Virus Outbreaks vs Eryone Breakouts
The scene is winter-time, 2020. One current event is saturating headlines around the world: Coronavirus is spreading like wildfire from Wanhao, China. Chinese manufacturers halted production in many provinces. They did so in an attempt to contain further spreading and contamination. Just before the outbreak, Eryone managed to release an improved version of their 3D printer to the US market, and let’s get on to the Eryone Thinker S Review.
Consequently, I secured one of these gems for myself. My sole intent is to share my experience with you, our readers. What follows is my first thirty days’ experience with the Thinker S.
In my first article about the Thinker S, I gave you a sneak peek at all the specifications. First, I focused on critical structural differences over its competitors. Then, I highlighted several features that were intended to help Eryone stand out in a crowded space that continues to grow. Lastly, I compared the price. I’m happy to report that, at the time of writing this article, the Thinker S is being offered at a lower price than initially promoted! In this article, I focus on my first several weeks of ownership. Here’s my honest assessment for the Eryone Thinker S review.
Obtaining the Thinker S
Now, I get the chance to share the triumphs and heartaches I went through in my first month of ownership. My journey began in the fall of 2019. An announcement was made that Amazon US would soon be receiving several Thinker S models available for sale. This came after a successful testing period in which eight carefully selected US citizens put it through all sorts of rigorous feats and trials. My first instinct was to ensure I would have sufficient funds available for this launch. I managed this by selling one of my smaller printers and saving a bit from each paycheck. No definite news came as Halloween and Thanksgiving passed. It quickly appeared that Christmas would result in the same disappointment. Much to my chagrin, I was proved wrong! My patience and willpower to save paid off.
Many of you, like me, are accustomed to working with printers like the Ender series or Anet A8. Imagine the shocked look on my face when a box, roughly twice the size of those printers’ packaging, awaited me at my door. I promised my family that the Thinker S was my gift to myself, so it was promptly relocated. Therefore, the box sat under the Christmas Tree silently taunting and tempting me until the 25th.
Unboxing the Thinker S
In this Eryone Thinker S review, I am not going to break down every little step I took. Eryone demonstrated adequate care in planning the packaging. Nothing was damaged during transport. The “Quick Starter Guide” and the User Manual provide an excellent level of visual reference to make assembly relatively easy. Translation in a few areas left me wishing they had a decent English-as-a-first-language editor on the Eryone team. Overall, I had the Thinker S put together and printing in about 30 minutes. For more details and further guidance on assembly, I recommend checking out Eryone’s Assembly Guide on YouTube.
The 3D printer and its First Print
The supplied SD Card came with three test files to pick from. I went with the obligatory cube because that is what I have used as the first print on every printer I have owned or tested. At first, everything appeared to be in order – as observed in the short video below. Roughly a third of the way through, the print lifted from the build surface. Thankfully, I observed the failure in action. This meant I didn’t have to come back, only to find a nest of spaghetti awaiting me. My first thought? I must not have levelled the bed properly.
And then, the Fun Began.
The Thinker S is advertised as having a flatter, heated bed. This comes from aluminium extrusions that run as trusses on the underside of the platform. Due to the large surface area, I was experiencing higher points on the corners and edges than the centre of the bed – the real reason for my failed first print. This phenomenon is common among budget 3D printers. Compared to my other printers, the warping on the Thinker S was not nearly as bad. It was enough to cause headaches while attempting to get that magic “perfect first layer”.
Thanks to a contest held through a Facebook group, I received a 3D Touch from GMFive. With the help of Tom Yuan of Eryone and a FB friend, I quickly sorted out a working Marlin 1.1.9 update. Thanks to the design of the Thinker S, it was straightforward to connect the probe. The only trouble I ran into was entering data in the wrong area. Note: If doing this upgrade yourself, be sure to leave Z_MIN_POS at 0 and adjust Z_PROBE_OFFSET_RANGE_MIN to something greater than -10. This upgrade has produced perfect first layers ever since!
A few more headaches
For about a week, I noticed my prints getting progressively more brittle. They also began to appear very under-extruded. I completed several standard checks on the printer. First, I saw that the bolt holding the tension arm for the extruder was loose. I re-tightened it, but my print quality didn’t change. Eventually, I swapped it out for a longer bolt. The one supplied just wasn’t long enough to properly secure the arm.
Next, I removed the Bowden tube and made sure it had a perfect, flush cut. While reinstalling the tube, I noticed some play coming from the hot end itself. That meant a total tear down of the hot end assembly to diagnose the root cause of my troubles. I became acutely aware that the design of the Thinker’s hot end assembly feels a bit over-complicated. The heat break is secured to the hot end shroud from the top. Most competitors’ have this section secured to the carriage from the front. The difference is that you can only correctly tighten the nozzle after the hot end assembly is completely put back together, rather than while still somewhat exposed.
