Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Trying to understand the Monoprice Delta Pro

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Here we go, Im back doing reviews again, baby.

Merciless as always.

Today were checking out the Monoprice Delta Pro, which is the newest addition to their

lineup of 3D printers.

Monoprice are known for selling consumer electronics at lower prices than many of the big brands,

but still keeping the core features and functionality fully in place.

Theyve got a line of 3D printers and filaments already, so lets check out how the Delta

Pro fits in.

So first impression here, this looks and feels nice.

Everything is sturdy, nothing rattles, there are no sharp edges and its just this really

slick and streamlined machine.

You get the Delta Pro comes fully assembled and the frame is made from these custom aluminum

extrusions, theyve been sandblasted to feel nice and soft.

The printbed is this large borderless black slab and all the electronics and ugly bits

are hidden away in the bottom compartment underneath.

So I think, as far as first impressions go, were off to a good start.

Lets check out the spec sheet and what features we should expect.

So, nominal size is a 270mm diameter build area and a 300mm usable height - though if

your part happens to fit in the pretty unique build volume that a Delta printer like this

can reach, its actually going to go a few centimeters taller than that.

This pot fills out he volume quite well, but I think I could still have gone about 5cm

taller.

Features include automatic bed leveling with this manually attachable sensor, Wi-Fi built

in based around a 32-bit control board, a heated bed, a 3,5touchscreen, a filament

runout sensor and apparently, quiet operation, quoted at 50dB while printing, which is exactly

as loud as I measured the Ultimaker 3, and were going to measure that here as well.

Its also qualified for CE and FCC.

Now, those features really read nicely, right?

The problem is that each one of them has this second part to them, where its likeyeah,

this is nice, but…”

Well go through those in a second.

I mean, reading through the produce page, I could already start laughing about so many

things that were clearly written by the marketing department, like, do you really need to point

out that you can get repeatable prints with the Delta Pro?

I mean, I would expect that from any printer, and especially from the Delta Pro considering

that its currently priced at $1499, and as usual with US pricing, that is plus tax.

Shipping inside the US is free.

Its also available in the UK for 1499GBP.

So why would you go for a Delta in the first place?

Well, its print quality, mostly.

Because of the motion system, you never have the direction the toolhead is travelling lined

up with what the motors and linear guides do, so you get a ton of microscopic noise,

or dithering, in your print, and that very effectively reduces how much of an effect

artifacts from things like stepper drivers and so on have on the consistency of a print.

Deltas are also typically built with a lightweight bowden setup, with the extruder up here and

only the hotend moving, so you have less inertia from that and can move the toolhead around

faster.

Deltas are naturally quite simple machines, but also, I mean, they just look super cool,

and they are also well suited for taller prints because of their shape and because the print

itself never moves and shakes around.

But lets take a step back.

You may have noticed that the Delta Pro looks kind of similar to the Atom 2.0, which Ive

reviewed last year here on the channel.

The are pretty similar in size and construction, they use the same sort of magnetic joint for

the Delta arms and, well, I mean it even says on the effector that this is Atom Magswap

compatible, so I guess I could even just directly drop in the effector from the Atom 2.0.

And yes, the Delta Pro is made by the same company, Layer One, from Taiwan, this isnt

the next iteration of what theyre working on, this is a different and less expensive

version.

I guess the most important bit for every 3D printer is how well it prints.

After all, usually, you buy these for the prints you get with them.

And it prints, actually, really well.

Parts are crisp and clean, just as we like them.

It does have that delta-specific treeringing pattern, but its quite subtle, you wont

notice it on real prints unless youre specifically looking for it.

The slicer that is provided with the machine is Kisslicer, you may have never heard of

it, but its been around for a while, and its shareware program that, you know, slices.

It does a ton of things differently than what you might be used to from other slicers, but

overall it produces good prints.

I had to convince the guys from Layer One that, maybe, the default profile should have

gap fill enabled to avoid these sort of artifacts, and Kisslicer also has this weird double-ghosting

going on that I dont see on any other slicer.

The slicing itself is often quite slow, but again, overall, its alright and its

a good start.

