What is the Snapmaker 3D printer? Review the facts on this workshop productivity wunderkind that's a 3-in-1 3D printer, laser-engraver and CNC carver in a super-compact all-metal design. Plus, an exclusive interview with Snapmaker founder and CEO Daniel Chen.
There was a great deal of excitement around the Snapmaker 3D Printer when it launched on Kickstarter in March 2017. And that excitement translated into big numbers. Very big numbers indeed.
How big? Well, let’s put it this way. In the spectrum of crowdfunding success stories, the Snapmaker 3D Printer occupies a unique position. After raising $2,277,182 from 5,050 backers, Snapmaker is currently the third most funded 3D printing project on Kickstarter.
The units are only just now being shipped to backers, so it’s too early to provide a comprehensive Snapmaker 3D printer review. But in the interim, here’s a rundown of the promised features and technical specs of a product that’s captured the imaginations of so many makers.
The concept of the Snapmaker 3D printer is a modular machine with three distinct functions. The intended audience is the workshopper pushed for space.
First and foremost, the Snapmaker is an all-metal 3D printer. The aluminum frame encases all wiring, with the exception of a few tidy ribbon cables.
But the killer feature is that three interchangeable modules can be swapped onto the Snapmaker’s X-axis rail. In addition to 3D printing, it’s also capable of laser engraving and CNC milling.
The fused deposition modelling (FDM) 3D printing module accepts a standard 1.75mm filament spool. The bed can be heated up to 80 degrees Celsius. But with a build volume of only 125mm square, prints are going to be strictly limited in size.
Ease of use is another core proposition with the Snapmaker 3D printer. It has an LCD touchscreen for operation, is simple to assemble, and comes bundled with the proprietary Snap3D software.
The laser engraving module has a class 200 mW laser. This is capable of burning designs into wood, leather and similar materials. In addition, the CNC milling module has an adjustable spindle speed between 2,000 and 7,000 rpm.
*Users can work with these supported files with the help of third party software such as Autodesk Fusion 360.
In this exclusive interview with ALL3DP, Snapmaker founder and CEO Daniel Chen speaks about the genesis of his innovative 3-in-1 machine.
Inspired by LEGO and many innovative DIY platforms, we love the idea of empowering people to realize their thoughts with creative products. With previous experience of playing with and designing 3D printers, we’ve been hearing about — and experiencing ourselves — the pain of setting up the difficult-to-use DIY 3D printer kit, and being limited by the standard plug-and-play 3D printer.
We are hoping to change that. So we came up with an idea: create an all-metal 3D printer, which is easy-to-use for beginners, expandable for makers, and truly affordable for everyone.
We’re a tech startup team of 8 people. Three quarters of us work on the project (engineering, coding and manufacturing), and the other quarter work with the community and marketing.
I started Snapmaker Inc. in 2016. Otoko, Tinker, Jade and Marx joined Snapmaker one after another soon. Before joining Snapmaker, we met each other at university or previous companies, and then became friends and partners.
Before starting Snapmaker, I worked as a Mechanical Engineer for aircraft engine manufacturing after graduating from university. Then I worked at a startup where I partnered with Tinker to lead the design and mass production of two DIY 3D Printer Kits.
The Snapmaker 3D printer will be manufactured in Shenzhen, China. As with any project, we face the challenges of manufacturing. With our work experience in engineering and manufacturing, we started working on this part last year, and have already selected reputable die manufacturing companies to partner with.
So far, we’ve completed over 80% of component sourcing. We are close to the supply chain in Shenzhen, which helps us keep a close watch on the manufacturing process and ensure rewards are delivered in a timely manner.
Yes. The Snapmaker 3D Printer features an all-metal build that ensures a reliable and consistent high precision 3D printing experience.
We think it is the combination of all-metal quality, modular features and affordable price that makes the Snapmaker 3D printer stand out. When you look into the existing all-in-one printers on the market, you’ll find that most of them are over $1000 while still being limited to two or three specific functions preset by the companies.
However, the Snapmaker 3D Printer is entirely made up of a number of fully functional modules, which allows for various possible combinations of different machines. Moreover, we will provide more and more function modules in the near future. All of this is still in all-metal quality at an affordable price point.
Yes. We want to build a LEGO-liked platform while which people can use our modules to build reliable machines that can work properly in reality. Following this principle, all the modules we make use the same mechanical and electronic interfaces.
Put simply, our modules are like LEGO blocks, empowering people to turn their ideas into real life objects, even powerful machines.
The original goal is the minimum amount we needed to raise for the fulfillment of our product to be possible. In addition to this, we prepared for more backers to join the campaign. The excess funding will be used for a much larger scale of production. This helps to bolster our negotiating position with suppliers for strict quality control and lower cost per unit.
Furthermore, we’ll hire additional engineers to work on this project so that we can make the Snapmaker better and speed up the product development.
The Snapmaker 3D Printer uses non-proprietary 1.75mm filament. Basically, anyone who backs a Snapmaker 3D Printer will receive a spool of filament provided by us. That’s the reason we include the production of filament in our timeline.
We will share status information on the Snapmaker 3D printer with pictures and videos in the Update section on our Kickstarter project page. To keep close communication with our backers, we will post weekly updates and listen to their suggestions and feedback.
I totally agree with you that open source greatly promotes 3D printing technology. Generally, it is a long-term effort to grow and maintain the community of open source.
At this stage, we are busy with handling mass production and not able to maintain such a community. We’ve been thinking about this issue though, and will try to come to a conclusion after all rewards have been delivered to our backers.
We’ve used many different kinds of software for 3D printing. Most of them are quite complicated and require lots of manual settings, which is not friendly for beginners. Since we are able to design the machine, electronics and software of a 3D printer, we created Snap3D with an intuitive UI and only few settings to provide a newbie-friendly software experience.
Currently, we offer Snap3D for 3D printing, and another software (a combination of G-code sender and control panel) for laser engraving and CNC carving with Snapmaker. In the next version of our product, we plan to combine all functions into one software.
Yes. Since 3D printing, laser engraving and CNC carving are controlled by G-code, users can use any other software to generate G-code or send G-code to this machine, in addition to the software provided by us.
In the short term, we want to focus on 3D printing, laser engraving and CNC carving. We are going to make more types of modules but getting the Snapmaker 3D Printer delivered comes first.
Besides, we have a clear plan for introducing longer linear modules in the near future.
We are going to provide a larger 3-in-1 machine with a larger work area of over 200 x 200mm, and another laser engraver with a large work area of over 300 x 300mm. Prototypes of both machines will be shown in public in April this year.
We plan to spend several years building a platform of various machines that can be easily set up. This platform will include all kinds of functional modules, electronics and easy-to-use software.
We have been obsessed with LEGO for the infinite possibilities and the rapid realization of creative ideas it offers. We hope to fully integrate these two concepts into our products. Instead of just selling products, we want to bridge the gap between imagination and reality.
License: The text of "3-in-1 Snapmaker 3D Printer: Review the Facts Here!" by All3DP is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Subscribe to updates from All3DP
You are subscribed to updates from All3DP
Subscribe to updates from All3DP