Inov3D and I are excited to be the first to share with you the WeeDo ME40 Pro review! If you are like me, your first thought is, “Who is WeeDo?” WeeDo is a design and manufacturing company, established in 2014. They own 44 patents. WeeDo produces unique types of 3D printers 10 in total.
WiiBoox is probably a more familiar name. WeeDo produces all of WiiBoox’s FDM printers. Now that we’ve been formally introduced, let’s get to know the ME40 Pro and talk about my experience over the past month. Could this be one to supersede Creality’s CR10 series as the go-to $500-600 3D printer?
What does the ME40 Pro get to boast about?
Foremost, the ME40 Pro is known for it’s most prominent feature; dual color printing. This printer’s design carries two separate extruders on the X-gantry that feed into one nozzle on the hot end assembly. The spool holders are mounted at the top of the framing. Filament enters the extruders, facing the rear of the frame.
Another unique feature is that it comes already wi-fi enabled. There’s no need to buy or install additional hardware. You use the supplied slicer software (WiiBuilder) to create a gcode file that you “run” on the printer to connect it to your home network.
Other notable features include a 4.3-inch full-color touch screen, power loss recovery, and automatic bed leveling. The ME40 Pro uses a removable, coated steel plate for the build surface that a PINDA-style probe uses to complete this function. Also, the main board uses TMC2208 silent stepper drivers, keeping ambient noise from the printer to a minimum. Last, it pleasantly surprised me to see that a name-brand SD card (SanDisk) with decent memory (4GB) was provided.
All the Technical Details
No review is complete without an overview of the scientific details. Here’s the quick and dirty for the ME40 Pro.
|Brand – WeeDo||Printing Speed – < 180mm/s (60-80mm/s recommended)|
|Model – ME40 Pro||Printing Temperature – 180-250°C|
|Color(s) – Black, Red||Layer Height – 0.1-0.4mm|
|Printing Technology – FDM||Nozzle Diameter – 0.4mm|
|Build Volume – 300mm x 300mm x 400mm (LxWxH)||Display Type – 4.3″ Touch Screen LCD|
|Build Material – Alloy Steel||Bed Type – Heated, Removable Coated Steel sheet|
|Power – 600W||Supported Software – WiiBuilder (Win), Cura (Mac)|
|Printer Dimensions – 19.1in x 24.4in x 26in (LxWxH)||Connectivity – Micro SD, Wi-Fi, USB type-B Cable|
|Printer Weight – 38.6lbs (total shipping weight)||Material – 1.75mm PLA, ABS, PETG, TPU|
|Waranty – 1 Year limited, with lifetime Tech Support||Languages – Multiple|
Unboxing and Setting Up the WeeDo ME40 Pro
Here, I share my first ninety minutes with the printer, putting it together and getting it running.
Live Stream and Assembly
I went live across the internet for the start of my WeeDo ME40 Pro review. So, I completed a live unboxing through Streamyard, broadcast to Facebook. My previous live-streaming experience, up to this point, included attending nearly every Creality broadcast as a watcher, one Creality live show as a guest, and zero as host. What awaited me under the cardboard flaps was pretty standard. Up first, the instructions were a few sheets of paper, stapled together. Next, I noticed everything was packaged very well; nothing was (or, I believe, could have been) damaged during delivery. This was thanks in part to sufficient, thick foam padding.
Because I had a similar experience with a few other printers, the assembly was mostly intuitive. The framing came in two pre-assembled major sections. One vertical, one horizontal. I referenced the instructions only when I I got stuck. The only place I struggled was setting up the spool holders correctly. Partly, I know it was related to overlooking the one image Weedo included in the instructions, but never referenced in the text. Also, the spool holder extensions are the same (saving money, I assume), rather than being mirror images of each other.
Pro Power Up and Print
Upon powering up the printer for the first time, there was a loud, stuttering noise. At first, I thought it may be related to the power supply. I believed it could have been improperly set to 230V, rather than 115V. So, I turned the printer off and checked the power supply. It’s positioned just behind the housing for the mainboard and touch-screen on the underside. The switch was positioned correctly, so I powered the ME40 Pro back up. The noise didn’t repeat, so I continued moving forward.
My live stream had exceeded an hour, and it was getting late. So, I wrapped up the live stream by starting one of the supplied test files. I didn’t realize that there were both single color and dual color sample files on the supplied SD card. The butterfly file I picked turned out to be a single color. The first print was a success. As a result, I spent the following few days getting to know the WeeDo ME40 Pro for the better….. and the worse!
Getting to know all about ME(40 Pro)
Now, we go further down the path of ownership. Reality sets in and the truth about WeeDo’s offering comes through – good, bad, and everything in-between.
Diving into the Software Side
I continued my review of the WeeDo ME40 Pro by comparing what they provided to what I printed on my own. On the surface, running through the other test prints, everything seemed to point toward the ME40 Pro being a great “out of the box” printer.
However, I noticed that the clearance distance between each piece of the dual color flexi-fish was a little tighter than it should have been. I suspected it may be due to mis-calibrated e-steps, which common among bowden-style printers. Also, in all the provided files, there was not enough purge to ensure a solid color at the start of each print (see images below). This resulted from the process the printer goes through to load and unload each filament before beginning to print.
