Best Tevo Tornado Upgrades: All You Need To Know

Even though the Tevo Tornado 3D printer is fine ‘straight out of the box’, with the best Tevo Tornado upgrades you can really ramp up the capability of your 3D printer.

3D printers are much more affordable these days as well and the Tevo Tornado is a model that is within the price range of most people who are interested in investing in this hardware.

We’ll look at why you should upgrade your Tevo Tornado 3D printer, which parts are commonly modified for better performance and also I’ll go into the best upgrades you can get right now.

What is the Tevo Tornado?

Before we get into the ins and outs of upgrading the Tevo Tornado, first let’s look at this 3D printer itself.

Tevo is a Chinese company that has been around since 2015. Their Tornado 3D printer is firmly set in the affordability category in many ways it rivals the Creality CR-10 and we’ve compared these two 3D printers before.

The Tevo Tornado is one of the most user-friendly 3D printers in this price bracket as well. While it has a fairly basic design, it is small enough to fit on a desk in your home so it benefits from being powerful enough to print out some great 3D designs without taking over a large amount of space.

Even though the Tevo Tornado is a very decent 3D printer in its original form, you are able to add upgrades and mods which will drastically improve its performance. This also extends to safety because one of the criticisms of the Tevo Tornado is the wiring.

The Tevo Tornado wiring which operates the power supply is directly attached to the bed by soldering. There is a not so unrealistic chance that the live wires could come loose and fall into the frame which would cause an electric shock. It might not happen the first few times you use this 3D printer but over time it does pose a real safety hazard.

Why do you need to add upgrades?

The more you spend on a 3D printer then, in many cases, the less likely you’ll need to upgrade parts of it. It isn’t always true and upgrades and modifications exist for high-end 3D printers that are perhaps out of the price range of hobbyists and casual users.

With affordable printers like the Tevo Tornado, upgrades can massively improve many aspects of it. The printer itself is usable and very good as it is however there are some reasons why investing in some upgraded parts can make all the difference.

Safety

Enhancing safety is one of the main reasons why you may want to upgrade parts of your 3D printer.

The Tevo Tornado for example does have a safety flaw in its wiring. While it isn’t a critical issue (otherwise it wouldn’t be as popular as it is), it is something to take into consideration. Adding modifications and some new parts can drastically improve the safety of the 3D printer overall.

Improved performance

It isn’t just safety that causes many enthusiasts to upgrade their 3D printer, having better performance is another reason to invest in some new components.

This isn’t just better printing but it also extends to keeping the printer cool so it doesn’t overheat which means you can use it for longer as well as reducing filament slips and upgrading the processor for new features and improved performance.

Better 3D printing

With an upgrade and a new part, you can make better and more accurate 3D printers.

After all, this is the main function of the device and while the Tevo Tornado does deliver accuracy for its cost, getting better 3D printing with a few choice upgrades will increase the performance of your printer.

What parts of the Tevo Tornado can you upgrade?

The good news about 3D printers and especially the Tevo Tornado is that it has many components that can be changed for better versions or even completely adding new parts to the printer.

These are some of the most popular parts of the Tevo Tornado that you can upgrade.

Extruder

The extruder is the part of the 3D printer that you feed the material into and is then heated up to be moved into the X, Y, and Z-axis which is then used to make layers for your prints.

They work by being heat sensitive so there is a minimum temperature that is required to keep everything flowing smoothly and maximum temperature to prevent overheating. In fact, you can get 3D printers with dual extruders now.

Print Surface

This is the part of the 3D printer that forms the foundation for your prints. An issue with many 3D printers especially in the budget range is that the prints tend to stick to the surface.

By replacing this with an upgraded component, there is less chance of your prints sticking which will reduce damage to your prints as well as your 3D printer.

On-board computer

Whatever 3D printer you choose, it has an on-board computer that essentially runs the machine.

Some are better than others and upgrading the computer and processor can make a big difference to how your 3D printer performs, the features it has, and how accurate your prints will be.

Smoothers

The smoothers on a 3D printer are a common upgrade but one that can make all the difference to your prints.

Some 3D printers suffer from not having a smooth finish to their prints and this comes from a discrepancy between the supply voltage and the printer’s motor voltage. With the addition of smoothers which are installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get better finishes to your prints.

Cooling Fan

3D printers are notorious for getting hot and overheating. The cooling fan is one of the most important components you can buy and in many 3D printers, an upgrade is necessary.

By upgrading to a better cooling fan, you’ll be able to create better temperature-sensitive prints and also use the 3D printer for longer.

Buying upgrades v printing upgrades

Before we get into the best upgrades that you can get for your Tevo Tornado, we should mention that there are two kinds of upgrades – ones that you can purchase as hardware and upgrades that you can actually use your 3D printer to print yourself.

Some of the upgrades I’m going to show you below are upgrades you can buy and some you will be able to print. By being able to print some upgrades you can modify your printer in a more cost-effective way so it is worth looking into this if you’re on a budget.

Best upgrades for the Tevo Tornado

So, let’s find out the best upgrades you can get for your Tevo Tornado.

#1 – E3D Titan Extruder

Upgrading your extruder is a common modification with any 3D printer and the Tevo Tornado is no exception. The extruder that comes with this 3D printer is perfectly fine and it is actually a version of the E3D Titan so it will work well but upgrading to the property E3D Titan will add much better performance.

It is compatible with 1.75mm and 3.00mm filament and it will add more power and reliability to your printer. This is a pretty lightweight extruder that has been manufactured using injection molded parts so you’ll get reliability as well as longevity so you shouldn’t need to replace it for a long time.

E3D Titan Universal Extruder
$58.85

This is a pretty lightweight extruder that has been manufactured using injection molded parts so you’ll get reliability as well as longevity!

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09/23/2020 07:09 am

#2 – Borosilicate Glass Plate

A common problem with the Tevo Tornado is that the printing bed often causes the print to stick to the surface. Removing it can not only be a bit of a challenge but it can damage the print and also the print surface.

Upgrading this to a glass plate that sits over the printing bed means you’ll get less ‘stickiness’ and a better chance of getting your print off the actual printer. The Borosilicate Glass Plate is specifically made for Tevo Tornado printers and the screw holes are pre-drilled which is a big bonus in my opinion.

The fact you can remove this print bed, as well as a great feature and the glass construction, is one of the common upgrades that make your 3D printing so much easier.

Borosilicate Glass Plate
$59.95

Borosilicate Glass Plate is specifically made for Tevo Tornado printers and the screw holes are pre-drilled which is a BIG bonus!

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09/23/2020 10:10 pm

#3 – TL Smoother

If you remember I spoke about some 3D printers not having a smooth finish to their prints and the Tevo Tornado can suffer from this – it’s called the ‘salmon skin’ effect.

Smoothers negate the need to try and replace the drivers which are good because the Tornado has these fixed onto the mainboard so getting them off is going to be a pain. With a TL Smoother which is installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get a smoother and more refined finish to your prints.

They are really easy to install as well so they are one of the most straightforward but worthwhile upgrades you can get for your Tevo Tornado.

TL Smoother
$9.99

With the TL Smoother is installed between the mainboard and the stepper motors, you’ll get a smoother and more refined finish to your prints.

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09/23/2020 07:09 am

#4 – DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan

There isn’t anything necessarily wrong with the cooling fan that comes with the Tevo Tornado. It will do the job pretty adequately however if you want an increase in performance and better temperature regulation, the DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan is a recommended upgrade.

It’s 24v which is compatible with the Tevo Tornado and it should add to the longevity of how long you can use the printer for as well as helping with better temperature-sensitive designs.

DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan

If you want an increase in performance and better temperature regulation, the is DC Blow Radial Cooling Fan a recommended upgrade.

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#5 – Raspberry Pi with Octoprint

This is an upgrade that can really change the overall performance of your Tevo Tornado. Octoprint is a web interface for your 3D printer and it’ll add wireless printing capability and you can even keep an eye on the status of your printer too.

The Raspberry Pi single-board computer will boost the power of your 3D printer and it isn’t even that expensive to purchase. As an upgrade, it can make a world of difference to what you can do with the Tevo Tornado 3D printer. You can even print off a case for the Raspberry Pi processor itself which will make everything look a bit tidier.

Raspberry Pi with Octoprint
$39.99

Raspberry Pi with Octoprint will boost the power of your 3D printer and it isn’t even that expensive to purchase. As an upgrade, it can make a world of difference to what you can do!

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09/23/2020 07:09 am

#6 – BLTouch: Auto Bed Leveling Sensor

The print bed on the Tevo Tornado has a single aluminum extrusion which means that the print bed can become unlevered pretty easily. This can happen when you are trying to remove prints.

With an Auto Bed Leveling Sensor, you won’t need to do any fine-tuning or manual work to level the print bed. The BL Touch uses a push pin that detects any tilts in the print bed across a number of points and then feeds this back to the 3D printer and will let you know if your print bed is leveled properly. It is a tough little sensor as well so shouldn’t be impacted by any humidity, temperature changes, or different materials.

BLTouch: Auto Bed Leveling Sensor
$37.98

With an Auto Bed Leveling Sensor, you won’t need to do any fine-tuning or manual work to level the print bed and will let you know if your print bed is leveled properly.

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09/23/2020 07:09 am

#7 Shock proofing your Tevo Tornado

One of the main criticisms of the Tornado 3D printer is around its safety over time. It doesn’t have a MOFSET and the way in which it has been wired means that a live wire could potentially hit the frame and cause a very real threat of an electric shock.

This probably won’t happen if you’ve just got the printer and even down the line it may never happen but the point is that the potential is very much there. So, enhancing its safety through a few choice upgrades is recommended. By purchasing an Electric Ring Terminal, Grounding Wire, and an RCD Protector you can ground the printer to improve the safety of the Tornado overall.

#8 Filament Holder

You can print many upgrades for your Tevo Tornado yourself and a Filament holder is one of them.

Many 3D printers come without a filament spool holder and with this quick addition to your 3D printer you will have a handy holder for your filament so that it comes out continuously and smoothly. It is really easy to print and is a cost-effective upgrade that will make a big difference in how you use your Tevo Tornado.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it easy to upgrade my Tevo Tornado?

This really depends on what type of upgrades and modifications you are hoping to make. The vast majority of the changes to the stock Tevo components or adding new ones completely are fairly straightforward so you shouldn’t have many problems installing them. Some are a bit trickier but there are plenty of online guides and videos to help.

Do I really need to upgrade my 3D printer?

Not necessarily. Even though the Tevo Tornado is an affordable printer that isn’t going to eat too much into most people’s budgets, it is a powerful enough device straight out of the box. These upgrades however will not only make your 3D printer better but safer too so it is recommended that you install at least some if not all of the top modifications.

Is Tevo a good 3D printer manufacturer?

For the most part, yes, Tevo is a good manufacturer. They are based in China and even though their Tarantula 3D printer perhaps left a bit to be desired compared to some other models, their Tornado printer is one of the best in its price category.

I’m worried about the safety of my printer – does upgrading solve this?

One of the things to be wary of with the Tevo Tornado is the possibility of the live wire falling onto the frame. It’s pretty unlikely but the more you use the printer the higher the chance this will happen. By upgrading your printer by shock proofing it, this should sort any safety problems out.

Conclusion

The Tevo Tornado is among one of the best affordable 3D printers. It isn’t setting the world alight as such but for the price it does a very decent job especially when you compare it to some other 3D printers in the same category.

While the straight out of the box version is sufficient for many people, adding some choice upgrades can really help to boost its performance which will not only add functionality to the printer but make it safer and more efficient too.

You don’t necessarily need to implement all 8 of the upgrades I’ve spoken about here and even two or three will help you notice a big difference in how it performs. The top upgrades for performance and safety with the Tevo Tornado are:

The Raspberry Pi addition will improve your overall functionality of your Tevo Tornado as well and there are some upgrades you can simply print off too.

The Tevo Tornado is a worthy budget 3D printer and with some sensible upgrades, you can turn it from a decent out of the box model to one that is more powerful and better suited to your needs.

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

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

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

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

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

Main Differences Between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon

The main difference between Elegoo Mars vs Anycubic Photon are:

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

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

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Elegoo Mars

elegoo mars printer

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

ELEGOO Mars

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

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Technology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elegoo Mars Setup

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

Printing

elegoo printer

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

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

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

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

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

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

Elegoo Mars Software

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

The Verdict on Elegoo Mars

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

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

Anycubic Photon

anycubic photon 3D printer

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

Anycubic Photon Features

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

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

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

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

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

Anycubic Photon Setup

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

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

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

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

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

Printing

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

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

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

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

Software

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

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

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

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

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

Pros:

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

Cons:

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

The Verdict: Elegoo Mars or Anycubic Photon?

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

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

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

FAQs About 3D Printers

Is a 3D printer worth buying?

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

Does Elegoo Mars come with resin?

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

Is the Anycubic Photon worth it?

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

Which One is Right for You?

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Further read:

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth It?

MakerGear Ultra One is a heavy-duty 3D printer created for professional industrial markets. But it can also be used for business, educational, and personal purposes. It boasts a riveted sheet metal enclosure that allows it to print a wide variety of engineering-grade models and large-scale parts.

This ultra-durable and the flexible 3D printer has a build volume of 16 by 14 by 13 inches (406.4 by 355.6 by 330.2 millimeters) and delivers high-quality FFF (Fused Filament Fabrication) prints with speed and precision. It prints at high temperatures, so it can work with a variety of filaments, including Nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, metal composites, carbon fiber composites, wood composites, and more 1.75-millimeter filaments.

It also works with a variety of plastic filaments such as ABS, HIPS, PET-G, PET-T, PLA, ASA, BVOH, TPE, and TPU. Its heated build plate, which is made of Borosilicate Glass Plate with a polyimide film coating, can reach a temperature of up to 140 degrees Celcius.

What else do you need to know about the MakerGear Ultra One? Should you buy one for your professional 3D printing needs? Read on to find out more about the Ultra One.

