Read our QiDi Tech i-Mate 3D printer review for an overview of the features, specs, and quality of print to expect from this unit.
The QIDI Tech i-Mate is a well-designed semi-closed FDM 3D printer that is affordable. The printer offers decent print volume, Wi-Fi connectivity, and a few key features for seamless print integration.
This 3D printer for beginners is built with reliability in mind. However, what really makes the i-Mate stand out? Read on to find out.
About QIDI Technology
QIDI Technology is a high quality 3D printer manufacturer based in Zhejiang, China.
The company has various 3D printers in its line. The QiDi i-Mate is part of the latest range of products, which also include the i-Fast and i-Mate the S . The main difference between the i-Mate and the two other printers is that the latter have a sealed camera and are more expensive.
Basically, the i-Mate S is an upgraded version of the i-Mate that can reliably print tall ABS parts. On the other hand, the i-Fast is a semi-professional FDM 3D printer with dual extrusion system, increased print volume and other professional features.
Apart from manufacturing resin and filament 3D printers, QIDI Technology also develops software – both user programs for printing and printer firmware. Today, the company’s lineup consists of fourteen high quality 3D printers, which are exported to dozens of countries around the world.
QIDI Tech i-Mate Review
The QIDI Tech i-Mate is a semi-closed FDM 3D printer with a 260 x 200 x 200mm camera that allows you to print decent sized objects with high precision. The printer can be controlled using an adaptive built-in touchscreen that has a neat user interface.
The machine can print at a maximum speed of 150mm/s and layer thicknesses from 50 microns. This is impressive considering the price.
The QiDi i-Mate has a removable magnetic print bed that held in place by 9 heat-resistant magnets. This surface provides high adhesion during printing and easy removal of the printed model. The printbed can heat up to 120°C. This is a higher temperature than the usual 100℃ that most printers in the same price category.
The printer has a direct drive extruder and its nozzle can heat up to 250℃. This makes it compatible with most 3D printing plastics on the market. The standard nozzle diameter is 0.4 mm. The scope of delivery also includes a nozzle with a diameter of 0.2 mm for smoother printing surfaces.
QIDI Tech i-Mate is an entry-level 3D printer that can print 1.75mm PLA, PETG and TPU filament. This is an affordable and reliable machine that boasts print stability. The printer has a large build volume to bring most of the ideas of the 3D printing enthusiast to life. Moreover, it is shipped fully assembled. This means you can start using it immediately after unpacking and connecting.
The printer’s enclosure helps keep hot and hazardous parts away from you. Therefore, the printer will also be good for use in educational settings when the top cover is fully closed.
The plug-and-play Wi-Fi connectivity makes the printer easy to connect, even for beginners.
Considering all of the above, QIDI Tech i-Mate will be an excellent solution for the production of unique household items, props, toys, accessories and prototypes with accurate dimensions.
As you can see, the QIDI Tech i-Mate is a mid-sized 3D printer with smooth corners and a futuristic look. The unit is made in a classic black color scheme and weighs 20.3 kg. Its external dimensions are 560 x 450 x 420 mm, which is approximately the average size of a personal 3D printer using FDM technology.
The spool holder is located at the back of the machine. The print head moves along a guide system with linear bearings.
The printer body is a robust all-metal frame that ensures stable and accurate printing while preventing any unwanted vibration.
The printer’s door hinge design allows the door to open wide. Therefore, you won’t have any problems accessing the print chamber. However, the design of the printer could be made more secure by adding a door open sensor to stop printing, or to block the door during printing.
QiDi Tech i-Mate Features
The production of FDM entry-level 3D printers with a partially closed case has become a trend in recent years. Equipping Qidi Tech i-Mate with such a case made it cheaper and more affordable than the i-Mate S, which has a completely closed case.
This design reduces the ability of the printer to handle high-temperature plastics that require a thermostatic chamber for printing. However, it is significantly safer than the open frameless design found in many printers.
High-End Power Supply and Motherboard
QIDI i-Mate is equipped with a high quality 110/220 V power supply. The unit can adapt to different power grids and withstand voltage surges. This makes it safer and more stable to operate.
The I-Mate motherboard is equipped with a silent TMC 2209 stepper motor driver chip. This makes the printer quiet. The noise level is 50dB or less. Therefore, you can use the printer at the office or at home, including at night.
QIDI Tech i-Mate has built-in Wi-Fi and remote control capability. This is a good addition for such an affordable printer.
- Dimensions: 560 x 450 x 420 mm
- Weight: 20.3kg
- Body material Frame: Aluminum
- Software: QidiPrint, Cura, Simplify3D
- Manufacturer country: China
3D PRINTER SPECIFICATIONS
- Materials used: PLA, ABS, TPU, PETG and other materials
- Number of extruders: 1
- Maximum extruder temperature: 250°C
- Working chamber: 260 x 200 x 200 mm
- Technology: FDM
- Layer thickness: from 50 microns
- Nozzle diameter: 0.4 mm
- Display: 3.5 inch touch screen
- Print speed: Up to 150 mm/s
- Drive Mechanics: Cartesian-XY
It is recommended to use the printer with the QIDI Print slicer. This is a convenient software solution developed in-house by the manufacturer. The slicer is based on the popular Cura Slicer and has most of the features of its prototype.
