If you are new to 3D printing, you may have never heard of Sunlu before. However, if you’ve spent any time in the 3D printing community, you’ve probably heard of the famous filament manufacturer.
While Sunlu has already established itself as a reputable filament supplier, the company has also started to expand by producing its own line of 3D printers. The latest addition is the Sunlu Terminator-3, which the company was kind enough to provide for review.
At first glance, the Sunlu Terminator-3 bears a striking resemblance to Creality’s Ender-3 Neo, but with a few upgrades. For starters, the T3 offers a print speed of up to 250mm/s, clog detection and filament runout detection.
Some of the other standard features are also present, such as a 32-bit silent motherboard, auto-leveling, power failure resume, all-metal dual-gear extruder, and built-in belt adjusters. Additionally, the Sunlu Terminator-3 uses a 220 x 220 x 250mm bed while only having an overall footprint of 440 x 400 x 470mm.
The Sunlu T3 uses a single 0.4mm nozzle with a maximum temperature of 260℃ and a maximum bed temperature of 100℃, with support for 1.75mm PLA, PLA+, carbon fiber, ABS (low temperature), PETG, HIPS, WOOD, PCL, and TPU filaments.
Finally, the Sunlu Terminator-3 includes a USB Type-B male connector and a microSD card to load G-code files or send commands to the printer. I’ve heard Octoprint works with it, but I exclusively use the 8GB microSD card included with the machine.
If you have ever assembled an Ikea piece of furniture, you are already well overqualified to assemble this 3D printer. The Sunlu Terminator-3 comes packaged in a box split into two main halves, along with detailed instructions, several bags of bolts, and all the tools you’ll need. In fact, there’s even an extra bag with spare parts, including a spare nozzle.
Assembly was quick and easy once I unboxed the T3, an experienced builder could finish putting the two halves together and attaching the filament spool in less than 15 minutes. An inexperienced user could still have it finished in less than half an hour. The hardest part is tilting the Terminator-3 on its side to insert the bolts, if you can call that a challenge.
Overall the process is so simple with very little room for error and you should be ready to print in no time. Don’t forget to manually level your bed once you’ve finished tightening all the bolts.
Speaking of the bed, Sunlu went with an easy-to-remove magnetic build plate that has been fantastic for grip in my experience. The only downside I encountered was that I managed to put slight indents in mine while deleting some stubbornly stuck models.
Another minor complaint is that the print platform leveling buttons use a dual button system which was difficult to get started, especially due to its small size. Anyway, I have to commend Sunlu for using big, sturdy springs.
One of the special things about the Sunlu Terminator-3 is its fast print speed of 250mm/s, however, just because it’s fast doesn’t mean it’s good. In my experience printing simple XYZ calibration cubes, the fast print setting returns sloppy results. The corners of the cube looked rough and the areas around the letters showed a lot of ringing. Although the speed itself is very impressive, I found the quality to be lacking and I wouldn’t recommend printing at the T3’s maximum speed unless you’re willing to tweak a lot with the settings.
Once I disabled fast print mode, which was on by default, and started printing at more manageable speeds such as 30-50mm/s, the Terminator-3 really shined. . I started with an XYZ calibration cube, then moved on to the infamous bench boat. With the exception of some light bench stringing, the results have been fantastic.
I then dialed in the settings and started printing more complicated models using this Sunlu Silk Filament Multicolor Pack from Amazon and came away very impressed with the results considering how few modifications I had to bring to T3. With 3D printing, there will always be small flaws depending on the models you print and the adjustments you can make with the slicer or adjustments to the hardware to improve the quality of your print. Yet almost straight out of the box, the Terminator-3 printed beautifully.
The quality got even better after Sunlu posted a profile for the T3 on their site which can be imported into Ultimaker Cura. However, there was a gcode at the end that I had to change because the new profile added a 100mm retraction at the end of the print.
The Sunlu Terminator-3 starts at $279, which puts it in direct competition with some of the most popular FDM 3D printers on the market. Although it boasts an incredibly fast print speed of 250mm/s, it will take a lot of fine tuning if you want to get quality prints at those speeds.
Anyway, the Sunlu T3 is a very capable 3D printer with fantastic features, such as built-in bed leveler, clog detection, automatic power failure recovery, and more. Just be sure to print at more reasonable speeds and you won’t be disappointed with the results.
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