Excessive-Temperature Printing on a Finances

3D printers have a fame for being complicated and area of interest units, however the panorama has modified considerably in the previous couple of years. The latest technology of printers have significantly better construct high quality and may produce good outcomes out of the field with out the intimidating studying curve.

The Aquila S2 – made by Voxelab, a sub-brand of well-known Chinese language producer FlashForge – represents the newest iteration of the favored Aquila line of 3D fused deposition modeling (FDM) printers.

For the uninitiated, FDM printers work by heating filament materials, such because the generally used PLA, to a excessive temperature, then laying the molten plastic, layer by layer, to create a 3D object.  These sorts of printers are nice for printing every little thing from enjoyable toys or ornaments to the extra severe enterprise of making prototypes, with out the standard excessive related prices of doing that.

The S2 is successfully the flagship mannequin within the vary and improves on its siblings in a number of key methods: a model new, high-temperature hotend, a direct-drive extruder and a PEI coated construct plate (the magnetic, versatile, detachable sort). Briefly, this printer can print utilizing an enormous vary of various filament sorts that aren’t potential with different printers in the identical worth vary.


The Voxelab Aquila S2 comes surprisingly properly packaged in a field with all of the instruments you’ll must assemble it. Directions are in a printed handbook in addition to a PDF model on the included SD card.

The bottom is pre-assembled with a collection of profiles, rod, extruder and display that each one should be screwed collectively. Meeting is a reasonably easy activity, following the 9 steps documented within the handbook. 

Sadly not all of the elements are properly labelled, notably the screws, so a little bit of detective work is required. The entire course of took me simply over an hour, however anticipate it to take longer if this would be the first 3D printer you’ve constructed.

After meeting, the handbook gives directions for the way to stage the mattress – a handbook course of with this printer because it lacks a probe for computerized mattress levelling. Making the mattress completely stage is a essential step to make sure that the print head is a continuing distance from the mattress floor. With out performing this step, prints is not going to succeed.

Once more, the directions are quite fundamental right here and assume some prior information. If you’re not acquainted with mattress levelling, there are a lot of YouTube tutorials that specify the method in significantly better element. Particularly, the handbook provides no steerage on setting the z-offset, a step that’s essential to getting good first layer adhesion, even with a PEI mattress.  Regardless of the poor directions, mattress levelling was easy due to the chunky adjuster knobs.

The ultimate step earlier than printing is to load some filament. The directions say to chop the filament to a 45 diploma angle earlier than feeding into the extruder. Sadly a pair of filament cutters will not be included within the field (they’re with virtually each different 3D printer) so will should be bought individually.

A set of pre-sliced take a look at prints are included on the SD card, so you can begin printing as quickly as you’ve levelled the mattress and loaded some filament. Voxelab included some geometric shapes to check the calibration, a hook and, extra usefully, a toolbox that may be connected to the facet of the printer. All these take a look at fashions printed cleanly and with out difficulty. 

To help with testing, Voxelab equipped a reel of rainbow PLA filament which produced eye-catching outcomes with bigger prints.

Options & Design

Direct-drive extruder, hotend able to 300°C
Detachable magnetic PEI textured construct plate
Construct quantity: 220x220x240mm
4.3in display with rotary management

At first look it’s straightforward to confuse the Voxelab Aquila line of 3D printers with the favored Creality Ender v3 – no shock as the bottom mannequin is actually a clone.  However with this new S2 mannequin, Voxelab appears to be making an attempt to interrupt away from clone standing by together with a higher-spec hotend, able to reaching 300°C and a versatile magnetic PEI coated construct plate

The headline change within the S2 mannequin is the inclusion of a brand new direct drive extruder.  Earlier Aquila fashions had a less-capable Bowden extruder, which separates the motor from the print head to scale back weight on the x-axis gantry. With a direct drive extruder, the motor is coupled with the printhead, decreasing the space that the filament has to journey earlier than being melted – important for printing with versatile filaments like TPU.

Voxelab has additionally fitted the S2 with an all-metal hotend that’s able to heating filament to 300°C.  Most different 3D printers on this worth vary can solely warmth filament to round 250°C.  This implies with the S2 you’ve got the potential for printing with a wide variety of various filament sorts that may produce smoother or stronger elements – similar to carbon fibre-infused PETG.

One other welcome addition to the S2 is the magnetic versatile PEI coated construct plate.  The mattress itself is heated to assist prints stick higher – however the PEI coating is a recreation changer. Merely put, prints stick higher to PEI than to glass and don’t require use of further sprays and glues to get good first-layer adhesion.

