Flashforge Creator 3 Review [2020]: Our Honest Opinion

Flashforge Creator 3 Review

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

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

Specifications

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

Setup

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

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

flashforge creator 3 review

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

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

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

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

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

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

Features

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

IDEX

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

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

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

Built-in HD camera

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

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

Fully enclosed design

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

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

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

Flexible removable build plate

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

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

Auto shut-off

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

3D cloud

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

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

Software

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

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

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

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

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

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

flashprint flashforge software

Performance

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

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

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

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

Alternatives

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

CraftBot Flow

CraftBot Flow

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

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

Ultimaker 3

ultimaker 3

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

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

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
$4,336.59
Get it on Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 12:11 am UTC

Raise3D Pro2

Raise3D Pro2

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

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

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

Raise3D Pro2 3D Printer - Where to Buy
$3,999.00
Amazon MatterHackers
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 12:11 am UTC

FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

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

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

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

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

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

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

kodak portrait 3d printer review

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

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

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

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

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 02:09 am UTC

Specifications

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

Kodak

Setup

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

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

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

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

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

Features

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

Dual print cores

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

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

Filament cartridges

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

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

Print area and temperatures

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

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

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

kodak portrait review

Steel frame

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

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

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

Cloud-based printing

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

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

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

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

kodak portrait

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

printers on the market.

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 02:09 am UTC

Alternatives

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

Ultimaker 3ultimaker 3

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

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

Ultimaker 3 3D Printer
$4,336.59
Get it on Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 12:11 am UTC

Prusa i3Prusa i3

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

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

Formlabs Form 3Formlabs Form 3

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

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

FAQ

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

What is the best 3D printer for the money?

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

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

What should I know before buying a 3D printer?

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

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

What software do you need for 3D printing?

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

Kodak 3D Printer Portrait - Where to Buy
$2,999.00
Amazon Learn More
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you. 10/27/2020 02:09 am UTC

Anycubic Chiron Review [2020]: Is It The Best Pick For You?

For most people, when they think about 3D prints, they often associate it with smaller objects such as an action figure, a small boat, or perhaps a tiny model of your house. But there are times when large-scale printers make more sense. The problem is that 3D printers with a huge build volume often means you pay an arm and a leg for the privilege of owning it.

Not with the Anycubic Chiron. This 3D printer shows the world that bigger printers need not be expensive. It’s priced at less than $500 but offers a wide range of features that you will typically find in an excellent 3D printer today. Plus it allows you to print bigger things.

Sounds like it’s too good to be true? Read on and find out. We will touch on the features and reasons why Anycubic Chiron is more than worth its price. We will also explore some alternatives to the Chiron, as well as help you decide on whether to buy this 3D printer or not.

Anycubic Chiron: What You Need to Know

The Anycubic Chiron 3D printer has a build volume of 15.7 by 15.7 by 17.7 inches (400 by 400 by 450 millimeters) allowing you to print large scale models with ease. What’s more, the printing platform works with most filaments. Your prints will adhere to the heated bed with ease, while it’s easy to pry them off the platform when it’s cold.

The short-distance extruder allows for a smooth release of the melted filaments. This process allows the printer to ensure higher print accuracy between 0.002 to 0.012 inches (0.05 to 0.3 millimeters).

This printer comes with a full-color touch display that allows you to control the settings and operate your printer. The user interface is intuitive and easy to figure out.

anycubic chiron review

The Anycubic Chiron also comes with a filament sensor that will alert you if the printer runs out of filament or if it breaks while printing. Other features that you should know about the Anycubic Chiron include:

  • Technology: Fused Deposition Modeling
  • X, Y, Z positioning accuracy rated at 12.5, 12.5, and 2 microns
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.016 inches (0.4 millimeters)
  • Print speed: 0.79 to 3.94 inches per second (20 to 100 millimeters per second)
  • Compatible materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood, TPU
  • Ambient Operating Temperature: 46.4 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit (8 to 40 degrees Celsius)
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius)
  • Connectivity: Memory card and data cable

Pricing

Anycubic Chiron sells for around $430 and that comes with a pound (0.5 kilograms) of PLA filament. You can opt to order the printer with 5.5 pounds (2.5 kilograms) of filament for $50 more.

What’s in the Box

The Chiron comes to you with a bit of assembling necessary. The good news is that putting it together will take you 30 minutes to 1 hour at most. Plus, the package gives you everything you need to assemble the 3D printer, including:

  • 10 M5 Screws
  • Glove
  • PLA Filament
  • Pliers
  • Power cord
  • Scraper
  • SD card
  • SD Card reader
  • Tool set
  • Tweezer
  • USB cable
  • User manual

What You Would Like About the Anycubic Chiron

The Ultrabase Pro print bed with its microporous coating can really hold on to your models so they don’t topple over while printing is in progress. Plus, unlike other heated beds with a good hold, it’s easy to pry off the finished prints after you have let the bed cool down completely.

What’s more, the Anycubic Chiron works with a wide assortment of filaments so you can use the materials that you need. Everything is easy to do, from assembly to printing.

But this printer’s main selling point is the huge build volume without the expected expensive price tag.

Anycubic Chiron Features

What Might Turn You Off from the Anycubic Chiron

For those who feel clumsy, you might want to skip on the Chiron as you will need to assemble it before you can use it. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to figure out how to assemble the machine and the instructions help too.

While this printer offers automatic bed leveling, there are some issues. For one, you will need to manually adjust the bed first to make sure that it’s level. Calibrating the bed can be quite a pain as well, so it’s a shame that the auto bed leveling is not up to par with some of Chiron’s competitors.

Pros

  • Huge build volume
  • Removable stepper drivers
  • Ultrabase Pro bed is excellent
  • Intuitive user interface and touch display

Cons

  • Loud fans
  • Auto leveling needs work

Anycubic Chiron: The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Chiron gives you the chance to print large models without any problem. This printer has one of the biggest build volumes you can find right now. And because of that, you should know that you will need a big space to accommodate it as well.

Fully assembled, this printer measures 25.6 by 24.1 by 28.3 inches (651 by 612 by 720 millimeters). That’s right, it’s more than two feet all around.

There are some issues with the automatic bed leveling, but it’s something that you can probably remedy by doing what the manufacturer: do the adjustments manually at first.

Print quality can be excellent if you can find the right profiles for this printer. And with its below-$500 price tag and huge build volume, you will not regret buying this 3D printer.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Chiron

For those people who like to have their 3D printers come to them fully assembled, you should look at these products. The same goes for those who are looking for an alternative to the Chiron.

The good news is that there are options for you. In fact, there is quite a handful of 3D printers that offer huge build volumes at different price points.

