Do you recommend purchasing this product?r

I’m looking to purchase the A350T. I have an old 3D printer that needs upgrading and I want to do CNC and laser engraving.

My needs are:

  1. 3D printing: Build parts for products and repairs
  2. CNC: Cutting wood and plastic boxes for inserting connectors
  3. Laser: Cosmetics and labelling (plastic possible?)

My main concerns after spending a few hours on this forum:

  1. Is this product mature?
  • Seems to have issues on bed level, this is a no go for me.
  • Seems to have some build issues, loose parts and connectors.
  1. It seems that you need to recompile the firmware and be familiar with Github and programming to fix some issues.
  • I can do all that, but I need a working product out of the box and not spend time doing dev. I have enough projects already
  • Is the latest firmware works for bed level and other important things?

Any recommendation from others would be appreciated.

Thanks, Simon

I’ll chime in with a ‘maybe’. You’re looking at the A350T, so obviously have budget. Do you NEED the biggest size, or merely want it? What are you replacing 3D printer wise? Do you NEED multifunction to save space? (Remember space for the pile of other beds and parts!)

I have an A250 since the Kickstarter, and because mine is in my geek cathedral / office I only use print and laser, never CNC, so factor that into whatever grain of salt you need to take with my input. I only print PLA at the moment, if that matters too.

I would say it’s been a good machine overall, you’re paying a little too much for the multifunction nature and all the overly pretty overly perfect packaging, so if you have a lot of space considering different machines would probably make more sense. Multifunction of out of the box is also NOT as easy as just ‘swapping heads’ because by design you need to swap plates, which is a lot of screws, and awkward inside an enclosure, so you may find you need the ‘project’ of reducing this effort too.(I currently laser with a magnet sheet adapted lasering bed that I just drop onto the 3D printing heated bed.) I also think in lasering you really want the 10W not the 1.6W head, and will need an enclosure - self built or otherwise, so factor the cost of those in too against whatever else you’re considering.

  • I’ve never really experienced the leveling issues. The larger machine will experience this the most due to any ability of the bed to rock with forward and back motions, and just being larger to have more surface area to warp …there’s some advice out there about assembling somewhat loosely, then heating the bed, then tightening down to help try to not ‘prestress’ it. Also there’s been a lot of back and forth from software load to load with the leveling map working right; I started with the 4x4 years ago and got good enough, and using the canned 5x5 routine these days seem to be fine too. I never truly expected to be able to print on all of the bed from my past ancient machine’s experience (with old fashion leveling spring screws that were never good enough) so YMMV.
  • No assembly problems for me, just be VERY careful to inspect images in the build guide carefully (count how many holes along the rail they’re showing screws going into, watch for bed orientation, etc.) Power plugs for the heads aren’t well “controlled” by the side clip - they can still go in reverse polarity - but it’s OBVIOUS you’re doing it if you have your eyes open. So do. That’s all basic assembly caution, yes they can try to protect against inattention better but what’s the adage about the more you idiotproof something, the more likely it is to attract better idiots? :smiley:
  • The only recommended ‘mods’ I’ve found I’ve needed for 3D printing are a filament guide off the top of one of the Z rails, and some sort of improved filament spool hub (bearings) for less resistance when the machine is trying to tug it. Both were also considerations in my old machine (ancient! Solidoodle brand). The spring plates work pretty well for good stick but good release (with PLA), and I’m still using the first one although I did buy a spare. The new print head you’d get has improved cooling too so some of the part warps I’ve worked thru you won’t have to deal with.
    *Worst growing pains I’ve experienced is figuring out where ‘zero’ is for lasering, back with the 1.6W mostly. After re-starting with the 10W it’s been fine. I mostly do both print and laser by putting my files onto a USB drive then moving them to the machine vs. trying to be live and connected, and it does seem like reading the forum over the years things can act a little ‘differently’ between the two methods, which is a source of frustration for some. Luban is not perfect by any means but it has improved a lot over the years.
  • Maybe I’m just not that demanding a user but I’ve never bothered with building my own from the Git, or messing overly with firmware settings (updated my filament extrusion steps, that’s all). Not tried other slicers either. Just haven’t had the need. If you’re reading YEARS of forum history you’re going to see the most enthusiastic (or angry) and most prolifically dedicated posters in slightly asymmetrical proportion.
  • You might be able to get by cutting connector holes in boxes (assuming you can lay them down flat enough or disassemble, and you just want THRU profiles not stepped) with the laser. I’ve cut up to 8mm good woodworking grade (both sides clean, serious adhesive) baltic birch plywood, but it does take 3 passes at slowish speed and makes a mess. Plywood has a lot of variety in the grain density and sometimes the adhesive layer so you kind of have to overcommit to be sure it cuts thru everywhere.
  • The cable routing isn’t great, but during the build process you can comb some of them out of the way (the ones that plug up along the control hub side) and bundle others up down under the machine base, I used those velcro-like cable ties that come in a big wrapped loop that you peel off one by one.
  • The enclosure is costly but overall pretty nice; mine’s on my desk right next to my computer and I print while on conf calls for work sometimes and have never had a complaint about my ambient noise - and I don’t even have the upgraded ‘quieter’ rails (installed - I did buy a set when they offered a massive discount to the Kickstarter buyers).
    (Image in natural habitat - forgive the surrounding mess, things have been neatened up some… :wink: )
  • Lasering or CNC, in anything other than a garage, you’re going to NEED the air filtration and vacuuming. Factor those in (true of any other machine, too). I finally after 3 tries came up with a home grown packed tupperware filter approach that works for me but as you can see from the pic I didn’t leave myself much room for a hose and a bunch of stuff out the back.
  • Oh the original power supply was pretty bad for noise, but I hear (hah) the new one is improved. I took on the 10 min project of swapping out a cooling fan for a different one sourced from Amazon and the noise reduction was enough I was fine…still rocking with the original.

Six of one, half a dozen of the other. The Snapmaker’s “triple threat” nature means that some compromises were made in its construction, and it will never be quite as good at any one thing as a dedicated one-function machine at a similar price point. It’s good for getting your feet wet, or if you’re space-constrained and can’t fit in more than one machine.

The worst of the bed level issues have been corrected (there was a positioning-related firmware bug, and the current firmware can be set to test more points on the bed without having to use special measures). A lot of the bed-level-related threads you’ll see on the forum are either quite old, or due to user error. You should get decent prints straight out of the box if you get the nozzle offset right. Perfect bottom print surfaces may require additional calibration and/or a glass bed.

Build issues . . . well, it’s a kit, and it’s from China. Some people are going to bungle the assembly no matter what, and imperfect QA is going to result in some faulty parts being shipped here and there. Support does make good on bad parts if you’re still within warranty, but it can admittedly take a while. Keep in mind that people with issues are going to be wildly overrepresented here, so the defect rate is not as high as it looks.

You shouldn’t ever need to compile new firmware to resolve an issue, but some people don’t trust or don’t want to wait for support. Others are trying to add features. The last couple of generations of firmware should be okay.

Things to keep in mind about the laser: Both the 1.6W and the new 10W are blue diode lasers. There are some things that they just can’t mark (or cut), and others that they can only mark if you apply a coating first. Some people have succeeded in marking PLA with the laser, and I found someone who mentioned having marked PETG. Working with acrylic is quite common. Figuring out the right settings tends to be a matter of trial and error. And @rtrski is right about ventilation being very important if you’re going to use the laser on plastics.

Things to keep in mind about the CNC: The spindle in the CNC head isn’t very powerful, and the frame of the Snapmaker2 isn’t rigid enough to take a much stronger one. This limits the materials you can cut and the depth you can reach in one pass. Wood and plastic should be OK, but you may need plastic-specific bits. Also, Luban’s CNC support is rather elementary, so you may need to look at Fusion 360 or some other more powerful software package to get the machine to do what you want.

No. The hardware is 8/10 to me, the software/firmware is 4/10 to me. Plan on never using Luban, is my suggestion.

3 in 1 sure is a space saver. Understand it’s not a magic bullet. I think your conclusions on this point are accurate.

Only if you are into modifying it. Almost no one does what you’re describing.

You will be greatly served by gaining a deep understanding of the gcode of this machine, which in some cases is best done by reading the source code as the documentation is limited where snapmaker has made modifications. For day to day use the Marlin documentation is enough. If something breaks and you need to troubleshoot esoteric snapmaker specific log messages you may have to dive in if you don’t want to work through support.

@SimonFili the Snapmaker is definitely is not the product for you, and I don’t believe that any 3-in-1 will be. As the others have stated, this is due to compromises that must be made in order to create an affordable product that beginner to mid-level users can use to get started. If you need it as a stepping stone to start a business, that is one thing, but to purchase it for an existing business, is quite another.

The bed leveling issues themselves would eliminate it from from your requirements. If you want to use it with materials like ABS, ASA, Nylon, or any of the exotics that require up to a 300°C hot end, you will cry if you have to work with the Snapmaker. While you can get ABS and ASA to work, with a lot of trial an error, it’s not the same as a plug and play Prusa MK3+ with an enclosure (the tents are perfectly fine).

For you, I would recommend purchasing 3 individual machines and never looking back. For the materials that you describe, some of the better 3018’s will be more than you’ll need for CNC milling. For the laser, I would suggest a 40W CO2 laser, as it will provide you with options that are not available with diode lasers.

You don’t need to buy the best of the best, but it will cost more than the Snapmaker. The bottom line is that you get what you pay for, and if you don’t pay enough, you might need to spend that amount 2, 3, or more times over. I would budget $3,000 to $4,000 to get going with all 3 tools, and upgrade/purchase more equipment once demand exceeds your ability.

First off, WOW! Thanks for all the replies, really appreciated it.

I will attempt some replies/clarifications

First, what I have now and my needs
I have an old Anet A8, modified a lot but still with the original firmware and extrusion. Not added the auto bed level. I replaced 3x time the extrusion endpoint so far.

It served me OK, but lately, I cannot print without a raft.

So I always found a way to fit my project in the small 250mm x 250mm space, but upgrading, I would love to print larger parts or more parts at the same time.

I’m doing a lot of contract work building automation controllers for hydroponics. So I often need special parts, mostly with food-grade PLA.

I also often cut openings in boxes for inserting connectors, I would love a CNC to do those. The material I need to cut through is High Impact ABS, 5mm thick.

Q1: Would I need multiple passes with the Snapmaker CNC?

I would also use the CNC to cut some birch plywood

Q2: What depth can I cut with the CNC with the material?

For the laser part:
I would also want to cut printed adhesive labels with the laser, to have more precision than with a scissor.
Q3: Is this something feasible?

Q4: Could I use the laser to directly label the ABS box?

The new machine I would purchase would be installed in the garage, to be close to my tools, shop vac and ventilation. Unsure I would go for the enclosure in that setting.

I would love to have a 3-in-1 machine because I’m quite limited in space.
I could go for a better printer outside of the garage and a combined CNC/Laser in the garage, that would be an option!

Q5: It’s unclear from the website, which CNC bits I get with the package? Is there a need to purchase extra ER11 collet sets and bits?

Feedback to @rtrski @ElloryJaye brent113 CNC-Maker (Can’t tag 3?)
Thanks for the detailed response!

  • Multiple machines (1/2/3) vs one
    I understand I would compromise, but as stated above, if I can do those simple tasks on the CNC, and given I’m limited space-wise, I would go for 1 machine. If the limitations are blocking my work, I could go for a 3D printer outside the garage and CNC/Laser machine in the garage.

  • CNC / laser combo
    CNC-Maker Would you have any recommendations on that topic?
    Looking at CNC 3018 for a few minutes on the web, I found a variety of machines, some with laser combo.

Plan B:
1 combo machine for laser and CNC?
1 3D Printer, any out there recommended for a larger print than 250mm?
My need for a laser would be cutting paper, cardboard, and thin plywood. Unsure I need 40W CO2?

Plan C:
1 CNC
1 Laser engraver
1 3D Printer

That would take a lot of space. Again, unsure if I need this?

Any more recommendations for those other plans would be great!

Thanks a lot again. Great people here!

That sounds cool - always been curious about trying a small countertop hydroponics rack for things like baby arugula and bean or brocolli sprouts, but was one of those projects that never really launched…always other dumber but more immediately satisfying things to play with. :wink:

Yes, definitely. I don’t CNC but with that small a bit and ABS, and this machine’s actuator strength, it’d be a cross between side-loading on the bit killing it, and losing steps. I think with stronger materials cut depth is probably 2-3mm max. (Note I used to run an Inventables Vcarve first generation too - and it wouldn’t have been able to do a 5mm deep ABS without chewing the crud out of the workpiece too.)

You could do 8-10mm I think, maybe more. That’s more related to the bit, the material, etc. But I have to believe it can CNC as deep as it can laser.

Yes, custom outlines in something like paper or even label paper will be easy. The calibration procedure for the 10W laser cuts a near-square (4 lines intentionally not quite connecting at corners) to then ‘eyeball’ with the camera. And with something like a printed label you can use the camera in the 10W laser to help with your alignment. Something that basic is almost better left to a Cricut/Silhouette type machine, my wife prints graphics on inket or laser label or waterslide decal paper, the software adds registration marks out at the perimeter of the page, and then she moves it to her vinyl cutter to outline-follow the graphics. She’s on the Silhouette Mark IV machine I think.

Depending on color, yes. Probably medium colors in warmer hues will give you the most obvious markings. Opaque to semi-transluscent at best, there’s a few posts of a guy here working on how to do it with clear who seems to be having some success but typically clear passes the blue laser, so no real energy engagement. Not sure you’d “see” the engraving cleanly on black so boxes in grey, probably white, orange, yellow, tan, etc. would probably all mark pretty well I bet. (Edit and if the laser engraving is an actual Depth engrave with some bulk to it (block letters) you could rub in something like white caulk in black for more visibility. Would work with CNCed lettering too.

Regarding:

If you are going garage shop an enclosure serves the secondary purpose of protecting the machine from all the dust etc. you might generate from whatever else you are doing in the garage. But yes during lasering you might be able to just get by with garage door open and a fan blowing from one side to direct most of the icky smoke out the open door and keep a little distance. But I’d consider at least a cover to protect from whatever else. Their enclosure is pricey but I find it nice (for inside use).

The above statement is what’s important in my opinion. I love my SM2 machine and have been abusing it and making mods and all kind of stuff. But for me it’s a hobby machine. After owning it for about 1.5 years I would buy it again (when it’s in discount, not at catalog price). There are always discounts around holidays, anniversaries etc.

But if I needed it for professional purposes, I would upgrade to something more robust, reliable and more performant. Even though I’ve modded my machine to make it easier to switch buildplates (not having to unscrew 28 screws every time) it still takes some time to switch toolheads and buildplates, it gets dusty which is annoying when switching to 3d printing etc.

For me it’s perfect because it allows me to do everything occasionally. And if you know the limitations of the machine, does it pretty well too. But I wouldn’t rely on it for professional use. Note that all the time you’re switching toolheads and are tinkering with the machine (no matter how fun it is), those are hours that are not really bringing in money.

If you’re just using it for prototyping to test parts to have manufactured elsewhere. I might reconsider, but still.

That being said:

Assume a depth of cut of 0.5 to 1mm per pass. Total depth mostly limited by the bit you’re using. I’ve made cuts up to 20mm deep.

Yes, just make sure you’re cutting stuff that doesn’t produce toxic fumes (e.g. PVC)

by default it was the 3-bit set (CNC Bits (3 Bits) – Snapmaker EU) Those will wear out/break very quickly if you’re not careful and just starting with cnc. (At least that was my experience)

I would recommend buying extra collets and bits. A great advice that was giving on the forum before and that I personally found very valuable:
Get a cheap set of bits and find out which you use most often. Then as they wear out/break. replace them with high quality bits as you go.

Personally I went for the SM2 because I wanted to experiment with all three functions. And I still use all three of them. Even added the rotary module and 10W laser head. And still happy with the device.
If I needed it professionally, I probably would go with something like a shapeoko or x-carve for the cnc function. The only advantage the SM2 has over those devices is the height. You can more easily have higher workpieces than with more traditional cnc machines that have a more limited working height.

There is one last thing that I don’t think has been mentioned here, and that is down time due to breakage. If something breaks, and must be replaced by Snapmaker, you could be down for 4-6 weeks. That is why none of us recommend this for business use. The minimum replacement time for myself has been 10 calendar days for something that only Snapmaker can replace.

Whatever solution you go with, you need to consider the down time. How much will it cost to be back online, and how quickly can I be back online. Some parts are stored in their LA distribution center, while others need to be shipped from China, and China is currently in another lockdown situation.

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If you stick to primarily CNC and Laser, they use the same build plate (at least, they do on the original). The quick change toolhead looks like it would let you switch between CNC and Laser quickly.

I keep my 3D build plate covered when not in use. Even a tiny amount of dust on that makes adhesion difficult.

People, again, thanks.

I’m now looking into more business machines, something like this for the printer: 2022 Qidi 3D i-fast 3D Printer (With Extra Set of High Temp Dual Extru | Filaments.ca

Still looking for a CNC/Laser combo.
Maybe those:
shapeoko or x-carve

But it seems they don’t have the laser option.

Almost all of the cnc machines can easily be upgraded to laser.

Endurance is one of the more popular 3rd party options: https://endurancelasers.com

-S