If ever there were a real-world example of the “student surpasses teacher” trope, it would be that of Makerbot imitator Wanhao’s ascent from bargain-basement Chinese copycat to credible threat to the 3D printing vanguard. While other manufacturers quibble over an inch or so of build area and subtle variations in production speed or quality, Wanhao capitalizes on existing technology to churn out one great value after another, relying on the collective genius of its customers and the open source community for feedback and ideas to continually improve its low-price machines.
The budget-friendly Duplicator i3 V2 puts the brilliance of RepRap’s Josef Prusa within reach of the masses, reaping dividends for Wanhao in terms of customer satisfaction and brand loyalty. It also expands the market by providing access to technology that would otherwise be out of reach for makers of limited means. That’s where another maxim, “necessity is the mother of invention” plays to Wanhao’s advantage.
Builders who can’t afford expensive upgrades and pricey replacement parts or ruined filaments apply their wits and wisdom to the inevitable problems that crop up. When things go awry, they’re more likely to share their innovations than complain about their modest investment or shell out more cash for another machine. Instead of being locked in a tug-of-war with dissatisfied customers all too eager to jump ship for the next big idea, Wanhao and its products benefit from users’ efforts to make the most of precious resources.
Like any product that can be bought for a song, the Duplicator i3 V2 has its share of issues. Workmanship is not its strong suit, and users report the need for replacement parts and optional upgrades to get things rolling. Build quality and noise level may also be less than optimal, and customer service is a mixed bag, depending on the reseller.
Fortunately, parts and upgrades for the i3 V2 are easy to come by and can vastly improve its performance and versatility. Problems identified by early adopters were cleared up before word got out, and some owners were pleasantly surprised to receive replacement parts and retrofits from the manufacturer without having to raise any red flags. It’s hard to argue with success, and in a market often dominated by higher-priced machines that fail to deliver on the promise of brand-name quality — I’m looking at you, Cube 3 and Replicator 2 — the winningest design may also be the cheapest buy.
I do not regret my purchase and would buy again.
This is an excellent printer from an excellent company!
Wanhao listened to the community on this printer and made a truly amazing product. I'm thinking about buying a second one.
It's a great bang for the buck but i do prefer my Prusa i3 more than the Di3. Bed leveling is a pain and need to be done every 5 print ...
Great Printer, Great Support!