I made it back from a successful weekend at CES. The whole show was great, but I made it a point to sit down and talk with Snapmaker. Here are the questions I asked and the answers from Snapmaker about topics myself and others had. Please note that I took physical notes (did not record the people at the booth) so these answers are not perfectly transcribed. Some questions had multiple parts and therefore had lengthy answers and so I have summarized them.
Also, mods/Snapmaker employees feel free to clarify or correct anything I got wrong or misunderstood here.
Q: With the original Snapmaker still being used so widely, are there any plans to re-introduce spare parts to the US website?
A: There are no plans to reintroduce spare parts on the storefront for the Snapmaker original. That product has been discontinued, and what’s left of the remaining parts are available for sale though Snapmaker or its distributors. However, Snapmaker is committed to helping existing customers and won’t leave them stranded when it comes to service or parts. Just contact support if you run into trouble.
Q: Are you willing to make some of the drawings and specs open source to allow makers to build their own replacements if needed?
A: No. However, just because there aren’t plans for that now, doesn’t mean this won’t change in the future. (The person I was talking to at that time didn’t have authority to make that call.)
Q: Will there be continued production of Snapmaker 2.0 machines after the full release of Artisan?
- If not, how long will spare parts and support be available?
A: Snapmaker 2.0 is still being produced, and it will continue to be made for the foreseeable future. After Artisan was released, there were talks of Artisan being the replacement, but we need a 3-in-1 machine that has the lower price point. However, the F-series and A150 printers are going away because they did not sell well. The AT series will be the only 2.0 machines still being made, and parts and service will continue. (They mentioned that some parts may be temporary out or stock due to increased sales before Christmas).
Q: Will the 2.0 have any major upcoming revisions? Plans for a AT+?
A: There are no plans to “refresh” the Snapmaker 2.0. The “AT” series is the final form of the 2.0. However, in the future to keep the machine up to date with current technology, there could be a revision. It’s not scheduled or likely to happen at this time.
Q: What’s the future of upgrades and additional modules for the 2.0 look like?
- It was mentioned that the quick swap functionality from Artisan was being considered for 2.0 machines, any word on that?
A: There are some upgrades planned for the 2.0. The unreleased filament dryer/spool holder and 5-axis module as well as some other upgrades we can’t mention. The quick swap function is still being considered, but it’s being considered heavily because of customer feedback. We will post any updates regarding upgrades to the 2.0 as they are being released.
Q: I also noticed a post talking about filament dryers, is that coming soon, and will it be for the 2.0?
A: Yes, but no specific date available right now.
Q: Have you considered making some changes to the firmware/hardware to allow for customers like myself to integrate aftermarket hardware more easily?
- I currently use a Bondtech LGX with a mosquito on a custom mounted 6mm plate, it would be nice to have an overwrite to set the maximum extrusion temperature to be hotter than 275C. I it would also be nice to set the thermistor in the settings instead of changing the firmware.
A: Tinkerers will find ways to make the machine do what they need it to do. We won’t officially support any aftermarket upgrades, but customers are welcome to change the machine as they need to make it work for them. Just be careful and know it may void the warranty.
Q: It may be nice to have some direct support for higher mesh auto leveling.
A: That could be something we add to the machine. It’s already been implemented in Artisan.
Q: I heard there may be testing for CNC with aluminum, is that true? If so, when can we expect results?
A: Officially, we have no test results. However, some of the beta testers say it’s possible to get great results if you use the machine slowly. It’s much better with the 200W CNC module.
Q: What modules and add-ons are scheduled for Artisan?
A: No specific modules have been scheduled for Artisan at the moment. It seems like the next logical choice would be a higher watt laser, though.
Q: Is there any photos or demos of how the rotary module works with Artisan? Is the working volume much larger?
A: We don’t have any photos that haven’t already been released.
Note: I (mechandphysics) will be showing some photos of that by the end of the week!
Q: Is the seal on the Artisan enclosure more airtight than the 2.0? Are there any plans to incorporate an air tight seal?
A: The enclosure seal on Artisan is much better than previous models. It’s not airtight.
Q: Is Klipper the firmware being used? Of not, how is vibration compensated?
A: Not sure the firmware on the Artisan. Marlin on 2.0.
Q: Will Artisan ever have alternative build sizes?