I discovered that I used to be capable of print most elements with out using a brim.  Prints stick so properly to the PEI plate that getting them off can generally be a problem. Nevertheless, quite than utilizing a device to take away prints and threat damaging the PEI coating, you’ll be able to merely carry off the magnetic plate and flex it barely. Then, prints simply pop off.

The S2 is offered with a alternative of various mainboard variations: N32 and H32.  I examined an N32 model, however for many customers there must be no distinction between the 2.  Superior customers ought to be capable of set up customized firmware to both mannequin.

Notice that the display is managed utilizing a rotary dial: it is not a touchscreen, so is not fairly as straightforward to make use of.


Cura and Voxelmaker slicing software program comes included on the SD card together with the related settings and profiles. Slicing software program is used to show 3D fashions into directions the printer understands to be able to construct fashions layer by layer. I opted to make use of Cura because it’s just about the de facto normal slicing software program for 3D printers.

As is frequent, it was an older model of Cura, so I downloaded the newest model for this assessment. Some preliminary setup is required to configure a brand new printer in Cura, however following the included directions this solely took a couple of minutes.

As is custom, the primary mannequin I tried print was a 3DBenchy – a enjoyable torture take a look at that’s designed to assist calibrate 3D printers. The Aquila S2 was capable of efficiently print the half first time with out use of a brim or raft.  The end result was impressively clear with out stringing or apparent defects.

As soon as a print is in progress, many settings – similar to z-offset & print pace – could be modified on the fly from the management display. This may be helpful for experimentation however for consistency, as soon as recognized, these settings must be entered extra completely in Cura.

To actually take a look at its precision, I attempted printing a big number of fashions, together with many who featured articulated print-in-place joints. And the outcomes have been spectacular.

Voxelab claims that the S2 produces 50dB of noise throughout regular operation.  I wasn’t capable of measure this, however continuously had the printer operating on my desk whereas working and making video conferencing calls with out issues.

The S2 is supplied with silent stepper drives, so the vast majority of the noise comes from the cooling followers and is definitely suppressed by noise-cancelling capabilities in Groups and Zoom – excellent for long-running prints. I wouldn’t suggest sleeping in the identical room because the operating printer although!

Worth & Availability

The Aquila S2 with N32 mainboard could be purchased straight from the Voxelab web site for US$299. The H32 model prices $10 much less. In case you’re in Australia or the US, delivery is free. 

As you’ll be able to solely pay in US {dollars} the worth needs to be transformed for different currencies. In UK kilos it really works out to round £400 as soon as supply is factored in. Nevertheless, the excellent news for UK readers is that the S2 can be accessible from Amazon for the way more affordable worth of £279 with free supply.

The unique Aquila base mannequin can nonetheless be discovered on-line for round £160. This differs from S2 in solely the high-temperature hotend and PEI construct plate, which could be upgraded to match for a decrease total worth. However for individuals who are new to 3D printing, or who aren’t assured to carry out these upgrades, set up customized firmwares and calibrate steps, the S2 is value the additional cash for the comfort it gives.


In case you’re occupied with stepping into 3D printing with excessive temperature filaments, the S2 is a superb, fairly priced possibility. The printer consists of a number of quality-of-life enhancements over the bottom Aquila, together with a direct drive extruder and versatile magnetic PEI base. If there’s one grievance, it’s the shortage of auto mattress levelling, however as soon as stage, the Aquila S2 may be very succesful and reliably produces high-quality prints.

In case you should have computerized mattress levelling, then take into account the Anycubic Vyper or, after all, the Creality Ender three v2 which is offered with a CR Contact package for $285 / £249 on the time of this assessment. Neither of these can attain 300°C although: the Vyper tops out at 260 and the Ender at 240.

Voxelab Aquila S2: Specs

FDM 3D printer

Nozzle Diameter 0.4mm

Most Extruder Temperature =300?

Print Velocity =180 mm/s, 30-60 mm/s

Most platform Temperature =100?

Filament Compatibility: Finest with PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU

Print PLA-CF, PETG-CF, PET-CF, PA12-CF, PA, PC with hardened nozzle

Construct quantity 220*220*240mm

Layer Thickness 0.1mm-0.4mm

Print Decision ±0.2mm

Printer Dimension 485*344*382(402)mm

Display 4.3inch display

Weight 8kg

Enter AC 115/230V 50/60HZ

Energy 350w

Connectivity USB / Reminiscence card offline printing

Operating Noise 50dB

Working Surroundings 15-30?

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