Everything You Need to Know About MakerGear Ultra One

maker gear ultra one

Ohio-based 3D printer manufacturer MakerGear is known in the 3D printing world for its reliability, and you can expect no less from the Ultra One. Priced at $12,500, the Ultra One is different from other industrial printers in that it gives you the flexibility and freedom to pick your filament grade and your filament supplier. As such, you are able to create a broad range of projects while also reducing your production costs.

MakerGear Ultra One Features

Independent Dual Extrusion (IDEX) System

The Ultra One runs two extruders simultaneously and this makes the multi-material printing and use of soluble supports a fast process. Moreover, this independent dual extrusion system allows the Ultra One to provide twice the production capacity of other fixed-head dual extrusion units for single-print jobs.

Touch Probe Leveling

The Ultra One’s reliable Touch Probe feature will assist you in manually leveling the bed and will automatically make small adjustments if necessary from one print job to the next.

Once the Touch Probe Leveling feature has determined the levelness of the bed, it will use these measurements to “instruct” the printer to level your bed by adjusting the z-motors at all corners and to maintain this level throughout heavy printing jobs. The printer also generates a mesh of the print surface before it starts printing to compensate for the variations from perfect flatness.

WiFi/Ethernet Connectivity

You can connect the Ultra One to your WiFi network or via an Ethernet cable, allowing you to control it remotely and to monitor printing status.

Complex Printing

You can use soluble BVOH and HIPS support materials to print complex objects. This printer can combine rigid and flexible elements to achieve more complicated mechanical, chemical, and thermal properties. It can also print objects in multiple colors.

Industrial-grade Linear Rails

Industrial-grade linear rails in the motion system offer true CNC reliability. This feature guarantees consistent material performance from the full printer enclosure.

Simplify3D

Simplify3D is the 3D printing industry’s leading independent slicing software. It is included in the Ultra One without maintenance fees and with free lifetime updates.

OctoPrint for MakerGear

OctoPrint, fitted especially for MakerGear’s control interface, makes the printer controllable from any web browser and highly configurable through plugins. With OctoPrint, you can access features like direct design-to-print integrations and one-click file preparation.

LCD Screen and USB Port

The Ultra One has an LCD screen and USB port to allow you to print files that are stored on your flash drive.

Warranty

The new Ultra One printers come with a 12-month limited warranty. The manufacturer also offers warranty extension options through its MakerGear Protection Plan.

As stipulated in MakerGear’s warranty terms and conditions, the company will replace any defective parts on the Ultra One. Replacement parts may either be new or refurbished. These will be shipped via USPS Priority or FedEx Ground, but only in the United States.

There are, however, exceptions to this warranty. For one, the MakerGear hot-end is covered under warranty only if filaments and authentic components from MakerGear are used. Moreover, the one-year warranty does not cover any abuse on the printer.

What You Would Like About the MakerGear Ultra One

makergear ultra one industrial printer

Aside from all the main features of the MakerGear Ultra One that make it an industry-grade 3D printer, you would love its amazing compatibility. It works with a wide range of devices, browsers, and operating systems, including iOS, Android, Windows, Mac, Linux, Safari, Chrome, and Firefox. Its network connectivity options make the Ultra One suitable for any installation scenario.

You would also love the fact that it includes an onboard computer with more than 10 GB of storage capacity.

Users also admire how the MakerGear Ultra One allows them to use nozzles of different sizes. This 3D printer is sold with a 0.5-millimeter standard brass nozzle, but you can also get and use brass nozzles with a diameter of 0.35 to 0.75 millimeters and stainless steel nozzles with a diameter of 0.35 to 0.5 millimeters.

What’s more, this printer operates very quietly, thanks to its sheet metal enclosure.

MakerGear Ultra One: What Can Be Better?

printing

The MakerGear Ultra One does not come cheap at all. With a very steep price tag, this printer is indeed intended for professional industrial use and business purposes.

In other words, many hobbyists would find it an unaffordable, and even unattainable, machine. It is best to consider this printer investment and to use it for printing jobs that would somehow help you recoup your costs instead of using it for personal projects.

Other than its price point, which is not exactly that big of a disadvantage considering how it gives you your money’s worth, there isn’t a lot of complaints about the Ultra One. There were comments about its lack of an air filtration system, which makes it quite unsuitable for office use. However, MakerGear had explained that the printer will be upgraded to be equipped with a HEPA filter.

Users may also find the Ultra One too tall for typical desktop installation. If you place it on a standard desk, its lid is going to open too high for you to reach.

MakerGear Ultra One: The Bottom Line

The Ultra One is MakerGear’s first industrial 3D printer and it is a powerful machine that can print large-scale parts and assemblies with precision. The key is its all-new motion system, which operates smoothly, and massive build volume, which meets speed and reliability for professionals.

Its gantry system is incredibly rigid and is composed of:

  • X gantry, which contains independent heads driven by fiberglass-reinforced belts and guided by a precision linear rail.
  • Y gantry, which is driven by two fiberglass-reinforced belts and guided by two precision linear rails.

All in all, the MakerGear Ultra One comes from a 3D printer manufacturer that continues to innovate to bring us products that get better and better and more refined than their predecessors. The Ultra One is its first industrial machine and, by far, the most advanced yet.

So if budget is not the problem and you intend to use your 3D printer for industrial and business purposes, the MakerGear Ultra One would make a great investment. With its flexibility in terms of materials, its high connectivity, its great compatibility, and its high-end performance, you will get your money’s worth — if not more.

Alternatives to the MakerGear Ultra One

If you are weighing your options before purchasing, there are some alternatives to the MakerGear Ultra One that is worth checking out. Two are industry-grade 3D printers in that they produce end-user products and commercial-quality prototypes quickly.

Formlabs Form 3

formlabs form 3

The Formlabs Form 3 is touted as one of the best 3D resin printers for 2020. The Formlabs Form 3 is a versatile laser-based stereolithography apparatus (SLA) printer that is complemented by software that makes it easy to operate.

But while traditional SLA setups utilize a stationary laser, wherein the beam is directed by a pair of mirror-toting galvanometers to trace and cut an object into the resin, the Formlabs Form 3 has the Low Force Stereolithography (LFS), which bounces the laser beam through a chain of a single galvanometer, mirror, and parabolic mirror, and at the same time rowing the entire laser module back and forth along the print’s X-axis.

This extended path for the laser beam ensures that the resin is hit perpendicular to any point on the build plate, delivering scalability, and consistent edge-to-edge print quality.

The Form 3 sports Formlabs’ all-new proprietary printing system that is distinctive for its Light Processing Unit (LPU). Complementing this new LPU-enabled printing method is an array of print monitoring sensors that are geared toward micromanaging every little aspect of a printing job.

You can pair this printer with a computer and use its large color touchscreen to view the material cartridge used, the paired resin vat, the milliliters of resin used, the final print time, the number of layers, the resolution, and a complete history of prints. The Form 3 has a 145- by 145- by 185-millimeter print volume.

With the Form Wash and Cure stations, you will be able to handle a printing job one-handed, from preparation to post-processing.

Formlabs Form 3: What You Would Like

The Form 3 only takes a few moments to set up and a few moments to start a part-automated print job. It was designed to let you spend as little time as possible manning or operating the printer and more time monitoring the workflow. In other words, this 3D printer provides all the tools you need for oversight and resource management.

You would also love how the Form 3 gives you a superior printing experience through usability print quality. Needless to say, this is a great 3D printer for small-batch, high-detail, and fast prototyping.

Moreover, you would appreciate how the Form 3 has a complimentary wash and cure stations to make washing and curing a hassle-free task, especially since resin is rather nasty stuff. Between flipping the build plate lock open and using the wash and cure stations, minimum input is required on the part of the operator.

What Can Be Better About the Formlabs Form 3

The Formlabs Form 3 has its share of shortcomings. You could experience infrequent artifacts or flaws on your prints, which could be due to either an issue with the disposable resin vats or the dust on the LPU’s glass window.

Some users also complain about Formlabs’ consumables being pricey. However, in exchange for their reliability, they might be worth the cost.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

  • Easy to use and one-click, part-automated printing
  • Has compatible wash and cure stations
  • High-quality output
  • Has a compact design
  • Cost-effective

Cons:

  • No OFF button
  • Early issues with dust inside the laser unit
  • Resin cartridges are a little wasteful

How the Formlabs Form 3 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

While both the Ultra One and the Form 3 are high-quality printers that strike a great balance between speed and detail, with high reliability and repeatability, they are different types of 3D printers. The Ultra One is a fused deposition modeling (FDM) printer while the Form 3 is an SLA printer. This means the two use different materials for printing 3D models; the Ultra One uses filaments while the Form 3 uses resin.

Moreover, the Ultra One is more expensive than the Form 3, and it is quite understandable, just considering the former’s much larger print volume, among others.

Ultimaker S5

ultimaker s5

The Ultimaker S5 is considered one of the best dual extruder 3D printers available in the desktop 3D printing market. It is known for its incredible print quality and intuitive guidance, from the setup of a print job to removal. It has a larger-than-life build volume of 330 by 240 by 300 millimeters.

This piece of hardware is designed for the professional, high-end market, including professional designers, engineers, and small businesses. It was also built to run continuously and to maximize uptime. It boasts a layer resolution of down to 20 microns.

Moreover, this printer is compatible with carbon fiber filament as well as high-strength glass. It has an open filament system and can print with any 2.85-millimeter material.

Ultimaker S5: What You Would Like

You would love how the Ultimaker S5 gives you a simple setup, high uptime, and reliable dual extrusion, making it is a complete professional 3D printing solution. Design-wise, you would like how it has a 4.7-inch intuitive touchscreen interface.

You’d also appreciate how you can upgrade your 3D printer. For one, you can get the Ultimaker S5 Material Station and add capacity for six front-loaded material spools. The printer will automatically switch between materials and control for filament humidity. There’s also the Air Manager, which will enclose your printer’s build chamber and filter up to 95 percent of ultrafine particles.

What Can Be Better About the Ultimaker S5

The Ultimaker S5’s $5,995 price tag is considered rather steep for this type of printer. The printer is also relatively slow when it comes to set up and the printing itself. Plus, there are a few kinks that the hardware and the software, Cura Connect, need to be work out between them.

Moreover, while the Ultimaker S5 is capable of multi-material printing, it is not necessarily great with multiple colors. When printing with two different-colored PLA filaments, for instance, the print quality had taken a noticeable dip.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros:

  • Easy to use and set up
  • Exceptional print quality
  • Has large build volume
  • Has excellent multi-material capabilities
  • Touchscreen interface that walks guides you through every step of the printing process

Cons

  • It is an expensive 3D printer
  • Has relatively slow print time, depending on layer height
  • Camera feed sometimes freezes
  • More difficulties with certain materials

How the Ultimaker S5 Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

The Ultimaker S5 has a large print volume, but the print volume on the Ultra One is larger. This difference, however, is not that massive. Both printers use filaments, including PLA, ABS, nylon, polycarbonate, polypropylene, CPET, and carbon fiber. They also apply FFF print technology. Both also have dual extrusion print heads.

FlashForge Creator Pro

flashforge 3d printer

The Creator Pro is one of the more affordable yet capable dual extrusion 3D printers available today. It boasts sturdy construction, a fully enclosed build chamber, and a heated build plate, all allowing for multi-material printing and the printing of temperature-sensitive materials that would typically warp with other printers.

It has a build volume of 227 × 148 × 150 millimeters and a layer height of 100 microns. It is a pretty straightforward printer that is based on FFF technology.

The FlashForge Creator Pro has a versatile dual extruder. However, unlike IDEX systems, wherein the nozzles independently move from each other on the x-axis, the Creator Pro’s set-up uses a pair of aligned print heads. This allows for quicker dual extrusion prints since the traveling time of the print heads has decreased. However, there might be a need to tinker and adjust retraction times a bit to prevent material from oozing out the inactive nozzle.

FlashForge Creator Pro: What You Would Like

The FlashForge Creator Pro makes a great budget pick for a dual extruder 3D printer with its relatively low price point. At less than $800, this 3D printer is a good choice for personal use and small- to mid-sized businesses. It allows 3D printing hobbyists to afford rapid prototyping without compromising high-quality products.

Other than the affordability, you would also love how the FlashForge Creator Pro has an active and supportive user base. Moreover, the dual extruder system makes it possible for the Creator Pro to print with a wide variety of materials, including PVA, PLA, ABS, HIPS, Flex, T-glass, and composites like CopperFill, Woodfill, and BrassFill.

Additionally, the Creator Pro comes in a user-friendly and stylish design. It is ready to use out of the box.

What Can Be Better About the FlashForge Creator Pro

The Creator Pro does not have its own software. However, it is an open-source printer and is therefore compatible with a number of slicing software, including FlashPrint, ReplicatorG, Cura, and Simplify3D.

Pros and Cons: At a Glance

Pros

  • Has a sturdy and stable metal frame
  • Warp-resistant 6.3-millimeter aluminum build platform
  • The new heavy-duty z-axis guide rod ensures steady and precise movements
  • Has an acrylic enclosure for the chamber to insulate and protect ABS prints.
  • Has an integrated LCD screen.

Cons

  • Does not have its own slicing software
  • Not recommended for industrial 3D printing purposes because speed is not a strong point

How the FlashForge Creator Pro Compares to the MakerGear Ultra One

Both FlashForge Creator Pro and MakerGear Ultra One are dual extruder printers, but the Creator Pro does not have an IDEX system. The price points between the two printers are worlds apart, making the Creator Pro a much more recommended unit for personal or hobby printing purposes.

FAQs About 3D Printers

What is the difference between FDM and SLA Printers?

The main difference between an FDM printer and an SLA printer is the materials they use. While an SLA printer uses resin as the material for its models or prototypes, an FDM printer uses filaments, such as those made of plastic, nylon, and other materials. An FDM printer builds a model by melting the filament and pushing it out of its extruders one layer at a time.

