I’ve been wanting a 3D printer for quite some time. I had been eyeing the Ultimaker 3+, but the price was more than I was willing to spend. I even reached out to them looking for a review sample or discount and they never returned my calls. That’s when I learned about the Monoprice line of the 3D printers (also called Wanhou Duplicators under another brand). Monoprice offered a $200 discount on their unit and I’ve been using it for about two months now. So let’s go forth with our Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate Review! Is it really the ultimate 3D printer?
The Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate Review
Three of my colleagues and I all purchased the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate 3D printer from Monoprice a few days apart from each other and they all arrived just 48 hours later. One thing Monoprice does right is sell cheap and ship fast (but that’s about all – more later).
Just a Rebranded Wanhou 3D Printer?
A note for those who are curious. Monoprice doesn’t really make anything. They just rebrand other companies products as their own in bulk making them Monoprice private label items. In this case the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate is nothing more than a re-branded Wanhou Duplicator 6. There might or might not be reasons to purchase one unit over the other, but I’ve not been able to determine any other than price. A word of caution in a minute though on getting service.
The Ultimaker 2 Grandfather Paradox
Speaking of re-branding, the Wanhou Duplicator 6 is a re-brand of sorts in its own right! Both printers owe their beginnings to the Ultimaker line of 3D printers, where these printers are basically Ultimaker 2 clones that are missing some of the refined features of those printers. The Wanhou/Monoprice 3D printers don’t have covers, doors, filament tubes, etc. Funny enough, the holes are all there should you decide to add them after the fact. Several YouTuber’s show how to add doors and windows with Home Depot parts that look factory made. You can even 3D print your own hinges.
Things I Love about the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate
So next up in the journey of our Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate Review, let’s talk about the things I love about this printer. There is a lot to love!
The Maker Select Ultimate is Built Like a Tank
You read that right. This 3D printer is built like a tank! I swear it was manufactured right along next to the M1 Abrams. The frame is solid steel and its heavy! They’ve made sure that not only will the printer last a lifetime, its accuracy will not suffer from a wiggly frame. All of the componentry is solid and well crafted. Looking back to our above history lesson, Wanhou and Monoprice took a page out of the right cost reduction manual. Rather than cost reducing the quality of the printer, they’ve simply removed the “extravagant” components.
Think much about this printer like you would a Ford F-150. Whether you order the base model with crank up windows and no cruise control, or the top of the line Platinum Edition with navigation, self parking and the like its ultimately still the same truck. Same frame. Same body. Same core components. That’s what Wanhou and Monoprice have done here. This is the base model of an otherwise solid platform.
Its Highly Compatible
One thing I hate about off brands is that they usually come with junky proprietary software. The Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate uses industry standard software, and works with literally every application I have thrown at it.
About the only thing you need to tweak in most software programs is to enter the correct bed dimensions. I’ve used Ultimaker Cura (get the latest version here) for most of my 3D printing adventures. However, I use a 3D print server running on a Raspberry Pi called OctoPrint (OctoPi). I can’t recommend it enough! All you need is a $30 Raspberry Pi and memory card. This is awesome because if your computer crashes your 3D printer just keeps trucking. And it makes awesome timelapse videos of your print! There’s even an iOS app you can use to check on your 3D printer from away from home.
Things I Hate about the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate
There are some things about this printer that I absolutely despise. Most of them can be mitigated pretty easily, and I’ll walk you through that.
Support is Non-Existant
If you’ll remember I mentioned in the beginning that the Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate wasn’t perfect. Here’s an area where Monoprice falls flat on its face. Of the four printers we purchased one of them came defective. It simple wouldn’t do anything. Calling Monorpice results in a hold where literally no one ever answers the phone. Emailing them and two months later no one has ever replied to the email. Its an effort in futility. The only thing we found that worked was to call them at different times of the day until you get through.
Once you get ahold of them you’re still not done. They make you box the entire printer back up. They don’t offer any kind of repair service, or to send you the broken part (in our case the main logic board was bad). So you send it back and wait…. wait… wait… wait. After a couple of weeks Monoprice will receive your printer and send you a new one which will arrive a few days later.
How to mitigate this issue? Order the printer on Amazon. When you buy from Amazon you are covered by the Amazon A-Z guarantee for 60 days. Amazon will send you a new printer in two days and you can return the old one to Amazon on their dime.
The Factory Fan Shroud is a Complete Joke
The next gripe in our Monoprice Maker Select Ultimate Review is the crappy piece of plastic that Wanhou and Monoprice call a filament fan shroud. It’s a complete and utter joke. The shroud blows air on the filament to cool it down after the printing process has occurred (for more reliable adhesion and print strength). However, the shroud only blows air on one side of the print job. You’ll notice lots of stringing on complex tasks. It’s terrible and they should be ashamed.
The workaround? Print your own shroud (available on Thingiverse here). The Thingiverse download includes several options. I found this one to the best and allows you to still see the print head. (Pro Tip: print it once and install it. Then use it to print a second one that will be higher quality. I also recommend using ABS for this print as it will withstand higher temperatures without sagging.). I printed mine in bright yellow ABS to give it a The Geek Pub Theme!
Overall I am pretty happy. I’d give it 4.5 out of 5 stars!
Where to Buy
I would again recommend you buy this printer from Amazon rather than Monoprice since service with Monoprice will be very difficult. My favorite filament is the eSun PLA+. Here are links to everything I bought: