Why are the Snapmaker Rotary Modules a Great Thing for the 3D Printing Industry?

The Snapmaker 2.0 rotary module is a modular 3-in-1 manufacturing system developed and produced by Snapmaker, based in Shenzhen. The successor to the original Snapmaker, this desktop machine boasts 3D printing, CNC machining, and laser engraving/cutting capabilities. The Kickstarter campaign for Snapmaker 2.0 raised an impressive $7.8 million with over 7,000 backers. Now commercially available in models such as A250T, and A350T, this system aims to provide all the manufacturing capabilities that DIY enthusiasts could want. The A350T model, which we reviewed, offers a large build volume of 320 x 350 x 330mm and is undeniably built for the workshop.

The Snapmaker rotary module 2.0 is not merely a 3D printer, but a 3-in-1 machine that also offers its own CNC and laser cutting/engraving modules. Swapping these modules with the 3D printing head is effortless for the user. Moreover, the Snapmaker 2.0 system has a wide range of aftermarket accessories and modules to experiment with.

Let’s examine the primary modules that come with the printer – the laser cutter and the CNC. Snapmaker rotary module designed the blue Class 4 diode laser cutter in-house. It operates at 1.6W and has a wavelength of 450nm, and it comes with an integrated camera to preview designs before engraving. The module has four primary functions depending on the application, including Black and White, Greyscale, Vector (outline cutting), and Text. The laser can work on a variety of materials, such as wood, acrylic, polymers, and even leather. Additionally, the Snapmaker 2.0 provides a purpose-built aluminum lasering table that effectively reduces reflectivity.

Users can swap out the single 3D printing head for a CNC tool or a laser diode, making it incredibly versatile. The system is accessible, with comprehensive instruction manuals and all necessary hand tools included. Snapmaker also offers several add-ons for use with Snapmaker 2.0, including an Enclosure and a Snapmaker rotary module.

The Snapmaker 2.0’s sleek and sturdy anodized aluminum chassis features a cartesian coordinate system and an open form. The A350T model’s build volume is significantly larger than the average desktop 3D printer, providing ample room for most projects. The system’s single printhead is lightweight, well-designed, and comes with a magnetic sensor as standard. With a maximum nozzle temperature of 275°C and a direct drive extruder, this configuration can print with a variety of materials, including PLA, ABS, PETG, and TPU.

The Snapmaker 2.0 rotary module build plate features a magnetic print bed with glued-on, smooth build surfaces on either side. If one side sustains damage, the user can flip the bed over and use the other side. The bed heats up to a maximum of 80°C, crucial for part adhesion and to prevent warping on the undersides of prints.

Equipped with a Cortex-M4 processor (Quad Core A7 CPU at 1.1GHz) and an Android controller, the 5″ full-color touchscreen on the Snapmaker 2.0 is extremely responsive, providing a beautiful graphical UI that allows users to preview print models, calibrate the bed, load the filament, and manage print jobs. The system also features Wi-Fi functionality for remote work.

However, the Snapmaker 2.0 rotary module automatic multi-point leveling system, based on a magnetic proximity sensor, poses a challenge when trying to achieve a successful first layer. Unlike other similar printers, the Snapmaker’s bed doesn’t have any physical screws to manually adjust the distance to the nozzle, nor any springs on which to rest the build plate. Once the system deems itself flat, the user can modify the Z-offset via the touchscreen, with increments as small as 0.05mm. While this can achieve a successful print, the first layer is often flawed, and printing with a raft is recommended to reduce errors.

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