Best Carbon 3D Printer Guide [2020]: Carbon Fiber 3D Printers

You’ve mastered the basics of 3D printing, and now you’re looking for something more interesting, more challenging.

You’ve run the gamut of materials, know exactly how to fine-tune your temperatures, and have your computer-aided drafting game down to an exact science. You’ve even impressed your friends and loved ones with tasty chocolate creations they never thought were possible to get from a machine.

Where do you go from here?

Dive deeper into the science of your process by 3D printing with carbon. It may sound intimidating, but guess what – it’s so much like 3D printing with any other materials (additive manufacturing), you’ll be a genius at it in no time.

We’re here to help you find exactly what you need to know to get started, including how to find the perfect equipment to get the best results available from this wonder material.

But first…. these are the best carbon 3D printers for 2020:

  1. Fusion3 F410 [Best Overall for Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  2. Makerbot Method Carbon Fiber [Most Affordable Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  3. Raise3d Pro2 Plus (with one of these nozzle replacements)  [Best Large Format Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  4. Ultimaker S5 (with this nozzle replacement) [Best Open Source Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]

The Carbon Material Explained for 3D Printing

Carbon itself is the building block of life. Its abundance (as the fourth most common element in the universe) and its unique ability to form polymers at common Earth temperatures makes it super versatile. You see examples of it every day from the graphite in your pencils to the diamonds in your jewelry.

Carbon’s isotopes – the different kinds of materials it forms when bonding with other molecules – are all highly resistant to chemical reactions, requiring high temperatures to react even with oxygen.

Uh oh, you’re thinking. My 3D printer doesn’t sound like it’s up to that challenge. But don’t worry – the material you’ll be working with is a mixture of carbon and thermoplastics, designed to perform perfectly in the 3D printing process. Carbon filament is blended with those thermoplastics to make sure it can be melted to just the right consistency for the type of weaving manipulation your printer’s extruder will be doing.

Carbon 3d Printer Material

And there are a lot of advantages to printing with carbon filaments. Here’s the rundown:

Carbon Fiber 3D Printing Pros and Cons

Pros of Carbon 3D Printing

  • Carbon fibers in filaments make the material extremely strong and stiff. That also makes them much lighter and more dimensionally stable, which means they won’t experience the shrinkage that’s typical of many 3D printed materials once they cool off. The carbon fibers in the filament help with that, holding the shape of the form better than PLA or ABS on their own.
  • You don’t have to fiddle with your printer settings or memorize any other special settings just for carbon mix filaments. They’ll work with all your standard temperatures – that’s the thermoplastics molding the carbon’s behavior for optimum performance in the specific environment of a 3D printer.

Cons of Carbon 3D Printing

  • On the other hand, carbon mix filaments are extremely brittle. That means you have to be careful during the time between when it finishes printing and when it cools down enough for its intended use. It also means you have to be careful getting your finished project off the printing bed; let it cool down completely before you attempt to get it off because otherwise, you risk cracking it. That sounds counterintuitive based on the strength of carbon filaments, but its strong resistance to shrinkage means it doesn’t have much give at all, and give is what makes other filaments easier to manipulate. So be careful when you’re moving your carbon filament creations off the printer and into the real world.
  • The same stubborn properties that make carbon great for strength and structure take a toll on the 3D printer you with it. The brunt of that abuse is taken by the part that spends the most time manipulating the filament. Because of its abrasiveness, carbon will tear up your extruder if you don’t take the right precautions. The stiffness in its fibers will scratch the inside of your nozzle as well as clog it pretty heavily, even when mixed with the more pliable thermoplastics that form the basis of those filaments. Make sure your rig is ready for all this before you start experimenting, or your 3D printer will be useless and unresponsive by the time you’re ready to get serious.
  • Another danger of using carbon mix filaments in an unprepared 3D printer is the oozing. Because carbon filaments contain a lot of small fibers that won’t melt at the extruder temperatures, they’ll clog the nozzle as we talk about above, and a clogged nozzle means weird patterns of tinier holes for the part of the filament that does melt to leak out of and go anywhere except in the pattern you want. If you’ve ever tried to get frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream from a pump that’s struggling to deliver your treat, you’ll get the idea of how a 3D printer nozzle clogged with carbon can splutter out an unwanted mess if you don’t take measures to prevent that.

If you’re now thinking that printing with carbon filaments sounds like more trouble than fun, don’t let us discourage you. Carbon is a great material, and fortunately, there are easy, definite, and affordable measures you can take to make sure none of these cons mess up your 3D printing experience with carbon. Here are some tips on what you can look for, what you can add, and what you should make sure is in place before you begin your journey with this fussy but worth its molecule.

The Carbon Fiber 3D Printing Process

MarkForged 3D Printing Carbon

Mechanical Properties Preventative Measures

You don’t need any specialty 3D printer to use carbon filaments (although really cool strides have been made using carbon to do the printing itself), you just need to look for these specific traits to make sure they’re available in the equipment you’re looking at.

If you’ve already got a 3D printer and don’t want to get a whole new one to accommodate your new filament, you can make modifications to your current rig, too – those are sold as separately as you need them, and a few are just settings you can change without learning or buying anything new.

Whatever your level of expertise, you’ll be able to buy, find, or adjust however you need to work with carbon, and you’ll be reaping the rewards for as long as you need them.

  • Make sure the printer you want to use has a heating bed temperature of 45 – 60 degrees Celsius. You don’t have to use an enclosed heating area; an open one will actually help your creations cool down a little faster (ideal for more rapid prototyping), so don’t worry about that part. The heating bed temperature is an important detail.
  • Extruder nozzle temperature of 200 – 300 degrees Celsius. This is pretty standard for any of the base filaments that you will find mixed with carbon, so you will likely not need to look for anything unusual in this area.
  • However, you DO need to make sure you get hardened steel nozzle. A lot of the time, the carbon fibers in the carbon mix filaments is harder than the brass nozzles that are the typical finished surface for most 3D printer nozzles. Trying to 3D print with stock nozzles could, therefore, cause irreparable damage. So upgrading to a hardened steel hot head will prevent that from ever becoming a problem. But hardened steel nozzles are also less heat conductive than brass, so in order to compensate for that AND keep your hot head from getting scratched, you may have to increase your nozzle temperature as much as 40 degrees Celsius. Check the specs for your hardened steel head and that will tell you the adjustments you need to make.
  • Alternatively, you could use your part cooling fan. This is another necessity while using carbon filaments because you’re dancing on a fine line between temperature manipulation and keeping your surfaces safe from that abrasiveness so common in carbon fibers. This is also an easy part to add to your machine; some 3D printers even come with instructions on how to 3D print that as your first project. To counteract the lesser heat conduction of your hardened nozzle, you can run your part cooling fan slower to help the filament flow easier.
  • Yet another adjustment that makes the extruder’s job easier with carbon mix filaments is increasing the nozzle diameter. 0.2 mm – 0.4 mm is the most common size range, but anything between those parameters will encourage more clogging than is practical to deal with in carbon filament printing. Bump up your nozzle diameter to 0.5 mm to drastically reduce the chance you’ll have to deal with this issue. Since the unmelted carbon fibers have a whole extra millimeter to move, they’re much less likely to clog. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but anyone who’s dealt with 3D printing knows it’s the tiny details that count.
  • You also need to check your retraction settings. Since the carbon fibers in your filament won’t melt and you need to keep a close eye on any clogs, reducing your retraction distance – or even eliminating it altogether – can reduce the distance in which a clog can build up. Less distance means less tubing for the filament to move through, which means it has less time to slow to a stop and clog everything. And 3D printing companies are already on this issue – the Simplify3D brand has a setting that lets the nozzle stay within the interior area of the extruder so there is little to no retraction. All you have to do to turn this on is go into your advanced settings and turn on the “avoid crossing outline for travel movements,” and many other printers will have the same option somewhere in their settings. Look at the user’s manual online before you buy to make sure the model you want has this critical feature.
  • If the nozzle still seems to clog on you immediately (after the first layer or two), try changing your layer height. If it’s too reduced for the first layer (layer adhesion), the nozzle may be close enough to the printing bed to cause back pressure that can cause the fibers to build up and clog because they don’t have enough space to get out.
  • Additionally, slow your print speed down for more consistent results. A slower print speed puts less pressure on the nozzle, and if small clogs start to form, the extruder will be more likely to be able to push them through before they get big enough to cause issues. Reduce your print speed by anywhere between 25 and 50%, and watch your results to make sure they’re getting better.
  • One more way you can ensure your carbon fiber filament has the easiest time possible getting through your printer is to make sure you use a guided filament path. The carbon fibers in your filament rub against every sharp turn and corner you have between your spool and extruder and the element’s brittleness can cause it to snap on these types of edges. If you use gentle curves instead, you’ll keep your carbon filament intact and its flow smooth to where it really needs to go – onto your project. You can find PTFE guiding tubes specially made for this, or you can get a 3D printer that has a short, straight, direct path from its spool area to its extruder.

The Best Products to 3D Print Carbon Fiber Filament

Now that you know all about what to look for in a 3D printing set up that you can use for printing with carbon fiber filament, here are the best rigs we’ve found to help you set it up.

  • Matter Hackers 3D printing company marketplace makes a huge range of 3D printing nozzles that give you a great range of nozzle diameters as well as finishes that are great for working with abrasive materials. Their prices vary and let you experiment without breaking your budget or needing to find space for a whole new machine. They even offer a “pro pack” of six different nozzles, all up to carbon printing standards, and the tools to switch them out.
  • Instructables has a great tutorial on how to add a 3D print parts cooling fan to your 3D printer. You can find this starting at under $10 on Amazon – just make sure to read the reviews before you buy to ensure you’re getting what you need for your specific types of projects.
  • Prusa Research offers a selection of quality 3D printers that either already has larger printer nozzle diameters, or are fitted to accommodate them.
  • Fusion3, RoboxPro, Raise3D Pro2 Plus, MakerBot Method Carbon Fiber, and MarkForged 3D Printer all offer 3D printers that are built inside and out to deal with strength printing from tough filaments like carbon, with industrial 3d printer grade results. They vary in their specifics and price ranges (although prepare to pay more than what you would for a printer not optimized for special material), so you can find your perfect match when you want to start from scratch.

Looking for a way to easily print with carbon 3D filament is not as difficult as its reputation.

If you’re looking to add carbon 3D printing filament to a 3D printing business or hobby that’s already active, you can modify your current machines to accommodate; if you’re just getting into the game and want to jump right in with carbon filaments, you’ve got lots of choices for printers that give you everything you need in one place.

We recommend easing in and seeing what works best with your personal preference – try it, you’ll like it!’.

In summary, these are the top 3D printers for carbon fiber:

  1. Fusion3 F410 [Best Overall for Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  2. Makerbot Method Carbon Fiber [Most Affordable Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  3. Raise3d Pro2 Plus (with one of these nozzle replacements)  [Best Large Format Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]
  4. Ultimaker S5 (with this nozzle replacement) [Best Open Source Carbon Fiber 3D Printer]

Further Read on Additive Manufacturing & 3D Printing Material (Composite Material 3D Printing Technology)

The 3D Printing Glossary of Common Terms and Acronyms

3D printing has a language of its own, meant to convey the specialty tools, materials, and processes that are unique to its world. It’s a great way to explain details that don’t have an equivalent word or phrase in common usage, but it’s also confusing if you’re new to any of it.

