As a beginner, I understood that while the world of 3D printing is exciting, you could ruin your experience by investing in the wrong 3D printer. So, I looked up some of the best beginner 3D printers, and I stumbled on this.
First, I have to say that it was the best decision of my entire 3D printing journey. If you’re considering buying this 3D printer, I’ll show you everything you should know in this Wanhao duplicator i3 review, so you’ll understand the anatomy of this printer. But first, let’s check out the ratings.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 3D Printer Performance Ratings
The Wanhao 3D printer is a budget printer whose performance surpasses other budget printers in its category.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Specifications
If you’re looking for a specific feature in this printer, this specification table highlights its specs.
- Type: Desktop FDM Printer
- Build Surface: Heated Bed Plate
- Heating Plate Temperature: 40-60°C
- Extruder: MK10 Single-Extruder
- Filament Size: 1.75mm Dedicated
- Extruder Temperature: 180-240°C
- Layer Capability: 0.1mm – 0.5mm
- Build Area: 200mm x 200mm x 180mm (8in. x 8in. x 7in.)
- File Type: Gcode
- Printing material: PLA, ABS, PVA, Flex, Nylon, specialty filaments, etc.
- Frame Color: Steel Frame (Powder Coated Black)
- Build Material: Powder Coated Steel
- Print Technology: FDM
- Printing Speed: 30-60mm/min
- Connectivity: USB Cable/MicroSD Card
- Software: Repetier/CURA /Simplify 3D
- File Format: .stl
- Operation: LCD Screen + Rotary Knob
- Supports (OS): Winxp/Vista7/8, Linux, Mac OX
- Layer Resolution: ±0.10mm
- Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
Now, you have an overview of Wanhao’s anatomy. But it doesn’t say much about the true extent of its superpower. Keep reading as I’ll take you down that path in the following sections.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 3D Printer Pros and Cons
Pros and cons are crucial to making an excellent buying decision. Here, you’ll be confronted with the upside and downsides of this printer. If some of the cons are deal breakers for you, you’ll quickly move on to the next product. Let’s briefly examine the pros and cons of the Wanhao Duplicator i3 printer.
- The printer is engulfed in high-quality material.
- It comes pre-assembled, making setup easy.
- Community simplifies the troubleshooting process.
- This printer prints with precision.
- The resolution is excellent for its class.
- It operates an open-source software.
- It can be used with different slicers.
- Bed leveling is manual.
- The printing speed is not so great.
- Temperature fluctuates.
- The power supply fan is noisy.
- Filament loading is strenuous.
Not sure if you should opt for this printer? That’s okay; let’s dig deeper for more clarity.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 printer Overview
What is the Printer like physically?
The Wanhao Duplicator i3 printer is molded after the 3D printer open design. As a result, you won’t struggle with creating large structures on it.
Aside from the open design facilitating the printing of large models, the build volume makes it easier to print any model of your choice. The manufacturer created this printer with powder-coated steel, which naturally prolongs its lifespan.
There’s nothing special about the design of this printer as it looks basic. Clearly, the manufacturers didn’t intend to compete in the aesthetics field. Nevertheless, the printer is functional.
Another design feature is that the extruder and the base were not designed to depend on each other. So, when in use, you’ll notice the extruder and base move independently.
How is the Wanhao 3D printer used?
The setup of the Wanhao 3D printer is one of the reasons I’m so thrilled about it. The printer arrives pre-assembled. Simply throw the parts into themselves to assemble them.
There’s no need to solder or go through any lengthy setup phase to start operating your 3D printer. The only downside to this printer is that if the pre-assembled parts crack or there are some loose screws, it’ll be challenging to set it up.
So, when you get your printer, inspect the parts to be sure there are no loose/ missing screws or broken parts. If there’s an issue with the printer, you should return it instantly. Otherwise, you won’t be able to use it.
Every pre-assembled part is crucial to the setup. The best part is that it takes an hour to set up this printer.
