Do you want to experiment with 3D printing or want a printer for daily use? If you are a 3D printing enthusiast, get the ZMorph 2.0 SX 3D printer.
In this review, you will find out whether you can use the ZMorph 2.0 SX printer review for more printing
ZMorph 2.0 SX Printer Review
In this review, we cover:
- Unpacking and setting up
- Features and Specifications
- Building quality and design
- Merits of ZMorph 2.0 SX as a 3D Printer
- Demerits ZMorph 2.0 SX as a 3D printer
- Conclusion and recommendation
In our 3D printer review journey, we have tested many 3D printers. We’ve reviewed both the Stereo lithography (SLA), and the Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF). We’ve also looked at dual and single-extrusion machines. We have even compared expensive precision machinery to bargain builds.
In our journey, never have we found a 3D printer that is complex to categorize as the ZMorph 2.0 SX. We say “complex” because this is not just your normal 3D printer. It has extreme capabilities such as the ability to extrude food matter, can work as a CNC milling machine, and can also be used as a laser engraver.
The ZMorph 2.0 SX is an entire cohort of software, hardware and uniquely engineered functionality. Various attempts have been made to rival the ZMorph 2.0 SX (hardware) with very little success. One such failed attempt was by the ZMorph gurus themselves, who created a Voxelizer Software suite as complementary software. However, this resulted into a total mess.
The ZMorph 2.0 SX is capable of both dual and single extrusion, and much more. In this review, we explore the features, working and advantages of the 3D printer.
Unpacking and Setting up the ZMorph 2.0 SX
We couldn’t wait for our ZMorph 2.0 SX to arrive from Amazon. The printer has all the components you need to set it up. These components i.e. peripherals, core unit and accessories, were neatly and firmly packed. Vulnerable pieces that could have gotten lost in transit like the carriage and the rods, were fixed together with plastic strands to avoid getting knocked over.
The printer is shipped with a comprehensive toolbox that has everything you need to set up and maintain the machine. Individual toolheads and spools of filament are neatly packed in special small boxes with clear labels. There is also a comprehensive, but bulky, user manual that will direct you to a website with the initial setup instructions.
On unpacking the machine, you will find a one filament tool already in place. We therefore started our task by calibrating the print bed. This is an easy step that involves removing one of the fans in the 3D printed housing and then connecting a touch probe in a 3D printed housing to the printing head. Calibration enables the touch probe to measure the level at three points of the plate. After calibration, you will then get a prompt to manually twist three screws in the degrees specified in the instructions sheet.
This assembling process is quite slow and complex. Our confusion was worsened by the fact that when we initiated calibration for the second time, the result came back saying that the bed wasn’t level at all. All the same, we advanced to the next stage according to the instructions.
The next stage is mounting the filament spools to the exterior of the ZMorph 2.0 SX. Specifically, you have to attach one spool on each side of the unit. A set of spindles and 3D printed wheels are available for this. You then have to feed the filament via a tube to a direct drive extruder located on top of the toolhead.
The final part of the assembly process is to connect the printer to our computer using the provided USB cable. After doing this, confirm that everything is lighting and working well. You can then check for firmware updates using the free Voxelizer Software suite (available for PC and Mac).
Features, Specifications and Price
The ZMorph 2.0 SX comes in 3 different packages:
- A base package containing two toolheads
- The full monty with all 5 toolheads
- A mix of the first two packages
The custom option is the most ideal option among the three if you’re are looking at serious 3D printing. This option can accommodate both the DUAL and the single PRO extrusion toolheads. For this option, you can either purchase the base package for $2,690 / €2,390 (includes a 1.75mm single filament extruder and one CNC milling toolhead), and then buy the DUAL PRO toolhead as an additional item for $550 / €490. Alternatively, you can directly contact ZMorph sales team and make a request for a quote.
You could also shop around for the 1.75mm dual filament extruder or the 3.00mm single filament extruder with two independent hot ends. However, these accessories aren’t very essential.
