I have decided to do an in-depth review of the
aforementioned ELEGOO NEPTUNE 2S 3D printer. This is the first 3D printer that
I’ve owned and operated. I will be reviewing the printer based on several
Delivery (does it come within the time-frame stated by the company.)
Packaging (does the product come undamaged and is the packaging
sufficient to protect it.)
Ease of assembly
Ease of setup
Ease of Part Prep
Speed of printing
Final product produced
My rating system is:
One Star – Very Poor, Run,
don’t walk away from this.
Two Stars – Poor, not at
Three Stars – Fair, there
will be challenges you have to overcome.
Four Stars – Good, I can
recommend the product.
Five Stars – Excellent,
this is highly recommended.
For item one (1) delivery,
the product was promised within five to seven business days based upon the
shipping criteria that I gave them (free shipping.) The product was delivered
late on day four, so they exceeded the expectation.
My rating on Delivery…Five-Stars.
The item came in a heavy
cardboard box, undamaged, with soft foam packing cut-out to hold the individual
pieces. I consider it well protected. Expectation here was met.
My rating on Packaging…Five-Stars.
We come not to item three,
ease of assembly. This is where things go just a little off the rails. First,
you need to understand that this printer comes only partially assembled. You
are expected to do a lot of the assembly yourself. All well-and-good as this is
one of the reasons that the cost of the unit is so low ($190 if you buy
directly from Elegoo.) There are problems here though that Elegoo should
First is the User Manual
that comes with the unit in the box. This is a terrible document and isn’t much
help for someone who has never put one of these together before. The pamphlet
is mostly pictures with confusing dialog. It is actually obvious that an
engineer helped put this booklet together, not thinking about the novice.
Fortunately, Elegoo was wise enough to include an assembly video on the TF card
that comes with the unit. This is far more helpful when it comes to instructing
you on how things go together. The problem here is that the video shows things
going together at two, three, or four times the speed that they actually do. I
found myself replaying sections time after time. This brings me to the second
problem with assembly of the printer.
There are six different
size screws (all hex head) and five different size hex wrenches to go with them.
This, along with a couple of different crescent wrenches with three sizes.
There are also six different sized connector ends that have to be plugged-in in
various places, one so small that I had to use tweezers to get it lined up.
Most of you reading this probably know that I am a Lean/Six Sigma Senior Master
Black Belt. I can tell you that the concept of Design For Assembly (DFA) was
nowhere present when this model printer was on the drafting table. It honestly
is not that hard to set up to use a common screw (two at most) and a common
connector (again, two at most.) In fact, it isn’t that hard to set it up that
NO screws are needed, but that is advanced DFA and I would have been ecstatic
with some of the basics. I want to make sure that you understand I have taught
and implemented Design For Assembly/Design For Manufacturing at multiple
companies in several countries including the USA, Mexico, Canada, France,
Switzerland, and China. DFA/DFM has reduced costs for these companies by as
much as 50%.
Finally, with the
assembly, they leave you to figure out that little tricks you need to know to
make things go together properly all on your own. Things like, keeping the nuts
at the very end of the screws when putting the filament holder on. The problem
is, these aren’t things that are just ‘good to know,’ they’re critical to
getting the unit put together properly.
My rating on Ease of
Let’s move on to Ease of
Setup. This was another area that needs some improvement. There are a couple of
basic things that need to be done before you can start printing. One of the
most important is leveling the bed (the area where the part sits as it is being
made.) You would think this is pretty straight forward and, if you live in
backwards-world, it probably is. Under the bed are four ‘wheels’ to help level
the bed. Where I come from, when you turn a wheel right, you would expect
something to go in or up…not the case here, this actually lowers the bed in
that corner. I suppose if you are left-handed, this might be pretty cool, but
according to Wikipedia, roughly 90% of the human population is right-handed.
Again, a DFA issue. Once you figure that out, it is pretty smooth sailing for
leveling the bed.
