A few months ago, we announced the unveiling of two QIDI 3D printers, the QIDI X Max 3 and QIDI X Plus 3. Also in the QIDI X series is the QIDI X-Smart 3D Printer. This is the cheapest of the QIDI X series printers.
We’ve had some time to test the 3D printer in our workshop and today, we have a complete hands-on review. If you’ve been thinking of getting the QIDI X Smart 3, read about our experience first to know what to expect.
Let’s get started.
AVAILABLE ON QIDI
QIDI X-Smart 3 is one-third of QIDI’s X series line of enclosed 3D printers. Just like the X-Max and X-Plus, this printer comes with some really neat features, like a heated chamber, a high-temperature extruder, CoreXY mechanics, and stock Klipper firmware. The features ensure an efficient printing process.
In this QIDI X-Smart 3 review, we’ll be testing out the printer’s performance using different types of filaments. Let’s dive into the details and explore what the QIDI X-Smart 3 has to offer!
|Build Volume (W×D×H)||175*180*170mm|
|Net weight (kg)||10.5|
|Hotend (Included)||Brass Nozzle hotend|
|Auxiliary Part Cooling Fan||✖|
|Chamber Temperature Control||✖|
|Chamber Circulation Fan With Activated carbon air filter||Chamber Circulation Fan|
|Screen||4.3 inch, 480*272 touch screen|
|Connection Options||150M 2.4G Wi-Fi USB Flash Drive|
|Compatible filament||ABS, ASA, PETG, TPU etc|
|Z Axis||Double Z axis|
|X axis||Hardened Wear-resistant Carbon Fiber Rod|
|Printing Accuracy||±0.1 mm|
|Bed Leveling||Automatic Leveling|
|Extruder transmission ratio||9.5:1|
|Hot end||Ceramic Heating Core|
|Extruder||High-flow Direct Drive Extruder|
|Nozzle diameter||0.4mm (0.2,0.6,0.8mm Optional)|
|Hot bed temperature||≤120℃|
|Printing Plate||Double-Sided Flexible Magnetic HF Plate|
|Main Processor||Cortex-A53,64-bit Processor, 1.5Ghz,8G-EMMC,1G DDR3|
|Slicer||QIDI Print and other third-party software, such as Ultimaker Cura, Simplify3D, PrusaSlicer, etc.|
|Operating System||Windows, MacOS, Linux|
|Assembled||Assembled and First Print within 10 minutes|
See the printer below:
Let’s get started with unboxing the QIDI X-Smart 3!
After opening the box and removing the QIDI X-Smart 3, you’ll notice that all the printer’s accessories are neatly packed inside the printer. Also included in the box are some useful tools, a roll of filament (UltraABS-GF25), and spare parts.
Here’s everything you’ll find in the package:
- QIDI X-Smart 3 3D printer
- 500g of UltraABS-GF25 filament
- Filament spool holder
- Power cord
- Ethernet cable
- Print bed scraper
- Various tools
- USB flash drive
- Glue stick
- 0.4 mm nozzle cleaning tool
- Spare parts kit
Instead of the usual PLA filament, QIDI ships the X-Smart 3 with ABS filament. I also love that they included the glue stick and Ethernet cable in the package.
Setting up the QIDI X-Smart 3 is easy and. It took us about 10 minutes to get started with it. The 3D printer is shipped 95% pre-assembled. Therefore, there isn’t much to do for the setup process—just a few minor tasks like removing some tie wraps.
The tie wraps hold the components in place and safe during shipping. You also have to remove a couple of screws that hold the Z-axis components in place.
To help you get started, there is a manual with setup instructions. The instructions are also available on the machine once you switch it on.
After switching the QIDI X-Smart 3 on, you’ll be guided through the setup process on the screen. The setup instructions cover everything, from leveling the bed to running Input Shaper and cleaning the carbon fiber rods.
Overall, setting up and getting the X-Smart 3 is easy, even for beginners.
Now let’s take a look of some notable features of the X-Smart 3.
To melt the filament, the printer uses a compact all-metal hot end that can reach temperatures of up to 280°C. This high temperature means you can print with a wide range of materials, including polycarbonate, nylon, and more.
However, the printbed only reaches a maximum of 120°C. Therefore, it won’t be possible to print some high-temperature materials with this unit.
Compared to some 3D printers we’ve reviewed in the past, the X-Smart 3’s hot end heatsink is relatively small. However, we haven’t encountered any issues, such as extrusion problems or heat creep, with it.
The hotend has a circular heater cartridge, which helps distribute heat more evenly.
The X-Smart 3 boasts of one of the fastest heat-up times we’ve seen so far. When you want to quickly swap filaments, the hot end will be ready for you in no time. The part provides ample power for the fast filament feed rates of the X-Smart 3, ensuring efficient and smooth printing.
So far, the hot end of the QIDI X-Smart 3 has performed remarkably well. We’ve tested it with various filaments. All the filaments printed without any major issues.