A: No. Artisan will only be the 400mm x 400mm x 400mm build volume.
Q: What is maintenance like on Artisan?
A: Similar to the 2.0, the Artisan will not need much if any maintenance. Just keep the rails clean and keep visible dust and debris off, and you should be good.
Q: Is Artisan’s bed flexible? Will there be a flexible option?
A: Artisan’s bed is not flexible, and it will not have any official flexible options.
Q: Are there any plans to make an all metal hotend for Artisan?
A: Not sure, there has been lots of interest for Snapmaker to pursue a hotend that’s more capable/industrial (higher temperatures, and more abrasive filament such as metal filled). There are talks happening at Snapmaker, and if there is enough public interest, it may become a possibility.
Q: Will there be more bit options for the CNC in the future with the more powerful module? ¼ shank for the er11?
A: We encourage customers to buy and use alternative bits and collets for the CNC if you want to use larger than the bits we currently offer. Lots of good options out there for the ER11.
Q: Has a 48volt option been considered?
A: Not sure. Probably not.
Q: How was the design process? Were there places you felt you had to compromise? What things made you very happy?
A: The design process was heavily if not completely influenced by user input and feedback. We built this machine to better meet the goals of our customers, and we think this is an incredible piece of hardware that makers will love.
Q: I know there are multiple sizes of replacement hotends available already for the J1, but will there be any future software upgrade where customers can change nozzles in an existing hotend and update the size in Luban?
A: This is already in the works, but we don’t have a specific release date.
Q: Are there plans to make any modifications or modules that work with the J1? How about an MMU?
A: J1 is a dedicated printer and so there are no plans to add modules or upgrades to the machine. It may have some things tweaked, based on user feedback, but that would be about it. We won’t do an MMU for the J1 because it’s already and IDEX.
Q: Have you considered making any alternate build plates for the J1 since the plate is no longer flexible?
A: No, the J1 needs the glass build plate to level correctly. Don’t use a flexible one with this machine.
Q: Will the Prusa Slicer profiles for the J1 be up on the support page soon? I know they are on the forum, but it would be great to have them officially supported.
A: We are working on official profiles for every major slicer. No official release date yet, but hopefully soon.
Q: After the J1 and Artisan, are there any plans to make additional machines?
An all-aluminum resin printer perhaps?
A dedicated higher wattage laser or CNC?
A: No plans for a standalone laser or CNC, and resin isn’t on our list of things to make.
Q: Is the industrial printer market on the radar?
A: Not a dedicated one. Again, if customers request it, we may make a hotend capable of industrial printing.
Q: Are all filament spools at Snapmaker converting to cardboard? If so, when can we expect to see that?
A: All the new material that Snapmaker is coming out with will have cardboard spools. I’m not sure how long before the remaining spools will last before their replaced with cardboard.
Q: Will Snapmaker bring back the Trello roadmap? I know it added a great deal or transparency and trust to the project, and customers miss it dearly.
A: I couldn’t answer that, but there are some new people on the marketing team that may wish to add this back in the future. If there is enough interest from customers, it could happen.
Q: I love the Snapmaker academy posts on the blog, will there be more frequent postings in the future?
A: Maybe! We are always looking for exciting new ways makers can use the Snapmaker machines to build things we haven’t seen. Our marketing team oversees that, so I can’t say for sure if these will be more frequent in the future.
Q: Have you considered a chocolate extrusion module for the FDM machines?
A: No. I think chocolate FDM machines are too finicky at the moment. We’d want to be sure it was simple enough to use, and that technology doesn’t seem to be good enough yet (for people unwilling to tinker with it).
Q: Is there something that Snapmaker could make that you would be excited for that’s not on the radar?
A: I hope we make a good PLA recycler. Out of the box, self-adjusting, works well, PLA recycler that could use pellets or an auger to crush old pieces.
Josh, Brian, and Dan were all great people, and it was a pleasure to meet them at CES. Beyond what was talked about here, we had some great conversation, and I was able to see in person the Artisan and J1. In all, I was very pleased with how Snapmaker’s future is looking, and I am happy I could get to have some of their time.
If there is any clarification needed for any of these questions, please let me know, and I will do my best to make sure I’m being clear.
Also, I ended up picking up the display Artisan, and I’ll be assembling it over the weekend if anyone has questions on that machine.
Thank you for your time!