Upon full dis-assembly, I found the culprit. Eryone used a smooth-bore throat that is held in place with a set screw. My set screw had come loose, allowing the throat to slide down. This created a gap that, with every retraction, filled with more molten plastic. Therefore, it continued to make jams and even caused a bit of havoc with my 3D Touch and auto bed levelling (since my nozzle was now several millimetres below its original position).
And then the Euphoria set in!
Since resolving the issue with the set screw, things have been a breeze! I took the time to complete a few other calibrations to make sure my prints were coming out as best as possible. In addition to the Marlin updates, I calibrated my e-steps. An important note on that is to make sure you complete this step with the extruder only, not pushing filament through the nozzle. I learned that going through the entire assembly will produce false readings due to the pressure build-up that occurs. Then, I calibrated the extrusion width with a simple “walls only” calibration cube print.
I also completed PID tunes for both the bed and the hot end. My preference is to achieve both of these tasks with the print head about 2mm above the bed. Also, I run the cooling fan at 100% while cycling at least eight times. This ensures that I don’t get wide temperature variations as the fan kicks on and off during each print; potentially creating a “thermal runaway” error and ruining my prints.
The “Maflex” build surface is easily my favourite surface to print on. Being magnetic, it stays in place without the aid of binder clips. Covered with a PEI sheet, a simple scrub of the surface with a Brillo pad and a wipe-down with Isopropyl Alcohol is all that is required to get excellent adhesion. Once the print is finished, I’m not necessary to wait for the bed to cool down. The spring-steel material allows me to bend it, quickly freeing the print from the PEI surface.
My Thinker S and its Pièce-de-Résistance
So, here we are. Now, it’s roughly thirty days into the ownership of the Thinker S. Considering this Eryone Thinker S review, out of the four printers I own, I can honestly say it is the one I am most pleased with. Yes, there were some very frustrating moments early on. When I compare what I went through to my experience with my first 3D printer, the Anet A8, those “bumps in the road” melt away.
So, what to do to test out for this Eryone Thinker S review? Find a model with challenging geometry that requires support material and lots of retraction! Rather than the typical lattice cube, I wanted something I could display with pride. I’m a big fan of medieval things, and our team just happened to have something that fit the bill. I was the first on our team to use a beautiful model of a Forest Dragon, designed by Creative Geek MB. The following images showcase three different brands of PLA filament. The dragon itself is Eryone’s Classic Rainbow PLA. I printed it with the following settings:
- Hot End Temp = 215C
- Bed Temp = 60C
- Print Speed = 50mm/s
- Layer Height = 0.16mm
- Supports = Tree Supports
- Retraction = 4.2mm @ 50mm/s
- Slicer – Cura 4.4.1
Update: Eryone Thinker S Fighting COVID-19
Since I published the original article, this machine has been used nearly every day. My local Maker Space, Mixxer, put out a call on social media in March. The challenge? To join a team that would be producing PPE for local healthcare workers. This specific team focused on ear relief straps for face masks. I responded as quickly as I could, printing a batch of the bands released by Creality. But, I quickly realized that they were not very efficient to print. So, into Fusion 360, I went and designed my own. I decreased my print time significantly, which meant I was producing more per hour. To date, our small team has produced and donated over 7000 straps, in a variety of shapes and sizes.
Learnin’ a Thing or Two
The Thinker S has taught me quite a bit more in that time, as well. At one point, I added in a 3D Touch for auto bed levelling. This wasn’t to eliminate having to ever check the level on the bed, but rather to account for small surface variations to ensure a perfect first layer. Speaking of levelling, I also learned that it’s essential to make sure that the printer itself is on a level surface. I found that the desk surface mine was sitting on was not level. Therefore, I put a section of the drywall sheet, cut to size, underneath the frame, and used shims to create a level surface. This greatly improved the “squareness” of my prints.
Never one to leave anything stock, a post on Facebook prompted me to print an easy mod. Thingiverse offers a fan duct for the power supply. This add-on allows you to move the power supply under the backside of the frame and reduce the footprint of the Thinker S.
Lastly, Eryone recently released a modified version, labelled the Thinker SE. The key differences on the SE are the use of a textured glass surface, which eliminates the need for a magnetic heated bed, and a $50 price reduction. The price difference is before any sales prices or coupons. Right now, you can get the Thinker S for $9 less than the SE. And I prefer the Magflex surface.
But Wait, There’s More!
Do you want to modify your Eryone Thinker S? have a look at these 3D Printable model Files.
I hope you enjoyed this Eryone Thinker S review. why not check out