Apart from the above special configurations, the standard features of the ZMorph 2.0 SX include:
- A heated bed for 3D printing
- A touchscreen user-interface
- Fan add-ons
- Touch probe
- Spare extruder nozzle
- A BuildTak plate to overlay on the glass bed
- Nifty toolbox containing the full maintenance gear
- The build area is 250 x 235 x 165mm (available space depends on the toolhead in operation)
- The range for print quality according to the manufacturer is 50 X 00 microns.
In-depth Review of the Build-Quality and Design
The ZMorph 2.0 SX has an extraordinary design. The printer has an industrial feel but displays futuristic technology traits. Many of the surface components of the printer are truly aesthetic since they are printed in 3D.
The 3D printer or machine is triangularly shaped and made of aluminum embraced by a clear plastic that’s obviously injection-moulded. It also has magnetic hinges that give it a spectacular finish.
The internal construction of the printer make it one of the best 3D printers in the market. To begin, the printer has modular, easy-to-switch components that make it ideal for multi-purpose use. The magnets help to guide each of the toolheads to their ideal location. Power is provided through relevant cables that can be plugged and unplugged.
Most accessories of the machine have 3D printed cases and are swappable e.g. the touch probe and the cooling fans. The toolhead moves in a Cartesian direction, the head move on the Z and X axis, and the plate rotates back and forth on the Y axis. This basic 3D printing foundation is perfect for laser engraving and CNC milling.
Coming to the touchscreen interface, the machine does not disappoint. The menus are clearly laid out and the controls are easy to access. The response capability is plausible, and is not slaggy. The printer also has multiple connection capabilities that include:
- Connectivity through USB cord or Ethernet
- Connect via an SD card slot provided
- Theoretically, you can connect the printer to a Wi-Fi router using the Ethernet jack. This will expand its capability and make it easy to manage through a network.
- The last connection option is to use the Voxelizer Software suite which will allow direct interface between your computer and ZMorph 2.0 SX
Reviewing the ZMorph 2.0 SX Software
The 3D software is the most essential feature in the ZMorph printer. Substandard software make a machine inadequate. The Voxelizer Software is at the heart of the machine. The software is flexible and on boot up, it even allows you to switch between separate toolheads and manage the respective workflows. But this is the essential role that it should be capable of.
On the downside, the software lacks intuitive properties and is clunky. Its performance in both the machines that we tested it in (Windows 10 and MacOS) was unsatisfactory.
The general process for 3D printing is:
- Upload the STL file and make the necessary adjustments of the orientation and the dimensions
- ”Voxelizer” the model. In this stage you can also apply quality settings like layer height and infill.
- Generate the GCode
If your computer is physically connected to the printer, run the project from there. Otherwise, save it on the SD card.
We found the slicing engine to be slow. Things become even slower with increase in size and complexity of the model. Running the ZMorph printer it on a low-powered computer is a disaster. The multiple models for the dual-extrusion are also challenging. The Voxelizer software is not smart when it comes to arranging them on the buildplate, let alone scaling them in size. Therefore, you will have to manually arrange the individual elements. If your model is very complicated, then you will just have to do trial-and-error.
While the menus and submenus are categorically laid out, they are so many. Therefore, to set the quality or to play around with the infill settings, you will do a lot of clicking around to get what you want. And although the infill setting is specified as 10% infill in a honeycomb pattern, in practice it is denser. As a result, subsequent print jobs take more time than the estimated duration specified.
The software also has options for experimental image mapping and for color blending. Color blending for us was also a trial-and-error thing. This was especially the case when it came to assigning the ratio of the filament to blend and then then assigning the material to specific parts of the model. Information from the software guide wasn’t satisfactory. However, we managed to work around it.
For image mapping, we were restricted to a dozen of prototype objects and images. Nevertheless, we still managed to play around with these. We also tried using third party slicing software with Simplify3D profiles and Cura supplied by ZMorph but this was a total flop!
Reviewing the Print Performance
The first strategy we used to analyze the quality of the ZMorph printer was creating multiple test modules for both the DUAL PRO toolhead and the single toolhead. The results were a bit disappointing. To address this, we played around with the temperature setting until we arrived at the correct ones both for the hotend and the heated bed. We discovered that when we set the temperature to too cold or too hot, the resulting prints are of poor quality.
