EXAM – Interested in 3D printing, but thinking about DIY? Craving full functionality, but worried about fiddling? Sunlu’s S9 Plus packs a powerful 3D printer with plenty of options, opulent operation and fast commissioning
What is that?
The Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer is a machine that extrudes layers of finely extruded material to create three-dimensional objects using settings from an electronic file.
- Type of printing technology: FDM
- Print size: 310 x 310 x 400 mm, 12.2 x 12.2 x 16 inches
- Number of nozzles: single nozzle
- Nozzle Specification, 0.4mm (Compatible Specification: 0.4mm-0.8mm)
- Print speed: 20-100mm/s
- Recommended consumables: 1.75 mm PLA, PLA+, carbon fiber, ABS (low temperature), PETG, HIPS, WOOD, PCL, TPU
- Maximum printing temperature: 260℃ (500°F)
- Maximum bed heating temperature: 100℃ (212°F)
- Slicing software included: Ultimaker Cura
- File formats supported by Cura: STL, OBJ, AMF
- Cura output file format: Gcode
- Support printing methods: TF card, PC
- Power specification: 115V/230V AC, 50/60HZ
- Machine size: 600 x 490 x 640 mm, 24 x 19.3 x 25.2 inches
- Printer net weight: less than or equal to 15 kg (33.1 lb)
- Screen type: 110 mm (4.3 inch) touch screen
- Driver Type: TMC2208
What’s in the box?
- Sunlu S9 Plus 3D Printer
- Filament drying box
- Mounting screws
- Assembly tools
- PLA filament sample
- SD card (with manual and software) and USB adapter
- Filament holder
- Stabilizer bars
Design and features
The Sunlu S9 Plus 3D printer arrived very well packaged in a heavy box.
The packaging was top notch. Nothing bent or broken here.
The manual simplified the assembly of the printer.
I appreciate the inclusion of tools and supplies where “some assembly is required”.
Even a spatula is included if you have trouble removing the print from the print surface.
Complete assembly of the Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer took about 30 minutes.
Power is supplied by an IBM-type cord. The power switch is next to it and is accessible with the print bed pushed back.
For loading files, the Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer is equipped with an SD card slot. Software and manuals are preloaded on the included card and a reader is provided to transfer files from the computer of your choice.
If you prefer to use a printer cable, there is one included.
The inclusion of sway bars is awesome. For anyone who has 3D printed in the past, taller designs can cause wobble as the print bed moves, causing havoc that can make you sad, especially near the end of multiple prints. days. These bars help do a great job of reducing vibration!
Sunlu was very wise to include an aluminum print bed. This is just the starting point where this printer starts to shine. Five minutes after reaching the set temperature of 60°C, I measured excellent uniformity on the print bed of 57-61°C. Excellent!
Best of all, Sunlu’s soft magnetic PEI print surface is removable, flexible, and provides a stable surface for the PLA and ABS I’ve used. I like the idea of replacing the print surface when it gets damaged or worn rather than having to replace the whole heated bed.
Second, successful 3D printing can be difficult due to the hygroscopic (water-absorbing) nature of some filaments. If too much water has been absorbed, the loaded filament can cause nozzle burst, holes, inconsistencies, jams, and even the inability to print. Sunlu anticipated this and included a single roll filament dryer to help solve this problem. Best of all, the controls are built into the software and controllable from the touchscreen. Pleasant!
Power and control of the dryer is provided through a connection to the printer.
The Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer is equipped with a color touch screen. Virtually all printer settings can be viewed and adjusted. The screen is bright, responsive and pleasant to use.
Until recently, 3D printers did not have self-leveling capabilities. Intrepid enthusiasts started implementing different strategies to improve consistency and “kaizen” the crap out of them. The result is that printers have evolved and now come equipped with the precision leveling system. Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer leveling system is accurate and reliable. The purple light bit is the level sensor.
I did some manual leveling using a piece of paper and moving the leveling screws under the print bed. It takes a few minutes but is an essential start for a successful print.
Sunlu’s leveling screws are equipped with locking knobs. This is a great feature! With them, I found the bed stayed level with far fewer adjustments. After a month of printing, I checked the level of the bed and found that it remained unchanged.
The X and Y axes are belt driven.
The next feature that I like is the inclusion of waistband tightening adjusters. On other printers, they are optional. These adjustments mean the difference between a turn of a screw, or potentially a long disassembly and hours of tinkering to adjust the tension.
The Z-axis position is controlled by two direct-drive motors independently controlled by software. With its “independent suspension” nature and precise self-leveling, the Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer excels here. Exceptional!
Filament loading can be done with the filament inside the dryer or loaded on the spool holder. Sunlu includes a white PLA spool, but I opted to use black which I’ve been using lately.
The filament must be cut at a 45° angle to pass through the filament detector…
…Then the filament passes through the extruder and through the Bowden tube and then onto the print head. The S9’s extruder is all metal. Pleasant!
From the Bowden, the filament is passed through the heated printhead. The speed, temperature, and displacement parameters of the X, Y, and Z motors are controlled by instructions in the GCODE software.
The hardware is solid throughout. The X, Y and Z axis rollers are easy to adjust if needed.
Those of you who have dabbled in the world of 3D printing will know that tinkering, tweaking, and tuning are part of the deal. But… for the beginner, the learning curve can be steep. I can attest that when 3D printing first started, it took several weeks of play to see the results which are plastered all over YouTube.
So, I asked myself, “How would the S9 Plus printer work for a first-time user?” I wanted to see how the printer would work “out of the box” without any adjustments other than bed leveling. Sunlu provides two GCODE test files on the included SD card. I didn’t look to see what those files contained – I just loaded the filament and let them run.
The printer oriented itself to each axis, reached operating temperatures, performed an automatic bed leveling routine, and then continued on its merry way. To my delight and surprise, the first test print ended a few hours later. The results were excellent!
From the time I opened the box to the start of the test print, it took less than 45 minutes. Well done Sunlou! I am impressed!
Starting with the second of Sunlu’s test files, I did nothing more than remove the first print from the bed, select the file, and boot. A few hours later, I was rewarded with this…uh…creepy little cherub. Print results were just as good as the first test.
Ok, Sunlu… the test prints were great, but what about the other files?
I have a dire need to 3D print in ABS as my designs need strength and high heat resistance. If you’re familiar with ABS, it can be a tough backing, prone to warping, artifacts, and instability. Before wasting half a spool of filament, the first thing to do would be to do some test printing.
Here are the results of the familiar XYZ test cube and Benchy boat, both printed in ABS on the first attempt. As you can see they are not perfect, but without fuss, composition or refinement, for me the results were amazing!
The version of Cura provided on the SD card is somewhat outdated. I just used the latest version, downloaded from the internet. Sunlu’s manual uses the old software version for the printer setup process, but it was not difficult to transfer the settings to Cura version 4.13.1.
My wife had custom made curtains that required custom brackets. I used Fusion 360 to design, Cura to cut, then printed them in PLA on another machine. Unfortunately I broke one and had to reprint a replacement. This time I wanted to use stronger ABS filament.
Loading the updated file onto the SD card and booting up the S9, two days later, support was complete, but this time stronger and cleaner than with my previous versions. Wow!
My wife was very happy with the results and made a set of new curtains to celebrate!
It should be mentioned that Sunlu has integrated “clogging detection” into the software. The intent is that if there is an interruption in filament flow, the printer will shut down until the obstruction can be corrected, and then printing can resume. I would have liked to test this function, but in more than a month of use, the S9 has never failed to print! Cheer!
Along with all the other upgrades, the S9 also has a handy storage drawer! Finally a place to put these tools so they stop disappearing!
What I like:
- Reliable and repeatable performance
- Works like a champion “out of the box”
- Aluminum heated bed and removable magnetic printing surface
- Belt tensioners
- Lockable leveling jacks
- Integrated filament dryer
- Large print volume
What I would change:
If you are a more experienced aficionado, you will appreciate the solid performance of the Sunlu S9 plus 3D printer. If you’re considering joining the 3D community, its “full-featured” produces a solid output that’s practically out of the box and is ideal for new users! Thank you Sunlu! The S9 Plus has become my new must-have printer!
Or buy: Sunlu and Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was provided by Sunlu