Preview of the JGMaker Artist D (Beta version), an IDEX 3D printer

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You may not have heard about this new 3D printer, the JGMaker Artist D, it’s normal, this machine has just been announced and will be available for pre-order via Kickstarter on September 17th.

I was lucky enough to receive a Beta version of this machine, which I can present to you today, which is none other than an IDEX Dual Extruder 3D printer.

IDEX ? What’s IDEX?

IDEX technology is a technology with several separate extruders that can operate independently of each other. This offers several advantages compared to a multi-extruder solution with a single head.

First of all, it allows you to print in multiple colors on a single model, without the need to purge the filament between each color change, so you save filament, and your printing will also be faster.

It also allows you to print in duplication mode the same model, the 2 heads will print at the same time, each occupying 50% of the size of your tray, this can be very useful if you want to print a small part in series, as if you had 2 3D printers in one.

You can also print in mirror mode the same model, so you will have 2 parts that will print at the same time, but with an inversion on the X axis between the 2 models, we often find to illustrate this type of printing, the printing of shoe soles/tongues.

Finally, it also allows you to print more easily with different types of materials, using different temperatures, you can for example use one of the two heads with PVA for the printing of media that will dissolve in water.

Presentation of the main features of the JGMaker Artist D

I’m not going to detail all the features of this machine, at least not of the model I received, as this is a beta version (which works very well by the way), some features of the final version might be different from my machine, so I invite you to go directly to the kickstarter page for more information.

Features that should be final :
– 300x300x400mm printing area
– Linear rail on the X-axis
– 32bits motherboard
– Flexible metal magnetic plate (with buildtak surface)
– Double direct drive extruders
– Double filament end detector
– Resumption of printing in case of interruption
– Marlin version 2.x

So much for the features, but I forgot to tell you about a very interesting detail, its price… the advertised price for the first 500 units on kickstarter is $339, shipping included, with a 3-year warranty (which is exceptional in the 3D printing industry). This price is very aggressive for this type of machine, which are usually sold twice as much…

Unpacking and assembling the machine

The box is really very big, it’s a big machine!
Fortunately this one is already partially assembled, it will take about 30 minutes to assemble it.

In order to facilitate the assembly, they have thought of numbering all the electronic part, so you can easily see where to connect the different tablecloths, really very practical!

No autoleveling in the program, so before starting the first print you will have to adjust the tray with a sheet of paper. Attention, the plate is fixed on the central point, you will have to check the central point when adjusting the 4 corners, if the center is too high/low, you will have to adjust the Z axis sensor. This is not very practical, I’ve given the information to the JGMaker team, they will probably make a modification on this point.

Once the tray is adjusted, we can start printing!

Printing with Artist D

You may wonder if this type of 3D printer is more complicated to use than a standard printer, or a simple multi-extruder printer. In fact the IDEX part for duplication and mirroring mode is directly managed by the firmware, so you just have to put only 1 model in your slicer, but align it on the left side of the tray, and before printing, change the printing mode in the menu.

For dual color printing, you will have to declare 2 extruders on your Slicer, for my part I used Prusa Slicer, starting from a profile for Ender 3, I simply added a 2nd extruder, and being in direct drive put the shrinkage at 1mm. No need to adjust the use of purge tower, in IDEX you won’t need one.

For my first impression, I printed a Benchy in duplication mode, I didn’t encounter any particular problem.

Then, I wanted to go into dual color printing on 1 model only, but… I’ll probably have to do some printing to calibrate/align the front heads!

Indeed, you must suspect that the 2 heads may not be totally aligned, especially on the X and Y axis.

Fortunately it is very easy to make these adjustments in the printer menu.

For my part I printed a simple model, which you will find on thingiverse, this model allowed me to check if the 2 heads were well aligned, it turned out that I had indeed an offset.

For my case I had these values on the machine out of the factory: X 370 / Y -0.5, and here are my final values.

Here is the printed model allowing me to check that now the heads are well aligned.

We can now print in dual color, and without a purge tower!

Here is a video that shows the different impressions I was able to make with the different modes.

To conclude, this is my first IDEX printer, having already had multi-extruder printers with only 1 head, I often encountered clogging difficulties… not to mention the amount of filament wasted in the purge towers (sometimes more filament than the printing itself). I find this IDEX technology really interesting to avoid this kind of problems. This Artist D is really a very good machine, at the kickstarter price of 339$ you can go there with your eyes closed !

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