Snapmaker 2.0 A350 Product Review

snapmaker 2.0 3D Printer review

Snapmaker first caught the internet’s attention with the introduction of the Snapmaker Original. The idea of creating a multi-function printer suited for makers was very appealing and this attention turned into what is now known as the third-most funded tech project in Kickstarter history. 

Snapmaker then outdid themselves with the introduction of the Snapmaker 2.0 A350. This well named machine is the number one most funded tech project in Kickstarter history.

This attracted the internet’s attention on a global level and brought in many people from outside the 3D printer community as well. Aptly named as its successor, the Snapmaker 2.0 is all about improving and refining what was not made possible in the original machine. 

So, after $7 million dollars worth of funding put in for the 2.0, what does the second iteration of the Snapmaker look like? 

Let’s take a proper look at what it has to offer!

Snapmaker 2.0 3D Printer review

Advantages

  • Extremely good-looking and well-built hardware
  • A350 Model is an amazing work area
  • Good life extras

Disadvantages

  • Inconvenient Workflow
  • Native CNC carving/cutting needs much more improvement to reach acceptable standards.
  • An extremely loud machine.

The Snapmaker 2.0 is an actual real development reflecting Snapmaker’s ambitions to fulfill their creative vision. A much much bigger machine with enough bells and whistles that will keep you excited to add to this to your lineup of existing machines.

However, we also did find some frustrating features that could use some major work.

The main takeaway from our review is that you’re paying for an extremely good piece of hardware. It can handle a lot of things that an experienced maker wants to achieve.

Like the original, the Snapmaker 2.0 uses an arrangement of all-metal modules. All of these parts contribute to some element of the machine’s core functions. The linear modules give the Snapmaker its ability for moving in the X, Y, and Z-axes.

Essentially, the Snapmaker 2.0 can be separated into 3 different machines based on the 3 sizes that it has to offer.

There is the A150 (160 x 160 x 145 mm build volume), which comes pretty close to the size of the Snapmaker Original.

Then there is the A250 (230 x 250 x 235 mm), which is very comparable to the Prusa i3 MK3S in size.

Last but not least we have the mega-sized A350 (320 x 350 x 330 mm), which has a vast amount of work area and can be compared very closely to the Creality CR-10 in size.

Ready to get your hands on the Snapmaker 2.0 A350?

What is the Snapmaker A350?

Source: snapmaker.com

Once you start unboxing the Snapmaker 2.0 A350, you will find a 1.75 mm 3D printing head, an ER-11-collet toting CNC machining head and a 1,600 mW blue diode laser. With these tools at your disposal, there will be large range of materials that you can throw at the Snapmaker 2.0 during the initial set-up, which will give you the ability to start creating projects of different shapes and sizes.

With heavy criticism following the unsatisfied community that so strongly supported the first iteration of Snapmaker, the 2.0 has definitely made a noticeable jump compared to the original. Some details we really liked were the pulsing glow of the power supply’s LED lighting and the UI found on the beautiful full-color Android-powered touchscreen.

For the 2.0’s Luban Software, this is an improvement of the CNCJS that the first Snapmaker has been using. What’s great about this software is that it allows you to send along tasks to the printer through Wifi. On top of this, the workspace also allows you to send G-code commands and observe essential information about the machine and certain tasks that are currently running.

If you take a look at the Luban Software, there’s definitely something that doesn’t make sense at all. The amount of buttons and consoles available for the user doesn’t seem to match well at all with the clean and minimal hardware and UI. There’s certainly a lot of other features and applications that are possible to add to this second iteration, however for now, we just find it a bit too messy for our personal taste

By design, the Snapmaker 2.0’s ambitions are to be unique and productive. So with that said, how exactly does the A350 version perform?

How does it Print?

Source: plentymarkets.com

With the Snapmaker 2.0, you can get decent prints, however there is a lengthy process involved before you can achieve the quality you might want.

For those who are just getting familiar with this machine, setting up the Snapmaker print bed can prove to be quite a tiresome process. In order to mount the print bed properly you have to make sure that the Y-axis carriage is fixed on properly with over a dozen screws. This is a much bigger step compared to fixing the tool head to the x-axis linear module (in this case you only have to handle 4 bolts.).

With its current existing functions, the Snapmaker 2.0 carries a lot of workflow inconsistencies. As this is a newly released model, we believe that there will be updates made to the machine rather quickly.

The 2.0 has a large magnetic print bed with strain-relief and a proprietary cable connector. 

The main problem with the 2.0 can be found between the workflow between the Luban software and firmware.

One side note is that the manufacturers could add in a little more signposting on the landing screen for users going through the guided setup. Other than that, we think you’ll be impressed with how amazing the user interface is for those learning the machine.

Another situation also came up while going through the machine screen. When looking at available job filed on local or extra storage, there’s no further indication showing you how to navigate to machine settings, control movement before returning back to available job files.

For an intuitive home screen, we expected more from Snapmaker!

However, if you swipe left from the start screen without Wifi, this will bring you conveniently to the 2.0’s ‘app’ page. 

When setting up your Snapmaker 2.0, you’ll also have to go through an initial automatic nine-point mesh bed-leveling routine. For all printers, this is supposed to help get your machine ready to start undergoing print jobs. The 2.0’s bed-leveling routine however did not serve its purpose at all. This pre-print routine does not get the machine ready for prints at all. In fact, the amount of control that you get to offset the printing bed does very little to help even out the machine at all.

As it is normal with early releases of a new machine, we believe Snapmaker will find a solution to address the degree of uncalibrated leveling that comes with the bed leveling probe. So far there is a manual fix that is available online. You can find this on a Snapmaker forum post.

With this fix, you should be able to move forward with your prints. However, if you find the automatic leveling function of the 2.0 still interrupting the flow of your print jobs, its always possible to disable this leveling process through the machine’s settings. You can always perform a manual leveling by using the 0.05mm offsetting function at all nine points of the print bed.

For generic material prints such as PLA, ABS and PETG, you’re given the choice of choosing between 3 different print profiles. Fast (low detail), standard and high detail (slow printing). With the generic materials that you’re using, you should be able to achieve a decent print.

When it comes to slicing software, we recommend you not to use the default software of the Snapmaker. Instead, stick with options such as Cura for PrusaSlicer where and when you can.

Get it HERE!

Laser Engraving

Source: yankodesign.com

Laser engraving is one of the core functions that the A350 has to offer. For someone that is looking forward to new offerings in terms of functionality and performance, we would recommend you to consider this amazing function! The original lasering abilities included four modes. Its successor now has included a dedicated lasering table, camera and automatic calibration process.

What does the new lasering table entail? The laser table is made up of four separate aluminum slabs, which are then attached onto the Y-axis carriage framework. This helps to minimize the risk of the laser reflecting off the underside and allows the machine to have sufficient cooling.

With the four laser modes available, it is pretty easy to engrave images or cut outlines on softer materials such as leather, woods or acrylics. We’d also like to note that the laser power of the 2.0 is way more stronger than that of its predecessor. This means you can burn through material much faster than you could before.

As you switch to using the laser tool from another main function , there will be a calibration process to go through, which is very easy and straightforward. Another thing to get excited about is the new inbuilt camera. With this camera, you take a picture of your material and import it into the Luban software. Once imported you can use this picture of your material to properly align where you want the engraving to be done! We found this feature way intuitive and also very convenient!

CNC Engraving/Cutting

Source: imakr.com

The CNC Engraving performance of the 2.0 is quite similar to its predecessor. However, there are new hardware improvements that make this function easier and more flexible to use. 

For those that are not familiar, the CNC Engraving is one of the 3 main offerings of the Snapmaker, and it allows users to carve out objects from hard materials such as carbon fiber or hardwood. The ambition behind the Snapmaker is very appealing, however the actual offering of this core function is still rooted in the basics of its technology. 

There is still much to add to the Snapmaker’s CNC function. The 2.0’s CNC engraving process offers relief, vector and text engraving.

What is the relief process like? Well a relief can be used to convert a bitmap image into a relief engraving which also has varying depths carved in. Vector is used to focus on outlines, and is what the software uses to cut an object out of another object. 

One great thing with the CNC function is the position clamps available that are held in place with M4 bolts and wing nuts. For whatever material that you choose to engrave, the wasteboard has threads that will be able to secure your material in any way.

Specs for Snapmaker 2.0 A350

General Specifications:

Frame: Aluminum alloys Connectivity: WiFi, USB Touchscreen: 5-inch TFT LCD Software: Snapmaker Luban, third-party slicers Supported OS: MacOS, Windows, Linux Rated Power: 320W

3D PRINTING SPECS

Build Volume A150: 160 x 160 x 145 mm A250: 230 x 250 x 235 mm A350: 320 x 350 x 330 mm


Heated Bed:

A150: 110 °C A250: 100 °C A350: 80 °C Layer Resolution: 50 – 300 microns Nozzle Temperature: Up to 275 °C Nozzle Diameter: 0.4 mm Supported Materials: PLA, ABS, flexible filament, etc. Supported File Types: STL, OBJ

CNC SPECS
Work Area A150: 160 x 160 x 90 mm A250: 230 x 250 x 180 mm A350: 320 x 350 x 275 mm Shank Diameter: 0.5mm-6.35 mm (0.02-0.25 inches) Spindle Speed: 6000-12,000 RPM Supported Materials: Wood, acrylic, PCB, carbon fiber sheet, jade, etc. Supported File Types: .CNC/.NC​

Ready to get your hands on the Snapmaker 2.0 A350?