Fortunately, we’ve put together a handy guide for you to use, whether you’re trying to wade your way through a sea of internet tutorials or writing your own instructions for others. Check out our categories below for any help or inspiration you might need.

Parts

Extruder

A lot of 3D printer users consider the extruder the most important part of their setup, and with good reason. The extruder is where the material is fed into, heated up, and moved within the X, Y, and Z axes to print the layers of your object.

They are heat sensitive, requiring both a minimum temperature to keep the material flowing smoothly and maximum temperature to stop from burning the material or overheating themselves.

Within the whole of a 3D printer, the extruders are often identified by how many are attached to the frame. Single extruder printers are the most common; they have one extruder and usually work with only one color or type of material at a time.

Double extruders have two, and on the rare occasion, you will see some of the larger models have triple extruders. The extruders can work independently of each other or in concert.

X, Y, and Z axes

These are the planes of space that your 3D design will occupy. The X axis is the side-to-side, the Y-axis is the up-and-down, and the Z-axis is the depth. If you’re having a traumatic flashback to high school geometry class, don’t worry, you’ll have plenty of help deciding the measurements during your design phase.

The axes on the 3D printer are encompassed by the area that the extruder nozzle can reach to print, limited by the printing bed’s dimensions and the maneuverability of the equipment that moves the extruder along these axes. Your extruder moves through these via motors in the nozzle and extendable arms that are attached to the printer frame. It’s really fun to watch!

3D Print Bed

Printer Bed

This is an area of your 3D printer you will need to maintain especially well because this is the area that will be the literal foundation of your prints. The printer bed is where the extruder anchors the first layer of the filament to establish the base shape of the object. It’s a flat plane at the bottom of the frame, with the extruder posed above it. Most are adjustable, and that is a crucial aspect of printing.

If your print bed is not flush, your objects will start crooked, and there’s not much you can do besides start over. All 3D printers come with instructions on how to level the printer bed for your initial build; some have auto leveling capabilities that mean you don’t have to mess with it between prints. But, we do have experience with those you have to constantly adjust, especially print beds that come from cheap DIY printer kits.

A good print bed is also key to the stability of the whole printer, and a wobbly printer bed can knock everything out of whack. Its temperature control and grip surface are key to your final project as well; the wrong temperature and/or surface area means you’ll be wrestling your object off the print bed and stand a greater chance of damaging it and your project. Choose your printer bed wisely.

Fused Deposition Modeling

Process

  • FFF. This is an acronym that means “fused filament fabrication,” which describes the 3D printing process because the material (or filament) is melted enough to be manipulated and stick together for built layering onto a base. Fused filament fabrication is the proprietary phrase for it, from the company that invented it (Stratasys Inc.) Stratasys originally trademarked “fused deposit modeling,” but switched to a different phrase when 3D printing became more mainstream so users could discuss the process without worrying about legal infringement issues.
  • FDM. This acronym means “fused deposit modeling,” which is the same process as FFF. The only differences are that this phrase is not copyrighted, so 3D printer enthusiasts can use it for anything. It covers the same exact ground as FFF, so remember those can be used interchangeably in whatever instructional materials you may access.
  • Post processing. As mentioned in the printer bed entry, you’re not done 3D printing once your extruder has stopped. After the object is done being printed, you have to get it off the printer bed without damaging it. For quality printers, this is usually as easy as letting the object cool for a time – either on its own or with the help of a fan, whichever will work with your time and patience. Some objects, or printer beds themselves, require a little more effort in the form of specialty scraper blades. Those, obviously, require very careful precision to keep from scratching the printer bed, the object, or yourself (gloves are for sure recommended). Once you’ve taken the object off the printer bed, you can add more finishing touches such as varnishes, further sculpting, or any details you weren’t able to print.

3D Printing Software

Software

CAD

Short for computer-aided drafting, CAD is a catch-all term for the software you’ll be using to create your 3D printing designs. There are a lot of options out there. Many of them come from programs that were originally designed for 2D drafting needs such as architecture and have added 3D components as those computer capabilities have come online. AutoCAD is the most famous of these and has become an industry standard for anyone who wants to learn to draft in a professional setting.

There are plenty of other CAD programs that have sprung up especially for 3D modeling and printing as those have grown into their own processes. And if you’re not planning on 3D printing for your livelihood, don’t worry, because different CAD software has learning curves that vary as much as 3D printers themselves.

You also don’t have to drop a lot of money for a CAD subscription, either, and some printers come with their own programs that are just as good as any you can get independently. Just be honest with yourself about your skill level, and you’ll find the perfect software to get you using CAD in no time.

Open Source

If you’re familiar with other types of computer jargon, chances are you know that “open source” means someone has shared their code for free on the internet so anyone who wants to use it can and can make modifications to their heart’s content.

3D printing lends itself to this type of software because of its DIY fan base, so if you’re struggling with any company software, check out open source options. Not only are they free, but their transparency helps users understand the process, and see where they can individualize it.

STL Files

This is the extension for 3D printing design files. It’s an abbreviation for “stereolithography,” and that’s because it’s a type of computer-aided drafting that uses triangles to build the 3D forms.

First used in the AutoCAD system, it’s become standard on almost all 3D printers, and if you need to, you can convert other CAD file types to STL easily with software available for free or low cost on the internet.

3D Printing Materials

Materials

Filament

This is the stuff that you will print with. It’s a thread wound from some sort of thermoplastic (sometimes with other materials mixed in), stored on a spool. The spool is fitted to the printer so that the thermoplastic thread – the filament – is fed through the extruder, which heats up the filament and basically weaves it into your finished object layer by layer. If you’ve ever watched a sewing machine at work, the process is about the same, and the 3D printer filament plays the same role as the thread.

There are a lot of varieties of a filament to choose from, depending on your own skill level, your printer’s capacities, your wanted finish and hold, and lots of other factors you should consider before choosing one:

  • PLA. The most common type of 3D printing filament, PLA stands for polylactic acid. It’s a thermoplastic made from corn starch or sugar cane, which makes it non-toxic and biodegradable. For 3D printing, it’s stretched into filament thread and wound onto spools for easy storage. It comes in a wide variety of colors, and you can find it mixed with a lot of other materials as well; it makes a great base filament. Its relatively low print temperature makes it easy to print with since it has a much smaller chance of clogging or burning in the extruder nozzle. It also makes a smooth surface finish for your 3D printed objects, giving a level of surface detail beyond what other common filaments can achieve. It comes in two diameters: 1.75 mm, and 2.85 mm.

  • ABS. This stands for acrylonitrile butadiene styrene and is another thermoplastic that is created like PLA but uses a different kind of plastic – ABS filament uses the same kind as Lego bricks and is engineered for strength. Its combination of Acrylonitrile, Butadiene and Styrene polymers makes it shatterproof, scratch resistant, lightweight, and affordable, and its relatively low melting point makes it good for home 3D printing. However, it doesn’t have the detailed ability of PLA, it gives off a bad smell when it prints, and it needs a heated printer bed. You have been warned.

  • PETG. This is the acronym for Polyethylene Terephthalate Glycol-modified, a filament that is gaining traction in the 3D printing world for its properties. Although its makeup means it’s only available in clear and is not able to be color modified, it outscores PLA in durability. It’s also safe to sterilize and use for food. It’s not biodegradable, but you can recycle it by melting it down and turning it back into filaments (or other plastic materials). PETG doesn’t require a heated bed to work with, but it does perform better with one, and it’s soluble in acetone.

  • Eutectic Metal. This is a type of metal that is mixed in a specific way so that it has a lower melting point than its original form. This is how metals are mixed into filaments suitable for 3D printing; if you had to run your 3D printer at the temperature it takes to melt pure iron, for example, you would burn up all of your equipment before you got anywhere. The use of eutectic metal in 3D printing filaments gives users access to the metal’s general qualities while making it easier to work with.

  • HDPE. This stands for high-density polyethylene, which is the dense kind of plastic used to make plastic bottles. It’s used in 3D printing because it’s easy to dye and mold, and it’s also useful for printing supports because it’s soluble in limonene. So if you print the majority of your object in ABS or PLA and your supports in HDPE, you can dissolve the supports without doing anything to the rest of your material. It’s a great filament for designs that have a lot of details that are spaced out or overhanging other areas; you can basically defy gravity once your print job cools.

Going cold into 3D printing can be intimidating, but don’t let all the acronyms and formal terms scare you off. Words are powerful, and being able to label something gives you a better understanding of how it works, especially specialty information that can’t be translated any other way.

Learning them will give you power over what you want to do as you find more ways to improve your creation process. With a little bit of study, you’ll be able to navigate your way through whatever you need to do. Use our guide to translate what you want to do into actual processes and soon you’ll be able to hold the proof of your blossoming knowledge in your hand.

How to Find the Best Chocolate 3D Printer

Best Chocolate 3D Printer

With Valentine’s Day on the calendar every February, everybody’s thoughts naturally turn towards chocolate this time of year – even within the 3D printer world. Believe it or not, chocolate is a fairly common 3D printing material for those who like to mix things up. You can use it almost exactly like you would any other material, with just a few tweaks to make its unique properties work the way you want. And even though there are plenty of other filaments that you can use to store food and eat from, nothing beats combining two hobbies into one unexpected joy that you can literally taste!

How does 3D printing with chocolate work?

Making shapes with chocolate has traditionally been limited to what you can make with molds and melted down molten chocolate. Because molds are a process that carves the shapes out of the material poured into them, old-school chocolate making is just like industrial subtractive manufacturing and comes with all the same pitfalls. Can’t afford all the equipment you need up front? Need to make changes to your design once the mold is completed? Don’t have the time it takes to perfect everything, so you don’t have to change your design mid-process? Tough. You’re out of luck with any sort of traditional chocolate making.

Chocolate 3D Printing

But 3D printing, as an additive process, gives you a lot of advantages that let you experiment with your chocolate. Since you are adding material through layering, you don’t have to stay within the geometric confides of a mold; since you are basically drawing the design into 3D space, you can also change it a lot easier than if you were depending on a mold. It isn’t practical for mass producing chocolate, but if you want to make your own intricate one of a kind creations for fun or profit, 3D printing with chocolate may just be your best bet.

What are the pros of 3D printing with chocolate?

  • Translation of skills. The second best thing about 3D printing chocolate (close behind being able to eat your creations) is that it’s so close to 3D printing with more common materials that you can use the same designs and computer-aided drafting programs you feel most comfortable using without worrying about learning a whole new process. Overall, chocolate 3D printers work the same as other 3D printers – they use the same fused deposition modeling process where an extruder head moves around a printer bed and lays down melted chocolate in designated layers which are built into the 3D object and cooled to harden into place.
  • The intricacy of design. With a 3D printer, you’re able to create chocolate designs that would never be possible with the traditional mold method. Even other additive methods such as chocolate sculpture depend on your own steadiness of hand, limiting you to human frailty. 3D chocolate printers let you take advantage of both the uniformity of machine building and your extensive imagination.
  • High resolution and accuracy. The low viscosity of chocolate means that it uses what is called inkjet 3D printing. That means the print head is electrically heated to establish pulses of pressure which push drops of material from the nozzle. This can be used for either a continuous stream, as in when you’re making an all-chocolate creation, or as a way to dollop sections of chocolate onto another creation. Either way, inkjet 3D printing results in amazing accuracy on intricate details. The pulse process helps control the material flow so it can navigate like a skilled chef wielding a pastry bag.