There are two ways to interact with the Wanhao Duplicator i3 printer. The first is through dedicated software installed on your computer; the second is through the gcode-based microcontroller attached to its side.
Thanks to its degree of stability, this printer is your best bet if you need to go on a printing spree for extended durations. The only downside to the Wanhao duplicator is the unstable temperature- it fluctuates when you’re printing a model.
Furthermore, the Wanhao i3 printer operates with 110V and 220V inputs. If your outlet voltage is lesser or higher than the printer’s, you’ll need a step-up or step-down converter to use this printer.
Wanhao i3 Printer Features and Functions
In this section, we’ll take another bold step to clear your doubts and confusion about this printer.
One of the exceptional qualities of this printer is its printing precision. Every object you print with the Wanhao duplicator looks like a near-perfect imitation of the original model.
I printed some objects with this printer, and I couldn’t believe how many details it produced. For a budget printer, I was impressed by it. But of course, what do you expect from a printer with 100-400 printing resolution and 12 microns XY precision? Nothing short of perfection, of course.
I noticed with this printer how it works with different filaments. While I got the best result with PLA and some nylon filaments, the result with ABS was terrible. Another thing I noticed with this printer is that it is sensitive.
A little dust, dirt, or liquid is enough to mess up the printing accuracy you’ll get. So, what I did to control its sensitivity was to only use it in a temperature-controlled room with a dry atmosphere.
Before judging this printer, you should remember that it’s a budget printer. So, performance is not 100%. There are some good sides to it as much as bad sides. For starters, the print-bed heats up fast enough for its capacity.
In other words, you might need to wait a while for the print bed to heat- the wait time is a couple of seconds. But it has no heating issue as the print-bed uniformly heats up.
When choosing the right filament to work with, avoid filaments that require the bed to be pre-heated before use. Otherwise, it would be an epic fail. I had to upgrade the printer to print successfully with other filament types.
Another thing you should take note of when printing with this printer is the fan noise. It is loud and can be relatively distracting. However, it’s a feature you can ignore. For me, the noise wasn’t disturbing.
When it comes to the slicer, the i3 is not selective- it is compatible and supports any slicer you’d like to use. Some of the slicers you can use with your Wanhao Duplicator i3 are Slic3r, Repetier, Cura and Simplify3D. Simply connect your printer to your laptop with the cable to log into the software entirely.
In the world of 3D printing, community means “support.” It’s best to opt for 3D printers with an active online community.
While the manufacturers would provide offline support, the best kind of support comes from an online community filled with people going through similar problems as you.
Thankfully, the Wanhao Duplicator i3 has a fully active and functional online community of end-users. These End-users have gone through most of the issues they could encounter with this 3D printer.
As a result, they flood the online community with troubleshooting videos and articles and are ready to respond to concerns you might have about the printer. You can locate some of these online communities on Reddit and Facebook.
There’s also a Google community. These communities stand in as unofficial customer care to end-users. Finding replacement parts for your printer won’t be a hassle, too. You’ll also find printable models you can try on your own.
- Is Wanhao i3 an MK10?
Yes, the Wanhao Duplicator i3 is a MK 10, and that’s because it uses an MK10 single extruder.
- How do I update my Wanhao i3 firmware?
Since the 3D printer is open source, you can download firmware upgrades from a reliable developer within the online community. Connect the 3D printer with your laptop using the cable accompanying the printer.
Then, launch the Wanhao software. Tap on the menu and on “printer control.” You’ll see the option to “update the firmware.” Click on it and follow the instruction to update your firmware.
- Can 3D printers copy themselves?
No, a 3D printer can’t copy itself. You’ll need a 3D scanner to copy or scan the object you want to print. Then, you can process it on your 3D printer.
The Wanhao 3D printer is a budget printer whose performance surpasses other budget printers in its category. Although it’s not perfect, this printer has impressive features.
Through this detailed Wanhao Duplicator i3 review, you can tell that it is perfect for beginners. Experts can also use it as their secondary printer in its default state. But with crucial upgrades, even an expert would fall in love with its performance.