The QIDI Print Slider has a ready-made print profile with optimal settings for general-purpose printing. Therefore, you can start 3D printing immediately after unpacking and connecting the printer. All you’ll have to do is to drag the 3D model you want to print into the slicer window.
Simplify3D is another software package that QIDI Tech i-Mate can work with. The slicer allows you to switch between several printers and run simulations before printing. The simulations allow for early detection of design flaws, and the supporting structures in it can be built automatically or manually configured.
Simplify3D has many professional tools and advanced print settings.
The standard Ultimaker Cura can also be used. Familiar to most hobbyists and 3D printing professionals, this fast and easy-to-use slicer guarantees optimal performance when used with FDM printers. The software allows you to rotate, edit, print models with one click, create supports. and change various print settings.
What’s in the Box?
When you order the QIDI Tech i-Mate 3D printer, this is what you’ll get in the box package:
- QIDI Tech i Mate 3D Printer
- Acrylic top cover
- Extruder kit
- Calibration paper
- SD memory card
- Glue stick
- Spare parts
- USB cable
QIDI Tech i-Mate comes pre-assembled. Therefore, all you need to do to start printing is plug it in and calibrate it.
To calibrate the printer, select the “Align” option on the touch screen interface. The build plate will move upward until it meets the nozzle.
After that, take the supplied calibration paper and place it between the nozzle and build plate. Next, turn the alignment knob located under the build plate to adjust the position so that the sheet of paper barely moves. Repeat the procedure for each remaining axis to complete the calibration.
Here are some recommended upgrades of the QIDI Tech i-Mate 3D printer.
If you want to print with ABS plastic and create complex products and prototypes, you can modify the i-Mate closed chamber. The chamber helps to maintain the optimal temperature conditions required for printing with high-temperature plastics. It also prevents unwanted temperature fluctuations that lead to rejects.
You can modify the case yourself or order additional parts.
Alternatively, you can get the i-Mate S because it comes with a fully enclosed camera right out of the box. However, it’s cheaper to modify the i-Mate chamber than buying the i-Mate S.
Replacing the spool holder makes changing the plastic easier and faster. The main advantage of the TUSH holders shown in the photo above is that the removal and installation of coils is as easy as possible.
These spool holders can be 3D printed on your own with only a few bearings.
End Sensor BLTouch
Another upgrade you can consider is the BLTouch sensor for automatic platform alignment. This will make the calibration process less time consuming and more accurate.
After the platform has been manually leveled, the sensor will probe it to account for possible deviations.
Problems and Troubleshooting
Here are some tips for troubleshooting and solving common print problems.
1. Prints do not stick to the platform plate
Poor build plate adhesion is one of the most common problems in FDM 3D printing. This happens when the first layers do not provide enough adhesion to hold the printed part in place.
To solve this problem, try increasing the temperature of the heated bed or covering the plate with an adhesive (hairspray, glue stick, ABS solution, Kapton, or BuildTak) . You can also ensure better adhesion of the layer to the platform by increasing its area by printing raft.
Irregularities in the surface of the part can appear due to excessive extruder movement and excessive extrusion. There are various ways to solve this problem.
To begin, try to set all velocities (for example, outer walls and infill) the same value and turn on retraction in the slicer. Retraction (i.e., pulling the filament back into the extruder as the print head moves between the print dots) will prevent sagging from excess material. Retraction must be adjusted empirically.
The appearance of thin threads not provided for by the model between different areas of the print is another common problem in FDM printing. This is usually due to the extruder temperature being too high, such that the plastic becomes too liquid and flows out of the nozzle.
To solve this problem, decrease the extruder temperature and activate retraction in the slicer settings.
Here are example models printed by the QIDI Tech i-Mate 3D Printer.
Advantages and Disadvantages
- Decent print volume of 260 x 200 x 200mm.
- Wi-Fi connectivity: network connectivity.
- The printer is easy to use and convenient
- Robust all-metal frame that makes it stable
- Magnetic platform plate for easy removal of prints.
- The semi-open case does not hold the temperature. Therefore, you cannot print high-temperatures or “capricious” plastics
- Manual calibration
All in all, the QIDI Tech i-Mate is a carefully designed and reliable entry-level 3D printer that can print a lot of different plastics. For a low price, it offers built-in Wi-Fi, a magnetic platform plate and a direct extruder, comes fully assembled and can print out of the box.
This unit can print toys, props, uniquely designed household items, decorative figurines and miniatures for board games, cosplay accessories, future prototypes, and more.