Given the 5 year Anniversary celebrations I felt this would be a good time to reflect on my experience with Snapmaker to date.
Personally, as a Kickstarter backer for the A350, I had high expectations but cannot say these were met. For instance, even running with the built in LUBAN profiles and with a gazillion tweaks, I have get to get a print I could proudly display. It actually hurts me inside to see the prints some people display. It hurts me more when those lucky enough to have a good machine blame my issues on “user error”. To be clear my prints are functional but consistently not aesthetically good enough to showcase let alone sell. The laser works slightly better but overall still less than what I expected. As for the CNC I have not tried it yet.
To compound the matter, their pricing is excessive. Unfortunately, many of us tend to fall into the “sunk cost” fallacy, where we reason, ok I have already paid so much so might as well build on what I have rather than start all over again. But again unfortunately the pricing does not take people like me - who need to fix what we did not break ourselves - into consideration.
Today in hindsight I can conclude that I got a LEMON, one of the machines that slipped through their poor Quality Assurance process.
At this point I have tentatively gone with Plan B, an effort at at trying to get the best out of the situation. Thus, I have ordered the 10W laser so that I will at least have a semi-decent laser cutter and engraver in a nice and relatively safe enclosure. I am of course fervently hoping that I will not be let down again.
For printing, it’s more complicated. I have the level bed issue so cannot consistently use the whole print area. So a replacement aluminum bed may be required. Given the discounted price I bought the new printer head in the hope that things might improve on that front. The jury is still out on the new rails however, although I suppose they could be the cause of my printing woes. Again at a 50% discount I am tempted to take this last gamble. At this point the machine would have cost me well over €2000.
Again in hindsight I guess I was blinded by the promise of the large bed when a Prusa MK3S would have probably been a healthier (saner) way forward at the time.
For the sake of fairness, the one positive note I have to mention is the support team that Snapmaker have. They have always answered my emails promptly and tried to assist as best they could. So it is not all bad.
To conclude, I am purely a hobbyist and did not set out with the intention of selling anything. I am into other hobbies (electronics arduino robotics and making) and thought the snapmaker would allow me to indulge in some creativity and achieve some synergy across hobbies.
So far it has not done that as I have spent more time messing about with it then actually making things.
Apologies for the rant… in fairness I will post again (or update this) if anything improves.
Have a good day people.