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Laser, milling machine and 3D printer in one: Snapmaker 2.0 A350T in test CNC milling machine, laser engraver and 3D printer: the Snapmaker A350T with automatic calibration is an expensive but exciting solution. TechStage tested it. 09/10/2022 4:00 p.m. tech stage

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CNC router, laser engraver and 3D printer: the Snapmaker 2.0 A350T with automatic calibration and user-friendly software offers even newcomers a fast path to the most common digital processing techniques. Voonze tested it.

Anyone who has ever been intensively looking for a high-quality 3D printer has definitely found the Snapmaker 2.0. A350T tripped. A 3D printer, a laser engraver and a CNC milling machine are housed in just one device. A dream, the price rather not so. We had already tested a similar, much cheaper system from the Chinese manufacturer Ecubmaker : However, the Toydiy 4-in-1 3D printer for 250 euros did not convince us in the test. At over £2000, we’re confident that the Snapmaker 2.0 A350T will do better in all areas.

This test is part of our 3D printer theme world . Here you can find guides such as 3D printers: All important information for getting started or buying advice on the 15 cheapest FDM printers . In addition, there are comparison tests and individual tests.

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The Snapmaker 2.0 A350T then exceeded our expectations in almost all areas. As soon as it was set up, it was clear that the device was in a different league. Almost all parts are of the highest quality and worked out with great precision down to the last detail. It goes without saying that everything is safe for transport and smartly packaged. The design is adapted to the function, almost all metal parts are either anodized or powder-coated. We always had the feeling that the manufacturer wanted to get the best out of every detail.

A highlight of the Snapmaker are its closed linear rails. Why? For the CNC function, with the high chip development, these must be completely closed. The complete control system is installed in each rail. A thin sheet of spring steel protects the internal motor system, electronic control and other mechanical components.

The large 5-inch touchscreen, with its rounded corners and minimal bevels, is very reminiscent of the earlier iPhones. The screen is heavy in the hand, which makes it look high quality. The high-resolution display and the reliably fast touchscreen leave a positive impression: the quality corresponds to the high price here.

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The construction of the Snapmaker 2.0 A350T including the housing takes almost half a day, despite some experience with 3D printers. However, the assembly is also easily feasible for beginners. All parts fit together perfectly and every step, no matter how small, is precisely illustrated in the assembly instructions. We would like that to happen more often. Putting it together reminded us of the exciting Lego Technik kits from childhood, a good feeling!

The Snapmaker 2.0 A350T and its accessories are packed in a large, heavy box during transport. The housing comes in an additional box. When the printer’s box is open, numerous individual parts await us, some pre-assembled components, tools, instructions and more. On top of that are the detailed operating instructions and the modules for the various operating modes. These are individually packed in cardboard boxes. The rest of the machine is also packaged in an exemplary manner and secured against damage. Snapmaker offers its customers a positive product experience as soon as they unpack.

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All in all, we can expect a mixture of precisely fitting modules, precisely milled components and a great many screws. Nevertheless, the construction is relatively simple. Since the structure is very extensive, we will only go into the rough steps here:

First, the two y-rails are placed in the recesses of the powder-coated platform and fixed with screws from below. Be careful, there are three rails each with a lead of 20 mm and two with 18 mm. The three rails for the y and x axis are the linear rails with 20mm lead. Now attach the angle brackets of the z-rails. Then screw on the z-rails loosely, but do not tighten yet. Now connect the x-rail to both z-rails. Then tighten the z-rails on the platform.

Then we can attach the trolley, the cable distribution sockets of the pairs of rails and the hub for the electronics. Now the cables are connected. All cables are properly labeled or have clear connectors. On the whole, the assembly is very simple thanks to the detailed operating instructions and precise part labels.

We still have two small points of criticism. The quality of the screws cannot be compared with the rest of the material quality. The cable routing is also not exactly inconspicuous. Classic cable ties from our own stock ensure a little more order.

If you don’t want to have any problems using the 3-in-1 machine, you have to work precisely! It is best to double and triple check all parts, but especially the rails and the frame of the enclosure, to ensure that they are correctly aligned and positioned!

Once all parts are assembled and wired, the Snapmaker can start for the first time. The in-house software Snapmaker Luban is used for control. All processing tools from 3D print slicer to 4-axis CNC router are included here. A program can be selected directly on the start page or a test model can be loaded in the lower area. There are also some useful explanations for control and operation. After setting up the WLAN connection, we promptly get the message that the system software is out of date. One push of a button and the Snapmaker updates itself – very convenient

First, let’s test 3D printing. After the 3D models have been prepared and coded, the G code can be loaded directly from the PC onto the printer. The advantage of this method is the direct tool control. The disadvantage: The computer must remain connected to the Snapmaker and must not switch to sleep mode. Alternatively, the file can be transferred to the Snapmaker via WLAN or a USB stick. Then the device works independently, without a connected computer. However, monitoring and control are then limited.

