Let’s take a look at a relatively new 3D printer on the market, the Mingda Magician X. This wasn’t sponsored, but they did send a printer for me to check out. Actually, they ended up sending two, but more on that later.
Now that you’ve seen the incredibly short version, let me expand a bit on each of the points.
Specs from their website:
● Build Volume: 230(L)230(W)260(H)mm
● Print Resolution: ± 0.1mm
● Positioning Accuracy: X/Y 0.0125mm, Z 0.002mm
● Nozzle Diameter: 0.4mm
● Print Speed: <200mm/s (recommended 60 – 80mm/s)
● Support Filaments: PLA, TPU, ABS
● Software parameters: Cura
● Connection Mode: SD Card, U Disk, USB-C
● Operational Nozzle Temperature: max ≤260℃
● Operational Hot Bed Temperature: max ≤110℃
Thoughts, considerations, and returns
Mingda asked us to review this printer, and I was happy to oblige. Our readers tend to like printer reviews, and it is typically a fun prospect. This printer arrived and I was pleased to see that assembly was going to be quick and painless.
I was a bit disappointed to see the glass bed, but really that comes down to me being whiny. I personally think that removable flexible beds are the best thing in the world and everything else feels archaic. When I shared that sentiment on twitter I was surprised to find people who prefer them!
The first machine they sent, however never got to print. When I turned it on and hit “auto level” the extruder crashed into the bed. This is when I discovered there was also no way to manually level the bed. This meant I was stuck with a printer that couldn’t print.
Luckily they were very quick to respond to customer support. They tried quickly to troubleshoot but ultimately replaced the machine. The new one worked fine out of the box.
Once I started printing, I found the machine to work as advertised and to be fairly quiet, I always like that. Print quality on the included files was decent, but I couldn’t get the config to load in cura for my files. I resorted to creating a generic machine profile, which ended up reducing the quality of the prints slightly. Some testing with different parameters will bring the quality back up, I’m sure.
This machine is a fine entry into the plethora of machines in this price range that have a very similar layout and design. If I had to seriously bring up any single criticism, it would be that there is no way to manually level the bed.
Auto bed leveling
They’re really proud of the auto bed leveling on this machine. Admittedly, it seems to be a pretty neat way of achieving things. It appears to be using a hall effect sensor located on the top of the extruder, that can sense the flex in the machine when the extruder hits the bed. Neat! I could be wrong about the sensor, that was just a guess. The point is, it isn’t using BLTouch or a PINDA like sensor.
Responsive customer support
When I had a problem, they fixed it! Did I get special treatment? Not necessarily. I googled the issue and saw a couple other people had a similar problem and also had responsive customer service.
dual screw z axis
I do love seeing an overbuilt machine. Dual Z screws should in theory mean more rigid performance.
fairly large for the price
It isn’t small. You get a lot of bang for your buck.
color touch screen
The user interface is pretty nice. I particularly liked that there were single button pre-heat presets.
direct drive extruder
This is likely a personal bias. I like direct drive extruders. I feel like I’ve gotten less jams from them.
A few other printers in the sub $500 price range I’ve used have been somewhat noisy. Typically it is fan noise. This machine was comparatively quiet. I didn’t mind running it in the same room I was working in.
acceptable print quality
Out of the box, with a basic configuration in Cura, I got OK print quality. I do believe that if their configuration had loaded, the print quality would have been higher. I think they can fix this pretty easily by testing some configurations and shipping with a pre-configured cura that they know will print well.
Assembly out of the box was fairly quick, only needing the Z axis to be attached to the base. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a modern printer.
no manual bed level
Strangely, unless I’m missing something obvious, there’s no way to manually level this print bed. No screws with handles located on the bottom or anything. Honestly, I keep doubting that this is even true. I’ve picked up this machine and looked under the bed many times now, thinking I must have missed something. Nope, no way to manually level it.
Unfortunately, this means that you’re stuck without a way to level your bed if the auto level fails to function… as my first one did.
Their website suggests cura. The memory stick that ships with the machine appears to have a config on it, but that threw an error on 3 different computers I tried to import it with. This left me having to create a config from scratch. That’s fine for someone like me who is familiar with these machines, but for a beginner it would present a real struggle.
UPDATE: I’ve gotten a couple emails of people saying that the config loaded fine for them. Maybe it’s just me!
the lever screw for the extruder
This was interesting. The first unit they sent me, this screw was bent and would barely reach into the hole to grab a thread. It quickly stripped the outermost threads, just with me assembling it. I assumed it was a fluke, a manufacturing defect, but unfortunately found the replacement to have a similar unfinished feel. This is such a tiny issue though, it would not stop me from buying this machine.
The glass bed
I was on twitter, whining about how much I personally dislike glass beds, and there were several people who replied that they actually prefer them. Ok, that’s fine, I’m willing to accept that I’ve got a bias. Because of that, I didn’t list this as a pro or con.
If you’re unfamiliar with glass beds, here are a few tips for you to keep in mind for using them.