Hands-on with the Snapmaker 2 3-in-1 3D printer at CES 2019
The Original Snapmaker is one of Kickstarter's highest funded 3D printers, and with the all the new upgrades, essentially rebuilding it from the ground up, Snapmaker is hoping to repeat that success with the new Snapmaker 2.
We had a chance to spend a few hours with the Snapmaker team and we got a hands-on with the machine and all of its parts. However, the machine at CES 2019 was not the final model. It was a prototype, and as such, some pieces may or may not be in the final design.
Snapmaker 2 is a huge upgrade
The Snapmaker team clearly listened to the community on what it wanted to see in this latest release. Every single part of the machine has seen an upgrade.
From the closed linear rods to prevent CNC dust from getting in, to the stronger power supply with a power interruption system, everything is better than it was before.
Each of the modules has seen an upgrade, as well. The laser module is being bumped up from the tiny 200 mW of the original, all the way up to the 1600 mW laser that you can already purchase as an upgrade. This is a huge deal when you think the 1600 mW module costs an extra $160 normally.
The CNC has seen a big change, with a better, more universal clamping kit to help you use larger, and a more rounded selection, of CNC bits. The Snapmaker 2 also comes with a CNC bedplate with movable clamps to secure everything much more securely than ever before.
The biggest changes have come to the 3D printing module, however, and it shows how much the company has listened to the community. The module has an easy-to-remove section that houses the nozzle, heat block, and the new part-cooling fan. That's right, the Snapmaker 2 has a part-cooling fan that is bi-directional and seems to offer some excellent cooling when looking at their test models.
The company also added a filament sensor to stop your print if your filament runs out, and it added auto bed leveling to the 3D printer build plate. Oh, and that's a removable, magnetic build plate, too.
Snapmaker 2 comes in many sizes
Another small problem with the Snapmaker 1 is its original size. With a build plate of just 120 mm by 120 mm, it was a little on the small size. Snapmaker 2 will offer 3 different linear module sizes.
One is a touch larger than the original, the next is around 220 mm by 200 mm, about the same as the Prusa Mk3, and the last is a whopping 300 mm by 300 mm beast, and I have to say I am looking forward to seeing that.
Some good ... and some bad news
I know there are a lot of people out there hoping that all these new parts would be compatible with the original Snapmaker, but I'm afraid it's not quite going to happen that way.
It turns out, with the help of an adapter, all the original parts of the Snapmaker 1 will work with the Snapmaker 2. That means all your linear modules, your laser, CNC, and 3D printing modules, will all work with the Snapmaker 2. Unfortunately, it won't work the other way around.
The Snapmaker 2 parts are not going to work on the Snapmaker one board. All the Snapmaker 2 modules now have special cables that transfer far more information and, while they can dumb the Snapmaker 2 down to work with the Snapmaker modules, they can't make the Snapmaker 1 board smarter to play with the other parts.
I spoke with the team and asked them about perhaps creating a Kickstarter reward tier that just included the linear modules and the board, so Snapmaker 1 users could use their old modules with it for a little less money, and they were naturally a little hesitant.
They said they would need to see what kind of market there would be for such a barebones system. And they said the new modules are all excellent upgrades to the existing modules, so the best course would be to get them as well. But they are at least ready to listen if the community shows interest.
There is a lot of stuff in this kit
The original Snapmaker box was loaded with little things to make the Snapmaker 1 feel like a premium device. With two sets of safety goggles, an extra heat block and nozzle, and the little clamps, it really tried to cover all the bases. The Snapmaker 2 turns that up to 11. It comes with five linear modules, in the medium one at least, a magnetic print bed with a nice Buildtack style surface, a special surface to stop the laser module from scarring the plate, and a special CNC plate, as well as a more advanced clamping system.
Special mention to the mainboard and display module. The mainboard now has room for 11 different connections, only seven of which are used right now, which gives us a lot of room to see expansion modules. The display module is now a nicer screen running the Android OS and allows for printing Gcode over WiFi.
And that's just what they had on the show floor. Who knows how many other crazy things will be available in the box at launch.
Overall (early) impressions of Snapmaker 2
I'm optimistic about the Snapmaker 2. Like any fast-moving technology, 3D printing is evolving at a rapid pace and sometimes the new becomes the old very quickly.
But that doesn't mean people who bought the first version should be disheartened. The Snapmaker 2 has clearly took into account as much of the community feedback the company could, all the while striving to achieve what the original goal was, an upgradable and customizable fabrication machine.
There are going to be a lot of options available for the Snapmaker 2, and I think this will be the machine they use as the backbone of the company moving forward.
Any other questions?
Did we miss anything you might want to know? We asked a lot of questions, and Snapmaker answered them all, so if you want to know something not covered here let us know in the comments.