Snapmaker returns to Kickstarter with a vastly improved 3D printer

Snapmaker is not new to Kickstarter. The Snapmaker 3-in-1, the company's first machine, is the second highest funded 3D printer in Kickstarter history, making a whopping $2.2 million, with over 5,000 backers. The original Snapmaker is also an excellent machine, in its own right, as we highlighted in our review; but it is not without issues.

The Snapmaker 2 project seeks to fix a lot of the problems from the original Snapmaker, and expand on the platform to create something truly modular. Modular is a word you will a read a lot today, as it is the basis of the entire machine. Giving consumers a choice is the driving aim of this Kickstarter

Update June 3, 2019: Last few days

The Snapmaker 2 Kickstarter is entering its last few days and is now the most backed 3D printer in Kickstarter history, which is an incredible feat. Right now the project is at $6.5 million, a massive achievement. There is still time to get this excellent Fabrication machine for less than retail price if you act now.

Head over to the Kickstarter page to pick up one of three sizes of Snapmaker 2. I suggest picking up the 250 model at least, to give you the most choice in your fabrication journey.

What's new?

Almost everything is new. Snapmaker 2 is a significant improvement to the original Snapmaker in every way that matters. From the enclosed linear modules that are designed to keep dust from CNC cutting out of the mechanisms to the CNC module itself, the Snapmaker team has addressed almost every problem I had with the original.

When comparing the original Snapmaker 3D printing module with the second generation module side-by-side, the improvements are instantly visible. The original module is fully enclosed with no printing-part fan and very little in the way of maintenance.

The Snapmaker 2 is a significant improvement on the original Snapmaker in every way that matters.

The new module has a handy pop-out section to allow access to the inner workings, as well as a small fan designed to cool the parts as they print; this creates a much better looking printed part. That's not all though. Not only have Snapmaker updated the module, but they added lots of extra 3D printing upgrades, including filament run-out sensors, a flexible, auto-leveling build plate, and even powercut protection — something you don't see very often, even in high-end printers — which helps to save your prints from ruination.

That's just the 3D module. For a more detailed list of the upgrades, you can see my hands-on with the Snapmaker 2 at CES this year. Suffice to say the upgrades are extensive.

My what big build areas you have

One of the biggest challenges when using Snapmaker 1 is the size of the build platform. At just 125mm x 125mm (4.9 inches x 4.9 inches), the variety of products you could print/CNC/cut was curtailed. For example, there was really no way to laser etch a design on your laptop — even if you did buy the 1.6-watt laser — because the laser area was too small to fit your laptop on; you would have to do it in smaller designs.

Snapmaker has got around this problem by creating three different sizes at three different prices. Each different model — the A150, A250, and A350 — has a build volume increase over the previous model. Even the smallest model, the A150 has a small size increase from the original Snapmaker 1.

The largest build volume in the set is an impressive 320 x 350 x 330 millimeters (2.5 x 13 x 12.8 inches), which is as big as some of the biggest mid-range printers. The A250 is on par with the Prusa Mk3 — one of the best printers you can buy. Snapmaker really has taken the complaints of the community to heart and given everybody a build area they can work with.

Where can I get it and how much will it cost?

The Kickstarter launched on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The prices will be different depending on when you join the Kickstarter. If you pledge early enough, you can get the A150, A250, and A350 for $599, $749, and $899, respectively. When you consider that the Snapmaker 1 is currently on sale for around $800, you can see how good of a deal that really is, and why getting in on the action early is in your best interest.

If you don't catch the early bird on the Kickstarter, the prices bump up by $120-$180 for each model. Considering the machine is an all-in-one unit that lets you 3D print, CNC mill, and Laser cut, all from one unit, that is still a great price.

What else will I need?

If you decide to back the Kickstarter, there are a few things to buy so you can be ready to Print/CNC/Laser as soon as you get your machine in the mail.

eSun PLA silk

eSun PLA silk (Image credit: eSun)

eSun Silk PLA ($26 at Amazon)

The eSun Silk PLA is some of the prettiest PLA around and would be perfect to start your 3D printing adventures on the Snapmaker 2

Natural wood rounds ($20 at Amazon)

Laser burning is one of the best things you can do on the Snapmaker 2 and these natural wood rounds can make perfect gifts for your family or awesome coasters for your coffee.

Blow off canned air ($15 at Amazon)

Keep your Snapmaker 2 and your CNC projects clean from dust with a little burst of canned air. Perfect for small to medium jobs, and you get two cans in this pack.

James Bricknell

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.