Lotmaxx Shark V2 3D Printer Evaluation: Jack of all Trades, Grasp of None

Immediately’s greatest Lotmaxx Shark V2 offers

The Lotmaxx Shark V2, promoting for a retail worth of $499, stands out among the many competitors by not solely providing twin extruders for 3D printing a number of colours or supplies, but in addition offering a laser engraver module that ships with the printer and will be put in in beneath 5 minutes. The construct quantity of the Shark is barely bigger than different printers on this worth vary (235 x 235 x 265mm) and the 290W energy provide heats each the extruder and heated mattress quickly. The included 1600mW laser engraver works nicely when engraving wooden, however the frustratingly sluggish pace will possible flip off most customers.

Printing with twin extruders could be a problem because of the enhanced degree of calibration required to make sure the offset between nozzles is right. Lotmaxx has solved this drawback by having a pair of extruders each feed right into a single nozzle; permitting the printer to swap between materials colours throughout a print while not having a second sizzling finish meeting. Whereas this can be a novel thought in concept, in observe it made fashions that suffered from shade bleed from the fabric purging course of. Additionally be aware that each filaments have to be of the identical sort so you may’t use PVA, which dissolves in water, in your assist materials and PLA for the remaining.

The lofty targets of the Shark V2 and the considerably disappointing actuality of the machine preserve this printer from being among the finest 3D printers, but it surely’s nonetheless a superb deal for anybody fascinated about printing with two extruders or utilizing a low-cost laser engraver.

  • Lotmaxx Shark V2 (Blue) at Amazon for $439.99

Specs of Lotmaxx Shark V2

Machine Footprint 17.4 x 18.3 x 19.2 inches (443mm x 466 x 488mm)
Construct Quantity 9.3 x 9.3 x 10.4 inches (235mm x 235mm x 265mm)
Materials 1.75mm PLA, PLA+, ABS
Nozzle .4mm
Construct Platform Heated Detachable Textured Versatile Platform
Connectivity USB, microSD
Interface 4.3-inch Coloration Touchscreen LCD
Laser Energy  1600mW
Laser Supplies Leather-based, Paper, Wooden

Unpacking and Assembling the Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The Lotmaxx Shark V2 contains all of the equipment you’ll count on from a printer on this worth vary together with a steel scraper, a set of Allen keys, a screwdriver, a microSD card and USB reader, a USB cable, and a pair of 200g spools of filament. The Shark V2 contains the second extruder in addition to the laser engraver module in two separate packing containers, together with a set of tinted security goggles to put on whereas the laser engraver is operating.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The Lotmaxx Shark V2 is someplace between a totally assembled printer and a DIY equipment and took me about 20 minutes to fully put collectively. The body has already been wired, and there are only some electrical connections to make on the printer to get it up and operating. It is a a lot sooner course of than assembling a DIY equipment printer just like the Voxelab Aquila X2, which takes about an hour to completely assemble from a field of components. 

The Shark V2 is a twin extruder 3D printer, which implies it’s able to printing two supplies concurrently through the use of a pair of extruder mechanisms to feed materials to the new finish. The primary extruder is mounted to the X-axis gantry, which is the standard mounting level for an extruder and comes pre-installed on the Shark V2. The second extruder is included in a field that comprises the extruder motor, extruder module, filament run-out sensor, and a cable to connect with the entrance of the printer.

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The second extruder attaches to the highest of the body, and feeds filament down the dual-input sizzling finish. Sadly, the PTFE tube included with the printer was too quick to attach from the highest extruder to the new finish coupler, which restricts the motion of the extruder module. That is a straightforward drawback to unravel (I had an additional PTFE tube that was lengthy sufficient to make use of), but it surely’s a transparent high quality difficulty to ship the machine with an improperly-cut tube. I reached out to Lotmaxx to request a substitute, and so they had been capable of present a substitute that was lengthy sufficient to make use of with the second extruder.

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Design of Lotmaxx Shark V2

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The Lotmaxx Shark V2 stands out from virtually each different i3-frame 3D printer I’ve ever seen because of the cool gray aluminum extrusions used for the body, versus the rather more frequent black aluminum extrusions discovered on printer just like the Elegoo Neptune 2. It’s a novel look, and it additionally matches with the ‘Shark’ motif of the printer.

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The recent finish module on the Shark V2 is one other distinctive design; that includes twin half cooling followers on either side of the new finish in addition to a heatbreak cooling fan mounted to the entrance. These followers are low-noise, a super match for the TMC2208 silent stepper drivers which permit the Shark V2 to print at a cushty quantity that shall be acceptable in most environments.

The recent finish itself has two filament inputs and a single output nozzle, and makes use of just one heating aspect and thermistor. This distinctive nozzle permits for multi-color printing utilizing two extruders with out requiring a separate nozzle meeting, which cuts down dramatically on the quantity of calibration required between nozzles.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The belts on the X and Y axis on the Shark V2 are adjustable, however this adjustment requires loosening a number of bolts, placing pressure on the loafer bracket, after which tightening every thing again up. It is a tough course of that looks like it might be simpler with three palms, and including a tensioning knob to every axis like those discovered on the Voxelab Aquila X2 would make this a a lot simpler course of. These changes sometimes don’t have to be executed typically, however the Shark V2 arrived with the Y belt virtually solely slack because of the bracket coming free throughout delivery.

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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After I went to load filament by way of the first extruder, I may see the extruder motor turning however the filament wasn’t advancing. This was as a result of the drive gear had come free from the motor shaft and the tooth weren’t making contact with the filament. Fixing this required eradicating the loafer arm from the extruder, tightening the grub screw on the gear flush towards the machined flat face on the shaft, and changing the loafer arm. This isn’t an inconceivable repair for many customers, however somebody not conversant in 3D printers would possible have points figuring out, diagnosing, and reseating the drive gear.

Person Interface on Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The 4.3-inch shade touchscreen LCD utilized by the Lotmaxx Shark V2 as an interface is a novel one which looks as if it might be extra at house on a chunk of business workplace tools than a 3D printer. The LCD is housed in a plastic enclosure that may be faraway from the printer with out interrupting the prints. The show sits on an angled bracket on the correct aspect of the Shark V2 and contains a clear (if not considerably underwhelming) consumer interface.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The LCD is related to the Shark V2 through a curly wire with an RJ-11 terminal, much like what you’ll discover on a landline phone. At first, I didn’t perceive the advantage of having a detachable LCD, however after holding it in my proper hand whereas I make changes to the printer with my left I can see that it’s going to be laborious to return to utilizing a hard and fast show. Within the grand scheme of this machine, it’s simply one other characteristic that makes the Shark V2 stand out from different FDM 3D printers on this worth vary.

Construct Platform on Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The construct platform on the Lotmaxx Shark V2 is a metal sheet with a textured floor that’s held in place with magnets beneath the heated construct plate. This fashion of platform is right for eradicating components, as it may be bent to permit components to detach effortlessly after cooling and it’s one in every of my favourite types of construct platform on any form of 3D printer.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

Sadly, the construct platform on my evaluate unit arrived critically warped, with the perimeters curling up in addition to a big dip within the middle. This meant that calibrating the printer was a problem, because the uneven peaks and valleys of the construct platform wanted to be anticipated when making ready information for printing. The heated aluminum plate that the platform attaches to is flat, however the magnets put in beneath weren’t sturdy sufficient to tug the platform flush with the floor. I reached out to Lotmaxx, and the corporate shipped me a substitute mattress that was completely flush with the construct platform, confirming that the problems I had had been from a defect.

Calibrating and Leveling Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

Calibrating the construct plate on an FDM printer could be a time-consuming ordeal, and Lotmaxx has created a semi-automated course of to assist scale back the period of time required. The construct platform has 4 thumbscrews which are used to regulate the peak of every nook of the mattress. Calibrating the Shark V2 merely requires transferring the print head to every nook and adjusting the peak till a chunk of paper has a lightweight drag when held between the nozzle and the platform.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

Utilizing the touchscreen LCD, the Shark V2 will robotically transfer the print head to a specified location and set off the Z endstop, successfully bottoming out the nozzle. As soon as the print head has been parked, every nook will be adjusted earlier than transferring on to the subsequent one.

This course of often takes two or three cycles to get an ideal calibration, however the faulty, warped construct platform on our Shark V2 made this a tough job at first. Nonetheless, as soon as the corporate despatched us a substitute construct platform, the leveling course of was easy. As with most defects on evaluate items we take a look at, we’ve got no approach of figuring out whether or not this can be a frequent drawback that impacts many different customers or simply our dangerous luck.

Single Extruder Printing on the Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The Lotmaxx Shark V2 contains a number of take a look at information on the microSD card, together with a number of single extruder prints, twin extruder prints, and ready .gcode information for the laser engraver. I needed to confirm the performance of the first extruder and the movement system of the machine, so I began with the only extruder demo prints included with the printer. I used one of many included 200g spools of fabric, a PLA filament in a brilliant inexperienced shade.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The ‘LSC10S_Lucky Cat.gcode’ file printed in 1 hour and 12 minutes, and used 20 grams of filament. It is a cheap period of time and materials for a take a look at, and the Shark V2 efficiently accomplished with none mechanical points. Sadly, the layers had a number of bubbles and voids all through in addition to stringing between the ears, each typical indicators of filament that has absorbed moisture or is in any other case inconsistent in diameter.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The ‘LSC10S_dog.gocde’ printed in about the identical period of time and used the same quantity of fabric, and had the identical material-related points because the cat mannequin. Lotmaxx did a superb job deciding on the take a look at prints, and I’m happy with the slicer settings used to generate these two fashions.

Twin Extruder Printing on the Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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One of many main promoting factors of the Lotmaxx Shark V2 is the power to print two supplies concurrently utilizing the included twin extruder setup. After putting in the second extruder, I ran the ‘LSC10S_bicolor-dragon.gcode’ file, which produces a two shade mannequin of a dragon clutching a cartoon coronary heart. Utilizing Prusa Silver PLA materials within the main extruder and ttyt3D rainbow PLA within the secondary extruder, this mannequin printed out with none of the material-related problems with the only extruder prints.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The twin extruder mechanism utilized by the Shark V2 pushes each supplies by way of the identical nozzle, so the printer has to purge any extra materials earlier than loading the subsequent filament, after which should prime the nozzle to keep away from any air bubbles from inflicting points with the next extrusion. To resolve each of those issues concurrently, the printer creates a purge tower on the entrance proper of the construct platform, which it makes use of to change between supplies. This will likely seem to be a waste of fabric, however for context, the load of the purge tower is 13 grams, whereas the load of the dragon mannequin is 30 grams.

Slicing Software program for Lotmaxx Shark V2

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As a substitute of making their very own proprietary slicer app for the Shark V2, Lotmaxx has opted to create a profile for Ultimaker Cura, a well-liked and widely-adopted app that provides superior performance in addition to native twin extruder assist. It is a good transfer from Lotmaxx; it is ready to profit from the massive neighborhood of Cura customers to fine-tune the offered profiles while not having to create a complete app from scratch.

(Picture credit score: Ultimaker)

Along with the fundamental single extruder slicer controls provided by Cura, the app additionally contains sturdy twin extruder assist which is right for the distinctive ‘two-in-one-out’ method utilized by Lotmaxx. The newest construct of Cura (4.11.0 as of the writing of this text) features a profile for the Shark with all the settings dialed in for the machine. The twin extrusion settings have already been set by Lotmaxx, however you may dial them in for speciality purposes (assigning one extruder to print infill solely, for instance).

Ultimaker Cura Draft Settings for Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Ultimaker)

Layer Top 0.2 mm
Infill Share 15%, Grid
Print Pace 45mm/second
Extruder Temperature 200 levels Celsius (392 levels Fahrenheit)
Heated Mattress Temp 50 levels Celsius (122 levels Fahrenheit)
Print Time 2 Hours, 36 Minutes

A perennial favourite for testing out the performance of 3D printers, the 3DBenchy mannequin is offered in each single, twin, and multicolor variations for testing out the performance of a machine. I used the twin shade model of the Benchy from Thingiverse, and used Printed Stable Beige 500 PLA as the first shade and Prusa Jet Black PLA because the secondary shade. I didn’t make any changes to the offered profile from Lotmaxx and used a .2mm ‘Draft’ profile, which prints at a pace of 45mm/sec.

