3 vs Ender 5: Frequently Asked Questions

If you are currently looking for a 3D printer, then you are sure to have a lot of questions. Fire away while we answer the most frequently asked questions when it comes to the differences between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5.

1. What is Creality?

Creality is a Chinese 3D printer manufacturer based in Shenzhen China. the company is known for its excellent 3D printers that are packed with features and a wallet-friendly price tag. According to the company, yearly shipments of 3D printers and other products is now more than 800,000 units.

But what makes Creality’s products even more attractive is the vibrant user community it has. The company reports that they have more than 200,000 users in the community.

2. What are the similarities between the Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5?

Creality Ender 3 and Ender 5 are both upgradeable. That means if you do not want to manually level the beds on these machines, you can just fit in a BL Touch device to automatically do it. Or you can pop in a Silent Motherboard to keep the noise levels down.

More than that, both Ender 3 and Ender 5 have the same extruder and hot end assemblies, as well as the same mainboard.

3. Are there differences between the Plus and Pro versions of Creality’s Ender Series printers?

Creality often comes out with a Pro and a Plus version of their 3D printers. For instance, the Ender 5 has an Ender 5 Pro version that has better extender frames, filament tubes, and mainboard, as well as other components. As a result, Ender 5 is quieter, more durable, and fewer failures in printing.

Meanwhile, the Ender 5 Plus features a bigger build volume, BL touch, and tempered glass plates, all of which are not found on the original Ender 5.

Ender 5 Compard to Ender 3 Pro

The Ender 5 has a bigger build volume, which allows for bigger models. It is a bit faster than Ender 3. It also has a better power supply. The Ender 5 also has a better print quality and a better filament pathway than the Ender 3.

It is easy to recommend the Creality Ender 5.

However, some people might prefer Ender 3 because of its budget-friendly price tag and more compact size. If you do not have too much space in your work area or if you do not have too much money to spare, then go with the Creality Ender 3.

The thing is, you can never go wrong with either model. You will need to spend quite a significant amount of time tweaking these models for better prints, but getting a high-quality print is very much possible. However, if you do have the money to pay for the Creality Ender 5, think about getting that 3D printer instead.

Bottom Line Up Front Summary: It’s easy to recommend the more current tech, faster printing, and bigger build area provided by the Creality Ender 5 here. That said, if you are very sensitive to price the Creality Ender 3 is a still a great printer here.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device, with faster printer, and more build volume than it's predecessors. If you can afford it, it's worth the additional investment long term.

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

Related Reading on Comparable 3D Printers:

Ultimaker 3 vs Lulzbot Taz 6: Which Should You Choose?

The Ultimaker 3 and the Lulzbot Taz 6 are two of the best 3D printers on the market. They both provide consistent print quality, ease of use, and accessibility to both beginners and experts. While they have many similarities, they contain different features that make them unique.

Main Differences Between Ultimaker 3 vs Lulzbot Taz 6

The main differences between Ultimaker 3 and Lulzbot Taz 6 are:

  • The Ultimaker 3 features two extruders for more versatile printing, whereas the Lulzbot Taz 6 does not.
  • The Ultimaker 3 does not support a wide variety of speciality filament types, whereas the Lulzbot Taz 6 does.
  • The Ultimaker 3 has strings of lights running along the inside of the frame to make the print job more visible, whereas the Lulzbot Taz 6 does not.
  • The Ultimaker 3 has an open design providing a view of your print job from all angles, whereas the Ultimaker 3 print jobs are only visible from the front and sides.

Ultimaker 3

ultimaker

The inclusion of two extruders on the Ultimaker 3 means it’s more versatile and flexible than other 3D printers, even its predecessor, the Ultimaker 2+. You can print using two different filament types or colours for more dynamic printing results.

The print quality has also improved and it offers some of the best calibre prints from a fused filament fabrication 3D printer. Of course, all improvements come at a price and you’ll pay considerably more for this upgrade.

That being said, this printer is a lot easier to use than complex 3D printers of even higher quality and it uses the conventional plastic filament rather than liquid resin, which can be much harder to handle.

Design and features

The dual extruders make the Ultimaker 3 much more versatile. Other than that, you also have filament feeders, reducing the risk of clogs and jams. Plus, the spool holder is big enough for two filament spools at the same time.

The open front and top with translucent white sides make it easy to check on your progress, although it does require more caution to ensure you don’t touch extremely hot components. The interior has a string of lights extending down each side of the front inside edges, lighting your print space, and making it easier to see.

Dimensions are 23.1 x 19.9 x 13.3 inches and it weighs 23.3 pounds. It’s about the same weight as the Ultimaker 2+, but with more features, which is surprising.

The build area isn’t huge, but it’s a decent size at 7.8 x 8.5 x 8.5 inches. The print bed is made of a sheet of glass that automatically heats before each job. You can also automatically level the bed upon startup from the maintenance menu or choose another interval that works for you.

Setup

Setup isn’t too difficult, but there are a few steps you need to follow to get it up and running. Run the cable from an NFC socket and the filament spool holder. Putting the build plate in place requires fastening it to the platform with the clips provided.

Next, attach the power cable, turn on the printer, and follow the instructions on the display. The five-line display is controlled with the adjacent dial.

While one extruder comes already installed, you have to add the second one yourself if you want it. It’s easy to add and the printer comes with instructions for how to do this.

Loading filament spools on the spool holder is the last step. There is a hole at the bottom of a filament feed gearbox where you need to feed the end of the filament. A gear will grab a hold of the filament and pull it through a long tube to the extruder. The extruder melts it and it comes out of the nozzle.

Repeat this process with a second filament spool into the other gearbox to complete the setup.

Software

The Cura software should be downloaded from the Ultimaker website onto your printer once you get it completely set up. This is open-source software for 3D printers, which means you’ll have access to other print plans that other people create for it.

Ultimaker has created iterations of Cura that are specially tailored for all of the printers it manufactures. What you’ll find is that the software is open-source, but still designed just right for your 3D printer.

There are different versions of Cura, so make sure you choose the one labelled for the Ultimaker 3. It’s easy to set up and use, which makes it great for beginners, but versatile and advanced enough for experts.

Beginners can choose basic settings while experts may want to play around with some more advanced settings to tweak the printer how they like it.

Filament

ultimaker 3 printer

While the Ultimaker 3 takes common filament types like PLA and ABS, they also provide support for other options like nylon, PVA, and CPE. This gives you a wide variety of options to choose from so you can pick the one that’s right for your particular job.

Most 3D printers use a plastic filament of 1.75mm thick, but the Ultimaker 3 has enabled the extrusion of their filament to be 2.85mm. The result is better quality print jobs.

PLA, ABS, and CPE come in a huge variety of colours, and nylon is available in black or transparent. All filament spools for the Ultimaker 3 have an NFC chip, which is a really nice feature that allows your printer to automatically detect the colour and type of your filament without you programming or changing any settings.

It will use this information to select the correct temperature profile for that particular filament, which again, results in higher quality print jobs.

While you can use third-party filaments in the Ultimaker 3, you will have to set the temperatures by hand in Cura. While this may not be something you want to do, it’s a great option for saving money on filament spools.

The Ultimaker 3 has two types of print cores. It comes preinstalled with an AA print core that’s compatible with nylon, PLA, ABS, and CPE. However, it comes with a second AA-type print core and a BB core, either of which you can choose to use for two-colour print jobs. The BB core will only print supports with PVA.

Connectivity and printing

Setup Wi-Fi on your Ultimaker 3 for easy transfer of print jobs. If you don’t have access to Wi-Fi, you can hook it up to an Ethernet connection and send jobs that way. You can also use files that are stored on a USB drive.

