Jul 24, 2023

ELEGOO Neptune 3 Pro FDM 3D Printer3D Printer 2023 REVIEW

The Neptune 3 Pro is the best FDM printer I've ever used. It's a shame that they aren't readily available in the U.S. because it's super easy to use and very affordable.

I have been crafting and building things my whole life. Several years ago I decided it was time to jump on the 3D printing craze. "Jump into" is actually an understatement. Initially, I did my research and decided on a machine that I thought would suit my budget and needs. What I didn't anticipate was the need for an engineering degree in assembly and programming degree for usage and inevitable hardware upgrades.

3D printing can be hard enough starting out. Am I using the right filament for my project? How do I operate the multitude of software out there (Slicers and modelers)? Where to find files that interest me, that I can use or would like. There are a million reasons why 3D printing can be hard, so why make it even harder with an inferior 3D printing machine?

Building off of my previous experiences with three 3D printers, I wanted something easy to set up and use out of the box without a four-figure price tag. My last printer (resin) was an Elegoo and was fantastic. This is why I landed on Elegoo's Neptune 3 Pro FDM printer.

The Elegoo Neptune 3 PRO 3D Printer is an FDM (fused deposition modeling) machine. Among the central features of the ELEGOO Neptune 3 Pro is the operation of the STM32 motherboard and all 4 axes by a silent stepper motor. Noise is reduced by as low as 47 to 48 decibels during printing, making the machine both simple to set up as well as quickly ready. The printer comes completely pre-assembled, accompanied by a tool kit for quick setup.

The 3:1 dual-drive extruder is manufactured from Japanese-quality SUS303 stainless steel with a reducer ratio of 3:1. It has a greater extruder force for better filament feeding, more constant extrusion force, and lower stitch formation. So it is not just more reliable, but also produces cleaner and faster prints than Bowden extruders. You can use different filaments, such as PLA, TPU, and PET.

The nozzle kit comprises a TC4 titanium alloy throat pipe, an aluminum alloy flat heat sink structure, and a brass nozzle. The widened aluminum heat sink paired with the front close-fitting efficient cooling fan for a lower temperature and reduced chance of blockage. Fans on both sides of the print head ensure effective cooling.

The top-level sensor used in the bed leveling automation is based on a non-contact high-precision sensor. It automates the collection of data in real-time from the hotbed to the Z-axis height and adjusts the height of the level to compensate for any irregularities and unevenness of the printing platform.

(Only applicable to metal printing platforms) Intelligent fan control: after printing, all fans will stop working at an average of low 50 to prolong their lives, reduce noise, and save power. Smart halt printing: the printer will pause automatically when the filament runs out or breaks, and you can resume printing after a power outage.

The dual Z-axis with dual-joint synchronous leadscrews and dual-motor drive offers more accurate printing and increases the stability and longevity of the print head, as the fixed leadscrew motor on a single-axis z-axis increases printing deviation. The 4-wheel V-guide rail pulley is made of POM for longer service life, quiet movement, and wear resistance.

An alternative PEI substrate with some coating and dashed steel sheeting for good adhesion and anti-distorting, so that graphics can be easily retracted or pull-away by pulling the print steel sheet. The detachable curved side screen is enclosed in the handheld or fixed on the ground.

The built-in print model preview function allows you to preview the model image before printing and observe the printing progress. The 250W high-power hotbed can heat up to 100 C and start printing. The integrated LED supervision bar on the gantry can be operated by pressing the touchscreen buttons conveniently to monitor the model printing in low light.

The Neptune 3 Pro FDM 3D Printer has a list price of $300 from As of publishing, the printer is available for $230.

Giddy is an understatement for how I felt unboxing the Neptune 3 Pro. Based on how the N3P was packaged with care, I instantly knew that I had made the right choice. Everything was packed nice and tight in ample foam padding. Even if the Fed Ex guy hurled my package all over his truck, my N3P would be safe and sound. Setting up the printer was a breeze with included instructions and tools.

With many other printers on the market, you are dumbfounded by the assembly instructions and sheer terror of all the hardware. After around 25 minutes I had unboxed everything, perused the included instructions, and assembled the N3P. I will admit that I didn't use the included tools (they seemed to be decent quality and would definitely work well for the average person) so this did speed up the process. This was about 3 hours faster than my previous printers. This means I was able to fully set up the N3P and print the included test print faster than the setup of some other popular printers on the market.

Elegoo did not stop with just the easy setup. The N3P is loaded with features. Features that are usually costly and time consuming upgrades for most standard machines. After years of tinkering, it almost brought a tear to my eye. Speaking of eyes, the first thing that mine locked on to when I was firing the N3P up was the removable color screen with capacitive touch.

Long ago in the early days of my printing (2-3 years), I had to use a knob for navigating a monochrome-colored screen. You had to bend over at a specific angle just to see. Elegoo brought me into the 21st century. Just pick up the magnetized display and tap away with leisure. As long as you use your slicer software correctly, you can see a rendering of your print right on the screen. Now I look back with disdain at my other machines.

On to the standard features of the N3P that are added on most other machines. One of the easiest ways to mess up a print right from the beginning is to have an u-lever bed. You won't get the proper "smoosh" or adhesion. If you have ever gone to a group of printers with a problem the first thing they say is "Level your bed". After the initial A4 paper shining test, you are done. The N3P has Auto Mesh Bed Leveling built directly into it.

The noncontact sensor scans 36 different points on the hotbed. It never has the chance to touch your print as many add-on bed levelers. It works in unison with the removable metal PEI sheet. The PEI makes removing tough prints a breeze. No more fighting with a scraper and risking damaging the print. All I have had to do is slightly bend the metal sheet and the print pops right off. Which is yet another common upgrade. At 225mm squared and 280mm high you can print a majority of things, you will want.

The next common upgrade that comes standard on the N3P is the Dual Gear Direct Extruder. This means no more feeding filament every which way and wondering if will break or jam up in the Bowden tube. This is usually one of the first upgrades I do and recommends to other people. The fact that it's already done works perfectly, and matches the machine's factory aesthetics is pretty awesome in my book. You just push down the loading tab and forget it.

The dual Cooling fans on the extruder are fairly quiet (which is usually a common part to replace as well), so an extra added bonus at around 48 decibels. The 32-bit Silent motherboard is another upgrade that cuts down on the noise even further. It's also another painstaking upgrade that I have done more than once. The wiring and then the fire upgrade is a true nightmare. Thank you Elegoo.

Onwards and upwards. Elegoo managed to pack yet another upgrade from my other printers into the N3P. Dual motor Z screws. No more lopsided prints from the gantry becoming unlevel after a few prints. The pain of doing this upgrade on other printers is downright awful. This should be standard on Every printer, but I appreciate Elegoo more for just doing it for me.

All of this praise isn't to say that there aren't a few things that aren't quite up to par. The included LED light is definitely bright enough to see the whole surface of your print, but while printing it does surge quite a bit. This means if it's in your sight line or a darker room it's very noticeable. I simply chose to turn it off with the removable controller.

The real pain Of the Neptune 3 Pro is the slicing software. Most people use Cura for slicing. You can keep multiple printer profiles on the standard free Cura and switch between them seamlessly. Elegoo has its own branded version of Cura which is outdated not upgradable like the standard Cura.

This means all new features that make 3D printing easier and better quality are still out of reach of this very capable machine. Now you could always make a custom profile in the standard version as I did, but this too is a pain. Especially considering how elegant the N3P is. I appreciate the care and thought that went into the hardware, I just expect that kind of care to go into the software that makes this printer run.

At the end of the day, Elegoo's Neptune 3 Pro is still the best FDM printer that I have ever owned or operated. The only real shame is the availability of them right now in the US. I would like to think that word is out on how awesome of a printer this really is and everyone wants to get their hands on it. So if you are reading this review and thinking of going in a different direction with a printer that is readily available, I ask you to consider this. There is a reason that a competitor's machine is in stock and ready to buy. It's because their machine isn't as amazing or easy to use as The Neptune 3 Pro.

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Frame material: Modeling technology: Rated voltage: Forming size: Platform size: Equipment dimensions: MAX. nozzle temperature: MAX. hotbed temperature: File transfer: File format: Filament compatibility: UI Language: Resume printing: Filament detection: Net weight: