3D Printers have been getting more popular in the last few years, as the price has dropped enough to make them a sensible purchase for schools and the home. I’ve already documented our initial journey into 3D printing last year with a printer that we built from a kit.
I’ve recently been approached by Dremel to see if I wanted to try out their new Dremel 3D40 Ideas Maker printer, so here’s how I got on.
The Techie Bit
The Dremel 3D40’s large printing plate makes it suitable for larger-scale projects than the previous models and means it can print objects up to 25.4 x 15.2 x 17.1 cm in size. Data transfer options are flexible too, with the ability to use a USB stick, USB cable, WLAN or LAN.
Precise printing results are achieved by a guided two-point leveling system that is able to calibrate the print bed quickly and accurately. Whether you want to design a completely new object or adapt an existing product to meet your individual needs, the 3D printer is exceptionally easy to use. The integrated software and the color touch¬screen make turning your ideas into printed objects simple and straightforward, while giving you an overview of the print at all times.
The 3D40 also has a new semi-automatic levelling build platform with an alert notification, so you know exactly when it is ready to go. The maintenance-free extruder also has automated filament load and unload ability, as well as a clog detection feature which triggers an automatic pause if any issues are detected.
Out of the Box
Unlike the previous 3D printers we’ve used, which came in flatpack kit form and had to be assembled, the Dremel 3D40 was pretty much ready to use straight of the box. I was sent a demo version which already looked well-travelled, but everything is self-contained inside the unit, there’s no need to bolt anything else on. Usually you’d need to run a calibration and levelling test before starting.
The model I was sent had an issue finding my wifi network, so I connected the printer direct to my PC via the USB lead. You could also put files onto a USB stick and print from there.
My first print job was one of the built-in models already loaded onto the Dremel. A 3D reindeer finger puppet. It’s worth trying one of these first rather than one of your own models, just to make sure it’s printing correctly!
For a sense of the speed of the print, this model is 7cm high and took about 80 minutes to print.
Dremel provide a great online library of ready made models via the Dremel Idea Builder site.
For 3D Design Software – Dremel provide a copy of Autodesk’s Print Studio software to design and edit to your heart’s content. But you can also use Tinkercad, Meshmixer, 123D Design, and more! You can use anything that produces a .stl file format model.
Dremel also provide some additonal online tools to make custom snowflakes, key fobs, bracelets and medals that run in your browser using WebGL.
To test out the printer, I downloaded this Solar System model from Thingiverse, then loaded into Autodesk Print Studio for processing. This let me convert the model file into the correct format for printing on the Dremel. Print Studio walks you through the steps to prepare the model – repairing any errors, adding supports and slicing it ready to print.
Once processed, the model was ready to be sent to the printer.
The quality of the prints produced by the Dremel 3D40 were very good indeed. The models didn’t need really much tinkering with. The printer could cope with overhangs very well without the need for excessive supports. Printing was fast and efficient, with the minimum of fuss. The models cooled very quickly.
For example, the way it printed this vase in one piece without any need for additional supports was very impressive.
Overall I’m very impressed with the Dremel, I’d definitely recommend it to schools looking to make a first foray into the world of 3D printing. It’s a very robust and versatile printer.