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An easy-to-assemble 3D printer kit, with optional CNC or laser engraving modules. This is a versatile machine, albeit a slow one.
This is the Dobot Mooz. It’s a 3-in-1 industrial grade machine, priced at an entirely reasonable $799. It’s a 3D-printer, CNC machine and Laser-engraving combined machine. Join as us we dig into it and see what it can do. Is it the Jack of all trades, but master of none?
If you’d like to own a Dobot Mooz of your own, then enter our contest at the end of the article, where we’ll be giving away our review model!
Design and Build Quality
The Mooz oozes quality. The all-metal construction and modular design ensure it stands out in a very crowded market.
The Mooz comes with with four identical modular, linear actuators. These parts contain everything required to move the machine in one axis. The sealed units each contain a stepper motor, linear rail, drive screw, and end stops. The self-contained design means assembly is super quick, and you don’t have to spend hours fine-tuning each axis.
There’s actually a few different models of the Mooz available, varying from $599 to $799. We tested the full package.
- $599: Mooz 1Z, with a single Z-axis.
- $699: Mooz 2Z, with a double Z-axis.
- $799: Mooz Full: with a double Z-axis, as well as the laser and CNC modules.
Each axis bolts onto the solid metal base and then connects to the brain with a single RJ45 connector. It’s all a very simple and straightforward affair.
Three different modules can be quickly swapped out (in minutes, rather than seconds). Each module is for a different function. These are:
- 3D printing: melted plastic forms complex shapes in the “traditional” Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) process.
- CNC Machining: a drill bit like tool is spun at high speeds to carve a shape out of a solid material.
- Laser Engraving: produce complex engravings with this 0.5W laser module.
Each module is covered in greater detail in their respective sections further below. While each module simple bolts on to the linear actuator, don’t expect to be swapping out modules instantly. With practice, you can expect to change them over within a few minutes, but it’s still a slightly fiddly process, involving miniature bolts and hex keys.
The machine bed (where your finished part will sit) comes in two different styles. The heated bed is used for 3D printing or a vise-like bed for holding material for CNCing. Dobot recommends the 3D printing bed for laser engraving as well, but we think the CNC vise works far better for this, and you’re less likely to damage the precious 3D printing bed.
These beds are attached to the linear actuator with four bolts. Dobot has included four oblong shaped holes in the base, for your hex key to fit through. This means you can change beds without having to remove any other parts first and is an excellent idea.
The Mooz is controlled through the included touchscreen controller. This looks like a small smartphone, and a small magnet on the base holds it to the base. This interface is rather basic, but it gets the job done.
This interface shows the percentage complete, but not time remaining. This leaves you having to guess at how long is left, based on percentage and time taken so far. Hopefully, a software update can bring this much-needed feature.
While the Mooz is extremely well made, with a lot of consideration put into the design, we can’t say the same about the manual. The English quality is not brilliant, and it can be hard to decipher the instructions at times. It’s not impossible to assemble, as it’s so well designed, but you may need to read and then re-read the manual again to figure things out.
During our review, we encountered a problem with our CNC module. It appeared to work fine, but the Mooz would refuse to start any print jobs. We fixed it by rotating the X-axis, but the support team told us this was unlikely to stop it working.
While attempting to resolve the issue, we contacted Dobot support. Initially, we received no reply to our query, but after messaging our press contact, things starting moving. It’s worrying that we heard nothing until our media credentials spurred things along, and we can only hope that the support team experienced a busy period and that it’s not a sign of a general lack of support.
Lasers are quite possibly the coolest toys around. While DIY laser turrets are cool, using one to engrave designs is amazing. You’ll need to wear the included eye-protection, but apart from that, operating the laser is a simple process.
The laser on the Mooz is a rather meagre 0.5W. It’s possible to upgrade to a larger 1.5W module, but that still won’t be powerful enough to cut wood, plastic, metal, or glass. It can cut paper, but you probably don’t want to do that. What it is good at, is laser engraving. This burns the surface of your material and produces a permanent etching. This could be words, artwork, or photos. It’s a bit like a tattoo for objects.
This works really well, but you’ll need to experiment with materials. Leather and softwood produce excellent results, but you’ll have a hard time etching metal. The better the surface quality of your material, the better the resulting image.
