304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
304 North Cardinal St.
Dorchester Center, MA 02124
The Flsun Q5 is quite appealing, especially if you’re new to 3D printing or you are used to Cartesian and CoreXY printers. It’s a Delta-style 3D printer produced by FLSUN, which is a Chinese company that was established in 2014. They are fairly new in the market, but they have several lines of 3D printers – A, C, F, and Q series.
The Q5 model, in particular, is a budget, entry-level 3D printer. It goes for just $230, which puts it within the range of affordable printers for all budgets. It comes as a kit but it’s pretty much easy to set up. It’s simple to use too and comes with some great features like auto-leveling system, heated print bed and touchscreen control panel.
Being a Delta-style printer, it’s only fair to say that it’s very easy for the Flsun Q5 to catch anyone’s eye. However, the black with yellow trimmings finishing of its frame is also appealing and makes it look stylish enough for either home or office use.
Delta printers are very different from other common printers like the Cartesian 3D printers and the CoreXY printers because of the way their print head moves.
For the Cartesian printers, the print bed moves on the Y-axis and the hotend on the X-axis and Z-axis. The print bed happens to be the heaviest moving part which can cause ringing on the prints if the speed is not well-tuned. That is one of the reasons why Cartesian units are operated at relatively low speeds.
For the CoreXY printers, in most cases, the print bed moves only on the Z-axis while the hotend moves on the X and Y-axis. The heaviest part (print bed) moves in small increments on the Z-axis and this allows you to push the unit to higher speeds. CoreXY printers can print fast and produce better quality as compared to Cartesian printers because of the Bowden setup.
For Delta printers, the print bed is completely constant and the hotend moves on the X, Y, and Z-axis. The movement is enabled by the three moving arms that are attached to the print head assembly. The arms use v-slot rollers and they are each driven by a single stepper motor that sits on the top. They move independently but in a coordinated manner such that they are able to precisely move the extruder’s nozzle to a specific position, even if it’s only on one axis.
With this kind of movement, the print head is able to move much faster than that of other printer styles which translates to faster printing speeds. Moreover, the Bowden-feeder set up of the Q5’s makes its print head light hence allowing it to move quicker.
The printer has an open frame design which allows you to observe the whole printing process. Despite being an open machine, the cables are well maintained – there are no hanging wires which gives it a very neat look.
However, it exposes the hot extruder and bed, which is unsafe around children, plus it may affect the success of your prints when using temperature-sensitive materials.
The frame of the printer is made of stainless steel. It’s sturdy and holds the whole quite well. All the electronics including the touchscreen control sit at the top part of the machine, even the spool holder is mounted on the top.
This design makes the printer’s top a little heavy and despite its rigid frame, it may not be the most stable printer out there as it can easily topple over – although there were no notable problems during printing as a result of this design.
The pool holder itself is not also the best since it mounts on a relatively thin metal sheet and there are only two screws to hold it in place, meaning it may not be very stable either.
The printer is slightly light – it weighs just 17.64 pounds, so you might not require an extra hand to move it. It also has a small footprint measuring 25.2 x 14.17 x 0.01 inches. It takes a lot less space, about 50 cm on the desk, which is the same space that a regular resin printer would take.
The Flsun Q5 is a single extruder system. It features a Titan clone extruder with a 0.4mm nozzle that provides a layer resolution of 50 – 300 microns. With this, you can print at different layer thicknesses and also produce models that are relatively well detailed. The quality of the extruder is much better in comparison to those of similar 3D printers like the Creality 3D printers.
The printer uses a Bowden-style filament feeding system with a Titan clone feeder at the top of the frame and it also has a V6 lite style nozzle on the extruder.
The Bowden tube extends to the hotend and this slightly limits the printing temperatures to around 250°C although the printer is stated to reach up to 270°C. Nonetheless, it’s still high enough to handle some of the major printing materials.
The quality of the prints produced is equally impressive for the most part. The Q5 is able to produce really nice-looking prints. However, the cooling fan is a little underpowered, which means overhanging structures don’t usually look great although that can be rectified easily by getting a better fan and shroud.
One user printed a Bluetooth speaker and mentioned that all the parts were dimensionally accurate and uniform. Another printed litho lamps and they came out fine and were rich in detail. The print bed is fixed, so there’s minimal vibration which translates to great print quality.
Printing a 3D Benchy using the default untuned profile (at 0.2mm layer height and print speed of 60mm/s), doesn’t always yield the best result, but you do get a decent print. The machine also handles slightly bigger models like a Unicorn pretty well. The results are great, there are no signs of Z banding and the extrusion is consistent.
With Delta printers, accuracy can be a problem if calibration is not done correctly. However, the stepper motor drivers of the Q5 seem good at their job when printing objects with geometrical shapes like a lumpy bumpy vase. They always look good with decent dimensions and straight edges.
The main notable problem is the mainboard. The control board appears not to handle the movement commands consistently and this can sometimes cause the print head to slow down for a short period, resulting in over-extrusion or blobs on prints.
You get the same effect when using the touchscreen while printing since it’s also handled by the mainboard; it doesn’t have its own controller – the print moves tend to stutter if the processor is updating the screen which leads to artifacts.
