3d printer cp-01

11 Features The Best 3-In-1 3D Printers All Have

3-in-1 3D printers have risen in popularity because of their unique versatility. You can do 3D printing with its print head, CNC carving using standard CNC machine tooling, and laser engraving all in one machine. This flexibility appeals to DIY users, hobbyists, and beginners who can be exceptionally creative without purchasing multiple machines.

The Snapmaker Original was the first model in the category of multi-purpose machines, and the Snapmaker 2.0 Modular continued that popularity by addressing the issues of its predecessor. Many still consider it the best 3D printer combo device.

Although the Snapmaker has several excellent features and is a high-quality machine, it’s not the only one in the market. We have assembled a list of 11 features you should consider when shopping for a 3D printer/laser cutter/CNC router combo machine. We’ll highlight each critical component to help you decide which 3-in-1 3D printer matches your needs.

How Does a 3D Printer Work?

Most machinists and tool-and-diemakers learned their trades in “subtractive” machining. In other words, they took a block of metal and cut away the excess material to reveal the part or component inside using a machine tool such as a milling machine or lathe.

3D printers don’t work like that. 3D printing is an “additive” process during which the printer extrudes molten plastic through a tiny nozzle moving precisely under a computer’s control. Working automatically, it builds up a 3D model one layer at a time, starting at the bottom, by repeatedly printing over the same area in fused depositional modeling (FDM). The results of this process are 3D printed parts instead of machined parts.

What Are The Advantages of a 3d Printer Laser?

You might ask: If I do rapid prototyping, I can turn to 3D printing, CNC carving, or laser cutting for prototypes or end-use products and components. So, what are the benefits of having these three technologies in a single machine?

Saving money

An all-in-one 3D printer is more cost-efficient than buying three separate machines. You’ll save money on the initial equipment costs. Your operating expenses will decrease since you won’t be hosting three individual devices and the multiple filters, power outlets, and enclosures they will require.

Even though you might only occasionally need one of the modules (the laser module, for instance), it is less expensive than buying a separate machine or outsourcing the work. This benefits small shops, educational institutions, hobbyists, or those on a tight budget who cannot afford different devices for each process.

Saving space

3-in-1 3D printers utilize your limited workshop, workbench, or desktop space more effectively because they combine all three functions in one machine, leaving more room for other production machines.

Operating ease

Although some 3-in-1 3D printers are challenging to learn and operate, most devices have been designed to be easy to use. Their features are straightforward to configure in the software and require a minimum of technical knowledge.

Also, moving between the machining modules is typically quick and effortless, allowing even those unfamiliar with CNC milling and laser engraving to be up and running quickly.

Look for These Features in a 3-in-One 3D Printer

1. Durable Build

Models like the Creality Ender 3 are built with an industrial-grade aluminum frame, ensuring that the 3-in-1 unit is a sturdy and stable device capable of producing accurate printed parts, CNC models, and laser engravings. In other words, more sturdiness translates into stability and enhanced precision. Some Creality models have an automatic bed leveling (sometimes called auto leveling) feature.

2. Substantial Build Volume

It would be best to determine the sizes of the pieces you will create with your 3D printer combination. For instance, the Creality CP-01 model has a maximum build volume of 200mm x 200mm x 200mm, while the Snapmaker Artisan can provide a more significant build volume of 400 x 400 x 400 mm.

3. Full Enclosure

Many 3D printers are not enclosed, but the added safety of a full enclosure will offer peace of mind.

4. Automatic Calibration

With specific models like the ZMorph Fab, you don’t have to perform calibrations or configurations since the machine automatically detects the tool you have attached automatically and re-calibrates the entire machine. This feature kicks in, whether it’s immediately after you have unboxed the printer, changed the tool, or started planning a new project.

5. Large Touchscreen

The Snapmaker Artisan is one of several 3-in-ones with a 7-inch touchscreen and the rest of the machine’s electronics. It provides a cleaner look and separates the electronics from the printer’s hardware.

6. Reduced Noise Levels

Here’s a feature that might save your nerves after a long day on the job: reduced noise levels. Typically, all those moving parts on a 3D printer can generate plenty of noise. The ZMorph Fab is one of the printers generating such a low noise level that it’s possible to work next to it and think simultaneously.

7. Power Panic Feature

Power outages can ruin your printed part, so look for a printer with a PSU protection feature that resumes the print after a power outage. When the power returns, tap the “Yes” button when the printer’s screen asks you if you want to resume the print. It will continue where it stopped, so you never have to worry about long-running prints being ruined by an outage or someone accidentally pulling out the power cord.

8. Multi-Material Printing

A dual-extrusion 3D printer tool head enables multiple colors and multi-material printing simultaneously. Most machines support any 1.75 mm filament type, including PLA, ABS, PETG, and flexible filaments like TPU.

9. Handheld Pendant Control

The Diabase H-Series printers offer pendant control, bringing several benefits compared to a touchscreen. For instance, the pendant control offers you full tactile feedback from its scroll wheel as you use it, and you can detect whenever a command has been sent to the machine.

10. Accurate Laser Engraving

The 3D laser unit of some combos is exact and capable of engraving with only minor deviation. Accuracy is one of the primary issues that laser engravers face, but the Creality CP-01 has managed to avoid it.

Although the machine has a default laser engraver head, that doesn’t mean you can’t replace it with something more powerful. For instance, the xTool D1 Pro 20W laser engraver is considered one of the most powerful diode laser engravers. Remember, a more powerful laser engraver allows you to work with more challenging materials requiring a higher processing temperature.

11. Upgrade, Repair, and Maintain Easily with Modules

3-in-one 3D printers have two main components: the extruder and the milling head. Although it’s a complex piece of machinery, the modular style of these machines makes them easy to replace, repair, upgrade, and maintain, even without significant experience. Choosing a modular device that will be easy to service could save you future frustration.

What Is The Difference Between a 3D Printer and a Laser Cutter?

A 3D printer uses an additive process where a computer-controlled printer extrudes molten plastic through a small nozzle to build 3D objects one layer at a time. On the other hand, a laser cutter uses a laser to cut or engrave materials like wood, acrylic, leather, and metal. The computer controls the laser beam precisely to cut or engrave the material according to a design file. This process is called subtractive manufacturing because it takes away material from a bigger piece until it reaches the final shape.

How Much Do 3-in-One 3D Printers Cost?

Here is a sampling of the prices on 3D printer combos:

  • Snapmaker 2.0 Modular 3-in-1 3D Printer A350T/A250T with One Black PLA Filament: $1299.00 Amazon
  • Snapmaker Artisan 3-in-1 3D Printer with 10W Laser and Enclosure: $2949.00 Snapmaker
  • ZMorph Fab Multi-Tool 3D Printer: $2,599.00 MatterHackers

Final Thoughts

Because 3-in-1 printers are relatively expensive, you want to have the best value for your money. The Snapmaker 2.0 and the ZMorph Fab models allow more customization and picking the specs you want without overpaying. The Snapmaker Artisan offers the most build volume and work area, regardless of which module you’re using.

The Snapmaker Artisan or Snapmaker 2.0 are two of the best 3D printers for laser engraving since both printers can use Snapmaker’s 10W high-power laser engraver module. These printers also allow for quality 3D printing, and the Artisan has dual extrusion capabilities.

The best 3D printer CNC attachment belongs to the ZMorph Fab. Cutting at a rate of 120mm/s, with 300W power and a max depth of 0.5mm, the ZMorph 3D printer CNC module is powerful enough to work with various kinds of wood, some acrylics, and stones.

About Peter Jacobs

Peter Jacobs is the Senior Director of Marketing at CNC Masters, a leading supplier of CNC mills, milling machines, and CNC lathes. He is actively involved in manufacturing processes and regularly contributes his insights for various blogs in CNC machining, 3D printing, rapid tooling, injection molding, metal casting, and manufacturing in general. You can connect with him on his LinkedIn.

