A review of the Zonestar Z5F 90
The Zonestar Z5F 90 is another affordable Prusa i3 clone in the market, best known for the quality of its frame and components as compared to other DIY 3D printer kits in its price range. The brand value of Zonestar lies in its focus on using better quality parts and components in its DIY kits as compared to other entry-level players in the market, and the Zonestar Z5F is no different on that count.
All in all, it is a 3D printer designed to cater to the basic 3D printing requirements of a major cross-section of users looking for competitive print quality without investing a significant amount of money in a 3D printer. The print quality, ease of assembly and user-friendliness of the Zonestar Z5F makes it an ideal pick for seasoned 3D printing enthusiasts as well as beginners.
Unboxing and setting up the Z5F
Unboxing and setting up the Zonestar Z5F 90 is definitely one of the most delightful parts of working with this 3D printer. One of the clear USPs of this DIY kit is that nearly 90 percent of the components of this equipment are already prepared and assembled in the factory, which means users just need to put together some pre-built sections to get the Z5F up and running. There are precisely seven components neatly arranged in a package size of 9.69×19.69×7.87 inches that can take anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes to assemble, depending on the proficiency of the user. That is certainly a big improvement vis-à-vis other DIY kits that take anywhere around 10-12 hours to be built from the ground up.
The Zonestar Z5F 90 is divided into the main framework set, printing platform set, baseboard set, controller subassembly set, LCD Screen, extruder subassembly set, print head subassembly set, along with necessary assembly tools such as a screwdriver set, diagonal pliers, tweezers, hexagon spanner set, and a wiring set, at the time of delivery. You can just follow the instructions in the manual guide or online tutorials to figure out which part goes where. If you have worked with DIY 3D printer kits before, setting up the Z5F can seem pretty intuitive and easy.
The Zonestar Z5F sticks to the general broad parameters of DIY kits in terms of design, although the use of a bright blue hue on its black frame does add a bright, vibrant appeal to this printer. The Zonestar Z5F measures 46x42x42 cm and weighs a decent 7 kilogram, which means it is neither a clunky, space-consuming machine nor one that is flimsy and wobbly. It has enough body to sustain some hardcore printing without an obscene volume.
The Zonestar Z5F sports a metal frame that adds to its durability and strength, while the metal casing makes the device safer to work with. There are no cables out in the open here, which is not only aesthetically pleasing but also brings an element of security to this printer. The fan, on the other hand, is placed on the outside even on this printer – like many of its counterparts – and that design element comes with its own share of pros and cons, depending on the preference and working style of the users. The Zonestar Z5F also sports an LCD screen large enough to display 20 characters in four different rows.
All in all, the Zonestar Z5F sports a clean, appealing design with each one of its elements mindfully placed to contribute toward a practical, easy and succinct printing experience.
Zonestar Z5F 90 Features
The Zonestar Z5F 90 boasts of some top of the line features that make it one of the most desirable Prusa i3 clones out there. These include a regulated power supply unit, a cooling fan that is missing from some other popular kits, automatic bed leveling with an improved MK3 heated bed, and an EM4 Bowden extruder with a nozzle diameter of 0.4 mm capable of offering a layer thickness in the range of 0.1-0.36 mm, which is pretty fine for an affordable offering like the Z5F.
It is capable of topping a print speed of 150 mm per second, processing a material with 1.75mm diameter. The Bowden extruder is fitted with an HE4 hotend, which makes the Z5F compatible with a wider range of filament. It can be used to print with Flexible PLA, PLA, PVA, PETG, ABS, HIPS, and Wood filament. The XY-axis on this printing offers a positioning accuracy of 0.012 mm, whereas the Z-axis offer a positioning accuracy of 0.0025 mm.
It also offers a print volume of 220x220x220 mm, which is pretty standard for an entry-level DIY printer. The large LCD screen on the Zonestar Z5F 90 is also equipped with multi-lingual support, which definitely adds to the global appeal of the printer. It also sports V-slot extrusions on an aluminum frame that add to its high performance and ability to create an extensively stable printing environment. The provision of an SD card facilitates offline printing. The Zonestar Z5F 90 supports G-code, OBJ, STL file formats and is compatible with Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
Customizable center panel
The customizable center panel is another big attraction in the Z5F. The large LCD panel, which is at the core of this customizable center, makes it possible to operate this printer as a completely stand-alone device without requiring the intervention of a computer. The positioning of the control panel on the outer side of the printer’s frame also facilitates advanced handling, allowing users to change its programming elements and configuration of its components more freely.
The stable structure and pre-assembled core components contribute greatly toward the printing performance of the Z5F. Since the printer comes essentially pre-assembled from factory warehouses, there is less scope for the quality of end prints to be impacted by a wobbly setup. That being said, the Z5F does require more than a few tweaks and modifications to get the optimum print results. For instance, a simple bend in the wiring can impact the functioning of the extrusion nozzle, which reflects in the finesse of the printed designs.
Another lackluster aspect is its standard print volume, which somewhat restricts the size of the printed object. Any large print jobs have to be broken down into smaller portion and put together later on, which is not exactly something you’d be pleased with especially when there are so many DIY 3D printer kits with enormous print volumes available in a comparable price range.
It is essential to remember that at the end of the day the Z5F is an open source printer, so there is always room for constant improvements and upgrade. Be that as it may, it is still a pretty great machine that packs some rather high-end specs and features in an extremely affordable price range. Considering that it comes essentially pre-assembled and is available for as little as $213, this is perhaps the best bet for beginners looking to foray into the world of 3D printing.
The Zonestar Z5F is now available at a discount on GearBest.