High-Temperature Printing on a Budget


3-D printers have a recognition for being advanced and area of interest units, however the panorama has modified considerably in the previous few years. The latest technology of printers have a lot better construct high quality and will produce excellent effects out of the field with out the intimidating studying curve.

The Aquila S2 – made by way of Voxelab, a sub-brand of well known Chinese producer FlashForge – represents the most recent iteration of the preferred Aquila line of 3-D fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers.

For the uninitiated, FDM printers paintings by way of heating filament subject material, such because the frequently used PLA, to a excessive temperature, then laying the molten plastic, layer by way of layer, to create a 3-D object.  These varieties of printers are nice for printing the entirety from amusing toys or adorns to the more severe industry of making prototypes, with out the standard excessive related prices of doing that.

The S2 is successfully the flagship type within the vary and improves on its siblings in different key tactics: a model new, high-temperature hotend, a direct-drive extruder and a PEI lined construct plate (the magnetic, versatile, detachable kind). In quick, this printer can print the use of a massive vary of various filament sorts that don’t seem to be imaginable with different printers in the similar worth vary.

Setup

The Voxelab Aquila S2 comes unusually smartly packaged in a field with the entire equipment you’ll want to compile it. Instructions are in a revealed guide in addition to a PDF model on the integrated SD card.

The base is pre-assembled with a sequence of profiles, rod, extruder and display screen that every one want to be screwed in combination. Assembly is a rather easy job, following the 9 steps documented within the guide. 

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

Unfortunately now not the entire portions are smartly labelled, specifically the screws, so a little bit of detective paintings is needed. The entire procedure took me simply over an hour, however be expecting it to take longer if this would be the first 3-D printer you’ve constructed.

After meeting, the guide supplies directions for methods to degree the mattress – a guide procedure with this printer because it lacks a explore for automated mattress levelling. Making the mattress completely degree is a crucial step to make sure that the print head is a consistent distance from the mattress floor. Without appearing this step, prints won’t be successful.

Again, the directions are slightly fundamental right here and think some prior wisdom. If you don’t seem to be acquainted with mattress levelling, there are lots of YouTube tutorials that give an explanation for the method in a lot better element. In explicit, the guide provides no steerage on surroundings the z-offset, a step this is crucial to getting excellent first layer adhesion, even with a PEI mattress.  Despite the deficient directions, mattress levelling was once simple because of the chunky adjuster knobs.

The ultimate step prior to printing is to load some filament. The directions say to chop the filament to a 45 level perspective prior to feeding into the extruder. Unfortunately a pair of filament cutters isn’t integrated within the field (they’re with virtually each and every different 3-D printer) so will want to be bought one by one.

A collection of pre-sliced take a look at prints are integrated on the SD card, so you’ll be able to get started printing once you’ve levelled the mattress and loaded some filament. Voxelab integrated some geometric shapes to check the calibration, a hook and, extra usefully, a toolbox that may be connected to the aspect of the printer. All those take a look at fashions revealed cleanly and with out factor. 

To help with checking out, Voxelab equipped a reel of rainbow PLA filament which produced crowd pleasing effects with greater prints.

Features & Design

  • Direct-drive extruder, hotend able to 300°C
  • Removable magnetic PEI textured construct plate
  • Build quantity: 220x220x240mm
  • 4.3in display screen with rotary keep watch over

At first look it’s simple to confuse the Voxelab Aquila line of 3-D printers with the preferred Creality Ender v3 – no marvel as the bottom type is largely a clone.  But with this new S2 type, Voxelab appears to be seeking to become independent from from clone standing by way of together with a higher-spec hotend, able to attaining 300°C and a versatile magnetic PEI lined construct plate

The headline exchange within the S2 type is the inclusion of a new direct force extruder.  Previous Aquila fashions had a less-capable Bowden extruder, which separates the motor from the print head to cut back weight on the x-axis gantry. With a direct force extruder, the motor is coupled with the printhead, lowering the gap that the filament has to go back and forth prior to being melted – crucial for printing with versatile filaments like TPU.

Voxelab has additionally fitted the S2 with an all-metal hotend this is able to heating filament to 300°C.  Most different 3-D printers on this worth vary can most effective warmth filament to round 250°C.  This way with the S2 you will have the opportunity of printing with a huge vary of various filament sorts that may produce smoother or more potent portions – equivalent to carbon fibre-infused PETG.

Another fine addition to the S2 is the magnetic versatile PEI lined construct plate.  The mattress itself is heated to assist prints stick higher – however the PEI coating is a recreation changer. Simply put, prints stick higher to PEI than to glass and don’t require use of extra sprays and glues to get excellent first-layer adhesion.

