Today we are going to be taking a look at the Biqu Thunder. This is a machine that really caught my eye due to its affordable price point of right around $500 and everything that the machine offered. For a run down on specs the machine is built frame wise in the same fashion as the popular Cr-10 with the same extrusions being used and a build volume size of 300mm x 300mm x 400mm. The printer has auto bed leveling and hotend is all metal (can reach 270C). All of the electronics are enclosed nicely below the machine and the machines interface is through a touch screen on the front. The printer also has a filament runout sensor, a magnetic removable build plate as well as capricorn tubing, a cable chain preinstalled. Basically, on paper this 3D printer is pretty insane.
Biqu also partnered up with MyMiniFactory on this one to implement their Click N Print functionality natively into this printer. The Thunder connects to your local WiFi network and then you connect the MyMiniFactory to Thunder. You can then browse all of the models on your phone that are on their website. 50,000 models have been pre sliced and configured for the Biqu Thunder. This means you can find a model you like, click print, and it is sent over to your printer to begin printing. I was also very interested in this but I will go into this more in a completely separate article/video.
So the box showed up on my doorsteps and was a very large box. Inside everything was surrounded in multiple layers of thick foam so nothing in the box was scratched or damaged. There were a few of the bed leveling knobs that had fallen off in transit but they were all accounted for and were easy to get reinstalled on the printer. There were quite a few bags in the box with screws, various parts, spare nozzles, instructions, and a spool of filament. This machine does come as a semi kit. Lots of the main parts are assembled so you should be able to put it together in about an hour. Much less time then a full kit printer.
Assembly was a breeze, there was a complete printout with all of the instructions on how to get up and running. The instructions were also included on an SD card which I really appreciated. The bags of screws correlated to a specific step in the instructions which left no room for questions or errors. I definitely think that they did it right as far as initial setup goes.
After setup, I lifted this beast from the floor onto my desk. I plugged in the auto leveling setup which is removable (you clip in on when you need to level and remove it when complete) and I powered on the machine. Browsing the menu on the printer I hit leveling and the printer was off doing its auto leveling. Once done, I loaded up some white PLA that I had laying around and printed out the tiny test cube that came on the SD card. It did require me to baby step the z axis but this was easy to do from the touch screen and the square turned out beautifully.
After this I wanted to test out the Click N Print functionality that I mentioned previously. I connected the machine to my WiFi without any issues and scanned the QR code on the screen from the MyMiniFactory to pair the two. I then found a fox model that I wanted to print so I hit print waited for it to send over the file (this did take a while maybe 15 minutes) and the printer was off. The print was looking great so I went away for a bit and when I came back I notice there was an error. The screen said something along the lines of (strange extrusion). I removed the filament and tried again but shortly after I ran into the same error. Initially I thought maybe it was something to do with the filament so I swapped to a different spool but after a few hours this happened again.
I came to the conclusion that there was something faulty with my filament sensor and luckily you can easily deactivate it under the machines settings. Once I did this, I was able to get some beautiful 8+ hour prints out of the machine back to back. I printed out a Joker model (which I forgot to add supports to for his chin), then another with supports (which welded to him), then I printed out that fox which turned out beautiful, and a moon city print which was also a fantastic print. I then decided to try to print a vase that would max out the build volume on this huge printer. The first 75% turned out great but then I started to get some gaps in the vase as it got higher. I did print this in vase mode so the walls were crazy thin and I attributed this to my slicer settings not the printer itself.
After this I decided to try out some PET-G since this is a material that I print with fairly often. I found an awesome vase on MyMiniFactory, sliced it up in Cura, and was off printing. One thing I had noticed was in the magnetic bed that this machine comes with it seemed to form a slight bubble underneath the surface that got bigger as I did more and more prints. In my head it seemed like the adhesion was not taking to well to the heating and cooling of the bed and it was started to slowly lift away. Well, the PET-G print completely did it in. The print turned out beautiful, but it also completely welded to the bed and upon removing, cracked the magnetic bed surface.
I sort of new this was coming and for now, I just threw a glass bed on top, releveled and have had no issues. You could grab an springsteel sheet from BuildTak and throw this on top as well which I may do down the line. I did let the company know about the sensor and the bed so hopefully these will be addressed in their future revisions to this printer. After the PET-G, I thought it would be fun to attempt a small TPU print so I printed out a tiny octopus with some 2 year old TPU I have had laying around. It took a bit to get it started, but I was actually very impressed at the way it turned out. It was not perfect, but with how old the stuff was I was not expecting perfection.
For my conclusion, do I think this machine is perfect? No I do not. However, I still think it is a very solid unit. I have never cared for or much used filament runout sensors so for me that was no deal breaker. (Although I do hope future units ship with improved sensors). As for the bed, a simple fix is to throw glass on top and the bed works great. I may even leave glass on this machine so that I can try some Nylon printing. For the price, I think this is a very solid unit that Biqu has done a great job with. I have easily put 100+ hour on this machine during my testing and plan on putting many more hundreds of hours on it throughout this year.
To find out more or purchase the machine yourself click here.