One of the major reasons why people buy Delta printers is because of their impressive printing speeds. The Flsun Q5 heats up fast – the nozzle can reach around 210°C within 2 minutes. The movement of the print head is also fast due to the low weight and the three arms that move it in a coordinated manner. It can print at speeds of up to 300mm/sec.
For instance, it takes about 3 hours to complete the unicorn model. Printing the Cyclops bust from Eastman (at a layer height of 0.15mm and printing speed of 70mm/s) can take around 8 hours and the results are again impressive.
The build area of the Flsun Q5 is 7.87 x 7.87 x 7.87 inches which give you sufficient space to print large models without the need of splitting them into several parts.
The other advantage is that the print bed is heated and made from lattice glass similar to Creality 3D printers. The good thing about the lattice glass beds is that they provide a good printing platform and tidying them afterwards isn’t a hassle.
The temperatures of the bed can reach up to 110°C and the bed itself has an insulation material that helps it reach the required temperature fast. It can reach 60°C in 2 minutes and 100°C in about 6 minutes. Being a heated bed it can also support different types of filament.
However, the temperature of the bed may not be consistent due to the open frame design which can lead to warping when printing with materials like ABS – it requires stable high temperatures to print successfully. You can install an enclosed chamber though to solve this – to ensure no temperature fluctuations within the build area.
That said, the ceramic coating on the print bed works effectively. It provides a strong first layer adhesion and prints don’t stick tightly to the point that removing them is a hassle. You won’t really require a spatula to remove them – they release themselves easily after cooling down. The bed is not detachable though, so it might be a little difficult to get off some prints.
The print bed heats up to 110 degrees Celsius and the extruder can handle up to 270 degrees Celsius which means you can work with just about any material. The machine can print with PLA, ABS, PETG, HIPS, TPU, Wood and other generic and flexible filaments.
However, you may have to make some modifications like adding an enclosure in order to get successful prints with other filaments except PLA. The printer can work with any type of 1.75mm filament.
The printer features a 2.8 inch TFT color touchscreen which is located in the front at the top of the frame. It is intuitive with pre-set language options and uses a responsive and nice graphical user interface. You can adjust important controls and settings on the menu. The menu can also take you through the calibration process making it easy to set up and start using.
The system also comes with a power loss recovery function that allows it to resume a print job in case there was a power outage which is convenient as it reduces the risk of failures, especially when printing large models. Another useful feature is the thermal runaway protection which is activated by default.
Unfortunately, there’s no filament runout function. The good thing though is that unlike other similar printers which tend to utilize an 8-bit motherboard, this model features a 32-bit motherboard and that translates to more processing power – it’s faster and more stable offering better overall performance, plus it has fewer limitations on upgrades.
There’s even a configuration file available that lets you adjust settings such as accelerations and federate although features like linear advance, which is important for fast printing can’t be activated.
In terms of connectivity, the Flsun Q5 supports both SD card and USB. All print jobs are loaded into the SD card and then run directly on the printer. The SD card slot is located at the back of the printer.
The Flsun Q5 comes with Cura as its slicing software and can also work well with Repetier-host. The printer doesn’t work over USB with Cura so you might be required to use Repetier by slicing the files in Cura, saving them to another file then use Repetier host to send the g-code file to the printer via the USB.
The file formats supported by the printer are; STL, OBJ, JPG, PNG, and G-code files and it’s only compatible with Windows and Mac.
The Flsun Q5 comes well packaged in a small box. The package contains everything you need including tools, a decent manual, a piece of packing foam that perfectly fits below the printer to separate it from the table for minimal noise and a sample of red PLA material.
The package also has a micro-SD card and a USB micro-SD adapter which allows easy transfer of files. There’s also a sample g-code included of an elephant, a bolt and a knurled nut.
Despite being a kit printer, assembling the Q5 is quite simple and straightforward even for a beginner. You can easily assemble it in about 30-40 minutes.
Before making your first prints, calibration must be done with the detachable magnetic probe/removable sensor that clips next to the hotend. The firmware features an automatic leveling function that runs the leveling routine and also adjusts the print height.
With the help of the sensor, the firmware probes the bed in 25 different points, and then it generates a mesh to compensate for any inaccuracies that might occur in the heat bed. It works very well, making the entire set up process a breeze. Most users mentioned that the print surface is flat and once you probe the bed and calibrate the Z offset, you never have to touch it again.
The printer is relatively quiet while printing because it’s equipped with TMC silent drivers for the stepper motors and it also has a silent power supply (has no fan). The maximum noise level it produces is only 50dB – the whiny fan on the hotend is the only thing you get to hear.
Power usage is also well controlled. The printer uses a slightly small power supply that doesn’t use a fan, plus the print head is relatively small too, it doesn’t draw lots of power. There’s a 4020 fan inside the enclosure whose purpose is to blow air over the power supply and the stepper drivers, so cooling is just fine.
The Flsun support team isn’t perfect at all but they have tried to address some of the issues raised by customers, although they have left several people as frustrated as they were in the beginning.