Better known for his wide range of multi functional tools for manufacturers, Dremel can look back on almost 5 years of experience in the world of 3D printing Idea Builder. In 2014, the first FDM printer named Idea Builder 3D20 was introduced. Since then, Dremel has expanded its range of printers with the introduction of the Idea Builder 3D40 and a premium version called the DigiLab 3D45.
To learn more about the manufacturer’s progress, we were able to get these two new models for comprehensive testing in the 3Dnatives lab, starting today with the Idea Builder 3D40 3D Printer.
With this model, Dremel hopes to establish itself in schools, a desire that the brand clearly expresses in its communication media. “Dremel DigiLab works with elementary schools to help students develop their critical thinking skills by improving their ability to visualize a concept, build prototypes, test and adapt their ideas,” the machine’s manual reads.
So how does the Idea Builder 3D40 differ from other 3D printers on the market? Is he really adapted to education? What are his strengths? We try to answer these questions with our test
1.Unpack the Idea Builder 3D40
The Dremel 3D printer comes in a very visual packaging, with many photos of the machine and a listing of its key features. Since it weighs only 16kg, unpacking the printer is pretty easy.
The list of supplied accessories is quite clear and includes a removable plastic tray, blue pressure-sensitive adhesive tapes, a complete multilingual manual, a French quick-start guide, a 500g roll of white PLA filament, a USB flash drive, a USB cable, a Scraper for removing finished print objects and a tool for cleaning the nozzle in case of problems.
With a completely redesigned design, the 3D40 is a further development of the 3D20 and offers a larger print volume of 255x155x170 mm (compared to 230x150x140 mm before), a slightly larger LCD touch screen and a WiFi connection and a connection for a USB cable or a USB stick. As with the 3D20, the fairing is completely made of plastic but still very sturdy.
Although not equipped with a hot plate, it has the advantage of a fully enclosed pressure chamber with transparent covers on the front and top of the machine, which allow easy access to the extruder and the plate. The result is a completely closed machine that keeps the temperature in the printer constant, optimizing the prints.
2.Installation of the Dremel 3D printer
To set up the 3D printer, you must first install the filament role. This is located in the pressure chamber, with the advantage that the external space requirement of the machine is reduced, but also the maximum pressure volume is reduced. Loading the filament is quite intuitive via the control panel.
Please note that the 3D40 3D printer only accepts Rollers in the special format of the Dremel brand. This technical limit can be circumvented by adding an external unwinder that allows the use of any PLA filament of 1.75 mm thickness (or a compatible unheated pressure plate).
In a second step, you need to clip the printing plate into the machine after applying a blue adhesive film in advance to compensate for the lack of a heating plate and to optimize the adhesion of the part to the printing plate.
To avoid potential hazards, the third step of the installation is to calibrate the printing plate of the 3D40. The calibration is semi-automatic: a sensor placed on the extruder moves in the classic way to two different points on the printing surface, while at each step the user is asked to adjust the screws under the plate.
However, Dremel has simplified this process by specifying exactly how many turns of the screws to the right or left are required. This simplifies a step that can be very tedious on some 3D printers. The installation of the 3D40 is therefore quite short.
3 DigiLab 3D Slicer Software
It is noteworthy in any case, what the manufacturer for an effort for his slicer was operating. In fact, the special software DigiLab 3D Slicer extra was developed from the open-source software Cura. Why reinvent what already works? This is a lightweight version of Cura, with simplified and faster handling. You do not have to download special profiles for the Idea Builder 3D40 or learn new slicer software.
Once the model has been prepared in the software, you can send it via WiFi, but also via the supplied USB cable or USB stick to the 3D printer. Please note that you can also save the 3D file in the internal memory of the printer. A good idea for a school project, e.g. is printed several times
4. First impressions
After installation and calibration, the first prints of the Idea Builder 3D40 can start. As part of this test, we started with some models preinstalled on the included USB flash drive before moving on to the Torture Test, the 3DBenchy, to push the machine to its limits.
The prints are easily printed sequentially with a relatively short heat-up time and a rather low noise level compared to the machines on the market.
The only concern that arose during the test concerns the regularity of the surface of the parts. Not too problematic, but the regularity of the print layers can sometimes be affected by a more or less random presentation. By adapting the printing speed or the arrangement of the parts, this problem can be reduced in practice.