This led me to seeing if I could change the start g-code. I wanted to adjust how much filament it extruded before starting the print. Sadly, WiiBuilder does not offer the ability to adjust the start or end gcode, like Cura does. It offers a feature to directly edit the created gcode, but I can do faster this and easier in a dedicated text editor like Notepad++.
Moving to Firmware, Then Back Again
Further complicating matters, I learned that WeeDo’s firmware is based on RepRap (mix), but has been modified. This means that the ME40 Pro cannot take advantage of many features that have become standard for users of firmware based on Marlin 1.1.9 (or later). It baffled me to find that I wasn’t able to perform one of the most critical set up steps of calibrating the e-steps. At least, this was true for the printer. Straight out of the box. Later, I’ll discuss the changes WeeDo implemented at my request.
So instead, I decided to start my usual testing procedure with a temperature tower, and see how I could take advantage of the dual color printing feature. Based on default settings, stringing was not dialed in properly. Since I could only adjust flow% and basic retraction settings in WiiBuilder, I adjusted these to improve results. Ultimately, my experience led to acceptable settings of 8.5mm retraction at 60mm/sec.
Ending with the Hardware
Remember, my intention is to thoroughly review the WeeDo ME40 Pro. Since I couldn’t calibrate the ME40 Pro’s e-steps, I knew it was time to figure out what hardware adjustments could or I could not make. Fire safety is a primary concern, so I first checked thermal runaway.
My approach was to secure my steel crescent wrench against the sides of the hot end, allowing it to draw heat away from the aluminum heater block. To my surprise, the ME40 Pro was able to compensate very well. Therefore, I removed the thermistor connection on the mainboard. It validated that Thermal Runaway is active, even though this step was more difficult to complete.
Next, I focused on dialing in the PID tuning properly. This stemmed from noticing that the hot end temperature varied as much as 5 degrees up and down during those initial test prints. Much to my dismay, I found another feature not activated in the firmware. Again, more on that later. Since I was limited in what settings I could affect, I chose to utilize 3DOptimizer once again to complete additional tuning for print quality. However, the firmware selection negatively impacted my results here also.
Re-occurrence and Redemption
Remember me mentioning that stuttering experienced during live stream? It reared its ugly head once again during a test on dimensional accuracy. What I learned was that I had a loose x-axis belt. Thankfully, WeeDo included an adjustable tensioner on the right side.
Tightening it removed the issue. During the different stages of testing, I found that the X-gantry would not stay aligned. I felt there were two possibilities; 1. The Z-motors were not staying in sync with each other, skipping steps or 2. part of the gantry was binding at some point. Ultimately, because the mainboard has integrated stepper drivers, I focused on the latter. I loosened the z-axis couplers, re-leveled the gantry, then re-secured the couplers. The gantry has stayed aligned since then.
ME40 Pro Final Summary
Gaining experience through ownership of multiple, low-budget 3D printers taught me more than I ever expected over the past three years. Each machine comes with its own pros and cons. As I wrapped up my testing stages and review of the WeeDo ME40 Pro, I realized this even more. What started out as a very promising – potentially Creality-killing – machine, ended up as just another average performer.
Looking back, I asked myself, “If I hadn’t purchased the ME40 Pro, what other options are available to get a larger format, dual color 3D printer with similar features. A quick search on Amazon revealed to direct competitors. HICTOP offers the Tenlog D3 Pro for $679, and FlashForge offers the Creator Pro for $882.49. Both offer similar features, but are more expensive. This was a point in the win column for WeeDo.
I also considered what it would take to modify one of my existing printers. Out of my bunch, the Thinker S seemed the best candidate, having the same build area. Saving a little cash, you can get its brother, the Thinker SE for $399 (after 5% discount).
Add in a BigTreeTech SKR 1.3 (with included TMC2208 UART capable drivers) at $45, second titan-style extruder for $15, additional stepper motor for $15, and a 3DTouch ABL sensor for $25. Your grand total is $50 less than the ME40 Pro, and you have a 32-bit main board capable of handling Marlin 2.0.X with access to turn on all the features you can handle! Point in the loss column for WeeDo.
The firmware is closed-source. WeeDo claims they will make it open source after sales increase. They did not share specific information on when or what sales volume is needed before the changeover will occur. I must share that the after-sales service from WeeDo has been exceptional. In a short amount of time, I have fully vetted their claim about lifetime tech support.
Over too many conversations to count, I convinced my contact to update the firmware and release some additional software. Those changes helped me connect the ME40 Pro to my computer through USB, see eeeprom settings, and at least change feed rates (extruders were off by 5 full steps) and jerk settings (defaulted at 20!). Ultimately, my contact shared there is a memory limitation on the main board. Hence why so many expected features were turned off.
A tour around WeeDo’s website revealed no information about the ME40 Pro. Couple this with what I shared above. You might agree that WeeDo most likely jumped too early to get the ME40 Pro to market. In my opinion, it would have been much better to go through a beta testing phase. To start, post surveys and receive thoughts and ideas from the existing WeeDo/WiiBoox communities. Then gather data and feedback from potential customers by sending out test units. Finally, after adapting to the information received, present a much more polished, final product to the public. And make sure there’s access to information on the WeeDo website immediately!
As is usual, I want my readers to make their own decisions. Everything you have read and seen are my own thoughts and opinions about my experience. Finally, if you feel I missed anything in this WeeDo ME40 Pro review, leave a comment below. I look forward to engaging in conversation!
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