But of course, if you want to, you can use any other slicer as well, this machine is

not locked down to just their own slicer.

The one and pretty much only way to get files to the printer is with a USB drive, you have

this port on the side here, and even though this is a 32-bit board, it doesnt run an

operating system like on a Raspberry Pi, it doesnt do slicing in the machine, you have

to do that on a full computer beforehand.

But wait, theres also WiFi built in, right?

Well, sure.

It does have WiFi, but you can apparently only use that with the app that comes with

the Lerdge mainboard that is being used here, theres like an .apk I would have to sideload

onto my phone to use it, but sorry, thats just not going to happen.

I mean, its from some random chinese developer, I ran the file through Virustotal, which found

some suspicious packers, that doesnt have to mean anything, but then again, what would

you even get out of an app like this anyways?

Youre definitely not going to upload new gcode print files from your phone and theres

no camera in the printer that you can use to check on your print.

All you get is basically a progress bar.

For the other features like moving the printer, setting temperatures and starting print files

that are already on the machine - you know, if you think about each of those, theres

no reason why youd want to do them remotely and not just use the touchscreen thats

on the machine.

The electronics in the Delta Pro are based around the Lerdge Board, which is its own

closed-source ecosystem of hardware, firmware and apps, as a user, you can configure pretty

much anything about the machine, but until one of the open-source firmwares start supporting

this exact processor and setup, youre at the mercy of Lerdge, Monoprice and Layer One

when it comes to updates and bugfixes for this system.

I.e.

Right now, you can not simply flash a community version of Marlin for new features.

You do get thermal runaway protection on the hotend, you also get a filament runout sensor,

which, you know, just me being me, I ended up bypassing because I was switching filaments

so often and didnt want to deal with feeding it through the sensor every time.

You know, just me being lazy.

The sensor also seems to be an off-the shelf part from Lerdge.

One feature that is notably absent is power loss detection, which I personally dont

mind at all, I dont remember the last time weve had a power outage here, but then

again, we do have one of Europes largest nuclear power plants basically right down

the road, so having some sort of power loss detection surely would be nice for some other

places around the world.

The actual hardware looks nice, the wiring is clean; of course, I dont have long-term

experience with the mainboard, but for example the heated bed is handled by an external driver,

so thats the biggest potential issue taken care of.

For a power supply, we have a nice 24V Meanwell unit, and if it looks familiar, well, its

the same exact unit that Ultimaker use, so thats a very solid choice.

So speaking about the hardware, firmware, touchscreen and the interface on it, its

basically the stock interface that the Lerdge firmware comes with.

Its kind of tedious, first of all, the machine comes with what looks a lot like a

Nintendo DS stylus.

And the interface is just kind of inconsistent and weird, like some of these lists are clickable,

some you have to use these buttons on the side to select something, theres an option

for turning on lights, which the printer doesnt have, and just overall navigation is somewhat

confusing, you get a bunch of buttons and its not really clear what they all do.

It also doesnt help that the documentation and manual you get with the Delta Pro are

quite sparse beyond the basics.

I mean, youd get used to that, but some bits just dont work.

Ive had issues with filament loading where it would sometimes go way too slow, not feed

all the way in or reverse out way too far again after it was done feeding in.

And I would also suggest not using the pause function because while it does lift the toolhead

up when you first hit pause, Ive had it forget to move the toolhead back down when

I wanted it to resume, so the printer tried to continue printing all the way at the top

while constantly ramming into the endstops.

Yeah.

Overall, the touchscreen looks good on the machine as long as its turned off, but

Im not sure if I actually prefer this implementation of a touch interface over an efficient, simple

text-based LCD and a scrollwheel.

I know, Im sounding like your grandpa now, “back in my day, things were so much better”,

but, you know, other companies do manage to produce way less clumsy interfaces on a touchscreen

like this.

Im told this is being worked on, so there might be improvements in the future, but as

always, I can only review what I have and not something that may come at some point..