Filaments are available in a wide variety of colors and you can use the colors you need. For resin, the color options are very limited. Most SLA printers also require you to use resins from the same manufacturer. This means that if a particular SLA printer manufacturer only offers white, black, gray, and clear resins, you may have to limit your models to just these colors.

Another difference between the two types of printers is the post-processing requirements. With an FDA printer, printed models are easy to remove. But with an SLA printer, removing the finished product can be messy and a bit of a hassle. Additionally, for FDM printer models, you need to remove the supports and any excess plastic, then do some sanding to smoothen out the surface. Meanwhile, SLA models need to be cleaned and cured. You need to soak them in a cleaning solution to get rid of any leftover residue, then cure the resin under high wavelength UV light.

What is Extrusion and What Does it Mean to Have Dual Extruder?

Extrusion is the process of creating models or objects of a fixed cross-sectional profile, where the material is pushed out of a die. In the case of Ultra One, the filament is pushed out.

Dual extruder printers are equipped with two extruders and nozzles. Through a dual extrusion process, you can print 3D models with multiple filaments. With two spools loaded, your 3D printer alternates between these spools printing one at a time.

What is the OctoPrint Feature?

OctoPrint is the interface through which you can access and control your MakerGear printer. Think of it as your car’s dashboard, which offers you access to the vehicle’s controls.

By navigating to your Ultra One’s unique web address, you will be able to get total control of the printer through any web-browsing device. With the OctoPrint feature, you will be able to address and control most of your 3D printing needs and processes, such as heating the printer, preparing your files, monitoring the progress of a print job, and calibration and maintenance.

Is MakerGear Ultra One Worth Getting?

If the budget is out of the question, the MakerGear would make a great investment. It offers precision, accuracy, repeatability, and speed, which you will need if you are printing 3D models and assemblies for commercial and industrial use.

Ultra One also has the largest build volume among all the printers mentioned, so if you want to make big models in one go, this printer is for you. (Here check MakerGear M2, MakerGear M2 vs Replicator 2 and Ultimaker 2 vs MakerGear M2 before making the final choice!)

However, if the price is a big consideration, there’s always a much cheaper alternative for whatever it is you need and want in a 3D printer. If you are looking for a 3D printer to use for your hobby, you might want to get the FlashForge Creator Pro. It is a much cheaper printer that is still capable of giving you high-quality prints.

If you are looking for an industry-grade printer that you can pretty much leave as it does its job, you would find Formlabs Form 3’s one-click feature attractive. Of course, Ultra One does have the OctoPrint, but Form 3 costs a lot less.

Meanwhile, you may consider getting the Ultimaker S5 if you are looking for a dual extruder printer with a larger build volume than the two other alternatives.

Further read:

Glowforge 3D Laser Printer Review [2020]

As 3D printers continue to rise in popularity, you may find that you want to join in the fun of printing your own objects from the comfort of your own home.

While there are plenty of options out there, one of the most popular choices is the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

This exciting printer started in Seattle as a Kickstarter project that garnered plenty of attention and funding. Glowforge captured investments from many venture capitalists, topping more than $70 million for its 3D laser printer.

So what does the Glowforge 3D laser printer have to offer its users? What features are available and how well does it work? We’ll jump into these questions and more as we explore everything about the Glowforge 3D printer.

Before we go into our full Glowforge Review, let’s take a moment and discuss what you may want to consider before you buy a 3D printer.

Buying Considerations

If you’re planning on your hard-earned money on a 3D printer, you want to be sure that it has exactly what you want and need. Otherwise, you’re just wasting your money. Here are some items to think about when you’re looking at 3D printers.

Cost

One of the most important factors you should consider before buying a 3D printer is the price. This number is going to be different for everyone depending on budget, so be sure you’re looking at a 3D printer that’s in your price range.

Capability and Features

With a 3D printer, you can create a wide variety of objects and items. Does the printer you’re considering offer the features you need to print what you want?

Speed

How fast do you need your objects printed? 3D printers can take anywhere from a few minutes to several hours to complete a print job.

Quality

How well does the printer create objects? Can it create objects that require fine precision and detailed accuracy? Some printers provide high-quality prints while others are not as reliable. Be sure you find a printer that won’t create poorly made objects.

Maintenance

Is it difficult to perform regular maintenance on the printer? There are some printers that are designed to allow the user easy access to all areas so upkeep is quick and simple. On the other hand, there are 3D printers on the market that make maintenance difficult and challenging for any user.

Glowforge 3D Laser Printer

Now that you have a solid idea of things to consider before you buy a printer, let’s take a closer look at the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

Out of the Box

The first thing you’ll notice when you open the box containing the Glowforge 3D printer is that the company takes its products seriously. The design is amazing, with a breathtaking exterior that shows Glowforge takes pride in its work.

It doesn’t take long to unbox the device, and once you do, you’ll realize why this 3D printer is one of the highest-rated on the market. With a Glowforge 3D printer, you’ll be completing complex and detailed jobs before you know it.

Setting Up

Getting your Glowforge 3D printer setup isn’t too much trouble. The manufacturer says you’ll be printing within half an hour of taking it out of the box. Arguably, the most difficult part of the process isn’t getting set up but choosing which object you want to print first.

Really the only thing you need to do is plug the device into a standard wall outlet, then connect it to your wifi network. Additionally, be sure you keep it within a few feet of a window so you have a place for the exhaust to go.

It really is that simple, but there are a few additional steps you need to take to ensure everything is just right before you start printing. First, slide in the crumb tray until the feet fall into place. Once that’s done, insert the printer laser head by sliding the metal plate into its slot.

Next, push the arm toward the rear of the device. Find the orange cylinder and slide it into the head of the printer. You’ll know it’s in the proper position when you hear it make a clicking noise.

Now, you’re ready to connect the exhaust. Attach one end of the exhaust hose to your 3D printer, then place the other end so that it’s pointing to an outside window or vent. This helps to keep the fumes from gathering in your home or office.

That’s all you really have to do for set up. Plugin your 3D printer, connect to wifi, then let the laser cutting machine calibrate. When it’s done, you can select an object and start printing.

Features

There is no shortage of features when it comes to the Glowforge 3D printer. This machine is fully capable of printing nearly any object you want no matter how advanced, detailed, or intricate. Let’s take a closer look at some of the more prominent capabilities of this printer.

  • Compact

The Glowforge 3D laser printer is designed with small and home offices. This machine is perfect for your desktop at home or on a work table in your office. With its compact design, the Glowforge is ideal for individual use.

  • Robust

One of the most prominent features you’ll notice with the Glowforge Machine is how sturdy the device is. It is made of high-quality glass, plastic, and metal, so you know it’s sturdy and robust. As a result, you’re not going to run into any issues with reliability throughout the life of your 3D printer.

  • User Friendly

Whether you’re new to the world of 3D printing or an experienced veteran, Glowforge has created a device that is easy for anyone to use. The learning curve is short, which is perfect for anyone who wants to learn about 3D printing but doesn’t have a lot of knowledge about it.

  • Different Materials

If you’re into the laser engraving portion of this device (engraving machine), you’ll have no shortage of materials with which you can work. It is compatible with a wide range of options, including leather, glass, fabric, wood, and cardboard. You can also use aluminum and titanium if you’re into using metal materials.

  • Designed for Safety

The Glowforge 3D laser printer is built with safety in mind. The laser engraving machine can be damaging if you don’t take the proper precautions, which is why the Glowforge machine was built with an enclosed design.

This helps to protect both users and the device itself by preventing users from reaching in and hurting themselves while the machine is in operation.

  • Filtration System

When you’re running your 3D printer, you want to be sure that fumes aren’t gathering in areas that can make it difficult to breathe. That’s why Glowforge uses a built-in air compressor that clears out fumes as it runs. This also helps to safeguard the lens while you’re printing an object.

  • Automatic Optical Adjustments

Speaking of the lens, Glowforge offers one of the most unique features you’re not likely to find with other 3D laser printers. While other 3D printers require their users to manually adjust the lens, the Glowforge printer does it automatically.

Additionally, the baseplate that comes with the printer is honeycomb-shaped, which allows for better heat displacement and transfer between the air and the materials.

  • Closed-Loop Cooling

The Glowforge 3D printer comes with a built-in water cooling system that helps to alleviate the need for extra coolers or water pumps. This helps to ensure that the system won’t overheat while operating, which means you’re spending less on maintenance and upkeep of the device.

As you can see, there are a number of exciting features that make the Glowforge 3D printer one of the best in its class. With a user-friendly interface and sturdy craftsmanship, this 3D printer is ideal for anyone who wants to explore the world of 3D printing.

Glowforge Specs

While the Glowforge 3D printer isn’t the smallest on the market, you still may wind up needing to make room for it. It measures 965mm x 527mm x 210mm. This gives users a work area of roughly 455mm deep by 515mm wide, along with a laser cutting area of 279mm deep and 495mm wide.

Users will also notice the custom carbon dioxide glass tube for laser use. This can be used continually at 10,600nm. It pulls 45 watts, so you might notice a slight uptick in your electric bill if you use it regularly.

Laser Engraving

The Glowforge 3D printer also has laser cutter features and functionality. As stated previously, you can use a wide variety of different materials if you want to laser engrave. These include metals, cardboard, wood, and many others.

Quality

The quality of 3D objects printed with the Glowforge printer is excellent. You can rely on this printer to print out stable and sturdy objects on a regular basis. It is precise and accurate, which means you aren’t printing out objects that may fall apart in just a few days’ time.

Software

If you want to use software with your Glowforge 3D printer, the manufacturer does offer a cloud-based option. However, you can also use third-party platforms like Powerpoint, Adobe Illustrator, or CAD.

Using these programs, you can create popular objects and items when you’re ready to start printing. It might go without saying, but this type of software availability is why your 3D printer should always be connected to your wifi network.

Remaining connected ensures that you receive the latest updates and fixes that keep your 3D printer running the way it should.

Glowforge 3D Printer Alternatives

If the Glowforge 3D printer doesn’t offer the features and functionality you need, you might consider one of the following options.

Monoprice Select Mini – Best for Those on a Budget

If you’re on a budget but really want a 3D printer, this is a pretty good option. For those that have never owned a 3D printer, this is a great way to learn more about them and get your feet wet without putting a dent in your wallet.

The speed and print quality with the Monoprice Select Mini is excellent, however, you’ll want to purchase additional filament as this printer runs through it quickly.

Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer

The Monoprice Select Mini 3D Printer is a HIGH quality and budget-friendly option printer, that is very safe to use around children.

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Flashforge Adventurer – Best for Novices

Those looking for a 3D printer that’s easy to use should take a look at the Flashforge Adventurer. This printer is easy to set up, assemble and will have you printing in less than half an hour.

You’ll get solid print quality and speed, so you won’t be sacrificing much in that area. Just open up your box, get your materials together, and get going. There’s not much else to this 3D printer, which makes it one of the best if you’re a DIY enthusiast or an amateur painter.

XYZPrinting da Vinci Jr. Pro Model- Best for More than Printing

This ambitious 3D printer takes things a step further by giving its users the ability to laser engrave materials as well. Using specialized carbon-fiber filament, the da Vinci Jr. Pro Model gives users a multifunctional device that can do more than print.

However, a lack of wifi on this 3D printer can be a hassle if you like to use software platforms the reside in the cloud. Additionally, the non-heated bed can become an issue if you print frequently. Overall though, this is a decent option if you’re in the market for a multi-functional 3D printer.

SOL Laser 3D Scanner – Best for Printing Replicas

If you need an easy way to replicate items, you can do so with the SOL 3D scanner. Basically, its built-in camera and rotating base allow it to build a 360-degree replica, which you can then edit using its 3D software.

All you have to worry about it scanning the object and then importing it into the 3D printer to be printed. One cool feature of this 3D printer is the ability to receive text alerts when the next step in the printing process is reached.

Anycubic Photon – Best for Those that Prefer Resin

For those of you that are dead set on using a resin 3D printer, the Anycubic Photon is probably the best option for you. Resin printers provide high-quality objects while focusing on intricacy and accuracy.

These printers create objects that look like they just came off the factory line. However, resin is more of a challenge to work with than filament, so be sure you know what you’re doing and that you have plenty of ventilation when printing.

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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FAQs

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions in regards to the Glowforge 3D laser printer.

What can I create with my Glowforge 3D laser printer?

With your Glowforge, you can cut fabric, wood, paper, leather, mylar, Plexiglass, rubber, and much, much more. Additionally, your Glowforge can engrave all sorts of items, including coated metal, marble, phones, laptops, tablets, and others.

How often does the Glowforge laser need to be replaced?

You’ll need to replace the Glowforge laser tube every two years. This customer made a piece of equipment is rated for two years. If something goes wrong before that time, it’s covered under Glowforge’s warranty. But be sure you look into that yourself.

What is different about laser engraving and etching?

The biggest difference you’ll discover between etching and engraving is that etching is a process involving chemicals, where an engraving is a physical one. An etcher will burn lines into the material using acid, while a laser engraver uses a sharp tool to cut the lines right into the surface.

Where is Glowforge located?

While Glowforge products are made with parts that are sourced throughout the world, the facility is located in Seattle, Washington. Every unit is designed and produced in this location

What types of products does Glowforge offer?

Glowforge offers a variety of high-quality products based on your intentions and experience level:
Glowforge Basic – 40W Laser Power.
Glowforge Plus – 40W Laser Power and 2x Enhanced Top Speed.
Glowforge Pro – 45W Laser Power and 3x Enhanced Top Speed as well as enhanced cooling and other features.
Additionally, Glowforge has a Glowforge App available for anyone that is a Glowforge owner that gives printing control from iOS devices and allows you to add photos straight from your camera library right to your design.

Final Thoughts: Glowforge Review

It can be useful to own a 3D printer, especially one that can perform multiple functions like the Glowforge 3D laser printer. Being a Glowforge owner will allow you to quickly and easily create and print items that have specific uses and applications.

As seen from our Glowforge review, this can be an affordable alternative to purchasing items over the long term, even if your budget is constrained. With the Glowforge 3D printer, you can create precise and accurate objects. Just remember that you’ll have to keep it connected to your wifi network so you’ll always have the latest updates and features.

