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Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

Dual-color printing with a single nozzle. This is what the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 promises to do, for an attractive price.

I never tested a printer which uses a single nozzle to print dual-color. Mostly because I always thought that the wasted filament from the purge towers is too high for my liking, but let’s give it a chance and see how the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 performs. Is it a good dual-color budget 3D printer?

Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Shipping and Packaging

The Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 comes in a cardboard box with ample protection on all sides. A nice feature of the box is the inclusion of plastic inserts for handles that make manipulating the box a bit easier.

Inside the box, everything is well protected and I’m sure the contents of the package will arrive safely.

Wanhao Duplicator D12 230 accessories | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

Assembly of the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230

Assembling the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 takes around 30 minutes. the printer is partially assembled, but besides attaching the gantry to the base, you also need to install the extruders, spool holders and print head.

All the steps are nicely described in the manual, and every component is carefully labeled making the assembly process effortless. I really like the attention to detail for this matter.

Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Design

When assembled, the Duplicator D12/230 looks great, and the spool holders in the back make it look like a race car with huge spoilers. There’s also a small drawback to this setup – you need more space on the Y axis to fit the printer on your workbench.

The empty space on the left side of the screen is not used, and I feel like Wanhao missed the opportunity of installing a small drawer like the Creality CR-6 SE, but I’m sure somebody will design something like that soon.

Wanhao Duplicator D12 230 Front side | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

I also like the silver color which is a breath of fresh air in a world of mostly black 3D printers.

Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Specs

Hotend with dual filament inputs

The hotend asembly is quite interesting. The whole unit is contained with a plastic cover to keep things tidy. The hotend is PTFE lined with a big heatsink to keep it cool by the 3010 fan.

Next to the hotend, there’s a small breakout board which conects everything together with the RJ45 cable.

Part cooling is done using a radial fain and the airduct is mounted with a screw on the side. This also has a small cover to keep the nozzle clean.

Besides that, the hotend is wrapped with a fiberglass sheet and kapton tape to insulate it.

Wanhao D12 230 Hotend power connector | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

Connection from the board to the printhead is made using a customized RJ45 cable which locks in place with two thumbscrews. Having this extra way of securing the cable is a welcome addition because it improves the rigidity of the connector and acts like a strain relief for the wires.

There’s also a section on the side where you can attach a BLTouch.

BLTouch mount edited | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle
Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle 1

Dual BMG Extruder clone setup

The Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 comes with a pair of clone BMG extruders. These extruders are not the best quality, but they work just fine, and they are probably better than the titan extruders they used a while ago.

BMG extruders on Wanhao Duplicator | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

They are made from plastic, and the machining on the gears leaves a bit to be desired (compared to other popular clones, or the original) but as long as it works, I don’t even mind this.

I’ve noticed that some early models use dual Titan extruder clones, but it seems that Wanhao replaced them with BMG extruders. Hopefully, all the future machines will come with BMGs.

Dual filament sensors

With dual extruders, it’s only fair to also have a pair of filament sensors. They are mounted on the spool holders and when filament is running out, the print will be paused.

Dual filament senzors | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

The filament doesn’t move as smooth as I would like trough them, but I can’t say they interfere with the printer functionality to cause under extrusion. The BMG extruders have enough pulling power to overcome the small friction.

32-bit MKS Robin Nano Board and Wi-Fi

A MKS Robin Nano 1.2 board is the brains of the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230. It’s a 32-bit board which we’ve seen on other printers like the Bluer Plus and Sapphire Plus from Two Trees.

Wanhao D12 230 32 Bit Board MKS Robin Nano 1.2 | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

On the D12/230, the board uses two TMC2209 stepper drivers for the X and Y axis, and three A4988 drivers for the Z axis and extruders. These drivers are a bit louder than the TMC drivers, but they only make their presence noticed when switching the filament.

Stepper drivers glued | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

It’s a bit of a shame that Wanhao didn’t use TMC drivers for all stepper motors, because this would make the printer quieter and the cost wouldn’t be much higher. Fortunately, they can be swapped if needed.

The Wi-Fi modules comes pre-installed and it allows you to send prints remotely to the printer, if you use Cura. Unfortunately, I was not able to test this feature because I’m not a Cura fan and I also know that the print speeds are not that fast.

MKS Robin Nano with Wi Fi Module on Wanhao Duplicator D12 230 | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle

What I can say is that I was able to connect to Wi-Fi easily using the screen interface.

5 inch MKS Touchscreen

The touchscreen is nothing new. If you’ve used a MKS screen in the past, then you know what to expect. On the D12/230, the touchscreen interface has the old MKS theme which is customized by Wanhao for this type of printer.

The screen is nice and responsive, but please keep in mind that if you operate it while a print is running, you can cause small pauses during printing which will show up on your models. This is because the screen and the board share the same CPU, and it’s a common issue for the MKS Robin Nano 1.2.

Magnetic flex plate print surface

Having a removable magnetic flex plate as a print surface is starting to become the norm in the last few months, and the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 makes no exception.

Wanhao Duplicator D12 230 Magnetic Print Surface | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle
Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle 2

The print surface has good adhesion even though it’s not covered with the popular PEI surface like on other printers.

In the back of the heated bed, there are three metal brackets which help when you install the magnetic plate back on the printer.

Belt tensioning knobs for X and Y axis

Of course, belt tensioners are present on both X and Y axis, with easy to use knobs. Most of the printers nowadays come with belt tensioning systems, so this is not a specific feature for the D12/230.

Fanless W power supply

One of the reasons why this Duplicator D12/230 is so quiet is the inclusion of a fanless power supply. Most of the times, the power supply for any 3D printer is under high load only when heating up. After it starts printing, the power requirements are not that high so not much ventilation is needed.

Fanless power supply Wanhao Duplicator D12 230 | Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle
Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Review: Dual-Color with Single Nozzle 3

Heating time and power consumption

I tested the heating time for both hotend and heat bed and here are the results:

Hotend

  • 200C in 1 minutes and 40 seconds
  • 250C in 2 minutes and 20 seconds

Heatbed

  • 60C in 5 minutes
  • 95C in 15 minutes

The heating time is longer than most of the printers, but this is probably set up this way to avoid overheating the fanless power supply. The Wanhao D12 230 was unable to reach 100C.

Power Draw

Idle power draw is around 12W. When the hotend and heatbed are heating up, the Duplicator D12/230 draws around 175W. After it starts printing, the power draw stabilizes to around 120W.

All these measurements were taken with a Blitzwolf smart power socket which indicates the power draw, and it can also be used for remotely powering on and off the printer.

Bed Temperature Uniformity

I tested the temperature uniformity for the Wanhao D12/230 bed with the Flir Camera installed on the CAT S62 Pro. The bed has been set to 60C and I waited 2 minutes after reaching that temperature for the temperature to stabilize.

The temperature is mostly uniform across the surface with minor differences in the corners.

An interesting thing I noticed is the real temperature of the bed. While the bed temperature is set to 60C, the top surface reaches ~70C. This is somewhat similar to what I encountered with the Two Trees Bluer Plus.

Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 Noise Levels

I’m quite impressed by how silent the Duplicator D12/230 is when idle, and when printing it’s still quiet enough, but it gets noisy when the printer performs a filament change and during retractions. This is caused by the noisy stepper drivers used for the extruders.

IdeaMaker profiles for Wanhao Duplicator D12/230

During my time with the printer, I also tuned three IdeaMaker profiles for the Bluer Plus using the tools available in the 3D Printer Calibration Guide using IdeaMaker article. These profiles are tuned for the stock printer and worked well for me. Feel free to give them a go.

Wanhao D12/230 IdeaMaker Profile – PLA – 3DPrintBeginner

Other profiles for PETG and TPU will be shared soon.

Test prints on Wanhao Duplicator D12/230

Z wobble test

Tony Tony Chopper

Usually, my fist print on any 3D printer is a 3D Benchy, but this time I chose to print the included model from the SD card.

This model took around 34 hours to print, which is quite a lot considering the size. Most of the print time is caused by the constant filament changes which need to be performed after each layer.

As you can see, the purge block is 20 grams heavier, and to print the model, I used ~136 grams and more than half of that will be discarded. I’m not really a fan of this wasted material.

Stegosaurus

For the Stegosaurus, I used a 30×30 mm purge tower, but with 20 mm3 of purged material. This caused the color separation to be a bit worse.

As you can see, the purge tower is a 3rd compared to the weight of the model.

  • Material: Devil Design Azure Green PLA and Raise3D White PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 50C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Chipmunk

After tuning the purge, a bit better (by increasing the purge amount to 50 mm3 and size to 40x40mm) I finally managed to print a great dual-color model. This chipmunk failed close to the end, so I needed to print the rest and glue it together, but overall, the print is great.

The purge tower weight is half of the model, so not too bad.

  • Material: FilamentOne Glint Gold PLA and Raise3D White PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.15mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 50C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Diamond Hands

I also printed a single-color model, in silk filament. Print quality is good, but there are still small imperfections caused by the supports. This can be further tweaked for better finish, but still happy with the print quality

  • Material: SUNLU Silk Copper PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.12mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 50C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Princess Leia

Finally, I printed Princess Leia in Glint filament and the print quality is excellent. I also used some angled supports in Ideamaker to save a bit of filament.

  • Material: FilamentOne Glint Red PLA
  • Layer Height: 0.12mm
  • Nozzle Temperature: 215C
  • Bed Temperature: 50C
  • Print Speed: 50 mm/s

Conclusions: Is the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 worth it?

I kind of like the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230. It’s a complete printer which is great for beginners because it comes mostly pre-assembled, and the required assembly process is well documented. It’s noticeable that Wanhao takes more care when it comes to quality control and documentation compared to other manufacturers which is nice to see.

With a properly calibrated profile, the print quality is good and consistent, but it’s not foolproof. I had two somewhat failed prints but the good part is that I was able to fix them without too much trouble.

I would recommend getting the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 if you are 100% that you will use the dual-color feature quite often. Without it, the printer is not much different from a regular printer.

For around 250$, the D12/230 is an attractive solution if you are looking to get a dual-color printer which prints well in both scenarios. But a new wave of lower cost printers will show up in the next few months, and the D12/230 might become a harder purchase at this price.

Where to buy the Wanhao Duplicator D12/230?

The Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 can be purchased from the following websites:

AliExpress
Wanhao

The Wanhao Duplicator D12/230 was provided by Wanhao for the purpose of this review. While the article includes affiliate links, all opinions are my own.

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