Category 3D Printer Comparisons

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers – Which is Best?

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

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

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

Main Differences Between CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printers

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

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

What is a CoreXY 3D Printer?

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

Then along came CoreXY printers.

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

CoreXY 3D Printers

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

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

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

There are some advantages to this design

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

These printers do have some disadvantages

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

What is a Cartesian 3D Printer?

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

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

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

There are some advantages to Cartesian 3D printers.

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

Cartesian 3D Printers

There are some downsides to Cartesian 3D printers.

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

CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D – Ease of Use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Comparing CoreXY vs Cartesian 3D Printer – Pricing

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

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

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

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

Examples of some of the Best CoreXY 3D Printers

Two Trees Sapphire Pro

Twotrees Sapphire-PRO 3D

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Noise can be a factor
  • Getting to the print bed is a bit harder than it should be
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11/29/2020 05:09 am GMT

Tronxy X5SA Pro

TRONXY X5SA Kit

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Needs to be modified out of the box
  • Not that suitable for new 3D printer users
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11/29/2020 05:09 am GMT

Creative3D Elf Printer

Creatividad CoreXY

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Could do with better support options
  • Springs for the bed leveling system are a bit short
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11/29/2020 05:09 am GMT

Examples of some of the Best Cartesian 3D Printers

Creality Ender 3

3D Creality Ender

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

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

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

Pros

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

Cons

  • Adhesion is often required for prints to stick to the bed
  • Manual calibration is also needed with this printer
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Prusa i3 MK3S

Prusa i3 MK3S kit

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

This well-constructed and durable machine has auto-calibration, the ability to pause and restart prints, and the software that comes with it is easy to use. You’ll find really good support and community help with this printer. There are some issues overprints over a long duration but overall we’ve found that the Prusa i3 MK3S is a fantastic Cartesian printer albeit with a hefty price tag.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Is a bit expensive compared to some other models
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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

Makerbot Replicator 5th Gen

makerbot

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

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

It offers a really easy to use the system so you can get started with 3D printing right away even if you are a complete beginner. The software is great and the build volume is good for decent sized objects too. This printer does suffer from being a bit loud but as a true ‘plug and play’ device, it is hard to see much better even if it does cost a sizable sum.

Pros

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

Cons

  • Pretty expensive so will be out of the price range for many people
  • Can produce a lot of noise
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11/28/2020 03:09 pm GMT

Are there any alternatives?

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

Delta 3D printers

FLSUN Q5 Delta printer

A Delta 3D printer works similarly to a Cartesian model as it uses Cartesian coordinates for printing. Where it differs is with the mechanics. These printers use 3 arms which are attached to vertical rails. These arms work to move the printhead around instead of axes which you find on Cartesian 3D printers. They offer fast print speeds but can be expensive to upgrade or fix while the build volumes tend to be a bit smaller too.

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

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11/28/2020 03:09 pm GMT

H-Bot 3D printers

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

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

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

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

FAQs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what should you go with?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Main Differences Between Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon

The main differences between Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon are:

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

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

Exploring Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon features

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

Design & Construction

Closed frame resin printers typically have a similar layout.

Epax X1

Epax X1

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon

Anycubic Photon

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

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

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

Printing

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

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

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

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

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

Software

ChiTuBox Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Post-Processing

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

Post-Processing

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

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

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

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

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

Specifications for Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon

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

Comparing Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Pricing

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Epax X1

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Ease of use

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Support

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

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

Epax X1 vs Anycubic Photon – Pros and Cons

Epax X1 Pros

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

Epax X1 Cons

  • Has a shorter warranty
  • Comparatively expensive

Anycubic Photon Pros

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

Anycubic Photon Cons

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

Are there any alternatives?

Peopoly Phenom

Peopoly Phenom

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

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

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

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

Phrozen Sonic Mini

Phrozen Sonic Mini

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon

What To Look For When Buying 3D Resin Printers?

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

Does Anycubic Photon and Epax X1 Come With Slicing Software?

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

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

What Does Epax X1 and Anycubic Photon Come With?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Should You Upgrade?

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

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

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

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

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

Main Differences Between Anycubic Photon vs Photon S

The main differences between Anycubic Photon vs Photon S are:

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

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

Exploring Anycubic Photon and Anycubic Photon S features

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

Design & Construction

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printing

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S Priting

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

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

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

Software

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

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

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

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

FormWare Slicing Software

Post-Processing

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

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

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

Specifications for Anycubic Photon and Photon S

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

Comparing Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Pricing

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon S Upgraded Pricing

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Ease of use

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

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

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Support

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

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

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

Anycubic Photon vs Photon S – Pros and Cons

Anycubic Photon Pros

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

Anycubic Photon Cons

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

Anycubic Photon S Pros

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

Anycubic Photon S Cons

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

Are there any alternatives?

Elegoo Mars

elegoo mars

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

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

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

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

Wanhao D7

Wanhao D7

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

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

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

Frequently Asked Questions about Anycubic Photon and Photon S

What Is a Resin 3D Printer?

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

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

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

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

Does Anycubic Come With Slicing Software?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, which is better between the two?

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

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

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

Ultimaker S3 vs S5 Comparison [2020]: Is It Worth The Upgrade?

It’s a great time to be a 3D printing enthusiast, largely because of the choices in equipment that we have right now. We have 3D printers from some of the most reputable brands on the planet, as well as those from startups. You can find a 3D printer that fits your needs and budget.

Sometimes, we find ourselves narrowing down Ultimaker S3 and Ultimaker S5 options to two 3D printers from the same company. People who are looking for the best 3D printers will no doubt come across Ultimaker’s line of products. Two of the best in the company’s line-up

Main Differences Between Ultimaker S3 vs S5

The Main Differences Between Ultimaker S3 vs S5 are:

  • Ultimaker S5 has a bigger build volume at 13 by 9.4 by 13 inches (330 by 240 by 330 millimeters), whereas Ultimaker S3 only has 9 by 7.6 by 7.9 inches (230 by 192 by 200 millimeters).
  • Ultimaker S5 can use up to 30 percent more electricity than the S3 to get to the same temperatures, whereas Ultimaker S3 can use up to 350 watts of power compared to the S5 which takes up to 500 watts.
  • Ultimaker S5 comes with some peripherals, whereas Ultimaker S3 doesn’t have these peripherals available
  • Ultimaker S5 is around $2,000 and it’s the more expensive option, whereas Ultimaker S3 is the budget-friendlier than the Ultimaker S5

But what are the things that you should know about these two 3D printers? Which one is better suited for your needs?

Ultimaker S3 vs S5: What’s the Same?

Much of the technology being used by both printers are the same. For instance, both of these use fused filament fabrication technology, which layers melted filament on top of each other to create your 3D model. They also work best with filaments with diameters of 2.85 millimeters (0.11 inches).

What Is Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker S3

Print Quality

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 can print layers that are as thin as 20 microns thin, which means you can get finely detailed 3D objects with them. Both printers are also very accurate with XYZ resolutions rated at 6.9, 6.9, and 2.5 microns.

Touch Display

Both models use a touch display that measures 4.7 inches (119 millimeters). The full-color display allows you to know the status of your printer, as well as providing an easy way to configure or set your preferences.

Dual Extrusion and Print Cores

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 benefits from having print cores that allow it to use two filaments while printing a job. The dual extrusion is made possible by the proprietary print cores that these printers use.

These proprietary print cores are specifically tailored for different materials. For instance, you have a print core for those filaments that require high temperatures, and another one that will work with abrasive filaments.

What’s more, it’s easy to switch out the print cores, as they only click into place with one button push. The S3 and S5 come to you with two print cores: AA and BB. You can buy the CC Red 0.6 print core that can handle abrasive materials such as glass and carbon composites.

Automatic Bed Leveling

These printers come with a heated bed that is protected by a glass panel. The heated bed has the Active Bed Leveling technology, which is Ultimaker’s version of automatic leveling.

Enclosed Printing Area

The S3 and S5 have a semi-enclosed build area that is protected by a glass door. This feature helps ensure that you will have no problems with filaments that are sensitive to changes in temperature.

Ultimaker S5

Ultimaker S5

Connectivity and Software

These Ultimaker printers now have more connectivity options. For one, both can be used as a network host and can connect to compatible printers that are connected to the same local network. As such, the Ultimaker S3 and S5 can manage and assign print jobs to machines that may have the appropriate print cores that are needed for a particular print job.

