The Alfawise U30 is a relatively new 3D printer that I have not seem to much info on. The price at sub $200 is incredibly inexpensive and on paper, it certainly rivals the ever popular Creality Ender 3. I reached out to Gearbest and asked to be able to review this printer which they inclined.
Some of the main features and specs of the Alfawise U30 are:
- 220 x 220 x 250mm build volume
- Metal Frame
- Touch Screen
- Heated Bed w/ Glass and Buildtak Style Print Surface
- 24V for Quick Heat Up
- Quick Assembly (Semi Assembled)
- Filament Runout Sensor
- Power Resume
All of this is again inline with the Ender 3 but this machine does have a glass bed, filament runout sensor, and a touch screen which are all things the Ender 3 is lacking.
Upon receival, the printer came in a large box, much larger than I expected for an average sized 3D printer. The machine was very well packed and surrounded by thick white foam. I took out of all the parts and was very happy that everything came completely undamaged without anything missing. The 3D printer came with pretty short printed instructions as well as an SD card that had a PDF version of the instructions which was great.
The instructions could have been a bit better. There was definitely a few steps that the pictures could have been a bit more clear in their illustrations and some more text instruction would have been useful. I took my time when assembling and without any other help or reference was able to assemble this machine in about an hour. This machine, like the other larger Alfawise U20 I previously reviewed has black and red parts, which to me looks awesome.
After building, I powered on the machine to make sure everything was well and homed the printer. I was eager to get printing right away so I quickly leveled the bed and set off to print a large bust of Dumbledore that I found on Thingiverse. The print started out looking great, but unfortunately it failed about 5 hours in due to the part coming loose from the bed. This was my fault and not the printers as I had to large of a gap between the nozzle and the bed.
I then went ahead and releveled the bed and started another print. I went with a fairly large model of Baby Groot that I have seen many others print online. Cura had said the part would take about 8 hours but oddly it took nearly double. I am not sure why this happened but the end result was an amazing looking print. It did take some serious elbow grease to pry the part off the bed but I did manage.
After this print I printed another model of a very cool detailed stairway with a brick building on top, followed by a dragon. Both prints turned out great and the one fan that is used for layer cooling seems to do an exceptional job. Once I saw how it handled PLA, I wanted to test it with PET-G. I typically run PET-G regularly so it has become a standard testing material for the printers I review.
For my first print, I went with a fairly simple model rocket. It turned out alright, but not great. The surfaces where a bit rough, there was some definite stringing and the tip of the rocket was pretty sloppy. I went back into Cura to adjust some slicer settings and began to print out a black vase. The vase still had a bit of surface artifact but the stringing had all but disappeared by lowering the temperature 5 celsius and increasing retraction distance ever so slightly. Unfortunately, I ran into an issue with Octoprint and lost he vase about half way through.
Determined to complete the vase I started a new print of the vase in a translucent green PET-G from MatterHackers. This print turned out beautiful with no stringing and very smooth layers. The last thing I wanted to try was some flexible filament. I have some very old TPU from Sainsmart that I figured I would but to use. I tried printing out both a bracelet as well as a Phil but did not have great results. The bracelet turned out quite sloppy and Phil had all sorts of jamming issues. I am sure with a slight extruder upgrade or modification you could have better luck with printing flexibles on this machine.
All in all I think this is a great 3d printer. I have had my Ender 3 as a workhorse for many months but I do put this machine right up there next to the Ender 3. I do like that this printer has a glass bed as I had ran into some issues with a bowed aluminum bed on the Ender 3. Although I am not crazy about the Micro SD card slot being on the back side of the printer, it does have a smaller opening than the Ender 3 which is great. I have had my Micro SD card fall inside of the printer on the Ender 3 but with Alfawise U30, I do not foresee this being able to happen. Those reason paired with a nice touch screen and filament runout sensor make the Alfawise U30 quite the contender.
To find out more or purchase an Alfawise U30 for yourself click here.