Geeetech A30 3D Printer Review
I received the Geeetech A30 for review a few months back. After testing and printing, I’m blown away by its performance. At first glance, it looks like a “YACCR10” (Yet Another Creality CR-10 Clone) but it has an impressive feature set beyond the CR-10 and is a really well thought out machine.
Shenzhen Getech Technology Co., Ltd( Geeetech) is an innovative, technology-oriented enterprise that is specialized in the R&D, manufacturing, and sales of 3D printers and spare parts of the 3D printers. Geeetech has been one of the most prominent rising stars in the area of 3D printing in Shenzhen, China, over the world since founded in 2011 and a popular choice by many in the 3D Printing Club as we see some amazing prints by Geeetech owners/members.
Geeetech advocates making 3D printing easy and economical and we are hoping to help more enthusiasts get easy access to the wonderful world of 3D printing.
Assembly & Out of Box Experience
The A30 was well packed just like most other 3D Printers from China- foam packaging cut for the machine. Interestingly, the current trend in 3D Printing seems to be for mid-budget printers to be shipped partially assembled. This machine comes in 3 parts and took just 20 minutes to open the box and get assembled. The X/Vertical gantry screws into the Y base with just 4 screws and then t-slot brackets on either side. Then it was as simple as reading the labels on all of the cables coming out of the control box and plugging them in. All of my cables had simple labels for the motors/endstops that they corresponded with.
The box in the packaging includes several obvious tools (full set of hex keys for the machine, short loop of filament, USB cable) and a few oddities. I was surprised to see a mousepad included in the box along with a bag of spare screws of varying sizes and a quite detailed full color, 15 page manual for setup and unboxing.
The only thing that didn’t make sense at first glance was two 90mm lengths of 2040 aluminum extrusions. The included manual refers to them as “Aluminum Profile Z-Axis Adjusters.” My friend Akos Wonerth from the Geeetech Facebook group tells me they are for leveling the X-axis. Put one on each side and use to ensure the axis is level to the rest of the machine. Interesting!
Initial Print Impressions
The 1GB SD card in the box has two prints on it- a 3D Benchy and a puppy gcode. The Benchy came out more or less flawless, especially for a first print 30 minutes after cutting the tape. The puppy was also very good, just some mild ringing and warping (mostly due to my rushed bed leveling attempt).
I printed several things using Slic3r Prusa Edition but eventually switched to S3D full time because I’m much more comfortable with that. There was a bug where the machine stopped after the first layer with S3D but that has been resolved with the profile linked below. Huge shout-out to Akos Wonerth for his work on the Slic3r Profile, it works great.
Once my profile for Simplify3D was tuned in, print quality on the A30 rivals or surpasses that of my 2-year old Prusa i3 clones. Here is one of the test prints from the Geeetech A30.
The A30 boasts a powerful 32-bit control board and custom-made Smartto firmware. This firmware is NOT Marlin and is available on Github. It lacks a few features and gcodes that most Marlin users are familiar with, but work is being done constantly to improve it. Props to Geeetech for releasing on Github and using Github to have a conversation with users about features and issues.
My experience with the control box’s 3.2-inch touchscreen has been almost nothing but fun. Pretty much everything you need to do on the machine can be easily found in the colorful touchscreen menus and any issues that arise from the many safety features (filament run out, power outage, min/max temp, endstop issues) all pop up in a descriptive error message. Manual bed leveling is a breeze with the included menu for probing the corners and center of the bed. I’ve gotten so used to the touchscreen and simplicity of starting a print, I’ve had a hard time going back to printing things on my other printers with their finicky click wheels and blue/white LCD text.
I did have trouble getting auto bed leveling working with the included (optional) capacitive probe. Eventually, I gave up as I could not understand the menus and configuration needed to get the nozzle exactly where I wanted it. If I can get that working I will make a video on it, but once the manual leveling was tuned in I had no issues with warping or print adhesion or detachment.
The bed on the A30, touting “Geeetech Super Plate” branding, was nothing short of incredible once I got it leveled. Prints adhere on very well while it is heated up, and even massive corner to corner tests had no warping or curling. Once the bed cools down, the prints 9/10 times were already detached from the bed. I never had to grab a sharp-edged paint scraper or putty knife to remove prints. Eliminating the need for prying, scraping, and sharp tools is a big safety advantage of the A30 bed design.