Ultimaker works with Cura as its slicing software. Cura has a feature that allows you to monitor printers. The S3 and the S5 can use Cura to send the print jobs over the air and even allow you to watch the printing using the embedded camera.

Speaking of software, both printers also have direct CAD integration using plugins that allow it to use Autodesk Inventor and SolidWorks files.

Compatible with Third-Party Materials

The Ultimaker S3 and S5 printers allow you to use third-party filaments, but they also have their own materials that you can use. This means that you can have your pick of materials to use with both of these printers. For instance, you can save money by using a third-party filament that’s a more affordable 3D Printer than Ultimaker’s.

Both printers also have filament sensors that tell you when the material runs out and needs to be replaced. These sensors can also detect if there is a blockage that you will need to attend to.

So What Are the Differences Between the Ultimaker S3 and S5

So if the technology and features offered by the Ultimaker S5 and S3 are mostly the same, why is the Ultimaker S5 around $2,000 more expensive? Is it worth the extra dough?

Ultimaker S3 vs S5

The Ultimaker S3 Has a Smaller Build Volume

The Ultimaker S3 only has a third of the S5’s build volume. The Ultimate S3 allows you to build models up to 9 by 7.6 by 7.9 inches. The S5 has around three times the size at 13 by 9.4 by 13 inches.

This means that you can print bigger models with the S5, with finer and more intricate details than the S3. You can also print a model in one piece, rather than having separate parts that need to be assembled later on.

If you are doing some batch printing, the Ultimaker S5 will allow you to produce more in a series than the S3.

Dimensions Are Different, As Well

The S5 is also a bigger printer, measuring 19.5 by 23 by 30.7 inches (495 by 585 by 780 millimeters) and weighs more at 45.4 pounds (20.6 kilograms). Meanwhile, the S3 measures 15.5 by 19.3 by 25.1 inches (394 by 489 by 637 millimeters) when fully assembled. It weighs 31.7 pounds (14.4 kilograms).

Ultimaker S3 Printers Are for Homes Only

Ultimaker S3 is built to comply with EMC Class B standards, which means that it’s marketed for use in homes and has a stricter electromagnetic compatibility limits than Class A devices.

Class A devices are suited for commercial, business, and industrial environments. The Ultimaker S5 used to comply with EMC Class A standards but has since been upgraded to comply with Class B standards.

Ultimaker S5 Uses More Power

The build plate on the Ultimaker S5 is bigger than the one you see on the S3. The difference in size means that it will take more power to heat up the S5’s build plate when compared to the S3.

The S3 can use up to 350 watts to heat up its build plate, while the S5 will use up to 500 watts to get the build plate to the same temperature.

ultimaker 5 print

Peripherals

The Ultimaker S3 is currently a standalone device and that limits the features and functionalities that you can get from the 3D printer. Meanwhile, there are peripherals that are available for the Ultimaker S5.

Ultimaker Air Manager

The Air Manager makes your prints with the Ultimaker S5 a whole lot better and more efficient. It uses an E10 filter that can trap ultrafine particles, while also putting up a physical barrier around your printer to make sure that airborne particles do not interfere with your prints.

The Air Manager can also regulate its fan speed depending on what material you are using to create better prints.

Ultimaker Material Station

Meanwhile, the Material Station allows your printer to use up to six material spools. You can easily see what spools are loaded, and which extruders are using which material.

The printer can also switch filaments automatically when the material runs out. The Material Station is also an excellent way to store your filaments because of the humidity control in its chamber.

Frequently Asked Questions About Ultimaker S3 vs S5

We know you still have questions, so here are some of the most often asked questions from people who are deciding between the Ultimaker S5 and S3.

Is Ultimaker a good brand for 3D printers?

Ultimaker is based in the Netherlands and is a reputable 3D printer manufacturer. The company aims to make industrial 3D printing accessible. Founded in 2011, the company has been launching 3D printers that are easy to use and hassle-free.

Support is helpful. They have a help section on their products, including printers and peripherals. You can download the firmware, user manuals, and other software straight from their site. Plus a knowledge base that is constantly updated and proves to be very helpful to Ultimaker owners.

