Cetus3D MKII: Repair And Review

So this review has been a long time coming and it’s been delayed a lot for a number of reasons. When I first got this printer back in May of last year I had a very rough idea of the angle that I wanted this review to cover. This was a $300 printer, had very tight tolerances when printing, and could print a very respectable 280 millimeters on the z-axis. A number things have happened since then that have delayed this review and changed the mentality that I’ve had to approach this review so sorry that it’s been so delayed and hopefully it is still relevant to somebody who is looking to buy Cetus3D Mark 2.

Right off the bat, what does this printer do that makes it unique? The the biggest things that make it unique are the linear rails. Linear rails are actually much better than a spinning screw or something like pretty much any of the other FDM style printer’s method. The tolerances are very good on so your print quality is going to be much more exact.

The other main advantage is its eco system it is a very closed system. The company that makes the printer also makes their own software and their software is very easy to use. It’s very user friendly for new people and also the whole process between getting the printer started to printing is very easy. It’s probably the closest I’ve seen in terms of a 3d printer acting like a normal paper printer.

So why did this review get delayed? That really has three main parts. When I got this printer for review it was a $399 printer. I felt that that was a fair price for the ease of use of the printer as well as for the ability to print so tall. There are obviously companies out there that are making printers bigger than that for less than $300, but the the issue is that they don’t do their own software – there wasn’t quite as a good a marriage between the software side and the hardware side. For Cetus, the same company does both so everything works very well. Since I got the Cetus the price has unfortunately increased. It is now in the $499 range, give or take a sale. At $300 we start to get outside of the realm of what people would pay for a good 2D printer, so trying to sell them on something new would be harder to do. They still sell the standard version at $399, the one that only prints about 180 millimeters tall (the build volume for that one is 180 by 180 by 180, the review one is 180 by 180 by 280). That one is a good option: the print quality is the same, the features are the same, things like that. It no longer really stands out for what it can do because really 280 is kind of unique in this form factor. 180, not so much. You could get something like the Anycubic which would have a bigger build volume and would be significantly cheaper.

So that was the reason one, the printer is now a lot more expensive and now targets a different audience because of how much more expensive it is (25% more). Reason 2 was the printer is now obsolete: it is no longer the latest and greatest as Cetus has released the Cetus3D Mark 3. Granted there are only a few differences between the Mark 2 and the Mark 3, most of the differences are more polish than new features. The new model now supports the heated build plate (not a beta), it’s really designed to use it right from the get-go, but for the most part they’re still very much the same. Even still, this is a Mark 2, they now sell a Mark 3. That’s kind of like saying I’m reviewing last year’s iPhone; they’re almost the same but nobody cares about a review from last year’s iPhone. That pushed the review to the backburner: it was no longer priority because I was no longer reviewing the best model that Cetus was making.

Reason number 3 for the review being delayed was it broke. So this printer, the ease-of-use printer, the high quality printer, broke. At the time I was moving and I didn’t really have the time to monkey around with this to see what was the issue so I put it on the backburner again. Three backburners down now until I finally had a chance to look at it and found that the extruder was no longer extruding because it was no longer gripping on to the filament to push it out through the extruder. So the extruder motor was still working fine, the hot end was still working just fine, but the way that the gearing was working it was no longer gripping the filament to push it through. The way that the printer is designed it was not something I could print a new part, it doesn’t work that way unlike say like the Monoprice where I could print a brand new piece that would feed the extruder through better than the default. Wasn’t an option on the Cetus.

So the 3D printed part is the broken piece. If you have a Cetus Mark 2 that has the lever and spring piece, this is the part that failed. Everything else still works, fan still works hot end still works, motor still works, and the connectors are still just fine. This assembly is all 3d printed so I’m guessing that over time the 3d print just can’t withstand the pressure of the spring that they’re using and so it does no longer has enough tension to push the grip on to the filament to feed it through. That’s a guess, not sure. They redid where the the filament now goes through in the top a little bit to make it a little bit easier and they uncovered one metal side here to make it so you could see the hot end (which I’m guessing only reason they’re doing that is so you can see the logo for Cetus whereas the logo is still here on the other one it just hidden behind the protector). So now you have the the joys of being able to touch 200 degree fahrenheit, 100 degree Celsius hot end with your bare fingers if you want to. With a printer now working I could finally make this review which is now so late.

So should you get one of these printers? There’s really only three reasons why you should get a Mark II/Mark III. Reason One: You need something that prints at very high quality in terms of tolerances, as in the differences between print to print. This should be very minut because of how good linear rails are as well as how accurate it is in terms of putting filament where you want the filament. So there are still gonna be the same downsides of FDM versus something like SLA, but for the most part this is probably the most accurate FDM printers you can get right now.