Right now, there already is real-time nozzle height adjustment you can do through the touchscreen,

but because its a resistive touch layer that you really have to press to get it to

register and theres no feedback at all whether youve done anything, its rather

hard to use that feature to dial in the first layer while its printing.

And the increments you can set are 50u each, which I think is a bit too coarse to really

dial in that first layer height perfectly.

Now, of course, for a nozzle height adjustment to make sense at all, you need to make sure

the bed is actually parallel to the plane the hotend moves along, so you dont start

out with a crooked bed.

Now, being glass, it should be very flat to start with, and the printer does come with

auto bed leveling, which is not done before every print, but is something you do manually

by attaching this force sensor to the cold nozzle, plugging it in right here and then

running the cycle through the screen.

This is another part you can get from Lerdge.

Youre probably only going to use this probe once and then never need it again, this machine

is quite robust, and even after having it shipped to me with minimal packaging from

the UK, it started straight up with no recalibration required, so in normal use, I dont think

youll ever need to recalibrate it.

The leveling results I got were good, but they seemed to vary quite a bit between prints,

maybe it was just one of the endstops not triggering accurately.

Overall, its usable; ultimately, though, I switched to Slic3r PE entirely, which lets

you print with a fatter and taller first layer, which will just always stick, and thats

not something you can do with the preconfigured Kisslicer.

One more thing about the bed - its glass, so you can either use it bare with PLA, but

I prefer smearing some gluestick or other adhesive on it, depending on what material

I print; its also heated, which I think is pretty mandatory for a good printing experience

today, and the heater itself is an aluminum PCB thats bonded to the bottom of the glass

and insulated on the other side, so as long as you dont break the glass, thats a

really nice solution, you do lose a bit of heat around the edge where that the aluminum

bed ends, so if youre printing high-temp materials, you might want to stay a centimeter

away from the edges of the heated area, but thats not uncommon on other 3D printers

as well.

The bed takes a while to heat up, you can reasonably use it at up 100°C, but thats

already quite the wait to get it heated up.

Now, when it comes to materials like ABS or anything else that needs higher temperatures

to print and to stick; the hotend or hotside, to be exact, that comes installed in the machine

is a teflon-lined one, which works for your normal materials like PLA and PETG, the Teflon

lining is simply the bowden tube reaching down to the nozzle, similar to other lined

hotends, but this one doesnt seal perfectly, maybe because the bowden tube wasnt cut

straight on the end, so swapping in a different hotside is a bit harder than it originally

looks.

Aside from the two connectors for thermistor and heater and two grub screws that physically

hold the hotside in, you also have to heat up the hotside to even get the bowden tube

out at all.

Ive already had to swap out the bowden tube because the original one got damaged

when I tried to remove and reinstall hotends, and theres only so much tube you can cut

off the ends before its too short.

Now, why would you want to swap hotends at all?

Well, there are two other hotsides included, one extra lined one and an all-metal type

that should be safe for temperatures over 245 or 250C, which you may want to use for

ABS, some Copolyesters or Polycarbonate.

A well-made all-metal hotend can print all the things a Teflon-lined one does just fine,

but it needs to be well made to work well with the most common material, PLA.

This one doesnt work well with PLA, it jams super easily as the PLA sticks to the

bare metal throat, I dont know if its just not getting cooled enough through the

heatsink or if the surface finish inside isnt good enough, but I do know that the extruder

sure isnt helping, either, because it just so easily starts skipping steps instead of

forcing the filament through.

Considering this is a completely open machine, so no enclosures, the sloppy air routing from

the hotend cooling fan that always slightly blows over your prints and the somewhat weak

heated bed, youre probably not going to do much high-temperature printing on this

machine anyways, so I feel like the Teflon-lined hotend is all this printer really needs.

These are all E3D-inspired hotend, but the heatbreak and cold side is different and incompatible

to the original.

Looks like again, Lerdge are offering a very similar-looking hotend to what the Delta Pro

is using.

That being said, E3D will apparently also be working on getting their hotends onto the

Delta Pro, in fact, Ill ship this very machine to them after this review.

And if E3D do work on this machine, I sure hope they slap a Titan on it because this

extruder isnot the best one.