I discovered that I used to be ready to print maximum portions with out the usage of a brim.  Prints stick so smartly to the PEI plate that obtaining them off can every now and then be a problem. However, slightly than the use of a instrument to take away prints and possibility destructive the PEI coating, you’ll be able to merely elevate off the magnetic plate and flex it moderately. Then, prints simply pop off.

The S2 is to be had with a number of other mainboard variations: N32 and H32.  I examined an N32 model, however for many customers there must be no distinction between the 2.  Advanced customers must have the ability to set up customized firmware to both type.

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

Note that the display screen is managed the use of a rotary dial: it is not a touchscreen, so is not reasonably as simple to make use of.

Performance

Cura and Voxelmaker reducing instrument comes integrated on the SD card at the side of the related settings and profiles. Slicing instrument is used to show 3-D fashions into directions the printer understands so as to construct fashions layer by way of layer. I opted to make use of Cura because it’s just about the de facto same old reducing instrument for 3-D printers.

As is not unusual, it was once an older model of Cura, so I downloaded the most recent model for this evaluate. Some preliminary setup is needed to configure a new printer in Cura, however following the integrated directions this most effective took a little while.

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

As is custom, the primary type I tried print was once a 3DBenchy – a amusing torture take a look at that’s designed to assist calibrate 3-D printers. The Aquila S2 was once ready to effectively print the section first time with out use of a brim or raft.  The outcome was once impressively blank with out stringing or glaring defects.

Once a print is in growth, many settings – equivalent to z-offset & print pace – can also be changed on the fly from the keep watch over display screen. This can also be helpful for experimentation however for consistency, as soon as recognized, those settings must be entered extra completely in Cura.

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

To in point of fact take a look at its precision, I attempted printing a huge number of fashions, together with many who featured articulated print-in-place joints. And the consequences have been spectacular.

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

Voxelab claims that the S2 produces 50dB of noise all through customary operation.  I wasn’t ready to measure this, however regularly had the printer working on my table whilst operating and making video conferencing calls with out issues.

The S2 is supplied with silent stepper drives, so the vast majority of the noise comes from the cooling fanatics and is well suppressed by way of noise-cancelling functions in Teams and Zoom – best for long-running prints. I wouldn’t suggest napping in the similar room because the working printer regardless that!

Voxelab Aquila S2 Review

Price & Availability

The Aquila S2 with N32 mainboard can also be purchased at once from the Voxelab web page for US$299. The H32 model prices $10 much less. If you’re in Australia or america, delivery is loose. 

As you’ll be able to most effective pay in US greenbacks the cost needs to be transformed for different currencies. In UK kilos it really works out to round £400 as soon as supply is factored in. However, the excellent news for UK readers is that the S2 may be available from Amazon for the a lot more affordable worth of £279 with loose supply.

The authentic Aquila base type can nonetheless be discovered on-line for round £160. This differs from S2 in most effective the high-temperature hotend and PEI construct plate, which can also be upgraded to check for a decrease general worth. But for many who are new to 3-D printing, or who don’t seem to be assured to accomplish those upgrades, set up customized firmwares and calibrate steps, the S2 is value the additional cash for the ease it gives.

Verdict

If you’re curious about coming into 3-D printing with excessive temperature filaments, the S2 is a nice, relatively priced choice. The printer comprises a number of quality-of-life enhancements over the bottom Aquila, together with a direct force extruder and versatile magnetic PEI base. If there’s one criticism, it’s the loss of auto mattress levelling, however as soon as degree, the Aquila S2 may be very succesful and reliably produces fine quality prints.

If you should have automated mattress levelling, then believe the Anycubic Vyper or, after all, the Creality Ender 3 v2 which is to be had with a CR Touch package for $285 / £249 on the time of this evaluate. Neither of the ones can succeed in 300°C regardless that: the Vyper tops out at 260 and the Ender at 240.

Specs

Voxelab Aquila S2: Specs

  • FDM 3-D printer
  • Nozzle Diameter 0.4mm
  • Maximum Extruder Temperature =300?
  • Print Speed =180 mm/s, 30-60 mm/s
  • Maximum platform Temperature =100?
  • Filament Compatibility: Best with PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU
  • Print PLA-CF, PETG-CF, PET-CF, PA12-CF, PA, PC with hardened nozzle
  • Build quantity 220*220*240mm
  • Layer Thickness 0.1mm-0.4mm
  • Print Resolution ±0.2mm
  • Printer Dimension 485*344*382(402)mm
  • Screen 4.3inch display screen
  • Weight 8kg
  • Input AC 115/230V 50/60HZ
  • Power 350w
  • Connectivity USB / Memory card offline printing
  • Running Noise 50dB
  • Working Environment 15-30?



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