Aside from 3D printers, the company also has its own line of materials as well as a range of software such as the subscription-based Ultimaker Essentials package and the Ultimaker Cura slicer program.

What are the technologies that Ultimaker uses for their 3D printers?

Ultimaker promises to bring the best features to their 3D printers, and right now, they have the following features:
Geared feeder: Has better torque and grip, which means the filament doesn’t skip in the extruder motor.
Heated build plates: Your 3D models adhere securely to the build plate, which results in fewer failed prints
Dual extrusion: Allows you to print models with two materials
Network connectivity: Printing over the network is possible if you use your 3D printer with Ultimaker Cura
Print cores that can be swapped out: You can easily and quickly swap print cores, which means faster maintenance and more uptimes
Touchscreen user interface: Allows you to control your printer’s operation and settings easily and quickly
Filament flow sensor: These sensors will monitor if you’ve run out of filament while printing. It will then pause the process so you can add more filament.

How much can you expect to pay for an Ultimaker printer?

Ultimaker 3D printers can prove to be quite expensive, but if you consider that these printers have some of the best technologies available right now and the build area, you may find them reasonable. Price points are:
•Ultimaker S3: $3,895
•Ultimaker S5: $5,995
Previous models of Ultimaker 3D printers had the following price points, build area, and extruder type.

PrinterPriceBuild Area (Inches)Dual Extursion
Ultimaker 3$3,4958.5 by 8.5 by 8Yes
Ultimaker 3 Extended$4,2958.5 by 8.5 by 12Yes
Ultimaker 2 +$2,4999 by 9 by 8No
Ultimaker 2 Extended +$2,9999 by 9 by 12No
Ultimaker 2$1,8999 by 9 by 8No
Ultimaker 2 Extended$2,2999 by 9 by 12No
Ultimaker 2 Go$1,1995 by 5 by 5No
Ultimaker Original+ Wood Kit$9958 by 8 by 8No

Ultimaker S3 vs S5: Which Should You Buy?

While the Ultimaker S3 and S5 have are almost the same save for some minor differences, there are still situations where it makes more sense to choose one over the other. Which between the Ultimaker S5 and S3 should you buy?

Buy the Ultimaker S3 if you are an enthusiast looking for a capable printer for home use. The S3 is also perfect for those who are looking to print smaller models.

The S3 can help save you money with its smaller heated bed needing only up to 350 watts of power to reach the maximum temperatures, and definitely uses a lot less power to heat the print bed to a certain temperature when compared to the S5.

Further, the S3 will make more sense if you are looking for a more affordable 3D printer that doesn’t take up too much space on your desktop.

Meanwhile, the Ultimaker S5 is perfect for those who are planning to make a business out of their 3D printing. The printer can handle bigger models, which means better details and fewer components to assemble.

The peripherals that are available for the S5 also make it a better option for those who are looking for headache-free and near-perfect prints. What’s more, it’s well worth its price tag if you plan to use it for commercial purposes and it prints really well even with such a big build volume.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 Compared: Which One Is Right For You?

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 is a tough comparison to make – especially if you’re just starting out with FDM printers.

The world of 3D printing is filled with innovative technology to help unlock your creative potential. However, with so many options available, things can get a little confusing whether you’re new to 3D printing or expanding your horizons.

Fused Deposition Modeling, or FDM, is an excellent option to create high-quality prototype models. They are also relatively inexpensive compared to other Stereolithography Apparatus (SLA) printers, which is why FDM printers are so popular.

That said, its popularity means there are a number of manufacturers all with different claims on why their products are right for you. It can quickly get difficult to understand what and why a particular characteristic of a product should matter to you.

If you’re stuck indecisive between the Anycubic i3 Mega and Creality Ender 3, we’re here to help. This comparison guide explores everything you need to know about each product–their pros, cons, and all the details in between. By its end, we’re confident you’ll be able to make a decision regarding your preference.

Without further ado, let’s get into the comparison.

Main Differences Between Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

The main differences between Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 are:

  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a more user-friendly and straight-forward assembly, whereas more time is required to set up the Ender 3
  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a build volume of 210 x 210 x 205 mm, whereas Ender 3 has a larger build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm
  • Anycubic i3 Mega is more expensive, whereas Ender 3 is a comparatively more affordable FDM printer
  • Anycubic i3 Mega has a lower print speed resulting in more processing time, whereas Ender 3 has a higher printer speed

However, these differences only paint a portion of what each product has to offer and why you might want to pick one over the other. Therefore, you make your final decision, go through our detailed comparison to make a purchase you can be confident in.

Exploring Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 features

anycubic i3 mega 3d printer

Your ultimate decision should be dictated by your preference and the projects you wish to undertake. But, there are a few key factors you need to be laid out in front of you to figure out which printer is right for the job.

Let’s jump right in.

Design & Construction

FDM printers are a great consumer-level option as per current 3D technologies. It’s fast, low-cost, and is able to build sturdy models. These printers extrude thermoplastic filament from its heated nozzle, to melt the material on its flat platform. It builds its models layer-by-layer adjusting the nozzle as it needs.

There are two main kinds of filaments you can use with FDM printers: Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene (ABS), Polylactic Acid (PLA), Polyethylene terephthalate (PTEG), high impact polystyrene (HIPS), Thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU), and Wood (or wood-infused PLA).

Most FDM users will use only one type of filament in each of their projects, but the options may or may not be a feature you want to have. That said, both these printers are highly rated by PLA users as being one of the best.

Moving on to the specifics.

The Anycubic i3 Mega is built from a rigid, metal frame that lends to its stability while providing the printing process with a stable base. It comes mostly assembled, except for a few screws that need to be installed. It is, however, an easy process that a quick read of the manual can help with. Additionally, its Ultrabase print bed provides added stability during the printing process.

The printer also has double x limit switches which provide more level accuracy. It prints in resolutions as fine as 0.05 mm or as large as 0.3 mm. It can be used with the following materials:

  • PLA,
  • ABS,
  • HIPS,
  • PETG,
  • Wood

On the other hand, the Creality Ender 3 has a larger build volume of 220 x 220 x 250 mm. Unlike the i3 Mega’s advanced Ultrabase print bed, it has a standard aluminum build plate that heats up. Ender 3 offers fine details up to 0.1 mm to around 0.4 mm large.

The Ender 3 can be used with the following materials:

  • ABS,
  • PLA
  • TPU
  • PETG

Notably, the i3 Mega uses a touch screen interface, whereas the Ender 3 has a monochrome screen that is controlled using a turn-knob.

Overall, both printers have a solid base with durable construction. The Ender 3 is clearly designed for larger prototypes. It may work as an excellent 3D printer for schools. Whereas, the i3 Mega is more suitable for smaller prints.

Printing

ender 3 printer

Unlike SLA printers, the prints from an FDM printer are not as intricate. However, they still are able to capture a decent amount of detail and deliver a smooth finish. This is why it is considered an ideal option for prototyping.

Ender 3 delivers remarkable quality prints for its price which have a smooth, solid finish. There is an issue, however, the plate bed of the printer is lacking in a little refinement. Being a standard plate bed, it isn’t as stable and would definitely benefit from having an auto-leveling feature.

Moreover, the nozzle may end up slamming into the bed which could ruin the layer’s progression. Aka, you might have to start all over again. But, a few adjustments and awareness of the issue should keep it problem-free for the most part.

Much like the other Anycubic printers, the i3 Mega lives up to its mid-tier status. Its build plate, construction, and stability allow the printer to replicate its quality with its print.

Therefore, the Anycubic i3 Mega is definitely a winner in terms of print quality between the two devices.

Software

anycubic printer

The software of a printer can be a determinant of what you can do with the hardware of a printer. A 3D printer could be built with the best, innovative technologies, but fall short in terms of its software capabilities. It could alter what you can design and how well the printer is able to transform it into a reality.

Ender 3 uses a popular third-part slicing software known as Cura. It does come with a standard version, but you can download the latest version from their website. The software can build your model which is then transferred for the printer to read through a USB or a micro-SD card.

Anycubic has a similar slicing software based on Cura, but it uses a custom version. Likewise, the prototype file is transferred through a USB or SD card.

In the case of software, it comes down to personal preference. Ender 3’s Cura is a market-leading up-to-date product that potentially has more flexibility. But, Anycubic’s software is specifically designed and tested against their product. Additionally, you can receive direct support from the company, if needed.

User-Friendly Features

Lastly, coming towards which printer is more user-friendly. Regardless of which one you pick, you’re likely looking for an affordable 3D printer that fits your budget without feeling like a compromise. Therefore, it helps if your device is user friendly with an as little learning curve as required.

As we alluded to above, the i3 Mega has a simple assembly process with a few screws and an inspection of the manual to get you through it. The Ender 3, however, has a more lengthy assembly process. This means you might have to take some time to understand which part goes where making it less of a plug-and-play printer.

Moreover, the main feature offered by Ender 3 is their Resume Print option. This essentially protects your print from any sudden damage from having a power outage or filament issue.

The i3 Mega also offers this, but it has a few other user-friendly options. Such as its Ultrabase heated plate for even stability, touchscreen interface, and a number of accessories to help you along the process. It may come down to what you specifically need, but the i3 Mega overall has a better user experience to offer.

Specifications for Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3

Anycubic i3 Mega Ender 3
Build Volume: 220 x 220 x 250 mm Build Volume: 210 x 210 x 205 mm
Software: Cura Slicing Software (custom( Software: Cura Slicing Software
Connectivity: USB, SD card Connectivity: USB, Micro-SD card
Layer Resolution: 50 – 300 microns Layer Resolution: 100 – 400 microns
Print Speed: 20-60 mm/s Print Speed: 180 mm/s
Filament Types: ABS, PLA, HIPS, PETG, Wood Filament Types: ABS, PLA, TPU, PETG

Comparing Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Pricing

If you haven’t already checked out their price, can you tell which one is cheaper?

Price is not a measure of quality, but it does help our budget. When considering purchasing any 3D printer, remember its associated costs. From the accessories, you need to its materials. This should help you figure out a budget for your purchase. And, you can always upgrade when you need a more professional set-up.

Both Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 are affordable options that would suit a variety of different functions. But, when it comes to the market price, the Anycubic i3 Mega is comparatively more expensive. The Anycubic is a better option if you’re looking into 3D miniature printing.

Important to note, however, that the i3 Mega has better features, is more user-friendly with finer detail capabilities.

The much cheaper alternative, Ender 3, still provides high-quality finishes and only comparatively falls slightly short. Its print speed, however, is much higher. Therefore if you’re looking for quick prints, the latter could be the right option for you. Also, if you’re starting out this might be a good affordable way to dip your toes in the world of 3D printing.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Ease of use

anycubic printer 1

Looking at the overall package both devices offer, it is clear that the Anycubic i3 Mega is easier to use. It has a professional set-up with a focus on delivering fine detailed, quality prints and software the company has tested.

The Ender 3, on the other hand, is a good printer, but it does require a little more finessing than the former printer. It is also considered ideal for hobbyists who are enthused by their 3D printer to unlock its full potential by trying out different options.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Support

If you’re concerned about receiving support, both companies have you covered with easy and quick customer service. To get in touch with their representatives, visit Anycubic Support or Creality Support.

Moreover, both companies have a fantastic and ever-growing community of 3D enthusiasts of various levels. You can talk to like-minded individuals to sort out most issues and get to printing beautifully constructed models.

Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Pros and Cons

Anycubic i3 Mega Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive for the astonishing quality it provides
  • Straight-forward, simple set up
  • Mechanical filament sensor
  • Touch-screen
  • Ultrabase Heated Bed for even heating and stability
  • Works well with PLA, PETG, HIPS, ABS, and Wood

Anycubic i3 Mega Cons

  • Cannot be upgraded
  • Noisy

Creality Ender 3 Pros

  • Affordable options as an FDM printer
  • Large print volume
  • High quality, but quick printing
  • Customizable to fix any issues
  • Can be used with a number of materials including PLA, TPU, ABS, and PETG
  • Comes with industry-popular Cura Slicing software
  • Solid built

Creality Ender 3 Cons

  • The plate bed needs to be adjusted
  • Printing quality can be improved

Are there any alternatives?

Prusa i3 MK3S

prusa i3 mk3s

It is a little known secret that most FDM printers are fashioned to be a low budget option to the Prusa printers. Therefore, if you have the cash to spend, it might be a good option for you to check out.

The Pursa i3 MK3S has an impressive build volume of 250 x 210 x 200 m and layer resolution up to 50 microns. Therefore, you can get some really fine detail and high-quality prints from the device.