However, there are some fundamental differences that you must be aware of before you decide to melt a few Hershey’s bars and pour them into your current rig. Don’t do that! You’ll ruin your machine and won’t get a result remotely resembling what you want anyway. You do need equipment that is specific to the intricacies of chocolate as a printing material, so read on to find out exactly what you need to know to make your 3D printing process even sweeter.

Chocolate 3D Printing Process

What are the difficulties with 3D printing in chocolate?

  • Working texture. The physical properties of chocolate make it perform a lot differently than your traditional 3D printing filament. Usually, even the most obscure material is mixed in with a thermoplastic, which ultimately allows the material to act more or less like the thermoplastic when it gets into the machine. But chocolate does not, and mixing it into a thermoplastic isn’t an option if you want to enjoy your creation as it’s meant to be. Chocolate is both too soft and not pliable enough to work with a traditional extruder. You have to melt the chocolate to make it flow in the lines necessary for the machine to draw out your design. However, when it’s flexible enough to work with, chocolate also does not have nearly the same hold as plastic does. It doesn’t harden quickly at room temperature, so it makes it more prone to lose its shape due to gravity or other environmental disturbances.
  • Structural delicacy. Chocolate’s unique 3D printing properties result in a material that is as delicate as it is versatile. Because it has to stay in a melted state while being manipulated, it also has to be cooled very quickly as it’s being printed so that the structure has a solid frame to fall back on. That’s especially true if you’re planning on printing chocolate with a lot of gaps or thin areas; if you don’t take the proper amount of care, these areas are vulnerable to snap right off and ruin your structure.
  • Can’t be stored as a filament. Chocolate is also too soft to be wound into the same kind of hard spooled filament that is typical for extruder printing. When you use it for 3D printing, you have to keep the liquid chocolate in a cartridge that is constantly heated to keep it melted so it can run through a syringe that acts as the extruder. This is a messy storage need for something that takes hours to complete its printing, and continuously heating an entire cartridge of material rather than only the material being used in the printing at any given moment is a finicky, energy-sucking process. Make sure you have the time and patience to stick with it.

Chocolate 3D Printed Name

What materials do I need for 3D chocolate printing?

To combat these structural issues, 3D chocolate printers use a paste-like material made from a blend of different kinds of chocolate. Dark, white, and milk chocolate all have different melting properties that make them easier or more challenging to work with depending on your project and the printer you’re using. Each type is structurally chocolate with slightly different structures that render them different allotropes, or variations of crystal patterning in their molecules.

  • Dark chocolate has a higher melting point than milk or white chocolate, between 30 and 32 degrees Celsius. This is because it has a higher proportion of cocoa to milk fat in its mixture. This means that dark chocolate is structurally firmer, but it also takes longer and more energy to melt and maintain the liquidity needed for extrusion. It has a solidifying temperature between 20 and 28 degrees Celsius.
  • Milk chocolate, on the other hand, has more milk fat in proportion to its amount of cocoa, so it will melt around the same temperature range that dark chocolate will solidify. Milk chocolate is also more likely to produce fat and sugar pockets if it’s not melted slowly enough; while that won’t affect its taste, it can affect the structural integrity of what you’re trying to build.
  • White chocolate doesn’t contain any cocoa solids at all, but it is made with cocoa butter, so it’s more prone to burning as it’s being melted. It scorches at around 44 degrees Celsius, so be extra careful if you want to use it for your 3D printer. You can mix and match all the types of chocolate for whatever combination of properties you need in your finished product.

3D Printer Chocolate

What equipment do I need?

Although you can outfit a regular 3D printer with several of the necessary details needed to convert it to a 3D food printer, chocolate itself takes some extra considerations, so it’s generally worth it to find a printer that is specifically equipped for the job.

  • Syringe extruder. First and foremost, you’re going to have to find an extruder that works like a syringe dispenser rather than a traditional 3D printing extruder. This is going to be the easiest modification you can make – there are detachable versions you can pop onto your current 3D printing rig, and there are even plenty of open source designs if you want to go meta and print your own printer extruder. However, if you have the rest of the necessary adjustments on your printer and just need to switch out your heating head, remember to find one that is heat resistant to the temperatures you’ll need for chocolate and FDA rated as a surface that’s safe to eat from. This will be easy if you’re working with a premade spout – they know what’s up – but if you’re printing your own, pay attention to the materials you’re using. The money you save will not be worth a broken hot head or plastics poisoning.
  • Material cartridge. Chocolate is a building material that needs to stay liquid while you’re using it, and unfortunately nobody’s figure out a way to liquify only the parts that are printing. And for an added wrinkle, chocolate can’t stay at the correct consistency without constant heating – unlike that frosting you’re eyeing, or mashed potatoes, which are both molecularly stable and liquid enough to run through a food extruder at room temperature. So for chocolate, you have to find a printer that has a material warmer that will keep it at the exact right temperature for 3D printing the whole time you’re using it. That’s easier than it sounds – many chefs and 3D printing engineers alike have wondered about it before you, so there are a lot of options for either a rig to add to your current printer or a printer that’s devoted exclusively towards chocolate. We recommend the latter, not only because it already has all the necessary accessories integrated into its design, but because it was built with chocolate specifications in mind, so you don’t have to worry about your regular 3D printer not being able to handle the adjustments needed.
  • Cooling fan. This is a vital addition to your chocolate 3D printing setup. If you’re shopping for a printer that can specifically print with chocolate, don’t believe it unless it has a fan built in to cool the chocolate as it goes. This isn’t an add-on that would be nice to have, or even just makes the process easier for you – this is necessary to keep your printed chocolate in its shape throughout the printing processes. Otherwise, you’ll end up with a broken mess of a chocolate shell. Cooling fans are such a simple yet complete fix.

Some Final Thoughts: How to Find the Best Chocolate 3D Printer

Because there are a few very specific needs for 3D printing with chocolate, we recommend buying a printer that is made for this specific purpose. There are a lot OF 3D Printers on the market that range from around $500 for a starter kit to around $6,000 for a full-on kitchen approved rig. Just like when you’re shopping for any 3D printer, know your skill level and be realistic about the use you are going to get out of this. Buying a 3D printer specifically for chocolate might sound like an extravagance, and it is if you aren’t going to be using it enough to justify the cost, but if you have any interest in chocolate 3D printing, you should find a chocolate 3D printer you can borrow or use jointly before deciding.

3D printing with chocolate is a great way to expand your 3D printing horizons. It’s a sweet way to test your design skills as well as add a culinary element to your hobby – or business! Although you won’t be able to mass produce chocolate bars on a practical scale or add ingredients beyond variations of cocoa to milk fat, you will be able to craft meticulous, one of a kind edible objects with little more trouble than 3D printing with your favorite thermoplastic. If you’re an aspiring Willy Wonka, coming up with creations that you fear could only be completed in your head, check out the range of 3D chocolate printers out there. You’ll be very pleasantly surprised what a good inkjet extruder and your pure imagination can bring to life.

The Airwolf Evo 3D Printer Review – Is it Worth the Hype?

Airwolf is setting new goals for the whole 3D printer world after they introduced the Evo at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show. They’re so confident they’ve changed the game that they refuse to call the Evo a 3D printer, preferring instead the title an “additive manufacturing system.”

Technically, they’re right, since all 3D printing can be considered additive manufacturing – that’s just a fancy phrase for making objects by layering material onto itself instead of carving it out of something. But does Airwolf earn the right to set their machine apart from everybody else’s? Read on to find out!

Introduction

Airwolf Evo 3D Printer

Airwolf has been in the 3D printing/additive manufacturing business since May 2012. Their origin story talks about founder Erik Wolf taking his 3D printer garage tinkering into a full-time company with the help of his wife Eva. Since then, they’ve expanded to include filaments, accessories, and a line of industrial grade 3D printers aimed at those who need a more robust experience than you can typically get from a desktop model.

They’re based in southern California, and in December 2014, they set Guinness world record for most 3D printers operating simultaneously – 159, for those who are curious. Plus each one of those record-breaking printers manufactured prosthetic hands for people in need; Airwolf also partners with various southern California nonprofits for 3D printing education, so they are spreading their enthusiasm to the world.

But, let’s get specifically into their Evo 3D printer. They’re calling it a manufacturing system because they’ve added features that they claim propel it beyond the typically 3D printer experience; with this machine, they’re looking to bridge the gap between desktop and industrial manufacturing of 3D objects. While they’re not the only business to do that, they are one of the first who saw that niche wanting to be filled. And they’re definitely adding some impressive new pieces to the experience.

Technical Specifics

Here are the manufacturing details of the Airwolf Evo:

Print area

305 mm x 305 mm x 280 mm

Printer size

609 mm x 622 mm x 711 mm

Printer weight

60 lbs/27.22 kg

Filament type

2.85 mm +/- 0.10 mm, Metal, Over 40, incl. ABS, PC, PP, Nylons, TPE, TPU

Nozzle diameter

0.35 Heavy Duty, 0.50 Heavy Duty, 0.80 Heavy Duty

Maximum print speed

150 mm/sec

Maximum layer resolution

Above 200 microns recommended

Maximum bed temperature

160 degrees Celsius

Maximum extruder temperature

315 degrees Celsius

Connectivity

USB

LCD screen

18 centimeters, onscreen keyboard

 Now that you know the numbers, let’s get into the details of how this thing actually works.