The associated Luban software is intuitive and clearly structured. Unfortunately, the performance of the software cannot be compared to that of the Snapmaker. We had problems building up the individual layers with the 3D print slicer. During the vector conversion of a photo in the laser software, the program froze again and again for a short time. There are also sporadic connection problems when switching from the preparation window to the workspace. There it can also happen that the software hangs completely, which requires a restart.

But that’s not dramatic, after all there are great alternative programs, some of which are free, especially in the field of 3D printing. In the slicers Prusa Slicer and Ultimaker Cura, the Snapmaker can also be created as a printer profile. We recommend using one of these programs.

Snapmaker’s laser software is perfectly adequate for simple photo and vector engravings. However, there are not really many setting options – at least in comparison with commercial software. If you want to get more out of the laser, you should take a look at the Lightburn program. The software is available as a free trial version.

The Snapmaker’s CNC software works with SVG files or STL files. SVG files (vector graphics) work with lines that relate to each other. STL files, on the other hand, describe the surface of 3D models with triangular facets.

With SVGs, the milling head simply follows the lines of the vector file and the user decides how deep the lines are to be milled. For STL files, Luban converts the top view of the model into an elevation relief. This relief is then removed layer by layer.

The in-house milling heads have already been created in Luban (see picture gallery, software). After the workpiece and milling head have been assembled, the center point and starting height must be defined just above the surface to be prepared. To do this, you have to center in the middle of the horizontal line, then lower the z-distance down to the 0.1 mm distance card. Now the user should definitely press the Center of Origin button, only then does the processing mode on the display switch correctly to the CNC program.

Depending on which function is used, the Snapmaker has to be modified. Attached are a few photos with different equipment.

First, we use the included Luban software in the test. If the user affords the luxury of the manufacturer’s own filament types, there are even pre-made slicer settings. For other filaments, the profiles must first be adjusted. Once all the settings have been defined, all you have to do is press the Gcode button and a few seconds later the model is ready for printing. In the test, we had no problems with the model of a vase supplied on the USB stick. But for our own 3D models, after the first unsuccessful attempts with Luban, we switched to Cura. The models from Cura were then all printed wonderfully.

What should also be pointed out, the extruder only has one feed wheel for the filament feed. Unfortunately, this is no longer state of the art. The small fold-out compartment for changing the material, on the other hand, is a dream. This also helps with a clogged extruder: simply open the compartment and take out the filament.

Snapmaker A350T  

We printed Big Ben, the Pantheon, the vase saved on a USB stick and a dragon out of PLA. The classic Benchy, a load test in the form of a boat, was then printed with TPU.

Overall, the printer delivers a decent to excellent print image. There is no offset in the layers, but minimal patterns in the vase print. The problem does not appear with the self-edited models. The component cooling of the 3D printing module is so powerful that it enables models with fine tips to be perfectly finished.

With TPU, however, the one-sided extruder then weakens. It is possible to print with the Snapmaker TPU. But the speed has to be greatly reduced. With a slow 20 mm/s print speed, we then had an adequate print result. If you want to process TPU with the Snapmaker, you should ideally even reduce the speed to between 10 and 17 mm/s.

With a pressure bed temperature of 80 degrees and a nozzle temperature of 275 degrees, the Snapmaker allows a wide variety of materials. It can reliably print PLA, PLA+, PETG. TPU also works, but only at low printing speeds. ABS, ASA and CPE are possible with a print bed temperature of only 80 degrees, but we also recommend the use of Fall adhesives, such as the classic glue stick, diluted wood glue or adhesive from Magigoo. The Snapmaker can definitely process the materials, but without a really airtight housing, there can be cracks in larger print models.

Overall, the Snapmaker is a well and reliably working 3D printing system for the most common materials. With exotic materials such as nylon, PC and larger prints made of ABS, ASA and CPE, however, the snapmaker reaches its limits.

Switching to the laser is easy, but four screws have to be replaced first. The Snapmaker then independently recognizes the tool change. First of all, an outdated firmware of the laser module was detected and immediately updated via WLAN. About 20 screws later, the printer’s heating bed is finally removed and the work surface is ready for the four black, ribbed aluminum rails for working with the laser. The ribbed surface means that less heat is radiated to the underside of the component to be engraved. The result is clean cuts and fewer burned undersides. The four rails are fixed to the frame with four screws each.

Even inexperienced users quickly understand how the software works. The video instructions also give a quick insight into where the important keys are located. In principle it’s quite simple: Load a photo or other JPEG via the software, scale the file to the right size with a mouse click and position it on the work surface. If the Snapmaker is controlled directly from the Luban workspace, the camera can even take a live image of the workspace including the material. The engraving can then be precisely aligned – a very convenient solution and an ideal prerequisite for successful and correctly positioned engravings. If the data is sent via USB or WLAN, positioning the workpiece is a bit trickier. But with a little practice, that works too.