We also tried the DUAL PRO extrusion. To start off we fed two spools of filament directly through the drive to a single hotend. A reservoir inside the hotend can switch between the two. This gives freedom for both color-blending and dual-color printing.
We first tested the non-color blending option with the globe of the Earth project at 200 microns using the blue and yellow filament (from inspiration). The outcome was not as expected and resulted into too much bleed between the two materials. The result was something more of green, which was unexpected…or not. In attempt to strengthen the object but save on filament, we inserted the priming tower inside the globe. We however suspected that this had been as a result of the excessive bleed though.
To test the color blending feature, we redesigned the Low-Poly Squirted Pokémon, which has recently been redesigned again by Flowalistik using the dual extrusion. We managed to get to the Voxelizer Software settings that allowed us to assign a color blend to the shell to attain a perfect arrangement of blue, yellow and green. We then scaled the object to 200% and printed it on 200 microns. The result wasn’t an automatic charmer. However, we loved it even with the color bleeding on some horizontal planes.
Next we went to the single extrusion. The first thing you will find in any ZMorph 2.0 SX is a demo model of an astronaut. This is a tiny trinket that has curves and straight edges, fine details and overhangs. It’s an ideal test subject for single extrusion. We were impressed with the object since it produced a resolution of 200 microns with the red filament we used. The only thing we couldn’t get rid of was the default raft that had been applied to the model. However, with a decent cooling and a heated bed, you are not likely to encounter the raft for your models.
We also tried a 3DBenchy with the single extrusion at 200 microns in yellow filament. This was not so difficult, except for the orientation of the extrusion. A typical Simplify3D or Cura has a 3DVenchy fabricated with a diagonal moving extruder. The lower deck in this case will always display vertical extrusion, while the upper deck displays horizontal extrusion.
The final project we attempted with the single extrusion was printing a Laughing Buddha statue at 100 microns in blue filament. The settings for this was a 10% infill in a honeycomb 3D configuration, which translated to the layers on the infill being 3D hexagonal instead of flat hexagonal to improve the strength. The result was a compact object with fine details. However, for us to get such result, we had to be on the project for about 19 hours, which is double the estimated time duration on the software.
Our final test was on the experimental image mapping feature. From inspiration, we tried mapping a picture of Michael Jackson and that of president Obama on a vase. We printed this at 200 microns. However, the product was too washed-out that one could not make anything of it. We guess we had put too much expectation on this print perhaps due to seeing the Mona Lisa mapped onto a vase by other machines.
Overall, we had fun experimenting with the ZMorph printer, with varying results; from not-so-good to really good. We suspect that the slicing software is the biggest obstacle. However, print times were also slow. What impressed us the most was the color blending technique because although it’s a relatively new thing, it gives a whole new meaning to print objects.
Merits of ZMorph 2.0 SX 3D Printer
- Modular toolheads are highly intelligent
- The touchscreen User Interface is smooth
- The hardware design is plausible
- Versatile Connectivity
- Cutting edge experimental features
Demerits of ZMorph 2.0 SX 3D Printer
- It’s quite slow
- It doesn’t relate well to third party slicers
- The print quality is average
- The Voxelizer software is a huge letdown due to its underdevelopment
- Calibration and setup is complex
The ZMorph 2.0 SX has a sleek hardware design. However, first impressions can be deceiving. We encountered multiple unsatisfactory results when we put this machine to test.
We think that the creators put too much attention and effort in making everything perfect but failed to perfect the one thing that matters the most; 3D printing. Other users put the blame on the Voxelizer software suite given that a machine is only as good as its software.
The ZMorph 2.0 SX would therefore need a change of software, something that matches the quality of the hardware, for it to produce more satisfactory results.
Our favorite feature was the color blending on the DUAL PRO toolhead. Although the execution wasn’t all that good, the results were still breathtaking. If developed further, this could be “the application” that will make ZMorph 2.0 SX untouchable.
However, 3D printing is just one among the many applications on this platform. Laser engraving and CMC milling are the other features you might consider before dismissing this printer.