The Wanhao D12/300 is a new printer from Wanhao targeted at budget 3D printing enthusiasts. What does the printer hold and is it a good buy? Read our Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 review to find out.
Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 Review
Wanhao has released a new printer known as the Wanhao Duplicator D12/300. This printer has been designed based on the company’s previous technical research. The features of the printer include those you will find in the Wanhao D6, D9 and D10.
From the looks of things, this printer is most similar to the D9. Therefore, we will tailor our Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 review against the D9.
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Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 Specs
|Size||400 x 580 x 710 mm|
|Software||Cura; Simplify 3D; Repetier-Host|
|Supported File Formats||obj; stl|
|Automatic Bed Leveling||No|
|Number of extruders||2|
|Supported materials||FLEX (TPE); PETG; PLA|
|Build Volume||300 x 300 x 400 mm|
|Max. print bed temperature||100 ℃|
|Max. hot end temperature||260 ℃|
|Min. layer height||100 microns|
|Filament diameter||1.75 mm|
|Nozzle diameter||0.4 mm|
|Printing speed||up to 150 mm/s|
Unboxing the Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 3D Printer
Like all Wanhao printers, the D12/300 comes semi-assembled. We already looked at the assembly in our video review. In this article, we’ll go through the configuration.
In the box, there’s an assembled frame of the X and Z axes, a table and a control module, and two parts from a profile on a hinge. Apart from the body parts, there are two two boxes (one larger and one smaller) and two small coils of plastic.
When you unpack the items from the box, you’ll see the spare parts.
Ther is also a spatula and a needle for cleaning the nozzle, tweezers, a card reader, a kit for printing from a USB flash drive, and another set of tools in a large box for assembling the parts.
Design and Construction
In terms of design, the Wanhao D12/300 looks similar to the D9 model. However, if you look closely, you’ll realize there are some differences between the printer.
First off, the D12/300’s body is now assembled from a standard 20 profile. As a result, most of the wires go inside the frame and stay out of sight.
The Wanhao D12/300 is filled with quality wires and comes in a beautiful silver color.
We were particularly impressed by the printhead cables and the X-axis. The cables are well insulated and fixed to the head with two screws. For the X-axis, it has now been twisted to reduce the risk of it catching on something during a print job.
Another noticeable change is at the printing part. There are 2 titanium extruder feeders at the top of the printer frame. Two filament tubes go from them to the print head. And yes, you guessed right, the Wanhao D12/300 can print two filaments simulatenously.
Here is a video covering the dual extruders:
On the table, there is a removable magnetic cover marked “Middle Adhesive”.
At the very top of the printer, there are filament break sensors on the hinges while at the back of the printer, on both sides, you will find spool holders.
The axes move as before, with the help of Openbuilds rollers, a belt for synchronizing the movement appeared on the Z axis. In theory, this should result in much less portal distortion.
The design of the control module is similar to that of the previous model. However, with the D12/300, the control module has an upgraded firmware and the screen has been moved to the central part.
The printer’s X-axis carriage hasn’t really changed. For example, the head is held in place with two screws at the back and can be removed quite easily.
Let’s take a closer look at it.
At the top there is an “ethernet” connector for a new connection cable. On both sides of it are holes for fixing screws and next to them are two fittings to hold the tubing through which the filament comes in. All the magic of two-color printing happens right behind these fittings.
Unlike the external Y-shaped splitter in Wanhao, the printhead is made directly inside the heatsink. This reduces the distance required for plastic to roll back when changing extruders.
There is a removable circular cooling at the bottom of the head, which is similar to what the Wanhao D10 has. On the right is a 30mm radiator fan, and in the front is a 40mm model.
Let’s continue our Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 review by checking the control unit.
The main component in the control unit is the Makerbase Robin Nano board version 1.2, running on a 32-bit STM32 processor. All axes, except for extruders, are installed with Silent TMC 2209 drivers.
The heating of the table is not controlled from the board, but by a freestanding 220V solid-state relay. This made it possible to unload the power supply unit, and, consequently, to reduce the cost of the entire structure.
There is also a turbofan that cools the drivers on the board.
Wanhao Duplicator D12/300 Test
Let’s start testing this printer.
