Hello everybody and welcome to another review. Today we’ll be covering a small 3d printer which has a very low price point and is supposed to be easy to use. Now full disclaimer before we begin. I purchased this machine with my own money and was not paid to do this video so everything you see here will be based on my own opinion.
When I first opened the box, I was surprised to see just how few parts were needed for the assembly. Most of the parts were already wired, and it looked like just a couple of components needed to be assembled. Also, the interface system was simplified to use only 3 buttons which is a unique take on a 3D printer. The only component which needed to be assembled was the Z axis in which you put the wiring through the opening before attaching it with some Screws. After that, All you needed to do was to attach the filament spool holder with another two screws. Now this machine is designed to work with smaller spools such as those which are sold by Labist themselves so this will mean the user will have two options when using this machine. Either you can order spools which are the same type or you can order a separate spool holder which can hold a regular size 1 kg roll. For my setup, I used a separate spool holder since this was easier for me to work with however doing so did increase the footprint of the machine.
The instruction manual that came with the machine was well written even if the binding wasn’t the greatest. The good news is that the machine came with an SD card which had the digital version included. If they can replace the binding for future products it would greatly help polish up the user experience. Like most printer’s this one also came with pre-loaded printable files which you can start printing immediately with. Important to note is that since there isn’t a menu system on this machine I would highly recommend just have the file that you intend to print on the SD card at any given point in time. This does make it more difficult to streamline prints however this does simplify the printing experience.
This machine is mainly geared towards novices so keeping this in mind I will be giving two separate verdicts as a result. Now although some of their advertising shows children using this machine, I would never recommend a 3d printer to be used unattended by an adult let alone a child since several safety issues could arise. Some of these included the fact that this machine doesn’t actually posses a power button which in itself makes it problematic. The only way to currently turn off the machine is to unplug the power supply either from the control case directly or through the wall socket. In my case I used a power bar to achieve the same results. The thermistor was simply taped to the custom heating portion and also used a connector for easy replacement, so I was able to test thermal runaway protection. Thankfully, this machine does have thermal runaway enabled which is great news considering that the firmware can’t easily be modified, and we’ll go through that in more detail latter on.
This machine does feature a magnetic flexible build plate which is great however it tends to be way too sticky. As a result, you can see what will happen if you don’t take the proper precautions. To prevent this from happening, I would highly recommend covering the build plate with some painter’s tape since the prints will stick just as well to that surface, and you can simply replace the material afterwards. Doing this will help lengthen the longevity of your build plate. Now at the time of shooting this video they were sold out of replacements however you can normally buy a replacement build plate if this one becomes damaged. The build plate also isn’t heated, so you’ll be limited to either PLA or a lower temperature TPU filament which is fine for most people starting off.
Before you actually start printing, you’ll definitely want to level the bed since this is normally something which isn’t perfect when a machine comes out of the factory. To do this, you’ll need to press the home button to move the machine to it’s home position. Make sure to place a piece of paper in the top left-hand corner of the build plate before you do this. Using the Adjustment Nobs, you’ll either tighten or loosen these until you’re just barely able to move the paper. The only way I was able to move the nozzle around the build plate was by turning the belts themselves so if you do this make sure to be very careful since obtaining replacement belts wouldn’t be easy given the initial design of this machine.
If you decide to stick to the software that came with the machine then slicing should be pretty straightforwards however if you’d prefer to use a more mainstream software than getting the machine calibrated can be somewhat difficult. These are just a small portion of the test print that I went through to calibrate mine, but there were some key components that will make your life easier. First off, this machine isn’t designed to go fast and since it’s a direct extruder you’ll want to make sure that retractions are turned off. These were the settings that I ended up using on my machine. These settings will need to be tweaked for your particular device since both each filament and machine tends to have its own nuances. The main website does also feature some recommended settings, so those will also be a good starting point for your printer.
Now one thing that I noticed is that there were some design choices which could be problematic if repairs or upgrades were needed. One user mentioned that the belts were non-standard which could be a very big issue should one of them break. Another issues are with the firmware, since the company hasn’t shared the source files. This makes any upgrades or adjustments an issue in the future. So as such this machine isn’t really gear towards a tinkering mindset. The nozzle itself seems to be attached using a method which I honestly didn’t feel comfortable disassembling since it didn't seem like it was intended to be replaced easily. The thermistor however does appear to be easily replaceable so long as you know what type is compatible which this machine. Once again since we don’t have access to the source files we can’t actually check to see which one we’d need to get as a replacement. The stepper motors are soldered to the board which does make the connections more reliable however replacements would be much more difficult since it would involve desoldering them and finding compatible replacements. To the companies credit, the machine components are fairly easy to open up and access so if the repair is a minor one it may still be possible.
Now how did the prints compare to other machines, well this is where some issues start to creep up. No matter what I tried, I got a messy base on all of my prints. Overhangs clearly suffered from poor cooling and from closer inspection I would say that it’s design of the layer fan which seems to only be cooling the top side of the prints. Also, this machine isn’t the quietest so having it in the same room that you’re sleeping in might not be the greatest idea if you’re running a long print. The noise on this printer was between 52.2 and 59 dB which isn’t the quietest but isn’t the loudest either. Once again, since updating the stepper drivers and firmware aren’t an option we’ll be limited to what comes stock with this machine. As long as you’ve turned off your retraction settings, you should end up with decent quality prints for the price point.
So is this machine really worth the money? If you’re just starting out and don’t know if it’s something that you’ll want to keep using, then this is a pretty low risk option, however if you intend to modify or use this machine for product production than I would spend a little more to get a device which is both repairable and upgradable. Now days, there’s quite a few options out there and for a very affordable price. Here’s my final verdict. For a novice I give a solid 6/10, it works well as long as you know how to take care of it. If you’re a Tinkerer or using it for production then I give it a 3/10 since it will be very limiting in its use cases. So although I see this machine having quite a bit of potential I do find that there are better options out there.
Just a reminder to those of you watching that I will be posting the transcript on my main website and that if you want to go through this video in more detail you can do so by changing the play settings. This can be done by hitting the gear icon on the bottom right-hand corner of your screen and changing the speed settings. I hope you guys enjoyed this video and I hope to see you guys soon. Thank you and take Care.