Despite being so small, this laser is 100% electricity based. This means that there are no costly CO2 tubes to change or mirrors to balance and protect. It ensures the Mooz is small and light, at the expense of laser power.
Much like using a magnifying glass to burn ants*, the laser only works at a pre-set focusing height. For each material you use, you’ll need to experiment to figure out the best height, speed, and power.
* No ants were harmed in the making of this review.
The laser primarily produces designs in a raster format. The laser head moves left to right horizontally, gradually creeping forwards. It’s a slow process but generally produces excellent results with a reasonable level of detail.
Moving on to CNC machining is where things get interesting. By spinning a cutting tool at high speed, and moving it around a material, you can cut out complex shapes and patterns. This is a simplified description, but the process remains the same.
CNC machines are nothing new, and a mini DIY CNC revolution almost took off before the 3D printing explosion. The problem with many small CNC machines is their rigidity. Producing designs by carving away material is a tough process, and puts a big strain on the machine.
As it’s made of solid metal, the Mooz has no problems producing designs. You won’t be able to cut metal, but most plastics and softwoods work well. If you need to produce a very deep carving, then you can make repeat passes until reaching the desired depth.
By spinning a tool at 12,000 RPM, the Mooz makes a big noise. Not only that, but you’ll get timber shavings and sawdust all over the place. We highly recommend using the CNC module in a garage or workshop, away from your house.
To prevent dirt from getting inside the mechanical workings, a small cover is included. This moves with the bed and stops almost all the CNC shavings from falling into the linear actuator.
The CNC module produces excellent results. A stunning level of detail can be achieved, and even materials with a poor surface finish are transformed by removing the top layer of material. This is the perfect tool for carving logos or small designs. PCB manufacturing is another excellent use.
Only one tool is provided, and as CNC machining is still slightly specialized, you may need to pay a premium for any replacement tools, especially those that are both quality and small size.
3D printing is possibly the main selling point of the Mooz. Producing objects by pushing molten plastic around is always an exciting process to watch, and the Mooz doesn’t disappoint. The rugged metal design is almost overkill for simple 3D printing, but it ensures a solid and stable base that is more than capable of producing amazing prints.
The Mooz works like the majority of other 3D printers on the market. It uses Fused Deposition Modeling to produce objects one layer at a time.
While a large cooling fan is constantly running, the Mooz is generally fairly quiet. You wouldn’t want to sleep with it in the same room, but it’s not so loud that it’s a nuisance like the CNC module.
A heated bed is included, with a total build volume of 130mm. A reasonable top speed of 80mm/s is achievable, and a layer height of 0.05mm is excellent.
The extruder is a sealed unit, but it’s possible to take apart for maintenance. You don’t need to cover the bed with special tape or glue, as the plastic surface provides the perfect base for prints to adhere to.
Note: this image depicts a warped print, which didn’t happen with other prints.
As you would expect from such a premium machine, the print quality is fantastic! It is surprising how well prints come out, and how it “just works”. You’ll need to spend some time perfecting speeds and temperatures for your own prints, but the factory-provided models are all ready to go.
Is the Mooz for You?
By using a solid metal design, industrial-grade parts, and self-contained modules, the Mooz is able to achieve an accuracy and ease-of-use which is almost unmatched at this price range.
This machine won’t shake itself to pieces or vibrate your table so much that is must be placed in another room. Yes, the laser can be smelly, and the CNC generates a huge amount of noise along with a big mess, but what similar machines don’t?
Possibly the easiest to assembly 3D printer kit we’ve used, the Mooz “just works”. Even with poor instructions, it can be assembled in less than an hour and enables even a complete novice to produce stunning designs. With a bit of practice and tweaking for different materials, environments, and speeds, you can create jaw-dropping artwork.
If you’re on a budget, it’s possible to buy the Mooz without the laser and CNC modules and upgrade those parts later on if required. If you’re looking for a 3D printer which doesn’t transform, then why not take a look at our 3D printer buying guide?
The only downside to the Mooz is the speed. Quality comes at a price, so don’t expect to manufacturer-on-demand at a craft fair, it’s too slow. This isn’t Dobot’s fault, it’s physics. There’s only so fast a laser or CNC can move before the quality is all but lost. If you can wait, the Mooz will deliver designs of the highest quality.
Thanks to Dobot, we’re giving away our review model. All you have to do is enter our giveaway contest!