Overall, there are some viable alternatives on the market, but if you want something that’s going to be a great 3D printer and excellent laser engraver, you’ll be hard-pressed to find something better.

Further Reading on Laser Scanner and Laser Cutter Options:

Peopoly Moai Review [2020] Is It Worth Buying?

The Peopoly Moai is a stereolithography apparatus (SLA) printer, which uses resins to create models, patterns, parts, and prototypes.

Simply put, it is a resin 3D printer. And to create a high-resolution three-dimensional product, it does its printing layer by layer.

The thing with SLA printers is that they are often more expensive than fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers. In fact, the Peopoly Moai costs more than $1,000, which is way more than the cost of some higher-end FDM printers.

Peopoly Moai: What You Should Know

One thing that can describe the Peopoly Moai is that it’s big. It stands around 26 inches tall and looks rather severe with its dark plastic casing. The front has the control dial, the small LED screen, and the power button.

When you open the door, you will find the 3D print area, which can create objects with dimensions of around 7 by 5.1 by 5.1 inches. This means that the Peopoly Moai can easily handle tall 3D prints.

The resin goes into the tray located at the bottom area of the printer. The resin printer trays cost around $50 to $60 and you will need to replace it once the 3D print degrades, which the manufacturer says is after you have used up around four liters of resin or so.

The print base is found just above the resin tray.

Peopoly Moai Review

What Features Should You Expect from the Peopoly Moai?

The Peopoly Moai has a sizable build volume, measuring 5.1 by 5.1 by 7.1 inches. It also has a laser spot of about 70 microns, which means that you can get finer details. This 3D printer works with a wide variety of resins. This means that you can print anything using more expensive specialty resins or use more budget-friendly ones.

This 3D printer is also compatible with G-code. Moreover, you can use Cura and other slicing programs that you are already familiar with.

The Peopoly Moai is also compatible with just about any resin that you have. The company sells its own resins, but you can use products from other manufacturers.

When it comes to printing, you can get layers that are as thin as five microns, depending on the resin that you use.

Should You Buy the Pre-Built or the Kit?

The Peopoly Moai comes in three different versions. The original one costs around $1,400

There’s also the Moai 130 that comes in two flavors: Kit and Assembled. The Kit costs around $1,500 while the Assembled version costs around $1,600 (check MatterHackers here for the latest). The kit needs to be assembled: it’s easy to do so, but it can take a lot of time.

What are the Differences Between the Original Moai and the Moai 130?

Looking at both printers side by side, you will see that nothing much has changed with the Peopoly Moai 130. It’s still the same big and black printer. But inside, you will find that there are now better pieces of hardware. For instance, the Moai 130 has a new print plate that is very easy to level, unlike the aluminum block that came with the original.

You also have the FEP resin vat that means your print quality degrades over a longer period of time. You have to clean it less frequently, as well. The newer Moai model also has an LED UV lamp and a heater block.

in short, the Moai 130 tries to correct everything that people complained about in the original Moai. No more tedious leveling and you don’t need to pay it as much attention as before.

Moai vs Moai 130

What You Would Like About the Peopoly Moai

The biggest draw of the Peopoly Moai is the low cost. It’s one of the most affordable SLA printers out there and it delivers quality prints as long as you know what you’re doing. What’s more, you can get support from an active community of users.

If you’re an old-timer in 3D printing, you will certainly like the level of control that the Peopoly Moai gives you. You can change the settings to control every aspect of printing.

Peopoly Moai Pros and Cons

Peopoly Moai Pros

  • Solid and sturdy
  • Easy to assemble
  • Excellent support materials and guides
  • Compatible with third-party resins and software
  • Elegant look
  • Outstanding print quality with minimal post-processing work

What Can Be Better

The package doesn’t include any resin, so you will have to buy them separately. But more than that, this 3D printer is not for beginners. Just preparing the 3D models is enough to confuse you if you don’t have experience printing 3D models. It also doesn’t have network connectivity and doesn’t allow you to hook up any USB connections. You will need to use a USB card to load your files.

There is also no software or web camera to monitor your printing progress. Instead, you need to open the door to see if your print is done. However, Peopoly does give you a list of software that are compatible with their product, including Meshmixer and Cura.

Peopoly Moai Cons

  • Printing jobs can be messy
  • Leveling the bed can be a bit maddening
  • There is no air filter

The Bottom Line: Peopoly Moai

The Peopoly Moai may look like an introductory SLA 3D printer because of its simple and no-frills design and its relatively easy operation. But there are certain things about the Peopoly Moai that are not ideal for beginners.

For one, you will have to do a lot of tweaking in its settings and controls for you to get the best quality of 3D prints. And with the higher costs associated with SLA printers, trial and error with your prints should be at a minimum.

What’s more, this printer has no complementary washing station and there isn’t any guideline for how to deal with the mess of the SLA 3D prints. There is also no official Peopoly Moai software solution you can use for preparing 3D models for slicing.

However, the Peopoly Moai is pitched as an ideal machine for those who love to experiment on their 3D prints, given its flexibility and its ability to accept third-party resins. Users can use the Peopoly Moai to build their knowledge base on it.

Peopoly Moai users also contend that the main issue does not pertain to the printer itself but lies more in the learning curve if SLA technology. The printer offers joy in its design and in the products you get to create with it. As long as you have no qualms about getting your hands dirty, the Peopoly Moai may very well be the finest piece of equipment you can get in your foray into SLA 3D printing.

Should I Buy Peopoly Moai

Frequently Asked Questions

We will try to answer some of the questions that people ask when it comes to SLA printers.

1. SLA vs FDM Printers: What is the Difference?

You may also want to know the difference between an SLA printer and an FDM printer before making the decision to get the Peopoly Moai. Knowing this should give you an understanding of how the Peopoly Moai differs from FDM 3D printers available today.

Materials and Colors

The main difference between an SLA printer and an FDM printer is the materials and colors they use. While an SLA printer uses resins, an FDM printer uses filaments that are made of plastic, nylon, and other materials and specialty products. An FDM printer creates a model or object by melting the filament and pushing it out of its extruders layer by layer.

While filaments are available in a variety of colors, depending on what you need and prefer, the color options for resins are very limited. Moreover, most SLA printers would require you to exclusively use resins from the same manufacturer. So, generally speaking, if a particular SLA printer manufacturer only makes white, gray, black, and clear resins, then you can only print objects in any of these colors.

Printing Precision

If you want to print a 3D object with minute details using an FDM printer, you primarily consider two things: the size of the printer’s nozzle and the accuracy of its X/Y axis movements. If you are using an SLA printer, you consider the optical spot size.

So which of the two printers generally deliver finer and more accurate 3D prints? An SLA printer delivers a smoother and more accurate output than an FDM printer. This is because an SLA printer’s resolutions rely on the size of the optical spot and less force is applied on the object while being printed.

Post-Print Processing

With an FDM printer, the printed objects are easy to remove. But with an SLA printer, removing the 3D prints can be a cumbersome task. It can also be rather messy, with a lot of resin left on the platform.

FDM and SLA printers also differ in the post-print processing they require. For objects printed using an FDM printer, you will need to remove the supports and all the excess plastic. You will also need to do some sanding for a smoother finished product.

Meanwhile, models created using an SLA printer need to be cleaned and cured. You will need to soak them in a cleaning solution, usually isopropyl alcohol, to get rid of any residue. Some people even use an ultrasonic cleaner. After the cleaning, you will have to cure the resin using a high wavelength UV light (UV resin light).

Cost

Over time, FDM printers are less costly. Aside from the fact that SLA printers are pricier than FDM printers, the materials you’ll need for FDM printing are also not as costly. In fact, you can get filament for less than $30 per kilogram.

With SLA printers, on the other hand, you will have to stock up on resin, which is already rather pricey. Moreover, you will also need to change the resin tank after you use up two to three liters of resin.

2. How Does an SLA Printer Work?

Before we go into the things you need to know about the Peopoly Moai, let’s get one thing out of the way first: How does an SLA printer work?

An SLA 3D printer is equipped with an ultraviolet laser that hardens liquid resin contained in a reservoir to form your desired 3D shape. In other words, the printing process involves converting photosensitive liquid into a solid, three-dimensional plastic shape layer by layer using low-power laser and photopolymerization.

As the printer finishes one layer, if lifts the model to allow more resin to come in. It will then zap the new layer of resin with its UV laser.

3. When does it make sense to use an SLA printer?

If you are currently using FDM printers and you are thinking about trying out resin printing, here are some things that you should know:

  • If you are going for a budget SLA printer, then you should know that you are probably going to be limited to smaller build volumes.
  • SLA printing can be very messy.
  • SLA printing has more consumables.
  • Resin printing makes sense if you need to print in batches because cleanup is required after every print, no matter how big or small the job is.

When you consider resin printing, you should be aware that there are hidden costs to it. Unlike FDM prints where you only worry about the filaments, resin printing involves more than just the printer price and the price of a bottle of resin. Nevertheless, one of the best reasons why you should go for SLA printing is because the prints just look great.

Peopoly Moai Alternatives and Close Competitors

If you would like to explore your other options, here are a few alternatives to the Peopoly Moai that you might want to check out:

1. Phrozen Sonic Mini

The Sonic Mini from Taiwanese manufacturer Phrozen is a budget resin 3D printer, launching at $200. It is an LCD-based Masked Stereolithography (MSLA) printer. This professional high-speed machine can print models as fast as five centimeters per hour given optimal conditions.

Users love how this printer is easy to set up and a breeze to use. The Phrozen Sonic Mini is also touted for its LCD panel’s ability to allow much more light through than that of other budget resin printers. As a result, it is able to cure a layer of resin in less than two seconds.

The print resolution is not as good as that of its competitors, but users would argue that the print quality is not so bad. In fact, considering that it prints fast and it is a cheap printer, they would say that the quality of the print is better than expected.

The Sonic Mini runs on an off-the-shelf ChiTu board and you can prepare the model using the user-friendly ChiTuBox software.

Phrozen Sonic Mini

Phrozen Sonic Mini vs Peopoly Moai

The Sonic Mini is much cheaper than the Peopoly Moai, but it also has a lower print resolution. It does, however, print faster. Moreover, just like with the Peopoly Moai, you are able to use resin from third-party suppliers with the Sonic Mini.

Phrozen Sonic Mini: Pros

  • Affordable
  • Easy to set up and user-friendly
  • Fast printing

Phrozen Sonic Mini: Cons

  • Smaller than the average build volume
  • Slight resolution hit
  • Obscured USB input

2. Formlabs Form 3

Formlabs Form 3 is the ideal printer for printing small batches of excellent-quality, high-detailed prototypes. This printer introduces Low Force Stereolithography 3D printing to the desktop and offers the perfect balance between speed and detail, as well as reliability and high repeatability.

Moreover, the Form 3 boasts a custom-designed Light Processing Unit inside, as well as a compact system of integrated mirrors and lenses to consistently produce accurate prints. The printer’s updated optical system features a dense and precise laser spot that also contributes to easy clean-up after printing and smoother parts for the 3D prints with tear-away light-touch supports.

The Form 3 does not need specialized training to operate. You can plug it and print it right out of the box. It also has user-replaceable components and, with a streamlined cartridge system, you can switch between materials in just a matter of seconds.

Additionally, the Form 3 is complemented by easy-to-use software. Not to mention Formlabs’ post-processing tools: the Form Wash and Form Cure stations. The combination of all these tools allows you to handle a particular print job one-handed and with as less input and less contact with resin as possible – from the preparation stage to washing and curing.

However, while the Form 3 sounds like a dream, it comes with its own share of faults. For one, dust and particles accumulate on the LPU’s glass window and block the light paths rather too soon. Another issue pertains to its disposable resin vats, which tend to wear out very quickly, as well.

formlabs form 3

Formlabs Form 3 vs Peopoly Moai

A traditional SLA setup like that of the Peopoly Moai uses a stationary laser to trace the model into the resin, with its beam directed by a pair of mirror-toting galvanometers.

However, the Form 3’s LFS bounces the laser beam through an extended path – through a chain of a single galvanometer, mirror, and parabolic mirror – while rowing the laser module back and forth along the print’s X-axis.

This extended path for the laser beam ensures that it can hit the resin perpendicular to a point on the print plate and this ensures print scalability and consistent edge-to-edge quality.

The Form 3 may be way more expensive than the Peopoly Moai, with prices ranging from $3500 to $9700, but it offers industrial prints at a price that is still a fraction of the price of traditional industrial printers.

Formlabs Form 3: Pros

  • Speedy printing without compromising print quality
  • Very accurate prints, with smooth surfaces and sharp details
  • One-click printing
  • Compatible software and post-processing tools from the same manufacturer

Formlabs Form 3: Cons

  • Early issues with dust collected in the laser unit
  • Wasteful resin cartridges
  • Can only use Formlabs resin
  • Absence of “off” button

3. Creality Ender 5 Pro

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

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

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With a price tag of $390, the Creality Ender 5 Pro is another 3D printer under $500. However, it is an FDM 3D printer, so you can really expect it to be more affordable and budget-friendly than most SLA machines.

The Creality Ender 5 Pro carries the same specs and looks as its predecessor, the Creality Ender 5, but with upgraded features. For one, this 3D printer has a large metal extruder frame and an expanded build volume. The frame allows it to provide stronger pressure while pushing the melted filament through the printer’s nozzle. It also works more quietly and has an improved filament tubing that produces a smoother printing output.

This printer has a 260 degrees Centigrade nozzle temperature, making it compatible with various filaments. In terms of output quality, the Ender 5 Pro can print shapes with a 100-micron resolution.

Like the Creality Ender 5 before it, the Ender 5 Pro is a relatively easy-to-build do-it-yourself kit with pre-assembled axes. All you need to do is just attach the Z-axis to the base, plug the printer in, and be ready to print. The assembly required for the Ender 5 Pro takes less than an hour to finish.

