iD3 iDeator 12
The iD3 iDeator 12 is one of the most impressive 3D printers we have seen yet. Featuring all of the amenities necessary to produce true professional quality results, with a professional quality price tag to match, this printer is definitely not for the home enthusiast or casual hobbyist. But don’t be fooled. Just because this printer is capable of advanced results, it doesn’t mean that advanced technical ability is required for operation. In fact, it is possible to configure the iDeator 12, as well as its big brother the iDeator 24, with settings ranging from beginner to expert, providing a much more rewarding user experience and a shorter learning curve.
With the iDeator 12, gone are the days of traditional prototyping, where you would have to design a part, hire a company to produce a pattern and then injection mold the piece to your specs. This process, depending on the part you are making, can cost as much for that one part, if not more, than the entire cost of this printer. So what you get from that, depending on the particular application, could very well be a complete return of your investment after the very first print job. Although this is not the large format printer you see in factories that can produce automobile-sized prints and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, print quality is still amazing.
The iDeator 12 has a print volume of 304 cubic centimeters (about 12 cubic inches), which is more than enough to print just about anything you can imagine on a small to medium scale. As a natural result of the expanded print volume, the machine ends up being on the larger side, at approximately 24 cubic inches, which takes up quite a bit of space, ruling out the possibility of using this printer as a desktop solution unless you have a large desk that can not only accommodate its large footprint, but its 100 pounds of weight as well. Print layer resolutions are as low as 100 microns with standard settings, which is roughly 4/1000 of an inch. With expert level settings, resolutions as low as 25 microns (1/1000 of an inch) can be achieved.
The chassis is made with custom extruded aluminum for a frame and enveloped in tempered glass designed to withstand continuous heat fluctuations during and between print jobs. The professional model comes with a polished aluminum case that is designed to cover up the circuitry and works inside of the case, making for a much more beautiful look and feel. A 1/4 inch cast aluminum extrusion plate is thick enough to help prevent warping and withstand heat, yet light enough to avoid taxing the precision stepper motors used to run the plate along the y-axis. The dual heads that come standard with this model can extrude at a rate of up to 200 mm/s with customized, advanced settings.
Electrical inputs are designed to accommodate a range of voltages and frequencies that allow this unit to be used just about anywhere in the world. There is a USB port for connection to a computer system, which allows control of the printer by means of software from Simplify3D, a versatile and powerful yet easy to use package that makes it easy for even non-technical people to set up and run a print job. Repetier and Slic3r are also options for those who require more advanced options that include more precise resolutions and faster extrusion speeds. An SD port and card are also included, which allow non-chained printing through the printer’s LCD screen and keypad interface. STL and AMF are the supported file types, and supported operating systems include Windows, Ubuntu Linux and Mac OS-X.
The iDeator 12’s print technology is based on Fused Filament Fabrication, which is a method of additive manufacturing that bonds layers of plastic filament on top of each other with joints made by heat or adhesion. The 50mm nozzle dispenses a standard roll of 1.75mm filament that can be composed of any of 7 different materials that are supported. Those materials are ABS, plastic, polycarbonate, polypropylene, polysilicon, nylon and high impact polystyrene (HIPS). Temperatures are monitored via Type K thermocouples on the extrusion heads and plate, which are inexpensive yet extremely accurate.
One of the most interesting things about this package is the inclusion of a Windows tablet with the printer. The tablet has the necessary software preloaded and makes connection to the printer as easy and effortless as possible via USB connection. You also get a set of cleaning and maintenance tools and some starter filament, which is standard with most 3D printer offerings. Filaments are also non-proprietary, which means even more costs savings, since you can purchase materials from just about anywhere and at extremely reasonable prices.
Overall, we found this printer to be a remarkable offering for the price and market. Great design and professional quality results makes this printer a model that has once again, according to iD3’s words, changed the 3D printing industry again. It has received very favorable feedback from a variety of testers and has performed very well in both public demonstrations and in industrial settings. We were also very pleased with what we saw, both design and features wise, and are glad to put the iD3 iDeator 12 at the top of our list of iReviews 2014 best 3D printers over $5,000.
Related YouTube videos:
<a href="http://3d-printers.ireviews.com/id3-ideator-12-review"><img src="http://www1.ireviews.com/images/2015-iReviews-gold-badge.png" alt="iD3 iDeator 12"/></a>