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- PEI build surface has good balance of adhesion and part removal
- Direct drive extruder
- All-metal hot end
- Manual bed levelling
- No touch screen
About the Voxelab Aquila S2
The Aquila S2 improves on the S2 by adding a removable PEI bed, an all metal hot-end capable of printing up to 300C, and most notably, a direct drive extruder.
Benefits of the Voxelab Aquila S2
Affordable - This printer does not include a lot of frills, but offers a good experience for a low price point. While this low price means you won't be getting the most premium features, you can still get a lot out of these machines if you are willing to put up with some missing quality of life features.
PEI build surface has good balance of adhesion and part removal - PEI beds are one of the more premium build surface options, and for good reason. They offer great first layer adhesion with no spraysor other treatments, and can be flexed to quickly remove parts. You'll need to clean the bed with a solvent like acetone or IPA every so often to maintain the bed's adhesion.
Direct drive extruder - Direct drive extruders are mounted right above the hot end, and push the filament directly into it, as opposed to a side mounted bowden extruder setup. We prefer direct drive extruders to bowden since they are less prone to jamming and typically require less maintenance. they also are much easier to use with flexible materials
All-metal hot end - An all-metal hot end allows for printing at high temperatures up to 300C, while standard hot ends are capped at 260C before the PTFE material begins to degrade. All-metal hot ends are also less susceptible to jamming, and do not degrade as fast.
Disadvantages to consider
Manual bed levelling - This printer requires you to to adjust the bed level manually using nuts on each corner of the print bed. Once you have calibrated the bed leveling, you may need to adjust the levelling knobs periodically to ensure good first layer adhesion to the print bed.
No touch screen - having a touch screen isn't a deal-maker or breaker, but it is a convenient feature that makes it easier to navigate the interface when you are printing files and configuring 3D printing settings.
Where to buy the Voxelab Aquila S2
Brand Summary: Voxelab
Voxelab is a budget 3D printer brand known for producing Ender 3 clone printers with more features at lower prices than Creality equivalents. While there have been some complaints about the quality of certain components, Voxelab printers are intended for beginners and are generally considered adequate for most users. The brand is relatively new, with its first product, the Aquila, being released in November 2020. Voxelab maintains an official Facebook group with 15,700 members and an unofficial Reddit with 7,900 members, suggesting a growing user base. Manufacturer support is reported to be good, with Voxelab seen as responsive and generous. We would recommend Voxelab to new users with a desire to upgrade and learn, as some printer components may need to be replaced or upgraded, but the money saved over Creality can pay for those upgrades.