JGAurora A5 Review
Is the JGAurora A5 just a bigger copy of the A3S? Let’s find out!
After reviewing the JGAurora A3S and liking that printer very much, the A5 is welcome. This printer was sent to me for review, and I haven’t been paid for doing it, nor have received anything except the printer to review. The findings are therefore based only upon my opinion and experience.
The A5 looks slick and professional. When I first reviewed the A3S JGAurora I had a problem with the power supply, and their customer support. Since then, they have been on top of things and are listening to their customers. From the Facebook group talks they learn what is wrong with their products – and improve these as they go. For instance, the Z-axis smooth rod upper supports were 3D printed, and kept breaking during shipping. They since replaced this with aluminum parts.
- Platform board
- Nozzle quantity
- Nozzle Diameter
- Nozzle Temperature
- Product Forming Size
- Layer thickness
- Memory Card Offline Print
- LCD Screen
- Print speed
- Platform temperature
- Material diameter
- File format
- Model Supporting Function
- XY-axis Positioning Accuracy
- Working Power
- Packing Type
- System support
- Connector Type
- Printer Weight
- Package Weight
- Printer size
- Packgage size
- Packing Contents
- CNC,Complete Machine,Metal
- Aluminum Alloy + Glass
- Room temperature to 250 degree
- 305 x 305 x 320mm
- SD Card
- 10 – 150mm/s
- Room temperature to 110 degree
- Chinese,English,French,German Japanese,Portuguese,Spanish
- Assembled Packing
- Windows 7 / Windows 10 / Windows XP
- SD card,USB
53.80 x 55.30 x 54.30 cm
21.18 x 21.77 x 21.38 inches
64.00 x 59.50 x 26.00 cm
25.2 x 23.43 x 10.24 inches
- 1 x Fully-assembled A5 Printer, 1 x Spool, 1 x USB 2.0 Cable, 1 x Power Cable, 1 x USB 3.0 Stick, 2 x Allen Wrench
I really don’t grasp why those unboxing videos are so popular! I understand that people are curious, though. I’m more into looking at the finished product and it functions.
The A5 comes in three pieces: its base, the upper portion, and the spool holder. Also included in the box are a few Allen keys, a 16GB SD stick, and 250g roll of PLA filament. It’s nice they include filament, as the most companies do not, or they just throw in a 10m piece that can’t print much. Also, the added length usually is not very good and often jams in the printer.
Most 3D printers use micro SD, or standard SD cards. These are okay, but are typically harder to access as these are placed in the motherboard, or behind the LCD screen. The A5 uses standard USB stick which is cheap and easier to deal with. Not all computers have SD slots, and very few have micro SD slots.
The USB comes with the JGAurora-branded Cura. Also on the stick is the User Guide, and a 4-seconds long (!) assembly video; the same as with the A3S.
Assembling this printer is so easy that anyone can do it. It consists of placing the two pieces together and fixing 4 screws into the bottom. After that, simply screw in the filament holder to the side, and plug in four wires to the side of the base. The entire thing was ready for operation in less than 5 minutes. As I said, there is an assembly video on the USB Stick, but it is only 4 seconds long, and why they made it so short is beyond me.
I have been 3D-printing for quite a while. Almost any printer can print well, given enough understanding, time, and effort. It’s always a surprise when some model prints extremely well right out of the box. The A5 does it, and so is the perfect beginner’s printer. At least that has been my experience with it. It’s right up there in output quality with the prints of the Tevo Black Widow and Tornado. Even better, in my experience. With the Tornado I had to install the TL Smoothers on the X and Y motors to remove the salmon skin from the prints. Salmon skin are lines on the print that look like a piece of sliced salmon. It’s no big deal and easy to fix.
I’m sure the PLA filament that comes with the printer is probably some cheaper stuff, but it printed the Chinese Money Cat that comes pre-sliced on the SD card very well. I’m sure I’ll find a good use for this filament.
PLA being the easiest to print, there has been an influx of PLA types recently. A Canadian company asked me to review their Select PLA. The filament prints beautifully and is premium at a good price.
What is a 3D printer review without printing a 3DBenchy? Benchy (short for benchmark) is a little boat that was developed to test print aspects; such as the text on the bottom, and overhangs like the front of the boat. You can find out more about it at www.3dbenchy.com. The Benchy I have printed came out perfect!
One issue people have while printing things is tolerance. Most of 3D printing is printing many parts of an object, and putting the pieces together. If you print a 5mm peg that needs to be inserted into another part with a 5mm hole you can’t just print them the same size. The size of the filament being extruded will vary. So you need to either make the hole bigger, or the peg smaller. To figure out how much, you need to print a tolerance test. A Youtuber named Maker Muse created a good one that has the biggest gap in the center. It makes the printout double as a fidget spinner. It consists of 6 outer circles and 1 inner one. Each has a different gap – from .5mm down to .05mm. The A5 printed a tolerance of .2 with ease. Most printers struggle with the .2mm precision.
Many model makers on the internet didn’t keep the tolerance in mind when they made their models. Items like the wrench that actually works are hard to print on printers valued below $500. But it works on this printer and it makes the A5 a great value. I also printed a 20mm cube that was off by a fraction of a millimeter only.
After I have printed a drawing robot and an articulating horse for my daughter, I then printed some highly detailed things; like the Moon, Tyrannosaurus Rex, and a Batman bust. As you can see they all look great.
The A5 prints well with every filament that I tried. PETG doesn’t shrink like PLA and is stronger, like ABS. But ABS is being used less and less. I won’t print with it because I read it was toxic to inhale its vapors. PETG is a good alternative but it’s stringy and hard to get the retraction settings right. I printed parts I needed for the Tesla phone-charging station. https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1585498 and it came out with zero stringing. Which is in big part due to settings.
Flexible Filament (TPU)
Printing flexible filament is very cool and I like to test how well a printer copes with it! I print squishy little Pokemon or such figures for the kids. If the extruder gear has a lot of space between it and the Bowden tube, then it could get wound around it and ruin the print. To print TPU properly you should print it at 15-20mps with no retraction. The A5 prints flexible filament with no problems at all.
Cheap printers always arrive with free open-source software. JGAurora re-branded their own version of Cura 2.5 which is open source and comes on the USB stick. I, for one, do not like Cura 2 and 3 at all, but Cura 14 and 15 seem OK. But luckily there are others you can download – such as Slic3r and Craftware.
Upgrades and Modifications
Being almost perfect out of the box, this printer doesn’t need much in the sense of upgrades. I printed new part cooling nozzle that cools the print from both sides (which is important).
I opened my printer because of its bed size. When you are using cheaper printers it’s always best to install an external MOSFET if the bed is over 200 by 200mm in size. This one being 300 x 300mm, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Reviewing these printers I like to have extra MOSFETs at hand. Some companies, like Tevo and Creality3D, include these with their printers. It helps to keep the high current draw of the beds from going through the motherboard MOSFETs. (Here’s one from aliexpress)
Pros, cons, and evaluation
- Full-metal construction makes this printer solid and heavy.
- The A5 does have a heated build plate. Heated build plate is not necessary, but is recommended.
- Full-color touchscreen. The touchscreen is a nice feature and makes the printer look more high-end. After using this touchscreen for a while, dealing with buttons and knobs becomes annoying.
- The A5, also the A3S, is the easiest kit printer I have built to date. No assembly knowledge is needed for this printer and it gets built in minutes.
- The printer looks great in black and with white side panels. It looks great beside the A3S
- Filament run out sensor! This is an awesome feature. I love how it pauses and uses a filament load and unload feature to change the filament. No more worrying whether there is enough filament to finish the job.
- Power Off recovery. I love this because I have had to use it already. Living out of the city, you are prone to experience frequent power cuts.
- USB stick instead of the SD card. Using USB is great. USB is faster than the SD cards when writing the Gcode to the drive. Sticks are easy to get and harder to lose than the tiny cards.
- Black Diamond Bed. This didn’t last on my A3S. I had to cover it with glass and use hairspray. After the third print didn’t stick, I covered the A5 with a mirror and every print has stuck since.
- Hard to work on. The nice metal frame and enclosed bottom half make this printer difficult to work on. For instance, when I tighten the belts I have to carefully disassemble quite a lot to gain access.
- While I love the touchscreen controls and it being the same as the one on the A3S, the A5 screen is more sensitive and one-touch often results in two touch responses.
The A5 is a great printer. Unlike the Tevo Tornado and other larger volume printers, it’s in one piece. This makes it easy for me to move. I know most people don’t move their printers but I do it often, as I frequently get new printers and have to get rid of older ones. I’ll say this; I will be keeping the A5 for a long time, if not for good! It will have to be a special printer to replace this as my new go-to printer.
All that being said, I don’t think you can go wrong with the JGAurora A5 printer. I know there are reviews out there that are more critical, but I’m a member of the official JGAurora Facebook group and they are listening to their members. For instance, after my Power supply issue on the A3S, they have updated it with a better unit that can handle the 100deg C temperature on the bed. Also, the first A5’s had issues. Like the 3D printed parts holding the Z axis smooth rods breaking in shipping. Now those parts are machined aluminum. The users complained the white panels were not fixed well and rattled. Now thes eare screwed in an are very secure.
One thing I have to criticize is that the filament run-out sensor has changed from the A3S, and isn’t as user-friendly. I had issues feeding the filament at the beginning, but I have since figured it out. The A3S extruder was easy to feed from the beginning. After leveling the bed and followed by weeks of constant printing, it has stayed level. The design makes it secure and keeps it level.
PRINT QUALITY: 9.5/10
Again, the quality of the prints is impressive. It prints as well as the industrial printer we use at work.
BUILD QUALITY: 9/10
The build seems to keep space in mind. There is no wasted space like the other larger volume printers that keep the electronics in a tethered box attached to the printer. Simple to pick up and move, and doesn’t take much room on the desk.
USER INTERFACE AND NAVIGATION: 7/10
Although it has a nice colour touchscreen display, the sensitivity is an issue to me. I can’t say it’s a one-time deal as I have seen it in other reviews. But I know it can work as great as it does on my A3S.
VALUE FOR THE MONEY: 9/10
At $320 USD this printer is a steal. You can’t go wrong. It’s cheap but packed with features.