We start the test with an enclosed wooden board. This is positioned and fixed with small silicone nubs on all four sides. These silicone nubs secure the material on the workbench and prevent it from shifting during the work process. Nevertheless, caution is advised. Due to the heat generated, some materials, such as wood, can heat up so much that they warp during engraving. You should therefore never leave the laser unattended!

The tension here was too high. 

First, we selected the box from the Luban desktop test files. At the beginning of the laser program, you can choose between automatic or manual calibration. In the case of automatic calibration, the material thickness must first be specified. Then a five centimeter long test strip with different heights is lasered onto the material. Using the camera, the laser independently adjusts the ideal focal length. With manual calibration, the origin is defined itself.

LED lighting, extraction of the housing, working speed and laser power can be controlled during operation. The housing with the special glass that protects against the laser light registers open doors and then interrupts the program. Here the manufacturer has thought along and done everything right. Open housing and eye hazard are major criticisms of most lasers.

The laser module with an output power of 1.6 watts is well suited for laser engraving. But after that it’s over. If you want to cut with the laser, you will be disappointed. With 1.6 watts, thin cardboard is the maximum we could cut. With the supplied 1.5 mm thick wooden panel, the laser then needed at least three passes, four would be better. With a 4.5 mm thick poplar plywood, even ten passes were not enough to completely cut through the material. In theory it is possible, but in practice the cuts are no longer clean. Even lowering the laser to change the focus doesn’t help here. In short, the small module is not suitable for laser cutting. However, Snapmaker offers a powerful 10-watt laser module as an add-on.

With the engravings, on the other hand, we had great success and are very satisfied. The software offers a choice of four classic processing modes: Black&White, grayscale, dot and line grid and vector drawing. When fine-tuning the vector drawing, the program freezes for a short time in the test, but it regains consciousness and we can continue. With us, the photo engravings on wood are all successful. The result is clear, even and sharp. There were no dropouts or discernible offsets during the tests either. The laser module has done a great job here.

Stainless steel fittings, solid arbor and a heavy CNC module are good signs of a decent tool. After successful assembly and alignment, we first drove the flat-head milling head full can into the workpiece. The mistake: We had n’t confirmed the Center of Origin button. So it’s best to make the first attempts with the more stable round head and have your hand on the power switch.

Snapmaker A350T 

Overall, the drive of the CNC module runs smoothly and quietly. We still hear sporadic disturbing vibrations during the test with the round head milling head. We then slowed down the working speed and the vibrations became less. After an hour and a half, our first test model, a phone holder, was ready. The edges were all milled cleanly. Due to the round head, however, there is an uncleanly milled trailing edge.

With our height relief, the round head milling cutter ran much more smoothly. We are almost satisfied with the result and look forward to the next tests with confidence. CNC milling is a largely new technology for us – that’s why new milling heads, aluminum and Sika blocks have now been ordered.

Snapmaker A350T 

There is also a mini lathe for 4-axis milling for the milling module. There are also so-called Schnitzer milling heads. In contrast to the flat and round heads, these resemble a double, very pointed knife. We will present both together with the 10-watt laser module in an update.

The price is currently just over 2170 euros. The Snapmaker is a great device, but compared to buying cheap and good devices, it’s still expensive.

The Snapmaker 2.0 A350T is a high-quality, stylish and reliable 3-in-1 system with clear but not yet fully developed software. Without much tinkering or tinkering, the Snapmaker 2.0 A350T is a successful, very expensive, all-round carefree package with fascinating possibilities.

The print quality with standard filaments is high, but the print module reaches its limits with exotic materials. After all, TPU and ABS are printable from the factory. Our tip: For print jobs, we recommend alternative software such as the free Cura.

The laser module included in the bundle was fully convincing when it came to engraving. Engraving leather, wood, or stone surfaces works great and is fun. However, the odor development should not be underestimated. The possibility of positioning motifs via camera view is ingenious and makes it particularly easy to get started. If you want to cut with the laser, however, you need more power. We recommend waiting for our update with the 10 W module, or looking at our individual tests in the laser world .

With the engraving module, we noticed the good concentricity and the tolerable volume. Unfortunately, we didn’t have the time, materials or milling heads for more than a few tests. However, these have been ordered and so we will process this information in an update. Engraving soft materials works well in any case. The next few weeks will show how well the milling cutter with the Schnitz milling cutter and optional lathe module performs.

Snapmaker hardware and software work perfectly together thanks to the closed system structure and offer a comfortable entry into the areas of 3D printing, laser and CNC milling. Despite the very good results, there is still one big downside: the extremely high purchase price. There are comparably good printing results that are much cheaper, as a look at the 3D printers or the top 10 filament printers shows. Laser engravers and cutters are also available in much more powerful versions for a fraction of the cost. It remains to be seen whether the milling function will pay off in the medium term.

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