The Ultimaker 3 comes with detailed instructions on how to print using any of these methods. This is a nice upgrade from the Ultimaker 2+, which could only print from an SD card.

There are four resolution settings on the Ultimaker 3. High-resolution prints at 60 microns, normal is 100 microns, fast is 150 microns, and draft mode prints at 200 microns.

Even at the draft resolution, your prints will look better than on most other FFF 3D printers. It only gets better at every resolution setting after that. However, keep in mind that the better resolutions take much longer to print.

The normal resolution takes about twice as long as the draft resolution. While there may be times when you need higher quality prints and are willing to wait for them, the draft resolution is pretty close to what most other 3D printers come with standard, and it’s a fine quality for most things.

While the Ultimaker 3 is equipped to handle dual-extruder printing, before you do that, you need to use the maintenance menu to run a calibration on the XY offset and make sure your print cores are in sync. You can print some test patterns to determine where they line up and then enter those values for the X and Y axes on the display. The printer will then calibrate the cores to ensure they’re aligned on your next print job.

Pros:

  • Excellent print quality and resolution
  • Easy to use
  • Accurate printing without mistakes
  • Two extruders for multicolour printing
  • Quiet operation

Cons:

  • Long print times at higher resolutions
  • Expensive

Read Some Ultimaker 3 Comparisons here:

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.

Lulzbot Taz 6

lulzbot taz 6

The Lulzbot Taz 6 is a bit cheaper than the Ultimaker 3, but it’s still at the upper end of the 3D printer marker. It’s another 3D printer that’s easy to use and reliable. It also has a relatively large build size, making it a really popular machine for both individuals and professionals.

Design and features

The design of the Lulzbot Taz 6 is relatively minimalistic. It has a black coating over metal, making it sturdy, with steel rods and self-lubricating bushing. The components are made of a lime green material to add a bit of flash.

It’s a huge printer with a huge print area, so it’s nice to see a minimalistic frame that’s not too overwhelming. You can also see your print job from any angle because there aren’t any extra components getting in the way. There is a user interface at the top left corner of the printer so it’s easy to access but it’s not in the way. It only adds to the sleek, sturdy, simple design.

With a huge print volume of 280 x 280 x 250mm, it’s larger than the Ultimaker 3. The print bed is made of glass with PEI film. The print bed is heated, so before printing, it will automatically warm to the correct temperature. You’ll also enjoy automatic bed leveling.

The Lulzbot Taz 6 is compatible with filament types PLA, PVA, ABS, HIPS, nylon, PETG, polycarbonate, UV luminescent, and plenty of other specialty filaments. The filament diameter is 3mm. To print with the Lulzbot Taz 6, you can use either a USB drive or an SD card. Unfortunately, it doesn’t have Wi-Fi or a wired Ethernet connection, so you have to have your files saved on a physical device.

Setup

The Lulzbot Taz 6 comes completely assembled, so the box is on the large size, but it comes with everything you need to get it setup. Upon opening the box, you’ll find these items in addition to the fully assembled Lulzbot Taz 6:

  • Quick setup guide
  • Hexagon-shaped hot end tool head
  • 4GB SD card
  • Filament feed tube
  • Toolkit bag
  • Needle nose pliers
  • Ruler
  • Precision knife
  • Clam knife
  • Tweezers
  • Dental pick

Although it comes with a lot of extra tools, there really is no physical setup required. Just snap all of the pieces into place and begin calibrating.

The documentation included in the box will guide you through all of this setup step by step. Images accompany all instructions so you’ll be clear on what to do. It should only take about 30 minutes to get it ready.

Although you do need to mount the Y-axis assembly with screws, connect all of the cables, and mount the tool head, they’ve made it easy and intuitive with all of the detailed guides. The last step is snapping the filament guide tube onto the side bracket and you’re ready to print.

Software

Lulzbot Taz 6 also uses open-source Cura software, so it’s both easy to use and expansive. It’s accessible to beginners but has plenty of advanced settings for those who have a bit more experience and really want to take this 3D printer on a ride.

The software will recommend printing profiles and filaments based on your job, but you can always customize or override these with your own settings.

The Cura Lulzbot Edition software allows complete user control over infill, print speed, shell, cooling, and a lot more. You can even modify some of these settings mid-print.

Connectivity and printing

lulzbot taz 6 printing

The one downside to the Lulzbot Taz 6 is that it doesn’t have any internet connectivity options. There’s no Wi-Fi or Ethernet connection port, so you have to use a USB drive or an SD card to transfer your print jobs to the device.

However, you can print using three modes including standard, high quality, and high speed. The standard model offers 0.25mm prints, which is even higher quality than the normal mode on the Ultimaker 3.

High-speed prints have a lesser quality of 0.38mm, which is slightly worse than the 150 microns offered on the fast mode of the Ultimaker 3. The difference between the Lulzbot Taz 6 standard and high-speed modes will be visibly apparent in your finished products.

Pros:

  • Large build volume
  • Consistent performance
  • Easy setup and use
  • Minimalistic design

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Noisy operation

Read Our Lulzbot Taz 6 Full Review Here.

FAQs About the Ultimaker 3 and Lulzbot Taz 6

Is the Ultimaker 3 worth it?

People frequently ask if this or that product is worth the money, and the answer is always the same. You have to make that decision for yourself. It depends on your needs and your budget.

However, the Ultimaker 3 is, without a doubt, a very high-quality 3D printer with some excellent features that make it worth the price if those are the things you’re looking for. It’s an easy system to use and its performance and reliability are excellent.

Did Lulzbot go out of business?

Surprisingly, this frequently asked question is poignant at this particular time. Despite their superior quality and dedication to customer support, Lulzbot decided to close their doors back in October of 2019.

While they may not be making any new printers going forward, you can still find excellent quality from previous products, and it shouldn’t be a reason not to purchase them or give them a try.

What is the best 3D printer?

Both the Ultimaker 3 and the Lulzbot Taz 6 top most lists of the best 3D printers out there. In fact, there are other Ultimaker and Lulzbot models that top most lists, too. They’re excellent brands of superior quality, and you can count on any of them to do the job right.

The Verdict

Both the Ultimaker 3 and the Lulzbot Taz 6 are reliable 3D printers of excellent quality and consistency. They use the same software that’s easy to set up and use, and they’re both great for beginners and experts alike.

The benefit of the Ultimaker 3 is the dual print cores allowing for more versatility in your print jobs. Its normal print mode produces super high-quality prints, but the build volume is slightly smaller than the Lulzbot Taz 6.

The price point of the Lulzbot Taz 6 is more accessible but still high. The benefit to this design is that it’s minimalistic and open, so while the Ultimaker 3 does make it easy to monitor your print job from the front and the sides, the Taz 6 makes it easy to see all the way around.

The Ultimaker 3 also can’t compare to the number of filament types supported with the Lulzbot Taz 6, so if you need more options there, the Taz 6 is a better choice.

Recommended Reads:

Prusa i3 MK3 vs Ultimaker 3 [2020]: Which is Best?

Today we’re pitting two 3D printers against each other to see who really earns their spot on the top of “best of” lists.

Both the Prusa i3 MK3 and the Ultimaker 3 have earned accolades from trade publications (including this one!), both have already made waves with their new iterations in 2019, and both are touted as great mid-price options for those who are looking to upgrade from their beginner rigs.

Their constructions and features vary but are similar enough to compete for the same builder dollars, so let’s get into the details to see who will come out on top.

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.

What is the Prusa i3 MK3?

Prusa i3 MK3

Prusa Research is 3D printing company started by Josef Prusa in 2009 when he spun his own printing business off from the RepRap project. The company based in the Czech Republic, which means all their models meet European Union standards, and they ship their products around the world.

In 2018, they developed the Prusa i3 MK3. They wanted to be able to offer a 3D printer that is more accessible through a lower price point and simplified build from their higher end models but still exhibits the superior quality of both the printer and the printed objects.

One way to do this is to make a 3D printer kit, so the user does not absorb the cost of professional assembly; Prusa took the i3 MK3 in that direction to catch the attention of more beginning and hobbyist level 3D printer users without sacrificing the quality of their higher end machines.

What are the tech specs of the Prusa i3 MK3?

Price

$749 unassembled, $999 assembled

Build volume

25 cm x 21 cm x 20 cm

Filament size

1.75 mm

Max extruder temperature

300 degrees Celsius

Max bed temperature

120 degrees Celsius

Connectivity

SD card, wifi

Operating systems supported

Mac, Windows, Linux

Software

GNU GPLv3 (open source)

What are the advantages of the Prusa i3 MK3?

  • You have a choice to buy a kit or fully assembled. Our personal experiences with 3D printer kits vary all across the range of quality, ease, and printing output, with a lot of our judgment resting on how many times the assembly process makes us want to throw our wrenches across the workshop. Prusa can get you past this with the i3 MK3 – if you’re willing to spend another $150 or so.
  • Easy assembly process. If you’re on the fence about whether to get the kit to save money or the fully assembled machine to save time, know that building the i3 MK3 is one of the smoothest 3D printer assembly processes you can find. It’s not perfect, but it’s darn near close: the parts are fully organized and packaged in stages, you can find the instructions either online or in a physical book from the box, and actually putting everything together takes way less time than you are probably assuming based on your experience with other kits. This kit is next level, so don’t let a reluctance to build stop you from trying this one.
  • Great support and documentation. Even if you choose to buy the fully assembled i3 MK3, you’re going to have questions, and you’re going to need help. That’s where Prusa’s ultra thorough documentation comes in handy. It’s all there and clearly laid out, so you can follow the instructions from beginning to end or choose which steps you need help with and go directly there without having to wade through previous steps for context. There’s also a thriving online community that’s always willing to add their two cents – that’s why we personally like using the electronic instructions better because you can see notes other users have made on that one.
  • Stiff frame. Prusa doesn’t let its i3 MK3 fall into the common kit trap of sending cheap, flimsy materials to save money. Whether you assemble it yourself or buy it pre-fabricated, the i3 MK3’s frame is sturdy, pure steel that minimizes any wiggle motion that extruder movement may cause. And it keeps everything steady while keeping the frame open for X and Y axis movements that may go outside the build zone.
  • Crash detection. 3D printing is a painstaking process that requires everything going exactly as it’s supposed to the whole way through. Realistically, we know that’s not possible all of the time, but with the i3 MK3’s crash detection, you can pretend it is. If your computer crashes, if the power blinks out, if a velociraptor chases your dog and you have to go rescue it – basically, if you have to stop printing for any reason, the i3 MK3 will have your back and pick up right where you left off.
  • Power failure backup. This goes with crash detection like peanut butter and jelly. A steady power supply is at the mercy of both Mother Nature and human hands, and Prusa understands that. If you’re in the middle of a print and your lights go out, the i3 MK3 will keep printing using its backup power source so you don’t have to throw away hours of work because of something you couldn’t control.
  • Removable magnetic printing bed. 3D printer beds are vital to your print quality. Pursa has made its i3 MK3’s bed easy to attach and easy to remove with one neat quality – magnets. This makes adjustments a breeze, as well as cleanup.
  • Autocalibration. No need to fiddle with axes controls for a couple of hours before printing, only to find out afterward that your calculations came out wrong so that your Rubik’s cube is now a Rubik’s quadrangle. The i3 MK3 auto calibrates its printer bed and extruders, so you don’t have to after every print or accidental jostling.
  • Open source software. Prusa uses their own 3D printing software under a GNU GPLv3 usage license, which means it’s free to modify for yourself and share with others in its original form. That has built a thriving fanbase of users who love sharing their hacks online with anyone else who wants to know. If you have an issue you’re trying to puzzle out; there’s a great chance someone has posted the solution – or would love to see yours once you finish it.

 What are the disadvantages of the Prusa i3 MK3?

  • Printed parts needed for assembly. With all the hype about the i3 MK3’s easy assembly, we don’t want to give the impression that it’s absolutely flawless. One thing that makes it not quite uniformly awesome across the board is that if you do get the kit to assemble yourself, be prepared to print a lot of parts. The instructions are detailed, and the fits are excellent, but you will need to be aware of the tasks ahead of you before you get to the building part.
  • It is getting the frame squared. Another small issue in the assembly process is getting the frame squared as the foundation of the rest of the machine. It’s another instance of good documentation for something that maybe should have been solved before it got to you.
  • Price. Many 3D printer users look to kits for a way to save money. For the i3 MK3, this will only be true in relation to its own pre-assembled sibling; $749 is one of the most expensive 3D printing kits you will find, and $999 is not a steal for a ready-made machine, either. Those prices will, unfortunately, steer away a lot of people who just can’t fit that into their budget, no matter how good the quality of the final result.  

What is the Ultimaker 3?

ultimaker 3

Ultimaker is a 3D printing company that’s been around for about ten years. It’s got offices in the United States, the Netherlands, and Singapore, so they ship around the world just like Prusa. They made their first Ultimaker prototype in 2010, and since then, they’ve made continuous improvements on the model for those who are looking for the upper level of desktop 3D printing.

The Ultimaker 3 is a pre-assembled dual-extruder first introduced in 2017, and its 2019 upgrade has already been celebrated as one of the best of the year. It’s meant to give a bigger, more complex 3D printing experience while keeping the machinery compact and simple enough for desktop use.

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.

What are the tech specs of the Ultimaker 3?

Price

$3,495 (Check out the latest rates here)

Build volume

21.5 cm x 21.5 cm x 20 cm single extruder, 19.7 cm x 21.5 cm x 20 cm dual extruder

Filament size

2.85 mm

Max extruder temperature

280 degrees Celsius

Max bed temperature

100 degrees Celsius

Connectivity

WiFi, Lan, USB

Operating systems supported

Mac, Windows, Linux

Software

Ultimaker Cura

What are the advantages of the Ultimaker 3?

  • Dual extruders. If you’re wondering why dual extruders are special enough to warrant a shout out in a list of a 3D printer’s best parts, it’s all about the quality. The Ultimaker retains the same excellent print quality whether you’re using either or both of its print nozzles, and the only way dual extruder use will be obvious in a finished product is if you use different colors in each. Ultimaker has figured out the perfect waltz to get the most out of both without any of the literal bumps that often come from using two.
  • Hot-swappable print cores. This is the practice of swapping out the core printer components without shutting down or rebooting the machine. You may recognize this as a thing that most tech people will tell you to avoid like the plague so nothing gets erased or fried in the process. But the Ultimaker 3 has you covered on this, and it’s not playing around when it comes to customizability. Their print cores are ways for you to swap out printing properties and material details without re-calibrating your entire setup. It’s a great innovation that lets you take originality to the next level. Additionally, this is a well-thought out and smooth process, not just an idea someone had to tack on at the last minute, so you’ll be able to use this feature without the usual hitches of many first-time features.
  • Tougher filament possibilities. Because of the varying temperature ranges possible from the different printer cores, the Ultimaker 3 gives you a wider variety of materials to work with. Filaments that need higher extrusion temperatures usually require a different machine than those that require lower ones, but not anymore – you can stick with your basic PLA or go crazy with the nylon, metal, or other exotic mixtures without the need of another printer.
  • Print quality. Not to be outshined by all the bells and whistles around it, the overall print quality of the Ultimaker 3 is definitely a feature worth mentioning. It’s so unassumingly good that it might get lost amongst the more flashy features done well here, but keep in mind none of the extra stuff would work if the basics weren’t flawless.

