Markforged vs. Stratasys: 3D Printer Comparison

Just because two 3D printers use the same technology doesn’t mean they’re equal. In this 3D printer comparison, we pit the Markforged Onyx Pro and Stratasys F270 against each other. Markforged is most famous for its metal 3D printers, but …

Ile Kauppila

September 9, 2021

Just because two 3D printers use the same technology doesn’t mean they’re equal. In this 3D printer comparison, we pit the Markforged Onyx Pro and Stratasys F270 against each other.

Markforged is most famous for its metal 3D printers, but that’s not the only area where they shine. The Markforged Onyx Pro desktop 3D printer is a compact powerhouse that can print lightweight parts that are more durable than aluminium. And the machine does it at an affordable price.

The Stratasys F270 is bigger, in every way. This is a machine that requires no specialized knowledge to create industrial-grade parts for any application, from education to consumer goods and heavy-duty machinery components.

The highlight of both printers is their ability to reinforce the prints with chopped carbon fibre. This should result in strong, durable parts that can take whatever punishment you throw at them. Let’s put both of them to the test and see who makes the roughest, toughest parts.

Core Features

 Markforged Onyx ProStratasys F270
TechnologyFused Filament Fabrication (FFF); Continuous Fibre Reinforcement (CFR)Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM)
Print Volume320 x 132 x 154 mm305 x 254 x 305 mm
Ease of UseTouchscreen; Wi-Fi/Ethernet/USB connectivityTouchscreen; Wi-Fi/Ethernet/USB connectivity
Minimum Layer Height100 microns127 microns
MaterialsOnyx, Fibreglass ReinforcementPLA, ASA, ABS-M30, ABS-CF10, FDM TPU 92A, QSR Support material
Special FeaturesDual extruders, ceramic detachable print bed, Turbo Print, accessory bagFour material spool bays (2 model, 2 support), dual extruders, auto-calibration, fast-draft printing, heated build chamber
SoftwareEiger CloudGrabCAD Print
Price£9,294~£25,000

 

Markforged Onyx Pro vs. Stratasys F270 Comparison

Technology

Both Markforged Onyx Pro and Stratasys F270 are fused filament fabrication (FFF) 3D printers, making use of the most common and popular 3D printing technology. Stratasys calls this printing method by its trademarked name fused deposition modelling (FDM), but don’t get confused — it’s the same technology. This makes Markforged and Stratasys a good pair for a 3D printer comparison.

FFF/FDM is an extrusion-based 3D printing method. Both printers heat up a filament to melt it down and then deposit the molten material in layers on the print bed.

Since they use the same technology, they share the same advantages and drawbacks. FFF filaments are generally cheaper than other 3D printing materials, such as resins or powders. These kinds of printers can create decent detail, but some layering is always visible on the final products, which means that you can only get perfectly smooth surfaces with post-processing. FFF also requires supports, and the F270 has a separate material chamber for a soluble support filament, which gives it a slight post-processing edge over the Onyx Pro.

Both printers also boast the ability to print with carbon fibre-reinforces materials, which results in strong parts that are heat and chemical resistant. However, the Onyx Pro trumps the F270 by utilising continuous fibre reinforcement (CFR). Its secondary extruder can feed fibreglass into the printed part, which increases durability by up to tenfold. When it comes to printing tough parts, there’s no competition — Onyx Pro wins.

Print Volume

The Markforged Onyx Pro does have a slightly wider print bed, but in overall print volume the Stratasys F270 takes the cake. It’s just bigger, almost doubly so in print area height. The Onyx Pro is a more desktop-sized printer in general, though, so you can’t really expect it print massive parts in the first place. The bottom line is that the Onyx Pro makes small but tough parts, while the F270 is the choice for bigger prints.

Ease of use

The Markforged Onyx Pro and Stratasys F270 are about equal when it comes to user-friendliness. Both feature the standard Wi-Fi/Ethernet/USB connectivity that you’d expect from any printer these days. Really, we’d take away a lot of points if they didn’t have these options.

Both printers also have a touchscreen for adjusting printer settings. The F270 inches ahead here, since its screen is slightly bigger and more pleasing to the eye. The Onyx Pro’s touchscreen is located inside the print chamber for some reason. It’s not a major issue, but it’s a bit inconvenient to have to open the chamber every time to access the screen. Then again, that means the screen is always protected by the glass. There’s no real winner in this category.

Minimum Layer Height

A 3D printer’s minimum layer height determines how fine details it can create. The Markforged Onyx Pro barely pulls ahead with a minimum layer height of 100 microns (or 0.1 mm) against the Stratasys F270’s 127 microns. In reality, though, this difference if negligible.

However, the F270 can produce its finest detail only with some materials. With others, the minimum layer height is almost three times thicker, which severely limits the detail it can print. We’re giving the win in this 3D printer comparison to Markforged, if only for the practicality of having a steady minimum detail level.

Materials

Just looking at the material lists above should tell you that the Stratasys F270 supports a wider range of materials than the Markforged Onyx Pro. The F270 can print in multiple different plastics and carbon fibre nylon. It also uses the aforementioned soluble support material.

Onyx, on the other hand, is limited to its eponymous carbon fibre-reinforced nylon material and the fibreglass reinforcement filament, which can rule it out from some applications. That said, this is a printer that knows what it’s good at doesn’t try to do anything else.

Both printers are locked to their manufacturers’ proprietary materials. You could theoretically use third-party materials with the F270, but the material has to come in a suitable cartridge and you run the risk of voiding your warranty. We recommend sticking to the OEM materials to play it safe.

In summary, Stratasys wins in terms of material range, but neither printer should be used with third-party materials.

Win a Markforged Onyx One 3D Printer | TechCrunch
Markforged Print

Special Features

This is where things get complicated. Both printers feature dual extruders. In Markforged Onyx Pro, the second print head extrudes the fibreglass filament, while in the Stratasys F270 it’s used for the support material. Different technology, different uses.

The F270’s heated print chamber can enable easier printing and finer detail, while the Onyx Pro’s detachable print bed makes it easy to remove your prints from the machine for post-processing. The F270 does have automatic calibration, which the Onyx Pro lacks. It also features two model material spool bays, which makes it less of a hassle to swap materials.

Both printers feature a fast-print mode, called Turbo Print in the Onyx Pro and Fast Draft in the F270. Here, the Onyx Pro wins since Turbo Print (currently in beta version) lets you print out a part faster without sacrificing detail quality. The F270’s Fast Print also produces a part quicker, but uses less material to create less details. It’s good for quick prototyping, though.

The F270 has more fancy stuff, but it’s a much bigger machine, so you’d expect it to. Though we have to say that we like the accessory bag the Onyx Pro comes with, including handy spare parts and tools.

Stratasys F170 3D Printer | F123 Series | Stratasys UK
Stratasys Spool Holder

Software

The Onyx Pro ships with the Markforged Eiger software. This browser- and cloud-based software is operating system agnostic, which means it should work on any computer without downloading or installing anything. Custom-made for the Onyx Pro, it integrates seamlessly with the printer, providing great ease of use. There’s also an offline version that supports Windows and Mac computers.

The F270 relies on GrabCAD’s Print software, which is tailored for Stratasys’ printers. It’s a powerful tool that gives you a great level of control, but you do have to install it on your computer. That’s where Eiger scores extra points, because GrabCAD print only supports Windows. It does have browser support for remote print monitoring, but more OS support is always better.

Price

No competition here. The Markforged Onyx Pro’s price is a lot lower at £9,294 than the F270’s, which retails for around £25,000. The F270’s bigger price tag does come with a wider materials range, a bigger print volume, and slightly more advanced features, but it’s also high enough that the printer is likely to be out of prosumers’ and small companies’ budgets.

Conclusion

So, which printer should you buy? If you need extremely durable and reliable detailed, reinforced parts, the winner of this 3d printer comparison is clear — go for the Markforged Onyx Pro. This desktop 3D printer a fantastic option if you’re getting started on 3D printing and know you need tough nylon parts.

The F270 is not a bad printer, far from it. It’s more versatile and can produce great results, but it’s much larger size and higher price position it clearly as a more industrial-oriented machine. Markforged Onyx Pro, meanwhile, brings to the table strong, industrial-quality parts in a desktop-sized package.

If you want to learn more about Markforged Onyx Pro or other 3D printers, our team at SolidPrint3D is ready to guide you. Call us on 01926 333 777 or email us at info@solidprint3d.co.uk.

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