Overview 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, that’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 a Dual Extruder IDEX 3D printer.

IDEX? What’s that?

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

Firstly, it allows you to print a single design in multiple colours without the need to purge the filament between each colour change, saving you filament and also making your print faster.

It also allows you to print in duplicate 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 practical if you want to print a small part in series, as if you had 2 3D printers in one.

You can also print the same model in mirror mode, 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 makes it easier to print with different types of materials, using different temperatures, for example you can use one of the two heads with PVA for printing on media that will dissolve in water.

Overview of the major features of the JGMaker Artist D

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

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

So that’s it for the features, but I forgot to tell you about a very interesting detail, its price… the price announced for the first 500 units on kickstarter is 339$, including delivery, with a 3 years warranty (which is exceptional in the 3D printing world). This is a very aggressive price for this type of machine, which are usually sold for twice as much..

Unpacking and assembly of the machine

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

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

There is no autoleveling in the programme, so before launching your first print you will have to adjust the tray with a sheet. Attention, the plate is fixed on the central point, it will be necessary during the adjustment of the 4 corners to check the central point, if ever the centre is too high/low, it will be necessary to adjust the sensor of the Z axis. This is not very practical, I have reported the information to the JGMaker team, they will probably make a modification on this point.

Once the tray is set, we can start printing!

Printing with the 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 is directly managed by the firmware, so you only need to put 1 model in your slicer, but align it on the left side of the tray, and before starting the print, change the print mode in the menu.

For dual color printing, you will need 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 live drive set the shrinkage to 1mm. No need to set the use of a purge tower, in IDEX you won’t need it.

For my first impression, I started on a Benchy in duplication mode, I did not encounter any particular problem.

Then, I wanted to try dual colour printing on 1 model only, but… you’ll probably have to do some printing to calibrate/align the heads first!

Indeed, as you can imagine, 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’s menu.

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

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

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

We can now start a dual colour print, and without a purge tower!

Here is a video showing the different prints I made with the different modes.

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

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