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I just received my Geeetech A30, but why not a CR-10? Because I already have one, and I like testing other products/brands, and on paper this Geeetech A30 looked interesting.
Geeetech is a Chinese manufacturer, quite known with a complete 3D printer catalog (clone of prusa i3, delta, in kit, pre-assembled…), they released a few months ago an XXL printer with a similar structure to the CR-10 from Creality (difficult to tell you about the Geeetech A30 without making this comparison).
In reality it is closer to the CR-10s, having a double Z axis as well as a filament end detector. Sold for 430€ on Amazon, it is also available on Gearbest for about 370€, so it is cheaper than a CR-10s.
Printer ordered on Amazon France, shipped by Geeetech with a stock in Europe, I received it within 4 days, perfect packaging, delivery by UPS, already reassured to receive my package in good condition.
The printer is not fully assembled (if not imagine the size of the package), but no panic no need to be a big handyman to assemble it, the structure is separated into 2 large parts with a few screws to put, and all the electronics assembled in one box.
Before going any further, I will remind you the main technical features of this Geeetech A30 3D printer.
0.4mm nozzle diameter for 1.75mm filament
Printing volume: 320mm x 320mm x 420mm (height)
Heating plate with self-adhesive “ultra base” type surface and easy cold peeling.
Calibration assistant, with the possibility of upgrade with the addition of a proximity sensor module to do auto leveling, sold for 11€ on Amazon, plug & play support is already provided and the functions present in the software box.
End of filament detector, practical even if I don’t think I often need this function.
Double Z axis, the Z axis is thus reinforced by a 2nd motor
Micro-SD card reader, I admit I would have preferred a classic SD reader, micro-SD being very small I am always afraid to lose them, it is also possible to add a WiFi module (the software also provides this function).
The time of assembly has arrived, after checking that no parts were missing, the instructions provided are in English/Chinese, but the illustrations are quite clear. It’s 7:20 and I start the assembly… 7:35 p.m. Assembly is complete!
Now it’s time to calibrate the tray and explore the integrated software, not Marlin, but a solution developed by Geeetech. The interface is in English but quite intuitive, the touch screen is color.
A function of manual calibration assistant is integrated, which is very practical, this makes it possible to move automatically the head in the 4 corners then in the center, it will then be necessary to adjust the height of the plate with a sheet for each point.
In the calibration menus, there is also an auto leveling function, but for this it will be necessary to add a capacitive module, whose support is already provided on the print head, I find this really very interesting, because if we want this function no modification will be necessary, either at the firmware or wiring level.
The adjustment knobs on the tray are quite small, but you can easily find larger knobs to print in 3D on thingiverse, this will probably be part of my next prints after doing some benchy.
Concerning the plate, which is nothing other than a glass plate with a microporous surface (silicon carbide), I do not notice any problems during calibration, the plate is flat, the risk would have been to have a curved plate and therefore impossible to calibrate the 5 points perfectly. I am therefore reassured on this point.
I like this type of surface, having a similar tray on my Anycubic i3 Mega (ultrabase), it allows to have a very good grip when the tray is hot, without adding lacquer or “bluetape”, the printed part can then be easily removed once the tray has cooled.
You can also buy a 310×310 ultrabase plate for the CR-10 (sold for 25€), but here Geeetech has integrated it directly into its printer. On the other hand this type of tray can wear out in time, I did not see a replacement plate on Amazon, to see if it is easily found (320x320mm).
Once the tray is calibrated (after checking each dot 3 times with a sheet), it is time to make a first print test!
I could have potentially had other adjustments to make for the plate, if this one had not been stable after the assembly, which was the case for my CR-10, I had to tighten the screws under the plate. For the Geeetech A30, I was lucky the board was already very stable, so I didn’t have to do anything on that side.
On the micro SD card, we can find 2 test files, I launch one without really knowing what it is, it was actually a 3D Benchy, this is good because I planned to print one for my tests.
Geeetech also offers its own slicer, but I have a preference for Cura and Simplify 3D, so I won’t waste time trying it.
Here is my first impression made, with the filament provided with the printer without knowing too much what were the parameters of the supplied gcode, the printing is correct, I had a very good grip from the beginning, this tray is really top.
On the other hand I have the impression to have a little under extrusion at the level of the “top layer”, the surface is not completely full, it will be necessary that I find the good settings of coefficient of extrusion with my slicer.
For the continuation I launch myself in the configuration of a profile under Simplify3D, while starting on the configuration of a new printer “custom”, I thus define just the size of the plate and the presence of a heating plate. I keep the other default settings.
For the second impression, I change filament, using PLA-S Owa from Kimya 3D, in general I have very good results with this filament on my other printers.
A small salamèche low poly in 300%, and 0% filling, the rendering is really top ! I am satisfied with this result, much better than the benchy provided on the SD card.
Exploring the internet (looking at the Geeetech facebook group), I come across a Cura profile for the Geeetech A30, so I’ll see how it goes.
This time I will use blue PLA from Geeetech, a 3D Benchy, at a temperature of 200°C. The result is really great!
Come on we didn’t take a XXL printer to print 3D benchy in 200%, it’s not serious… it’s time to see what this Geeetech A30 has in the belly.
So I decide to print a real size world cup (38cm), I define a filling rate of 7%, with a layer height of 0.20mm. Cura tells me 1 day of printing… Let’s go! Let’s go!
After 30 hours, the printing is still not completely finished, but the rendering is really top, I am amazed by the print quality of this Geeetech A30.
In conclusion, I was a little skeptical after printing the first benchy, since it was their demo file and filament sample, one would have thought that the quality would have been at the maximum of the printer’s capabilities, and the rendering was “correct” without being extra-ordinary.
But once its profile is created with the right settings, this printer is able to output very clean parts! I’m surprised by the rendering. The quality is similar to what I get on my CR-10.
Only downside, it’s noisy… compared to the CR-10 or my other printers, the fans are noisy enough, it doesn’t bother me as this printer is in a separate office, but don’t expect to sleep next to this printer that runs at night 😉
The positive points:
– Attractive price for this printing area, 430€, less expensive than a CR10S (average 499€)
– Print area slightly higher than CR-10 (2cm +, that counts?)
– Super Plate” tray (ultrabase equivalent) supplied as standard, a saving of 25€, but it is glued so you won’t be able to remove it easily, and I haven’t yet seen where to find this plate to replace it, because in the long run it wears out anyway (negative point).
– Assistant for auto leveling, with the possibility of automatic upgrade, with the addition of an additional module.
The negative points :
– The Geeetech A30 is noisy, it’s a shame, they saved a few euros on the quality of the fans… I contacted the support about it, they planned to put new fans for the next revision of this printer….
– Micro SD card reader, I sincerely admit that I do not understand the interest of putting a “micro” format instead of putting a conventional SD card reader, you have to use an adapter to plug the card on a computer, and this format is “fragile” enough, it’s good to leave in a smartphone, but not to be manipulated all the time. The problem is the same on the CR-10.