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MX Software – Easy to Use, Easy to Learn – Included with your machine purchase
The MX software is designed to work seamlessly with your CNC Masters machine. It is made to work with Windows PC – desktop, laptop, or an all in one – on standard USB. Use it on Windows 8 or 10 64-bit operating systems.
No internal conversion printer/serial port to USB software or additional conversion hardware is used with the MX.

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2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!2. Clutter Free Interface
The MX is engineered for the CNC MASTERS machine so you do not have to fiddle with a detailed complicated configuration that can be overwhelming. Just load in the MX and start machining!

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3. Features Tour and Tutorials Included
The Features Tour will give you a quick run-down on all the features the MX can do for you. The Tutorials are easy to follow even for the first time CNC machinist.
Feel free to download the MX on any of your computers. We recommend downloading the MX along with your CAD and CAM software there at the comfort of your office computer to generate your tool path programs. You don’t need to be hooked up to the machine either to test your program in simulation mode.

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4. Navigate and Edit Your Program through the MX interface with Ease
With a few clicks of the mouse or using touch screen technology, you can easily navigate through the MX interface importing saved programs into the Editor from the File drop down menu. Using standard windows features to edit your program you can then lock the Editor Screen to avoid accidental editing, and if you need to insert a line in the middle of a program, just click on [ReNum] to re-number your tool path list.
You can create a program or import CAM generated G-code tool paths into the Editor
The X Y and Z W arrow jog buttons are displayed from the point of view of the cutter to avoid confusion when the table and saddle are moving. You can also adjust your spindle speed and coolant control while jogging each axis.

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5. Feed Hold – Pause in the Middle of your Program
Feed Hold lets you pause in the middle of a program. From there you can step through your program one line at time while opting to shut the spindle off and then resume your program.
You can also write PAUSE in the middle of your program and jog each axis independently while your program is in pause mode.

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6. Hot Keys
Hot Keys is an alternative method to easily control your machine using your hard or touch screen keyboard. One can press P to pause a program, press S to turn Spindle On, G to run a program, Space Bar to Stop, J to record your individual movements one line at a time to create a program in teach mode.

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7. Pick Menu – for conversational mode programming
Write FANUC style G-codes directly into the Editor or select commands off the [Pick] menu and write your tool path program in conversational mode such as what is written in the Editor box. You can even mix between conversation commands and G-codes in the same program.

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8. Pick Menu List of Options
Use commands such as MOVE, SPINDLE ON/OFF, COOLANT ON/OFF, PAUSE, DELAY, GO HOME…. to write your tool path programs in conversational mode.

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9. Draw the Tool Path to verify it before pressing Go
Hit Draw to view your tool path program drawing, check out its run time, or even simulate the tool path in 3D mode. This can be helpful to quickly verify your program before running it. You can also slow down or speed up the drawing or simulation process.
You can also hit Go within the Draw Window itself to verify the cutter’s position on the machine. The current tool path will be highlighted and simultaneously draw out the next path so you can verify what the cutter will be doing next on the program.

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10. Run each tool path independently to study its movement
1. Run the machine on Trace mode. You can run each tool path independently, one line at a time to study the tool path movement on the machine to verify the position of the application and if any fixture/vise is in the way of the cutter’s path.

2. You can also verify your program by clicking on the Trace and Draw buttons together. This will allow you to view each tool path independently one line at a time in the Draw Window.

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11. Counters display in Inches or Millimeters – Continuous Feed
1. When running a program, the counters will display a “real-time” readout while the machine is in CNC operation without counting ahead of the movement.
2. The current tool path is highlighted while the machine is in operation without causing slight interruptions/pauses as the software feeds the tool path to the machine. The MX internally interprets a program ten lines ahead to allow for “continuous machining” avoiding slight interruptions as the machine waits for its next tool path command.
3. “Run Time” tells you how long it takes to run your tool path program.

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12. Use the “Go From Line” command to start in the middle of your program
If you ever need to begin your program from somewhere in the middle of it, use [Go From Line] which you can find under Tools. The Help guide will walk you through how to position the cutter without losing its position on the machine.

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13. Exact Motion Distance without over-stepping on an axis while jogging
Use “Relative ON” to enter a specific coordinate to jog any of your axes to an exact location without having to write a program. It’s like using “power feed” but easier. You can jog an exact distance on any of the axes without needing to keep the key pressed down and mistakenly over-step the movement releasing your finger too slowly off the jog button.
Let’s say you need to drill a hole exactly 0.525” using the Z. So you enter 0.525 in the Z box. Next, adjust the JOG FEED RATE slider for the desired feed rate. Then “click once” on the +Z or -Z button to activate the travel. In this case you click once the -Z button first to drill the hole exactly 0.525”. Then click once on the +Z button to drive the axis back up 0.525”.

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14. Teach Mode – Jog Input
You can create a tool path program by storing each point-to-point movement by simply jogging an axis one at a time. Click on either of the Jog Input buttons to store each movement on the Editor Screen. You can then add Spindle ON, feed commands, and press GO to run the new program as needed. This is a great feature to help you learn to create a program by the movements you make on the machine without necessarily writing out an entire program first.

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15. Override on the fly to adjust the Jog Feed to Rapid or the Spindle Speed during the middle of a program
1. Jog Feed and Rapid with Override: You can adjust feeds using the slider from slow minimum 0.1″ per minute to a rapid of 100″ per minute of travel. You can even micro-step your jog as low as 0.01”/min. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.
2. Spindle Speed with Override: You can adjust speeds using the slider from a slow minimum RPM to the max RPM according to the machine setup. The [-][+] buttons allow you to fine tune feeds in 5% increments while the program is in motion.

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16. Adjust Counters using Pre-Set if you cannot begin the program from 0.00
In a situation where you cannot begin your cutter at it’s 0.00 location, you can “Pre-Set” directly into the counters by typing in your beginning coordinate. You can press Go from here to run your program. You can also “zero all” or “zero” your counters independently. With one click of the [Return to 0.0] button, all axes will travel back to its respective 0.0 on the machine.

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17. Set and Save your 0.00 position for future runs
Set and save your 0.00 position on the machine. These coordinates will be recorded as the first line of the program in the Editor Screen. Should you desire to return to this program at a later date, you only have to click on the Set Zero Return button. This will command the machine to automatically jog each axis to its saved “set” 0.00 position according to the recorded coordinates at the first line of the program.

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18. Create a “Home” position to clear your application and run multiple times
Let’s say you need to machine one application times 100 pieces. This usually requires a jig to retain that physical 0.00 position. But in this case, you want the program to end with a clearance of the axes to easily switch out the next piece of stock and start again. With Save Home, you have the ability to save this offset (home) position while still retaining your Set Zero position where the machine will mill your part out. Pressing [Save Home] will record this new position under the Set Zero line in your program.
Pressing [Go Home] will jog your axes back to your “saved home” position where you originally pressed the Save Home command. You can also input GO_HOME from the Pick Menu as its own tool path in your program. At the completion of your program the axes will end at your Home position. Replace your part, then press [Return to 0.0] button to allow the axes to return to its zero position, and press Go to start your next run.

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19. Disable the axis motors to manually hand crank each axis into place
Easily de-energize the axis motors by clicking [Disable Motors] to crank each axis by hand, and then press [Reset Control] to re-energize the axis motors.

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20. Change up to 30 tools with compensation, and store your tool offsets for other programs
The MX supports…

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21. Use the optional ATC rack up to 8 tools for milling, drilling, and rigid tapping applications
The CNC Masters Automatic Tool Changer Rack and Tools (US Patent 9,827,640B2) can be added to any CNC Masters Milling Machine built with the rigid tapping encoder option. The tutorial will guide you through the set-up procedure using the ATC tools.