Moreover, the Ender 5 Pro’s X- and Y-axis measurements are the same as its predecessor, but it has more print area on the Z-axis. Its double Y-axis control system is also a unique feature. Its Y-axis motor directs both sides of the gantry to simultaneously create a smoother movement and reduce any potential vibrations that may create flaws in your printed models.

Additionally, the Creality Ender 5 Pro has a flexible and detachable magnetic print bed that allows you to easily remove prints. This print bed is self-adhesive and can, therefore, be quickly mounted back onto the build plate (build platform).

Overall, the Ender 5 Pro is a solid and reliable printer that is able to quietly print smooth objects with fine details. You would also love how it has a power supply protection device, wherein it would stop then resume its printing function in case of a sudden power interruption.

Creality Ender 5

Creality Ender 5 Pro vs Peopoly Moai

It may be hard to compare these two 3D printers as they have different printing technologies. The Ender 5 Pro is an FDM printer that uses filaments while the Peopoly is an SLA printer that uses resin. However, both are affordable for a printer under their respective categories, and both of them offer solid print quality.

The Ender 5 Pro also has a significantly larger build volume than the Peopoly Moai at 220 x 220 x 300 millimeters versus the latter’s 130 x 130 x 180 millimeters. And because the Peopoly Moai does not have its own proprietary software, you may use ones that are also compatible with the Ender 5 Pro, such as Cura and Simplify3D.

Creality Ender 5 Pro: Pros

  • Budget-friendly
  • Reliable
  • Solid print quality
  • Super quiet printing
  • Game-changing Capricorn Bowden tube
  • Power supply protection device
  • Power and micro USB slots are located at the front

Creality Ender 5 Pro: Cons

  • Flimsy magnetic bed
  • Wires can drag on the build plate
  • Bed leveling is tricky
  • No runout sensor for filament

Should You Buy the Peopoly Moai?

For those who already know the basics of 3D printing, the Peopoly Moai resin is a great tool to invest in. With this printer, you can get 3D shapes with excellent quality. And while it is significantly pricier than any comparable FDM printer, it has an entry-level price for an SLA printer.

In a nutshell, getting the Peopoly Moai is really a question of preference. If you are looking for something that is easier on your budget, then get an FDM printer such as Creality Ender 5. If better quality prints are your priority, then get an SLA 3D printer such as Formlabs Form 3. And if you want an SLA printer that is not too steeply-priced, then go for the Peopoly Moai.

Further Reading on 3D Printing & Printer Model Evaluations:

Snapmaker Review [2020] An Affordable 3-in-1 Printer?

If you’re familiar with our site, then you’re well aware of the new and exciting ways that 3D printers are impacting our society. But even if you just want to get one to print some interesting and creative objects, you can do that too.

When it comes to 3D printing, the only limitation is you. You can create any object you want. Collectibles to put on the shelf objects that you can use around the house, and utensils for eating are just a few of the things you can make with your 3D printer.

In addition to printing 3D objects, 3D printers themselves are becoming more versatile. Snapmaker, for example, brings its 3-in-1 3D printer to the table by offering a device that will not only print but will also work as a CNC carver (CNC mill) and a laser engraver.

Snapmaker 3D Printer

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$799.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 01:09 pm

This unique and interesting device started out as a Kickstarter campaign where it raised over $2 million in funding. The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features.

While the Snapmaker does have a limited amount of printing space, it packs plenty of potential for anyone looking to get started with 3D printing. But before we get too far into what the Snapmarker 3-in-1 has to offer, let’s talk about considerations before buying a 3D printer.

Snapmaker Review

What to Consider

If you’re in the market to purchase a 3D printer and you’re thinking about pulling the trigger on the Snapmaker 3-in-1, here are a few things to consider before you make a final buying decision.

Cost

One of the primary items to consider when buying a 3D printer is the cost. Is it affordable? Will it get the job done for you or your business without breaking your budget? If so, then maybe this is the 3D printer you need.

Practical Use

How practical is the printing you’re considering? Will it do what you want it to do? How will it benefit your small business? There are plenty of learning opportunities available when it comes to 3D printing, so be sure to take a moment and consider what makes sense for you.

Capability

Is the printer capable of working different materials and programs? It’s nice to have a device that is versatile and has the ability for utilization across various applications.

Speed

While it’s nice to be able to print objects quickly, some fast 3D printers are willing to sacrifice on quality. That means the object you’re printing may not be as durable as one that took a little longer to print.

Quality

Are the printed objects free of stringing and warping? Does the printer create quality, durable products? You’ll want a 3D printer that prevents these types of problems.

snapmaker quality

Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D Printer

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$799.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 01:09 pm

Design

Snapmaker’s printer is one of the more unique designs on the market as it offers its users a device that supports three 3d printing technology applications simultaneously. The intention of the machine is to make it useful, friendly, and easy to use.

With a sturdy body and beautiful look, this Snapmaker 3D printer boasts both trust and reliability among its users. Its modular design and solid frame leave many users impressed with this 3D printer.

This all-metal machine is designed and built with care, providing a stable and precise experience. The Snapmaker is durable as well, which means you’ll be able to use it over the long haul without experiencing a lot of problems along the way.

Additionally, the Snapmaker has a very clean and tidy design in regards to loose wires. Printer wires are hidden out of sight behind the metal frame. The few wires that are visible can be easily adjusted so your printer always looks nice and neat.

Frame

This 3D printer has an entirely open frame, which means it’s easy to work on and maintain if needed. Even though it’s open, the printer looks professional and sleek. It’s easy to see that Snapmaker went to great lengths to provide a 3D printer that looks great and performs well.

Features

There are plenty of features available with the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer that are sure to make things easier for you as you print your favorite objects. Here are just a few that we picked out that you’re sure to appreciate.

LCD Touchscreen

Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer comes with an LCD color touchscreen. At 3.5 inches, it’s big enough for you to easily make changes and adjustments through the interface. It also makes selecting a file on a USB drive much easier than it is on other 3D printers.

snapmaker features

Supports Multiple Filament Types

There are some 3D printers that can only use one type of filament, but the Snapmaker 3-in-1 is not one of them. If you’re just starting out sticking with one filament type might be best, but as you progress, it’s nice to have options.

Snapmaker supports ABS, PLA, and several other filament types, which means you have the freedom to print objects with different textures and properties.

Heated Bed

A heated bed can make a significant difference when it comes to 3D printing. Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer has a heated bed that can reach up to 80 degrees Celsius. As a result, you’ll have an easier time printing with materials that are known for warping or being difficult to manage.

Changeable Modules

We’ve already mentioned that the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer has three different modules. Each one serves its own purpose, making this a great option for anyone getting into 3D printing. However, Snapmaker goes the extra mile by making these modules easy to change.

You can easily insert the module you need so you can print exactly what you want. It’s so easy, that even those new to the world of 3D printing should have no trouble figuring it out.

Laser Engraving

Another great feature of the Snapmaker 3-in-1 that we’ve mentioned is its laser engraving laser module. With this 3D printer, you can use its workspace to create laser engraving projects. The Snapmaker has a decent laser, offering 405nm wavelength and 200mW of power.

Just like the 3D printer piece of the Snapmaker, you can engrave on a variety of materials. These include wood, plastic, leather, paper, fabric, and leather. However, there are materials that you shouldn’t use, like laser cutter applications for glass, metal, and others.

CNC Carving [CNC Module]

When it comes to CNC carving (CNC milling), your area is restricted a little more, but you should still have enough room to do some basic carving. With a 19,000 RPM spindle speed and a shank diameter of 3.175mm, you’ll be able to perform simple carvings anytime you want.

You can work with a variety of materials such as wood, PCB, carbon fiber, acrylic, and many others. This functionality also allows you to use different file types, including DWG, IGS, DXF, STEP, IGES, SVG, along with third-party software like Autodesk Fusion.

snapmaker cnc carving

What’s Included

Upon opening the box that the Snapmaker comes in, you’ll quickly realize that this is a company that is serious about its products. While the device does not come pre-assembled, it does come in neat and professional packaging.

Parts are snugly shipped in cut foam to ensure they don’t move during shipment, and any tools or additional accessories are stored in separate boxes so they are easily accessible during assembly.

Along with the parts needed for the printer, you’ll also get a spool of PLA filament, plus the filament holder. Also included is the material you can use for laser engraving, safety goggles, and a power pack.

Setting Up

Even though putting together a desktop 3D printer sounds intimidating, it’s actually very easy with the Snapmaker 3-in-1. Just follow the provided instructions and before you know it, you’ll be ready to print your favorite objects.

Every module of the printer includes the motors, rails, bearing, and wiring necessary for operation. This helps to make assembly quick and simple, so you don’t have to waste a lot of time trying to figure out what goes where.

Once you have your Snapmaker put together, you’re ready to calibrate it. Fortunately, Snapmaker makes this process just as easy as the printer assembly process. If you have experience with calibrating a printer, you’ll find the Snapmaker process quick and painless.

But even if you’re a newcomer, calibrating your new printer isn’t too complicated. You’ll have to make some manual adjustments to the printer, along with some refining of the settings through the touch-screen, but Snapmaker does a great job of walking you through the process.

Overall, Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 printer is easy to setup. Whether you’re an amateur in the world of 3D printing or someone with lots of experience, unboxing, assembling, and calibrating this printer is quick, simple, and hassle-free.

Filament Type

While the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer supports a wide variety of filaments, the printer comes with FDM. This helps with cost, as you don’t have to buy a spool of filament right out of the gate. You can just set up your printer and start printing.

However, keep in mind that if you decide to use a filament type that isn’t recommended by the printer, you may see poor results in print quality.

Quality

Speaking of quality, how well does the Snapmaker 3-in-1 stack up with other printers? To put it bluntly, it performs very well. When you print with this 3D printer, you won’t run into problems like stringing or issues with adhesion that you might find with other printers in the same market.

The Snapmaker 3-in-1 was designed to give its users the best prints possible, which it does quite well. However, one area where this 3D printer could improve is noisiness. You might be alarmed by how much noise the Snapmaker makes while it’s printing an object.

It is a far cry from some of its competitors that offer noiseless options. Any time you’re printing something with the Snapmaker, you’re aware of it. Some users are put off by this, however, there are those that say if everything else prints off the way it should and there are no problems, what’s a little noise?

The other modules with the printer work great. You can easily switch between the CNC carver, the laser engraver, and the 3D printer at any time. All you have to do is loosen a few screws, remove one module, and put the other in its place.

Snapmaker stands out in this area, as there are many multi-functional printers on the market that require disassembling the entire machine and then putting it back together to switch from one function to another.

Software

Included with the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer is the company’s Snapmakerjs software. This software works with all three modules included with the device, so no matter what you’re doing, you’ll have the aid of the software if you need it.

Along with the software are great features and tools users have access to through the touch interface on the printer itself. When you change the module on the application, you can change the type of work the machine is capable of doing.

The Snapmakerjs software is interactive, allowing users to perform tasks and create objects while tapping into their inner creativity. Additionally, this device supports a wide range of third-party software, so you’re not limited to only using the application that comes with the Snapmaker 3-in-1.

snapmaker software

3D Printer Specs

The Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer offers its users a build space of 125mm x 125mm x 125mm. It supports a variety of printing material types, including ABS, PLA, and many others. The recommended filament diameter for this 3D printer is 1.75mm.

However, if you do decide to choose a filament that’s not recommended by Snapmaker, be sure you aren’t using one that isn’t supported. These include graphite, Alumide, and others, which could do significant damage to the printer.

The nozzle is 0.4mm in diameter and can travel at speeds of up to 100mm/second. The printer can reach a temperature of up to 250-degrees Celcius.

Snapmaker 3-in-1 Alternatives

If you don’t think the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer is the right one for you, here are a few alternatives you can consider.

Anycubic Photon

We love the AnyCubic Photon

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

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Consider the Anycubic Photon if you are doing high precision detail oriented projects like 3D printing miniatures, representational models, or other finely crafted objects.

Further Read: Full Anycubic Photon Review.

Stepcraft 2 – Best for Functions Other than 3D Printing

Like Snapmaker, Stepcraft had a successful Kickstarter campaign that got the brand headed in the right direction.  While the Stepcraft 2 is primarily designed for cutting, it does include basic packages that allow for 3D printing.

It also allows for milling, plotting, engraving, wood burning, and vinyl cutting, if you are interested in those types of tasks. These versatile machines come in a wide range of sizes, so you should have no trouble finding one that will fit in your workspace.

Atom 2.5 EX – Most Stylish

Atom 2.5 EX

One of the sleekest looking multi-functional 3D printers on the market is the Atom 2.5 EX. This amazing device is a 3D printer first but can perform many other tasks. With a multi-color nozzle and the ability to print with various materials, the Atom 2.5 EX is a great alternative to the Snapmaker 3-in-1.

As a result of its sliding arms and magnetic ball joints, this 3D printer can quickly and easily switch between tasks. Just swap out the printer head for the laser engraving module and before you know it, you’re experimenting with engraving for your friends and family.

In addition to using filament for 3D printing, you can also use leather, cardboard, paper, and other materials when you want to switch over to laser engraving. 

FLUX Delta+ – Best for Those Who Like to Experiment

If you’re looking for a multi-purpose 3D printer that will let you explore the edges of what it can do, look no further than the FLUX Delta+. This device provides an open SDK for its users, which means they can play around with its capabilities and really discover what it can do.

This all-in-one can do more than 3D print. It can scan, draw, laser engrave, and cut as well. With a motion system and bevy of tool heads, you know you’re going to get accurate and quick results no matter what you’re doing.

The drawing functionality is especially interesting, as you can connect pens, pencils, brushes, and various other tools to it for precision drawings from your computer software program.

Aether 1 – Best for BioPrinting

Aether 1

Most of the 3D printers on this list provide a variety of capabilities like engraving, milling, and even carving. However, the Aether 1 might be the only device that is designed specifically for Bioprinting.

This cool feature uses syringes filled with bio-inks, liquids, and pastes to print off parts that imitate the naturally occurring mechanics that make up our bodies. Most bioprinting revolves around repairing damaged joints and ligaments or drug and cell research.

