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Snapmaker’s 2020 recap and plans for 2021

Mar 17, 2021 | News

Hi makers, 2020 is finally behind us and we are three months into 2021. 2020 was a challenging year for Snapmaker and it must have been the same for all makers out there. The world was forever changed but on the bright side, we have touched on so many peoples’ lives and our mission at Snapmaker has proven to be more meaningful in the tough times than ever.

Without further introduction, let’s get into our yearly recap for 2020. Here is a quick rundown of the events listed by month.

Snapmaker’s 2020 event timeline (listed by month)

January:

Snapamaker 2.0 won CES Innovation Awards.

Start shipping the first Snapmaker 2.0s

February:

COVID-19 broke out in China, stopped production and started to work from home, which unfortunately led to production and shipping delay

Released the Snapmaker 2.0 enclosure, which comes with an exhaust fan and laser filtering side panels

March:

Snapmaker Luban RAM Optimization and DXF support

Open source Snapmaker Luban and released luban.xyz

Despite the pandemic, we cooperated with more distributors (22 more in 2020).

April:

COVID-19 worldwide breakout, we designed DIY protective gear, EVA goggles, Snap Face Shield, EVA Mask in the hope of alleviating the situation and reached out to our distributors in need.

May:

Opened our EU online store, which is available to users in 27 EU countries

Further shipping delay for the Snapmaker 2.0, but we moved to a new warehouse to expand our production capacity.

June:

New Laser & CNC G-code generator Workflow in Snapmaker Luban

Snapmaker Luban SVG editor functionality

Released Snapmaker Public Roadmap and new shipping schedule, more transparency and better communication with our backers

July:

Attended TCT Asia 2020

Production planning, fulfillment, logistics and inventory capacity are significantly improved.

August:

Shipped the last batch of Kickstarter orders for Snapmaker 2.0

Accessories and filament available on our website and Amazon

September:

Start shipping Pre-orders for Snapmaker 2.0

Fulfilled our second Kickstarter campaign

Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module revealed

Improved packaging for the Snapmaker 2.0 enclosure, which is more environmentally friendly and protective

October:

Snapmaker Makerathon

2020 Chinese Education Equipment Exhibition

November:

Multi-language support, Japanese and French for touchscreen and QSG respectively

Auto Update feature in Snapmaker Luban

Open source Snapmaker 2.0 controller firmware

We now have more than 100 employees.

Customer complaint rate has drastically decreased compared to last year.

Snapmaker 2.0 3D printing module optimization (improved airflow and less material waste, new design in production in February 2021)

December:

New 3D Printing Settings and Manual Support feature in Snapmaker Luban

Finished shipping Snapmaker 2.0 pre-orders

Prepared to ship Snapmaker 2.0 locally worldwide

We have shipped over 20k Snapmaker Originals and 25k Snapmaker 2.0s in total.

Customer Service satisfaction rate increased to 98% (over 10% increase)

Hardware

Snapmaker 2.0 (Modular 3-in-1 3D printer): For us, 2020 was the year of Snapmaker 2.0. We had an amazing campaign run on Kickstarter and raised over 7.8 million USD. We strived to deliver the product we promised, and so we did. We started shipping the first Snapmaker 2.0s back in January and continued to ship more units around the world. The Snapmaker 2.0 won the CES innovation awards and was featured and highly rated on All3DP and TechRadar. Since the launch of Snapmaker 2.0, we’ve made quite some adjustments to a couple of early issues with the Snapmaker 2.0. We’ve added 5×5 calibration to both auto and manual leveling and fixed the Wi-fi bug. We also upgraded our laser safety goggles. The ones that come with the Snapmaker 2.0 are among the best in its class in terms of laser filtering and cost.

Snapmaker 2.0 Enclosure (addon): The Snapmaker 2.0 Enclosure was released in February, 2020, and over 45% of our backers opted to purchase the addon. It provides excellent protection during machine operation, and has laser filtering side panels and many other benefits such as noise reduction and fumes extraction.

Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module (addon): In September 2020, the Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary module was announced for the first time and it was available for pre-order early January 2021 for our backers. It elevates your CNC making experience to another dimension figuratively and literally. It enables your Snapmaker 2.0 to rotary carve and laser with the 4th axis added. Detailed-focused CNC desktop applications are now made possible.

Snapmaker 2.0 Emergency Stop Button (addon): The Snapmaker Emergency Stop Button was released along with the Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module and provides an extra layer of safety for users and people around the machine. It helps prevent or stop further potential damage to the user or machine.