It does come with adjustable tension, but it doesnt use a very grippy drive gear,

in fact, its just a spur gear, it has a super weird lip in the filament loading path

that made it impossible to get filament in it on a few occasions, and its also not

providing a ton of driving force despite the massive stepper motor on the back, so unless

you drop the layer height, the extruder is going to be the limiting factor for printing

fast.

Just having a large motor doesnt automatically mean more torque, you also need to drive it

harder, the bigger size just gives you the option to do that without overheating it.

The extruder also has this massive gap after the drive gear, giving flexible filaments

and maybe even softer Nylons a very easy option to escape.

And talking about driving motors, lets check on that noise level!

[Noise level measurement] Well, its alright.

Its not loud, theres no motor whine, and there are no excessive vibrations.

Its just that its not quiet, either, at least I wouldnt advertise it as such.

The fans are very audible, and even just at idle, right after turning the printer on,

the cooling fan in the electronics compartment is already louder than what a machine using

Trinamic drivers and Noctua fans can achieve while printing.

You guys know which one Im talking about.

The Delta Pro uses On Semi LV8729V stepper drivers, I know those drivers exist, but Ive

not seen them on any other machine, I think, but both from reading through the data sheet

and looking at real-life performance, these are extremely similar to the common Allegro

drivers like the A4988.

Ive had one axis skip a step on the second layer quite a few times, not sure why, but

it has lead to prints like.

Overall, the drivers do their job, but theyre nothing to write home about.

And thats the overall vibe that Im getting from the Delta Pro.

Like, dont get me wrong, if this was the only option on the market, Id be totally

happy using it all day, every day.

The thing is just - we can do better than this now.

I mean, from a mechanical and printing performance standpoint, the Delta Pro is really solid.

The prints are excellent.

But in late 2018, simply printing well isnt enough anymore.

It should be a given for any machine.

And lets be honest, the $1500 price is a tough spot to be in.

Machines like the Prusa MK3 exist today, I hate to always use that as a benchmark, but

thats what it is, its a third cheaper, and other than 10cm of printable height and,

arguably, looks, the MK3 handily beats out the Delta Pro on so many fronts and, in my

opinion, also provides a better user experience, at least a more well-rounded one.

But if you want to pit the Delta Pro against a comparable size machine, / well, the thing

is that larger printers are kind of rare.

I guess the CR-10 kind of fits in here as a budget option, but that definitely is a

very solid step down from the Delta Pro in many ways.

But its also just a third of the cost, so yeah, thats a tough one.

I guess whats confusing me about the Delta Pro is trying to figure out where it fits

in.

Is it a hobby machine?

Well, for that its way too closed-down, but also a bit too expensive.

Is it a professional workhorse?

For that, I think the experience needs to be more robust, especially when it comes to

the extruder, hotend and the touchscreen interface and firmware.

Its like its stuck between worlds where it does a few things really well, but then

on others, I feel like it doesnt set itself apart from low-end machines enough to compete.

Its both super elegant and kind of grotesque at the same time.

I dont know if my expectations are just off, but I feel like this machine would both

be a better package if it was an even more cheaply-built machine and focused only on

its strengths, or if it was a more premium machine and ironed out the kinks it still

has.

As it stands, its a solid machine, but its not getting me particularly excited.

Still, if you want to pick one up, there are links are in the video description below,

those are affiliate links, so I get a small kickback if you buy anything through those.

Thank you to Monoprice for loaning me the Delta Pro, and thank you to everyone who supports

the channel so that I can keep making independent content for you all to watch.

Your support is what allows me to do in-depth reviews like this one without having to worry

about whether or not you will then go out and buy one through my affiliate links or

whether I might be pissing off the manufacturer by not just showing you what their products

can do, but also what they can not do.

If you want to support the channel, you can do so over on Patreon or by joining here on

YouTube, but simply hitting subscribe is super helpful for the channel as well, so thanks

for that!

Hope you enjoyed, and Ill see you all in the next one!

The Description of Trying to understand the Monoprice Delta Pro