Review: Dremel DigiLab 3D40 Idea Builder

Dremel DigiLab 3D40
  • Ease of Setup - 91%
    91%
  • Ease of Use - 88%
    88%
  • Print Quality - 85%
    85%
  • Print Speed - 84%
    84%
  • Value for Money - 79%
    79%

Summary

The Dremel 3D40 should be your first choice 3D Printer if you're a 3D printer beginner or are buying a 3D printer for children or a school.

In terms of ease of setup, use, and reliability it is unbeatable.

85%
User Rating 8.5/10 (2 votes)
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Dremel 3D40: A Brand You Can Trust Brings a 3D Printer You Can Rely On

SALE
Dremel Digilab 3D40 Award Winning 3D Printer, Idea Builder with semi automated leveling, print PLA at 100 micron resolution
80 Reviews

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:12 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

You may well know Dremel as a respected household name, as they have been making DIY power tools since the 1930s.

Even before their 3D printer launch, Dremel has become an integral part of 3D printing and Maker culture. Their rotary tools are used by so many of us to clean up and modify our 3D printed parts once our 3D printers have done their work. So it makes perfect sense for Dremel to extend this relationship to manufacturing the 3D printers themselves.

They launched their first 3D Printer in 2014, aiming it squarely at the home user. By ensuring, like all their other tools, that it was easy to use and we could trust it to work reliably. The 3D40 is an upgrade on the previously well-regarded 3D20 with a whole host of improvements included…

What’s New?

This new and updated Idea BuilderĀ 3D40 is the latest 3D printer in Dremel’s range. And they’ve really done a great job in listening to customer feedback and improving all aspects of the previous model. In fact, they’ve managed to add some pretty useful and innovative features to it.

Bigger Is Better

Firstly, the build plate has grown to allow you to print objects up to a very generous 10″ x 6″ x 6.7″. This makes it one of the largest build volumes in its class.

It’s also now removable, so once your print is finished, you can easily unclip the platform with your print attached. This makes it much easier for you to remove your print from the plate outside of the cramped confines of the printer which would otherwise be a frustrating experience.

If you buy the educational version of the Dremel 3D40, you get a second build plate included. Or you can buy more as an extra. A second build plate allows you to quickly and easily start a second print job going while you work on removing the first. You can carry out any cleanup or prep on the plate ready for the next go without holding up your or somebody else’s next project.

Easy Leveling

Next, the previously frustrating procedure of manual bed leveling is now a very simple and quick automated task. This is thanks to Dremel’s new ‘Quik Level’ system.

The large, full-color LCD touch screen walks you through the process. It tells you how many notches to turn each of the two adjusters and gives you a green check when you’ve set each one correctly. It really is just a matter of seconds to get set up for your first print.

The all-important extruder has had a big upgrade too making it entirely clog resistant. Thereby preventing the main cause of print failures seen on other 3D printers.

It also monitors the filament and automatically pauses the printer when you run out of filament part way through a build. This allows you to refill and restart the print without you having to scrap the partially finished print. For anyone who’s experienced this frustration on other printers, you’ll understand how useful this feature is!

For anyone who’s experienced this frustration on other printers, you’ll understand how useful this feature is!

Connections

WiFi has been added to make connecting to your 3D printer as easy as possible. It works hand in hand with the included Dremel software to allow you to send your models straight to the printer through the cloud.

You can still also use USB, Ethernet, or if you don’t have your 3D printer in the same room as your PC, you can use a SD-card to transfer your files.

And finally, the lid has had an upgrade making it sturdier and larger for easier access. And it has an improved hinge system so it can stay up out of the way when you need it to.

Options

The 3D40 comes in two packages. The 3D40 standard and the 3D40-EDU educational version. The educational package adds three spools of filament to the standard one, at a lower price than if bought separately.

An additional build plate is also included. So students are not queued up waiting for finished prints to be removed from a single platform. And an extra flash drive full of 3D models and ready formed lessons to help students get the most from the printer.

Setup

One of the key selling points of the Dremel 3D40 is that it’s as easy for you to setup and use as any other Dremel power tool.

Unboxing is a pleasant experience. The packaging is very sturdy to protect the printer in transit but is well designed, making easy work of decanting the large printer.

Dremel is quite generous with the included goodies. As well as a spool of filament to get you started, you’ll also find a USB flash drive with software and example files.

A removal tool to help you unstick your finished print from the platform. And build tape to help the first layer of your print stick as well as the usual necessary cables and instruction manual.

It Couldn’t Be Easier

The benefit of Dremel’s experience of consumer DIY tools is clear when you see the included quick start documentation. It is head and shoulders above the quality seen with most other 3D printers. It’s written in English, Spanish and French. And it quickly and clearly takes you through the unboxing and setup to get you printing in no time.

Detailed instructions are included on the flash drive, but the quick start guide is all that is needed to start your first 3D print.

In fact, as the guide shows, other than plugging the cables in, the only setup you have to do before your first print is installing the build platform and the filament.

The build platform simply snaps into place and can then be leveled using the new automated ‘Quik Level’ process that makes the process a doddle. The LCD screen tells you to turn each level adjustor by a certain number of clicks. When you’ve done this a comforting beep sounds, and a green check appears, and you’re done, easy!

The software that talks to your 3D printer is cloud-based, so no install is necessary. And you don’t have to worry so much about system requirements of your computer. So long as you have internet access and an email address then all you have to do is go to the Dremel3D website and create an account.

Printing

One of the first hurdles you have to overcome as a newcomer to 3D printing is making sure your print sticks to the build plate. This is a common problem that can easily result in a completely failed print if not solved.

Fortunately, Dremel has done a great job in including some quality blue painters tape squares and ‘BuildTak’ surfaces. These give you some options, and both offer the texture necessary for you to get that all important first layer to stick.

This is more than enough to help you avoid the frustrations that you can get with other 3D printers that leave you to work this stuff out for yourself.

Software

After logging into the Dremel Print Studio software, you can load in any of the included 3D model files or upload your own designs. All the important settings you’re likely to need are there for you to change. Such as layer height, extrusion speeds, and infill types.

For complete beginners, the process can be almost entirely automated. But as you get more experience there are plenty of manual controls available to help you learn the process of preparing 3D models for printing. You can create build supports completely manually if you choose. And slicing options are available from automatic to fully featured manual operation.

The flexibility in levels of control given to you should keep you happy as you progress in skill level and feel comfortable taking on more manual adjustments to get the best print results possible.

The Dremel3D website also offers a useful section of customizers. These are existing 3D models of objects like keychains, or phone cases that you can print as is. Or for more fun, you can modify to your own requirements before printing. This allows you to print something unique very quickly. And it’s a great way for you to learn about 3D design without being put off by a steep learning curve before you get to see your 3d printer in action.

Let’s Print!

In operation, the 3D40 is acceptably quiet. The noise levels are kept low. Firstly by the nature of the printer being fully enclosed. And secondly, because the extruder motion has an intelligent control that ensures it never travels any more than it needs to. This reduces the noise of the motor whine.

Unless you’re very easily distracted, this is definitely a printer that you could comfortably keep running in your office whilst you work.

Once your print is complete, you’re notified by a pleasant ringtone style sound. And then you’re ready to remove your print from the enclosure.

The removable build plate combined with the easy access of the large lid make this a cinch. If you do feel you need more access, you can also remove the side panels quite easily.

Being able to remove the build plate is a big bonus too. Often it can take some force to remove finished prints from the plate. Removing the build plate makes the task so much easier by being able to do it on the bench rather than inside the cramped space of the printer enclosure trying not to scrape your knuckles.

Print Quality

The 3D40 defaults to a satisfactory 200-micron layer height. But I’ve found no problems in printing at the minimum height of 100 microns. Other than an increase in print time as you would expect.

100 microns gives you an excellent smooth finish with very acceptable layer definition. So you won’t be reaching for the sandpaper and filler very often for most projects. If you’re less concerned with layer definition and want a quicker build, you can print at up to 300-micron layer thickness.

Other commonly seen print issues like blobs due to over extrusion and spidering of the filament as the nozzle moves across the print are noticeably minimal. Overall completed prints are satisfyingly clean. This saves you lots of time not having to make tweaks in the slicer software or spend too much effort post processing your prints to clean them up. Thumbs up to Dremel!

Limitations

Dremel has aimed the 3D40 squarely at 3D printer beginners. And specifically, teens and children who can start off using it as a basic ‘press the button and go’ printer before gradually progressing their skills to more manual input.

To make it so easy and reliable to use straight out of the box, there are inevitably some compromises that make it less suitable for more experienced users.

The main limitation of the 3D40 is that 3rd party filaments are not officially supported. If you do want to use them, you need to print your own spool holder as the Dremel one is slightly smaller than standard.

In practice, this means it’s actually not that hard to use 3rd party filament if you want to. But if you experience problems you can’t expect Dremel’s customer service to help you out.

Considering that the 3D40 is aimed at beginners, this is unlikely to be a problem for you. The Dremel PLA filament is of a high standard and is competitively priced. So the only downside is you’re limited to what colors and finishes of filament Dremel make available. At the moment there about ten different filament options available.

Another limitation is that you have to use Dremel3D software to carry out the final slicing operation on your 3D models. This is because the 3D40 doesn’t recognize standard g-code files, only Dremel’s own .g3drem files. For most users and especially newbies this is of no consequence. For more experienced users who really want to use their own slicing software, you will need to use a slicer that is compatible with the 3D40 such as S3D.

Customer Service

I have to make a special mention of the excellent customer service that comes with this 3D printer. This is really what makes Dremel stand out above other 3D printer manufacturers.

Say your extruder stops working. Your first stop is the number of videos, tutorials, and manuals available. Next, you can call, email or IM Dremel. They have a number of experts who can talk you through how to go about diagnosing and solving the issue.

If you’re not happy tinkering inside your printer. Even with direction, or you can’t solve the problem, they are very happy for you to unhook the extruder and ship it to them for a free repair which they will do within a matter of a few days.

Where other manufacturers may say they have a 1-year warranty, the Dremel warranty is actually worth the paper it’s written on. If you have a problem with your printer, it will get fixed, free of charge, with as little hassle as possible to you.

Dremel 3D40 – Verdict

Dremel is the first real household brand to launch their own 3D printer. And it’s clear they have made every effort to ensure their reputation for quality, well-designed products is maintained in their new range.

What the 3D40 is offering you is a reliable tool that will work out of the box. With none of the annoying niggly problems that so often dampen the enthusiasm of newcomers to 3D printing.

There are alternative 3D printers available for a similar price. Some that can offer you more flexibility such as which filament you can use and more material options. But, there are none that will give you the same degree of confidence that when you press print, everything’s going to work. Meaning you can enjoy the process of designing and making rather than fault-finding.

If however, you’re happy regularly lifting the hood in pursuit of a perfect print you’d be better off with something like a FlashForge Creator Pro. This will give you more future room to grow your knowledge for a similar outlay.

For newcomers to 3D printing buying the 3D40 is one of the best choices you can make.

-Dylan

SALE
Dremel Digilab 3D40 Award Winning 3D Printer, Idea Builder with semi automated leveling, print PLA at 100 micron resolution
80 Reviews

Price excl. shipping / Last update on 2018-09-25 at 01:12 / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API / As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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