The Monoprice Duplicator I3 V2 is a 3D printer such as the Reprap Prusa i3. In this article I will be presenting a review of the Monoprice Duplicator I3. I will also share the pros and cons of this machine and why I continue to rely on it as my go to printer. First please understand that I do not work for or represent Monoprice, Wanhao or any clone company with this printer for sale. My thoughts and opinons of this printer are my own and I have not been influenced by any manufacturer or retailer.
Wanhao and Monoprice
The Monoprice Duplicator I3 was originally a Reprap Prusa i3 low cost clone manufactured and sold by Wanhao. Wanhao allows other such as Monoprice to put their label and name on this inexpensive printer and sale it. This was my first printer and for me price was the biggest selling point. I read many reviews on many different Do-It-Yourself (DIY) kits with an eye on their price. Eventually I found articles showing the Duplicators price and ease of assembly as an incredible buy for this 3D printer. I looked online and found Monoprice had the best prices in the US so I purchased my printer from them. I also looked at Wanhao but found many a review stating that where long waits for their products between when you ordered your printer and received it.
My Printer Arrives
My printer arrived in less than a week and I soon found myself looking through Thingiverse for my perfect first print. I couldn’t just chose something easy, so I chose to print the articulated Dragon. I quickly loaded the filament and started my print. Immediately I learned about leveling and ended up with my first wad of filament spaghetti. I have since learned how to printed and what the optimal settings for my printer should be. In this review my Duplicator I3 has had its bad and good moments. A little advice for you new owners out there is be patient, most problems that you will have, are caused by rushing and not following all the steps in the printing process.
The Duplicator is an easy to setup machine right out of the box. You literally only have to install 6 screws and you are ready to print. The printer has a 200 x 200 x 180 mm print volume, a very respectable volume for this type printer. The documentation states that it can use ABS or PLA 1.75mm filament and even comes with their brand of a build surface. The bed is heated (not found in most cheap printers) and it comes with a detailed instruction manual. You can hook to your computer directly via a USB cable or you can print through and micro SD card. The machine came with an SD card, sharp specula (for print removal), wire rod (to clear the extruder) and one drill bit for clearing the nozzle. The Duplicator also has a huge base of users and modifications to draw from to improve its printing quality.
Folks say you get what you pay for, which in the case of the Duplicator, as it is in a category set between cheap and affordable is like that of a double edged sword. This printer can be very fast but at a cost. Prints may not be the best quality and may even fail more often. As such it is recommended by most owners to keep the print speed reduced. The Duplicator I3 uses the MELZI V3.5 mainboard. Printings with ABS or even flexible filaments don’t always work as expected. The hotbed circuit should not be pushed past 70c. Some users have had their printer start to smoke as the mainboard overheats. This has been my experience also when I attempted to print in ABS and ran the heated bed at 95c for extended periods of time. I have since replaced my main board and installed a MOSFIT in my control box. The MOSFIT allows you to operate at high temperatures safely without stressing your mainboard. The firmware can’t be easily updated and there is no auto leveling, nor can one be installed as the MELZI mainboard doesn’t have enough memory to support it.
Final Review Thoughts
This is an excellent choice for the money but it should be realized that the Duplicator is not going to operate like that of its more expensive cousins and may not have all the bells and whistles found in those models. But for a beginning or learning machine it is quite valuable. I would recommend this machine to any first time user looking at joining this hobby. Since my purchase of this machine I have purchased two others and have enjoyed them just as much as my first. I personally find them easy to operate and easy to maintain.