For the first print, we chose a cat model to see the accuracy and quality of the printer. We used Amazon Basics blue PLA
For the slicing software, the proprietary software wasn’t of much help as the printer refused to work with the commands of the mixing extruder on the native firmware. Therefore, we opted to use the latest Cura version.
Here is a video showing the best Cura settings for Wanhao:
When setting up this printer in CURA, it is important to set the G-code variant “Repieter”. Failure to do so could result in printing problems.
The cat print turned out well. The layers lie flat and nothing was skewed. However, we could notice some negligible wobbling at sharp angles. Still, given that the D12/300 is a cheap printer, this issue wasn’t a big deal to us.
Let’s compare the dimensional accuracy with the dimensions of the computer model. X-20.02, Y-19.92.
The tail is 5.1 by 4.99 and Z – 34.26. If there are discrepancies, then they are not critical. This accuracy is more than enough for printing simple products that do not have to be super precise.
For the second model, we printed it with Overture black PETG filament. This print will show us how the printer handles overhangs and mechanisms, which should work immediately when removed from the table.
The PETG model turned out worse than PLA. This is probably due to the peculiarities of the nozzle in this printer. We think that due to the short melting zone, the plastic did not have time to be fed in the required volume. Because of this, we observed underextrusion in some places of the print and overextrusion in some parts, e.g. the hair between the parts.
The joints move immediately when the print was removed. Nothing had to be post-processed. However, the gap was so large that the shark’s tail fell off.
Overall, the quality of the PETG print was unsatisfactory. Therefore, opted to continue printing with PLA.
Next, it was time for a stress test. This time, we wanted to print a fairly large two-part Tyrannosaurus Skull. With this model, we will know whether the printer will cope with artistic printing and how well.
The total print time for this assembly was over 30 hours. We used 3DSolutech white PLA filament.
Let’s look at the parts of this model separately.
First, the jaw turned out to be passable. However, there were still some issues. For example, we could see stripes along the entire height of the model and there was also underextrusion on small elements. The small pimples on the walls were there.
The overhangs turned out very well thanks to the well-designed cooling of the print zone.
Next, we have printed the main part of the skull.
Surprisingly, this part was printed with hair, although the settings were exactly the same. We also did not notice underextrusion anywhere.
Again, the outer walls had some pimples but overall, the whole print turned out fine.
In the center of the model, some semi-clear black blotches appeared. These are either pieces of a belt or the remains of plastic from two-extruder tests.
As for the dual-extruder printing, everything is much more complicated. No matter how much we tried, we could not get it to work.
Over the course of a month, we tried adjusting the settings and consulting with Wanhao. However, despite all the efforts, only two models were printed, one of which turned out to be defective. In other cases, the plastic got stuck and did not feed into the nozzle.
During the setup process, the extruder clogged up a couple of times such that we had to disassemble half of the head to clean it. Fortunately, this is not very difficult.
Here are some prints we made using the dual extruder:
Wanhao D12/300 3D Printer Verdict
While Wanhao releases as many new products regularly, the company seemed to forget about quality and the stability of their work. With 3D printer, quality and versions reign supreme.
We’d recommend the Wanhao D12/300 3D printer for beginners. However, it isn’t the best option and even doesn’t make it on our list of the best 3D printers for beginners. To work properly, the printer needs to be reflashed out of the box, which is a huge disadvantage.
The dual extruder printing on this printer failed. We are not sure whether there’s some fault with the printer or it’s because we couldn’t find the appropriate settings. If you have been able to print with the dual extruder options, please let us know how you managed to do so in the comments. You can see our settings in the photos. As a last resort, the two feeders can be used to avoid reloading the spool with a different material each time.
As a single extruder printer, the Wanhao D12 300 is not bad. However, it requires a little tweaking and correct setup for it to produce high-quality prints. In general, you can print with one nozzle.
So, what’s our verdict?
We love the nice, high-quality case, good movement system, strong cables, magnetic table with adhesive coating and quiet operation. And all this is built on the common Robin Nano board.
If you are an enthusiast looking to build your dream printer, you can use this model as a base for rework. But if you just want to print with high quality, without tinkering with the settings, then I’d recommend you go with a different model.