Wanhao Duplicator i3 3D Printer
Looking to get into the exciting world of 3D printing? Beginners should focus on simple and affordable printers that can easily be modded and come built to last. For this Wanhao Duplicator i3 review, we look at one of the best beginner printers, helping you decide if it's the right starter machine for you.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Review Basics
At its incredibly low price, you may wonder how good this printer could possibly be. As you’ll see in our Wanhao Duplicator i3 review, we assure you there’s nothing to worry about. The Duplicator i3 is on version 2.1, and measures 19.7 x 18.9 x 11.8 inches with a print area of 8 x 8 x 7 inches. That’s a total of about 450 cubic inches of build space. Print speed ranges between 10-100mm/s depending on your mods and settings. It comes with a .4mm nozzle and achieves average print resolution of 100-400 microns. Print at temperatures up to 260C on the heated print bed, giving you plenty of 1.75mm filament flexibility.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Review Pros
Durable and Well-Built
The Duplicator i3 comes nearly fully assembled and takes a few short minutes to install the Z-frame with included tools. Once assembled, it’s obvious that this machine was built with care. Its body is all steel and aluminum, making it a bit heavy at 26.5lbs, but completely durable and fool-proof. Its open, industrial design is ideal for modding once you get the hang of simple projects and want to kick things up a notch with a new extruder, new axis belts, upgraded build plates, and more.
For its price, the precision of this printer is exceptional. Printing resolution is listed at 100-400 microns, with an XY precision of 12 microns. Real-life results are comparable to printers twice or three times the price, even if it is slower. PLA, ABS, and even nylon prints with extreme accuracy. Note that due to this printer’s open design, your prints will be subject to the elements, so always print in a dry, temperature-controlled room.
Open Source Software
Feel free to use any g-code based slicer with the Duplicator i3, including favorites like Cura, Slic3r, or Simplify3D. This is a nice feature for any user, from beginners who are learning the different software, or for experienced users who already have a favorite.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Review Cons
It’s worth mentioning that it will be difficult to get the Duplicator i3 to print faster than about 60mm/s without compromising the quality of your print or investing in some modifications. This top speed isn’t terribly slow, but on average you’ll be seeing slower speeds around 30-40mm/s, and that leaves a bit to be desired. Still, if you have time on your hands, printing speed won’t be an issue, and it’s possible to fix this problem by applying some ingenuity.
Wanhao Duplicator i3 Review Verdict
Make no mistake, the Duplicator i3 isn’t the best 3D printer on the market, but it is certainly one of the best values. At its price, we’d expect to see some seriously warped prints, or an unheated printer bed, or compromised resolution, but none of those things is true of this printer. In addition, you won’t be stuck with any “beginner” or manufacturer software, which is often limiting and feels unfinished. Instead, you can start right away working with whatever slicer you’re most comfortable with. For beginners or those looking to start modding a 3D printer to their exact specifications, we highly recommend the Duplicator i3 V2.1.