There can also be issues
with the bed ‘wobbling.’ This is taken care of by adjusting some nuts under the
bed…nuts that are ridiculously tight. I had some real fears that I was going to
break something on the printer I had to pull so hard. Some simple adjustment
knobs for this would have been nice, but maybe it would have added some cost to
the unit as well. Once we are past these problems the basic setup is pretty
My rating on Ease of
Part prep is an important part of 3D
printinig. In order to 3D print a part, you somehow have to get that part
design into the printer. The Elegoo Neptune 2S does this through the use of a
piece of software called Cura and a TF card. What Cura does is look for your
model in a variety of formats (.stl, .gltf, .obj, etc.) and lets you manipulate
size and orientation and then ‘slice’ your model. Slicing is putting the model
into a series of ‘slices’ that the printer can use to build a part file in
Gcode. This file can then be transferred to the TF card so it can be plugged
into the printer for use. Seems simple enough. Except…there doesn’t appear to
be anyway for you to manipulate other important data directly in the Cura
program initially. Information like nozzle and bed temperatures. This is
‘hidden’ in a bar above the viewing stage. The manual for the Elegoo version of
the Cura program is online (I had to search for it myself.)
Once the part is loaded into the Cura program,
which is easy to do, slicing it is as simple as pushing a button. You then can
load the sliced part back onto the TF card for use. I had to make sure that it
was loaded onto the top menu or the printer could not find the part (you cannot
load it into a file folder, at least I couldn’t, and have the printer find it.)
My rating for Part Prep…Three 1/2 Stars.
Printing the part, I initially had some
issues. For some reason, the part would begin to print and then, after a few
minutes, the entire thing would move on the bed ruining the printing. I went
back and double-checked that the bed was level (a VERY big deal) but it made no
difference. I then tried to contact Elegoo about it and what I should do, I
will get to that later. Rather than waiting for an answer back, I resorted to
asking a group on Discord that I am a member of. After describing the problem
and my settings, I was told that my nozzle temperature was a little too cold
and how to make the adjustment. I did this and, sure enough, the part stayed in
I rate Printing at…Four Stars.
Print speed is highly dependent upon the size
of the part you are printing the amount of ‘fill’ you are putting into the part
(typically set at 15%,) and, I assume, the quality of the part, though I
haven’t found a separate setting for this. I printed a part that was approximately
twice the size of a normal miniature (my daughter wanted a unicorn) which took
about an hour and a half. I consider that fairly fast. Actual miniatures can
vary from fifteen minutes to a half hour. I have seen and heard about other
printers and how long it takes, so I consider the Elegoo fast.
I rate Print Speed at…Five Stars.
The Noise that the Elegoo Neptune 2S makes is
minimal. In fact, it is the quietest printer I have encountered to-date (we had
a 3D printer at one of my work places and the noise would drive you nuts after
I rate Noise at…Five Stars.
We finally come to Final Product Produced. The
printer does make a nice part. The parts require a lot of trimming as the base
is too wide and there are a lot of stringers. Overall, though, if you keep an
eye on what it being made, you can get a really nice part off of the machine.
Like all filament printers, it will not give you very fine detail, but it does
as good a job as any parts I have seen from filament printers. There is one problem,
and it is not an unusual one for any printer.
Getting the part off of the bed is difficult.
This seems a little ironic after the initial problem of not getting it to stay
in place. There are some ‘tricks’ that help. One is to heat the bed to about 70
degrees C and then use a can of compressed air on the part to cool just the
part. You can then use a good flat spatula to get the part up. Just be careful
as these parts are fairly fragile.
I am going to rate Final Product Produced at…Four
I need to talk about Elegoo customer service. This
is what drags the overall rating down the most. The only way to Elegoo is
through their email client. This means that you are going to have to wait hours
(at least) before you hear back from them. When you are in the middle of a
problem, you really don’t have that kind of time. I asked them about the
problem of the part not staying in place on the bed. The response (several
hours after I was done) was to clean the bed with alcohol and level it. This
was actually an incorrect response since the solution was to increase the
nozzle temperature. Imagine if I had to go back and forth with, “That didn’t
work.” “Well try this.” It would have been ridiculous considering the time
factor involved. This is always the issue when you are dealing with customer
service located either in a different country or massively different time zone.
The only way that can see to overcome some of
these problems is a better trouble-shooting section in their manual (they have
one, but it doesn’t cover a lot of the eventualities possible) or online. I
have had to help create these types of systems, so I know it can be done.
I am going to have to rate Customer Service
at…One 1/2 stars.
My overall rating for the Elegoo
Neptune 2S printer is 3.8 stars.
It is probably a decent printer for someone
just getting into 3D printing, but there are obvious issues that Elegoo should
Since, as you know, I am careful about
copyrights, I am only going to include a couple of pictures of finished
products and not the printer itself.
Have fun, stay safe!