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Elegoo releases a new FDM 3D printer that's just $160 and it's surprisingly great

Elegoo Neptune 2 Hero
Elegoo Neptune 2 Hero (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • Elegoo is a leading brand in resin 3D printing.
  • The company just released an FDM-style printer called the Neptune 2.
  • It's just $160, and it's surprisingly great.

Elegoo makes some fantastic printers that consistently land on my best 3D printers list, but so far, they have all been resin, not FDM-based printers. FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling) printing is what most people think 3D printing is; a long strand of plastic is melted onto a metal bed, and the model builds up in layers. Elegoo changed that with the release of the Neptune 2. I've had a unit for a few days now, and I've enjoyed it, and while this article isn't a review, I can tell you a little about the printer and my initial impressions.

CategoryElegoo Neptune 2
Printing size220mmx220mmx250mm
Print speed30-60mm/s
Nozzle diameter0.4mm
Supported filament typePLA, ABS, TPU, PETG
Extruder typeBowden
Memory solutionMicroSD
SlicerElegoo Cura

The Neptune 2 is a surprisingly good FDM printer with some high-end features and a bargain-basement price. Many printers in the $160 range lack the latest technology like a filament runout sensor or a save feature for when the power goes out, but the Neptune 2 has those as standard. It's terrific to see a budget printer with these advanced options as standard, and I hope this starts a trend for all budget 3D printers.

The Neptune 2 does still have some money-saving shortcuts, though. While the build plate is technically removable and flexible, it isn't attached by magnets — it uses binder clips instead — and there is no live z-adjust or automatic bed leveling. The bed is adjusted using four big dials, and they work pretty well, but I would like to see a live z adjust in the software to make adjusting on the fly a little easier.

Source: Windows Central (Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

The print quality itself is pretty good so far. I've only printed three models so far — hence this not being a review — but all three have printed extremely well. I've been using Matterhackers Build series PLA, and the crystal blue looks really good using the Neptune 2. I printed this excellent cartoon Bernie Sanders in mittens by ChaosCoreTech at 0.2mm layer height, and the print looks really nice.

Overall, I'm pretty impressed with the Neptune 2 so far, and now that I know it's just $160, it might turn out to be the deal of the year. Stay tuned to our 3D printing coverage for the full review later in the month.

James built his first PC when he was 13 and has never looked back. He can be found on Windows Central, usually in the corner where all the 3D printers are, or huddled around the Xbox playing the latest games.