Aside from bioprinting, the Aether 1 can also use a mounted laser to perform precise and accurate cutting if needed. While this printer is mostly relegated to the medical field, it’s still a cool alternative to the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D printer.

BoXZY – Best for Cutting Steel

The BoXZY multi-functional 3D printer is another all-in-one option that started out as a Kickstarter project. Once it was successfully funded, it became a mainstay in the world of all-in-one 3D printers.

BoXZY makes the cut because it is one of the few all-in-one 3D printers on the market that can cut through steel. The CNC laser engraver and mill uses a tool head that goes through steel like a hot knife through butter.

Its all-metal design makes BoXZY one of the heavier 3D printers on the market, so if weight is a concern, you may need to go in a different direction. However, due to its weight, there’s little chance this 3D printer is going to slide or skip around while it’s in the middle of printing an object.

FAQs

Here are a few of the more commonly asked questions about 3D printers and the Snapmaker 3-in-1 device.

Where is Snapmaker headquartered?

Snapmaker is a small tech startup headquartered in Walnut, California, and Shenzen, China. The team consists of designers and engineers who are excited about what they do and how they are impacting the world around them.

These professionals have experience in a range of fields, including 3D printing, robotics, and even aviation.

What does CNC carving mean?

CNC stands for computer numerical control, which means you’re using a machine to cut the material as opposed to operating a manual, hand-held router. You can use CNC carving to cut hard material like aluminum, steel, foam, wood, and plastics.

What does it cost to design and build a 3D printer?

The answer to this question really depends on how you’ll be using your 3D printer. Some printers can be built for as little as a few hundred dollars, while others can wind up costing thousands of dollars to build.

Final Thoughts on the Snapmaker 3-in-1 3D Printer

Snapmaker Original 3-in-1 3D Printer
$799.00

The Snapmaker is designed with beginners in mind, offering a printer that is affordable, easy to use, and comes with plenty of features to experiment with!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 01:09 pm

If you’re on the fence about whether or not you want to get started in the world of 3D printers, Snapmaker’s 3-in-1 3D printer is an excellent option. Using this printer can open the doors to a whole new world of excitement, education, and practicality.

Outside of being a little on the noisy side, there isn’t much this 3D printer can’t do. It’s easy to set up and calibrate, which means it won’t take long to start printing anything you want. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that you can engrave and carve with it as well.

The Snapmaker is a great 3D printer that’s designed for those new to the 3D printing game or those with a lot of experience under their belts. Either way, it’s tough to go wrong if you decide to use the Snapmaker 3-in-1 printer for your 3D printing needs.

Ender 5 Review [2020]: Yay or Nay? Find Out Here!

uWe live in a world where 3D-printing is no longer a novelty, but a technology ingrained into our way of living. For example, I recently had a friend send me, and my family 3D-printed face masks. How awesome is that? It took a few days for her to print them and send them, but still!

It’s amazing to think that what was once thought of as a novel technology is now being used to create objects that have a significant impact on the world around us. What’s also amazing is how easily accessible these devices are becoming to anyone who wants to get into the world of 3D printing.

One company making this a reality is Creality, which has released another solid 3D printer in its Ender lineup, the Ender 5. This printer offers plenty of features and functionality while remaining simple enough that even an amateur can use it.

But our goal isn’t to provide a high-level view of this printer. We want to get into the details. What features does it offer? Is it reliable? How is it different than other 3D printers on the market? Does it have any upgrades?

We’ll answer these questions and more as you dive into our Ender 5 review. Let’s get started.

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

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

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

Things to Consider Before Buying

ender 5

There are several different aspects and considerations you’ll want to think about before you purchase a 3D printer. Here’s a shortlist of what to consider.

Cost

Of course, one of the biggest areas people need to think about is cost. How much are you able to spend? That may limit the size and type of 3D printer you can purchase. The great thing about the Ender 5 is that it’s likely to be within the budget for more people.

Quality

Another question you may want to consider is the quality of the 3D printer. Does it print well? How does it hold up over time? With the Ender 5, you’re getting a printer that can print accurate designs with a resolution of 0.05 mm.

Capability

Along those same lines, is the capability of the 3D printer. Can it print the objects you want without running into problems? Ender 5 has the ability to create complex and accurate designs so you know you’re getting a capable printer.

Speed

How fast does your printer create objects for you? While you’ll pay a pretty penny for one that prints faster, the Ender 5 prints at 80 mm/s without sacrificing quality.

Practicality

Who is the printer meant for? The Ender 5 is designed with students and beginners in mind but will work for anyone interested in owning a 3D printer. No matter what your level of experience, Ender 5 is a solid option.

Ender 5 Review

ender 5 printer

Now let’s get into our review of the Ener 5 3D printer.

Initial Thoughts

My first impression of the Ender 5 3D printer is that it’s a solid entry into the world of 3D printing. While the printer isn’t a mini by any stretch of the imagination, it still won’t take up too much room in your home or office.

The printer measures at 440mm x 410mm x 465mm, offering plenty of build volume space checking in at 220mm x 220m x 300mm. For power, the Ender 5 comes with a 24V/350W power supply.

With such a strong power supply, the Ender 5 offers a quick heating print bed, which results in a faster printing rate. Lastly, the 3D printer doesn’t have any dangling or lose wires, instead of ensuring that the cables are covered and protected.

Setup

If you’re familiar with the Ender lineup of 3D printers, then you’ll have no trouble getting your Ender 5 setup and running. But even if you’re not, the axes come pre-assembled, which means even a novice should be able to get everything set up relatively quickly.

The entire setup process shouldn’t take more than an hour, which of course will depend on your experience and understanding of 3D printers. Included in the package is an instruction manual that will help guide you through the setup.

Fortunately, the manual is easy to understand, which means even if you’re new to 3D printers, you’ll be up and running in no time. Along with the manual, you’ll also find some tools to use as you get everything set up.

You’ll find a screwdriver, a wrench, and SD card reader, and an SD card. Also included are a spatula, a nozzle cleaner, a pair of pliers, and a USB cable. Aside from these, your Ender 5 comes with 200 grams of filament, so you can start printing as soon as everything is ready.

Included Software

Loaded onto the SD card that comes with the Ender 5 is the Cura 15 software. Unfortunately, the version included only works with Windows, so if you have a Linux or Mac OS machine, you’ll have to take a few extra steps to access the software.

While downloading the software for Mac OS and Linux is free straight from the manufacturer’s website, the challenge is entering all the profile data yourself. Once everything is done, the Cura software does exactly what you want it to do.

It’s easy to use and manage with a very friendly interface, so even if you’re new to using the 3D printer software, you should have no trouble.

Quality

You can expect to print high-resolution objects, thanks to the precision the Ender 5 has to offer. The quality offers accuracy down to 0.05mm, which is something you won’t find in some of the other 3D printers on the market.

Operation

Ender 5 uses FDM 3D printing, which is one of the many reasons it’s so easy to use. There are others as well, but we’ll get to those in a moment. Additionally, by using PLA, you’ll safe on the cost of printing materials, which is always nice if you’re on a budget.

Additionally, maintaining the Ender 5 is a piece of cake. It’s easy to access areas that may cause problems, but that shouldn’t be too much of a concern since the Ender series 3D printers aren’t prone to problems or failures.

Features

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

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

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

ender 5 3d printer

This 3D printer offers a significant list of features that makes the device well worth the money you spend on it. There are plenty of functionalities and capabilities included with this printer that put it on par with some of the best 3D printers in its class.

Robust

The Ender 5 is built with a sturdy aluminum frame, which means the printer is more stable than some of the other options on the market. It also means you’re going to get better results when printing, which is what you want, right?

With its solid frame, the Ender 5 offers precision and detailed models, which leads to excellent stability and design quality.

High-Quality Surface Movement

Arguably one of the best features available with the Ender 5 is its surface movement. Most 3D printers use a side-to-side movement, however, Ender 5 prefers to rely on up and down movements. The problem that the manufacturer discovered with back and forth movement is the printed objects are consistently being jostled or repositioned. This leads to issues with design and bed adhesion.

Up and down movement, on the other hand, helps eliminate some of these problems while ensuring a higher-quality printed object.

Y-axis with Dual Shaft

The Ender 5 3D printer comes with a dual shaft Y-axis. With this type of axis in place, users are less likely to see imbalances occur while printing an object. Plus, like the up and down surface movement we just discussed, the dual shaft Y-axis adds printing stability to the printer.

Build Plate That Can Be Removed

If you need to do so, you can remove the build plate from your Ender 5 3D printer. This feature makes it much easier for you to remove your printed object once the printing completes. Having a removable build plate is quite useful if your machine provides strong adhesion as Ender 5 does.

Powerful Charging

The power supply that comes with the Ender 5 is a 24v charger that allows users to heat the 3D printer up quickly. As a result, users see more consistent prints than with other printers that heat up slower.

Magnetic Bed

ender 5 printer

A magnetic bed is helpful when it comes to ensuring additional stability for your printed object while it’s being printed. The Ender 5 comes with a magnetic bed that is very easy to remove or insert.

For additional reliability, users can clip the bed into place so that it doesn’t move while in the middle of a print.

Less Noise

This Ender 3D printer uses a design that not only provides a stable printing experience but also aids in reducing the amount of noise you’ll hear while the printer is in operation.

Wide Frame

The X and Y axes on the Ender 5 remain the same as its predecessor. However, the Z-axis checks in a little taller, which means users can create and printer larger objects, since the frame is big enough to handle it.

Manual Level Capabilities

While Ender 5 doesn’t have an auto-leveling option, it does do what it can to provide an easy way for its users to level the bed on their own. Unlike previous Ender iterations, the Ender 5 makes calibration and leveling a quick and simple process, which comes in very handy when calibrating prior to printing.

Resume Print Option

If you run into a problem with power while the Ender 5 is in the middle of a print, it will save your progress. When the power comes back on, the print job will continue from where it left off. This helps in preventing wasted filament, wasted time, and wasted effort on your part.

Customer Support

You’ll get nothing but professional support if you need to reach out about issues with your Ender 5 3D printer. The company offers 24-hour customer support so someone is available anytime you run into a problem.

You’ll also discover plenty of documentation available on the site’s FAQ and Knowledge-Base page if you prefer to learn how to do things on your own.

Specs

When it comes to specs, one of the biggest areas of change those familiar with the Ender 3 will notice is that the Ender 5 is the taller of the two. Fully expanded, the Ender 5 offers a build surface of 220mm x 220mm x 300m.

Additionally, the Ender 5 can print with a resolution as high as 0.05mm, which ranks near the top of its class of printers. Max temperature for this printer is 260 degrees Celcius, while users have the ability to use either USB or SD card as their means of uploading designs.

The overall size of the Ender 5 checks in at 400mm x 380mm x 400mm, weighing about 12kgs. That means, if you need to move the printer around in your home, class, or office, you’ll be able to do so.

This 3D printer also uses the standard 1.75mm nozzle size. This is ideal since anyone who is just starting ou tin the world of 3D printing won’t have to make a lot of adjustments and changes and can get started while expecting high-quality printed objects.

FAQs About the Ender 5

Our Pick
Official Creality Ender 5 3D Printer

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

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

Here are a few common questions you might encounter when researching more information about the Ender 5, or about 3D printing in general.

Which materials can be used with the Ender 5?

Creality’s Ender 5 3D printer will print with ABS, COPPER, PLA, TPU, and WOOD. The MK10 extruder that comes with the printer aids in reducing the possibility of filament jams occurring. The printer also offers a fan for using PLA-type material while printing.

Cooling down the printer while it’s in the middle of a job reduces stringing and warping while also creating high-quality objects.

What is the ideal temperature when printing with PLA?

As a general rule, you should print with PLA filament when your printer bed is at a temperature between 185 degrees Celsius and 205 degrees Celsius. However, keep in mind that the thickness of your filament will be impacted by the temperature.

1.75mm filament will be closer toward the lower temperature range, while thicker, 2.85mm filament will require higher temperatures.

Is it hard to print using ABS?

Even though it can be more challenging to use ABS as printing material, it is still one of the most popular options when it comes to 3D printing. This is primarily due to its resistance to higher temperatures, which creates stronger and more durable objects.

Plus, ABS is opaque, provides a shiny and smooth surface, and can be used for creating more complex projects and objects that use acetone as part of the printing process.

Wrapping Up

The Ender 5 3D printer is a very well-designed device that will almost assuredly meet the expectations of its users. There are a few problems that can arise, such as a problem with the filament feeding into the printer, but otherwise, the Ender 5 is an excellent choice for those new to 3D printing.

So if you’re looking to get started with 3D printing, you might give the Ender 5 serious consideration. There’s really no limit to what you can print for years to come.

Further read:

Up Mini 2 Review [2020]: A Good 3D Printer?

Up Mini 2 Review

Ever notice how a lot of 3D printers are big, bulky, loud, machines with really no visually pleasing features? I was showing a friend a certain printer the other day and they told me it looked like a microwave. Pretty spot on if you ask me. Luckily, not all 3D printers can be mistaken for a kitchen appliance.

Designers are changing it up a bit, and one way they are changing the classic design of 3D printers is by changing the size. I mean not everyone wants a massive machine sitting in their room or office. One 3D printer we really like for the change of size is the Up Mini 2.

Brought to us by Tiertime and manufactured in China is a small but efficient 3D printer. It is the newest generation of their previously adored Up Plus model. The Up Mini 2 embodies the saying, it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.

While it is a small 3D printer, it holds its own when it comes to print quality, durability, and features.

Also, it carries a price tag that fits its small size. Another great option for the budget-friendly printing fanatic.

The days of paying large amounts of money for high quality results seems to be coming to an end. Below, we will detail all the best features and some of the not so good stuff the Up Mini 2 offers. If you need an inexpensive, small, but powerful 3D printer this might be just what you’re looking for.

Check out the rest of the Up Mini 2 review and let us know what you think of this mini 3D printer in the comments.

Why Go With the UP Mini 2?

Reliability and print quality. It's not the biggest 3D printer by volume, but it's an incredibly accurate and consistent printer with a true desktop footprint.

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

Core Features of the Up Mini 2

Mini 2 ES LCD Touchscreen:

Touchscreen controls are becoming quite the norm on 3D printers these days. The one on the Up Mini 2 is a great, easy to use and very functional control panel. The touchscreen allows you to control many different parts of the printer including Wi-Fi, nozzle height, initializing the machine, calibration, load and print 3D models, set material type, and a few other settings.
Up Mini 2 Opened
You can also see the print status, temperature, and connectivity status on the screen. The screen also helps pause/play and save the print progress if the door is ever opened during a print or if you lose power.

Sleek Design

From packaging to fully the assembled printer, we are big fans of how it looks. Foam sections protected and secured the most important pieces from moving around during shipping. It’s not much, but it does show the company cares about their product and has high standards. In the box, among other things, you get a printer and Tiertime’s fila station (filament caddy), or filament spool holder (separate spool container), which adds to the overall sleekness of the design.

The all-plastic black and white shell of both the printer and the fila station make the whole machine feel a little cheap, but the all metal frame on the inside of the casing adds to the sturdiness of the printer and extruder. A clear door and LED lighting inside the case allow you to observe the entire printing process. The aluminum handle adds a nice touch to the overall visual look of the printer.

Mini Auto Bed Leveling

The Up Mini 2 cuts back on a lot of the little tedious bits of 3D printing that we hate. One of those things being leveling the bed in-between prints. Luckily, this printer comes with the technology to level the bed for you automatically.

While it doesn’t do this on its own before each print as some others do, it is easy to tell the machine to level the bed using the touch screen. Reports are that the auto bed leveling seems to work well and multiple users are very happy to have this feature.

Small Footprint and Portable:

The name doesn’t lie. This really is a “mini” printer measuring at 10” x 14.4” x 15” (WxHxD) overall dimensions. You will barely notice this machine in your room. Due to the small size of the printer, it only takes 2 and a half minutes to heat up and begin printing.

Moving your printer to another room, house, or office is as easy as extending the solid aluminum handle and carrying it to where ever you need it. It only weighs 20 pounds so you should have no probably getting this printer to where it needs to be.

Mini 2 Fully Assembled:

Less time messing around with small parts means more time printing, which is what we all want, isn’t it? The creators of the Up Mini 2 kept this in mind as they give us a printer fully assembled in its packaging. The set-up of the machine is quick easy if you follow along with the Quick Start Guide.

The only part that requires “assembly” is attaching the print head, which is nice to see how it’s done so you can easily remove and clean this piece as necessary. Besides that, just remove any foam packaging, download, and install the software and you are ready to start printing.

Mini 2Key Specifications

Here are the key specs of the Up Mini 2 3D printer:

Build Area4.7” x 4.7” x 4.7”
Print SpeedNA
Level ControlAutomatic
Filament Types ABS, PLA
Layer Resolution150 – 350 microns
Number of ExtrudersSingle
Nozzle Diameter0.4 mm
Open / Closed SystemClosed
Warranty1 year manufacturers
PriceStarting at $577.00 (check current price)

Pros of the Up Mini 2

Now let’s talk about some of the best features the Up Mini 2 offers.

Enclosed Environment: An enclosed print area is a safe print area (build volume). By trapping the heat in the printing area, you can maintain the temperature throughout the process. This is essential when using filament that requires high heat such as ABS filament.

An enclosed area prevents cool drafts and damp air from taking a toll on your creation and warping the printed object. As well, it adds an extra layer of safety by preventing any unwanted objects, hands, fingers, animals, from getting too close to the machine while it is working.

Small Desk Space: We mentioned above how this printer has a very small footprint. Less than a foot wide and just over a foot deep, you will barely notice a difference in desk space when this machine is setup. Compared to some other printers on the market which require a separate table or desk for them to sit on we are very excited about the functional size of this printer.

HEPA Air Filter: Ever get sick of the melting plastic smell your 3D printer puts off while it is printing? We sure do. And obviously so did the team who designed the Up Mini 2 as it comes with a HEPA air filtration system. This small filter hidden at the bottom of the machine is not a common find in 3D printers at this price range.

Mini 2 WiFi Connectivity Options: We are big fans of having multiple connectivity options that work well. The Up Mini 2 is a prime example of this. You can connect via USB cable or via Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi option works flawlessly. You can access the printers remotely if you are on the same connection as the printer. Easily send files to the printer from your computer even if the two are not near each other. You can also access multiple Up Mini 2s from one computer.

If Wi-Fi connectivity isn’t for you then you can still connect with a USB cable and print directly from the software on your computer and utilize partial tethering. If you need to move your computer once the print process has begun simply unplug the cable and the print will continue running without interruption. These options give you a little more freedom when controlling, accessing, and using your printer, which is a small but convenient feature.

Cons of the Up Mini 2

The Tiertime Up Mini has few flaws, but we still need to talk about those a little bit too.

Small Build Area: The most obvious flaw is the overall print area. But what do you expect when you are buying a “mini” printer? Small area or not the print still creates great objects. To adjust to the size of the print area all you must do is scale down your 3D model or print them in pieces and glue the pieces together to create larger objects.

This printer is impractical if you are looking for something to complete a wide variety of projects in terms of what you are printing. But if you just want to create smaller objects or are a hobbyist printer then you shouldn’t really have an issue with the size of the build area.

Slow Print Speed: Users noted the printer is a little slow when you are going for a high-quality print. There are ways around this slow speed by printing larger layers and changing the print quality setting of the printer. However, if you aren’t in a rush when it comes to creating beautiful objects then this isn’t a major concern for you.

Up Mini 2 Alternatives to Consider

If you like the size of this printer and are interested in a “mini” 3D printer, but aren’t sold on this one, you can still find the perfect printer for you. Another printer you may be interested in is the LulzBot Mini.

The LulzBot Mini is an extremely impressive 3D printer. It has a slightly larger build area, footprint, and much larger price tag than the Up Mini 2. But this machine prints fast at 275 mm/s and has an impressive quality as it can reach layer heights of only 50 microns. It is also a little more versatile machine as it is open-sourced and prints with many different filament types.

Another option to consider is the XYZprinting Da Vinci Mini, which is similar to small (also a great printer for kids).

Finally, the Printrbot Play is a great open frame alternative at a similar scale.

Final Take: Is the Mini 2 Worth it?

What it lacks in print speed it makes up for with quality. While you can find faster printers, the Up Mini 3D printer can hold its own when it comes to the overall quality of the finished object.

Although the layer resolution specs are just slightly less than other printers (150 microns compared to 100 microns for other models), we can’t notice a visible difference and are impressed with the results of the Up Mini 2.

This is an excellent printer for the home use hobbyist who wants to experiment with 3D printing. It’s easy to use, reliable, and consistent with its print quality and has an extremely small footprint. If you want an inexpensive printer to create smaller but beautiful objects than the Up Mini 2 might just be the printer of your dreams.

Why Go With the UP Mini 2?

Reliability and print quality. It's not the biggest 3D printer by volume, but it's an incredibly accurate and consistent printer with a true desktop footprint.

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

If you liked our review on Up Mini 2 3D Printer here’s something else you can read:

Flashforge Inventor 2 Review [Aug 2020]

Flashforge intended to target education with their Inventor 2 3D printer, so if you’re looking for a solid plug and play option for your school, this may be one of the best choices. This upgrade to the now-retired Flashforge Finder is said to be as intuitive as using your smartphone.

With fully-enclosed components, a plethora of safety features, and modern connectivity features, everyone will have fun learning how to use it. It’s a high-quality 3D Printer solution for today’s classrooms.

Why go with the Inventor 2?
$699.00

The Inventor 2 is a great pick for KIDS or beginners looking to get familair with 3D printing in a lower stress environment. A great buy for schools, libraries or STEM encouraging parents!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:09 am

About Makers Empire

The Flashforge Inventor 2 is made by Makers Empire, an Australian company focused on design education and providing custom tools and solutions to schools. Their goal is to assist educators in harnessing the power of 3D technology.

With this technology, they can teach design thinking, STEM sciences, and project-based learning. They develop simple tools that take the guesswork out of using the printer and put the focus back in learning how to implement the concepts.

The company is only five years old, but they’ve already penetrated forty countries around the globe to reach over one million students with their vision to empower children to become creators and problem solvers.

They believe every child should have access to 3D technology. The team is comprised of experienced business managers, developers, and educators. Most of them have children of their own and believe in the power of education.

They all want to make a difference by reinforcing values like learning, inspiring, empathizing, and innovating.

About the Flashforge Inventor 2

flashforge invertor 2The Flashforge Inventor 2 was made to be simple and intuitive. The design is attractive and the features make it safe for kids.

Getting Started with the Flashforge Inventor 2

This plug and play 3D printer comes with everything you need to set it up and get started right away. Everything is self-contained. Simply plug it in and you’re ready to go. It’s compatible with Wi-Fi so you don’t need a wired connection.

Start printing in just four clicks on the touchscreen.

If you do choose to forego Wi-Fi, you can connect it to any computer with just a USB cable. It’s compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux. Plus, downloading the smartphone app means you can connect to it from wherever you are.

Flashforge Inventor 2 Design

The entire printer is self-contained. It has an attractive cube design of white and blue. All components are hidden rather than exposed. This prevents damage to the printer itself when being used by multiple inexperienced people and it protects children from touching incredibly hot components.

The touchscreen design is intuitive, much like your smartphone. It’s an important addition to a 3D printer for kids because they catch on so quickly to technology that it makes the transition from a smartphone or computer to the 3D printer much easier and more seamless.

The removable print bed makes it easier to remove printed objects from the printer when they’re done, without having to reach inside the unit and risk damage to the components or the printed item.

The only problem with the all-in-one design and the hidden components is that it makes maintenance on the extruder and any other moving parts much more difficult. If you’re one who likes to service your technology on your own, this one is harder to take apart than others.

Flashforge Inventor 2 Specs

The Flashforge Inventor 2 has a build volume of 150mm x 140mm x 100mm, which is much bigger than the previous model. The single extruder is compatible with PET, PLA, and TPU, but you can also turn the built-in filament guide off so you can use other materials.

Using biodegradable PLA filament is recommended for indoor use in the classroom, and it also has a high-quality 50-400 micron layer resolution for detailed build designs.

Here are some additional specs for those who like to keep track:

  • Printing technology: Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF)
  • XY positioning precision: 11 microns
  • Z layer resolution: 2.5 microns
  • Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
  • Filament diameter: 1.75mm
  • Frame and body: Plastic alloy
  • Printer dimensions: 420mm x 420mm x 570mm
  • Extruder quantity: Single
  • Connectivity: USB, Wi-Fi, SD card
  • File input type: .stl, .obj, .3mf, .ffp
  • File output type: .g/.gx
  • OS compatibility: Windows XP or newer, Linux, OSX

This 3D printer is on the more expensive end of the spectrum, but it’s also much safer and worth every penny for the education of students. It’s sleek and high quality with plenty of built-in features that make it easy to use.

Flashforge Inventor 2 Software

Flashprint is Flashforge’s proprietary slicing software. It comes standard on the Inventor 2 and contains both linear and tree support. It enables you to split models into several different parts for printing in different stages.

Flashforge Inventor 2 Features

flashforge invertor 2 3d printer

Features like built-in software, a touchscreen, and Wi-Fi make this 3D printer insanely easy to use. It also includes a door sensor, and will automatically pause your print job if the door is open to the chamber. Once the door is closed, printing automatically resumes.

Safety features like this make it one of the best choices for the classroom and for children.

In addition to that, you’ll also notice that it’s one of the quieter 3D printers available, so you can run it in the background while still conducting a lecture or a class session.

The Happy 3D mobile app allows all users to create models on their smartphone and then send them to the printer. You don’t have to have a connected computer in class for your students to easily queue their builds. The only requirement is that you lift that in-class cell phone ban so they can get to work.

The touchscreen displays the model before printing so you can confirm accuracy before beginning.

Automatic calibration also takes the fuss out of bed levelling. Because this is done automatically, your students can focus on learning the design process rather than fiddling with the technology.

The onboard camera sends up to date footage to your app so you can monitor your build from anywhere. It doesn’t require babysitting or being close by.

Flashforge Inventor 2 Alternatives

If you’re a beginner or you’re looking for a quality 3D printer for the classroom, here are some other options that may interest you.

Flashforge Finder

flashforge finder 3D printer

This is the previous Flashforge model. It’s smaller than the Inventor 2, but it’s also less expensive. In fact, it’s about half the price. It comes in red and black, and the Finder Lite comes in yellow and black.

Other than size, price, and colour, the only difference you might find is the lack of a mobile app. It’s still built with the same touchscreen and safety features. It’s also very quiet. If you can deal with a smaller size and you want the cheaper price, this is a great solution.

Why go with the Inventor 2?
$699.00

The Inventor 2 is a great pick for KIDS or beginners looking to get familair with 3D printing in a lower stress environment. A great buy for schools, libraries or STEM encouraging parents!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:09 am

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QIDI Tech X-Maker

qidi technology 3d printer

Here’s another plug and play option right out of the box. It was also built with children and education in mind. It has automatic bed leveling, a touchscreen, built-in software, Wi-Fi, an internal camera for monitoring progress, and a completely enclosed design.

The primary difference is the build volume. On the QIDI, it’s 170mm x 150mm x 160, so it’s slightly larger than the Inventor 2. For the price, you’re better off getting a QIDI Tech X-Maker, but you will be giving up the mobile app and exotic filament choices.

Monoprice Voxel

monoprice voxel

Despite its enclosed design, nozzle changes on the Monoprice Voxel are very easy. While other enclosed 3D printers take around half an hour to change nozzles, this one doesn’t.

It also includes auto-leveling, but the cool thing about this one is that it comes enabled with cloud services right out of the box. Set it up quickly and you can control and print from anywhere with a Wi-Fi connection.

FAQ

The world of 3D printers is confusing to some, and if you’re a beginner or you want to use one for education, here are some frequently asked questions that may have you wondering.

Can kids use 3D printers?

It is safe for kids to use select 3D printers, and always with supervision. Companies like Makers Empire are intentionally building 3D printers designed with the classroom in mind.

However, not all 3D printers are right for all kids. 3D printers have very hot components and very complicated mechanisms. Until the child learns how to use it appropriately, it’s important that an adult is there to help.

Any of the 3D printers listed in this review are safe to a certain extent. They’re enclosed and made with certain safety features that do what they can to protect little hands.

Safety should always be your first concern when getting a 3D printer for children to use, so do your research and choose wisely.

What is the best 3D printer for a beginner?

Flashforge makes some of the best 3D printers for beginners, including the Finder, the Inventor 2, the Adventurer, and the Dreamer. Not only that, but they’re backed by a company who has a heart for education and designs their printers with that in mind.

Outside of the Makers Empire models, you’ll find great beginner 3D printers in a lot of different places. Monoprice and QIDI are just a few of the other options.

Can you make toys with a 3D printer?

Speaking of children, many people want to know if they can print toys in their 3D printer. Since many toys are made of plastic, it’s natural that you might want to design your own if you have a 3D printer, and you can.

You can create your own designs or download models from the internet and create them at home. It’s easy to make almost anything with a 3D printer. The sky’s the limit, toys included.

Is PLA kid-safe?

If you’re going to be letting kids use the 3D printer, you may wonder if the filament is safe for them as well. PLA is bioplastic, so it’s non-toxic. It’s the safest material for kids to learn to print with. While there are 3D printers out there for kids that have interchangeable filaments, most come standard with PLA, which is the best option.

The Verdict: Flashforge Inventor 2 Review

Beginners, students, and teachers alike will find that the Flashforge Inventor 2 is one of the best 3D printers for kids to learn. It’s geared toward education and built with the safety of children in mind.

It’s easy setup and quiet printing make it ideal for the classroom. The build volume is larger than its predecessor, but it’s also more expensive. This may turn some people off, but it’s well worth it for the safety features.

It also includes a mobile app and a camera to monitor progress remotely, so even if the class is over before the build is done, your students can keep tabs on their projects. If you’re in the market for a beginner 3D printer for kids, this is one of the better options available.

Why go with the Inventor 2?
$699.00

The Inventor 2 is a great pick for KIDS or beginners looking to get familair with 3D printing in a lower stress environment. A great buy for schools, libraries or STEM encouraging parents!

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:09 am

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Shapeoko 3 Review [Aug 2020]

Shapeoko 3 Review

Like 3D printers, Computer Numerical Control (CNC) routers are taking traditional craftsmanship to a new level. These computer and software directed cutting equipment deliver precision and allows craftsmen to produce factory-grade work in their workshops.

CNC routers allow you to work with foam, plastics, wood, and many other materials to produce carvings, decorations, frames, furniture, moldings, panels, and signboards. However, with so many CNC router kits on the market, it’s not easy to find one that suits your budget and requirements.

Today, we’ll discuss one CNC router kit (CNC milling machine), in particular, Shapeoko 3.

Key Specifications of Shapeoko 3

Why Go With Shapeoko?

It's bare bones, but FAR cheaper and without ANY recurring software subscription costs. If you want the best VALUE for your money, Shapeoko gets you up and running quickly.

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

While we’ll discuss different features of Shapeoko 3 in this review, here are some key specifications of Shapeoko 3 (standard) that you cannot afford to miss.

Cutting area 

16” x 16” x 3”

Footprint

28.4” x 23.9” x 16.6”

Weight

71 lbs

Build volume

32.9” x 32.9” x 2.9”

Onboard control

Power switch only

Materials handled

Acrylic, ABS, Delrin, soft metals up to ¼”, wood

Cutting software

Carbide Motion (Carbide 3D)

Operating system

Windows 7+, Mac OS X 10.9+

Design software

For beginners – Carbide 3D Create, For experts – MeshCAM

Our score 

8.5/10

Warranty 

1 Year

Notable Features of Shapeoko 3

shapeoko 3

Shapeoko 3 comes with a plethora of compelling features and we’ll discuss them in detail in this section.

Design and Size

Shapeoko 3 is a triple-axis CNC router kit. It is simple to assemble, understand and operate, and intended to provide basic functionality.

When it comes to the design and size, the Shapeoko 3 is available in 3 different sizes: standard, XL and XXL. Each size comes with a different cutting area, footprint, and weight. However, if you’re looking for a portable and less space-consuming machine, then the standard size would be an ideal pick.

The machine is also available in different configurations that boost the coverage area and cutting power.

Shapeoko 3’s 10-gauge, strong aluminum steel frame makes a professional-grade motion controller and runs on the GRBL framework that is open source. The robust NEMA 23 stepper motors coupled with a spindle allow you to carve aluminum, plastic, and wood using Shapeoko 3 effortlessly.

With some additional precautions and safety steps, you can even cut carbon fiber, PCBs and steel using Shapeoko 3.

Assembly

Assembling Shapeoko 3 is not an easy task. Even though the manufacturer’s website claims that you can assemble the machine in about 2 hours, it took me about 5 to 6 hours and getting professional help can certainly be an advantage.

Some other critical things to remember before you start assembling the Shapeoko 3 are:

  • Install a workbench to place the CNC machine
  • Ensure the area around the workbench is clear for 360-degree access

Upon unboxing the machine, you’ll come across a variety of boards, boxes and hardware accessories. But, don’t start panicking! Shapeoko 3 is delivered in 9 different parts:

  • Aluminum rails
  • Cross straps
  • End plates
  • Final assembly box
  • Y-axis left carriage
  • Y-axis right carriage
  • MDF elements
  • X/Z assembly
  • A white sleeve comprising zip ties and the packing list

All components and tools required to build and assemble Shapeoko 3 tool can be found in the assembly box. One good thing is that unlike the previous versions of the CNC line, the Y-axis and X/Z assembly arrive semi-assembled.

However, one bad news is that you won’t get a physical instruction manual to build with. You can check the online manual on the manufacturer’s website to get the latest assembly build details.

Considering the size and bulkiness of the CNC tool, we found the assembly to be convenient. The challenging part of the installation process includes fixing the aluminum rails, installing the cross straps and ensuring the wiring is secure. During assembly, I took the wrong path, came back, unassembled and assembled the machine again currently.

Two things that make the assembly easy are the pre-assembled carriages and the sturdy base.

CNC Software

Shapeoko 3 operates on two software: Carbide Create and Carbide Motion. Both CNC software is available for Windows and Mac OS X users. Using Carbide Create and Carbide 3D Motion, you can create 2D designs and send them to the CNC machine.

Carbide Create

Carbide Create is a 2D CAD/CAM program that comes with instant access features and tools, and a user-friendly interface. The software also offers a powerful 3D simulation tool that showcases how exactly Shapeoko 3 will perform the assigned tasks.

You can start by feeding information about the stock material such as material thickness and type, and dimensions.

Once you complete the initial step, you can experiment with the 2D drawing artist in you. Not only this but you can also integrate basic shapes, images, splines, and text into your designs. Other compelling features include creating offsets within the designs, generating booleans and automating the alignment method.

Once your design is finalized, the software will ask you the type of design you want for individual sections. The main options are:

  • Laser Engraver – You can engrave images or text into the stock material (laser engraving, laser cutter and laser printing).
  • Contours and pockets – Basic CNC mill machine functionality.
  • V-carving – For detailed 3D carvings.

Other things you have to do before you move to Carbide Motion is pick the right feeds, speeds, and milling tools for individual sections.

Carbide Motion

Carbide Motion is more of a machine control program for the tool. While I experienced a few bugs here and then, I found the software easy to use and interactive. It combines a traditional PC controller and a rooted processor installed on the CNC machine.

Setup

To set up Shapeoko 3, all you need to do is use the “Jog” setting to bring the machine in motion and set the zero point (z axis), i.e., the exact point from where Shapeoko 3 will start operating. Once you’re done with setting the zero points, switch on the spindle and press “Run” to start the CNC machine.

Why Go With Shapeoko?

It's bare bones, but FAR cheaper and without ANY recurring software subscription costs. If you want the best VALUE for your money, Shapeoko gets you up and running quickly.

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

Pros of Shapeoko 3

shapeoko 3 printer

Let’s look at some advantages of Shapeoko 3 that make it one of the best CNC router machine kits on CNC machining market.

  • A large cutting area – Shapeoko 3 provides users with a massive cutting area making 3D designing possible (large CNC router). The cutting area is pushed further in the Shapeoko XL and XXL variants.
  • Powerful Dewalt DWP-611 spindle – The 1-¼” Dewalt DWP-611 spindle coupled with the NEMA 23 stepper motors work on stock material as a hot knife runs through butter.
  • Compatibility with a wide variety of materials – Shapeoko 3 can smoothly work on different materials such as aluminum, plastic, wood, and so on.
  • Intuitive control software that simplifies the operation of Shapeoko 3 – Carbide Create and Carbide Motion, two manufacturer-owned software makes the CNC machine operation easy for users (CNC controller).
  • Includes all the components you need to get started – Shapeoko 3 is delivered with all the necessary accessories and tools that are required during assembly of the CNC router machine.
  • Modifiable – You can use the machine as it is or lifts up parts that are not in use. You can customize it to suit your requirements.

Cons of Shapeoko 3

  • No dust collection plate to prevent dust from spilling all over – Shapeoko 3 does not come with a dust collection plate that can be used for the collection of dust (dust collector) and leftovers from cutting.
  • Not portable – The size and weight of Shapeoko 3 make it difficult to carry around a workshop. The heavy-duty machinery requires at least 2 people to carry it around.
  • Requires a large workbench – Shapeoko 3 requires a large horizontal workbench for proper support.
Why Go With Shapeoko?

It's bare bones, but FAR cheaper and without ANY recurring software subscription costs. If you want the best VALUE for your money, Shapeoko gets you up and running quickly.

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

Are There Any Alternatives to the Shapeoko Kit?

If you think the Shapeoko 3 CNC Router Kit does not meet your requirements, you can consider the following alternatives:

Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha XL

next wave

If you’re looking for a more advanced CNC machine, you can consider CNC Piranha.

CNC Piranha XL comes with auto-edge and auto-sensing capabilities, a touchscreen controller, and VCarve desktop V9.0, Vector Art 3D and Virtual Zero workpiece mapping software. The CNC router can travel on 3 axis and can run on different palm-style routers such as Bosch, Dewalt and Porter Cable.

The best thing about CNC Piranha is that you don’t need to connect it with your PC. All you need to do is create your designs, save them in flash drive, plug it into the USB port on the machine and run the program. However, CNC Piranha is not compatible with the Mac OS and is less stable when compared to Shapeoko 3.

Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha FX Kit

Next Wave Automation CNC Piranha FX

If you’re looking for a basic model that is similar to Shapeoko 3 feature and price-wise, the CNC Piranha FX can be a good option. Like other Next Wave CNC machines, it can work on Bosch, Dewalt and other similar routers. You’ll find the touchscreen controller, as well as other premium features found in top models such as CNC Piranha XL in this machine.

The best thing about CNC Piranha FX is that it can duplicate and trace objects as closely as 0.001” detail. If you’re someone who is working specifically on soft materials, this CNC machine can be a good buy. However, CNC Piranha FX is not as rigid and robust as Shapeoko 3.

With the Shapeoko 3 Kit, you will get

  • An affordable and powerful CNC router kit to help you get started
  • Enclosed electronics; you don’t need a separate fan
  • Carbide Create (design) and Carbide Motion (control) software
  • Everything you need to make designs using aluminum, plastic, and wood

All in all, I recommend Shapeoko 3 for beginners and advanced craftsmen and designers looking for an affordable CNC machine that can help them produce factory-grade work.

Remember that Shapeoko 3 is available in 3 different sizes. So, choose the one that best suits your requirements.

At less than $2,000, Shapeoko 3 is fairly priced considering its features and quality. Overall, I would rate Shapeoko 3 an 8.5/10.

FAQ’s About Shapeoko 3

Can Shapeoko 3 do 3D?

Yes. Carbide Create is a 2D/CAM software that allows Shapeoko 3 to work on 3D designs. The software runs on Mac OS 10.9+ and Windows 7+.

Is Shapeoko 3 certified?

Yes, Shapeoko 3 power supply is CE and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) certified. The motors are also CE certified.

Can I use the 4th axis with Shapeoko 3?

No, you cannot. The electronics included with Shapeoko 3 are GRBL-based. GRBL is a 3-axis motion control system. You cannot add a 4th axis to the system.

Is Shapeoko 3 available on the market pre-assembled?

No. A fully assembled Shapeoko 3 CNC Router Kit is difficult to transport and ship. Moreover, it will be costly for the manufacturer to dispatch a pre-assembled machine and the chances of damage are also high.

Can Shapeoko 3 work with 220 volts?

Yes, it can. The Shapeoko 3 CNC Router Kit comes with a wall adapter that can be used to operate the machine at 110-220 V.

Conclusion: Shapeoko 3 Review

From hardware elements to Carbide Create and Carbide Motion software, almost everything about Shapeoko 3 has been put together keeping the users in mind. Each component of the CNC machine is carefully crafted to make the CNC carving experience easy and interesting for the users.

The online instruction manual is detailed and visual to help ease the kit assembly process. However, despite the elaborate assembly instructions, it took significant time (about 6 hours) to assemble Shapeoko 3. I also spent quality time on trial and testing the product.

Shapeoko 3’s frame is robust and the overall design great. However, there’s one thing about Shapeoko 3 that impressed us big time: the huge cutting area for cutter sweeps. Each time I used the DIY CNC router I became more comfortable with using it.

Why Go With Shapeoko?

It's bare bones, but FAR cheaper and without ANY recurring software subscription costs. If you want the best VALUE for your money, Shapeoko gets you up and running quickly.

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

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