Bored of your current marriage with your 3D printer? Want more spice in your life? Maybe you’re looking to cheat on your 3D printer with a CNC milling machine?
Well what if I tell you that you could have the best of both worlds. Thanks to all-in-one 3D printers, it has never been easier to stay faithful!
More than just 3D printing, these machines can laser engrave, CNC machine, print food (you heard that right, your future machine-wife cooks as well), and much more!
What’s an all-in-one 3D printer?
An all-in-one 3D printer is a jack-of-all-trades kinda machine. As I mentioned, it can 3D print, laser engrave, CNC machine, print food, and more.
All kinds of people use these 3D printers – hobbyists, engineers, businesses, chefs, etc. They can be a godsend to those who don’t want multiple machines taking space in their house. Additionally, buying all those contraptions can significantly rack up your expenditure.
All-in-one 3D printing functionalities
Let’s look at the different capabilities of these machines.
If it wasn’t already obvious, 3D printing is the main function of an all-in-one 3D printer. For those not familiar with 3D printing, it’s a process by which material is deposited layer by layer to create a 3D object.
Laser cutting uses a high-powered laser to cut into materials like metal, plastic, and wood to create objects in different shapes. Laser engraving, on the other hand, uses a low-powered laser to engrave on similar materials.
CNC milling is a popular method used in subtractive manufacturing (the process of removing materials to create different objects). A rotary cutter moves along a pre-programmed path to cut the block to be milled.
Paste Extrusion/Syringe Extrusion
With paste extrusion, a syringe is used to print objects made of filaments such as PVC foil, wax, EVA foam, etc. Even food can be used as filament, as long as it’s made into a uniform semi-solid paste.
In hot-wire cutting, a heated wire of stainless steel is used to cut polystyrene foams and other materials.
Perfect for artists, this tool uses a pen to draw computer-programmed illustrations on any surface.
This process uses a drag knife to cut designs or letters into thin adhesive plastic surfaces.
How good are these 3D printers?
An all-in-one 3D printer is a Jack-of-all-trades. But you know Jack; the guy doesn’t seem to master anything.
Don’t expect these compact machines to perform each task like a champ. Ideally, these 3D printers would serve hobbyists the best. On the other hand, if you’re running a full-scale business, you may want to reconsider.
Table of Contents
- What’s an all-in-one 3D printer?
- All-in-one 3D printing functionalities
- How good are these 3D printers?
- Top All-In-One 3D Printer At A Glance
Top All-In-One 3D Printer At A Glance
One of the most funded Kickstarter 3D printing projects ($7.85M to be exact), the Snapmaker 2.0 follows boldly in the footsteps of its predecessor. It surpasses the Snapmaker Original; not by a huge margin, but just enough to keep you hooked.
Available in three sizes:
- The A150 (160 x 160 x 145mm) – considered the direct replacement to the itty bitty 125 x 125 x125mm build volume of the Snapmaker Original
- The A250 (230 x 250 x 235mm), and the
- A350 (320 x 350 x 330mm)
The build size is the only difference in all these models.
The 2.0 improves upon the original in a few ways. The automatic bed leveling, a feature lacking in the older version, is one of the welcome additions in the new one. Another cool upgrade is the camera module on the laser tool head. A final noteworthy upgrade is the option of varying CNC milling speeds.
The Snapmaker 2.0 inherits the good looks from the original, it looks gorgeous and oozes with class. The body is made of machined metal – you can see the care taken in crafting the machine. If you love machines, you may lust for this one.
Looking at the 3D printing side of things first, the A350’s build volume of 320 x 350 x 330mm makes it the Godzilla of 3D printers.
Print quality is pretty good; the prints came out nice and smooth. Just don’t expect world-class printing (remember, it’s Jack).
Printing is unfortunately slow, a snail may race past this one. The 3D printer trudges along to get the job done.
The laser engraver does its job well. You can engrave on materials like plastic, leather, wood, non-transparent acrylic and more.
There are four lasering modes: Black & White, Greyscale, Vector, and Text. Another feature is the camera, with which you can take a picture of the uncut material block. The picture then shows up on your design software, with the help of which you can easily align the design in the software.
CNC milling improves upon the original, while some things stay intact. The primary changes are hardware related, and they get the job done more efficiently.
If you’re looking for the best value for your money (especially the A350 with it’s ginormous build volume) , you can’t go wrong with the Snapmaker 2.0.
The legend of the Snapmaker series began with this machine. It was also one of the most funded Kickstarter projects, raising around 2.2 million from its backers. When it was first released it was the best modular 3D printer under $1000.
Packaging was awesome; if you’ve had any experience with Apple packing, you’ll know what to expect.
After unboxing the machine, you need to set it up. And that takes time. Luckily, the kind folks at Snapmaker provide you with step-by-step instructions so that you won’t get stuck anywhere.
Build quality is once again apparent in the 3D printer. Each module (3D printing, CNC, and laser) feels solid.
Changing between different modules is a fluid and easy process. Unscrew a couple of screws, remove a cable, fix the new module, and rescrew. All in a minute’s work.
Print quality was good in our test print. We found no noticeable errors, and I was happy with the final results. You can also use a wide range of materials as the nozzle can attain temperatures of 250°C.
The laser tool module has a laser of power 200mW with a wavelength of 405nm. These specs are decent, and get the job done. I missed the presence of the 2.0’s camera though, as laser engraving was a ton easier.
If we look at the CNC milling side of things, the Snapmaker Original pales compared to the 2.0 – this CNC is rudimentary in many ways. Don’t expect industrial-level output on the machine, the CNC module is only meant for light-duty work.
