Artisan for Small Scale Production

Hi Guys,

I own a small business and I have a Stepcraft D840 machine I use only for 3D engraving logos on wooden parts. I want to upgrade my capabilities as well as getting into 3D printing.

I am very interested in the Artisan machine mostly because of it’s 3-in-1 capabilities as well as it’s overall quality feeling. The quite large size is not a problem as well as the budget.

The most concerning topic for me is the ability of the Artisan to fit within a semi-professional use. The projected use will be split between 3D printing (70%) and laser engraving (30%). I could make some milling as well as some laser cutting but not professionally (at least for now). The printing will be made with wood PLA and the engraving will be made on beech.

I don’t know if the machine could run on a daily basis (or so) while avoiding major issues or leading to premature maintenance and fatigue. I am also not sure if switching between module quite frequently will be viable, mostly from a calibration point of view.
Finally, I am not sure if the Artisan will be quick enough to be productive.

The alternative will be to purchase 2 dedicated machines, one 3D printer and one laser engraver/cutter. I looked at the Bambu X1 Carbon which looks quite good for my needs but for the laser, I am not really happy with what is on the market…

I would like to have your honest feedbacks on my projected use since you are already users. With the experience you have, may the Artisan be a wise choice for a small scale production ?

Wish you all the best in your business.
In my opinion, it is a sturdy machine and does what is advertised well (haven’t tried the CNC part yet).
Switching between modules is ok, takes around 1 minute if the modules are handy and around. Calibration is usually not an issue. However, for a small business that utilizes both modules frequently it might be wise to purchase two separate machines as it’ll streamline your work in a quicker way. One machine would get busy in a job while the other works on another. Artisan can only do one job at a time.
There are quite a few new and nice laser options in the market, especially from the Chinese companies.
Artisan’s laser isn’t so exceptional (10 Watt) and the market is starting to get 20+ Watt cheaper options. Each has advantages and disadvantages though, such as having a camera (Artisan) and an open expandable work space (other newer options).
The benefit of Artisan is the 3 modalities (3DP, laser and CNC). In my opinion, if you’ll not use the 3 in your work then 2 machines will be cheaper and have a better workflow. Another advantage is the large work space (40 cm). Although, the market is seeing a flux of 3DPs and lasers that fulfills this size with a cheaper price… If you’re tight in space and don’t mind working one project at a time rather than multiple projects in parallel, then the artisan is a good option as well.
I think the Artisan is great machine, but it is a little too late to the market. Others are catching up quickly.
I don’t regret my purchase though. Still happy with it.

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I can’t speak to the Artisan itself, but I can talk about it’s predecessor.

I have a Kickstarter Original, received in 2018. I had to print a few accessories, and it needs some minor maintenance about twice a year (tightening screws and recalibrating). Otherwise the machine has been going strong for 5 years of light use. My rails don’t have the dust covers, and I think it’s finally time to lube the screws. My biggest mistake was not keeping the 3DP bed covered when not in use. A small amount of dust on that bed makes printing nearly impossible, and it’s hard to clean. An enclosure should make that much less of a problem, and the enclosure is recommended for CNC and Laser work.

The biggest downside to the Artisan is Snapmaker Corp. They’re based in China, so the support hours don’t line up with US and European work hours. They’re generally slow to respond to emails, and many people have reported that it can take up to a month to get warranty parts replaced. Some parts from the snapmaker store ship from the US or EU, and some parts ship from China. That adds the extra variability of customs to the shipping time. It’s not likely, but it’s possible that the machine could be offline for a while.

Given the improvements of the V2 and Artisan, I expect them to be great work horses once you get them dialed in. But if something bad does happens, it might be offline for a while.

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Problem with all-in-one machines they are a decent jack of all trades, but master of none. Great for hobbyists but I don’t think they’re up to doing the task of commercial work. Commercial machines come with backing of support to keep you up and running, and you won’t get that from a hobby level machine.

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