ToAuto Pyramid A1.1 3D Printer Assembly and Review

ToAuto Pyramid A1.1 3D Printer Assembly and Review

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Takeaway: Quick assembly, clean, fast, and accurate prints, great for beginners.

In my video review, I’ll walk you through printer assembly, software setup, filament loading, leveling the bed, and printing for the first time. All parts for assembly are documented in the instruction manual and clearly marked with number stickers. The only parts that are not labeled are the tools like the spatula, SD card reader, cables, and Allen wrenches. Assembly of the printer will take about 30 - 45 minutes. The trickiest part is determining the orientation of the parts as they are not described well in the illustrated instructions, however, I have tried to make the steps as clear and understandable as possible in my video. When assembling, make sure that you square off and level components as they are added to the printer body; this will eliminate issues later on.

Don’t forget to remove the foam pads under the heat bed when unpacking the unit. On the back of the power supply is a sliding switch marked with a yellow sticker that allows you to select your region’s supply voltage (230 or 115 Volts). In the US, set this to 115 Volts. The printer comes with a borosilicate glass plate that is clipped to the top of the heat bed. Your filament will print directly onto the glass for easier removal. The printer comes with a microSD card and card reader that is pre-loaded with software and sample 3D models. Mine included a copy of Cura v4.2, a free 3D modeling and printing software. There were also several video files that demonstrated printer assembly, bed leveling, and a description of parts, however, the videos appear to be based on a previous model of the printer and some parts and steps for assembly were different for the Pyramid A1.1 I chose to download the latest version of the Cura software. It does require a few custom settings to be entered in order to work with the printer, which were outlined in the instruction manual.

Since this printer uses the Titan Direct Drive extruder, loading the filament was very easy with just a few taps on the LCD screen. The included sample filament was drawn into the pre-heated extruder without a problem. Leveling the bed using the 5-point leveling interface and a sheet of printer paper was also straight-forward. I recommend starting by placing your printer on a stable level surface before attempting to level the bed. Even so, sometimes this is an iterative process, and it will take you a few cycles to get the bed to the proper height and level. I also recommend checking the level of the bed and re-leveling, if necessary, prior to each print.

The prints from the 3D printer were very good, both printing directly on the machine using a gcode file loaded to the SD card and printing via the included USB-B cable. When printing directly on the printer, the machine will track the amount of time it takes to complete the print as well as track the percent completion. However, it does not estimate the amount of time remaining for the print. Conversely, when printing via USB, the software will estimate the amount of time it will take to complete the printer, but you will not see a progress bar of completion on the printer’s LCD. The Cura software also estimates the amount of filament you’ll need to complete the print in grams and meters.

One thing I found when printing via USB is that you’ll want to ensure that your computer does not enter sleep mode during the print, as this will stop the operation of the printer. In my case, a brief pause of the print head for several minutes resulted in the heated extruder melting and oozing plastic filament on my print where the head had stopped. While the print did resume right away when I woke my computer up, the damage to the print had been done. Upon resumption it appeared that a layer of the print had also been skipped or misaligned due to the interruption.
For my initial prints, there were a few stumbling blocks for the printer, for example unsupported overhangs and webbing between separated sections of a print. These issues are not uncommon for 3D printer and adjusting settings may mitigate them in the future. I also noticed a fair amount of vibration on one print as the print head moved back and forth quickly. While I was concerned that this would affect print quality, I didn’t find that it had any impact on that particular print. I did however, choose to reduce the speed of the print to eliminate the worst of the vibrations; just note that your print will take longer to complete if print speed is reduced. When a print is completed, the bed will move toward the back of the machine automatically. Even though the filament is printed on very smooth glass, you might also have a little trouble getting your print unstuck from the heat bed after it has cooled down. That’s where the included metal scraper comes in handy. You can use it to gently wedge up around the edges to release your print without damaging it. If instead you have trouble getting the print to adhere to the glass, you can clean it off with isopropyl alcohol prior to printing.

I thought the prints that this 3D printer produced were of very good quality. They had nice smooth transitions with zero ringing or ghosting. Occasionally, I’ll find a tiny bit of extra material here and there that I’ll need to trim, and on my first print I noticed a spot on the bottom where the print lifted just slightly due to poor adhesion. However, these types of issues can be prevented with a bit of fine tuning of the settings and proper preparation of the print bed and checking the “print-worthiness” of the model you’re using. After printing, you’ll want to unload your filament by going into the same menus as you did when loading. Then carefully pull the filament out of the extruder once it’s been backed out of the nozzle. Be careful not to pull out the collet in the extruder, which tends to pop out during filament removal. You can just press that back into place. Always remember to store your unused filament in an airtight plastic bag to keep it from absorbing too much moisture which could negatively impact print quality and filament performance.

Overall, I’m pretty happy with this printer. It was easy and straight-forward to assemble, it works well with the bundled software, and the prints are fast, clean, and accurate, given the model file you’re using is designed well. The menu interface is very simple to use and understand but doesn’t have a lot of advanced features or settings, which makes this unit a really good one for beginners to learn the basics of 3D printing. More advanced users may want more control over their prints, and there are some upgrades you can perform to enhance this machine later on if you want like changing from a belt to direct drive for the y-axis or adding an auto-leveling sensor like the BL touch. It even is able to handle a variety of filament material types like PLA, PETG, TPU, ABS, and Carbon Fiber. The maximum print size is 300x300x400mm or roughly 12x12x16 inch.

Buy it at Amazon: ToAuto Pyramid A1.1 3D Printer [Affiliate Link]


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