What are the disadvantages of the Ultimaker 3?

  • Price. We understand that 3D printing technology is hugely intricate and involves a lot of top-notch innovation; we also understand that none of that comes cheap. And don’t misunderstand, the Ultimaker 3 is great quality and gives you a lot for you money. At the same time, once again we’ve found an excellent machine that isn’t going to be easy for people on a budget to use. Good quality 3D printing can be had for less, sometimes much less – take a look at our other reviews and roundups for ideas – and it’s just the tiniest bit disappointing that doesn’t apply here.
  • Print speed. All of the Ultimaker 3’s perfection in its print quality comes at the cost of printing speed. This machine will not get in a hurry – and that’s something we don’t blame it for, considering the intricacies of dual extruder printing and how easy that is to misalign. But be prepared to wait for up to four times longer than other 3D printers for your creation to be complete.
  • Placement of spool holder. This is a design detail that seems insignificant until you experience a problem that drags it front and center. Which is exactly where the filament holder should be on the Ultimaker 3 in a perfect world, but instead it’s hidden around back and difficult to reach unless you have unfettered access to all sides of your printer at all times.

What’s the verdict between the Prusa i3 MK3 and the Ultimaker 3?

Bottom Line: The Ultimaker 3 comes out ahead in this comparison for the sheer amount of shininess it brings to the table – plus the fact that said shininess holds up to practical testing and actually enhances usage instead of clogging up the machine with gimicks.

This isn’t to say the Prusa i3 MK3 is bad, though; it also deserves all its hype, and with its lower price points even for the fully assembled version, it may be a better bet for you.

However, we can’t resist a smooth dual extruder print, and we’re ready to see what both Prusa and Ultimaker have in store for the future.

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.

Further Reads

Creality CR 10 vs Prusa i3 [Sep 2020]: Which 3D Printer is Best?

Creality CR 10 vs. Prusa i3 Compared

So, you’ve heard so many wonderful things about 3D printers and how you can use them. There are a variety of machines on the market that can help you create stunning 3D printing marvels.

The Creality CR 10 vs. Prusa i3 guide will provide answers to the most pressing question – which 3D printer is better?

Prusa i3 and Creality CR 10 are top-selling printers right now, especially for those who’re looking for 3D printers under $1,000. Our experts tested both printers and found them really good. They’ve been doing a lot of digging lately, and both Prusa i3 and Creality CR 10 emerged as top performers.

Not only this, but both products have a huge customer following behind them. In the Creality CR 10 vs. Prusa i3 comparison guide, we’ll discuss both products in detail. By the end of the comparison, we’re hoping you’ll be able to make an informed choice.

Main Differences Between the Creality CR 10 vs Prusa i3

The main differences between the Creality CR 10 and Prusa i3 are:

  • The Creality CR 10 can be more affordable, whereas the Prusa i3 varies in price
  • The Creality CR 10 is more approachable for beginners, whereas the Prusa i3 is better for experienced DIY makers
  • The Prusa i3 is more customizable compared to the Creality CR 10

I Personally Prefer the Creality CR 10

Simply put, it's one of THE most affordable 3D printers for beginners and intermediates. A fun, durable printer for experimenting and prototyping.

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

5 Things You Should Consider While Buying a 3D printer

Before we move on to the detailed Creality CR 10 vs. Prusa i3 comparison, hold your horses. There are a few important things you need to consider before you buy a 3D printer.

Size of the print bed

  • If you want to print bigger 3D prints, pick a 3D printer with a large print bed.
  • A bigger bed also implies that you can increase the printing quantity. Since setting up a 3D printer is a time-consuming process, the more you’re able to print in one go, the better.

Automatic calibration

  • Some 3D printers would require you to calibrate the bed, i.e., place a piece of paper on the print bed and use the software to slowly move the print bed near the nozzle until it touches it. The process calibration process usually takes 10 minutes.
  • Automatic calibration can be found on several machines, and it’s definitely worth some extra dollars.

Type of filaments and their cost

  • Most 3D printers print on PLA and ABS plastic.
  • ABS contains oil and is more lethal than PLA which contains corn starch. So, if your 3D printing room does not have a fan, choose PLA.
  • Make sure you’re aware of the costs associated with filaments – $35-$70/kg for ABS and PLA. Some branded 3D printers only work with their filament which can increase the price. In such cases, avoid using non-genuine filaments which can have a negative impact on your 3D printer’s efficiency.

Software

  • Is the software easy to configure? Is the software easy to use and powerful?
  • Unless you enough technical knowledge, we would recommend you choose an “easy to use” software over a powerful software.
  • Understand that 3D printers are designed for DIYers and hobbyists who love to explore when it comes to software and hardware. Therefore, they are “open-source.”

Air filters and enclosures

  • A 3D printer with enclosure is safer. Open 3D printers are more prone to a collection of dust and debris which can lead to issues during printing.
  • If you’re planning to place your 3D printer in a room which is not properly ventilated, consider 3D printers with built-in HEPA filters.

About the Creality CR 10

General specifications

Product dimensions

23.6 x 19.3 x 24.2 inches (599.44 x 490.22 x 614.6 mm)

Product weight

22.7 lbs. (10296.5 g)

Model no.

3DP20

Printing size

11 x 11 x 15 inches (279.4 x 279.4 x 381 mm)

Printing accuracy

±0.1mm

Nozzle size

0.4 mm

Printing speed

Normal – 80 mm/s, Max – 200 mm/s

Supporting software

PROE, 3D Max, Solid-Works, UG, Rhino, etc.

Operating system

Linux, OSX, Windows

Price

$439 (check here for latest)

Creality CR 10 Overview

When it comes to best 3D printers under $500, Creality CR 10 is a top pick. It is indeed one of the most affordable 3D printers on the market today.  It’s a huge Cartesian style 3D printer with go-faster stripes, separate control box, and a large printing area measuring 300 x 300 x 400 mm. You can even buy larger versions with larger printing areas (400 mm and 500 mm cubed).

The Creality CR 10 3D printer has been designed and developed by the Chinese company Shenzhen Creality 3D technology which was founded in 2014. The printer was launched in 2016, following the progress of Creality CR-7 and its development into the CR-8.

Creality CR 10 Design

Overall, Creality CR 10 is very aesthetically appealing. It’s elegant with spotless aluminum rails coated in black all around the body.

The 300 x 300 mm print bed is made of glass and the control box with a mounted filament holder is placed on one side of the machine. Creality CR 10 is a narrow machine which prints big and looks beautiful with mustard go-faster stripes.

An important thing to note here is that even though Creality CR 10 has a slender body, it is a big 3D printer. No, we’re talking about the big prints here. The machine occupies a lot of space in the printing room.

The control box and filament holder are located so high that you’ll have to place them at a specific distance from the 3D printer’s machine for the filament to feed unrestricted into the extruder.

The 3D printer’s frame itself is large, and the control box sitting even higher provides the machine with an altogether tall look. Had the filament holder been separated from the control box, the height of the machine would’ve reduced.

The back and forth motion of the print head is curtailed to the X-axis only. A rail placed on the frame is held by a single lead screw on one side and attached to the frame by a pulley secured in track and fixed V wheels on the other side.

All the lifting is done from one side. Therefore, you may notice the other side sagging because of its own weight. Nevertheless, it does not impact the quality of the prints.