 Pros

  • “Zombie mode.” This sounds terrifying, but it’s actually a super useful setting that’s officially named Part-Save. It’s the ability to stop printing at any point in the process and save the exact spot in the design where you paused. The Airwolf Evo is smart enough to remember where you left off, and it will start right back as if you never stopped. Although this is not the only 3D printer on the market that is able to save your printing spot, it is one of the smartest to do so. As long as you remember to put the extruder at the same height, it will blend the sessions into a seamless whole that you won’t be able to tell apart once your object is completed.
  • Matrix touchscreen. Intuitive touch screen controls have become the norm in 3D printers at this stage in their development, but Airwolf has taken the existing technology and pushed its usefulness even further with a few simple but drastic changes. First, it’s seven inches, or almost eighteen centimeters, across, which gives you plenty of room to take advantage of its next innovation: an on-screen keyboard. It’s such an easy addition and it takes your navigation skills to another level.f
  • Air cleansing system. A lot of common filaments give off noxious fumes when used for printing, but with the Evo, you don’t have to worry about that ruining your workspace. Airwolf equipped its latest 3D printer with an air purifier that will suck up all the UFP and VOC emissions your filaments can throw at it, and you’ll be able to forget you ever worried about fumes. This is a great feature to highlight if you’re planning on using the Evo in confined areas or places where children will be using it, like a school or library. It will give everyone the peace of mind they deserve.
  • Thermal management. This feature means the Evo will dry your filament as it feeds into the printer, eliminating hours of cool down time at the end of your printing. Airwolf claims this helps manufacture the highest quality parts, so your print will be top notch straight off the print bed.
  • Ability to print metal. Using metal filaments takes a specific kind of printing environment that can be difficult to replicate on a regular basis. But the Evo has you covered – its reinforced extruder nozzles and other various toughened corners are made to withstand whatever battering your material can give it. Airwolf understands that someone who needs an additive manufacturing system is going to need materials heavier than a typical hobbyist, so they’ve readied the Evo accordingly.
  • Build size. Airwolf certainly gives the Evo enough printing real estate to back up the claim that it’s an entire system. You can print up to almost thirty cubic centimeters in volume, which makes this additive manufacturing process great for anyone looking to 3D print on an industrial scale.
  • Multi-material printing. If you’ve ever had to deal with the start and stop of switching between filaments to get a color pattern or material combination, you’ll love the Evo’s ability to print with more than one filament at a time. Usually, dual extruders are temperature controlled together, but the Evo’s are separate, which means you can adjust each to the specific heat each material will need. It lets you optimize the conditions so you get top performance from each one, seamlessly woven into each other. No stopping and starting required.
  • Water solubility support compatibility. The Evo’s numerous special features let you print a wide variety of projects with an expansive list of materials. The most notable of these is its ability to print water soluble filament for support material at the same time you’re printing with another filament. This water soluble filament lets you add it as bracing in areas of intricate detail that may collapse without support before cooling and hardening; once the whole thing, scaffolding and all, is complete, you can soak it in water and pull it out to let the support filament drop away. It’s exactly what you need for designs with a lot of gap detail.
  • Auto-leveling. Making sure your print bed is level before and/or after every single print you complete is a pain but sometimes necessary. Unless you’re using the Evo. Its auto leveling bed will save you hundreds of hours of doubt and measurements as you move from project to project without ever worrying if your foundation is laid straight.

 Cons

  • Price. The Airwolf Evo costs up to $7,999, and that’s without considering shipping and handling. Granted, that gets you a lot of great machinery, but if you can’t afford the money in the first place, it doesn’t really matter what a great deal this would end up being. Airwolf is definitely aimed at the top of the line hobbyist at the very least, and preferably at users who make some sort of profit from what they print. It is a great investment if you can monetarily justify it.
  • Failsafe positioning quirk. The partial save ability of the Evo is a lifesaver, especially in the quality of printing it offers, and Airwolf uses the same principle to help you save your progress when you’ve run out of material – however, there is a catch. You do have to remember the exact height your extruder was at when you paused your printing; otherwise, your new starting levels will not blend into the old ones and there will be a noticeable drift in your layers. This doesn’t sound like a big deal until you’ve had to pause one printing job for an unscheduled emergency and complete something else before you can get back to your first project. Can you remember all that without measuring or writing it down? We’d get in trouble by telling ourselves we’ll totally remember the height, then getting distracted by something else that needs attention to details and messing it up when we get back to it. But if you’re meticulous and keep your own notes, the failsafe mode will help you manipulate changing filaments and clogging nozzle issues.
  • Learning curve. This additive manufacturing experience comes with a handy how-to booklet, instructions for each step, and an online support staff through its store. However, using this equipment is not for the faint of heart. Users who are brand new to 3D printing may be overwhelmed by the possibilities that will make a veteran squeal with glee. It’s very much geared towards those who have tried flimsier setups and want more, so be sure to read up on everything to make sure you’re not missing out on any special feature. Even those who have used their share of desktop 3D printers may be mystified by certain aspects that aren’t typical features on anything except the Evo, so have patience with yourself and utilize the corners of the internet that have figured this beast out before you.
  • Weight. Anything that touts itself as a complete system is going to have heft. To its credit, Airwolf does offset this as best as it can through its strategic use of aluminum on the Evo; that material is the perfect balance between strength and lightness, but it’s not a miracle worker. The Evo weighs in at 60 pounds for the printer itself, and at 150 pounds for shipping weight. This keeps the Evo from being the portable printing factory you might be hoping for. It’s not impossible to move it around, and the initial installation is relatively painless for a 3D printer. Its frame keeps everything sturdy without parts moving around when you reposition it but beware of strain if you’re planning on regularly touting it to different spots. Do your back a favor and invest in a cart if that’s your plan.
  • Exclusivity of software. Airwolf packages the Evo with its own proprietary software, APEX. It’s free, and it’s built on the open source slicing engine Cura, but APEX is what you have to use if you want to use any of Airwolf’s 3D printing machines. The good news is that once you learn it, you can apply it to everything they make, so if you enjoy the Evo, you can branch out without any trouble. Plus it’s free, so if you do purchase an Evo, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to practice without worrying about paying for a monthly subscription. But you won’t be able to play around with it before buying an Airwolf machine, so if you decide you don’t like it, you might have already invested too much to go back. Study up as best you can, look around the corners of the internet that you most trust (like us!), and try to see what you’re getting into as well as possible before you commit.

Final Verdict

Airwolf has indeed brought a unique product into the 3D printer world. The Evo is basically its own little ecosystem, with a lot of features built-in that seem unnecessary at first glance but actually, do make 3D printing a lot easier as soon as you run into any outside hiccups. And trust us, no matter how prepared you think you are, something will come up that you won’t expect; chances are, the Evo’s already thought of and planned for that.

It fits nicely into the manufacturing space it wants to populate; those who can afford its startup cost and already know their way around intermediate 3D printing software will be in for a great additive manufacturing experience.

Recommended Reads

Raise3D N2 Review [2020]: Should You Go For It?

Raise3D manufactures 3D printers, and the N2 is a crowdfunding success story. The company managed to secure almost $500,000 from 350 backers in November 2015 using a Kickstarter campaign. They have multiple 3D printer offerings that will fit any project, and they offer some of the biggest print volumes available.

When determining which 3D printer to buy, it’s important to research all of the options and familiarize yourself with the features. Consider what type of projects you want to print and your level of expertise with 3D printing before making a determination.

If you’re in the market for a 3D printer and have been considering the Raise3D N2, we have the low down on its features, functionality, design, and set up so you can make an educated decision. Read on for all of the details you need.

BEFORE GOING FURTHER: The Raise3d N2 has been discontinued and replaced with the new Raise3D Pro 2.

Raise 3D N2 Overview

Raise3D N2 Bed

The fully enclosed design is also a great feature. Combined with a heated print bed and large volume, the Raise3D N2 is an excellent printer for those who like to use ABS and Nylon material. The Raise3D N2 also allows for the use of PLA as well as specialty filaments like HIPS and PETG.

The Raise3D N2 isn’t the only 3D printer that comes with an onboard battery backup, but some don’t, so this is a great feature. It assists in the event you have a power outage.

When the battery backup takes over, the printer pauses your current project and uses the battery to store your progress before shutting down. The battery backup isn’t strong enough to continue printing, but you won’t lose your work so you can pick it up again when the power comes back.

Raise3D also offers a dual-extrusion model called the Raise3D N2 Dual, a model that provides a more substantial print volume of 12” x 12” x 24” called the Raise3D N2 Plus, and a dual-extrusion model with the larger print volume called the Raise3D N2 Plus Dual. All printers come to you fully assembled, so set up is easy.

Features

The Raise3D N2 has a print volume of 12” x 12” x 12”, which is large enough for most projects. If it’s not big enough for you, you can spring for the N2 Plus with an extra 12” of height. The printer is built with a sturdy aluminum metal frame and fully enclosed in an ABS, polycarbonate, and acrylic case.

This design improves print quality because it traps the heat and maintains a consistent temperature throughout the printing process. It also enhances the safety of the 3D printer by covering all of the heating elements, so they’re not exposed or easy to touch. These safety features make it a great choice for schools and businesses.

It’s a user-friendly 3D printer, another feature that makes it an ideal choice. The 7-inch color display offers a touchscreen, making it easy to learn and control. Beginners will find it easy to use and have complete control over their projects including monitoring and fine-tuning their design throughout the printing process.

Check out our Top 15 Easy 3D Printing Ideas for Beginners.

The touchscreen is also easily accessible via Wi-Fi with a LAN setup, so as long as you’re on the same home or office network as your printer, you can print from anywhere. The Raise3D N2 touchscreen is fully integrated with the print resume feature so you can immediately start your print where it left off in the event you lose power or accidentally shut off the printer.

The Raise3D N2 comes with a heated bed. Some 3D printers don’t, so this is a great upgrade, making printing much easier and your results much higher quality. The V2 Hot End is capable of reaching 300 degrees Celsius. The printer is compatible with most materials that are currently available, so you have plenty of options for your projects. This includes ABS, PLA, PETG, Carbon Fiber, Nylon, TPU, and TPE. With an upgrade to the wear-resistant nozzle, you can also use Metal Composites.

Raise3D N2 Dual Extruder

Dual extrusion on the Raise3D N2 is not standard, so if you need dual extrusion, the Raise3D N2 Dual is the best option for you. Using the N2 Dual, you can print in two colors simultaneously or use two different materials at the same time. Pair one material with dissolvable support so you can print more complex designs effortlessly.

Unboxing and Setup

All Raise3D printers come fully assembled, so unboxing and setup is easy. All you need to do is unpack it and position it wherever it’s convenient. Raise3D includes all of the instructions you need to set up the hardware right out of the box. You will find a list of contents as well as all of the tools you need.

They also offer a comprehensive guide to installing the software on your computer, and the instructions are listed online as well for easy reference if you prefer. While it is fully assembled, you will need to unclip the zip ties before you start your first build. Save them for later in case you decide to move or transport your printer.

The accessory bag is located under the build plate, so you can unscrew the Z-axis ball screws with the included hex wrench and remove the accessories for use later. Remove all plastic and foam packaging and gently put the printer components back in place.

After a brief filament holder installation, you can plug in your new printer. The printer will turn on and begin a short startup sequence, and then it will be ready to print. A step-by-step guide to launching your first build will appear on the touchscreen.

Performance

Raise3D N2 Printing

Raise3D N2 performance is superb. The frame is sturdy, it includes locking casters, and using the touchscreen is simple. While some users have complained that the hot end design can cause some jamming, the Raise3D N2 isn’t nearly as touchy as many other 3D printers.

The versatility of the print materials, as well as the removable enclosure, make the printer easy to work on and monitor your printing progress simple. Other users have complained about a flaw in the feeding filament, that’s an easily upgradable component.

Upgrades

With the release of the Raise3D Pro2 Series, users of the N2 have been anxiously awaiting any upgrades they can get their hands on to improve the functionality and performance of the N2, making it more like the Pro2. After countless hours of development, Raise3D delivered.

Optional upgraded components for the N2 include a dual-extruder, a webcam, silicone hot end covers, and a filament runout sensor. The dual-extruder upgrade allows you to print with multiple materials simultaneously without the need for an upgrade to the N2 Dual model. You can also increase the safety of your N2 with hot end covers, and improve your user experience with a webcam or a filament runout sensor.

Software

Raise3D N2 IdeaMaker

The Raise3D N2 uses ideaMaker software, and it’s included in the purchase of your printer. The printer also contains a step-by-step guide to installing the software on your computer. It is contained on a USB drive, so all you have to do is plug it in to download it. You can install it on as many machines as you want.

It is compatible with Windows and Mac, so you can use whatever machine and operating system you’re used to. Once the software is installed, you can check leveling settings, create designs, or import project designs from your computer into the software. You can also store designs on the USB drive and plug it straight into the touchscreen for printing.

The user interface on the software is easy and intuitive to use. You have options when it comes to configuring your settings and monitoring your builds via the touchscreen or the ideaMaker software installed on your computer.

Price

When it comes to 3D printers, the Raise3D N2 is one of the more pricey solutions on the market. However, it’s solid construction, large build volume, heated bed, and 7-inch touchscreen make it easy to use, even for beginners. Safety is another huge benefit of using the Raise3D N2 and might be worth the cost if it will be accessible to students or younger users.

You’ll also spend a pretty penny for upgraded models like dual-extrusion and a larger print volume, but the prices are worth it for a quality printer that offers the versatility of print designs and materials.

Support

Raise3D has a huge community of users offering forums where you can discuss improvements, troubleshoot issues, and share experiences. If you can’t find what you need there, they also have online tech support, wiki pages, FAQs, and a support line you can call for help. You can also email them if needed.

Specifications

  • Build Volume: 12 inches x 12 inches x 12 inches (305mm x 305mm x 305mm)
  • Print Technology: FFF
  • Layer Resolution: 0.01mm – 0.25mm
  • Filament Size: 1.75mm
  • Filament Type: ABS, PLA, PETG, Carbon Fiber, Nylon, TPU, TPE, Metal Composites
  • Printing Surface: Buildtak
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Enclosed: Yes
  • Nozzle Working Temperature: 170 degrees Celsius – 300 degrees Celsius
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm (0.016 inches)
  • Number of Nozzles: 1
  • Moving Speed: 150mm/s – 300mm/s
  • Printing Speed: 10mm/s – 150mm/s
  • XY Axes Positioning Accuracy: 0.0125mm
  • Z-Axis Positioning Accuracy: 0.00125mm

Pros and Cons

Raise3D N2 Pros:

  • Excellent print quality
  • Large build volume
  • Exceptional build quality
  • Offers precision and accuracy
  • Versatile with many options and upgrades
  • Safe and great for beginners
  • Backup battery
  • Enclosed for safety
  • Touchscreen and Wi-Fi enabled

Raise3D N2 Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Software compatibility
  • Large size

The Verdict

The Raise3D N2 offers versatility in print volume and print materials. It’s easy to use and offers a touchscreen and Wi-Fi for increased compatibility. While it only allows for the use of ideaMaker software, the software is easy to install and use.

This is an excellent printer for beginners because of how easy it is to use and the added safety of the enclosure. While it’s a bit more expensive than other 3D printers, it comes fully assembled, setup is easy, and it’s a great tool for students or the workplace.

The Raise3D N2 offers a fun experience for all users with sturdy, quality construction, a backup battery, and all of the tools and instructions you need to get started and enjoy printing your 3D projects and designs.

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The Tevo Little Monster Review That You’ll Love

When you see the word “little” in Tevo’s Little Monster 3D printer, you might think the company has produced a small or even portable 3D printer. However, the name is a little misleading as the Little Monster has one of the largest build volumes currently available. While this device isn’t cheap, it is one of the more successful 3D printers on the market.

Even though Tevo’s 3D printers are manufactured in China, they are still a company worth keeping an eye on. Over the past few years, Tevo has launched several very successful do-it-yourself 3D printers. One of these printers – the Little Monster – comes pre-assembled, which makes it’s quick and easy to get started printing.

As a matter of fact, this 3D printer comes 80% assembled, which means you’ll be up and printing just a few hours after it arrives at your doorstep.

Unboxing and Setup

When you’re box arrives, the first thing you’ll notice is that everything is neatly packed and firmly situated in styrofoam to prevent shifting and breaking of parts while the printer was in route. This means when you’re reading to set up your Little Monster, you don’t have to dig around in the box and wonder where every little piece is.

In the Box

The contents of the box include the following items:

  • A knock-off Smoothieboard (MKS SBASE) which has a customized Antclabs car calibration
  • An MKS TFT28 display with touch screen controls
  • A knock-off, pre-assembled E3D Titan flying extruder
  • Volcano nozzle with BLTouch sensing unit
  • An aluminum extrusion 4080 frame by Open builds
  • Light-weight arms weighing measuring 397 mm
  • Arm carriages which are pre-assembled
  • Spool holder
  • SD card and USB cable
  • A power supply that includes a strong state release
  • Necessary tools to complete assembly
  • Parts checklist, service booklet, and assembly guide

Hardware

The Tevo Little Monster comes with a knock-off E3D Titan flying extruder. This extruder includes a 0.4mm Volcano nozzle. It also includes a reproduction of the MKS SBASE Smoothieboard. Included in the structure are extrusion components made entirely of aluminum. There are also CNC components of excellent quality which help to offset the weight of aluminum plates added to the printer.

These aluminum plates add a total of 55 extra pounds to the table. Additionally, the board comes pre-wired and ready to go so you can easily identify all the cables and hardware while you’re setting up the printer.

Flying Titan Extruder

This piece of the Little Monster 3D printer is extremely lightweight, which means you’re able to print using broadband. With this piece of hardware, you can print a wide variety of products. One thing to remember when using your 3D printer, if you decide to use a versatile filament, you’ll want to make you that you reduce the stress a little. This helps to ensure that you get fantastic results when using your Tevo Little Monster.

Assembly

Assembling your Little Monster 3D printer is simple and straightforward. Tevo provides those who purchase their 3D printer with a great booklet to guide you through the entire process. A 10-step setup guide tells you exactly what you need to do to get your printer put together.

Every step includes an in-depth image that explains exactly what you should be doing. If, however, you mistakenly misplace your instructions, you can always head on over to the Tevo site and download them there.

Printing

Once you’ve finished following the instructions on how to set up and assemble your new 3D printer, what else is there to do but print something? With the automated calibration features, you’ll have no problems if anything looks out of place. It automatically senses when something needs to be changed, handling the problem instantly, so you don’t have to.

Really the only thing you have to worry about is the z-offset in your slicer, but even that needs little adjusting after you start printing. Once you have everything ready to go, use your SD card to provide the blueprint to your 3D printer and let it do its thing. Ensure that everything looks right on the bed as the object comes to life. If necessary you can tweak the z-offset by going to Simplify3D -> Procedure Setup -> G-Code.

Features

The Little Monster offers a wide variety of features and abilities. Here’s an idea of what you can expect to encounter as you use your 3D printer.

Tevo Little Monster Features

Delta Printer

Just as you’ll find with many Delta printers, the actuating parts within the Little Monster printer are lightweight. That means the hotend has an easier time traveling, which results in getting a more accurate and quicker printing speed (nearly 300 mm/s). Additionally, Delta printers are ideal for creating taller objects.

Quick Assembly

Unlike other 3D printers in the Tevo line – the Tevo Black and the Tevo Tarantula – the Little Monster printer arrives almost completely pre-assembled. From the time you open the box to the time, you start printing should only take you a few hours. Once you’ve unwrapped all your necessary hardware, connected the cables, installed the extruder, fed in the filament, and downloaded the software, you’ll be ready to get printing with your Little Monster 3D printer.

Large Build Capabilities

This printer is made for printing big objects. It’s design, lightweight hardware, and ease of use make it even more appealing for those interested in entering the 3D printer world. It also doesn’t hurt that the printer ranks in the middle of the pack when it comes to price.

Extruder

Tevo Little Monster Extruder

Upon opening up your Little Monster 3D printer, you’ll also discover that the Extruder system arrives pre-assembled. All you have to do is wire it up. Everything included with the printer is clearly marked. The extruder is a replica of the E3D’s Titan flying extruder mechanism which includes a Volcano nozzle. This is one of the most popular nozzles available on the market.

Due to a probe included with the printer, the Little Monster will auto-calibrate prior to printing each new object. That means you can rest easy knowing that your print bed is completely leveled before you start a new print job.

Excellent Components

The mechanical parts included with the Little Monster are made with laser cutting or CNC milled aluminum. As a result, you get excellent performance out of your 3D printer.

Heated Bed

The Little Monster’s 3D printer bed has the ability to heat up quickly. In only a few minutes, you’ll have a bed that sits at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. It can heat up so fast because it pulls its power through its AC plug-in. However, keep in mind that since the bed can heat up so quickly, the build place cannot be easily removed.

Hackable

The Little Monster 3D printer is very hackable. You can switch out the parts to give your printer even more functionality.

Things to Consider Before Buying

There are a few things you might want to consider before purchasing a Tevo Little Monster 3D Printer.

Needs Updating

While this might be an issue for some people, Tevo does what it can to make things as smooth as possible for its customers. The printing company gives its users two SD cards. One to use for pre-installed software and sample printing jobs, while the other one customers can use to update their Little Monster to the latest version.

The instructions provided with the printer are clear and concise, so you should have no problems following them. This is something you’ll definitely want to do if you want better and improved prints.

Smoothieboard is Older

The Little Monster 3D printer operates on a clone of an open sourced Smoothieboard, which, unfortunately, is nearly six years old. Since that time, the board has gone through two revisions, which means that it’s missing features that newer versions of the board have to offer.

Touch Screen Challenges

Tevo Little Monster Touch Screen

A responsive and fast touch screen interface controls the Little Monster printer. The problem is that the cable that attaches it to the printer is very short, which means it can be easily removed. Fortunately, there are replacement parts if you ever run into this type of problem.

Adhesives

When printing taller objects, you might want to consider have additional adhesives for your printer bed as they may come off while you’re in the middle of a printing job. Of course, this isn’t a problem inherent to only the Tevo Little Monster but is common in all 3D printers.

Specs

We all want to know excatly what we’re getting before we make big purchases. With that in mind, here are the specifications for the Tevo Little Monster 3D Printer:

  • Layer Resolution: 0.05-0.4mm
  • Technology: Single Extruder System, Fused Deposition Modeling, Delta 3D Printer
  • Connectivity Options: USB, Micro SD card
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75
  • Printing Speed: 150mm/s
  • Build Volume: 340mm x 500mm
  • Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
  • Heated Bed: Yes
  • Input Rating: 110V/220V
  • Printing Dimensions: 455mm x 510mm x 412mm

Conclusion

With the Tevo Little Monster 3D Printer, you’ll get a versatile printer with the ability to start printing quickly and easily. It has an easy to use touch screen interface and comes with software that is simple to install.

This is a great printer if you’re a novice in the 3D printing field since it comes mostly assembled. That means all you have to do is connect a few wires, update the software, and start printing. The Little Monster offers a great experience for anyone interested in 3D printing. You’ll get all the tools and instructions necessary to get started designing and printing your own 3D projects.

Recommended Reads

Adimlab 3D Printer Review [2020]

3D printing is a relatively new technology, and technology can be pricey.