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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It grew to become clear throughout printing that the mannequin had some shade bleed; the quantity of fabric being purged wasn’t sufficient to fully clear out the nozzle, leading to layers that had a visual quantity of the earlier shade in them. This meant the sunshine layers on the hull had a darkish tint to them, and the darkish layers on the trim had some seen beige materials on the seams. At about 2 hours into the print, the nozzle grew to become clogged and the print stopped. It may be laborious to diagnose points like this, however my first thought was the quantity of fabric being purged wasn’t adequate to completely clear the nozzle earlier than loading the subsequent shade.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

Contemplating that this was a take a look at utilizing the default settings, it stands to cause that Lotmaxx has created a Cura profile with a conservatively sized purge tower. This purge tower was designed to print with out utilizing an excessive amount of time or materials, on the expense of layers that don’t have a clear separation between them. The geometry of the Benchy itself appears good; the small print are seen and sharp, however the shade bleed is distracting from the standard of the print itself.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

This shade bleed can also be noticeable on the included butterfly take a look at print; discover the orange turns into lighter as you progress from left to proper. The extruder initially nonetheless has some blue materials left within the nozzle, and it’s progressively purged because the extruder strikes from physique to physique. The dragon mannequin doesn’t endure from this difficulty, as a result of the print is just two giant our bodies as an alternative of a number of smaller ones. The benchy has a number of small options that have to be extruded individually, so there isn’t sufficient time to completely purge the filament between options.

Ultimaker Cura Regular Settings for Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Ultimaker)

Layer Top 0.15mm
Infill Share 10%, Line
Print Pace 45mm/second
Extruder Temperature 200 levels Celsius (392 levels Fahrenheit)
Heated Mattress Temp 50 levels Celsius (122 levels Fahrenheit)
Print Time 5 Hours, 59 Minutes

The two-color tree frog from Nervous System is an ideal instance of the kind of advanced geometry that may be created with a twin extruder system. At first look, it seems the traces on the print are drawn on organically, however the mannequin is made the identical as every other FDM 3D printed mannequin; one layer at a time. I used the ‘Regular’ print profile in Cura for this mannequin, which prints fashions at a layer top of .15mm (150 microns).

As a result of the Benchy mannequin had some shade bleed between layers, I elevated the scale of the prime tower from 20mm to 35mm and elevated the minimal quantity from 30 to 50 mm3, which is able to purge extra materials after swapping between filaments. This will increase the quantity of fabric used within the print in addition to the print time, however ought to create a cleaner transition between colours.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The bigger prime tower appeared to assist the colour transitions, and it was laborious to search out any layers that seemed to be a mix of colours. Nonetheless, the .15mm layer top seemed to be a bit finer than the Shark V2 was capable of print when swapping colours so many instances, and there have been some blobs and small retraction marks unfold all through the mannequin. Printing this half utilizing a .2mm layer top would have most certainly resulted in the next high quality mannequin, which could appear counterintuitive. The thicker layers could be extra forgiving of small blobs and defects, whereas they bounce out and are extra readily seen on the thinner .15mm layer top.

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Usually talking, this can be a fairly good print for a twin extruder 3D printer that’s utilizing a mostly-stock profile. Twin extruder printers are usually tough to dial in as a result of all the issues you’ll usually have (moist filament, inconsistent extrusions, retraction blobs) should not solely all nonetheless current, however have been doubled because of the addition of a second full extruder. The 2-in-one-out sizzling finish utilized by Lotmaxx is an effective method to keep away from the calibration points often current in machines with impartial sizzling ends, however there can even be some tweaking concerned relying in your particular utility.

Laser Engraver Attachment for Lotmaxx Shark V2

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

One other distinctive characteristic of the Lotmaxx Shark V2 is the included laser engraver module. This engraver contains a 24V 1600mW 445nm laser which is able to engraving wooden, leather-based, paper and extra. Lotmaxx has additionally included a pair of security goggles with this laser, so it’s value taking a second to elucidate how vital security is when utilizing the laser attachment on the Shark V2.