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22. Use the optional Rigid Tapping Wizard without the need for tapping head attachments
When you order your CNC Masters machine, have it built with the optional rigid tapping encoder. You can take any drill cycle program and replace the top line with a tapping code created by the wizard to tap your series of holes up to 1/2” in diameter.

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23. Use the optional Digital Probe to scan the profile and/or pockets of your fun/hobby type designs to write your tool path program and machine out a duplicate of your original design To “surface” scan an object, you can program the probe along the X or Y plane. The stylus will travel over the part starting on the left side front corner of the object and work its way to the end of the part on the right side. Depending on how the stylus moves, it will record linear and interpolated movements along the X, Y, and Z planes directly on the MX Editor.
To “pocket” scan an object containing a closed pocket such as circles or squares, the scan will start from the top front, work its way inside of the pocket, and scan the entire perimeter of the pocket.
Under the Setup of the MX software you will find the Probe Tab which will allow you to calibrate and program your probe. Your “Probe Step”, “Feed”, and “Data Filter” can also be changed on the fly while the probe is in the middle of scanning your object.

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24. Use work offsets G54-G59 for nesting applications
The work offsets offer you a way to program up to six different machining locations. It’s like having multiple 0.0 locations for different parts. This is very useful especially when using sub-routines/nesting applications.

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25. Create a Rectangular Pocket / Slot with our selection of Wizards to help you build a tool path program
The Cycle Wizards for the mill or lathe makes it easy to create a simple tool path without needing to use a CAD and CAM software.
On this Wizard, the Rectangular Pocket / Slots, can be used to form a deep rectangular pocket into your material or machine a slot duplicating as many passes needed to its total depth.

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26. Create a Circular Pocket Wizard
Input the total diameter, the step down, and total depth and the code will be generated.

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27. Do Thread Milling using a single point cutter Wizard

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28. Cut a gear out using the Cut Gear Wizard with the optional Fourth Axis

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29. Create a Peck Drilling Program in Circular or Rectangular Patterns
Using the Circular or Rectangular Drilling Wizards, you can program the machine to drill an un-limited series of holes along the X and Y planes. Program it to drill straight through to your total depth, use a high-speed pecking cycle, or deep hole pecking cycle. You can program the cut-in depth and return point for a controlled peck drill application to maximize chip clearance.

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30. The MX interface can easily be interchanged from Mill Mode to Lathe Mode
Use this interface for your CNC Masters Lathe. It contains all the same user-friendly features and functions that comes in Mill Mode. Simply go to the Setup page and change the interface.

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31. Use Tool Change Compensation or the optional Auto Tool Changer Turret if your application requires more than one tool in a single program
You can offset the length and angle of each tool and record it under Tools in your Setup. The program will automatically pause the lathe’s movement and spindle allowing you to change out your tool, or allowing the optional ATC Turret to quickly turn to its next tool and continue machining.
On the MX interface, you also have four Tool Position buttons. Select your desired T position, and the auto tool post will quickly turn and lock itself to that position.

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32. Use the Lathe Wizard Threading Cycle to help you program your lathe’s internal or external threads in inches or metric

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33. Use the Lathe Wizard Turning / Boring Cycle to help you program simple turning and boring cycles without having to go through a CAM or writing a long program with multiple passes

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34. Use the Lathe Wizard Peck Drilling Cycle to help you program your drill applications or for face grooving

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35. Facing / Grooving / Part Off Cycle Wizards – with Constant Surface Speed
These cycles can be used with Constant Surface Speed allowing the spindle speed to increase automatically as the diameter of the part decreases giving your application a consistent workpiece finish. With CSS built into the wizard, there is no need to break down the cycle into multiple paths and multiple spindle speed changes.

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36. This is our list of supported G and M codes which can be found under Tools > G Code/ M Code List in the MX
If you plan to use a third-party CAM software to generate your tool path program, use a generic FANUC post processor and edit it to match our list of codes. As an option, we also sell Visual mill/turn CAM software which comes with a guaranteed post processor for our machines to easily generate your tool path programs based on your CAD drawings.

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37. Our pledge to you…

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