1. Raise3D Pro2 Plus

With a jaw-dropping price tag at $6,000, Raise3D Pro2 Plus is sure to raise some eyebrows. However, all indicators seem that it has enough features and good things to justify that price.

For one, this 3D printer gives you a huge build volume of 12 by 12 by 23.8 inches (305 by 305 by 605 millimeters). While it can’t match the width and depth of prints that the Chiron can give you, it certainly allows you to significantly taller 3D objects.

Raise3D Pro2 Plus

What’s more, the Raise3D Pro2 Plus comes with electronic extruders. These dual extruders have retracting hot ends that can print even the most complicated parts. Plus you can also use multiple filaments.

This printer also uses interchangeable nozzles with diameters of 0.008 inches (0.2 millimeters) that translates to even finer details. This is also a very accurate and precise 3D printer with astounding print quality. It boasts of a layer resolution of 0.01 millimeters.

You will also like the seven-inch touchscreen on this printer, which allows you to easily control the printer, change the settings, and see what’s going on. You can review the status of the printing, even see how much work has been done so far, as well as get other information that you may need.

Further, because the extruders can get as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius), it works with more filaments such as:

  • ABS
  • ASA
  • HIPS
  • Nylon
  • PC
  • PETG
  • PLA
  • PP
  • PVA
  • TPE
  • TPU
  • Carbon fiber infused
  • Glass fiber infused
  • Metal fill
  • Wood fill

You can also do things wirelessly such as upload a design to the printer over the air. You can also control and monitor your prints even when you’re halfway across the world. The 3D printer also safeguards the air quality in the room where it’s working with the HEPA air filter included in the machine.

Lastly, you’d like the excellent build plate system that is made with aerospace-grade aluminum. This plate system can get very hot to ensure better adhesion.

Pros

  • Resumes printing after a power loss
  • Tells you when you’ve run out fo filament
  • Can be accessed, tracked, and controlled remotely
  • connectivity options include Wi-Fi, USB port, live camera, and LAN
  • Works with a wide assortment of filaments
  • Consistently excellent print quality
  • The fully enclosed print area for better heat management
  • Integrated software
  • Heated magnetic aluminum bed
  • HEPA filter

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Has a large footprint measuring 24.4 by 23.2 by 43.5 inches (620 by 590 by 1,105 millimeters)

2. Modix Big-60

The Modix Big-60 gives you a huge build volume at 23.62 by 23.62 by 23.62 inches (600 by 600 by 600 millimeters). That’s roughly two feet all around and that’s definitely larger than the build volumes of both Anycubic Chiron and Raise3D Pro2 Plus. It retails at $3,700.

You will need to assemble it yourself and it might require a couple of people to finish. Fully assembled, this machine measures 36 by 42 by 53 inches (906 by 1,060, by 1,356 millimeters) so you need to earmark space for this printer.

Modix Big-60

The Modix Big-60 has gone through three iterations. The latest version 3 comes with a lot of new features that you will love. You get a professional 3D printer that has a black and red color scheme. It uses high-quality aluminum and other quality materials for its construction and the V3 has the E3D Aero extruder.

This printer has one extruder, but you can set it up so that it can work with a dual-extruder setup that allows you to print with two filaments.

The V6 Volcano hot end features interchangeable nozzles. The printer can work with a variety of materials, even the rare and exotic ones. What’s more, you can fit it with different nozzles as long as the diameter falls between 0.02 to 0.05 inches (0.4 to 1.2 millimeters).

The touchscreen interface is huge at seven inches. You can use the interface to operate the printer, as well as to see the status of your prints in real-time. the Modix Big-60 can also connect to your Wi-Fi network, allowing you to control the machine from your computer or mobile phone.

Pros

  • Automatic bed leveling
  • One of the largest build volumes around
  • Heated bed featuring a dual-zone heater
  • Filament sensor

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Needs to be assembled

3. Creality CR-10S Pro V2

The second version of the Creality CR-10S Pro gives you a build volume of 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters), which is smaller than the build volume you see on the Anycubic Chiron. Plus at $630, this 3D printer is more expensive as well.

Creality CR-10S Pro V2

But why is it on this list despite the smaller build volume and more expensive price tag? It’s because this 3D printer is known to be reliable and powerful.

For one, it looks great with its sleek and modern design. the wires are safely hidden away so it doesn’t look cluttered. Printing on the Creality CR-10S Pro V2 is also very easy.

The printer comes with a powerful 480-watt Mean Well power supply, Capricon filament tubing that is heat resistant, a filament sensor, and an easy to understand user interface. This printer can also resume printing

Pros

  • Automatic bed leveling
  • Mean Well power supply
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Some placements are not intuitive, such as the power switch located towards the back and the input slots are placed towards the front
  • Your print sometimes stick to the print bed

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we try to answer some of the questions that readers often ask us about large 3D printers.

1. Aside from the Anycubic Chiron, are there any other large 3D printers that sell for less than $1,000?

You have options like the Tronxy X5ST-500 and the Creality CR-10 S5 that has a build volume of 19.7 by 19.7 by 23.6 inches (500 by 500 by 600 millimeters) and 19.7 by 19.7 by 19.7 inches (500 by 500 by 500 millimeters), respectively. Both of these single-extruder 3D printers accept third-party filaments and costs around $700 to $800.

You can also check out the Tronxy X5SA, which has a build volume of 13 by 13 by 15.7 inches (330 by 330 by 400 millimeters) and sells for less than $400.

3D Printer Tronxy X5ST-500 Creality CR-10 S5 Tronxy X5SA
Price $700 $800 $360
Build Volume (mm) 500 by 500 by 600 500 by 500 by 500 330 by 330 by 400
Extruder Heads 1 1 1
Min. Layer Height 100 μm 100 μm 40 μm
Printing Speed 100 mm/s 200 mm/s 100 mm/s
Open Source No Software No
Third-party Filament Yes Yes Yes
Heated Bed Yes Yes Yes
Filament Diameter 1.75 mm 1.75 mm 1.75 mm

2. What is the biggest 3D printer that you can own today?

While the world of 3D printers changes constantly, several professional 3D printers can now print larger models. For instance, there’s the BigRep PRO that has a build size of 40.2 by 38.2 by 38.6 inches (1020 by 970 by 980 millimeters).

This printer comes with a dual metering extrusion system and the spool chamber is safe from humidity. It also has a closed print chamber. The company doesn’t mention pricing details for this machine, but you can spend at least $150,000 on this machine.

Another huge 3D printer is the Cosine Additive AM1 that gives you a build volume of 43.3 by 33.5 by 33.5 inches (1,100 by 850 by 850 millimeters).

