Snapmaker creates HS Engineering program paradigm shift: why we're buying F350/A350Ts

[Though this started as a reply to another topic in another forum, I thought it may make for an interesting topic on its own… I guess we’re about to find out!]

School boards and parents want ‘the best’ for their children, where ‘the best’ doesn’t necessarily mean absolutely top-quality finished products, but rather good quality products for the sake of learning how to design, prototype, redesign, etc.; leading to careers in engineering or technical work. Snapmaker is perfect for high school teachers tasked with spending school district money with the expectation that they, other staff, and most importantly students will be up and running and successful within a week or so after assembling the machines.

We just picked up four F350s (with a target total of twelve; six with enclosures and “the works”), because no other product on the market today gave me the confidence that I can purchase, assemble, calibrate/configure and “launch” almost $5k of gear at my school while leading students and less-skilled staff to success.

The marketing of the machines, including their all metal design, polished instructions and large global community (which has already ‘schooled me on’ PETG) was indispensable in persuading me & upper administrators that this product is a wise investment (e.g. sufficiently capable, durable, expandable & upgradable… and frankly also a ‘good-looking’ product for public relations purposes).

Though Snapmaker may never be considered the ‘best’ in any one machine category, I credit Snapmaker with creating a paradigm shift that will ripple forward in the decades to come for our STEM program:

We have a $9k 30W Epilog CO2 laser, and it cuts a single small truss model out of 1/8" birchwood in a minute flat. Operating under our old paradigm: one “engineering/tech” teacher (me) buys and 'runs top-of-the-line laser, CNC and other 'gear involving an assortment of legacy/“OG” software, while others (including students) typically don’t have time or can’t be trusted to master these and hence rely on the lone expert. Machine failure can mean suspending or cancelling a major student project.

(New paradigm) Many teachers and students of different ability and interest levels relatively quickly learn the Snapmaker platform and software suite, ‘graduating to’ greater depth at the college or technical school level (or with one’s own money / serious hobby). Failure of large equipment will no longer be a potential issue, because we’ll have multiple reconfigurable Snapmaker stations to handle any type of rapid prototyping students need. I’ll be picking up multiple $400 10W Snapmaker laser modules soon and will be happy for students to wait an extra two minutes for their trusses (with specialized eye protection and enclosures)!

Thank you Snapmaker for the incredible value you have created for me and for our school community. I (and my current and future students and colleagues) are on board for the long haul!




A couple things:

Make sure you wait and check the forum and FB for at least a week before you update firmware or Luban.
SM has a tendency to break their software and have just as many new bugs as they fix. This latest appears to be a particularly troublesome one. Unless there’s something in the release notes that fixes something you’re having a problem with, wait.

Luban works fine for 3D printing and laser, but to do anything serious with the CNC you’ll need to use a 3rd party program like Fusion 360.