Another disappointment was the work volume, with measly dimensions of 125 x 125 x 125 mm (the smallest version of the Snapmaker 2.0 had dimensions of 160 x 160 x 145 mm for reference). You won’t be winning any Guinness Records for the World’s Biggest Printer with this 3 in 1 3D printer.
But on the bright side, the 3D printer is much more affordable than its successor and it’s worth the price.
The Zmorph is an engineering marvel. If I had to choose one 3D printer among this list that captured my heart, it would be this one.
Sexy – that’s the adjective that comes to mind looking at the machine. I hope you aren’t attracted to machines, you’ll fall for this one (I think my machine-o-philia is slipping through in this article).
This 3 in 1 3D printer is as sturdy as a stubborn rock. For 3D printing, this is fantastic news – you don’t need to do any leveling as the build plate won’t budge. The rigidity also helps in the CNC milling.
3D printing with standard settings leads to good prints, with just a few kinks here and there. However, you can make masterful prints by playing around with settings, so your prints are in good 3D printer hands.
Ready for the feature that will blow your minds? (None of the other 3D printers have this)
This machine has a dual-extruder tool head!
With this unique addition, you can mix and match filaments. Or use the same filament with different colors. The print bed is your playground.
Secondly, let’s look at the laser engraving feature. Engravings are picture-perfect with little to no artifacts. There’s not much to say here, other than – wow. The laser is carried over from the discontinued VX which is a 2.8 watt blue laser diode. It’s not the strongest laser but it’s sufficient enough to cut softer materials and be able to engrave woods, plastics, and leather without overburn.
And lastly, the CNC module steals the glory with the best CNC milling I’ve ever seen in an all-in-one machine.
The Zmorph Fab is an upgraded version of the former ZMorph VX. Here’s a list of enhancements from the original model.
- The single extruder is upgraded for faster 3D printing.
- Addition of sensors to detect filament runout.
- The cooling fan is redesigned to cool better. This further results in faster printing speed.
- An improved aluminum work table for the CNC that improves rigidity.
- Improved software
- A HEPA filter that prevents the emission of 99% of particles released during the 3D printing process.
Be ready to shell out some serious dough. You may have to pick a few pockets, but it’s worth being on the wrong side of the law to get this beauty of a laser 3D printer and CNC combo.
Yes, Creality had to put its hat into the all-in-one 3D printing ring. The CP-01 is their desktop 3D printer, laser engraving, and CNC milling answer to the success of the original Snapmaker.
And does it succeed? For the price, I’d say it does!
The setup was swift and simple, thanks to the instructions included with the 3D printer. The printer had excellent build quality and was sturdy.
Creality follows in the footsteps of Snapmaker to a tee with the 3-in-1 model (3D printer, laser engraver/cutting, and CNC milling).
I first tested 3D printing (because that’s where my heart lies). There was one feature I didn’t like – the rather bulky tool head. It prevented me from seeing the first few layers while printing.
The initial print turned out quite stringy, though that was mostly due to the initial settings (a common theme for Creality owners). I then adjusted the slicer settings and had a go again. Thankfully this time around the prints turned out clean. Surfaces felt smooth to touch and were rich in detail.
I then checked the laser module. Once again, switching from the 3D printer to the laser only took a few minutes. This ease of use makes it worthwhile to buy 3D printers like these.
The laser software was just as easy to use as the 3D printing slicer. The laser engraving was good, and I loved how the final piece turned out.
To get the best results in laser engraving, you only need to play around with one setting, and that’s the speed (as the power remains the same).
Be warned though: wear the safety goggles that come with a printer when using the laser. I cannot stress this enough. The lasering process also releases a lot of smoke, so I advise you to move this 3D printer to a ventilated area.
And now, let’s talk about the most inferior part of the machine, the CNC mill module.
The results from this were lackluster, you need to REALLY slow down speed settings to get a decent result. The machined portions were uneven at higher feed rates. I did manage to get decent prints at slower speeds, but of course, this took ages.
A major contributor to the poor performance in CNC milling is that the drill isn’t rigid and wobbles slightly.
But if you can forgive the CNC bit, Creality CP-01 is a fantastic machine that does a commendable job in both 3D printing and laser engraving. And as Creality’s 3D printers tend to be, the 3D printer is relatively inexpensive.
In all the above 3 in 1 3D printers, you cannot go all out on customizing the 3D printer. Understandably, the DIYers among you may want a machine that scratches your DIY itch.
Well, you can scratch away thanks to the E3D Motion system and Tool Changer.
The level of customization possible is staggering. In this printer, you can combine 4 multifunctional tools in a single print. Tools like laser engravers, CNC tools, extrusion tool heads, and more.
Just check out the hotend variety here.
E3Ds components are high-performance and best-in-class – built to meet the highest standards.
Spare parts like cable covers and spool holders among others can easily be downloaded on E3D’s GitHub.
The build volume is 300x200x300mm, which is extremely big.
You need to set up the 3D printer all by your lonesome, so if you’re really planning to buy this, be aware. You can get assembly guides to aid you here.
Using an automatic sensor leveling system, leveling is made easy.
And what about print quality?
I experimented with a few different tool heads, and boy was the print quality something to behold. The surfaces were smooth, and with the help of the milling tool, these surfaces could be made even smoother.
With a 3D printer of this complexity, you may require additional help from outside. If so you can always go to this forum: you’ll get all your questions answered by the company’s engineers.
Of course, the E3D ASMBL printer is an expensive one. Buying different parts and playing around with them makes it an even more costly affair.
But who says money can’t buy fun? You’re sure to get yourself entertained with the endless customizability offered by this 3D printer.