We haven’t forgotten 2.0 owners! Provide some thoughts on the backward compatibility of Artisan

Hello, Snapmaker owners, nice to meet you in the Snapmaker Forum! I’m Jade from the Snapmaker team. I don’t have an active history record in the forum. Feeling sorry about this. Reading the feedback in the group and forum, I realized that we did terrible in the project information sharing, which let a lot of our supporters down when seeing us releasing a new product.

After checking the discussion on the Artisan announcement topic in the group, I realized that I came late and I would need to collect deeper info to help the forum users to learn more regarding the backward compatibility problem. Anyway, I should not feel hesitate to share what I’ve shared to the Facebook Group here. OK. Let’s dive into the fact you care about now.

I noticed there have been some discussions on the old users’ support and the Artisan’s compatibility with previous products. I’d like to first say that you are not only the owners of Snapmaker printers, but also important supporters of Snapmaker, and we value your needs and experience. I’d also like to share some info on these topics and keep the communication going.

Looking back on our development of the first-generation 3-in-1 3D printer - the Original model, to Snapmaker 2.0, and now to the latest generation - Artisan, our mission has not changed during the six-year journey: to continuously explore and develop high-quality desktop digital fabrication tools, so as to empower people to make something wonderful in the physical world.

Snapmaker 2.0 is a very popular project. Since its release in 2019, we’ve continued to take in our users’ feedback to continuously improve our 3-in-1 printers. At the same time, we were also conducting R&D work of its addons. Rotary module, Air Purifier, 10W High Power Laser Module, Dual Extrusion 3D Printing Module, and more, have been at the top of our product development priority list.

Of course, while developing these addons, we haven’t stopped exploring the design and development of stronger 3-in-1 printers. I believe that no one is more eager than us to apply the latest technological advances and the best manufacturing techniques to all our products. We’ve had a number of innovative projects internally, some of which have been very successful, but as is inevitable in all product development, some we have made trade-offs, compromises, even terminated. To keep the complete backward compatibility of Artisan, new innovation would be too difficult to apply, or tune the final solution with terrible complexity. After a period of time and tests, we made a hard choice.

We have set down a compatibility list of Snapmaker 2.0 and Artisan. Here’s a preview version.

To put it simply, the modules that Snapmaker 2.0 (A, AT, F models) CAN SUPPORT FOR UPGRADE are: Rotary Module, TMC2209 Linear Modules, Air Purifier, 10W High Power Laser Module, Dual Extrusion 3D Printing Module, Filament Dryer, Emergency Stop Button. Snapmaker 2.0 owners - don’t fret, we haven’t forgotten you, the dual extrusion module and filament dryer will be coming to you as well - details to follow! (I adopted a suggestion from @rtrski to say this to you.)

However, Snapmaker 2.0 printers CANNOT SUPPORT TO UPGRADE with Artisan Linear Modules, quick-swap toolheads, quick-swap work platforms, Artisan Integrated Control System, and 200W CNC Module. Now let’s dive a little bit more into our main considerations when doing product design.

Artisan Linear Modules:

In order to greatly improve the performance of the machine, the cross-sectional dimension of the Linear Module had to be changed from 48 mm x 48 mm to 50 mm x 70 mm. When designing the Linear Module, we faced a dilemma: either we meet high-performance requirements or we realize Snapmaker 2.0 compatibility. The cross-sectional dimension of the Linear Module is mainly decided by two factors: one is the grinding efficiency, and the other is the size of the motor. The need to achieve greater torque at high speed means that we need to use a higher power/larger size motor; in addition, limited by the product weight target (we were trying hard not to make it overweight) and the desktop-level device size target (we need to consider typical personal desktop sizes), when developing new products, we eventually chose to design a new generation of Linear Module with higher performance, rather than the same or fine-tuned Snapmaker 2.0 Linear Module.

Quick-swap feature (toolheads and work platforms):

We have evaluated a quick-swap kit for Snapmaker 2.0, and the conclusion is: in terms of feasibility, it can only support the quick-swap tool heads at most, but it cannot support the quick-swap work platforms. However, quick swap is more useful on work platforms than on toolheads. We still could not figure out a satisfactory solution after considerable evaluations and cost calculations. We don’t want users to spend a high cost to buy quick-swap tool heads only, and still not able to obtain a complete and smooth quick-swap experience. Therefore, we chose to give up adding the quick-swap feature to Snapmaker 2.0 printers.

  • The cost that the Snapmaker 2.0 user needs to pay for the quick-swap toolheads: the customized quick-swap kit for the Snapmaker 2.0 X-axis linear module and the toolheads.

  • The cost that the Snapmaker 2.0 user needs to pay for the quick-swap work platforms: replacing the existing base of the work platform to the one that features quick-swap function, replacing the heated bed and print sheet with the glass build plate and the die-casting platform under the glass build plate. In addition, a customized quick-swap kit is required. All of these require high-standards of processing technology and increased production costs. When the demand is relatively small (the number of repurchasing users of a single module is limited), it means that the margin of profit is smaller, which in turn will increase the production cost, and users are the ones who actually need to pay a high cost for this. On the other hand, because it is impossible to provide an affordable product solution for users, the demand of a quick swap design that costs an exorbitant amount of money from Snapmaker 2.0 users will decrease accordingly, and it is inevitable that this product falls into a vicious circle.

200W CNC Module:

The limiting factors of CNC machining capability on the Snapmaker 2.0 machine is not the toolhead, but the work platform and linear modules. The rigidity of the Linear Modules of the Snapmaker 2.0 printers is not enough to support the long-term use of the 200W CNC. The expansion and upgrade costs that users need to pay for this are not proportional to the performance improvements that users will get. Therefore, we decided not to offer this upgrade option to Snapmaker 2.0.

I also have some other thoughts related to this topic, and would like to share with you, for example:

Why not make the work area of the new product the same as that of A350/A350T/F350?

  • We have always wanted to maximize the value of exploring 3-in-1 3D printers, and the 400 mm cubic is the maximum value obtained through scientific Value Engineering / Value Matrix Analysis (value = functional value / cost) and multiple rounds of rigorous engineering prototype testing and verification design scheme.

Will Artisan come with the same modularity as Snapmaker 2.0?

  • Artisan has a certain degree of expandability, but it is different from Snapmaker 2.0 in the pursuit of modularity. When designing Artisan, we put “stronger performance” and “value/cost ratio” at higher priority.

Why don’t we release XL CNC router?

  • We have a product design for XL CNC back in 2021, the product alias is C800, a single-function CNC router with a work area of 800 mm x 800 mm. The whole project lasted about 6 months and ended in failure. Major limitating factors of C800: It is difficult to guarantee the cost and flatness of 800 mm x 800 mm die casting piece. It is also difficult to control product weight and product cost, and the rigidity of user assembly cannot be 100% guaranteed. The difficulty of the R&D is: We were unable to guarantee that the parallelism and equal height of the double Y could meet our standards.

Why don’t we release H Laser cutter?

  • While we were pre-researching XL CNC internally, we were also working on the productization of H Laser, whose alias is L500. The L500 project also lasted about 6 months, and came to no avail. Main reasons: Bad value/cost ratio. High power laser cutter needs a enclosed environment for the whole machine. So even if the Linear Modules are used, the product still needs to be enclosed by an extra shell, which made the aluminum shell of the Linear Modules (which costs a lot) redundant. Moreover, the main requirement of the laser for linear motion is speed rather than rigidity. The linear module would have performance redundancy due to this reason. After strenuous thinking, we believed that upgrading the power of the laser module would bring the most benefits to Snapmaker 2.0 users. Therefore, we have provided the upgrade option of a 10W High Power Laser Module.

It’s a long post. Thanks for taking the time to learn all the details. Please keep sharing your feedback with us.

16 Likes

Our support team just published the official FAQ of the compatibility list. Check it out here:

Thank you very much for this. It puts all my questions at ease and I’m happy that you are still supporting 2.0 even though it makes sense to also offer the higher quality and newer Artisan as well.

2 Likes

Thank you for this post and for listening.
Fully understand that rail differences mean most of the improvements aren’t back compatible, but seems like with very little sacrifice of usable bed space an add on quick release (QR) tool mount ‘shim’ might be possible to the existing 2.0 mount brace, to allow newer toolheads to be used (barring stronger CNC for obvious rigidity reasons). Or users swap out to a “2.5” X-axis rail that provides the QR attachment instead of the screw attachment, but that is assuming a higher swap-out cost and more expense for you stocking an alternate higher dollar part.

As far as the quickchange bed, many of us have already been experimenting with simply affixing the 3 laser parts together (printed clips), applying an adhesive-backed magnet to it, and then simply magneting that down to the 3d print heated bed in place of the spring print surface. 250mm x 250mm (I have the A250) of magnet is plenty to hold the 3d print spring bed against possible tool head drag, it’s also plenty with the ‘zero drag’ of a laser that should never be in contact…unless I guess a user is trying to laser into a 10kg slab of acrylic or rubber or something… You could probably do this even more ‘safely’ by design (I guess the only thing really preventing me from lasering a hole into the heating bed is the magnet, material, adhesive, and extra defocusing distance, but you could eliminate the screw holes in the ‘heatsink’ profile laser bed parts completely. CNC is of course a different beast, as you need the CNC bed to stay firmly in place against tool cutting side friction, but I think even there some users have experimented with a clip-on wasteboard that does not require them to truly remove the 3d print heated platform…check the forums.

(Am I truly expecting you to backfit bed improvements to offer to 2.0 owners? Not really, as I said users can DIY them, and I expect for true future sales you are looking to sell a new machine, instead. Just pointing them out as possibilities for you, if there is intend to keep the 2.0 machines alive alongside the new Artisan. I see Original is still for sale, but don’t know if that’s a matter of “while supplies last” or if it is truly still in production aside from maintaining some stock for replacement parts.)

Much of the rest of the post seems to indicate that the original full “modularity” concept of the entire Snapmaker rail system, CAN bus, and controller, for machine customization, is now…no longer considered a future product path at all? So no new longer rails, delta arrangement, etc. should ever be expected (in either 2.0 rails or Artisan-3.0 rails)?

I’m also kind of ambivalent about the ‘integrated touchscreen/psu/controller’ seen, so that’s no loss to me. I like that the screen can be easily moved and is totally independent of the PSU. In my enclosure I even re-used the original intended ‘non-enclosed’ mount for the PSU so I can sit at my desk and see the screen inside during longer jobs, because of its orientation on my desk.

Curious as to the thought process that decided to integrate all that…? I know from reading the forums some people’s touchscreens had cable/connector issues…

Last thing that jumped out at me was ‘filament dryer’? I don’t recall even seeing that before. Was that an unintended product pre-reveal?

EDIT - you can also see from my picture - with an A250 enclosed and BARELY fitting alongside my wide monitor - that the Artisan is right out the window for me to even consider, in this same location. While its size seems very nice, I do hope the fact that it is only that size means the 2.0 series stays alive alongside it, for those users with either smaller scale needs or perhaps slightly lower budgets…

That rises two questions to me:

  • Is it using the same control system/touch screen firmware?
  • What happened to the promise to open source all firmwares (incl. the Snapmaker 2.0 touch screen one)?

Both questions conclude in the same concern:
How long can I expect improvements on the firmwares of Snapmaker 2.0?

I expect no further improvements from the Snapmaker team if the firmware is incompatible. And there are no improvements by the community if it is not completely open sourced. Whereas I hope for the Snapmaker team to keep on improving it.

Please provide some feedback on this matter.

4 Likes

My assumption would be that they develop the firmware in parallel, i.e. the Artisan uses the same firmware base as SM2. Many things make this likely:

  • People already spottet Artisan code in the SM2 firmware
  • The base concepts of both printers are very similar - it is commercially sensible to run just one code basis for both
  • SM original already used Marlin, SM2 does - very likely they use it on Artisan too
  • CAN bus architecture is interchangable - the compatibility of the Artisan dual extruder to SM2 and vice versa of the SM2 modules on Artisan strongly suggests that protocols, plugs, wiring, voltages etc. will stay the same among the machines, again something where it helps to run everything on the same code basis.

Would not be surprised if even J1 code will be merged - J1 was designed by Snapmaker engineers, I suppose they did not start from scratch. I seem to spot similarities in hte J1 user interface and the Artisan images on the webpage - who knows, perhaps SM2 will also get that touch screen interface?

