BIQU Magician — 39 Days Later

Nicely packed printer, arrived on 31 Jan.

TL;DR (Updated)

Cheap 3D printing is still not there for ordinary end-user. The really hassle-free ones I suppose won’t come cheap. When things go wrong or print quality is not as ideal, a user will have to read up, experiment & tune/calibrate to get it right.

Don’t waste your money on this printer, go for Monoprice Mini-Delta for quality & affordable starter printer. If you need bigger prints, don’t want to waste time assembly DIY kits, go for FLSUN QQ.

What’s wrong with BiQU? Lousy support, lousy replacement parts. Crappy support forum.

Likes

This is my first printer. Before the purchase, I did a fair bit of home-work by consulting a colleague who is an expert with Cartesian printers & watched plenty of Youtube reviews.

  • Smaller foot-print than most “Cartesian-style” printers.
  • Pre-assembled, won’t spend too much time assembling, troubleshooting & so on. Generally very well assembled & packed.
  • Cheap, @ $215 SGD (~ 163USD) with good shipping.
  • Nice LCD panel with graphical controls compared to the typically geeky knob & “calculator” panel.
  • Manual is quite decent & detailed compared to many of horrible ones I have seen with China products.
  • Facebook support forum has many helpful members (who are product owners).
  • Official BiQU support staff are quite responsive but beware of language barriers in terms of response.

Issues

Default settings are not optimal for my set

  • My initial prints failed mid-way. The print quality from bottom up-to the failure point seems decent. As a new user who had only watched Youtube reviews, I was at a lost. I wasn’t alone, a few new users reported similar troubles.
  • The first frustration one would get from BiQU Facebook support staff would likely be something like: “it is your slicer setting”. Technically, that is correct but it doesn’t solve my problem. To be fair, I asked the staff in private message to use mandarin & communication got much better.
  • Which begs the question: So what went wrong with the “slicer” settings? Why is it “wrong” since the software known as Cura, was customized & bundled within the provided SD-card? Well, it’s rather ironic that the seller ship out a printer that cannot print included models within the SD-card.
  • Thanks to the pointers from fellow users (not support staff), the prints manage to complete nicely. In short, the printer may be able to pull off simple models with 60mm/sec print speed, but ideally one should not go beyond 40mm for more complex models. This is consistent with the technical review from https://letsprint3d.net/2017/11/27/review-biqu-magician-3d-printer/
  • The retraction settings (to reduce “stringing/spider-web” effect) were too high, it caused filament to chew. But this is compounded with yet another problem that didn’t immediately surface…

Flawed Spool holder Design

  • It cannot holder other brands of filament spools. If one visit BiQU https://www.biqu.equipment/pages/search-results?findify_limit=24&findify_q=Filament , you may notice the filament spools have holes, but it would be rather silly if it didn’t even fit it’s own “brand” filaments. “Locking in” users is unwise, it makes the product look stupid.
  • How to solve it? Buy a universal spooler or better still, print one:

Extruder quality

  • After I’d printed a number of models from Thingiverse successfully, I started designing my own stuff with Shapr3D app, specifically a tall model. It took about 3+ hour to print. The print half way problem started again.
  • The filament chewing/grinding became worse even with very conservative retraction settings.
  • Again, checking in with BiQU support staff, one would get: “It’s a software problem” response.
  • Thanks to a experience user’s insight, he observed there was some alignment & gear issues with the extruder, which is a clone of E3D’s Titan Extruder. Rightfully, the filament guide should be centered such that the “biting” gear can push or retract the filament effectively. As shown below, it was not the case. BiQU offered a replacement for free but I ordered something else before raising the case privately with one of the support staff...
  • That user even experimented with another type of extruder (which I eventually bought & replaced) just to prove BiQU support staff wrong about compatibility with the printer.

This sexy & cheap all-aluminum alloy replacement works very well:

My 140mm tall model printed flawlessly.

Summary

If you are a new user, the Magician is a good start if you are lucky. It seems there are a number of resellers on various platforms like Amazon, Aliexpress, Banggood.. which could explain why some are better calibrated, some not.

If you are an old hand with Cartesian printers & don’t want to waste/spend time assembling, this may also be a decent choice since some of the equivalent DIY (self-assembled) sets are about the same price anyway.