A few days ago I gave you the unboxing and the first impressions of the Alfawise U30 3D printer and today the detailed test report follows. The printer was made available to us by Gearbest and arrived after the usual almost four weeks shipping time via UK without further customs costs etc.
The most important technical details:
- Frame material: aluminum alloy
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
- Nozzle temperature: room temperature to 260 degrees
- Product size: 40 x 40 x 50 cm
- Layer thickness: 0.05-0.3mm
- Print memory card offline: SD card
- LCD screen: Yes
- Printing speed: 10 – 150 mm / s
- Accompanying material: Abs, nylon, PLA, TPU
- Material diameter: 1.75mm
- File format: AMF, DAE, OBJ, STL
- Voltage: 110V / 220V
- Product weight: 15.0000 kg
- Product size: 58.20 x 69.70 x 75.50 cm
To the Alfawise U30 3D printer itself
The printer is basically a larger Creality CR-10S that we tested extensively. With its print volume of 40x40x50 cm (!), The printer really stands out from its colleagues and is ideal for printing larger objects in one go without having to laboriously glue them together afterwards.
In the unboxing I went a little closer to the scope of delivery and also described how the printer had to be set up. In short: the printer arrives almost completely assembled. Basically, only the frame has to be screwed together and the cables plugged together.
Incidentally, the filament on the Alfawise U10 is not set up in an extra holder next to the printer, but on a holder with a rotating ball bearing directly on the electronics box. A smart idea that doesn’t let the printer grow unnecessarily high.
After the first print, a few weak points became apparent, which lead me to not recommend the printer to every beginner! Much of it made me sweat too, and I spent several days working on getting one or the other problem under control.
A few problem areas that emerged during the first phase of getting to know each other:
Uneven printing surface
The be-all and end-all of 3D printing is a flat and leveled surface. It took me some time to find out that the glass plate that came with the Alfawise U10 is not flat, at least in my case. My glass plate has a downward dent, so to speak, in the middle of the surface. I fixed that by adding three layers of blue tape to a 10 × 10 cm area in the middle. This lifts the plate in the middle so that it is roughly level with the rest of the surface.
I haven’t seen loose screws and loose timing belts either. My copy of the Alfawise U10 had both to offer. Everything is super easy to fix, but of course you have to check everything first and, above all, come up with it! The toothed belts can be tensioned by loosening them, tightening them and pulling them tight again.
In my case, however, there were still problems with offset printing after a few shifts. A test file (see photo above) was okay with 2-3 layers and then shifted one millimeter to the left per layer. The rest of the elements on the following surface, on the other hand, were printed almost perfectly.
A check then showed that the two Allen screws on the X motor were completely loosened. That led to these unclean movements from left to right. Once tightened again and the pressure worked perfectly again.
The two Z-axes are only loosely guided in a metal opening at their end. Of course, especially with a device of this size, which moves so much mass, this is not exactly optimally regulated and rattles again and again annoyingly during the printing process. Remedy, however, would be so easy! Even the affordable Zonestar has already built such a construction …
You simply print two new brackets (on thingiverse) and insert ball bearings into which the two threaded rods are now guided. Now the two threaded rods can turn while pressing and are still guided noiselessly. It could be that simple!
Bad design of the fan
When it comes to ventilation, the Alfawise U10 was a bit sloppy. Usually there is a fan on the printhead, which cools the printhead itself, and another fan, which is then activated after the first printed layer in order to cool the printed material.
This second fan is factory-installed on the U10, but it only blows senselessly into the body of the print head and thus only minimally cools the printed object.
Here, too, there is a simple remedy in the form of a small object that can be printed with the printer itself and then directs the air from the second fan down to the printed object. The assembly is very easy and only two shorter screws have to be bought (or existing ones sawn off), which are then used to hold the adapter.
As already mentioned in my unboxing , the pre-installed firmware of the Alfawise U10 was so terribly bad that you couldn’t navigate into subdirectories of the SD card and the menu tended to hang up here and there. But the print worked without any hang-ups.
A fix was only possible by installing the TH3D (or Marlin) firmware. No bootloader has to be flashed for this, only the firmware itself has to be flashed with a USB cable. It works really easy.
Is there a lot to consider before you can actually start printing? Don’t get me wrong – the printer itself is basically a good device, but the quality control in the case of the Alfawise U10 leaves a lot to be desired in my opinion. For example, I also have a number of defective pixels on the display and it shouldn’t go through that easily.
For actually printing the objects themselves
As usual, we take the freeware CURA and select a CR-10 as the printer for the sake of simplicity. In the same, the printing area is changed to 40x40x50 cm and the rest can basically be taken over. Professionals will certainly change some details here and there depending on the filament and your own taste, but the print should definitely work with the standard values.
Now either a self-created or a finished 3D object in the form of an STL file (e.g. from thingiverse.com or the like) can be taken and imported. This is then sliced with your quality settings and can then be sent to the printer either via USB or the enclosed SD card.
Level the printer
For this I select a file from the SD card and wait until the printer has heated up and moved to the middle to print. Then I choose to cancel the print via the menu and also to disable the stepper motors via the menu. This means that the plate and the print head can be moved freely and manually moved to all four corners. Place a thin piece of paper under the tip and screw the print bed high enough that you just feel a slight resistance between the paper and the print tip.
Now select the file on the printer’s display and start the actual printing. Personally, I usually use PLA filament. That means almost 60 degrees for the printing plate and 200 degrees for the extruder. Of course, that depends on the material you use.
A first push of a large headphone stand worked perfectly. It’s nice that the dimensions of the print bed are great for this and that the object can be printed in one go. The large print volume has definitely paid off here and has also shown that even a larger axis can produce great objects that would not be easily possible with a small 3D printer.
Even a small Benchy Boot was now printed fine after all the correction work and fine adjustment. The filament stays straight on the glass as soon as the printer is set correctly and all in all you can’t complain about the printed result.
infoYou can find my impressions and experiences around the topic of 3D printers in the series 3D Roundup . If you are interested in 3D printers etc., I can only warmly recommend browsing these articles.
Conclusion on the Alfawise U10
The previous conclusion on the Alfawise U30 is difficult to paraphrase. The printer itself is a great device. The aluminum frame provides the necessary stability, which is also noticeable in the weight. Nevertheless, due to the size of the print volume, the printer has to move some mass, which ultimately even moves the table. And you have to provide some space in your home or workplace that is blocked by the printer. So if you want to print large objects, you should and should be happy to strike, but for normal things the smaller Creality CR10S , for example, certainly does .
In general, I would only recommend the purchase to experienced users for the time being, as a lot has to be considered here in terms of quality management. Even with some experience, it took me several days for the printer to run as it should.
The price of the Alfawise U10 is absolutely reasonable. With the various vouchers and promotions that Gearbest offers again and again, the printer is around 400, – EUR and no longer has to be tinkered together. Without vouchers or the like, the shopping cart can add up to 500 EUR.
Interesting features such as the filament sensor or the resume of a print in the event of a power failure make a difference and show that development is in full swing with 3D printers and that something new can always be expected.
Incidentally, the built-in board should be expandable without any problems and so there is the option of “simply” connecting a laser or a second extruder.
The short summary
So all in all a very promising printer! Only the quality control should be revised and then the Alfawise U30 can really be recommended to everyone.
You can also find tips and tricks from this Facebook group for the Alfawise U30. Here I have already been helped a few times!