Creality CR 10 Print

Creality CR 10 Features

The most striking feature of Creality CR 10 is its enormous print bed. The 3D printer is available in 3 variants, the smallest print area being 300 x 300 x 400 mm. We tested the standard size for the review as the only difference between the variants is the size of the print bed. Since Creality CR 10 comes with a 0.4 mm nozzle, the maximum resolution is about 100 microns.

You can use this 3D printer for 200 hours of continuous operation (as claimed by the manufacturer since we could only test the 3D printer for about 85 hours). Our experts played with different print settings, sizes, and volumes, and were satisfied with the results.

Creality CR 10 comprises a heated bed that spreads heat across the large glass print surface. Our experts did not come across any issues as far as heat propagation is concerned. USB connectivity and SD card usage help in print management, and the control box, control wheel, and LCD screen help in print preparation and fine-tuning of the calibration.

You’ll find a switch on the control box’s side using which you can switch between 110 and 220 volts, making the 3D printer versatile for international use.

Creality CR 10 Installation

Creality CR 10 printer kit is delivered in a cardboard box, and we couldn’t find any picture of the actual machine on the packaging.

If you’re completely new to the world of 3D printing, we recommend you check the setup instructions online. Nevertheless, even if you have a vague understanding of the machine’s parts, you’ll be able to do a fairly good job when it comes to installation.

The neatest part of Creality CR 10’s installation are the organized control box cables. The male-female connectors are fastened together using screws. However, as you continue to set up the product, you’ll have a tough time plugging the basic connectors into their respective end stops and stepper motors.

We noticed some loose connector pins on the Y-axis, a slight sign of poor quality control. However, we were easily able to pop them back inside.

Creality CR 10 Filament

Creality CR 10’s filament in robust. It feeds in and out without any hassle. However, the position and layout of the filament in somewhat confusing.

Creality CR 10 Software

Instead of being a comprehensive 3D printing solution, Creality CR 10 is a blunt tool. You can use any software of your choice, and many existing users consider this as one of the greatest strengths of this machine for the affordable cost. Our experts used Cura 2.6.2 and were delighted to see the Present Profiles work like magic.

Printing

Unfortunately, you have no option but to manually calibrate the 3D printer before each printing job. In case you forget to do so, the print head may end up ripping off the print bed. Some of the initial prints demonstrated noticeable skipping of layers; however, this is common for a semi-assembled 3D printer kit and not a major issue. As you continue to print, you’ll witness flawless 3D prints.

From beautiful lampshades to vases, you can 3D print a plethora of interesting items using Creality CR 10. Based on the experience of our experts, we found that printing ABS with Creality CR 10 is difficult. It was almost impossible for the print bed to hold the ABS, even though the print bed was rated at 100 degree Celsius. We tried printing a large Eiffel Tower with two different types of PLAs (purple and transparent), and the 3D printer impeccably completed both the jobs enduring overhangs and bridging across almost 65 hours of printing time collectively.

Pros and Cons of the Creality CR 10

Pros

Cons

Easy assembly

Awkward placement of extruder

Simple design

The filament is prone to tangling

The machine is easy to troubleshoot

Preparing the printer can be a tedious process

Suitable for larger prints

It takes a considerable amount of time to heat the bed

Great for fine detailing

Doesn’t work well with ABS

Easily removable glass print bed

Pocket-friendly 3D printer

Intuitive control box

About the Prusa i3 MK3

Prusa i3 MK3 

General specifications

Product dimensions

19.6 × 21.6 × 15.7 inches (497.84 x 548.64 x 398.78 mm)

Product weight

15.43 lbs. (7000 g)

Printing size

9.84 x 8.3 x 8.3 inches (249.93 x 210.82 x 210.82 mm)

Printing accuracy

±0.1mm

Nozzle size

0.4 mm

Printing speed

Normal – 80 mm/s, Max – 200 mm/s

Supporting software

PROE, 3D Max, Solid-Works, UG, Rhino, etc.

Operating system

Linux, OSX, Windows

Price

$749

Overview

Prusa i3 MK3 is a creatively designed and development open-source 3D printer that can sense problems before they reflect in the print outputs. Whether it’s a power outage or someone stopping the printing process mid-way, Prusa i3 will overcome these issues in no time. Not only this, but interesting features such as a removable print bed, flexibility, and nine auto calibration points make it even more attractive.

Prusa i3 MK3 Design

The basic frame structure and motion layout are similar to MK2. But, you’ll notice find the threaded rod frame anymore. In fact, you’ll notice a simple structure that arrives pre-cut, and you just need to screw it together. At the bottom, you’ll find push-in rubber feet, which are soft and nice. However, every time we tried moving the printer, they fell out.

The print surface is separated from the heater PCB, and both parts are coupled magnetically. The print surfaces are steel sheets with springs, powder-coated with PEI. As the sheet continues to cool down, you simply pop-off parts by bending the sheet inward.

The Y-axis is upgraded with enhanced frame rigidity, and an additional 10 mm build volume on the Z-axis. You’ll also notice a Bondtech drive gear extruder which firmly holds the filament from either side to improve the filament’s push force and reliability.

Prusa i3 MK3 Print

Prusa i3 MK3 Features

Prusa i3 MK3 is packed with innovative technologies and refined features. On the one hand, the previous versions provided remarkable print quality for the affordable price, and on the other hand, Prusa i3 MK3 is all set to make the FFF discipline easier than before and more intuitive with a variety of sensors to alert users about approaching issues and prevent low-quality or failed prints.

Here’s a quick summary of the features:

  • Power Panic (recover a print session after a power failure)
  • Filament Sensor (optical encoder to detect the movement and presence of a filament, stuck filament)
  • Ambient Thermistor
  • New Y-axis
  • RPM sensing fans
  • EINSY RAMBo motherboard (most advanced 3D printing motherboard on the market)
  • Ready for OctoPrint
  • Bondtech Extruder
  • Noctua quieter cooling
  • P.I.N.D.A 2 with thermistor
  • Interactive Auto Calibration

Prusa i3 MK3 Installation

Whether you’re purchased Prusa i3 MK3 as a kit or in assembled form, the 3D printing handbook will come to your rescue as and when you need. You’ll find all the information about installation, calibration, materials, FAQs, and more, in this handy manual.

Prusa i3 MK3 Filament

Our experts used the PLA filament provided with the 3D printer. There was no label on the spool, and we could not find any details regarding the manufacturer of the filament. Overall, the print results were promising, and no issues with print quality were observed.

Prusa i3 MK3 Software

When it comes to slicing the objects for printing, you have a plethora of options when it comes to the software. The most straightforward option is PrusaControl. It is a simple, stripped back interface for coating your models. All you need to do is choose a filament from the preset list, play a little with the orientation, scale, infill, and line-height, and then create your Gcode.

It’s an effective solution and convenient to use. Nevertheless, if your requirements are somewhat complicated, you may have to use other software. For more complex printing, our 3D printing experts used Prusa3D Slic3r MK3. This software has over a hundred modes and maybe a little cumbersome for beginners. You can also use software such as 3D Max and Simplify 3D.

Prusa i3 MK3 Printing

It’s very easy to print the 3D models preloaded (a small boat, puppy, etc.) on the SD card. They are optimized for printing with Prusa i3. However, our experts felt that it’s better to slice our own models for printing and then assessing Prusa i3 MK3’s honest printing capability.

When it comes to printing simple objects such as a Chromatic vase and a measuring cube, the print quality was brilliant at 150 microns, and during the printing process, the 3D printer did not make any annoying noises. The features and details of both the objects were sharp and clear.

When it comes to printing complex items such as a hand clamp containing screws, there were multiple failures, and the printing required a lot of time. We fed separate bits into the build plate but did not succeed. So, our experts printed different elements and assembled them to produce the final outcome.

Prusa i3 MK3 Pros and Cons

Pros

Cons

Redesigned, sturdier frame

Complex print bed adhesion

Crash detection feature

Low-quality 3D prints in the case of complex objects or objects containing multiple components

Power loss backup

Requires frequent updates

Great documentation

Complicated for beginners

9-point auto calibration

Expensive

Removable print bed

Can be upgraded with OctoPrint

The Verdict: Creality CR 10 vs Prusa i3 – Which is better?

  • If you’re looking for a 3D printer that can reduce the inherent annoyance of 3D printing, consider Prusa i3.
  • If you’re on a shoestring budget, go with Creality CR 10.
  • If you’re looking for a big, sturdy machine, go with Creality CR 10.
  • If you want the 3D printer to print well each time whether it is a simple or complex 3D print job, go with Prusa i3.
  • If you’re new to the world of 3D printing, go with Creality CR 10. Even though Prusa i3 is a fantastic choice for all kinds of 3D printing jobs, the experience can be a bit overwhelming for a 3D printing beginner.

We hope you found the Creality CR 10 vs. Prusa i3 comparison guide useful.

If you have any questions about either of the products, please post them in the comment section below, and our 3 printing experts will provide you with the relevant answers.

Also, if you’d like us to compare or review any other 3D printing related products, kindly write to us, and let us know.

I Personally Prefer the Creality CR 10

Simply put, it's one of THE most affordable 3D printers for beginners and intermediates. A fun, durable printer for experimenting and prototyping.

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Recommended Reads

Ender 3 vs Prusa i3 MK3 [Sep 2020]: Which is Best?

Ender 3 vs Prusa i3 MK3

3D printer assembly kits are easy to screw up. They’re designed to keep their costs down, which means corners might be cut and details that you desperately need may be lost.

But once in a while, a company knows how to transcend the limitations of the genre, and delivers an excellent quality that you can build yourself.

And we’ve found two of them.

The Ender 3 and the Prusa i3 MK3 are both great choices if you’re looking for an affordable way to get into 3D printing and you’re not afraid to build some stuff to get there. They both give you immense value for your money, they both have a fairly painless assembly process, and they both print 3D objects you can be proud of.

So which one is right for you?

Bottom Line Up Front: So if you want to see what the 3D printing fuss is all about, the Ender 3 is the perfect place to start. If you’re looking for a kit that ups the game and lets you try out a bunch of new features, the original Prusa i3 MK3 is worth its price here, if you’ve got the money. You really can’t go wrong either way.

Main Differences Between the Ender 3 vs Prusa i3 MK3

The main differences between teh Ender 3 and Prusa i3 MK3 are:

  • The Prusa i3 MK3 print bed is slightly larger than the Ender 3
  • The Prusa i3 MK3 prints faster than than the Ender 3 because it has a rigid bed
  • The Ender 3 is generally less expensive compared to the Prusa i3 MK3

We Prefer the Ender 3 Pro Here
$236.00

Put simply, the Ender Pro has worked out all of the kinks, glitches, and inconsistencies that were shipped with the original Ender 3. You can save some money by going with the Ender 3, but it's not worth it unless you are very technical.

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09/28/2020 06:11 am

About the Ender 3

First up is Creality’s Ender 3, a desktop setup that is excellent for beginner users who don’t want to overstep their budget. Creality’s whole deal is making 3D printer kits accessible, and the China-based company has been improving on their models since their beginning in 2014.

Their Ender series is designed for the hobbyist user, but don’t let that make you think of bad quality – they’ve perfected the under $200 print until you can’t distinguish it from prints that came off rigs that cost two or three times as much.

Their Ender series is designed to get you involved in every step of the 3D printing process, from seeing how your machine is put together to watching the finished project materialize. Here are all the details you need to find out if Ender 3 is your best bet.

NOTE: Here are some of the best Ender 3 upgrades in 2020.

Ender 3 Specifications

Printing technology

FDM

Print area (build volume)

220 mm x 220 mm x 250 mm

Printer size

440 mm x 410 mm x 465 mm

Printer weight

8.6 kg

Filament type

1.75 mm PLA, ABS, or TPU

Extruder Nozzle diameter

0.4 mm

Maximum print speed

200 mm/sec

Maximum layer resolution

0.1 mm

Print precision

+/- 0.1mm

Heated bed

Yes

Connectivity

SD card, USB

LCD screen

Yes

Pros of the Ender 3

Ender 3 Price

The Ender 3 is one of the most affordable desktop 3D printers you will see out there, period.

You can find it for under $200 through all the vendors you associate with 3D printers, including Amazon, Gearbeast, and Creality itself. It’s not only affordable, but it’s also accessible, and you’ll have a lot of outlets to shop around to ensure you’re getting the best of the best deal.

Check out the latest prices on the Ender 3 here on Amazon.

Ender 3 Assembly

You may still be wary after hearing the Ender 3 is a kit and not a fully assembled printer. So many 3D printers can pass themselves off as good deals because you’re doing all the work to get them going. But with the Ender 3, the assembly process is virtually painless. This good start to your experience gives you a boost to enjoy the rest of your printing sooner and with more understanding of how things work.

Ender 3 Size

Although the Ender 3 is by no means the largest – or smallest, if you’re into that – desktop 3D printer out there, its balance of print area and compactness makes it the golden ideal in its class. [size of printing area] is big enough for a large size range of personal projects, and you can always print pieces to assemble together into a larger finished object.

And for the Ender 3, compactness is translated into putting a lot of great stuff into a package that doesn’t waste space. Desktop printing is always going to be a cramped market, so Ender 3 gives you plenty of room to do your thing without getting in the way of the rest of your life.

Ender 3 Print quality

It might take a little adjusting after your first few runs, but the Ender 3 gets what you want to do and helps that happen well. One of the ways it makes a great finished product is with its tight filament path – with fewer twists and turns for the filament to go through when it’s getting to the extruder, the smoother the print is going to be, especially when you’re working with flexible filaments like nylon.

Open source software

The Ender 3’s upgrade system is the best we’ve seen in a kit printer. You’re not left alone to fumble with a system that’s going to be incompatible with everything else you want to use, and you’ll be able to take advantage of any (or all!) of Creality’s available updates.

Those are growing by the day, as are the creative additions Creality users post for others to find and freely use on the internet. If you’re one to tinker around with code and put together something awesome, you can add your own ideas to the mix and get them out there for everyone to use.

We Prefer the Ender 3 Pro Here
$236.00

Put simply, the Ender Pro has worked out all of the kinks, glitches, and inconsistencies that were shipped with the original Ender 3. You can save some money by going with the Ender 3, but it's not worth it unless you are very technical.

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09/28/2020 06:11 am

Cons of the Creality Ender 3

Uneven base

The Creality 3 is not perfect, and the most obvious way it shows its flaws is through its printer base. It doesn’t lie flat, which of course causes issues if you don’t correct it. The motion of the printing arm and extruder makes the base wobble unless you stick a corrective wedge under the uneven part.

Happily, the fix is just as easy as that. You don’t have to use any special piece of equipment or print any extension, you just have to make sure the base’s footing is evened out. But even if it is a snap to correct, you have to remember to do so to keep your prints from turning into disasters, and this also makes keeping the printer bed level difficult.

Manual calibration

Related to your quest to even up the printer base is the need to manually calibrate your heater bed on a consistent basis. This means to get the absolute best prints you can, you’ll have to manually calibrate it before every print you do. This is hands down the most annoying aspect of using the Ender 3 – but relatively speaking, it’s not such a terrible payoff for the amazing performance you get elsewhere in the printing process.

Bed adhesion

The first layer of any 3D print steers the direction of the rest of the print, either into perfection or disaster.

The Ender 3’s BuildTak-ish grip finish on its heater bed occasionally needs a little assistance towards greatness in this area; using an outside adhesion material is all you need, though, something like a permanent glue stick from Elmer’s. That’s all it takes to fix this little quirk, so whether you’re just starting out or a 3D printing veteran, you’ll be able to do it yourself no problem.

About the Prusa i3 MK3

Prusa i3 MK3

As another top-of-the-line 3D printer kit, the Prusa i3 MK3 is impressive for a 3D printer, period. It boasts innovations that make it a contender beyond its perceived weight class, and its desktop status puts these in the hands of anyone who wants to experience it. It’s also something you have to put together, but it’s worth it. Trust us.

Prusa i3 MK3 Specifications

Printing technology

FFF, FDM

Print area

250 mm x 210 mm x 200 mm

Printer size

419 mm x 381 mm x 419 mm

Printer weight

6.35 kg

Filament type

1.75 mm, PLA, HIPS

Extruder Nozzle diameter

0.4 mm

Maximum print speed

50 mm/s

Maximum layer resolution

Not listed

Print precision

0.05 mm

Heated bed

no

Connectivity

SD, USB

LCD screen

yes

Pros of the Prusa MK3

Frame strength

The Prusa i3 MK3 holds up to a lot. Its rigidness is a major upside and a great example of how build kits don’t necessarily have to suffer stereotypical pitfalls of weak points where they fit together. A more rigid frame is going to give you a much steadier print, which will give you prints that reflect your design with perfect accuracy. And of course, frame rigidity is great for counteracting any rough environment hazards you may encounter.

Crash detection

3D printing can be such a nerve-racking process. Hours of painstaking planning can be wiped out with a single unplugging, and even just needing to pause in the middle of a project can make the rest of the project go wonky. The Prusa i3 MK3 has eliminated all that. It detects crashes with plenty of time for you to deal with the potential issues, so if you are less than certain about your set up, you’ll know where to double and triple check as you’re going along.

Power failure backup

No electrical grid is immune to going down, especially in the face of Mother Nature or other people who share your workspace. The Prusa i3 MK3 understands that, and it’s prepared for whatever disaster you throw at it. Its smooth transition from full speed to powering down is incremental enough to keep your place as a true pause. You don’t have to worry about getting back to a specific point; it does that for you. You don’t have to worry about losing any information; it won’t. You don’t have to worry about remembering to save at regular intervals (although that’s still a great idea!); it pretty much does that for you. You get the idea.

Excellent documentation

If you are intimidated or overwhelmed by 3D printing in general, know that the Prusa i3 MK3 has support out the wazoo. Whether you’ve decided to buy one to start your 3D printing journey, whether you are curious about building your own machine, whether you’re looking to add to your collection without breaking the bank – the Prusa i3 MK3 has your back. Its thorough support manual and thriving, active online community can help you clear up any questions or problems you might come across. Plus you’ll meet some great people who share your passion for 3D printing.

Removable magnetic print bed

This is an unassuming feature that makes such a difference for the better that you’ll be wondering how you ever 3D printed without it. Since the print bed is flexible, it’s easy to adjust as you need, and the fact that it’s attached with magnets make it even easier to remove, clean, and put back in place without needing any tools or real manufacturing know-how.

Autocalibration

This printer has nine points of automatic calibration, which keeps everything amazingly safe from errors while printing. It will adjust as it goes along so your print details and finish will stay true in line.

OctoPrint upgrades

Prusa teams ups with the OctoPrint for one of the most consistent printing software upgrade services out there. You can get the full usage of OctoPrint whenever you use the Prusa i3 MK3, and there are tons of places online you can download it for your use. And it’s a totally free software with a lot of fans out there who will help you figure out what you need and what version is best.

Prusa i3 3D Printer

Cons of the Prusa MK3

Prusa i3 MK3 Price

You get a lot of cool features that make your 3D printing a premium experience with the Prusa i3 M3 – but you’ll pay full price for it. At $900, this is not a buy to take lightly without seriously considering your budget. It’s not for the light of wallet, and if you’re not absolutely certain you’ll get $900 worth of use out of 3D printing as a hobby or business, look elsewhere for a better deal.

Filament detection system

This is a great addition to any 3D printer, and the Prusa i3 MK3 doesn’t stint on the fancy extras that make your printing easier. However, this one can be fooled by a clear filament.

If you’re using any kind of filament without color, the filament detection system in here won’t see it, and unfortunately, this isn’t a quirk you can fix. In our experience, it’s not enough of an issue to deter from the great aspects of this printer, but if you lean heavily on clear filament for your output, you’ll have to either find another printer or monitor this one very closely to make sure you don’t run out in the middle of your projects.

Quality of printer parts

A few of the parts for the printer are 3D printed themselves, like the frame for the LCD control screen, and while the parts easy to add into the smooth build experience, they are not at the same visual quality of the non-3D printed parts. There are surface discrepancies that, although few and far between and don’t interfere with functionality, are noticeable. If you know this will bug you, you can always print your own replacements.

Frequent updates

Because this printer has so many components and features that are new to the field in general, the Prusa i3 MK3’s firmware will be updating constantly. It will level out as these features become more widespread, but as anyone who is a frequent tech trailblazer knows, the kinks will have to work themselves out as they’re being used. You won’t be a beta tester, but you will be reaping the immediate benefits of those who were.

Final Verdict: Creality Ender 3 vs Prusa MK3?

We Prefer the Ender 3 Pro Here
$236.00

Put simply, the Ender Pro has worked out all of the kinks, glitches, and inconsistencies that were shipped with the original Ender 3. You can save some money by going with the Ender 3, but it's not worth it unless you are very technical.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/28/2020 06:11 am

This is a really tough choice. Both the Creality and Prusa printers produce excellent quality 3D objects, and they both give you a wonderfully supported building experience. We highly recommend both of these kits for a 3D printing enthusiast.

We would say the real decision comes down to what design quirks you are willing to work with, but all of these have easy fixes, and the real difference is the price.

Bottom Line: So if you want to see what the 3D printing fuss is all about, the Ender 3 is the perfect place to start. If you’re looking for a kit that ups the game and lets you try out a bunch of new features, the Prusa i3 MK3 is worth its price here, if you’ve got the money. You really can’t go wrong either way.

Further Reading on 3D Printer Model Options

Prusa i3 vs Anet A8 [Jul 2020]

The Prusa i3 and the Anet A8 are both DIY kits 3D printers, meaning that you will have to assemble them. Prusa i3 is one of the, if not the most famous 3D printer in the world, with the Anet A8 following it up.

The reason for their popularity is that they are both open source and very cheap for what they offer.

The Anet A8 is an open design with many clones, while the Prusa i3 does have an actual manufacturer where you can buy the original. Still, since it’s ALSO open-source, there are many open-source modifications online.

In the following sections, we will list the features of each 3D printer, available upgrades, as well as a comparison between the two, including a comparison of their features, their Pros, and Cons. At the very end, you will find the final summary and rating of each 3D printer respectively.

Bottom Line Up Front: Personally, I lean more towards the higher resolution and auto calibration of the Creality Prusa i3 available here.

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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09/28/2020 06:11 am

Core Features of the Prusa i3 3D Printer

  • Print Volume: The Prusa i3 features a pretty big 9.84″ x 8.3″ x 8″ (250 x 210 x 200 mm) print area, providing most users with plenty of space to print big objects as well as print many smaller objects all at the same time.
  • Resolution: Cheap printers usually have to compensate somewhere, but no this 3D printer. The Prusa i3 comes with a print resolution as high as 0.05mm or 50 microns, something that we are only used to see in very high-end 3D printers. That combined with the interchangeable 0.4mm nozzle makes for a very high quality capable 3D printer.
  • Open source: This is probably its biggest advantage over other 3D printers on the market. Not only is the software open source, the hardware and all the control boards are also open source, allowing experienced users to take advantage of any modification and upgrades. Being so cheap and so popular has also caused a huge community to emerge, with thousands of people sharing tips and tricks as well as troubleshooting in online forums, ensuring that no matter what problems(if any) you face, someone will be able to help you.
  • Material options: Again, being based on an open source design, and having a heated bed, almost any material can be printed using this printer. This is very important to note, as this is not a standard feature from budget 3D printers.
  • Speed: As impressive as the high resolution is, this printer has another trick up its sleeve. It can print at a 100mm/sec rate. It’s not very often that we see such a high resolution alongside such a fast print speed. Of course, printing at such a speed will have a negative impact on the actual printed object.
  • Auto Calibration: A budget 3D printer with automatic bed calibration? Yes, that is indeed the case here. The printer features an automatic 9 points XYZ / skew axes compensation calibration using a capacitive sensor on the print head.
  • LCD screen: The Prusa i3 includes an LCD screen with a torary knob that allows for very fast changes to the printer settings and parameters. The included screen can also display the current printing stats, as well as allow tweaking of the printer while it is printing.
  • Quality parts: Being a DIY kit, a lot of assembling has to be done. All the major parts and interconnects for the structural parts of the printer are high-quality plastics or aluminum, giving this printer an advantage in strength and rigidity over other DIY kits.
  • Full Review: Prusa i3 Review

Prusa i3 Key Specifications

  • Printing Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Nozzle temperature: 260 degree
  • Product forming size: 9,84″ x 8,3″ x 8″ (250 x 210 x 200 mm)
  • Layer thickness: 0,05 – 0,35 mm
  • Memory card offline print: TF card
  • Print speed: 100mm/s
  • Supporting material: ABS, HIPS, PLA, PETG etc.
  • Material diameter: 1.75mm
  • File format: G-code,STL
  • XY-axis positioning accuracy: 0.012mm
  • Z-axis positioning accuracy: 0.004mm
  • Working Power: 100W
  • Software: Cura
  • Packing Type: unassembled packing
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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09/28/2020 06:11 am

Core Features of the Anet A8 3D Printer

  • Print Volume: The Anet A8 features a very standard 8.6″ x 8.6″ x 9.4″ (220 x 220 x 240mm) print volume which is more than enough for most users, both new and experienced.
  • Resolution: While this is a very cheap 3D printer, because of its open source philosophy, any nozzle size can be used, and everything can be further upgraded. As standard, this printer is able to print at a resolution as high as 0.1mm layer height, making for some very detailed prints. This can be achieved using the included 0.4mm nozzle
  • Open source: This is probably its biggest advantage over other 3D printers on the market. Not only is the software open source, the hardware and all the control boards are also open source, allowing experienced users to take advantage of any modification and upgrades. Being so cheap and so popular has also caused a huge community to emerge, with thousands of people sharing tips and tricks as well as troubleshooting in online forums, ensuring that no matter what problems(if any) you face, someone will be able to help you.
  • Material options: Again, being based on an open source design, and having a heated bed, almost any material can be printed using this printer. This is very important to note, as this is not a standard feature from budget 3D printers.
  • LCD screen: The Anet A8 includes an LCD screen with a keypad that allows for changes to the printer settings and parameters. The included screen can also display the current printing stats, as well as allow tweaking of the printer while it is printing.
  • 3D printed parts: Being a DIY kit, a lot of assembling has to be done. All the major parts are black, pre-cut acrylic pieces and every interconnect and moving parts are 3D printed, meaning they printer can print replacements for itself.
  • Full Review: Anet A8 Review

Anet A8 Key Specifications

  • Printing Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Nozzle temperature: Room temperature to 260 degree
  • Product forming size: 220 x 220 x 240mm
  • Layer thickness: 0.1-0.3mm
  • Memory card offline print: TF card
  • Print speed: 40 – 120mm/s
  • Supporting material: ABS, HIPS, PLA, PETG etc.
  • Material diameter: 1.75mm
  • Language: Chinese, English, French, German, Spanish
  • File format: G-code, STL=
  • XY-axis positioning accuracy: 0.012mm
  • Z-axis positioning accuracy: 0.004mm
  • Working Power: 150W
  • Software: Cura
  • Packing Type: unassembled packing

Comparison Prusa i3 vs Anet A8

  • Hardware: These printers look very similar but they are not. The A8 is mostly made from open source, off the shelf hardware and laser cut acrylic parts. The i3 takes it a bit further, using aluminum parts where structural support is needed and generally using higher quality parts such as motors and mainboards.
  • Design: The design of the printers is also very similar but have some small differences. One of the main differences is the filament spool holder. The A8 has the spool of filament just sitting next to the printer, while the i3 has support for a filament holder, as well as a tube channel to guide the filament away from the printer, but without causing any disturbances while printing.
  • Performance: This is where we see the biggest differences between the two 3D printers. The Prusa i3 is just a better-developed printer. It offers very high-quality prints as well as speedy prints. Both printers have a heated bed which makes them capable of printing almost any material. The Anet A8 is a good performer, but can not reach the detail level of the i3. Another big advantage of the Prusa i3 is the automatic calibration of the print bed, something that the A8 lacks but can be implemented, since it is, after all, an open source 3D printer.
  • Community: Both 3D printers have huge communities online regarding performance issues, troubleshooting, upgrades as well as general tips and tricks. The Anet A8 is used mostly by amateurs for fast prototype prints while the Prusa i3 can be seen used for more serious projects, where stability and quality are desired.
  • Assembly: Since these 3D printers come in parts and require an assembly, it is important to know that the Prusa i3 comes with an easier assembly process than the Anet A8, but because of all the user support around these printers, many written, as well as video guides with a lot of details, can be found online.There is also the possibility to buy a pre-assembled Prusa i3, but that will cost more
  • Price: This is probably one of the strongest points of why these 3D printers are so popular. The Anet A8 costs just 169.99 and while the Prusa i3 costs 229. We can now see why the Prusa can afford to have more bells and whistles, like autocalibration and very high resolution.

Conclusion: Anet A8 or Prusa i3?

BRAND/MODELADIMLab Pursa i3
Anet A8
Product forming size9,84″ x 8,3″ x 8″ (250 x 210 x 200 mm)8,7″ x 8,7″ x 9.45″ (220 x 220 x 240 mm)
Printing TechnologyFDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Nozzle diameter0.4 mm0.4 mm
Layer thickness0.1-0.3mm0,05 – 0,35 mm
Print speed100mm/s40 – 120mm/s
Supporting materialABS, HIPS, PLA, PETG etc.ABS, HIPS, PLA, PETG etc.
File formatG-code, STLG-code, STL
Working Power100W150W
PriceThe Prusa i3 is about $380. Check out the latest prices here.The Anet A8 is $172. Check out the latest prices here.
RatingSpeed: 7/10
Build Area: 8.5/10
Precision: 8/10
Value: 9/10
Speed: 7.5/10
Build Area: 8.5/10
Precision: 7/10
Value: 9.5/10

Both 3D printers are capable of producing very high-quality prints and can be a fun way for anyone to get into the DIY world by assembling a kit like these. There are no other printers on the market as such a low cost that offer so much.

My Bottom Line: The Prusa i3 available here is more expensive than the Anet A8, but the difference in resolution and the addition of auto calibration might just be worth it for some.

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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09/28/2020 06:11 am

Further Research:

If you are still on the fence, consider these resources for further guidance: