Elegoo Saturn Review: Is This the Best 3D Printer For You?

Elegoo Saturn Review

It’s incredible how 3D printers have come a long way from as recently as five years ago. Back then, when you say 3D printer, people would think of a costly machine that would take too long to print something. And they wouldn’t be right.

But things have changed. You now have 3D printers that are speedy and can be within budget. But even when they’re affordable, there are no apparent tradeoffs. You still get a quality machine that can deliver eye-catching prints in high resolution.

The Elegoo Saturn is one of these devices. Using masked stereolithography technology, the Elegoo Saturn can deliver speedy print times with decent resolutions. It’s also a printer that offers a big build volume at a price that you would love.

What are the features of the Elegoo Saturn that you should know? And should you buy it? Read on and discover more about this 3D printer.

Monochrome LCD

Elegoo Saturn

If you only need to read one section, then this should be it. Elegoo Saturn is a masked stereolithography 3D printer.

Stereolithography traces its meaning to two Greek words:

  • Stereo, which means solid
  • Lithography, which means writing

Your stereolithography printers are creating objects using light. Probably the best-known types of stereolithography use laser and digital light processing.

  • Laser-based stereolithography uses an ultraviolet laser to create your prints. These lasers are reflected onto the print area, and the light solidifies the resin on a layer per layer basis.
  • DLP stereolithography, on the other hand, projects light onto the resin.
  • Masked stereolithography replaces the laser and projector with an LCD screen.

Benefits of Masked Stereolithography

Masked stereolithography prints your objects faster than a laser SLA printer, especially when you’re printing denser and larger items. What’s more, because these LCD panels are the same ones used for smartphones, availability is not an issue.

They are mass-produced, so LCD panels in these 3D printers cost less too.

Elegoo Saturn Is Faster than Most Other MSLA Printers

If MSLA printers, in general, are faster than laser stereolithography printers. That is because of the technology that allows the printer to print an entire layer of your object as opposed to the piece by piece printing done by lasers.

But because the typical MSLA uses the same LCDs as your smartphones, these colored LCDs have filters to deliver red, green, and blue to your screen. These filters are blocking some of the light that would typically go straight to the resin and cure it.

So when it comes to MSLA printers, monochrome LCDs are not a bad thing. It just means a printer can print your objects a lot faster than most MSLA printers.

And true enough, the Elegoo Saturn has a printing speed of 1.2 inches (30 millimeters) per hour. The monochrome LCD significantly reduces the curing times of the resin because it has a more intense light.

High-Resolution LCD

Not only is the Elegoo Saturn fast, but prints are impressive as well. The 4K screen measures 8.9 inches (226.06 millimeters) with a 3,840 by 2,400 pixels resolution. That is four times the number of pixels compared to 2K screens.

However, because of the huge build size of Elegoo Saturn, its overall X/Y pixel size rests at 50 microns, which is slightly less detailed than the X/Y pixel size of both Mars Pro and Mars.

Design

The Elegoo Saturn’s design draws comparison to the company’s own Mars and Mars Pro printer: Saturn looks the same as Mars and Mars Pro, only bigger.

Saturn’s base measures 11 by 9.4 inches (280 by 240 millimeters) with an all-metal build. It puts the control panel at the front. This touch display measures 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters), and it is how you interact with the printer.

The USB slot of this printer is located on the right side, fortunately making it more accessible than the USB slot on the Mars that Elegoo put at the back of the machine.

The vat where you put the resin is also larger than the one on Mars and Mars Pro, measuring 7.6 by 4.7 inches (192 by 120 millimeters). Putting in or changing the resin is now easier and less messy because of the pouring aid.

Z-Axis

You will surely be impressed with the Elegoo Saturn’s Z-axis. The lead screw is sandwiched between two linear rails, making it very stable and sturdy.

Notable Features

Elegoo Saturn 3d printer

So what are the features that you should know about the Elegoo Saturn?

  • The 4K monochrome LCD delivers a more intense light source for faster curing times. This LCD panel is much bigger and more durable than the ones you find on Mars and Mars Pro.
  • Dual linear rails provide more stability to the printer.
  • A print resolution of 50 microns means that this printer can deliver bigger prints with the same level of detail as the Elegoo Mars.
  • Two cooling fans help to keep the temperatures low while also helping to make the LCD last longer.
  • The touch display is big enough at 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters), allowing you to operate the device efficiently.
  • Ethernet connectivity is a technology that allows you to print from your computer and even remotely.
  • The prints will adhere better to the bed because of the sandblasted surface. That means that you’d have less printing errors.

Resin

Elegoo Saturn works with a wide variety of resins. What’s more, the company manufactures and sells its own resins, but you can use third-party products with this printer.

Pricing

With all the nifty features, a sizable print volume, fast printing times, and other attractive benefits, you’d expect to pay a lot for the chance to own an Elegoo Saturn.

However, this printer retails anywhere from $300 to $600, depending on where you look. It is sold on Amazon, as well as other online retailers. But it is always out of stock.

Huge Build Volume

We’ve saved the best for last. What can make an affordable and fast 3D printer even better? A significant build volume, of course.

In this regard, the Elegoo Saturn doesn’t disappoint. It has a build volume of 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 inches (192 by 120 by 200 millimeters). These dimensions significantly beat out the Elegoo Mars: Saturn has 3.5 times the print volume of the Elegoo Mars.

Bottom Line

We certainly wish that all companies, no matter what their product is, would be like Elegoo. They have taken an excellent product in the Elegoo Mars and made it better, faster, and bigger.

The company has not disappointed its users with the release of both Elegoo Mars and Mars Pro, and they didn’t start disappointing with the Saturn. With a massive build volume and faster printing times, while keeping the price down and the print resolutions the same, Elegoo has made Saturn the go-to 3D printer for people who like the have professional quality prints without spending too much.

Pros

  • Works really fast and efficiently
  • Breezy and headache-free operations right out of the box
  • Compatible with 405 nm UV-sensitive resins

Cons

  • No resin included

Comparison to other Elegoo 3D the printers

We’ve compared the Saturn with Elegoo’s earlier printers: Mars and Mars Pro. It is easy to see just how the company has improved its offerings over time. The Saturn is bigger and faster than both of its older siblings and yet delivers the same print resolutions as the smaller printers.

Here’s a side-by-side comparison of these three printers to make it easier for you to see how the Saturn compares to earlier devices from the same company.

Model Elegoo Saturn Elegoo Mars Pro Elegoo Mars
3.5-inch touchscreen operation Yes Yes Yes
Slicer software Chitu Box Chitu Box ChiTu DLP Slicer
Connectivity USB USB off-line printing USB
Technology LCD UV Photocuring LCD UV Photocuring LED Display Photocuring
UV integrated LED lights Yes Yes Yes
Wavelength 405 nm 405 nm 405 nm
XY Resolution, millimeters 0.05 0.047 0.047
XY pixel resolution 3,840 by 2,400 2,560 by 1,440 2,560 by 1,440
Z-axis accuracy, millimeters 0.00125 0.00125 0.00125
Layer thickness, millimeter 0.01 – 0.15 0.01 – 0.2 0.01 – 0.2
Printing speed, millimeters per hour 30 22.5 22.5
Printer dimensions LWH, inches 11 by 9.4 by 17.6 7.9 by 7.9 by 16.1 7.9 by 7.9 by 16.1
Printer dimensions, centimeters 28 by 24 by 45 20 by 20 by 41 20 by 20 by 41
Build volume, LWH, inches 7.6 by 4.7 by 7.9 4.5 by 2.6 by 5.9 4.7 by 2.7 by 6.1
Build volume, centimeters 19.2 by 12 by 20 4.5 by 2.6 by 5.9 12 by 6.8 by 15.5
Weight, pounds 29.8 16.5 13.7
Weight, kilograms 13.5 7.5 6.2

Alternatives to the Elegoo Saturn?

If you’re not impressed with the Elegoo Saturn, there are other Elegoo printers such as the Mars and Mars Pro that you can look at.

But if you’re looking for a printer from other manufacturers, here are similar 3D printers that we can recommend:

Peopoly Phenom

Peopoly Phenom

The Peopoly Phenom stands out because of the build volume that it offers, something that you cannot find in other resin-based 3D printers. You can easily create tall 3D models that can reach up to 1.6 inches (40 centimeters) high. This printer is one of our recommended alternatives for the Phrozen Transform.

The Peopoly Phenom is an MSLA printer, much like the Elegoo Mars and Saturn. As such, it is also faster than a laser SLA printer because it prints one whole layer at a time.

This printer has a bigger LCD screen, measuring 12.5 inches (317.5 millimeters) with a 4K resolution. It also features an array of fans and a heat sink, which helps keep the 3D printer cool while it is hard at work.

And if you’re opting to buy the Peopoly Phenom, you will want to clear out a lot of space on your desk. This 3D printer is huge, measuring 17.8 by 14.3 by 30.7 inches (452 by 364 by 780 millimeters). It weighs 92.5 pounds (42 kilograms).

The color touchscreen, which is the 3D printer’s user interface, measures 4.3 inches (109.2 millimeters). It is big enough to operate the printer efficiently, and it comes with all the information you need. You can know the printing time, a live visualization of the layers being printed, and the total number of layers.

Features of the Peopoly Phenom

Other interesting things that you should know about this huge 3D printer include:

  • USB and Ethernet connectivity
  • Quick setup
  • A resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels, or 72 microns
  • Uses the ChiTuBox slicer

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 17.8 by 14.3 by 30.7 inches (452 by 364 by 780 millimeters)
  • Weight: 92.5 pounds (42 kilograms)
  • Build Size: 10.9 by 6.1 by 15.7 inches (276 by 155 by 400 millimeters)
  • LCD: 12.5 inches (317.5 millimeters) 4K color LCD
  • Pixel Resolution: 3,840 by 2,160 pixels
  • XY Resolution: 72 microns
  • Manual bed leveling
  • Vat can hold 1.8 kilograms of resin
  • Touchscreen: 4.3 inches (109.2 millimeters)
  • Connectivity: USB, Ethernet
  • No resin sensor or camera

Pros

  • Big build volume
  • Bed leveling is a breeze
  • Very responsive user interface

Cons

  • Prints sometimes do not adhere to the bed, which results in printing errors
  • Can be very loud
  • There are no fill indicators

Phrozen Sonic Mini

phrozen sonic mini

The Phrozen Sonic Mini features a monochrome LCD like the Elegoo Saturn, which means that it prints faster than other SLA printers out there. The Sonic Mini is one of our choices for the best 3D SLA printer for 2020.

The thing with the Sonic Mini is that it is very affordable. This printer was introduced and sold for less than $200. But because of its performance and printing speed, prices increased over time.

Some of the features you should know include:

  • Monochrome LCD: Gives you fast printing times because the resin is exposed to more intense light, and you get an entire layer being printed.
  • XY resolution of 62 microns
  • Uses ChiTu board and ChiTuBox software, which is a breeze to use when you’re preparing your model
  • Affordable price, at around $200 to $300

Before You Buy

With the super-fast printing speed at a very low price, the Phrozen Sonic Mini does have a few tradeoffs. For one, the printer’s outer shell is made of molded plastic, not metal.

The resin vat is also plastic. What is more, this printer may use the same monochrome LCD as the Elegoo Saturn, but it has a much smaller build volume at only 4.7 by 2.7 by 5.1 inches (120 by 68 by 130 millimeters).

Specifications

  • Dimensions: 9.8 by 9.8 by 13 inches (250 by 250 by 330 millimeters)
  • Weight: 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms)
  • Technology: LCD-based masked stereolithography
  • Monochrome LCD: Measures 5.5 inches (139.7 millimeters) with resolutions of 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
  • Light source: ParaLED 2.0 Lite, 405 nm
  • Build volume: only 4.7 by 2.7 by 5.1 inches (120 by 68 by 130 millimeters)
  • Z-layer resolution: 10 microns
  • XY resolution: 62 microns
  • Touchscreen display: IPS measuring 2.8 inches (71.12 millimeters)
  • Connectivity: USB

Pros

  • Very affordable
  • Straightforward operation
  • Faster than most 3D printers

Cons

  • The USB port is difficult to reach
  • Small print volume

Photon Mono SE

anycubic photon mono se

The Photon Mono SE comes from Anycubic, another reputable manufacturer of 3D printers. The Photon Mono SE uses a monochrome LCD to cure the resins for your 3D objects. And like the Elegoo Saturn, you can expect fast printing times with this 3D printer.

The monochrome LCD screen measures six inches with resolutions of 2,560 by 1,620 pixels with an XY-resolution of 51 microns. It is not the most precise 3D printer available today, but the print quality is still good.

The Photon Mono SE has a build volume of 5.1 by 3.1 by 6.3 inches (130 by 78 by 160 millimeters). That is more than the Phrozen Sonic Mini, and the Elegoo Mars Pro can give you.

This 3D printer has an upward opening door, which might present a problem when you’re refilling the resin. It uses two linear rails for its Z-axis, while its shell is made with metal. These materials make the printer more stable.

Features You Should Know

The Anycubic Photon Mono SE has several features that can help you decide whether to buy it or not.

  • You can use the Anycubic App to see how far along your printing job is going, as well as tweak the print settings even without going close to the printer.
  • The printing platform is made with brushed aluminum
  • Responsive and intuitive user interface
  • Affordable, selling for anywhere from $320 to $420
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Specifications

  • Dimensions: 7.9 by 7.9 by 15.7 inches (220 by 200 by 400 millimeters)
  • Build volume: 5.1 by 3.1 by 6.3 inches (130 by 78 by 160 millimeters)
  • Weight: 18.1 pounds (8.2 kilograms)
  • Touch display: 3.5 inches (88.9 millimeters)
  • Connectivity : USB
  • Light source: high-quality filament
  • Light source wavelength: 405nm
  • XY resolutions: 0.05 millimeters
  • Pixel resolution: 2,560 by 1,620 pixels
  • Printing speed: 3.1 inches (80 millimeters) per hour

FAQs

Question: What is the big deal with bigger build volumes anyway?

Answer: A lot of 3D printing enthusiasts will tell you to get a printer with a significant build volume. There are many benefits of owning one.

Print Bigger Pieces:
You get to print the 3D model in its entirety. A big build volume allows you to print your models in one piece, rather than printing it in parts and then assembling them afterward.

Not only does printing and assembling more parts take time, but it also costs more. What’s more, if you have to work with a smaller printer, you will lose details in the 3D model because you are forced to scale everything down.

Batch Printing
When you have a bigger build volume, you can have more pieces when you print in batches. For instance, you can easily print ten small 3D models with a printer that has a massive build volume as opposed to only three to five in smaller printers.

In effect, you save a lot of time and resources with a bigger build volume because you no longer have to do a lot of batches.

Question: What are the benefits of MSLA printers?

Answer: We have touched on how MSLA printers cost less and print faster than other types of stereolithography printers.

But there are more benefits to owning an MSLA printer like the Elgoo Saturn:

• It can produce more accurate parts, as well as include more details than other types of 3D printers.
• It has a smooth finish, so you can create stunning prototypes without spending a plot of time post-processing.
• There are many specialty resins available not just for MSLA printers but also for other types of SLA printers. You can get castable and flexible resins if you need them.
• There are some interesting things that you should know about SLA printers, as well.

These are what you might call the downsides of owning one:

• SLA Printer parts are less durable than those printed with other types of 3D Printers, such as those that use fused deposition modeling technology. As such, if you ar printing functional parts, it is best to avoid doing so with an SLA printer.
• SLA prints are vulnerable to sunlight. As such, these parts will change, deteriorate, and degrade over time.
• When printing with an SLA printer, you typically need strong supports. This process might add to post-processing time and work.

Should You Buy the Elegoo Saturn?

When it comes to affordable 3D printers, the Elegoo Saturn ticks a lot of boxes. Aside from the attractive price, you also get a printer that has a massive build volume, allowing you to get prints that measure 282 cubic inches (4,624 cubic centimeters).

It uses one of the newest technologies, MSLA, with a monochrome LCD that allows it to cure resins in two seconds and print up to slightly more than an inch (30 millimeters) per hour.

So while the Elegoo Saturn can be hefty and heavy, it’s really a difficult printer to pass up. However, it’s not always available and can be out of stock at several retailers, including the company’s own online store. Fortunately, there are alternatives that you can find.

If you want something with a bigger build volume, you can go for the Peopoly Phenom. This printer can give you a build volume of 1,043.9 cubic inches (17,106.3 cubic centimeters) and almost twice the maximum height. But you might be turned off by the price, which is more than six times that of Elegoo Saturn at $2,000.

If you’re working within a smaller budget, both the Phrozen Sonic Mini and the Photon Mono SE are closer to the Elegoo Saturn when it comes to pricing. Both of these printers use monochrome LCD and can deliver fast printing times. But both have smaller build volumes than what’s offered by Elegoo Saturn.

The Final Word on the Elegoo Saturn

The Elegoo Saturn is one of those 3D printers that gives you what you want: fast printing times, huge build volumes, and 4K clear printing resolutions. It also helps that the manufacturer doesn’t scrimp on the materials, giving you a sturdy, durable, and stable printer. Plus, it will not cost the buyer an arm and a leg to own this device.

It’s hard to go wrong with such a 3D printer, and we don’t have problems recommending it at all, if only Elegoo manufactured more of them, as it’s almost always out of stock.

Phrozen Transform Review [2021]: How Well Does It Perform?

LCD 3D printers are the new kids on the block, but they are getting noticed because they can give better prints than other resin 3D printers. They are more affordable too. The Phrozen Transform gives you a chance to work with resins to create large prints.

Is the Phrozen Transform the way to go? What are its features that you should know? We will be looking at the technologies, specifications, and functionalities that you can expect to get from Phrozen Transform.

Plus, we will also present alternatives for this printer to help you decide on whether the Transform is really what you need, and if you should buy it.

Phrozen Transform Review

The Phrozen Transform is huge, measuring 14.9 by 13.7 by 24 inches (37.8 by 34.8 by 61.0) but there is a good reason for its significant size. This printer is one the very few that deliver a sizable print volume at 11.5 by 6.5 by 15.75 inches (29.2 by 16.5 by 40.0 centimeters).

There are downsides and upsides to this. But looking at the benefits, you will be able to print huge things with fewer parts. If you have to assemble a lot of small prints to create a big costume, then there will be a lot of weak points that can affect its durability.

With the huge build size of the Phrozen Transform, you are no longer limited to miniature action figures, you can create sizable ones as well. The downside is that you will need a lot of desktop space for your printer.

Phrozen Transform Review

LCD Printer: What the Phrozen Transform Uses

The Phrozen Transform uses masked stereolithography technology to deliver your 3D prints. MSLA uses liquid crystal display to work on the resin and create your prints.

The LCD takes the place of the lasers used in laser stereolithography and the projector used in digital light processing 3D printers. The LCD exposes the liquid resin to light, which hardens the resin.

Two types of LCD are used in Phrozen Transform printers. The standard LCD is in full color, the same type that is used in smartphones. However, because color LCDs have color filters (green, red, and blue), it lowers the amount of violet and ultraviolet light getting to the resin.

Because of this, color LCDs in 3D printers are both a blessing and a curse. It’s a good idea as it is cheaper than lasers, projectors, or even monochrome LCDs because these are mass-produced for smartphones.

But it works slowly because of the filters. With filtered light reaching the resin, it will need more exposure time. The longer exposure results in the resin taking quite a while to cure.

Monochrome LCDs do not have these filters and can get more light to the resin. This ability makes it faster for it to cure. The reduction in printing time is significant. But because monochrome LCDs are not as widely manufactured as colored ones, they tend to be more expensive.

Further, finding a replacement for the monochrome LCD can prove to be difficult or expensive.

Phrozen Transform, as we mentioned, offers monochrome and colored LCD versions. However, you will need to decide beforehand if you’d be willing to pay more for faster printing times. The monochrome LCD version of the Phrozen Transform sells for $2,700, while the standard version with the colored LCD sells for $700 less at only $2000.

But how fast is fast? Phrozen Transform printers with the monochrome LCD can print 1.57 inches (40 millimeters) per hour, while standard Transform printers can only print a quarter of that at 0.39 inches (10 millimeters) per hour. That puts the monochrome LCD four times quicker than colored LCDs.

Version Fast Standard
Print Speed 40 millimeters per hour 10 millimeters per hour
LCD Panel 13.3-inch monochrome LCD 13.3-inch RGB LCD

Dual or Single Panel

On top of the monochrome or colored LCD options, you can use the 13.3-inch (33.78 centimeters) panel or the dual panel that measures 5.5 inches (13.97 centimeters) each.

One advantage of having a big print volume is that you can easily print a number of different models simultaneously. Phrozen Transform allows you to do that using two different plates.

Not only can this 3D printer accommodate several models, but you can even print them on two different plates. This capability helps you to save a significant amount of time.

What’s more, you can easily swap panels in a matter of seconds. And the resolutions on both of these panels are nothing to sneeze at. The 13.3-inch panel delivers an XY resolution of 76 micrometers while the dual panel has resolutions of 47 micrometers.

Panel 13.3 Full Panel Dual Panel
Build Volume 11.5 by 6.5 by 15.75 inches 4.97 by 2.68 by 15.75 inches per tray
XY Resolution 76 micrometers 47 micrometers
Z Resolution 10 micrometers 10 micrometers

Tall 3D Models? No Problem

If you’re looking for a printer that can print tall 3D models, then Phrozen Transform is worth looking at. It can print objects as tall as 40 centimeters (15.75 inches). This is roughly as tall as a bowling pin.

What You Will Like About the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

Users who are looking for a 3D printer that will allow them to print huge objects can rely on Phrozen Transform to do just that. Not only that, the print quality of this printer should be amazing.

This 3D printer is also efficient because of the ParaLED Optical Engine feature that can deliver a more focused angle for the light. This focus allows the light to penetrate better.

Phrozen Transform

What’s more, this 3D printer is very stable with aluminum support for the Z-axis, as well as double linear rails and ball screws. This kind of setup is usually found on more expensive printers.

Specifications at a Glance

Dimensions 15.16 by 14.02 by 24.29 inches
Weight 72.75 pounds
Light Used 405nm Ultraviolet LED with ParaLED Matrix Technology
Z-axis Mechanisms Ball screws and dual linear rails
Cooling System Multiple fans
Support Software ChiTu Box
Operating System Proprietary (Phrozen OS 1.0)
Touch Display Yes, 5-inch touch panel
Connectivity Wi-Fi, USB, and LAN

Phrozen Transform: The Bottom Line

For a consumer 3D printer, the Phrozen Transform has a huge build volume. This capacity allows you to take advantage of the space and print bigger parts or print several small prints simultaneously to save time.

Apart from the build volume, the Taiwanese company offers its users a lot of choices to make 3D printing more convenient. For one, you can choose to save money with the standard version or create faster prints with the fast version.

You can also choose to print huge 3D objects using the full LCD panel. Or literally, divide the task using the dual LCD panel that allows you to print two separate objects at the same time.

And there’s not much downside to getting Phrozen Transform, too. The biggest complaint we’ve seen is that the printer doesn’t come with free resin, so you will have to remember to buy it separately if you want to start printing immediately.

Pros

  • Huge build volume
  • ParaLED lights
  • Stable Z-axis, which is twice as tall as comparable 3D printers
  • Options that will allow you to save money or get fast print speeds
  • 405-nm ultraviolet LED makes it compatible with most resins
  • Solid built with top-notch materials
  • Wi-Fi, LAN, and USB Connectivity

Cons

  • The company doesn’t ship free resin with your purchase
  • Can be more expensive than comparable printers

Alternatives to the Phrozen Transform 3D Printer

If you’re not convinced with Phrozen Transform, there are several competitors that you might want to consider. The Phrozen Transform stands out because of its build volume, attractive price point, and use of LCD technology.

Its competitors, the Sonic XL 4K from the same company, the Tronxy X5SA, and the Peopoly Phenom, all bring something different to the table. Is the Phrozen Transform the better choice, or should you buy one of its alternatives?

1. Phrozen Sonic XL 4K

The Phrozen Sonic XL 4L 3D printer is another LCD printer that can selectively harden resin to create your prints.

It uses a 4K LCD that has a pixel resolution of 3,840 by 2,160 pixels.

phrozen cure

This printer has a build volume of 4.7 by 7.5 by 7.9 inches (12 by 19 by 20 centimeters).

It has printing speeds of 7.9 inches (20 centimeters) per hour, mainly because of the monochrome LCD used by this printer that only needs 0.2 seconds to cure the resin.

This printer costs $2,300.

Pros

  • Ideal for dental uses
  • High level of detail at 4K resolutions
  • Large build volume means that you can print several models simultaneously
  • Works with most resins, even third-party products

Cons

  • Has a smaller build volume and slower speeds than the Phrozen Transform
  • Can be very expensive
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2. Tronxy X5SA

The Tronxy X5SA is an excellent 3D printer that can similarly handle large prints.

It has a build volume of 13 by 13 by 15.8 inches (33 by 33 by 40 centimeters) and a printing speed of four inches (10 centimeters) per second.

TRONXY X5SA 3D Printer

However, instead of working with resins, you will be using filaments for this 3D printer. The single extruder will push out the hot plastic to form your 3D model. The Tronxy X5SA is compatible with different kinds of materials, including HIPS, ABS, PVC, PC, and PLA.

Features on this 3D printer include automatic bed leveling, resume print, filament level detection, and a 3.5-inch (8.9 centimeters) touch display. In short, it has all the features you would expect from a Bowden-type extrusion 3D printer.

But the most impressive thing about this large-format 3D printer is that it’s very affordable. It sells for less than $400.

Pros

  • Very affordable, especially when you consider the sizable build volume
  • Stable build
  • Fast printing times

Cons

  • The 3D printer comes to you as a kit that you will need to assemble
  • Some quality control issues where some parts may be missing or broken
  • Support and help documentation can be a lot better
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3. Peopoly Phenom

The Peopoly Phenom stands out with a height of 30.7 inches (78 centimeters).

This budget 3D printer allows you to print large projects with a build volume of 10.8 by 6.1 by 15.8 inches (27.4 by 15.5 by 40.1 centimeters).

peopoly

This LCD printer uses a 4K laptop LCD screen as well as ultraviolet light to harden the resin. Plus, it costs only $2,000.

The Phenom can deliver quality prints, but you might find yourself tweaking on the settings too much to get there. Another problem is that the software can feel a bit unpolished sometimes.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Compatible with a wide assortment of resins
  • Big print volume

Cons

  • It can get really noisy when it’s running
  • Wi-Fi connectivity is not offered
  • Might not be a good match for beginners or those who like to switch up when it comes to resins

FAQs

Question: What is LCD 3D printing?

Answer: 3D printers use different kinds of light sources to harden the resin and give you your prints. In the case of LCD printers, LCD panels are used. These panels are similar to the ones you see on your smartphones.

LCDs replace the projectors and the lasers found on other types of 3D printers.

Laser stereolithography uses lasers to cure the resin. Lasers make for fast printing times, can accommodate a large build area, and high-quality prints, but they can be very expensive.

Meanwhile, digital light projection technology makes use of projectors instead of LCDs or lasers. Projectors in 3D printers allow you to have speedy printing time, much faster than laser printers. However, because DLP also needs digital micromirror device chips, these 3D printers can be very expensive with a limited build volume.

Compared to these two technologies, LCD 3D printing can be very inexpensive. LCD panels are widely manufactured because it’s being used by mobile tablets and other devices. What’s more, LCD 3D printers do not need expensive DMD chips.

However, because the light is not that intense as lasers or projectors, LCD printing can take a lot longer and the print quality might not be as good as the resolutions you see on DLP and laser printers.

To give you an idea, here are the three technologies and their rankings.
Build area:
• Laser 3D printers top this category as the lasers can shine on a wider coverage area
• LCD 3D printers are the runners-up in this category, as they can accommodate a bigger build area by using more LCD panels
• DLP 3D printers are limited by the DMD chips, which usually measure only 1,920 by 1,080 pixels
Price:
• LCD 3D printers are very affordable compared to laser and projector-based 3D printers.
Printing seed
• Projector-based 3D printers are some of the fastest out there, with laser printers coming in a close second
• LCD 3D printers are the slowest because you need more time for the light to cure the resin
Print quality
• Both laser and DLP 3D printers can deliver high print resolutions and intricately detailed prints
• LCD printers are not known for their astounding print quality

Question: Are all resins compatible with LCD 3D printing?

Answer: Seeing that there are significant differences in these three technologies harden your resins, you may be wondering if all resins are compatible with all LCD, DLP, or laser 3D printers.

If you’re thinking that the answer is no, then you’re correct. For instance, if you have an LCD 3D printer, you will want a fast curing resin because of the low intensity of light it has.

You should first read the data sheets provided by the resin’s manufacturer if you’re going to use third party products. Or you can always just buy from your 3D printer’s manufacturer.

The good news is that Phrozen has its own line of resins that works quite well with the Transform.

Question: Is Phrozen a trusted brand?

Answer: Phrozen is a Taiwanese company that launched its first 3D printer via Kickstarter. They initially wanted $30,000 to develop their prototype, but got more than ten times that amount in funding: $375,000. They subsequently did another crowdfunding drive with an initial goal of $30,000 but got $519,000 in 2019.

The company has been churning out LCD 3D printers since its 2017 launch, along with toners and resins. They also sell replacement parts and accessories for 3D printers.

So far, Phrozen has been coming out with quality 3D printers, slowly solidifying its reputation in the 3D printer market. They have several innovations under their belt, including the ParaLED ultraviolet engine and the use of linear bearings on a pair of sturdy rails for the Z-axis movement.

What’s more, the brand is known for its affordable products. When you check their technical characteristics, you will find that their closest competitors can be twice as expensive as their printers.

Final Thoughts

LCD 3D printers are proving that you don’t have to spend too much on a stereolithography printer. The Phrozen Transform doesn’t disappoint with its large build volume, fast printing speeds, and reasonable price tag.

If you’ve always wanted to work with resins, then the Phrozen Transform should be a perfect choice for you. However, if you’re looking for a printer that can handle elaborate and intricate details, you should give the Phrozen Sonic XL 4K a try.

Or, if you’re not averse to tweaking and configuring, the Peopoly Phenom might allow you to save money on your resin printer. Further, if the budget is a little tight, you might want to skip the resin and just go for filaments with the Tronxy X5SA.

Emblaser 2 Review: How Good is This Laser Engraver?

Emblaser 2 Review

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

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

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

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Key specifications of Emblaser 2 laser cutter and engraver

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

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

 

3-Year Warranty on Laser Diode

Latest price Click here find the latest price

Core features of Emblaser 2

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

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

emblacer 2

Automatic Laser Height Control

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

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

Class 1 Solid State Diode Laser`

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

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

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

Safe to use

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

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

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

Automatic Laser Optic Calibration

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

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

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

Supports a wide range of file formats

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

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

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

Camera and WiFi connectivity

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

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

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

How does the Emblaser 2 perform?

darkly labs emblaser 2

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

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

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

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

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Pros of Emblaser 2

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

Ideal for beginners

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

Safety is a key component2 

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

Good range of presets and LightBurn software

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

Camera and WiFi

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

Supports many file formats

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

Cons of Emblaser 2

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

The laser could be more powerful

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

Support could be a bit better

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

Are there any alternatives?

TEN-HIGH 40W Laser Engraver

ten high laser

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

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

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

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01/25/2021 09:10 pm GMT

Ruida Controller 40-50W CO2 Laser Cutter & Engraver

ruida controller

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

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

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

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FAQs

Question: Where is the Emblaser 2 made?

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

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

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

Question: Does the Emblaser 2 have fume extraction?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Final thoughts

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

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

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

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

So, is it worth the money?

We think yes.

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

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Anycubic Mega X Review [2021]: Should You Go For It?

Imagine you’re rolling through the McDonald’s drive-thru and you order a Big Mac, fries, and a Coke. Classic order. Good on you. Now, you ask them to supersize it. Because you simply can’t get enough of the greasy goodness.

Apply this logic to the Anycubic Mega S. That’s what Anycubic did when they made the Mega X. It’s like a supersized Mega S, with all the same great features in a bigger package. It’s a mid-sized FDM printer that’s definitely worth your money.

Are you looking for a great 3D printer that rings up at less than $500 and meets, or even surpasses your expectations? Then you may have come to the right place.

Specifications

  • Technology: FDM
  • Weight: 14kg
  • Printer dimensions: 500mm x 500mm x 553mm
  • Arrangement: Cartesian XZ head
  • Build volume: 300mm x 300mm x 305mm
  • Feeder system: Bowden drive
  • Extruder type: Single
  • Maximum extruder temperature: 250°C
  • Nozzle size: 0.4mm
  • Layer resolution: 0.05-0.3mm
  • Print chamber: Open
  • Print Bed: Heated bed with Anycubic Ultrabase
  • Bed leveling: Manual
  • Maximum heated bed temperature: 90°C
  • Frame: Metal
  • Display: Color touchscreen
  • Connectivity: USB, SD card
  • Wi-Fi: No
  • Built-in camera: No
  • Filament sensor: Yes
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, wood
  • Third party filaments: Yes
  • Slicer: Cura
  • Operating systems: Windows, Mac, Linux

Setup

The Anycubic Mega X only comes semi assembled, but putting it together is pretty simple. It’s packed neatly in the box and the instructions identify exactly what everything is and how to attach it. You can view the instructions via a paper manual or the USB stick provided.

anycubic mega x 3D printer

Anycubic provides clippers and a spatula, as usual, but the Mega X also ships with a 1kg spool of PLA. Spare parts include PTFE tubing and a hot end.

Assembly mostly includes mounting the gantry on the base with a few screws. Connect some cables together, set the MeanWell PSU switch to the correct voltage, and you’re done in minutes.

Before printing, you’ll have to level the bed manually. The printer has large adjustment knobs that make this task rather trivial. You can auto-home the print head and adjust the knobs as needed, leveling with just a sheet of paper.

Some budget 3D printers use tiny knobs to achieve the task of leveling, making it really difficult, so in comparison, the Anycubic Mega X makes it boring, but easy. There’s no need to endure the torture of small, hard to reach knobs anymore.

Features

Anycubic gained some market traction at the low end with their i3 Mega and then followed it with an improved version in the Mega S. After gaining user trust, they kept the same design and ease of use they knew worked but improved the scale with the Mega X.

Compact, smart design

The base unit of Mega X includes the mainboard, power supply, and touchscreen. The cable management is neat, which is a welcome change compared to a lot of other budget units that come with wads of cables all jumbled together.

The metal frame offers a robust, sturdy chassis. The Z-axis features led screws and the Y-axis carriage runs along dual rails, supporting the bed, and making the entire structure even more steady.

This printer has a solid foundation that offers consistent printing. Not only is this rarely found in the budget price point, but the Mega X also features dual Z-axis end stops. It can combat unevenness you may find in the X-axis and relevels the X-axis every time it returns home.

It has mechanical end stops on the X-axis, but it uses a contactless sensor for the Y-axis end stop. This offers a more premium design that maintains a look and feel far above its price point.

anycubic mega x

Anycubic Ultrabase

The Anycubic Ultrabase has set the precedent for many bases to imitate. It’s a 300mm x 300mm bed sitting on top of four screws for manual leveling. While it’s roomy, it’s also innovative. This glass bed is coated with a porous material that offers excellent adhesion while making it easier than ever to remove your jobs when they’re complete. It’s especially unique when printing with PLA.

It can heat to 60°C in two minutes with a maximum temperature of 90°C. It also does a fantastic job of distributing this heat across the entire surface, enabling effective adhesion for quality prints without huge flaws.

This is exceptional for large print surfaces, especially when it comes to preventing warping. It can still be a problem when printing with ABS, but it’s to be expected when the temperature maxes out at only 90°C.

Single extruder

This single Titan extruder has a hot end capable of a maximum of 250°C. It uses PTFE tubing to help filament navigate its way to the melt zone. It’s nearly impossible to print hotter than this without getting off-gas of the PTFE, which can be toxic.

This is more than hot enough for consumer materials, so it’s a fantastic feature in a budget 3D printer. You should have no problem using Mega X at around 245°C with PETG, which is a high temperature material.

The downside to Anycubic filament holders is that they stick out sideways on the bottom. While it takes some of the weight off of the frame, it means the filament gets fed upside down.

This, combined with the filament runout sensor, which is mounted on the side of the gantry, means the filament is constantly strained. However, thanks to a feeding mechanism that works well, you’ll get continuous feeding.

It just takes some working with to change the filament, because it’s inserted upside down. Thanks to the plastic funnel that Anycubic provides, you can easily guide your filaments into the gear mechanism.

Rigid filaments are much easier to insert than flexible ones, as you might expect.

Connectivity

One of the most important things about 3D printing is your ability to oversee the print process, even when you’re not actively designing your print. With a 3.5-inch color touchscreen (something you more frequently see on higher end 3D printers), you have all of the options you need.

The menu can be somewhat confusing, but the software has everything you need to set up the printer just the way you want it. You can load your prints via a USB cable or an SD card.

Unfortunately, aside from what’s already been mentioned, there’s nothing new over the Mega S. Given that there’s a few years difference in release date, many users are disappointed by the lack of updates here when it comes to Wi-Fi, quieter printing, or auto bed leveling.

Performance

If you’ve had any experience with the Mega line before, you know that they produce great results for the price you pay. You’ll see this theory confirmed in Mega X, too.

Just like any other budget 3D printer, you’ll likely have to make some adjustments to get your Mega X to function properly. However, that’s not uncommon.

Thanks to the Anycubic Ultrabase, your prints will adhere well and easily pop off when they’re done. This adds to your overall experience by making it more seamless throughout. The best thing about it is you don’t have to use glue, which makes it a messy and less than a desirable affair.

It leaves your print surface looking like it did when you took it out of the box, but it also gives your print projects smooth first layers for an aesthetically pleasing result every time.

Mega X can handle many different materials, but it’s all based on your technical settings. While some flexible filaments will come out flawlessly, others will tangle up in the gear mechanism helplessly.

You’ll have to adjust the print and feed speed accordingly to get to a manageable flow without any backing up or coiling. It can be a bit of trial and error, which is excruciating at times, but once you get there, it handles almost anything like a champ.

Unfortunately, you may never find a way around the warping of ABS. No matter how much you change the temperature or fan settings, the Mega X just isn’t suited for something as finicky as this temperature sensitive material.

The upside is that it still handles PETG and PLA well, so you’re not limited in your choice of materials.

Usability

Mega X allows you to use any open source slicer. While Cura remains one of the most popular options, you can use anything you’re comfortable with, which opens up the usability of the machine quite nicely, although Anycubic recommends Cura.

While the UI can be confusing, the menu items are large and easy to read. You may find at times that the submenus are unclear and contain tools that don’t seem to belong. The button press sound can also be quite obnoxious.

anycubic mega x prints

And while the Mega X is a sturdy machine, it’s also a noisy one. The Z-axis screws are the most deafening, but they only move when homing at the beginning of the print. The other aspects of the printer aren’t particularly quiet, either, from the drivers to the cooling fans.

The filament runout sensor works well, and once reloaded, the print job will pick up where it left off without any problems. The downside here is that it’s a mechanical sensor that will only trip with a lack of filament, rather than a costly optical sensor that will trigger with a filament blockage.

The print resume function works less than ideally. Sometimes it resumes the print after a power outage, and sometimes it doesn’t, leaving you to start your job over from scratch.

Alternatives

If you’re seriously considering a budget 3D printer like the Anycubic Mega X, you may also want to take a look at the following options before making a buying decision.

Anycubic Mega S

Anycubic Mega S

This previous iteration sports the same sturdy build and nearly identical features. The build volume is about two-thirds the size, at 210mm x 210mm x 205mm, an 3d it’s quite a bit cheaper, too.

It’s a great option if you don’t mind the smaller print volume but you want all of the same features. You really won’t miss a thing and your wallet will be a little fatter from the cash you saved.

Artillery Sidewinder X1

Artillery Sidewinder X1

The Sidewinder X1 was Artillery’s first attempt at a 3D printer. It’s another budget solution with a sleek look, but it has a bigger build volume of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm. It also has a direct drive system.

While the print quality out of the box isn’t quite as good as the Mega X, it can be really great for a budget solution if you spend some time getting the settings just right. Plus, with the exceptional print volume, you really won’t find much else in this price range that offers quite as much.

Original Prusa i3 MK3S

This printer is slightly more expensive but still rings up at under $1000. However, it has almost everything you’d ever want right out of the box. It heats up quickly, has a flexible metal build plate, and features a direct drive system.

The excellent print quality leaves little to be desired, and the automatic bed leveling makes setup a breeze. You’ll get a really great value out of this printer, so while it may not be a budget solution per se, it might just be the best option on the list.

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FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

It’s really cool learning how to print in 3D, but not everyone may find it valuable. You can spend a lot of time and money on it and it may not end up being worth it for you, resulting in a huge strain on your budget.
Thankfully, budget 3D printers offer a great entry point into the world of 3D printing, so you can get your feet wet before spending too much money. Any of the 3D printers here are great budget options for you if you’ve never done it before.

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

Sometimes you can sell items you make with your 3D printer and you can even use your at-home 3D printer as a commercial services on websites like Hubs. Just list it as a service or take orders for prints.
Just remember that poor quality items and printers won’t make as much money, so it’s probably not a good idea to do it with a budget printer. However, if you upgrade to a more professional device, this may be an option.

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

3D printing is fun, but there are always disadvantages. In the world of budget 3D printing, one of the main disadvantages is a lack of features. You’re not going to find the build volume or the range of materials that you would find in a more expensive, professional quality printer.
You’re also not going to get the same high quality results. Design inaccuracies will leave you with imperfect prints, and if you’re not careful, you can struggle with copyright issues.

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

If you’re looking at building a quality 3D printer made out of high performance parts, it’s generally cheaper to buy the parts individually and build it yourself. However, if you’re entering the 3D printing world at the budget level, you’re better off spending a few hundred bucks on a budget printer.

You have to keep in mind that building a 3D printer isn’t easy. You have to get the right components and know what you’re doing, or the printer won’t work. It’s a big time commitment, and if you’re going to but a cheap 3D printer, it’s well worth spending the money to save yourself the time.

The Verdict

The Mega X is a great, large volume budget 3D printer. The Anycubic Ultrabase gives you a seamless experience all around while the print quality may just exceed your expectations.

It has a sleek appearance with a sturdy build. Despite the price, they chose not to include any cheap parts. Plus, with steel construction, once you set up the printer, there’s no need to go back and readjust it later.

The large touchscreen makes it easy to use and the ability to use your own choice of open source software open up its usability to anyone who has their own personal preferences.

It doesn’t differ much in terms of features from the Mega S and it would have been nice to see some improvements like auto bed leveling and Wi-Fi connectivity, but for those who like the Mega series and want the extra build volume, it’s a great option.

 

Flashforge Creator 3 Review [2021]: 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.

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Raise3D Pro2

Raise3D Pro2

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

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

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

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FAQs

Is owning a 3D printer worth it?

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

Can you make money using a 3D printer?

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

What are the disadvantages of 3D printing?

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

Is it cheaper to build a 3D printer?

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kodak Portrait 3D Printer Review [2021]: 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.

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Specifications

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

Kodak

Setup

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

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

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

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

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

Features

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

Dual print cores

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

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

Filament cartridges

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

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

Print area and temperatures

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

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

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

kodak portrait review

Steel frame

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

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

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

Cloud-based printing

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

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

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

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

kodak portrait

Performance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

printers on the market.

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Alternatives

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

Ultimaker 3ultimaker 3

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

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

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Prusa i3Prusa i3

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

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

Formlabs Form 3Formlabs Form 3

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

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

FAQ

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

What is the best 3D printer for the money?

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

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

What should I know before buying a 3D printer?

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

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

What software do you need for 3D printing?

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

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

Final Thoughts

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

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

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Anycubic Chiron Review [2021]: 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.

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