3. Why do you even need a large scale printer?

Would you need to print really large objects? Yes, there are instances when you will want to have a large scale printer, such as:

  • Single-body parts. For instance, if you’re printing a cosplay costume, you can probably get away with printing out smaller parts and then assembling it later on. However, these will not be as durable as printing a particular part as a single piece.
  • Reduced weight. Take for example you want to 3D print a stool, which is usually made with wood. If you print a stool using plastics, the resulting object will be a whole lot lighter than a wooden stool.
  • Faster prints when compared to your ordinary hobbyist 3D printer. On top of being more durable, being able to use a large 3D printer will make the whole process faster because you don’t have to cut up your large model into smaller components. You also save time from having to assemble these smaller parts.
  • Batch printing is easier. With a large printer, you can save time when you print in batches. Say you need 100 pieces of an iPhone case. With ordinary printers, you will probably need to print in several batches to get those 100 pieces. Large scale printer needs significantly fewer rounds.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Chiron?

The Anycubic Chiron is an FDM printer that can give you high-quality prints and has the features that you will expect from a high-end and more expensive printer.

It works with a wide range of filaments, has a heated bed that can automatically level itself, and a full-color touch display for the user interface. In short, it gives you everything that a reasonably priced 3D printer can give, plus some extras.

But what sets it apart is big the build volume is. With the Anycubic Chiron, you can print 3D models that are more than a feet big all around. Plus, this printer is a fast worker as well, clocking in at 0.79 inches per second for high-resolution prints but can go as fast as four inches per second.

You get all that while dropping only less than $500 for this printer. There are better printers, such as the Modix Big-60 and the Raise3D Pro2 Plus. However, these machines will see you dropping some serious money.

So for its build volume, features offered, and affordable pricing, you can’t go wrong with the Anycubic Chiron.

Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse Review: Everything You Need to Know

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

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

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

Specifications

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

Setup

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

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

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

Lulzbot TAZ Workhorse

Features

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

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

Sturdier frame

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

Heated build plate

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

Modular bed:

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

Supported materials

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

E3D hot end and 360 cooling

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

lulzbot taz workhorse features

Automatic calibration

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

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

Belt-driven Z-axis

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

Automatic nozzle cleaning

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

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

3.5” graphical LCD

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

Swappable tool heads

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

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

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

lulzbot taz workhorse package

Open design

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

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

Full assembly

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

Software

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

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

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

Cura Lulzbot Edition

Customer Service

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

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

Price

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

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

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

Alternatives

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

Lulzbot TAZ Pro

Lulzbot TAZ Pro

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

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

Lulzbot TAZ 6

lulzbot taz 6

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

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

Ultimaker 3

Ultimaker 3

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

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

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

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

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

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

FAQ

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

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

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

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

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

How much does it cost for a 3D printer?

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

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

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

What is a 3D printer good for?

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

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

The Verdict

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

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

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

Artillery Sidewinder X1 Review: Is It Worth Buying?

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

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

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

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

Specifications

artillery sidewinder x1

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

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

Setup and Settings

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

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

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

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

Technology

artillery printer

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

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

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

Design

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

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

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

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

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

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

Framework

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

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

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

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

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

Print Bed

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

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

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

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

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

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

Extruder

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

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

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

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

UI and Connectivity

connectivity

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

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

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

Usability

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

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

  • Less than ideal filament holder
  • Uneven heat dissipation

Alternatives

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

Mingda D3 Pro

mingda d3 pro

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

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

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

Creality CR-10

creality cr-10s

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

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

Prusa i3

the original prusa i3

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

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

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

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

How much does it cost for a 3D printer?

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

What is a 3D printer good for?

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

Ultimaker S5 Review: Is it Any Good?

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

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

Ultimaker S5

Design

ultimaker s5

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

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

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

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

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

Controls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Printing

ultimaker s5 printer

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

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

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

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

Print Speed and Quality

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

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

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

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

Print Materials

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

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

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

Alternatives

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

LulzBot Taz 6 – Best Print Volume

lulzbot taz 6

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

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

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

Markforged Mark Two – Best for Professionals

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

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

Raise3D Pro2 Plus – Best for the Budget Minded

Raise3D

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

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

FAQs

What is the best 3D printer for beginners?

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

What is the best 3D printer for home use?

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

What is the best 3D printer on the market?

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

Further read: 

Elegoo Mars Review: Pros and Cons

The rise of 3D printers has been quick. In the UK alone, 17 percent said that they will buy a 3D printer. This is probably the reason why there are several manufacturers right now who are offering their own 3d printers.

The ELEGOO Mars is one of the more popular recommendations with its incredibly low price and excellent print quality. This 3D printer is also very easy to learn and a very compact design.

What other things should you know about ELEGOO Mars? And are there alternatives if you’re not impressed with the ELEGOO Mars? Read on and find out more about this 3D printer and whether it is the perfect one for you, or if you should keep looking for something else.

What Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer?

elegoo mars uv

When you buy a budget 3D printer, you kinda expect it to suck. After all, the most common tradeoff for getting an affordable printer is that the quality is often compromised.

Not with ELEGOO Mars, though. This affordable 3D printer does not scrimp on the quality of the prints. It looks great too.

ELEGOO Mars is a photocuring LCD 3D printer that uses photopolymer resins to create the prints you want. The low-priced printer promises high-quality prints because it does not use fusion deposition modeling. FDM is when the 3D printer uses hot plastics that are pushed out of extruders for your prints. FDM printers produce smoother surfaces on your prints that are also more detailed. The problem is that FDM printers can cost quite a lot.

ELEGOO Mars cures the resin to create the prints you want. As such, it does not use the expensive FDM technology and you can buy this printer for around $370.

Specifications and Design

But how is the print quality? To say that these are some high-quality output that can rival prints from more expensive devices will surely not be enough. Let’s look at the specs.

ELEGOO Mars measures 7.87 by 7.87 by 16.14 inches (200 by 200 by 410 millimeters) and it has a build volume of 4.7 by 2.6 by 6.1 inches (120 by 68 by 155 millimeters). This 3D printer is a bit on the small size, which can be good or bad depending on how you view it.

The small size means that the printer does not take up a lot of space, so you can be more flexible when deciding where to put it. But the smaller build volume would limit the size of the prints that you can have with this printer.

The ELEGOO Mars has an aluminum base with an orange cover. It does not look like most other 3D printers, with their boring black or white build.

At the front of the base, ELEGOO puts a sensitive touch display that allows you to tweak the controls and settings for your prints. There is a USB port at the back, which is where you put in the flash drive that contains the print files.

Printing with ELEGOO Mars

Aside from being the little printer that could, ELEGOO Mars also prints differently than other printers. We are used to seeing printers with extruders pushing out plastic filaments to create 3D models.