Lasers create a radiation hazard that may trigger on the spot eye injury if the consumer is uncovered on to a beam. Utilizing the included goggles is an effective method to stop injury to the eyes of the consumer sporting them, however the hazard is persistent to anybody who can also be inside seen vary of the machine. Sometimes, laser engravers will ship with a lid that should stay closed in the course of the engraving course of that makes use of a filtering panel to forestall any radiation from leaking out.

When utilizing the engraver module, it’s essential to put on the goggles always to forestall injury to your eyes. As well as, solely use the laser module in a ventilated room to forestall a build-up of smoke or different particulates from the fabric being engraved.

Laser Engraver Check Prints for Lotmaxx Shark V2

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To check out the performance of the laser engraver module, Lotmaxx has included three ready information on the microSD card. Sadly, there is no such thing as a method to preview these fashions with out truly operating them, which implies it’s inconceivable to inform the place they’ll print on the platform or how a lot area they’ll take up. Contemplating that the Lotmaxx Shark V2 solely contains two sheets of plywood, I used to be involved about ruining them each with take a look at prints.

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx Shark V2

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The laser engraver strikes agonizingly slowly, and the journey pace is identical because the snail’s tempo skilled throughout engraving. For reference, the above take a look at engraving took 4 hours and 50 minutes, and it measured simply over 5 inches by 4 inches. Analyzing the .gcode file revealed an engraving pace of 0.833mm/s, a far cry from the 45mm/sec reached throughout 3D printing. I reached out to Adam Haile, an engineer who works on the LightBurn laser engraving software program, and he confirmed a laser of this wattage ought to take nearer to twenty minutes or so to create an engraving of this dimension.

Laser Engraver Software program for Lotmaxx Shark V2

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Lotmaxx contains an app for making ready pictures for the laser engraver, but it surely’s fairly bare-bones and has some regarding errors (Lotmaxx even spelled its personal identify incorrectly within the title of the app). The app lets you import a picture in both black and white or grayscale, and likewise features a textual content editor that may allow you to create your personal textual content. The documentation within the consumer guide is fairly sparse, so fields like “Power” and “Work” (which appear fairly vital) aren’t clearly outlined.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The UI of this software program is extremely irritating; clicking on the image you import will often trigger it to show fully black, which requires you to reload it. There doesn’t appear to be a method to generate a toolpath preview, and it’s not clear when you’re making a file whether or not or not the picture shall be a top level view, hatched, or crammed.

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The ‘Error Distribution’ discipline contains quite a lot of names that may not bounce out to most customers, however they’re named after numerous dithering algorithms utilized by picture processors. “Floy” is most certainly the Floyd-Steinberg dithering algorithm, a standard algorithm used for this fashion of labor. These processors convert pictures into patterns that may be created with the laser engraver, however providing six of them with no rationalization of their results shall be of restricted use to most customers.

Backside Line

(Picture credit score: Tom’s {Hardware})

The Lotmaxx Shark V2 is a wildly bold machine on paper; it options twin extruders, a laser engraver, a inflexible aluminum body in a novel shade and extra for beneath $500. Sadly, the machine did not dwell as much as its potential throughout testing, and it appeared like a machine that gave acceptable outcomes for every mode and didn’t appear to excel at anyone factor specifically. 

The twin extruders of the Shark V2 offered colourful components, however the software program profile for the printer would require some adjusting to get probably the most out of this {hardware}. The laser engraver is a probably harmful accent that operates at a a lot lower-than-expected pace, and I think that it’ll not see heavy use from most customers.

The problems I had with the {hardware} of the machine had been all resolved comparatively simply, however a brand new consumer could not have the spare components or data required to repair these issues, and an skilled consumer could really feel {that a} $499 machine that ships assembled shouldn’t require any adjusting out of the field. 

For the worth, the Shark V2 supplies a superb entry-level twin extruder machine for customers fascinated about application-specific printing who have to print a number of colours or supplies in a single print or customers fascinated about exploring laser engraving who don’t wish to make investments a big amount of cash into a bigger unit. For anybody fascinated about exploring the very best 3D printers just like the Creality Ender 3 Professional or the Prusa SL1S, remember to learn our full record to study extra.

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