Reason Two: You need something very small in terms of desk space that actually you can print fairly large. A lot of 3d printers take up extra space needed for their components or for whatever. This printer does have a screen, it doesn’t have anything extra really. It does have a really annoying beep for everything and a very bright light which is kind of annoying, but there’s nothing else that would take up real estate on your desk or your table. It’s just a very compact package and, printing at 180 x 180, that’s big enough to print most things people are going to need. If you get the extended one you go to 280 tall so you could print a pretty good size like vase, statue, or whatever part you needed. It prints very tall and still fits in a very small space. If you compare this to the Anycubic i3 Mega, which can print at 210 millimeters square vs the Cetus at 180 millimeter square, this is a huge printer in comparison and it’s still much smaller than a lot of other ones. The Cetus3D is much more dainty looking thing, but at the same time it’s still pretty rugged. Everything is screwed on, all the pieces are well put together, there are very few places for it to go wrong.

Reason Three: How easy it is to use. From turning it on to printing, I could define how to print pretty much anything in a paragraph. Do this, do this, do this, do this, do this, and do this: done. And 95% of the time they would be getting out great prints and not have to worry about it. With a printer that uses something like Cura or Simplify 3D you can do that for a lot of prints, but most of the time you’re going to want to adjust the settings at least a little bit every single time you print. Whether it’s because you’re changing filaments so you want to make the hot end a little bit hotter or cooler, or maybe your have a lot of like intricate work at the bottom so you want to make the first layer go really slow, or a whole lot of different reasons. Those are things you have to worry about with most FDM printers. You really don’t need to worry about that with the Cetus because the software it uses only works for Tiertime devices – Tiertime is the parent company – it covers all of that so, unless there was some reason you needed to drastically adjust the print head temperature or something like that, there’s isn’t many settings that you can change. Even in their software you can adjust the filament temperature up and down and that’s really about it. Other than that they have normal, fast, and fine print qualities. That’s it. You can it change the nozzles on the Mark II (it does have a removable nozzle which you can put in .2mm, .4mm, and .6mm print nozzles) and there’s a whole video I did about the quality differences between all those, but for the most part every single print is going to do the exact same thing. If you tell somebody how to print it once, they’ll know how to do it every single time going forward no matter what they’re printing. That’s great if you’re not very technologically savvy or you don’t want to deal with all these really intricate details all the time that you do with most other 3d printers. If you have a classroom environment and there’s a lot of people using the printer, and you don’t want to have to fiddle with everybody’s different requests, unless there is an extreme exception this is going to give you out a final print that is just exactly what you’re expecting.

As for what’s not great, most of the downsides for the Cetus have to do with price. For $500 it does not have a heated build plate, just this solid metal sheet. That’s fine for printing PLA, but if you wanted to do something else, something that required the heated build plate, it is not available outside of a beta add-on that is sold separately (so an additional added cost). There is a lot of competition for printers under $500. You can get something like the Anycubic for example, which is a printer that I’ve already done a review for. It’s a great printer I use it all the time and it costs roughly half the price of the Cetus, but it has the heated build plate, it has a much larger build area, it’s just not quite as user-friendly so it’s a little bit of a trade-off. If you’re new to 3D printers or you’re going to be interacting with a lot of people who are new to 3D printers then the Cetus is a great option, but I feel like that’s a very small market compared to somebody who are using as a hobbyist or somebody who actually wants to kind of wet their feet in 3D printing.

Another downside for the Cetus would be, well, the print quality. It’s great in terms of the accuracy of the parts, but you are forced to use a raft in most cases because of the way that the printer was designed, with the four screws at the bottom of the build area. So the raft is required and the way the raft they do the raft inside the Cetus software is smart in terms of speed, the raft goes down very fast and doesn’t add a whole lot of time to your printing, but it does lower the quality of the first layer in your print because they chose to do something for more speed. The bottom layer is a little more textured than something you would get on another 3D printer which would have a very flat, even surface on the bottom. Usually the bottom layer is the best layer, whereas on the Cetus it’s actually probably the worst.

So should you get one? If you can get the Cetus3D Mark II on sale then you might want to pick it up over the Mark III, but in most cases you’re going to want the Mark III. Should you get the Mark III? Unless you are really interested in their software experience or you are looking for something that has very reliable print quality, in most cases you’d be better off getting something for either less money or going for something the same amount of money with bigger build volume and more features. The Cetus is a little under featured for what it provides outside of its software. Its software is great if you are looking to just drag a file in a hit print and expect the file to be printed correctly. But if you are used to any other printer and you know that it does require a little bit of finesse to get each print exactly the way you want, you could save hundreds of dollars (or buy two printers) and be happy with that too.

There is really nothing out there like the Cetus, especially for $500 or under. It is really the closest thing we have to a 2D printer, a paper printer, but that handles 3D files. But at four to five hundred dollars, most people getting into 3D printing as a hobby are more likely going to be better off spending less money for more features or getting something with a bigger build volume that is a little bit more useful in the long run.

Print Nozzle Comparison: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SVw4w6aJcU
Unboxing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZD3hMt-PqzI

The Extruder V2 (with spring loaded lever) fitted with previous production batch is obsoleted due to reliability issue. If you have problem with your V2 extruder, please contact support team via support@cetus3d.com for assistance.

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Build Volume 180(W)x280(H)x180(D) mm

Cetus MKII improvements:

1. Changed some sheet metals parts and printed parts to injection molded and CNC machined parts.
2. Better wire management.
3. Z- axis holder installed by default.
4. Smaller and sturdier packaging.
5. Improved Z-axis for better print quality.

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