ELEGOO Mars has a vat of resin and the build platform is dipped repeatedly into it. Ultraviolet light will cure the resin layer by layer. So as the build platform goes in and out of the resin tray, another hardened layer is added to it.

What You Will Like About the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

The ELEGOO Mars comes to you already set up. Plus the box already has everything you need to print your first 3D model. That includes the printer, enough resin, gloves, filter funnels, masks, wire cutters, measuring cups, flash drive, and scraper, among others.

Not only that, the ELEGOO Mars has a pretty smooth printing process. That is everything is easy to do even right down to how easy it is to take out the resin tray and put it back.

It is clear that this 3D printer has been thoughtfully designed, so there is no need to push and pull with force worrying about breaking some part or another.

What You Might Not Like About the ELEGOO Mars

elgoo printer

One thing about the ELEGOO Mars that you might find bothersome is this 3D printer makes a loud beeping noise when it starts and finishes a print. You cannot turn it off and it can be pretty annoying.

Another thing is that the consumables can be expensive. ELEGOO manufacturers their own resins, which are available in two volumes: 500 and 1,000 grams (17.6 and 35.3 ounces) and can cost anywhere from $1.13 to $1.60.

And that’s just the resin. You will also need to stock up on gloves because it is not safe to touch the resin without wearing them. Then you also need more filter funnels. Further, you might not like how this 3D printer allows you to do smaller sized 3D objects because of its smaller build volume.

ELEGOO Mars: The Bottom Line

If you have been wishing for a budget-friendly 3D printer that does not produce garbage 3D prints, then the ELEGOO Mars is the answer to your prayers. This affordable 3D printer produces high-quality prints and it does not look cheap at all.

There is a lot of things that go for it as well. The intuitive user interface with its large 3.5-inch, 2560 by 1440 pixels 2K high-definition touch display, makes it very easy to use.

There is a very simple process from setup to printing, so you don’t have to be a techie to learn how to use this device. If you’re looking for a budget printer or just want to try resin printing, this it the best 3D printer for you.

Pros

  • A budget-friendly printer that produces high-quality prints
  • Easy to use with minimal assembly required
  • Eye-catching design that melds aluminum and an orange cover
  • The very simple printing process
  • Compact size

Cons

  • Accessories and supplies can add up to the cost
  • High-pitched beeping noise that you cannot stop or deactivate
  • Smaller than the typical build volume

Alternatives to ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD 3D Printer

With dozens of 3D printers out there, the ELEGOO Mars has a number of excellent competition. If you are looking for a similarly affordable 3D printer that doesn’t hurt your pocket, here are some alternatives.

1. X-one2 3D Printer

qidi printer

If you are looking for an even more affordable 3D printer, then you can check out QIDI Tech X-one2 3D Printer.

This printer is pretty much plugged and play and you can start using it the moment you get it out of the box. It is an FDM printer with a single extruder and can work with different filament types such as ABS, TPU, and PLA. It also comes with a 3.5-inch touchscreen that allows you to operate the printer and set its configurations easily.

What’s more, it has the features that you would expect from other similar but more expensive printers. It has an enclosed build that helps to keep the temperature constant while keeping dirt, dust, and curious fingers out of the printing area.

It also comes with a heated print bed, which allows you to print with PETG or ABS filaments. It also allows for third-party filaments to be used when you are printing.

However, this printer only gives you a printing size of 5.5 by 5.5 by 5.5 inches (139.7 by 139.7 by 139.7 millimeters), which is significantly smaller than the ELEGOO Mars’ already tiny build volume.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Simple operation, just feed the printer some filament and start printing

Cons

  • Small build size

2. Comgrow Creality Ender 3 3D Printer Kit

ender 3

The Creality Ender 3 has several excellent features that make it well worth its low price. For one, you can resume printing after a power outage. It also uses an advanced extruder that lessens the possibility of failed extrusion and plugging risk. It is also very quiet and durable.

This fully open-source printer has its source codes available to the community, allowing anyone to make changes and improve the product. What’s more, this printer gives you a build volume of 8.7 by 8.7 by 10 inches (220 by 220 by 250 millimeters).

However, the low price and the decent build volume has some tradeoffs. First, you will need to assemble it. While the whole process is quite easy to do, especially if you follow the manual or find a good YouTube tutorial, it will still take time.

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Precise printing at more or less 0.1-millimeter precision
  • Open-source
  • It is possible to get high-quality prints
  • Easy assembly

Cons

  • Difficult to level
  • You need to manually calibrate the printer
  • You will need to assemble this 3D printer kit

3. QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer

qidi tech shadow

If you would like a non-FDM printer and get something that works with resins, then check out the QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer. This 3D printer sells for around $150, making it much more affordable than an ELEGOO Mars.

What’s more, this 3D printer looks great with its tempered glass construction in red and gold. The Chinese manufacturer might have been going for a bit of an Iron Man look, but that should not be too much of a complaint.

The QIDI TECH Shadow 5.5 S 3D Printer has a build volume of 4.52 by 2.55 by 5.9 inches (115 by 65 by 150 millimeters). It is able to print with resolutions of 2,560 by 1,440 pixels and you can use third-party resins with this printer.

That means you get excellent details on your 3D prints, and the printer works quietly. Two air filters inside the build chamber infuse the fumes with activated carbon, so there is less stench coming from the resin. However, there are complaints about the printer arriving with dings on the body.

Pros

  • Great for beginners because of the included instruction
  • The air filtration system can fight the stench that normally comes resin printers
  • High-quality prints at a very attractive price point

Cons

  • Quality control issues with the printer, with some components arriving dented, beat up or broken
  • The company does not provide any customer service

FAQs

1. What is FDM printing?

Fused deposition modeling or fused filament fabrication is when your 3D printer extrudes melted material to form your 3D object. FDM technology is the most commonly used in 3D printing, and most people will encounter FDM 3D printers first before any other technology.
FDM technology has some benefits, such as lower costs and a wide range of materials you can use with it. It is also faster because you don’t have to do a lot of post-processing.

2. What is stereolithography?

Stereolithography, or SLA, is a type of 3D printing technology that uses resins to create your model. Unlike FDM, which pushes melted materials out of the extruders, SLA printers use light or lasers to cure resin: turning it from liquid to hard plastic.
FDM printers have their extruders and filaments, while SLA printers have their light sources and vat of resin.
SLA printers often produce stronger models that are water-resistant or waterproof. These 3D printers are also very precise and accurate, with very fine details
You can also have a very smooth finish with SLA printers. Not only that SLA printers are typically less expensive than FDM printers and you can use a wide variety of materials with different characteristics. For instance, your resin can hold a lot of secondary materials such as ceramic or glass.

3. What are the things to remember if you are buying a printer like ELEGOO Mars?

There are some precautions you should take when it comes to working with SLA printers in general.
for one, there is the possibility that it will give off a strong odor or stench while printing. This is the reason why you should always find an SLA 3D printer that has good ventilation or air filtration system.
What’s more, the resins used for this kind of printer tend to come with a lot of caveats. First, you should wear the right protective equipment.
You will need to wear gloves that are made with neoprene or nitrite. You should also use safety goggles and a dust mask when you are sanding parts of your newly printed object.

Is the ELEGOO Mars UV Photocuring LCD Printer a Good Buy?

On its own, there are a lot of reasons why you should buy the ELEGOO Mars. For one, it is a budget-friendly printer that delivers excellent print quality. It has a sizable build volume that allows you to create sizable prints.

However, if you zoom out and check out other budget-friendly printers, you would find that it is not a novelty that something so affordable can deliver awesome looking and detailed prints. For instance, you can get two FDM printers that are cheaper than the ELEGOO Mars.

The QIDI Tech X-one2, for one, has similar features as the ELEGOO Mars, but it does have a smaller build area. Nevertheless, it is very easy to operate and learn.

If you like an alternative that uses resin, then check out another QIDI product: the Tech Shadow 5.5 S. This 3D printer can deliver a high-resolution print that retails for less than $150. If you are handy with your hands, you can check out the 3Dpritner kits such as the Creatlity Ender 3D Printer. This printer needs some assembly to work properly.

Overall, it is difficult to find a better 3D printer that can combine low costs and excellent 3D prints, with a vibrant community of users who can help you should you hit a snag.

Further read:

The Anycubic Predator Review That You’ll Love

Build volumes pretty much dictate how big a 3D model you can print with a 3D printer. Bigger build volumes mean that you can print objects that can cover a bigger area, or if you need to put it together into one bigger object, you’d need to have less moving parts.

What’s more, if you’re currently using a mini printer, having access to one that has a bigger build volume means that you can print your current models on a larger scale with more details.

Usually, when you see a 3D printer that has a large build volume, you assume that it’s expensive. Not the Anycubic Predator. This Delta-style printer has a sizable build volume and a frame that’s made with quality materials but with a price tag that you will certainly love.

What are the things that you should know about this 3D printer? Are there some downsides to owning an Anycubic Predator? Are there any alternatives that you can consider? Further, should you buy the Anycubic Predator? Read on and find out.

Anycubic Predator: What You Need to Know

anycubic predator

A do-it-yourself 3D printer kit, the Anycubic Predator is made with solid metal, making it very durable. The frame is also very stable so you don’t have to worry about the 3D printer shaking too much when in use.

The Anycubic Predator has a build volume of 14.6 by 14.6 by 17.9 inches (370 by 370 by 455 millimeters), which is larger than most 3D printers out there. It has a layer resolution of anywhere from 0.05 to 0.3 millimeters and positioning accuracy of 0.0125 millimeters on all three axes.

What’s more, it can use any PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood filled, or TPU filaments that have diameters of 0.4 to 1.75 millimeters. Print speed range from 20 to 150 mm per second (0.79 to 5.9 inches per second).

The Predator comes with an auto leveler that keeps track of 37 points. Plus it can do real-time adjustments, without you having to do anything. The nozzle height is also automatically adjusted in real-time. Other features of the Predator include:

  • Ultrabase Pro: The print bed, which can hold the models in place but still be easily removed. The bed is very durable.
  • Filament sensor: Can alert you when filaments run out or when they break.
  • Touch display: Operate your printer with ease with the full-color control panel with its intuitive user interface.
  • Resume: The printer can resume printing after it’s been interrupted by a power trip. You don’t have to worry about wasted prints that take a long time to finish.

What’s in the Box

The good news is that Anycubic has included everything you need to print and maintain your printer in the box, including the:

  • 10 screws
  • Card reader
  • Gloves
  • PLA filament
  • Plier
  • Scraper
  • SD card
  • Toolset
  • Tweezers
  • USB cables
  • User manual

That means that you can assemble your printer the moment it arrives, and then print your first model shortly thereafter.

What You Would Like About the Anycubic Predator

The Anycubic Predator is a well-built, sturdy, and stable 3D printer that feels rock solid. It does not rock when printing and the extrusions are quite uniform and work as they should. The hardware you see here is excellent, made with quality materials.

What Can Be Better

Some users complain about the Ultrabase Pro because the objects being printed don’t really adhere to the print bed. A good workaround is to use regular school glue before you print anything. You will also need to let the print bed cool off before you remove the print to avoid damaging it. You should not even try to remove it using the scraper that comes with the package.

What some people do not like is that the firmware is not open source. This means that you will not be able to tinker with it, or you might have a challenge doing so.

The biggest tradeoff, however, is the lack of support. If you need to buy parts for your Predator, you might find that the customer service is not that responsive. They do not provide shipping updates, tracking numbers, or general feedback for your purchase.

Also, this printer is huge at 22.8 by 20.5 by 40.2 inches (580 by 520 by 1,020 millimeters). You will really need to find a place for it on your worktable.

Anycubic Predator: The Bottom Line

The Anycubic Predator is an excellent printer with all the great technologies you will expect to find in a more expensive model. It’s also perfect for those who like to tinker with their 3D printers because you will need to assemble it and then twiddle with it to make it better. It uses sturdy and durable materials, offers a sizable print volume, and print quality is okay.

It is, however, bogged by the lack of customer service. That is, it’s a good printer until you need to have some parts replaced.

Alternatives to the Anycubic Predator

If you’re looking for a budget 3D printer that doesn’t scrimp on the quality, the Anycubic Predator can be the right choice for you. But it’s not the only affordable printer out there that offers a huge build volume, excellent prints, and an attractively low price tag.

1. Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

Geeetech A20M 3D Printer

The Geeetech A20M 3D Printer is a 3D printer kit that has an aluminum alloy body and uses a Bowden extruder. Assembly is quite easy, especially if you have another person to help you.

Perhaps, the biggest feature that will intrigue you is the mix-color feature. The A20M has two slots for two different filaments, but it uses only one nozzle. This means that you can blend colors while printing.

You can easily achieve color gradation or having the spectrum effect, using the slow transition from one color to another. You can also have the printer print in the two colors without blending it, making it seem like you’ve changed the filament midway.

What You’d Like About the Geeetech A29M

If you assemble this 3D printer right, you will probably have no problems with it. It’s very stable, and the materials used are durable. It has a high-quality look that makes it more expensive than its price tag.

The color mix feature is a good addition as well. What’s more, the electronics are at the bottom, which makes the printer even more stable.

What Can Be Better

Some users might find it difficult to level the bed, as it can wobble too much if not installed properly. Also, the user interface is not that intuitive. For some reason, the company didn’t include a touch display, so you have to tweak the setting using a dial.

Having to turn the dial is a departure from the tap and click type of interaction that we’re all used to by now. Plus, it might not be easy to find the features that you need.

Geeetech A20M: The Bottom Line

Compared to Anycubic Predator, the Geeetech A20M has a smaller footprint at 17.4 by 17.6 by 18.9 inches (442 by 447 by 480 millimeters), still bigger than your regular desktop FDM printer. It also has a smaller build volume at 10 by 10 by 10 inches (255 millimeters all around).

However, it is also cheaper than the Predator and delivers pretty much similar print quality.

Barring some mechanical issues such as having loose or tight adjustments to the print bed, the Geeetech A20M is an affordable 3D printer kit that does a good job overall.

Pros

  • Sizable build volume
  • Print quality is fine and detailed
  • Can support two filaments with color mix features
  • Affordable

Cons

  • If not properly installed, the base can be wobbly

2. Artillery Sidewinder X1

artillery sidewinder

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 comes from a new company that started offering 3D printers in late 2018. That’s both a good and a bad thing. To be honest, the company’s first products received a lot of bad feedback. But the nice thing about Artillery is that they took these feedback and incorporated changes into their later products.

The Sidewinder X1 features some nifty features such as a silent set of fans and the equally noiseless motherboard. It also has a heated bed and a direct drive system. It boasts of a build volume that measures 11.8 by 11.8 by 15.7 inches (300 by 300 by 400 millimeters) on a body that measures 21.7 by 15.9 by 25.2 inches (550 by 405 by 640 millimeters).

The chassis is very sturdy and durable. And it looks great as well. One of the notable design differences that the Sidewinder X1 has is the use of ribbon cables. The ribbon cables reduce the cluttered look of loose cables used by similar printers.

The heated print bed is made with a porous ceramic that is covered by a glass protector. It only takes about 45 seconds to heat the bed to 140 degrees Fahrenheit (60 degrees Celcius).

What You Would Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Artillery Sidewinder X1 is a budget printer that doesn’t look or work like one. It has quality materials that make up the sturdy frame and a fast-heating print bed.

What’s more, it features a direct drive setup that is rare if you consider its price range. The user interface is intuitive and the 3.5-inch (89 millimeters) touch display is easy to see. Installation and setup is a breeze and fast.

What You Might Not Like About the Artillery Sidewinder X1

One of the things that this 3D printer lacks is the sensors that will allow you to automatically level the bed. Instead, you have to do some manually leveling.

There are also concerns about the durability of some of the printer’s components. For instance, you might find that the ribbon cables can break over time. What’s more, the printer does wobble when you print something tall using certain filaments.

Should You Choose This Printer over the Anycubic Predator?

There are some things that the Sidewinder X1 has that you cannot find in other affordable Cartesian 3D printer. It’s refreshing to see a direct drive extruder as well as a directly heated print bed on a budget device. It has a sleek look and can work quietly, while also delivering a decent quality for your prints.

Compared to the Anycubic Predator, this printer has a smaller build volume. Plus, you will probably need to fiddle with the settings a bit to get the best quality prints out of this device. The Sidewinder X1 is also more affordable than the Predator.

Pros

  • Well-designed and sleek-looking
  • It heats up quickly allowing you to start printing in a matter of seconds
  • Silent worker
  • The helpful online user community

Cons

  • The filament holder needs to be replaced
  • Uneven heat

3. Qidi Tech X Plus

quidi tech

The Qidi Tech X Plus is yet one of those budget printers that aims to surprise you with quality prints. You can get layers that are as thin as 50 microns. you can also use a wide assortment of filaments.

The Qidi Tech X Plus has two extruders, filament compartments, and a double-sided bed. These accessories allow you to easily change out the various components so you can get the perfect prints depending on your preferred filament.

What’s more, it gives you several options on how to connect Wi-Fi, tethered and untethered USB, and Ethernet. The build volume for the Qidi Tech X Plus is the smallest out of this bunch, measuring only 7.9 by 7.9 by 10.6 inches (200.7 by 200.7 by 269.2 millimeters).

What You Would Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

There are a lot of nifty features on this printer that you will like. There’s the two-extruder setup, where you can use the A Extruder for general printing materials such as TPU, ABS, or PLA. There’s also the B Extruder for special filaments such as carbon fiber, PC, and nylon.

The difference lies in the maximum temperature that each extruder can get. The A Extruder can get as hot as 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius) while the second extruder can get as hot as 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius)

It also has a dual-sided print bed that can handle different sets of materials as well. There are two filament holders as well.

Plus, unlike other printers in this roundup, the Qidi Tech X Plus arrives fully assembled, so you don’t have to worry about screwing things together and all that. It’s also fully enclosed, so noise levels are kept at a very quiet 40 decibels.

What You Might Not Like About the Qidi Tech X Plus

Qidi Tech has a language barrier problem in that they seem to be struggling to find English speakers and writers who can write their instructions pretty well. The instructions included in the package are confusing and some steps are missing, making it difficult to follow.

Even their customer service and website can be quite confusing. Thankfully, the QiDi Tech X Plus is easily assembled following what you can understand in the manual.

Also, some online tutorials and forums can help you figure things out if you’re stuck.

Qidi Tech X Plus: The Bottom Line

When it comes to budget printers, Qidi Tech X Plus shows you that you can save money and still expect quality prints. This 3D printer makes it easier for you to work with a wide variety of filaments without having to go through the trouble of manually changing out the print bed and extruders.

What’s more, there’s no assembly required, so you can start printing once you get it out of the box.

Pros

  • You can use a wide range of filaments
  • Easy to set up and use
  • Good quality prints

Cons

  • Badly written documentation and customer service representatives can use English lessons

FAQs

1. What is an extruder?

The extruder is one of the most important components of 3D printers. The extruder pushes the filament to the hot end where it is melted.

2. What is the difference between a direct extruder and a Bowden extruder?

A direct extruder is one that is attached to the hot end itself. It’s part of the print head and delivers the filament straight to the hot end.
Because the filament travels for a short distance, direct extruders have better extrusion and retraction and the filament is more responsive to it. It also doesn’t take too much power from the stepper motor. Further, direct extruders work with more filaments, even the abrasive and flexible ones.
A Bowden extruder, on the other hand, is not attached to the print head, but someplace else, usually the printer body. It uses a tube to deliver the filament to the hot end.
Because of this, the print head is much lighter, more accurate, and faster because it doesn’t carry the additional weight of the extruder. Products that use a Bowden extruder tend to have higher quality or faster prints.

3. Do you need an auto-leveling 3D printer?

Making sure that the print bed is level is one of the key considerations when you work with a 3D printer. You can do this manually, or you can rely on a printer’s automatic leveling capabilities to do the job for you.
Auto leveling uses sensors attached to the print head to check several points on the bed. It will then send this information to the printer’s computer so that it could adjust the nozzles as it works.
As such, it makes your life a whole lot easier, and your 3D printing jobs a whole lot faster. It’s also a must for beginners who may not have an idea on how to level the printing beds.

4. What are Delta and Cartesian 3D printers?

A Cartesian-style printer uses the Cartesian coordinate system. A Cartesian printer moves linearly on both X and Y axes. They can move:
– Up and down
– Front to back
– Left to right
Cartesian printers can have moving parts that are inordinately heavy and can shake your printer strongly enough to dislodge prints from the bed. It can sometimes lead to inaccurate prints.
It’s also close to impossible for Cartesian printers to change directions in an instant. However, Cartesian printers do shine with horizontal prints and are easier to understand. It’s also user friendly and cheaper than Delta printers in general.

Delta Printers

Delta printers, for its part, have three arms that can go from one point to another but also change the angles as it moves. Delta printers are much lighter than Cartesian mechanisms, which helps make it responsive to changes in angles and directions.

Delta printers use fewer parts, so there’s less chance that it will break down, but it takes up too much space as well. Delta printers are also more lightweight than a similar Cartesian printer and it’s very easy to upgrade or maintain. It also allows for fast and accurate printing.

Should You Buy the Anycubic Predator?

For its price, the Anycubic Predator is surprisingly an excellent printer that delivers finely detailed prints and has a huge build size. You can use this 3D printer for bigger models. It’s very stable and the construction is solid.

There are competitors for the Anycubic Predator, but it wins in one way or another that makes this printer very easy to recommend. For instance, the Sidewinder X1 can give the Predator a run for its money, but it doesn’t have automatic bed leveling.

The Qidi Tech X Plus is better suited for semi-professional print jobs, but it’s more expensive than the Predator and has a smaller build volume. Meanwhile, the Geeetech A20M has a more affordable price tag, but also a smaller build volume.

Further read:

FLUX BeamBox Review: Our Complete Guide

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

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

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

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

Flux Beambox

beambox

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

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

Design

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

Features

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

Water Cooled

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

High-Quality Ventilation

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

Built-In Camera

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

Prioritize Safety

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

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

High-Resolution Laser

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

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

Rotary

flux beambox laser cutter

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

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

Smartphone Monitoring

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

Beam Studio

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

Specs

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

Alternatives

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

VEVOR Laser Engraver – Best for Anything Non-Metal

vevor laser engraver

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

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

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

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

Mophorn Laser Engraver – Best for Budget Minded

morph laser engraving machine

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

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

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

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

ten high co2

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

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

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

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

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

orion motor tech 40w

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

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

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

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

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

FAQs

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

How does laser cutting work?

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

What metals can be cut with a laser?

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

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

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

Is the Flux Beambox Right For You?

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

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

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

Further read: 

Is Ultimaker S3 Worth It?

It used to be that industrial-grade 3D printers are so bulky that they often take up most of the room you put it in. Today, you have compact 3D printers that are affordable but still delivers excellent quality prints. Ultimaker S3 is one of these printers.

What should you know about the Ultimaker S3? What features and technologies does it have? And are there worthy alternatives for this 3D printer?

What Is Ultimaker S3?

One of the selling points of Ultimaker S3 is how easy it is to use. You get a high-quality 3D print that is composite ready using only the printer and a desktop computer. This 3D printer proves that the latest technologies shouldn’t have to be complicated or expensive.

What Is Ultimaker S3

Features

The Ultimaker S3 boasts of the following features:

  • A sizable build volume of around 9.0 by 7.4 by 7.9 inches (230 by 190 by 200 millimeters) that means that you can create bigger 3D prints with very minimal hassles.
  • A very fine 20-micron, or 0.001-inch, layer resolution, which gives you very fine details and ultra-smooth surfaces.
  • Uses an open filament system that allows you to work with carbon and glass fiber composites and third-party materials.
  • A big 4.7-inch touchscreen interface that allows you to easily tinker with teh settings and options, as well as when operating the printer.
  • Dual filament flow sensors that can tell you when it is time to buy new filaments.
  • A smaller footprint at only 15.5 by 19.3 by 25.1 inches (394 by 489 by 637 millimeters), which means that it doesn’t take up too much space on your desk top. It is also lightweight at only 31.7 pounds (14.4 kilograms).
  • Build speed of around 24 cubic millimeters per second.
  • Silent operation at less than 50 decibels, which is as loud as a normal conversation at home or living in a quiet suburb.

Printing with Two Materials

The Ultimaker S3 allows you to use two different materials in one print job. Ultimaker has perfected its print cores, which is a collection of hot ends that can handle specific materials and print properties.

The print cores can easily be placed inside the printer with just one button push so that it’s easy to set up your prints and maintain the printer.

What’s more, the print cores bring with it a lot of benefits. For one, you don’t waste filaments because the printer doesn’t purge materials when printing.

Automatic Bed Leveling

The Ultimaker S3’s build volume is impressive, but that is made even more remarkable by the heated bed that comes with a removable glass sheet. Plus, the Active Bed Leveling feature ensures that the materials are extruded evenly across the surface.

The S3 also has a semi-enclosed printing space, with a glass door that protects the front of the printer. The semi-enclosed environment ensures a stable atmosphere inside the printing area that is beneficial for those materials that are sensitive to temperature changes.

Connectivity

The Ultimaker S3 connects to the Cura software via Wi-Fi, so you can send print jobs over the air. With this wireless connection, you can allow for remote viewing of any printing in progress and manage printing jobs on queue.

If you have more than one Ultimaker S3 or other printers from the same company, one printer can act as a network host and connect to the other. As such, a networked Ultimaker S3 can scan the network and send printing jobs to printers that have the right materials or print cores.

ultimaker s3 features

What You Would Like About the Ultimaker S3

One of the things that you’d love with the Ultimaker S3 is how reliable it is. It has an advanced active leveling mechanism, as well as a stiffer build platform, that allows you to get the best quality prints.

You will also love how there are a variety of support options that you can use when learning how to use the Ultimaker S3. For one, there are training modules online that you can use to help you understand how to create with your 3D printer. Ultimaker’s local service partners can also provide you with the training, should you need it.

The Ultimaker S3 has a 12-month warranty period, as well as expert technical support via phone or e-mail. They also have online resources as well as an extensive manual for you to learn from. Plus, they maintain a very thorough and detailed knowledgebase as well.

But you may not need all that training because this printer is easy to use. It has a touch interface that allows you to input whatever it is you want it to do. What’s more, the print cores are very easy to swap, while you can get preset print settings so you spend less time trying to figure out what settings to use for a particular print.

The Ultimaker S3 also has an open filament system, so you can choose what kinds of material you want to use. When it comes to materials, you will never be limited to Ultimaker S3.

Out of the box, this 3D printer is compatible with a wide assortment of both proprietary and third-party filaments

What Can Be Better

There is no question that the Ultimaker S3 is one of the best professional 3D printers available now, but that kind of reputation comes with a hefty price tag. Starting prices for this 3D printer starts at more than $3,800. Buying it bundled with some filaments can easily jack the price up by around $500 to $1,000, depending on the types and number of filaments you choose.

If you want to print glass or carbon composites, you will need to buy a separate print core, the CC Red 0.6.

ultimaker s3 pros and cons

Pros and Cons

To sum up the pluses and negatives for the Ultimaker S3, here are its pros and cons.

Pros

  • You can use a wide variety of materials, which allows you to opt for more affordable third-party filaments or specialized ones such as glass fiber
  • Easy management and monitoring because of the included network connectivity
  • Filament flow sensor and automatic bed leveling features
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • This 3D printer is more on the expensive side

Alternatives to the Ultimaker S3

Ultimaker S3 is one of the best 3D printers for professionals, businesses, and prosumers, thanks to its high-end features and technologies. However, the world of professional 3D printers is getting larger every minute, with more and more brands joining in the fray. Here are three other 3D printers that you can consider along with the Ultimaker S3.

1. Ultimaker S5

ultimaker s5

If you are currently on the lookout for a professional 3D printer, there is no doubt that you would have come across the Ultimaker S5. If you are wondering what’s the difference between the S3 and the S5, the short answer is: not that many.

The S3 and the S5 share a lot of the same technologies and offer similar features. But what makes the S5 more expensive is the bigger print volume at 13 by 9.4 by 11.8 inches (30 by 240 by 300 millimeters).

The Ultimaker S5 is also compatible with several peripherals such as the Material Station and Air Manager, which the S3 doesn’t have.

The Material Station allows you to add six front-loaded material spools for increased productivity, automatic switching between different filaments, and humidity control. Meanwhile, the Air Manager can filter out up to 95 percent of fine particles within the build chamber.

When it comes to deciding between the Ultimaker S3 and the Ultimaker S5, it will boil down to two considerations:

  • Do you need the extra build volume?
  • Can you afford it?

Pricing for the Ultimaker S5 is at least $2,000 more than the S3, so if you are not frequently printing larger prototypes, you might want to go with the S3. What’s more, the S3 uses less power than the S5 because of its smaller build plate.

See how Ultimaker S3 compares to S5 here.

2. Zortrax M200 Plus

Zortrax M200 Plus

Sometimes, you need a 3D printer that can work for long hours without you needing to worry about it overheating or getting overworked. The Zortrax M200 Plus is designed as a workhorse with its advanced cooling system and industrial-grade construction.

This sturdy piece of 3D printing equipment can work for long hours and has a built-in camera that allows you to monitor the print job from anywhere in the world. It works with a wide number of filaments, as well.

It’s easy to use and set up, with a plug-and-play concept. Because it connects to your Wi-Fi network, you can operate this printer remotely. What’s more, the four-inch IPS touchscreen panel it has not only makes it easier for you to control and set up print jobs, but it also displays a preview of your models.

The Zortrax M200 Plus has a build volume of 7.9 by 7.9 by 7.1 inches (200 by 200 by 180 millimeters). Pricing starts at $2,290.

3. Original Prusa I3 MK3S

Original Prusa I3 MK3S

If you are looking for a 3D printer that can give you excellent quality prints without making your wallet thinner than it should be, then go for the Original Prusa I3 MK3S.

This 3D printer retails for $1000 if you want it to come fully assembled, or $750 if you choose the kit. It has a build volume of 9.8 by 8.3 by 8.3 inches (250 by 210 by 210 millimeters) and it’s pretty straightforward to use.

It has an easy to access extruder, a stable frame, a removable heated bed, filament sensor, and automatic bed leveling. In short, it has the features that you will expect from higher-end and more expensive printers.

Plus, this open-source 3D printer is pretty much customizable. Hack it to upgrade it or make it do what you need it to do.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions are normal if you are trying to decide on a 3D printer that you can use for your business. It becomes more important to ask questions if you consider how much you are going to pay for one. So here are some of the most often asked questions regarding professional 3D printers.

1. How do you choose the best professional 3D printer?

Choosing the best professional 3D printer will depend on what you plan to print. If you want to print bigger models, then choose one that has a big build volume. If you want to save on energy, then get one with a smaller heated bed.
Choose a 3D printer that has high resolutions and allows you to easily adjust the final print’s resolution. Some important factors to consider is the layer height and belt tension.
Also, look for high-quality features that can spell the difference between an excellent and headache-free 3D printing and one that is fraught with problems. These features might include dual filament support, heated glass beds, and touch interfaces.
Lastly, don’t scrimp on safety features. Safety features usually mean a well-designed 3D printer. For instance, a well designed printer will move the nozzle away from the object when you pause printing, and this will prevent excess filaments from getting onto your printed object.

2. Will having a 3D printer with dual extruders help me print faster?

It’s a common misconception that printers having two extruders mean that it prints a whole lot faster, maybe even cutting printing time in half.
However, this is not true. Having two extruders means that the 3D printer can have two or more filaments in place and ready for use. Usually, only one of the extruder is used, while the other is on standby.

3. Are dual extruders worth the extra price?

If you are a hobbyist, you will probably do fine with a single extruder. But for professional printing, you will want a printer with dual extruders to help save time when doing multi-colored prints.
If only for the fact that dual extruders help to make your job easier and save you time in having to change out extruders, it’s worth the extra dollars you pay for a 3D printer that has it.

Ultimaker S3: The Bottom Line

There are a few printers out there that can rival the Ultimaker S3. This 3D printer gives you high-quality prints with excellent resolutions. It offers a wide range of high-end features that makes your printing jobs a whole lot faster and easier to deal with.

What’s more, it works with both proprietary and third-party materials, so you can have the flexibility in your 3D models and prototypes. But it can be quite expensive.

If you are impressed with the features and technologies you see on the Ultimaker S3 but you need a 3D printer with a bigger build volume, go for the Ultimaker S5.

Go for the Original Prusa I3 MK3S if your budget is a bit limited, but you don’t want to sacrifice quality.

If you are looking for a plug and play professional 3D printer that is easy to use without the hefty price tag of the Ultimaker S3, then you can’t go wrong with Zortrax M200 Plus.

Further read: