3D Printing Trade evaluations the CraftBot Stream IDEX XL 3D printer.
Designed by Hungarian producer Craftunique, the CraftBot Stream IDEX XL is a large-format impartial twin extrusion (IDEX) FFF machine. Priced at $three,999, the system is focused at engineers, designers, architects and artists seeking to produce sizable professional-grade prints for purposeful, inventive or prototyping functions.
The CraftBot’s giant construct chamber may not be precisely what you image whenever you hear the time period ‘large-format’. The design staff have opted to concentrate on mannequin peak slightly than print mattress space, giving the printer a construct quantity of 425 x 250 x 500mm. This supplies customers a whopping 56 liters of potential quantity to mess around with, and the printbed’s space remains to be nothing to scoff at. Even when in comparison with the printer’s hulking body which stands at 635 x 450 x 790mm, it’s clear that Craftunique has made environment friendly use of house when designing the machine.
The CraftBot additionally options an IDEX system, whereby the 2 all-metal hotends are housed in two separate printheads which can be locked collectively on a gantry within the Y axis however free to maneuver independently within the X axis. A most nozzle temperature of 300°C permits the CraftBot to print a few of the more durable thermoplastic filaments together with ABS, PET-G, PVA, and nylon.
Nearly all of the printer’s performance, resembling filament loading and unloading, is accessible by way of the complete colour 5” touchscreen on the entrance. Connectivity choices embrace a USB port, Wi-Fi and a 3D cloud. A mess of high quality of life options additionally make the CraftBot a delight to make use of, together with an in-built digital camera for distant monitoring and timelapses, and a filament monitoring sensor for print pausing and continuation utilizing the opposite extruder. The LED standing indicator doubles up as a customizable RGB show, making the CraftBot really feel proper at dwelling in any man (or lady)-cave.
The CraftBot Stream IDEX XL 3D printer. Picture through Craftunique.
Tall and taller
The place we see many ‘older brother’ printers doubling the realm of the print mattress, the IDEX XL has as a substitute chosen to double the peak of the construct chamber over its predecessor, the CraftBox Stream IDEX. The slightly unconventional design alternative might be simply the factor inventive and architectural professionals are on the lookout for – we guess the CraftBot might print a imply Burj Khalifa skyscraper.
The IDEX XL’s 38kg physique is among the many cleanest we’ve ever seen at 3D Printing Trade. The open-form powder coated metal body is bounded by plexiglass sheets on both facet, giving us an unobstructed view of the construct chamber. Upon inspection of the internal corners, we struggled to seek out any unfastened wiring hanging round, main us to imagine Craftunique has a devoted wire administration staff on the workplace. The printer’s two spool holders might be mounted at any level alongside the highest of the left or proper sides of the printer for comfort.
The steel construct plate is roofed by a removable magnetic flex sheet, guaranteeing easy surfaces on the undersides of prints and straightforward half elimination. The mattress is able to heating as much as 110°C, offering extra adhesion for supplies that want it. It additionally travels alongside a linear rail for added stability.
Mattress leveling and nozzle calibration are semi-automatic and take about 10 minutes in complete, with the consumer solely needing to show the wheels below the mattress to calibrate it completely (with the steering of the touchscreen). The activation of ‘Wizard Mode’ will see the printer calibrating its personal nozzles. Total, a really intuitive and user-friendly course of.
The CraftBot’s magnetic flex construct plate. Picture through Craftunique.
IDEX for the lots
The IDEX system’s essential profit is the power to make use of each hotends directly. Since they transfer independently within the X axis, customers are in a position to make use of the printer’s ‘duplicate’ and ‘mirror’ modes. Utilizing these modes successfully doubles the output potential of the CraftBot, though the 2 fashions should be similar. The duplicate mode creates a carbon copy of an element on the opposite facet of the mattress – similar in each dimension and orientation. The mirror mode creates an identically sized half on the opposite facet of the mattress however it’s mirrored down the middle of the construct space. As the burden of every particular person printhead is diminished because of solely housing one hotend, they’re each in a position to journey a bit sooner, leading to shorter print instances.
The CraftBot accepts filament of diameter 1.75mm, and extrudes by way of a nozzle of diameter zero.4mm. The printer’s most print pace is 200mm/s and the best layer peak is a decent 50 microns.
The printer’s IDEX meeting. Picture by 3D Printing Trade.
Craftunique supplies its personal slicing software program for file preparation on the CraftBot – CraftWare. It’s price noting, nonetheless, that the printer is appropriate with a mess of open-source slicers resembling Cura, Simplify3D, and Slic3r. The very first thing that pops out whenever you load up CraftWare is the abundance of vibrant colours on the display, it definitely doesn’t shrink back from utilizing the entire palette to color-code its capabilities.
As for the performance, it’s not a lot completely different from most slicers available on the market. You load up a 3D mannequin, translate, resize, rotate, assist, and export a gcode. The essential capabilities are intuitive sufficient newbie might choose it up after fiddling round on the menus for a couple of minutes. For 3D printing veterans, the ‘superior consumer’ window grants entry to plenty of extra subtle parameters resembling temperatures, speeds, and infills. We initially discovered this superior mode a bit difficult to become familiar with, nonetheless. For instance, it’s not completely clear how the slicer handles infill or what the distinction between the assorted choices is.
CraftWare slicer UI. Picture by 3D Printing Trade.
Customers even have the choice to utilize the printer’s web-based 3D cloud for print administration. A well-thought-out UI and menu customizability makes the cloud a delight to make use of. The CraftBot additionally lets customers modify just a few of the extra easy parameters like temperature as soon as the print has already begun – a considerate and welcome addition.
Benchmarking the CraftBot Stream IDEX XL
It’s time to see what the CraftBot is basically made from. Our complete testing regime is designed to push the bounds of the printers subjected to it, supplying you with an summary of all the things the system can (and may’t) do.
We began off by printing a set of mechanical assemblies on the CraftBot – a nut and bolt meeting and a differential gear system. These checks are good for figuring out the dimensional precision of a printer as they are going to solely assemble simply and function easily with tight tolerances.
Mechanical meeting checks. Photographs by 3D Printing Trade.
All in all, each methods have been printed efficiently. The nut and bolt screw along with ease and there may be little or no play within the meeting; it might positively be utilized in observe as a purposeful half. The differential gears have a really excessive floor high quality however there are some minor defects within the contact zones attributable to assist scarring. The mechanism nonetheless works effectively and frictional resistance is minimal.
We imagine the slicer had some difficulties in producing automated helps on the extra advanced areas of the differential gear system. It was initially over-supported so we needed to take away a few of the pointless connections and revise the place the helps must be. As soon as printed, we discovered the helps to be fairly troublesome to take away, leading to reasonable scarring. On this case, it turned out to be unproblematic however could trigger points in very tolerance-sensitive components.
We then put the CraftBot by way of the retraction take a look at, which is a measure of the standard of the system’s extruders. The take a look at consists of 9 spikes organized in a grid-like formation. If the extruders aren’t in a position to efficiently maintain again the molten PLA whereas touring between the spikes, we’d have some unpleasant stringing on our fingers.
Retraction take a look at. Picture by 3D Printing Trade.
Fortunately, it didn’t come to that. The retraction skill of the CraftBot is just about good and there was no stringing in any respect between the spikes. A convincing success!
Subsequent up was our large-scale Renaissance sculpture. This take a look at was designed to find out how the printer handles lengthy prints (5 days for this one), how the printer handles tall prints (495mm), and the way effectively the filament monitoring sensor truly works (you possibly can guess we burned by way of just a few spools).
Tall sculpture take a look at. Picture by 3D Printing Trade.
The outcome? A print worthy of da Vinci himself. The curves have been easy and the layer traces have been nearly invisible. With taller prints, we are inclined to see the standard deteriorating because the mattress strikes down the Z-axis because of elevated inertia attributable to vibrations all through the printer’s body. The CraftBot’s sturdy metal body did a fairly good job of dampening the vibrations, so the standard remained very excessive all through the print. The filament sensor additionally paused and resumed the print at exactly the precise areas, making it seem all too seamless.
Obscure materials checks
What good is a 300°C nozzle if it could solely handle PLA? Our PET-G + nylon take a look at additionally gave us an opportunity to check out the printer’s twin extrusion mode. The twin-material container got here out nice. The distinction between the 2 colours on the interface zone is crisp and the entire construction feels very strong, virtually prefer it’s made of 1 materials.
PET-G + nylon take a look at. Picture by 3D Printing Trade.
We then printed a set of tessellated containers in wooden PLA and Flex filament. We noticed no stringing or warping on any components of both container. The Flex vase even returns to its unique form after important deformation.
Wooden PLA and Flex checks. Photographs by 3D Printing Trade.
Lastly, we gave water-soluble PVA helps a whirl on the CraftBot. The print turned out to be very clear, with the PVA helps positioned exactly within the related areas. After submerging the print in water, the mannequin emerged with minimal assist scarring after nearly no post-processing.
PVA assist take a look at. Photographs by 3D Printing Trade.
Craftunique has executed one thing very particular with the Stream IDEX XL. A plethora of rigorously designed options make this hidden gem a implausible large-format 3D printer for professionals. The print high quality is simply what you’d count on from a professional-grade machine and the colourful slicer works to information you thru the method. One of many solely actual weaknesses of this printer is the bodily assist materials – it’s constantly troublesome to take away. Maybe the Craftunique staff can revise the default parameters related to automated helps on the CraftWare slicer to make helps extra vulnerable to peeling off. That being stated, the printer does all the things else proper, and we had a blast utilizing it.
As with lots of Craftunique’s 3D printers, the Stream IDEX XL comes with a five-year guarantee. The corporate may also be releasing a dome and lockable door attachment for the printer on the finish of Might, giving customers the choice of enclosed operation – including performance and a stage of customizability to the system.
Purchase the CraftBot Stream IDEX XL right here.
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Featured picture reveals the CraftBot Stream IDEX XL 3D printer. Picture through Craftunique.
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