If you’re looking for a 3D printer that won’t break the bank, you may want to check out the ADIMLab 3D Printer. You’ll find it easy to set up, easy to use, and great for all experience levels, even beginners. ADIMLab also has excellent customer service in case you encounter any problems.

While some users did have problems with the temperature controls, a quick call to customer service resolves the issue, and you’re on to enjoying your new machine. Read on to find out for yourself whether the ADIMLab 3D Printer is the right purchase for you.

ADIMlab Gantry 3D Printer Operations

ADIMLab 3D Printer
$359.00 ($31.22 / kg)

The ADIMLab is an uderrated gem of a 3D printer that won't break the bank, but is easy to use and extremely fast for it's class. With plenty of filament compatibility, this is the ideal DIY platform for rapid prototyping and just having fun with 3D printing.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:10 am

The ADIMLab 3D Printer comes pre-assembled, but after you unbox it, you do have to mount the frame onto the base with the screws provided. Attach the brackets to either side of the base, hook up the control box, and connect the wires, which are all labeled. It’s quick and easy and doesn’t require much extra work.

The only thing left to do is plug it in and make sure the bed is level. The printer must be hot to level it, so using the control box, set the temperature and then raise and lower the unit until it is level and the filament extruder nozzle can easily connect with it.

It sounds complicated, but the instructions provided are clear. You’re now ready to design objects and send them to the printer. Using the correct software, splice the object, set the temperature accordingly, insert the filament, and away you go! Adding glue to the glass plate will help the filament stick.

Because the ADIMLab Printer can accommodate larger designs, it’s an excellent choice for those who want to make large objects. In turn, the machine is large and requires extra space, but if you have the extra space, you have more opportunities to take on a variety of projects.

The ADIMLab 3D Printer is faster than most other 3D printers, and while larger projects take longer to complete, the print speed is impressive for a printer in this price range. You don’t have to shell out extra hundreds to get speed and quality.

ADIMLab Gantry i3 3D Printer Features and Accessories

The ADIMLab 3D Printer comes with almost everything you need to get started. Aside from the software for object creation, all of the tools are found in the box.

Print Bed

The glass heating bed included in the ADIMLab 3D Printer can hold objects up to 310mm x 310mm x 410mm. There’s plenty of room for any object you want to create up to this size. The glue helps your base filament adhere and remain secure throughout the printing job so you can easily remove it when it’s done.

Temperature

The temperature of the bed is controlled by the temperature control unit and ranges from 0 to 100 degrees Celsius while the extruder temperature ranges from 0 to 260 degrees Celsius. Your ideal temperature will depend on your project and the type of filament you use, but the range is large enough that you have the freedom to create almost anything you want with the settings you need.

ADIMLab Filament Compatibility

With the ADIMLab 3D Printer, you can choose the type of filament you want because it allows you to pick from wood, PLA filament, flexible PLA, ABS filament, HIPS, TPE, and PC. Some 3D printers are only compatible with PLA, so this extended compatibility offers almost no limitations between projects.

Aluminum Frame

While some 3D printers are made of flimsy materials, the ADIMLab 3D Printer is made of sturdy aluminum almost entirely. It won’t break or chip, and it will last more than a few projects. 3D printers aren’t cheap, so having one that lasts is a huge benefit.

Nozzle Light

There aren’t very many 3D printers on the market that have a light on the nozzle. With a light, you can track your nozzle’s progress and see issues with printing more easily so you can fix them before your project is ruined. This comes in handy if you are printing in a poorly-lit area or at night.

Motor Silencer

While other 3D printers can be loud, the ADIMLab 3D printer comes with a motor silencer, which only enhances your experience. It’s a creative solution to the problem that so many users have expressed. You can be respectful to your neighbors and roommates, or you can bring it to the classroom and teach over the noise.

ADIMLab 3D Printer
$359.00 ($31.22 / kg)

The ADIMLab is an uderrated gem of a 3D printer that won't break the bank, but is easy to use and extremely fast for it's class. With plenty of filament compatibility, this is the ideal DIY platform for rapid prototyping and just having fun with 3D printing.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:10 am

Accessories for the ADIMLab Gantry 3D Printer include:

  • Heated print bed
  • 3D printing bed glass
  • A 3D printer control box
  • Three-inch LCD display
  • 4G SD card
  • PLA filaments for testing
  • Filament holder (filament spool)
  • Screwdriver
  • Allen wrench
  • Model blade
  • Cable ties (for power supply and USB cable)
  • Instructions

ADIMlab 3D Printer Set Up

We already reviewed the small amount of assembly required, but it’s easy and straightforward. Leveling the bed can take some time and may be painful if you’ve never done it before, but the instructions are complete and helpful.

The box contains all of the tools you need to get set up and everything is labeled to avoid confusion. It even includes pre-set screws to make the process go more smoothly. Once it’s set up, you don’t have to wait. You can start printing immediately. It’s great for beginners who want to start learning right away.

Construction

The ADIMLab 3D Printer is incredibly sturdy and durable. The frame is solid and not flimsy like some other 3D printers. The aluminum plate and glass bed hold up well when used every day and they don’t scratch or break easily.

The control box is made of quality and long-lasting materials, and because the printer itself is made of mostly metal, you won’t have to deal with damaged parts or fractures. Most of the cables and other pieces include their own protection so your printer will last a long time.

Experience

Even beginners can use the ADIMLab 3D Printer because it’s easy to set up and operate. The comprehensive instructions allow you to learn and grow with the printer because you don’t need expert skills to develop your own projects.

Experts even enjoy this 3D printer because it allows you to easily create the projects you want without having to mess with a machine that takes a lot of set up, is flimsy or unreliable, and is difficult to use.

Customer Service

ADIMLab’s customer service is quick to respond to your questions, concerns, or problems. The representatives are helpful and knowledgeable. They can help you troubleshoot over the phone or arrange for a replacement.

The 1-year limited warranty gives you peace of mind and protects you from damages that come from the manufacturing process. If there’s something wrong, you can contact customer service and they’ll either repair or replace the machine.

It gives users great comfort to know that a company has their back, and with ADIMLab, they’ll fix anything they do wrong, so you’re always satisfied with the product and its operations.

ADIMlab Gantry Pro Value

For comparable printers with the same printing speed, quality, and accessories, you will pay much more than the ADIMLab 3D Printer. Because this 3D printer is easy on your pocketbook, you will have money left over in the budget or making all of your projects (note: we specifically tested the Gantry version here).

There are 3D printers on the market with cheaper price tags, but they’re not nearly as fast, reliable, durable, or easy to use. Even beginners can spring for this unit because they’ll learn more quickly and the experience will be painless.

Because everything you need is already included, getting set up and going is so much easier. Other cheaper printers are poor quality and get bad reviews online. Users are frustrated with their experience, but that’s not the case with the ADIMLab 3D Printer. And because of the warranty, it’s worth every penny.

Specifications

For those who care about the details, here are the exact specifications for the ADIMLab 3D Printer so you can start making room for your new favorite toy on the shelf:

  • Weight: 24.2 pounds
  • Dimensions: 23 inches x 25.2 inches x 8.7 inches
  • 3D Print dimensions: 310mm x 310mm x 410mm
  • Filament types: Wood, PLA, flexible PLA, ABS, HIPS, TPE, and PC
  • Compatibility: PC, Mac, repetier-host, CURA
  • Warranty: One-year limited warranty

ADIMLab 3D Printer Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Easy setup
  • Sturdy
  • Fast
  • Great for beginners
  • Great customer service
  • Affordable

Cons:

  • Temperature issues

The Verdict: Adimlab 3D Printer Review

The ADIMLab 3D Printer is affordable and easy to use, even for beginners. It features high-quality construction and easy setup. With extra features like the nozzle light and the motor silencer, it’s a fantastic value at this price range. While there are sometimes printing temperature issues with the bed, they are easily fixed by the warranty and don’t tend to be a huge problem overall.

ADIMLab offers an impressive product with this 3D Printer. This isn’t the first 3D printer they’ve developed, so they have experience in the development of these tools and have gained a lot of attention from hobbyists and professional users.

It’s a popular brand that’s well-known for its 3D printing products, and you can trust the manufacturer to create reliable printers at an affordable price. You can find ADIMLab 3D Printers and other products online and in select stores so you can get started with one of the best options on the market today.

ADIMLab 3D Printer
$359.00 ($31.22 / kg)

The ADIMLab is an uderrated gem of a 3D printer that won't break the bank, but is easy to use and extremely fast for it's class. With plenty of filament compatibility, this is the ideal DIY platform for rapid prototyping and just having fun with 3D printing.

We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
09/23/2020 07:10 am

Recommended Reads

Anycubic Kossel Delta Review: Everything You Need To Know

Anycubic is known for their Kossel 3D printers. There are many different varieties including a pulley version we will discuss here, a linear version that has rails instead of wheels on the carriage, and the Linear Plus with a smaller height but a larger diameter.

The Anycubic Kossel Delta moves quietly and smoothly, although, at high speeds, the print will fail. While linear rails are often smoother and quieter, they are a significant cost upgrade over the pulley version, which is perfect for people who like to build the printer themselves.

Anycubic Kossel Delta

Unboxing

The Anycubic Kossel Delta box is relatively small. All of the contents are secure inside the box with foam. It arrives in perfect condition because the manufacturer takes great care in protecting it from damage during shipping.

It comes completely unassembled, and like most 3D printers, it has a lot of parts. It can be overwhelming, but if you enjoy putting things together, this is definitely the right 3D printer for you. The detailed manual includes instructions that are easy to follow, so there’s no need to be intimidated.

The SD card contains the owner’s manual, instructions, and test files so you can get started printing right away. It’s a nice feature for those who still haven’t gotten the hang of designing anything themselves but still want to give the printer a try. It also includes 3D models you can use to give slicing a try.

The Anycubic Kossel Delta comes with printer firmware and slicer software. Once you put it together, you should make sure the firmware is up to date. There is a link included in the manual to check for updates.

You can update the firmware using the Arduino software. The firmware is open-source Marlin firmware, which is popular on most printers. It’s easy to update, and you can learn a lot by customizing it yourself.

Setup

Setup is eco-friendly because none of the manuals or instructions are printed on paper, but everything you need to get started is on the SD card.

The Anycubic Kossel Delta is easy to assemble following the instructions. Some users have complained of the need for more secure T-nuts. The one supplied with the printer doesn’t seem to tighten down very securely, and it’s worth the extra cost for the stability they would add.

Another complaint is that the kit doesn’t come with a tie down for the cables at the back of the unit so the wire doesn’t come off the heater block. It could also help keep the heater core from coming out, which would cause burning or catching fire.

AnyCubic Kossel Delta Structure Extruder

While there are always possible improvements, the Anycubic Kossel Delta setup is straightforward and takes a couple of hours. Before you power it on, double check all of your connections and the motherboard. If everything is connected correctly, you’re ready to go, but if you did something wrong, it could cause your bed to burn out right away.

Before you print anything, the bed needs to be leveled, and to make this easier, we would suggest labeling your X, Y, and Z stepper motors, so it makes the process easier. The box doesn’t come with labels, but it’s something that other 3D printers include, and it’s a clever shortcut to ensure your bed is leveled correctly. The instructions may be difficult to follow, but there are plenty of helpful videos out there to show you how to complete this step.

The Anycubic Kossel Delta is made with an aluminum frame which gives it a more sturdy feel than other 3D printers in its price range. It’s well-built and easily could be moved during printing, which is not something you could say about acrylic printers. However, it’s not a good practice to move it while printing, but better quality T-nuts would make it possible and less risky.

Specifications

  • Model: Anycubic Kossel Delta
  • Printing size: 180mm x 300mm pulley version
  • Printer dimensions: 315mm x 680mm
  • Printer weight: 5kg
  • Print area: 220mm x 220mm x 240mm
  • Print speed: 20mm per second – 80mm per second
  • Layer resolution: 0.1 – 0.4mm
  • Axis positioning accuracy: 0.001mm XYZ
  • Material diameter: 1.75mm
  • Printer frame material: Aluminum
  • Mainboard: TriGorilla
  • Pre-assembled: No
  • Screen: 2004
  • Extruder type: Bowden
  • Heated bed: Optional upgrade
  • Max nozzle temperature: 260 degrees Celsius
  • Auto-leveling sensor: Optional upgrade
  • Filament sensor: No
  • Resume from outage: No
  • Enclosure: No
  • Recommended material: PLA
  • Power input: 100V/240V AC, 50/60Hz

Print Quality

The print quality of the Anycubic Kossel Delta is on par with many more expensive printers. It handles circles, lettering, and bridges with the best of them. It comes with a benchy – short for benchmark – pattern to test how well it can do with these things so you can test your machine after you set it up. It also comes with a diagonal rod design, top caps, and a few others.

One user complaint during printing has to do with the buildtak surface on the bed. It’s meant to create stability with your object while printing, but it works a little too well, causing some breaking when you try to remove the completed print job. However, you can remove the buildtak surface and print directly on the glass with something like hairspray to eliminate this problem.

Anycubic Double Cooling

A unique feature of the Anycubic Kossel Delta is that you can see the motherboard through the glass bed. Installing LEDs would enhance the visibility and the effect, making it a really cool printer to watch in action.

While the Anycubic Kossel Delta can’t print as quickly as some other 3D printers, if you are patient enough with your print speed, the quality is on par with much more expensive printers, which leaves us wondering why some other printers charge so much.

Filament

Because the Anycubic Kossel Delta doesn’t have a heated bed, your filament options are limited to PETG and PLA. PLA is a common filament type among 3D printers, so it’s easy to find and shouldn’t give you any trouble.

PETG is strong and glossy, so it can withstand very high heat, much like ABS. If you want to enclose your printer to contain heat, this is the perfect filament to use because it helps prevent warping. You can’t print using ABS without a heated bed, so PETG is your best option at high temperatures unless you want to spring for a heated bed upgrade.

You can use flexible filament with the Anycubic Kossel Delta, but even at slop speeds it is difficult to print with, so it could get caught up in the extruder gears and cause you some trouble.

Anycubic Kossel Delta Pulley

The best filament option for the Anycubic Kossel Delta is PLA. And like many other 3D printers, one of the best things you can do start out is print your own modifications like top caps for the pulley wheels or motherboard supports. PLA is the perfect filament for these projects.

Software

At the affordable price of the Anycubic Kossel Delta, it comes with open source software rather than company-built software, but Cura and Slic3r both work great and get updated regularly. You may also choose from the many other open source software options out there.

Modifications

The 3D printer community has a wide range of available modifications that you can use one your Anycubic Kossel Delta including things we’ve previously mentioned like top caps and motherboard supports. You can also print bottom caps, a kill button, and rod spring clips.

If you want to invest some more money into your Anycubic Kossel Delta, you can get a heatbed upgrade, in which case you would need to print a base extender. There are also plenty of holders and mounts you can print like a top mount spool holder, a cable holder, and pulley enforcement.

Of course, part of the fun of this tool is that as you print more and get better at designing, you can create your own modifications and share them with the community. Many social media communities are helpful and responsive to new users and can help out with almost anything.

Anycubic Kossel Delta Pros & Cons

Anycubic Kossel Delta Pros:

  • Excellent print quality
  • Stable and durable
  • Tall build volume
  • Great value

Anycubic Kossel Delta Cons:

  • The heated bed is not included
  • Some parts seem cheap
  • Can be hard to level
  • Doesn’t print quickly

The Verdict

Anycubic claims that the Kossel Delta can print at faster speeds, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. It can also be hard to level, but the print volume is tall, it is easy to assemble, and the instructions are complete and helpful.

You can get involved with online communities to help you with modifications and upgrades, and there’s a lot of potential with this printer when it comes to improving it over time. The user interface and navigation take some getting used to, as well.

However, if you enjoy building and assembling, and you’re excited to try your hand at a 3D printer, the Anycubic Kossel Delta comes at an affordable price. Other 3D printers come fully assembled and may be better for those who don’t want to mess with that step, but for those who do, this one is perfect.

Further Reads

ZMorph VX Review [2020]: A Strong Multi-Tool 3D Printer?

ZMorph VX Review

The ZMorph VX claims to offers 3 different fabrication methods: 3D printing, laser engraving, and CNC carving.

Polish manufacturer, ZMorph, developed this machine as a multiple function desktop system in 2017. With so much more than meets the eye, it’s a 3D printer that many industry experts want to put to the test.

If you’re shopping for a great 3D printer, ZMorph is one you may want to look at more seriously. With enhanced features and multiple functions, this could be a robust solution to all of your creative and design needs.

Before you look at investing the big bucks, we’ll give you a rundown of its features and functionality so you can decide for yourself.

Zmorph VX 3D Prtiner Overview

The ZMorph VX features robust and sturdy construction, meant for prolonged use. It has multiple interchangeable toolheads, a paste extruder, and a dual extruder for more dynamic and versatile printing. The toolheads can be transferred easily, and a free ZMorph Academy course allows you to learn how to operate them correctly.

The ZMorph VX is a multitool machine with Laser PRO and CNC Pro toolheads and unmatched FFF 3D printing quality. At least that’s what ZMorph claims, so we’re squashing the rumors and bringing the truth into the light.

Where to Buy the ZMorph VX?

It can be hard to find th ZMorph VX reliably online. I've had the best luck with MatterHackers as they have outstanding customer service, and excellent secondary parts and add-ons. PLUS, they just "get" 3D printing as a digital native 3D specialist.

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

Zmorph VX Unboxing and Setup

It only takes about 5 minutes to unpack the ZMorph VX and about 3 minutes to attach the spool holder. In 8 minutes, your new 3D printer can be ready to go. The setup guide is quick but comprehensive, and give you a detailed explanation of each of the five operational modes.

You can manually or automatically calibrate your print bed using the touchscreen attached to the printer, and you can find additional tutorials and help on the website as well as the free ZMorph Academy, which is a huge benefit over other printer manufacturers.

Design

The ZMorph VX offers an efficient spool holder design that can hold up to four rolls of filaments at one time, making it easy to switch from one build to the next quickly. Only two spools can be extruded simultaneously via the dual extruders, but you can line up two backups if you think you may run out, or you can queue up your next print job, so you don’t have to change the spools out later.

The dual extruder of the ZMorph VX has two feeders, two inlets, and a single nozzle. The open feeders on the nozzle make it easy to spot clogging so you can resolve the issue and get back to printing more quickly. The modular heating element can heat up the area when experiencing a clog so you can clean it easier.

Each toolhead is mounted by a single screw, making it easy to change them out quickly, making the printer more versatile and quick to manipulate. They can be changed in less than a minute, making it easy to switch between print jobs.

The ZMorph VX also has a built-in touchscreen with ZMorph’s own Voxelizer software, giving every user an easy interface to learn how to operate the machine. During setup, you can calibrate the machine using the touchscreen for easy, or you can do it manually. Auto calibration is easier and faster and usually suitable for any print job.

One downside to the ZMorph VX is that it only takes two types of filament. While other 3D printers take most of the filament types available, the ZMorph VX only takes ABS and PLA. However, what it does, it does efficiently.

The ZMorph VX is not enclosed like some of the other 3D printers on the market, but it does have a heated bed capable of up to 100 degrees Celsius. It can maintain a constant temperature for all of your most complicated printing jobs.

Performance

Using a ZMorph pyramid sample print in PLA silver, you can run a test of your new 3D printer to analyze performance. It shows you how the printer handles angles, edges, spaces, and designs. Because the sample design has delicate features, it’s a challenging object to print, and it will put your 3D printer to the test with its intricate details.

The ZMorph VX also handles benchys flawlessly. You can print many different shapes and sizes using different types of filaments without experiencing stringing across any difficult areas like windows. However, sometimes stringing does happen, and it’s not necessarily unusual. It occurs when objects are very small.

The stamina of the ZMorph VX is to be admired. Even large projects that take more than 24 hours to complete are printed well. The ZMorth VX can also handle hinges, bridges, and floating strings without any hiccups. You won’t find a 3D printer that can handle intricate designs any better.

ZMorph VX Large Prints

The ZMorph Voxelizer software can easily handle any dual extrusion capabilities you throw at it. It’s easy and quick to combine processes, and the preprogrammed blending options make the instructions clear and understandable. The software gives the user plenty of blending options like gradient, 5050, texture, and separate.

When compared to single extrusion print jobs, the dual extrusion surface finish isn’t of quite the same quality, but still well-executed and high quality. Adding images to the surface of 3D objects works better on larger objects, allowing for more definition in the characters, pictures, or logos.

Extra Features

The ZMorph VX can also be used for laser engraving (laser engraver), CNC carving (CNC milling), and paste extrusion. In order to switch over to CNC carving, you first need to switch the print bed out for the CNC router work table. The magnetic design of both the print bed and the work table make them easy to exchange when needed.

The simple design also allows for easy planar aligning and calibration every time you swap out the print bed for the CNC mill work table or vice versa. ZMorph includes sample files for carving and engraving as well as printing, so you can test this feature.

The ZMorph Academy provides a tutorial on how to convert any image to the .gcode engraving file extension needed to use the printer. The quality is impressive, even when dealing with intricate details and complicated designs.

ZMorph VX Print

ZMorph includes all five types of cutter tips needed for CNC carving, and they’re easy to mount on the toolhead. Carving at all speeds is thorough and efficient, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results whether you’re laser cutting at 75% or 125% high speed.

One of the best things about a 3D printer is that you can 3D print your own parts, accessories, and upgrades. With a 3D printed paste extruder, you can achieve thick, guided paste extrusion that’s great for consistent decorating or experimenting with gels.

Customer Service

ZMorph offers a ZMorph Academy for free where you can learn about your new printer and how to use it to print anything you want. They also offer an extensive online knowledge base so you can get extra help or view tutorials from experts.

You can also access many online help documents or reach out to the team directly via email if you need additional assistance. ZMorph provides comprehensive instructions with your 3D printer purchase and more tools than many other 3D printer manufacturers, making it easy to find exactly what you need.

Where to Buy the ZMorph VX?

It can be hard to find th ZMorph VX reliably online. I've had the best luck with MatterHackers as they have outstanding customer service, and excellent secondary parts and add-ons. PLUS, they just "get" 3D printing as a digital native 3D specialist.

