Table of Contents
Before you buy: General A5 & A3S Information
About the printer
The A3S and A5 3D printers, are a pair of “Prusa i3 style” printers, that come mostly preassembled in two halves that can be easily put together in under 15 minutes. These models are almost identical, except for the size of the print volume they can print in, and the rating of their power supplies. The A5 has an internal power supply, while the A3S with the smaller frame has an external power supply. These printers have a folded sheet metal frame, and use LCD and motherboard components from MakerBase (MKS).
This printer is also resold by Hictop under the model 3DP-25.
A3S or A3S MkII?
These printers have TWO motherboards - there is a main motherboard (it is an MKS Gen L) which runs the printer, and a second motherboard attached to the LCD (an MKS 2.8" LCD module) which handles the LCD touch screen interface. They are completely separate devices, and the only communication between the two occurs by an internal serial port. The LCD motherboard sends basic gcode commands to the main motherboard, and then listens for the replies.
The LCD motherboard is responsible for several features:
- Printing from USB memory sticks
- Power outage protection for resuming prints after power loss
- Filament run out detection
There are two USB ports on the A5: a female USB type A port, and a female USB type B port. The USB type A port is for USB sticks or “thumbdrives”, and is connected to the LCD module. The USB type B port is for a USB cable, and is connected to the main motherboard.
Please Note: When printing via USB cable from a computer, you won't be able to use the filament run-out detection, or power-outage protection features!
There is NO WIFI included on these printers. Some early models were apparently provided with the wifi module, but this is NOT normally included with these printers. The printer was originally advertised as coming with wifi - this is incorrect.
There are several video reviews on youtube for the A3S and A5:
- Dec 8th 2017: San Tube
- Dec 28th 2017: DaHai Excellent thorough review
- Dec 30th 2017: The Hot End
- Jan 1th 2018: DIY3DTECH Review
- Jan 9th 2018: Maker's Muse
- Jan 24th 2018: ModBot
- Jan 27th 2018: Sam Pinches My review, following on from DaHai's review
- Jan 29th 2018: 3d Print Creator
- Mar 14th 2018: 3D Printing Professor Summary: nice design makes it harder to service and fix
- Mar 15th 2018: Drone Camps RC
- Mar 17th 2018: Remain Indoors
- Mar 28th 2018: 3D Maker Noob
- Apr 5th 2018: Educating Savvas
JGAurora is known for slightly changing their printers over time without informing customers. So far there have been MANY changes to the A5 and A3S printers:
- V1 printer with 3D printed parts on the Z-axis and X-axis.
- V2 printer with metal parts on Z-axis and X-axis (this is when they introduced the word “upgraded” to the name)
- V3 printer with a modified heater bed plug that is positioned vertically. this avoids the bed cables interfering with the X-motor cable.
- V4 printer with a rubber gasket around the top of the printer, to reduce noise from the cable tubing rubbing on the frame.
- V5 printer with drag chain removed - the cable chain was poorly implemented, and actually caused damage to the cables. This is a big shame that they could not fix this design properly! The mounting points for internal motherboard fan were also removed. The LCD filament sensor was finally stuck down better with hot glue, but this makes it more frustrating when you try to disassemble the printer…
- V6 printer with new more reliable filament sensor - the early sensors would wear down very quickly and become faulty.
- V7 printer with injection-moulded Y-axis support
- V8 with bed clips and triangle cut off corners, and injection moulded mounts for the X/Z axis joiners.
- V9 with bed clips (no longer stuck down with adhesive), no more cut off corners, power supply replaced with generic brand, Z-smooth-rod holders are now injection moulded, not machined metal.
- V10 with A4988 stepper drivers that are fixed-vref, and cannot be tuned. For better or worse!
- V11 with 6-pin bed cable (big safety improvement)
If you ask nicely, in some cases JGAurora has been known to provide replacement upgrade parts, either for free, or for a discounted price. They do not have a clear policy on this however, which can be disappointing for those early customers.
Known Design Faults
- The packaging of these printers is CONSISTENTLY terrible. If you buy one, you can almost EXPECT to have some broken parts. Very commonly, the motor couplers are stretched, which can cause z-wobble and vibration during z-axis movement. The glass printing bed is also often arriving broken, bent or detached. The connector for the heated bed is weakly attached, and has arrived ripped off for a number of customers. JGAurora has claimed to have improved the packaging, but these issues continue to happen consistently. Replacement parts are provided under warranty to customers suffering shipping damage, but customers need to contact their reseller first, and may be asked to provide photos and or videos, which can be frustrating, adding insult to injury. Buy from Amazon if you want to avoid this, as Amazon takes greater care with transport of products.
- The glass bed is coated with a ceramic “frit” coating. This printer is advertised as being compatible with PLA, ABS, but using PETG and ABS is risky, as the parts may stick too well to the bed coating, and may tear off the bed coating from the glass when removing the parts after printing. This has happened to several customers, and JGAurora support has acknowledged this issue! While replacement bed will be provided under warranty, it is recommened to use an additional printing layer such as build tak if you plan on printing PETG or ABS, to avoid damaging the bed coating. Do not use Acetone or thinner to clean the bed - ethanol only!
- JGAurora do not calibrate their stepper driver voltages, so different printers can behave completely differently. Several customers have reported layer shifting, with recently received printers (12/3/18) still having these issues. If you have this problem, you can fix this yourself, by tuning the stepper drivers. JGAurora is aware of this and is investigating.
- The printers are advertised as having a bed that can heat up to 110C. This is almost true. The power supply provided with the A5 is under-powered, considering the large size of bed that it has to heat. The bed heater is very slow to reach 105C in a cold room. Additionally, in old LCD firmware versions, the max temperature is 90C - updating the LCD firmware will fix that issue, and unlock this limitation. It should be noted, that even with the provided stock power supply, the bed heater on the A5 is still much faster than the bed heater on the Creality CR-10. The A3S power supply is quite weak, and is a bit slower than the A5 at heating the bed.
FIXED Design Faults
- Early models came with warped beds (see my review for discussion on this). More recently manufactured printers have been coming with more accurate and flatter print beds, and JGAurora has said that they have fixed this issue.
- Early models had a poor design on the cabling on the bed-heater and x-axis motor, where these cables would interfere with each other during printing. If you do have one of those printers there are cable holder mods you can print in the modifications section. This issue has been fixed by JGAurora in all models manufactured after Jan 2018!
- JGAurora are using the wrong connector on the filament sensor. The JST connector has metal contacts on the side of the connector and can short out with the neighbouring pins, causing errors. JGAurora fixed this by sticking the connector down correctly with hot glue.
- The printer has a sensor to determine whether filament is inserted or not. This sensor is mechanical, and the probe on this sensor rapidly wears down in a very small amount of time, until it thinks that filament is missing, even when it is actually inserted. This then triggers an error that requires the filament sensor to be either replaced, or just unplugged and abandoned. JGAurora has fixed this with a new sensor in new printers.
Interested in Buying an A5?
Where to buy from?
Amazon is strongly recommended - they have the best customer service, the most careful delivery service and the best return policy. However, the cheapest store is typically GearBest or Banggood, and by paying with PayPal you still have some recourse if things go wrong.
Buy JGAurora A5
- Amazon USA No coupons available currently.
Buy A5 from specific global warehouses:
- USA Warehouse there
Buy JGAurora A3S
Buying from the links above helps to support the wiki and forum, and keep it ad-free. Thank you!
⚠️ Warning: What store should I buy from?
There are many sellers of the JGAurora printers online. Everybody wants to pay the lowest price, but not all sellers are equal! For example, the JGAurora A5 printer is a large printer, but the packaging is not very thick, so a large number of customers have received printers with some kind of shipping damage.
Buying from Amazon
The best option is to purchase your printer from Amazon - Amazon will take excellent care of you if something goes wrong, and they are more careful with their parcels. The price is slightly higher, but you need to decide how much peace-of-mind is worth to you.
Buying from China
Buying from Chinese reseller stores like Gearbest and Banggood are likely going to be the cheapest options for you. There is also the option to buy your printer direct from JGAurora via Aliexpress. However, if you are buying your printer from China you should EXPECT there to be something wrong with your printer when it arrives. If nothing is broken, great !! But if there is, do not be surprised - workers in china are not careful with parcels at all!
If you still choose to order your printer from china, please take some of the following precautions:
- Choose to pay with Paypal!: Paypal is independant: if the item is broken, and if the reseller is not able to provide you with a satisfactory solution, you can still file a claim with paypal, and paypal can force the seller to provide you a refund.
- Choose to pay for shipping insurance!: this varies depending on reseller, but it is a very good idea to choose this option if it is available to you. If that option is not available, try to choose a quality courier company like DHL.