Technical specifications are as follows:
- Build volume: 320*320*420mm
- Printing accuracy: 0.05mm
- Positioning precision: X/Y：0.11mm. Z： 0.0025mm
- Printing speed: 80-110mm/s recommended
- Filament diameter: 1.75mm
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4mm
- Max temp for hotbed: 100℃
- Max temp for extruder: 250℃
- Power supply: 110V/220V, 50HZ~60HZ
- Connectivity: Wi-Fi (with an optional 3D WiFi module), USB,
- SD card (support stand-alone printing)
- Display screen: 3.2″ full-color touchscreen
Two lesser advertised features but very important quality upgrades are the Dual Leadscrews (Z axis) and dual aluminum extrusions for the Y-axis. Using two motors and leadscrews on the Z-axis improves leveling and accuracy of the print. The bed rides on two pieces of aluminum extrusion, making it much more rigid and secure against accidental bumping and layer shifts.
Filament run-out and power failure detection features tested out and work as described. The control box warns the user of the issue, allows you to correct it and resumes the print with almost no visible seam.
Another pretty much unnoticed “feature” that I was impressed to see was only one 3D printed part on the whole machine: the cooling fan shroud on the extruder head. Every other bracket, end cap, cover, and extruder part is either aluminum or acrylic. Nice!
Geeetech A30 Issues
I have had very few issues with the A30 that weren’t print quality/personal slicer setup issues. The extruder that came with the machine used a thin gauge wire for the heating elements (which eventually burnt the connector and made printing more or less impossible.) The Geeetech support rep sent a hotend replacement with the newer version connector that used much thicker wires for all connections. Almost no questions asked and the replacement was on its way. All A30 machines coming out today should include the newer, safer connector and wires I believe.
My three complaints with this machine are:
1) Firmware Features
2) Home Offsets
3) Auto Bed Leveling
The Smartto firmware is a great start. It is built for the 32-bit board and has support for the touchscreen and power outage detection features, among many others. It currently lacks support for all gcodes and is difficult to update. I look forward to seeing it improve and advance. Smartto is just a short ways away from being a widespread firmware, but I’d take it over Marlin on Geeetech machines because of the support and specialized features. GREAT job to Geeetech for putting it up on Github and trying their best to interact with the community.
The current homing position using endstops puts 0,0,0 off the front corner of the bed, which makes it difficult to use the entirety of the 320×320 build volume. I attempted to fix this in my slicer profile but various problems resulted. This should be a simple firmware fix.
Auto Bed Leveling
My review unit came with the auto bed leveling probe upgrade. I found the menus in the controller to set it up, but could not ever get it to work as expected or probe the nozzle exactly right. I recommend Geeetech make the menus a bit simpler and more descriptive. I’ll keep trying and produce a guide if I can ever get it to work right.
At this time, I don’t think auto bed leveling on any machine is really that necessary. Once I had the bed leveled manually it performed exceptionally and didn’t perform any leveling unless I moved the machine.
Customer Review Research
We researched a few larger selling sites to see what customers are saying and rating.
The star rating one to five, five being excellent the average our of 40 we found was an impressive 4.3 out of 5.
This Amazon customers comment summed up what most said:
August 9, 2018
The bed adhesion seems to be excellent and is holding firmly when doing large prints. 7 hr print stayed nice and tight and released easily.
Unit’s design and architecture is very classy with some nice connection points, good hardware, accurate and clean threaded holes. I didn’t see any burrs on the unit at all.
This unit came packaged extremely well, no damage and was easy to see all the parts.
Very pleased with this unit. Good job GeeeTech!”Visits to the Geetech Users Groups on FaceBook browsing showed very few problems and users enjoying the rig. A few days there wasn’t anyone with a problem and never seen any serious issues or complaints.
The Geeetech A30 is an incredible 3D printer, especially at $400. The setup took just 20-30 minutes from cutting the tape to printing a Benchy. The A30 has many features that other similar sized or design models don’t and Geeetech’s Support and community are good. If you’re on the lookout for a new, large format machine I can now recommend the Geeetech A30 3D Printer.
The firmware isn’t perfect yet and auto bed leveling could use some work, but it is a good machine for the price and features.