Hardware improvements

Needless to say, we have been spending a lot of time designing and refining our products to offer the most premium user experience to our users. At the core of Snapmaker, it is essential to listen to our users as best as we can. We don’t just call it the end of a purchase when your order sets sail, but instead it is the beginning of our journey together. With providing continuous support and updates in mind, we have been aiming to push software and firmware updates monthly since the launch of the Snapmaker 2.0, and along with the patches and hotfixes, many early bugs have been ironed out.

We made a number of changes and improvements to the Snapamker 2.0. The first change was the 3D printing module, which was redesigned to offer a better cooling solution. We optimized the airflow of the module and it is larger and cooler. The filament runout sensor is improved and the chances of erroneous warning are lowered. The thermal resistor and heating tube inside of the hot end are tied together so there is less of a chance of the thermal resistor accidentally falling out. The number of gears inside of the module was increased from 9 to 14 and their edges are smoother. The printing material is less likely to get stuck in the gaps between gears, which helps minimize material loss.

The linear module will soon receive an upgrade too. We started to perform aging and other tests on the linear module back in April last year. We ran 40 machines for hundreds of hours continuously at the highest speed to check for consistency. We replaced and ran comparison tests between 5 different springs and recorded the results in terms of current, force, internal temperature, noise level, and position accuracy. A better design for the linear module was found and the new version would have an even smaller variance in printing size capacities.

Another focus was to eliminate the noise made by the linear module, which was reported by some of our users. We started experimenting with different driver chips and tested their power output, force output, and heat dissipation. According to our findings, our alternative driver chip passed our internal tests while running more quietly. The overall noise reduction is expected to be 3-4 dBs. Users will enjoy all these upgrades in the new Snapmaker 2.0 for the same price. We are also bringing improvements to the power supply. More updates will be released later this year.

Firmware and software

In June, the Snapmaker 2.0 controller firmware received a complete overhaul and its code was refactored based on FreeRTOS V10.3. The new operating system controls the workflow of multitasking between machine components. It opens the door for maker enthusiasts for making addons of their own. Over the past couple of months we’ve brought various bug fixes and new privacy settings to the firmware. Users have a better and more robust 3D printing experience when using the new firmware. The data transmission and wireless experience have also been improved. In November, we fulfilled our promise and the Snapmaker 2.0 controller firmware is officially open source and you can access its GitHub page here.

The module firmware became open source in October 2020. The potential of controller and module firmware both being open source is unfathomable. We are also developing Snap-star, a standalone piece of hardware that is essentially a “translator” for the machine. Users can DIY addons themselves by connecting to the ports on Snap-star. It’s possible that you can control your Snapmaker 2.0 with a gamepad one day.

We put in a lot of effort optimizing and improving the slicing, SVG editing, and 4th axis CNC functionalities in Snapmaker Luban as well. And we are fairly content with the result. Although some of the features are still lacking, we believe we are in the right direction and Snapmaker Luban is only getting better. In 2020, we added RAM optimization and support for DXF files. We also added an SVG editor so you can create basic shapes and text within Snapmaker Luban with only a few clicks. A new laser and CNC G-code generator workflow was implemented and the “Laser G-code Generator” and “CNC G-code Generator” are split into two tabs “Edit” and “Process”. The interface is more intuitive now and easier to work with. There are many more changes and improvements made to the Snapmaker Luban and they are listed here on our forum thread.

A significant change to the Snapmaker Luban, however, is that it became open source in March 2020. We made a dedicated website luban.xyz for it. We hope that the Snapmaker Luban will grow better with the help of yours. In return, the software will benefit both the maker community and Snapmaker in the long run. The Snapmaker Luban is free and open source and will stay that way.

Improved customer support with 98% satisfaction rate and better communication

We have grown considerably in 2020 and now have over 100 employees. Our customer support department expanded, and we, as a team, focused a lot more on customer support in 2020. Compared to 2019, we received 258% more tickets and inquiries in 2020, and our customer support team is better trained to provide more optimal resolutions. Because of that, both the response rate and efficiency have increased. Our customer support satisfaction rate is now at 98%, which is the highest it has ever been.

Moreover, we’ve much enhanced our communication with our users through newsletter, blog, forum, Facebook groups, and other social media platforms. Pre-order status lookup page was released in October for pre-order customers. It shows information about your pre-order status, shipping date, shipping method and tracking number. The page link was sent to all pre-order users through our newsletter. We also increased our email sending frequencies last year from monthly to semi-monthly. So be sure to sign up for our newsletter or join our Facebook groups for the latest news.

