DJI Spark Unboxing: The $350 Drone

We unbox and give an overview of the base level DJI Spark. While this isn’t technically the cheapest drone that DJI offers (hello, Trello), this is the cheapest one most people should consider. This isn’t the Fly More Combo so it doesn’t come with most things that would make it useful for pros, but if you want just the basics then DJI has you covered.

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Cetus3D MKII Extended 3D Printer: Unboxing & First Print

We unbox, assemble, and try out the new Cetus3D MKII Extended 3D printer. The extended version is identical to the normal version except for the larger z-height build dimensions. For $300-$400, is this quirky 3D printer a winner?

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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.

Anycubic i3 Mega 3D Printer Review

The Anycubic i3 Mega is a solid low-price 3D printer. While it doesn’t have the larger print size of the Creality CR-10 or the bargain-bin pricing of the Ender 2, it does bring a lot of things to the table that make it worth the money.

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First off, what comes in the box. The i3 Mega comes with literally everything you will need to start printing and then some. Full kilo of PLA? Check. Spool holder? Check. Metal print spatula? Check. Extruder cleaning tweezers? Check. Filament Cutter? Check. Spare extruder? Check. SD card loaded with software and decent USB cable? Check. Literally everything you need to print, mess-up, and print again is in the box. Not bad for under $350.

Next on the list of unique selling points is ULTRABASE, a feature so good that it makes removing printed parts from the bed as easy as picking up printed parts from the bed. No prying, no bending, no effort needed at all. That isn’t to say it is perfect. You’ll need to wait for the bed to cool before removing the part which does take a few minutes. You’ll also need to print the first layer slower and potentially thicker than with other bed solutions (for me .1mm didn’t seem to stick well at all). And finally small prints don’t adhere very well to it, so you may need to use a raft if you find your prints being knocked over. But as a one-stop solution for adhering your prints, it’s a great option.

Finally, the other main selling point is the build quality. This printer is built like a tank and is very simple to assemble. The entire chassis is metal, rigid, and self-contained. No separate hardware box like on the CR-10. It also has two z-axis motors and screws for extra stability, something you only get on the CR-10S. The color touchscreen and full-size SD slot makes it easy load and print, especially for beginners. The bed calibration screws are also tool-less and easy to use.

But the selling points don’t stop there. It also comes standard with a filament sensor, again something you need to pony up for the CR-10S to get, most i3 Megas can upgrade their drivers to TMC2208s for silent operation, and the heated bed can hit 120c right out of the box for easier ABS printing (You need to mod your CR-10 to hit close to those temps).

So what are the downsides? The print dimensions are only 210 x 210 x 205mm. Respectable, but by no means large. The print speed isn’t very fast, usually around 60mm/s. The Prusa Mk3 can approach 4x that speed. And the fans on this printer are LOUD. Many people replace the fans, but the stock ones are louder than most. It’s also not an enclosed build area, so you may need to enclose it to print ABS parts. One feature the i3 has is the ability to resume printing after a power failure, but it’s uses are limited since the ULTRABASE lets go of the part when it cools, as it would in a power failure, so it would only work for pauses less than a minute or two. I’m also not a fan of the faceplate since it’s just a sticker with a robot for some reason. And finally, some of the newer i3’s don’t allow for easy driver updates so it may be something to ask if you plan on upgrading to TMC2208s.

But in the end, should you get one? As with almost all 3D printing questions it comes down to price. How much are you willing to spend? A Prusa MK3 is equal to or better than the i3 in every way except build quality, but it also costs 3X as much. A CR-10S matches the feature set and expands the build volume, but is considerably larger and costs 50% more. A regular CR-10 can be had for about the same price, but if you don’t need the build volume it doesn’t have any features the i3 lacks.

For roughly $350 the Anycubic i3 Mega is simply one the most well-built, full-featured 3D printers around. It’s frequently on sale for around $300 so, if you can get it for that price, it’s an absolutely no-brainer. If you don’t need a bigger print volume or an enclosed build area, this is the printer to get.

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Cooking on a 3D Printer! Eggs on the Anycubic i3 Mega

3D printers are very useful devices, but can they be used to cook food? Going with the old adage, you could cook an egg on it, we decided to put that to the test.

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We decided to print a container to cook the egg in first as we thought this would be the cleanest way too cook. Once the print was done we heated the bed to as high as it would go, 120C on the Anycubic i3 Mega, we plopped in an egg and waited.

Sadly it was then we noticed that cooking an egg in a white container is about as interesting as watching paint dry so we added some egg white directly to the print bed. Time to test out if ULTRABASE works on eggs.

Once the egg seemed done, using the egg white as a baseline, we removed the container and, surprise surprise, it was actually cooked. The yolk was just starting to harden so if you were looking for something a bit more runny you could take the egg off sooner. I would suggest using food-grade PLA for this, but what we tasted, well, tasted like eggs.

As for the ULTRABASE? Yeah, not so ultra with eggs. Going to need some serious TLC to get that off.

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Anycubic i3 Mega TMC2208 Silent Mod

We install TMC2208’s into our Anycubic i3 Mega with Ultrabase. You can also do this with TMC2100 and TMC2130, but the TMC2208 requires minimal effort and gives excellent results.

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The Anycubic i3 Mega is a good 3d printer, but like most 3d printers it can be a lot more noisy than you’d want. Noise from a printer comes from two sources: Fans and motors. Since the motor noise isn’t constant it is usually the most noticeable. Upgrading the drivers to TMC2208’s should make a big difference.

To get an understanding of how much noise the motors make, we first need to baseline the printer when just the fans are running. A max of 67 decibels isn’t quiet, but we’ll leave the fan noise for a later upgrade.

When printing a fairly easy print, in this case a desk hook, we see decibels peak at over 75. That is definitely loud and has past “irritating” and is halfway towards “unpleasant”. Let’s get started with this upgrade.

The first thing we need to do is disassemble the printer. Luckily this is pretty straightforward. Just removed the bolts from the sides, slide the base out from the extruder, and then remove the small bolts along the underside edges of the base.

Next we remove the two bolts that hold in the fan and bend the fan bracket back slightly, giving us access to the drivers. We can then remove the 5 drivers from the board, being careful to not bend the pins.

We can then attach the heat-sinks to the back of the TMC2208 drivers and install them in the same location as the original drivers. Be sure to install them in the correct orientation, which for me was having the blue driver pins facing the front of the case.

Next we need to reverse the cable orientation for the motors. Using needle-nose pliers you can pull out the 5 occupied white guide brackets. You can reinstall them backwards if you want, but I chose to leave them out. Then Reconnect the wires with the connectors reversed. Take a picture to reference back to if needed.

Finally, we’ll want to calibrate the driver voltages. In reality they should come tuned for 1.2 volts which will work, but most recommend using something a bit lower. I decided to go with .85 volts. There are a few places you can touch to check the voltage, but I found the bottom right hole and the top left ground connector to be easiest. Make sure your voltmeter is set to DC. If the voltage is too high you can loosen the bottom screw slightly, if too low you can tighten it. I used the included non-conductive screwdriver to be safe. Once all 5 drivers are set we can reassemble the printer.

With these new drivers, printing the same part as before, the decibel reading is now peaking at 68, only 1 above the base fan noise and 7x quieter than before. They are definitely not silent, but they are now quiet enough that I don’t mind having the printer run in the other room all night. This is what all printers should use from now on, and for $30 it’s a great upgrade for the Anycubic i3 Mega.

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Anycubic i3 Mega Ultrabase: Unboxing and First Print

We assemble and print with the updated Anycubic i3 Mega with Ultrabase. This is a Prusa i3 clone with a steel construction and a special glass bed that makes prints easy to remove when the bed cools.

For under $400 this is one of the better printers available and comes with everything you’ll need to get started. While not as big as the CR-10, the build quality is a bit higher and having the internals underneath does make the unit require less desk space.

Have questions or know what we should test or try next? Let us know!

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Technology: FDM (Fused Deposition Modeling)
Build Size: 210 x 210 x 205(mm)
Layer Resolution: 0.1-0.4mm
Positioning Accuracy: XY:0.0125mm,Z:0.0025mm
Extruder Quantity: Single
Nozzle/Filament Diameter: 0.4 mm/1.75mm
Print Speed: 20-60mm/s
Travel Speed: 60mm/s
Supported Filament Materials: PLA, ABS, HIPS, Wood
Operational Extruder Temperature: max 260C
Operational Heatbed Temperature: max 100C
Input rating: 110V/220V AC,50/60Hz
Working Voltage: 12V DC
Printer Dimensions: 410*475*458mm
Net Weight: 7.8kg

Slicer Software: Cura
Software Input Formats: .STL, .OBJ, .AMF
Software Output Formats: GCode
Connectivity: SD card; USB port(expert users only)

Packing List :
1*Prusa i3 3D Printer Kits
1*SD card(8G)
1*SD card reader
1*PLA filament(1 KG)
1*Pack of tools