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

VX Multitool 3D Printer Specifications:

  • Printer Type: FDM
  • Filament Type: ABS, PLA
  • Build Volume: 25cm x 23.5cm x 16.5cm
  • Minimum Layer Height: 100 microns
  • Open Source: Hardware and software
  • Compatible with 3rd-Party Fabrication Material: Yes
  • Heated Platform: Yes
  • Filament Diameter: 1.75mm
  • On-Printer Controls: Yes
  • Connectivity: USB
  • Wi-Fi: Yes
  • Ethernet: Yes

ZMorph VX Pros:

  • Fast
  • Reliable
  • CNC carving, laser engraving, 3D printing, and paste extrusion
  • User-friendly printer
  • Efficient design
  • Quality results
  • Access to free help
  • Components are easy to switch out
  • Free ZMorph Academy
  • Large knowledge base

ZMorph VX Cons:

  • Price
  • Limited filament types

Where to Buy the ZMorph VX 3D Printer?

It’s not available everywhere, but I’ve had good luck with the following online retailers:

ZMorph VX: The Verdict

Because the ZMorph VX is so easy to set up, calibrate, and use, it’s an exceptional 3D printer for workshops, schools, and other beginners. It’s a brilliant tool offering excellent performance across all of its functions including 3D printing, CNC carving, laser engraving, and paste extrusion.

The printer can provide great layer adhesion and handle fine details. The supports are easy to remove, the bed is easy to change out for the work table, and it can navigate hinges, floating strings, and bridges with grace.

The Voxelizer software provided with the printer offers ease of use and intuitive, enjoyable experience. The touchscreen also helped with setup and use, making it easy to calibrate and operate. The parts and components of the printer are easy to mount, and the frame is sturdy and built to last.

The free ZMorph Academy allows you to test your product and all of its modes easily and contains clear instructions that are simple and to the point. Multitool features like laser engraving, CNC carving, and paste extrusion makes the ZMorph VX so much more than a 3D printer. It can handle all of these tasks well. It’s a great addition to any classroom, workshop, or home for anyone interested in a comprehensive tool that’s easy to learn how to use.

Bottom Line: I LOVED the ZMorph VX because it was incredibly accessible to beginners and learning settings as a complete desktop solution. Flexible for milling, printing, or CNC routing, I’ve added the ZMorph VX printer to my toolkit.

Where to Buy the ZMorph VX?

It can be hard to find th ZMorph VX reliably online. I've had the best luck with MatterHackers as they have outstanding customer service, and excellent secondary parts and add-ons. PLUS, they just "get" 3D printing as a digital native 3D specialist.

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

Further Reads

Tevo Tornado vs Creality CR 10: Which is the Best Choice?

Tevo Tornado vs Creality CR10

Both companies are based out of China. Tevo has been around since 2015, but Creality is a little newer as the company was founded in 2017. They are both on a mission to create the best affordable 3D printers.

However, as we have learned in the past with inexpensive kit 3D printers, you get what you pay for. We are going to take a look at two of the companies most popular 3D Printer models, the Tevo Tornado and the Creality CR-10. These two models seem to give you a little more than what you pay for in terms of size, and performance.

The Tornado and CR-10 both are based on the very popular open source Prusa i3 design. With the simple, but towering, all-metal frame designs these machines go up quickly and are sturdy enough to last a long time.

The pricing with the Tornado and CR-10 fluctuate quite often as most 3D printers from Tevo and Creality often do. In most cases, you will find the Tevo Tornado is around $50 cheaper than the CR-10.

Be sure to keep your eye on the one you want for a little bit to make sure you are getting the best price possible. Recently, we have seen the Tornado for $358.00 and the CR-10 at $399.00.

Both models come in multiple variations in terms of size. We are going to be comparing the standard 300 x 300 x 400mm variations. The main difference between each variation is the size, so most of what you find below will apply to all models.

Now let’s dive and find out what the Tevo Tornado and Creality CR-10 are all about.

Initial Overview of the Printers:

Tevo Tornado

While Tevo may be the older company, the Tornado 3D printer is actually the newer of the models. The Creality CR-10 is more of the benchmark for the industry in terms of large scale Prusa replicas. But Tevo took their time, waited for feedback or other models before releasing the Tornado. They listened to the customers to understand some of their dissatisfactions and improve on them.

With the Tevo Tornado, you get the all aluminum build in a bright green and black color scheme. The control box is separate from the printer itself but connects to the printer with three bundled cords. Unfortunately, the wiring and cables are rather short, and that limits how you can set up the machine. The front of the box features a small knob controlled LCD which you use to operate the entire machine. It does have a full-sized SD card, so you don’t need an adapter for any micro SD cards

A great minor detail you will find inside the control box of the Tevo Tornado is the removable stepper drivers. They have a bit of a plug and play style that allows users to easily remove and replace any broken drivers or even replace them for better ones. Where most 3D printers do not have removable motors, this is a great little feature to keep your 3D printer running longer.

Some of the most exciting features of the Tevo Tornado is the E3D Titan extruder replica and the silicone and ceramic heated print bed. A top of the line extruder combined with an even heating and powerful print bed means the Tornado can print with a lot of different filaments. The Tornado ships as a single extruder setup but can convert to a dual extruder system. Quick and easy setup instructions are available online.

As well the Tevo Tornado has fairly low operating noise thanks to the fan only running when necessary rather than running throughout the whole printing process. Especially given that it is an open design 3D printer, this is a nice to have when working in enclosed or smaller work areas while running the printer nearby.

Creality CR-10

Creality exploded onto the scene when they released the CR-10. The industry had not seen such a large 3D printer for so cheap, and the industry reacted quickly. Enthusiasts bought in right away resulting in a massive online following from all around the world. It is often held as the standard for it is size and design and is often compared to new 3D printers as they must meet the CR-10 even to capture a small chunk of the market.

As we have mentioned, the Tevo Tornado is based off the Creality CR-10, which is based off the Prusa i3. So, you are getting a very similar design with the minimalistic all aluminum construction and a control box separate from the 3D printer. The control box features a very similar knob controlled LCD display to operate the machine. But unlike the Tornado, the CR-10 has a spool holder built onto the control box. Although you could easily print one of these, it is a nice touch to have it as part of the machine right from the get-go.

The control box on the CR-10 has a cleaner, more professional look and finish to it than the Tornado. It has a solid metal front without any holes. The cables and wires are wrapped with a much cleaner appearance going from the back of the control box all the way to the back of the printer. And the cables are longer than on the Tornado, which gives you a little extra flexibility in how you place your 3D printer.

The CR-10 does operate with more noise although Creality is combating that with quieter fans in new models. This is a bit nit-picky as all 3D printers run with some noise. It may be minimal amounts in differences of decibel level, but some of you may be really bothered by this, so it is worth noting.  

As well, it does not meet the same performance on the heated build plate as the Tevo Tornado nor the performance of the extruder. Where Tevo replicated one of the best, Creality settled for a non-geared extruder which you will see on most Creality 3D printers. The CR-10 still prints very well with this extruder, so this should not be a deciding factor between the two.

Key Specs Comparison:

  Tevo Tornado Creality CR-10
Build Volume: 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.7 in. 11.8 x 11.8 x 15.7 in.
Build Speed: 150 mm/s 100 mm/s
Resolution: 50 Microns 100 Microns
Desktop Space: 19.7 x 23.6 x 24.4 in. 19.3 x 23.6 x 24.2 in.
Build Platform: Heated Ceramic Heated Aluminum/Glass
Dual Extruders: Can upgrade to Dual No
Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm 0.4 mm
Connectivity: Micro SD, USB Micro SD
Filament: ABS, Carbon Fiber, Flexible Filaments, PETG,

PLA, PVA, Wood

PLA, ABS, TPU, Wood, Carbon Fiber, Copper

Tevo Tornado Pros and Cons:

Pros: Cons:
E3D Titan Extruder replica No Auto-leveling
Ability to Expand Build Plate Difficult to level  
Silicone Bed Heating No Spool Holder  

Creality CR-10 Pros and Cons:

Pros: Cons:
Clean, Professional Appearance Poor Instructions
Dual Z-Axis Lead Screws Non-geared Extruder
Noisey

Given these are budget friendly kit 3D printers there will be a lot to love and a lot to not love about each. Where the Tevo Tornado really sets itself apart from the Creality CR-10 is with the heated build plate. Both 3D printers have heated build plates; the Tornado’s is light years ahead of the CR-10. The Tornado uses a large silicone mat below a ceramic plate. The silicone mat takes in 110v of power, which results in heating very quickly and reaching higher temperatures. It easily heats the entire plate too. On top of the ceramic plate is a buildtak-esque material that works very well with all filaments. You get very minimal movement from prints during the printing process. The ceramic plate is also extremely flat and smooth and very lightweight.

With the CR-10, you get a two-piece print bed, which is glass on top of an aluminum plate. this makes it slightly heavier than the Tornado. Creality is known for warped glass beds. You may hit the lottery and get a very flat one but don’t be surprised if there is a slight warp.  Of course, these are replaceable, but you are paying for a flat printing surface, and you may not get that with a CR-10. As well there is not an adhesive layer on the bed so you will need to purchase or hack together your own. The biggest difference is the power supply where the CR-10 uses a lower voltage of 12v to 110V of Tevo. This makes the bed take much longer to heat up to printing temperature. Many users will complain they can’t get the bed to ever break 100°C without making an enclosure for the printer.

Creality does have a much better design for adjusting the build plate. While neither is equipped with auto-leveling, the CR-10 is much easier to adjust. The nuts and bolts and a bit easier to reach and the bolt is pushed into the build plate on the CR-10. Because of this, you are able to twist the nut below without the bolt spinning and the need for a second tool. On the Tornado, however, the bolt is not built into place and tends to spin as you try to rotate the nuts. You will typically need a tool to hold the bolt in place while leveling the bed on the Tevo Tornado.

Packaging: What’s Included with the Printer:

Tevo Tornado includes:

  • Tevo Tornado 3D Printer Kit
  • Control box
  • Assembly Tool Set
  • Assembly Instructions
  • SD Card
  • Power Cord

Creality CR-10 includes:

  • Creality CR-10 3D printer (Mostly assembled)
  • Control box
  • Filament Holder
  • 1 Spool of white PLA filament
  • Assembly tools and instructions
  • SD card
  • Power cord

Final Verdict: Which is Better?

Creality may have set the stage for large format Prusa 3D printers, but Tevo certainly benefited from waiting before releasing their own version. Both 3D printers are extremely similar, and most differences come down to being a little nit-picky.

The Tevo Tornado is a bit more user-friendly with a larger menu on the control box, easier and more detailed instructions, and quieter operating noise. But the Creality is the better looking of the two with a much larger community and following online. The biggest difference is the build plate and heating elements as we detailed above.

The choice ultimately comes down to personal preference between the two. If you are going for the more popular, better-looking printer, then the Creality CR-10 is a great option. Have if you want slightly better performance, slightly better components, and a more user-based design then the Tevo Tornado is the right one for you. No matter which one you decide to use you will surely be happy with your decision once you have the 3D printer put together and running.

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