New warehouse and reliable suppliers

Last year, we moved our production to a new warehouse that is 5 times as big as before. We have 3.3 times as many personnel on site. The production capacity is 4 times larger. This helps us accommodate the much higher demand. We are also planning on making our machines, addons and accessories available on Amazon to users in North America, Europe, and Japan in March.

Not only that, we improved our quality assurance for incoming supply once again, and we sent our staff members to oversee our suppliers to ensure their SOPs and production procedures follow our guides and meet our set standards. As a result, the average passing rate for material has increased. On our end, we added 36 more inspection tools for our production line and increased our inspection range as well as precision.

All these improvements translate to a higher machine quality for our users. In 2019 we were praised for high quality products, and we made further improvements based on feedback we received.

Our plans for 2021

For 2021, we’ve got some exciting activities and programs for you. Snapmaker Academy would be one of our regular beginner/intermediate series for 3D printing, laser engraving, and CNC carving. We are going to pump out new content and ideas every video to assist you with your making journey. If you are a beginner and just started your making journey, regular video tutorials and guides will be released as well so our content will be suitable for all ranges of audience.

Next up, we are hosting the Snapmaking Contest periodically. It’s going to have a different theme every time and contestants will have a chance to win special prizes. The fifth Snapmaking Contest is over and the projects were really impressive.

In 2021, we will release more addons for the Snapmaker 2.0. This was and has been the goal of Snapmaker 2.0, which is to become a modular making system. The Snapmaker 2.0 has received a tremendous amount of positive feedback and it has served as a central hub for creation for many of our users. We are planning on developing and/or releasing the Snapmaker 2.0 Rotary Module (already available for pre-order), air purifier, high power laser module, and dual-extruder module. We can’t wait to show you guys more about these modules in the second and third quarters of 2021, so stay tuned!

Year 2020 was tough. It was a struggle for all of us and we are glad that we have pulled through. Not only that, we’ve also made tremendous progress on the areas we’ve touched on in this recap and we are excited for the new challenges ahead. Thank you for your support in 2020 and as always, let’s make something wonderful in 2021!

Stay safe and have a prosperous year,

Team Snapmaker

46 Comments

  1. Mathias Landgraf

    I appreciate the way you communicate. This should be used as a training sample for companies, which want to improve their communication. And there are many…
    Keep up going this way and I will continue to support you in further projects!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Mathias, thank you so much for your support! Happy 2021! 🙂

      Reply
  2. Johann Maier

    Will the upgrades to the linear modules be made available to people who already own a snapmaker 2.0? I, and I’m sure many others, would feel cheated if there wasn’t a way to retrofit our linear modules to be on par with the new ones.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Johann, thank you for your feedback. We are discussing internally the possibility of making the upgrades available to early backers and users. We will release more information through our newsletter when we have come to a conclusion and will let you know. Thank you!

      Reply
  3. Peter L

    When the 3D print head, rails and power supply are upgraded, Will pre-order buyers be sent the upgrades or will we have to purchase new? Thank you for the communication.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Peter, we are indeed discussing internally the possibility of making the upgrades available to early backers and users. More information will be released through our newsletter and we will let you know once we have come to a conclusion! Thank you!

      Reply
    • Matt Lowe

      Can we please get a way to connect to our SnapMaker via a smart phone? Please make an app that can connect via Bluetooth or otherwise to control it similar to the corded one it comes with. This will give so much more freedom and ease of use.

      Reply
      • Kai

        Hi Matt, thank you for your feedback. But unfortunately mobile support isn’t on our roadmap yet. Please also send us your feedback at support@snapmaker.com so that we will have a record of all feedback. Thank you!

      • Bill Fellner

        Matt, look into OctoPi. I use it on my A350 and love it. It gives so many options and has been essential for me since my SM is in the basement. I got so frustrated with having to use the touchscreen every time I wanted to connect via WiFi and print some thing. I use it with OctoPod on my iOS devices and have full control.

  4. Jörn Hoffarth

    Thank you for your great work! My Snapmaker 2.0 A350 works great!

    Please offer a improvements kit for everyone who already have a Snapmaker. For example, not the entire linear module, just the spring and the new driver board.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Jörn, yes we are considering it. We will release more information through our newsletter and will let you know once we have a conclusion! Thank you!

      Reply
  5. Patrice Caron

    I am very satisfied with my Snapmaker A250, but why did you put such a noisy fan in the control box ???? It is very very tiring to have the fan motor in your ears …. it causes the headache.
    Is there a way one day to be able to switch to a silent fan ….
    Please and thank you in advance …
    Best regards

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Patrice, thank you for your feedback, and we are indeed working on lowering the noise level on the controller. Currently we don’t have a plan for providing the silent fan as a standalone upgrade kit, but it might change in the future and we are still discussing the possibility of making the upgrades available to early backers and users. More information will be released through our newsletter! Thank you!

      Reply
      • Gav

        Some of the fan noise is caused by restricted air movement. The slots and fine mesh are too small. Remove the mesh and hear the difference.

  6. merana33

    Will there a plan in place for Kickstarter backers to upgrade their 3d print module and/or linear rails to the new, fixed versions without having to re-purchase a whole new snapmaker?

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi merana33, we are indeed discussing internally the possibility of making the upgrades available to early backers and users. More information will be released through our newsletter and we will let you know once we have come to a conclusion! Thank you!

      Reply
  7. Jennifer Lanzetti

    You have scaled well from the read of this blog and timeline provided. The force was definitely with you. It would be fantastic to have Snapmaker University set up for novice users who have never heard of 3D printing, to advanced users who are making costumes with moveable parts. Like Trimble Sketchup Warehouse, users can share models, ideas, etc. and help each other. I have developed 3D curriculum for construction for over 10 years and would be happy to share my thoughts. As a reward for those who finish the university, perhaps they can host their creations in your online store, or advertise on one of your webpages.

    Thank you for the great creation!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Jennifer, thank you for your feedback. It sounds like a very interesting idea and I will make sure to pass it on to our team. Snapmaker Academy is one of our focuses this year but we are just a bit too understaffed to make a ton of content, but we are working on it. Thank you for your support!

      Reply
  8. Skeet

    Best of luck in 2021! I’m very happy with my SN2.0

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Skeet, thank you for your wishes! Happy 2021!

      Reply
  9. Lukas Schönauer

    Thank you very much about this detailed Summary. I am very pleased with my A350, but thought the transparency about the progress lacked a bit. You worked that up. After seeing the changes u did to the linear modules and print module, i wonder if there is the possibility to change the old ones for the new ones?

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Lucas, yes we are indeed discussing internally the possibility of making the upgrades available to early backers and users. More information will be released through our newsletter and we will let you know once we have come to a conclusion! Thank you!

      Reply
  10. Evgueni Fedorov

    Thank you for your fruitful efforts!
    I noticed that a pretty good scope of instruments, enclosures and especially spare parts and modules are now available through Amazon, but the best scope in North America seems to be available for pre-order at B&H web store in USA. Would it be possible to have a similar scope of spare parts and modules available at Robotshop in Canada? Also, since it happens that the driver board of linear modules burns out, it would be good to have that board available as a spare part in different stores as well, to avoid purchasing a complete linear module in such a case, when the warranty expires.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Evgueni, Robotshop indeed carries most of our Snapmaker devices and addons already. Could you clarify which parts you are look for specifically?

      Reply
  11. rtr

    Is the updated print module available for sale on your site?

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi rtr, we are still discussing internally regarding your question. We will let you know as soon as we have a conclusion!

      Reply
  12. Brian C

    The snapmaker 2.0 is an amazing machine! I am enjoying making 3d models with my A250. Is there any technical roadmap of the Luban software? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Thank you for your feedback! Currently we have only one public roadmap and it lists all changes including ones for Snapmaker Luban in each quarter.

      Snapmaker Pulbic Roadmap link: https://trello.com/b/LxFfkJj6

      Reply
  13. Jordon Lewis Ockey

    Awesome! Great experience with the company so far, excited to see where the future takes us!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Jordon, thank you for your support!

      Reply
  14. Greg Gehrke

    Thank you, folks, for building such an outstanding machine. Been enjoying mine almost daily since mid-January, and all I’ve done is 3d print; haven’t even cranked up the laser or CNC yet. My Snapmaker A350 has run flawlessly. Excellent machine. The quality of the things I’ve made so far (mostly Thingiverse stuff, but a couple self-designed things) has been much better than I expected from a machine run by a newbie. Most pieces have looked like they came straight off the store shelf!

    I am now setting up a vacuum for the CNC and getting prepared to give that a try. Very exciting. Thank you. Your machine has been a fabulous distraction from a not quite so fabulous year!

    All the Best to you and yours, Snapmaker team! I’m looking forward to a long and happy relationship. May 2021 be our best year yet.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Greg, we are glad you enjoyed 3D printing with your Snapmaker 2.0! Share with us your CNC experience in our Facebook groups or forum and let us know how it goes :).

      Reply
  15. Dimitrios Sarris

    Thank you for having the vision to create such an amazing piece of machinery, and making it accessible to all of us, and most importantly creating something of such high quality. It is that quality of materials, design, execution and thoughts that will keep you guys at the top! A job extremely well done!

    I cannot wait enough to see the new add-ons, and all the new ideas you will come up with for add-ons in the future; also I am very eager to get my hands on the stronger laser and dual extruder, for some really unique things to be created from them.

    Will wait for your update of the linear modules and print module, as you described it above. Happy 2021 and beyond!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Dimitrios, thank you for your feedback! : )

      Reply
  16. Frédéric Purtell

    THANK YOU FOR THE AWESOME 2020 YEARS REVIEW AND THE 2021 PROPECTUS. I AM A 200% SATISFIED CUSTOMER.

    Reply
  17. Chris Fish

    Excellent update and overall summary. Most makers here have asked questions that I had as well regarding upgrades to our equipment. I was fortunate to be in the first per-order shipment, however that now seems to have come at a price. Given the many hardware improvements, I hope Snapmaker will stand by their products if I have a hardware failure that never would have happened had I had the newer “bugs worked out” version. Technically, now I am beyond the 1 year warranty period. I am glad to see the improvements in Wi-Fi…they were sorely needed. Keep improving this feature!
    -I am wondering if you have more information about your comment “The number of gears inside of the module was increased from 9 to 14 and their edges are smoother. The printing material is less likely to get stuck in the gaps between gears, which helps minimize material loss.” Are you speaking about the main drive gear? Hopefully it is getting larger to grip various filaments better and also not cause as much filament “dust” as the gear moves the filament along?
    -Also, are there any plans for Luban to be compatible with Apple and Android devices? This would be fantastic!
    Thanks for everyone at Snapmaker for their hard work! Congratulations on the success of shipping 20k SM Originals and 25k SM 2.0s! Fantastic!

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Chris, we are only talking about the gear not the stepper motor, and the new gear achieves what you described and you can check out this picture below. : )
      https://drive.google.com/file/d/1JnFEd7etlpdg-5v1WjDrWuK3GMVJZCUg/view?usp=sharing

      -Unfortunately, we currently don’t have a plan to release the Snapmaker Luban on IOS and Android. But Snapmaker Luban is already available on macOS so Apple laptops are supported.

      Let me know if you have more questions. 🙂

      Reply
  18. Shawn Hanifan

    The dual extruder 3D print head coming in 2021 will support PVA dissolving support filament? This would be awesome.

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Shawn, yes the dual extruder module will support PVA dissolving support filament!

      Reply
  19. Leo Veldkamp

    I have a dilemma, i like to buy a 350 soon but if i see the roadmap and all the upgrades in 2021 it is better to wait, or not….
    What will be the best thing to do?
    Regards
    Leo

    Reply
    • Kai

      Hi Leo, it’s really up to you and your need of a machine. The Snapmaker 2.0 is excellent quality and the improvements make it even better, but both the original and new versions function exactly the same as they should. For more details regarding the machine, you can contact our support at support@snapmaker.com for your questions. : )

      Reply
  20. Patrice Caron

    Do you have an approximate date to be able to buy the rotary module outside of the kickstarter?
    Best regards

    Reply
    • Kai

      Yes. The rotary module will be available really soon. More information will be posted in our blog, Facebook Groups and Forum in the coming week(s).

      Reply
  21. Djoey

    Hi Snapmakers,
    Just ordered the A250, very excited.
    In your planification you talk about the new laser module and newly released rotary module. Do you know when the new laser module will be available and it’s specifications ? Also is there a plan about a new CNC module ? Maybe with higher torque ?
    Best regards

    Reply
  22. John

    Great update thanks. My only concern is with the prices for all these improvements, especially for a Kickstarter backer like me. And of course as an early adopter I would likely need all the improvements, which will end up costing me thousands. How does that even make sense when the machine wasn’t exactly cheap in the first place. Truth be told, if each accessory will cost hundreds of euros (which seems to be the case based on past experience), it probably makes more sense to buy (say) a Prusa and practically be guaranteed excellent print results as opposed to getting the upgrades at a cost of thousands to maybe see a minor improvement in print or CNC or laser quality.

    Reply
  23. Steven Adams

    Any plans to increase the dimensions on the A350?

    Reply

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