Its structure and design stand out due to their stability and accuracy. The company listens to the consumer to upgrade their devices to enhance user experience and provide better results.

It uses a USB drive or SD card to transfer prints while using their own custom PursaSlicer. The software is rich with features and the company frequently updates it.

However, it is compatible with other third-party software if the users wish to try others. Overall, if you have the cash to spend, this award-winning FDM printer might be right for you.

Monoprice MP Select Mini V2

monoprice

If you’re looking to stay on a budget, the Monoprice MP Select Mini is a good option as well.

Monoprice manufactures a host of electronics and the MP select mini is one of their forays in the 3D printing space. It is rather small with a build volume of 120 x 120 x 120 mm, but it can be a good option for miniature or other smaller models.

An impressive feature of the printer includes the addition of WiFi connectivity along-with USB and Micro-SD cards. It also is backed by a community and large following so getting support for various projects would not be difficult. The company recommends using Cura or Repetier-Host as slicing software when working with the device, but other users do mention its capabilities with other software as well.

Due to all this, the Monoprice MP Select Mini V2 is an excellent option for you to peek at.

FAQs About Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3

What Are FDM Prints And What Can You Do With Them?

The Fused Deposition Modeling printer, also known as the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF), printer is a 3D technology that builds models using a continuous flow of filament.

It typically uses thermoplastic material in the forms of PLA, ABS, PTEG, HIPS, TPU, or wood. The material is fed to the device’s nozzle or extruder head that deposits it on a heated bedplate. The nozzle moves according to its input to build models on a layer-by-layer basis. A small amount of thermoplastic material is deposited on each new layer.
The end result is a smooth, uniform, and sturdy model.

FDM printers are typically used to create a product or part prototypes. It can also be used for producing some end-use products depending on its purpose. They have also been used in the food industry to produce packaging and as 3D modeling printers in the medical industry.

What To Look For When Buying FDM Printers?

You might want to consider different elements depending on the projects you want to complete. However, we suggest keeping the following questions in mind when purchasing an FDM printer:
•What build volume do I need?
•How crucial is layer resolution to my project?
•Can the bedplate auto-level for ensuring stability or will adjustments need to be made?
•Are there any build upgrades required?
•What kind of nozzle or heated bed plate does the device have?
•What connectivity options are available?
•Which software can I use with the device?
•Does the company offer spare parts?
•What post-processing procedures are required?
•What is the device’s print speed?
•How budget-friendly is the device for you?

What Do Anycubic i3 Mega and Ender 3 Come With?

The Anycubic i3 Mega printers come with:
•Pliers
•Screws
•Scraper
•Tool set
•Card reader
•Glove
•SD Card
•User manual
•Tweezer
•Power cord
•USB cable

The Ender 3 comes with:
•Pliers
•Screws
•Toolkit
•Screwdriver
•Wrench
•Scraper
•Ties
•Manual

What, if any, Other Slicing Software Can Be Used With Anycubic i3 Mega or Ender 3?

Aside from their own slicing software, both printers can be adapted to be used with other slicing software, such as
•Netfabb Standard
•PrusaSlicer
•OctoPrint
•MatterControl
•Simplify3D
•MakerBot Print

Do I get a warranty with Anycubic i3 Mega or Ender 3?

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

Our Verdict: Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 – Which is better?

To conclude our Anycubic i3 Mega vs Ender 3 comparison, both printers are good and affordable FDM printing options. Although there are differences in quality, build volume, and overall functionality; however, that shows their different applications.

As such, we recommend Anycubic i3 Mega to be a suitable option for medical or other product prototype building. It can help you and your clients visualize designs. Or, alternatively, it can reliably build small parts required by manufacturers and other companies. In fact, if we had to pick one, we’d go with the Anycubic i3 Mega for its versatility and wider application.

The Ender 3 is ideal for the hobbyist. Individuals looking to upgrade their cosplays using 3D printing, for example, could greatly benefit from it. Alternatively, beginners and those at the start of their learning journey could find Ender 3 to be a good affordable option. That also makes it ideal for school or college students to elevate their skills.

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 3D Printer 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.

Read More

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.

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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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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

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.

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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.

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11/29/2020 07:10 am GMT

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.

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