1 Like

I am pretty disappointed in this whole process. I spent the extra money on this machine because of the updates that were advertised and the continuation of new modular components. When they came out with the updated rails the company barely gave any discount for us early supporters. It was basically going to cost me over $1000.00 to get the new rails and laser. I have already spent $1800.00+ for the original machine. Now you have made some new improvements that not only require us to buy a whole new machine but to also have to purchase a whole new enclosure as well. Personally i will be purchasing a new cnc machine that I can purchase new parts for and is more powerful out of the box. I can purchase a different machine that i can upgrade at my leisure without having to worry about proprietary systems in play. I mean anyone that does a lot of cnc work will want a touchoff for tool length. You still have not provided that essential thing for repeatability. I will be buying a cnc that i can upgrade the spindle and add a laser to it and probably just keep this machine for 3d printing. I will no longer support a company that doesnt support its supporters. I bet the price for the new machine for us users with the new enclosures will be around another $2000.00 and it is our troubleshooting and ideas you are.implementing to make your product better. Just my 2 cents worth.

The incompatibility is definitely a disappointment, especially considering one of the main marketing terms used around Snapmaker’s brand is having a “modular” system. I understand that creating more powerful modules like a 200-watt CNC will require more power and thereby a more powerful power supply than currently exists, but the lack of backward compatibility is definitely disappointing! I hope that this new product comes a-la-carte and I won’t be forced to buy extras like an enclosure if I do not want it. I am also afraid of what the new cost will be! It’s not gonna be cheap for sure!

You should have been sent a coupon for the new rails, power supply and updated 3d print head for 50% off. I do agree that it was disappointing that early adopters/KS backers weren’t offered any kind of discount on the laser head.

How much of an upgrade the new rails are is debatable. Faster and quieter, yes. But probably less powerful as a result. No improvements made to the brackets and bearings. And no longer all interchangeable.

It’s not the power supply that’s the problem. It’s the basic design and architecture of the 2.0 and it’s rails. As many of us have found, it’s just not strong enough to handle anything more powerful without some serious modifications and upgrades. I do find it interesting (disconcerting?) that they’ve chosen to go with the same basic layout as the 2.0: moving bed, fixed z-axis. Doesn’t look like they’ve done anything to support the bed frame. Most cnc machines have found that a fixed bed with a gantry system is the sturdiest set-up. It does tend to limit the height for 3d though.

-S

1 Like

Jade, is this going to be another Kickstarter Campaign??

Bummer. I’d be more disappointed that i blew eighteen hundred bucks on a machine that was rendered obsolete a year later, but my A350 has been in pieces on a shelf in the shop for almost six months now. Guess 3D printing didn’t prove to be all that useful to me :wink:

hey, we don’t start KS campaign for Artisan and will start presale on our official online store.

2 Likes

hey, we did send a 50% off discount to our KS supporters when the new linear modules for 2.0 came out. I am so sorry that you seemed to miss it?

2 Likes

I just hope Snapmaker 2.0 will be still supported as modular solution and Artisan as high power but less modular - two products that can coexist. Looking at now for long time absent roadmap makes me kinda worry. I was hopping to see lot of interesting and usefull upgrades and modules in the future - thats one of reasons I bought Snapmaker.

Im also kinda sad quickswap didnt made it to Snapmaker - There were some usermade solutions here - I wish kinda you tryed maybe more cost effective way (than aluminium cast) to do this somehow providing some semi-diy upgrade kit atleast.

Mostly Im waiting for dual/multimaterial extrusion - its nice to see atleast this is coming (hopefully for affordable price).

I had to pass on buying it because of my budget. I regret that I should have bought it because I want to use my SM2 for a long time to come. I hope they will sell it again at a discount for those who have not purchased it.

‘Rendered obsolete’ is a bit strong. Note that there is only one size and it is bigger than the largest 2.0. My guess is that it will also be significantly more expensive and the 2.0 will continue positioned as a smaller, lower cost model. My disappointment is that they did not go for a more radical redesign with the bed moving vertically. This allows the machine volume to be closer to the build volume and puts less inertial stress on the workpiece (because the vertical axis does not need to move so fast and the workpiece has to be supported against gravity anyway).