The X-Smart 3 has a powerful 9.5:1 geared extruder in its print head. This extruder efficiently pushes filament at high print speeds. At the same time, it provides the necessary torque required for printing with more abrasive filaments. The geared extruder is central to the unit’s impressive performance.
Instead of the typical NEMA17 stepper motor, the X-Smart 3 uses a compact pancake stepper motor that fits perfectly between the carbon fiber X-axis rods. The print head is lightweight and well-balanced. This means reduced shaking during the printing process, faster print speeds and good quality prints.
The gears in the extruder are a combination of metal and plastic. Depending on the type of filament you use, the gears may wear out slightly faster than expected. However, we haven’t encountered any issues at this time regarding this.
The QIDI X-Smart 3 has impressive cooling. The print head features a 50×15 mm radial fan, which performs better than the typical 40×10 mm fans found in other printers.
Inside the enclosure, a large blower fan draws air from the bottom of the chamber and directs it through a wide opening placed at nozzle height.
A generous stream of air that’s delivered precisely to the freshly extruded filament. This cooling feature is a real game-changer when it comes to handling overhangs, bridging, and overall faster printing.
This cooling system is useful for low-temperature filaments like PLA and TPU, which are not prone to warping or delamination when exposed to airflow. If you mostly work with higher-temperature filaments, you can switch off the fan since you won’t be needing it.
The fan can be quite loud. However, since the QIDI X-Smart 3 is already a rather noisy 3D printer, the fan noise doesn’t stand out too much.
The print cooling capabilities of the QIDI X-Smart 3 are impressive, providing excellent performance for low-temperature filaments. Just keep in mind the noise level and filament compatibility when deciding whether to use the print cooling fan.
The QIDI X-Smart 3 has carbon fiber rods. For a 3D printer to print fast, it has to be light. These rods keep the unit light.
Carbon fiber rods have some advantages over the typical stainless steel ones. First, they are lighter, and second, they are stiffer. Therefore, you can print at higher speeds while minimizing issues like ringing and other unwanted artifacts in your prints.
The printer’s carbon fiber rods measure 10 mm in diameter. The rods are securely attached to the Y-axis carriages with epoxy. The rods are not replaceable if damaged. Therefore, handle them with care to prevent scratches.
Unlike standard stainless steel rods, the carbon fiber rods on this printer do not require any lubrication. The X-carriage uses bushings instead of bearings. Therefore, keep the rods dry.
To maintain their cleanliness, wipe the rods down with isopropyl alcohol every 1-2 weeks or whenever they get dusty.
Overall, the carbon fiber rods contribute to X-Smart’s impressive printing capabilities.
The QIDI X-Smart 3 3D printer has a flexible magnetic sheet that sticks to the heated bed. In theory, it’s a convenient solution as it allows for easy removal of finished prints. However, in practice, we found that the surface doesn’t adhere that well with certain filaments.
For example, we encountered issues with one particular color of PLA and one type of PETG, where the adhesion wasn’t as expected. This was despite having a properly set Z-offset, a leveled bed, and using filaments that work well with other machines.
To solve this issue, we applied a thin layer of glue stick to the print surface. By the way, there is a small glue stick in the box, which I think was put there solely to address this issue.
On the positive side, all the other filaments we tested, such as ABS, PETG, PC-FR, and PA12-CF, adhered perfectly without the need for any bed adhesive. We didn’t even require a raft or brim for those prints.
The print bed is double-sided, but both sides are PC-coated. Unfortunately, this means you can’t use different sides for different filaments. However, having the other side as a backup is still a plus.
Ideally, we would have preferred to see at least one of the surfaces PEI-coated. A high-quality PEI coating offers better adhesion than the current surface and would work with a wider range of filaments without relying on a glue stick.
The alignment tabs located at the back of the print bed are thoughtful. When putting the printbed back in place after removing a print, the tabs help with alignment. the tabs make aligning the print bed easy
The paint on the print surface tends to come off at higher temperatures. However, since the paint is only applied to the corners, its coming off won’t impact the quality of your prints.
The printbed of the X-Smart 3 3D printer is heated evenly. We consistently achieved even temperatures across the entire bed, regardless of the temperature range.
The printbed doesn’t have any insulation underneath but still performed exceptionally well. While the printer’s enclosure helps to keep the temperature even, credit should also be given to the thoughtful design of the bed PCB traces.
The QIDI X-Smart 3’s bed takes some time to heat. The 175 x 180 mm print bed area is quite large. Therefore, it requires a lot of power to heat up.
For this review, we did our tests with the enclosure door closed and the top off, which is similar to the conditions when printing PLA or TPU.
If you close the top of the printer and enable the heated chamber, the heating time reduces
The heated chamber ensures a consistent temperature inside the enclosure. This helps to reduce warping and delamination when printing with high-temperature materials like ABS and nylon.
Inside the chamber is a heating element and fan that evenly heat and circulate air respectively. The chamber produces some noise when the printer is working.
TIP: Avoid printing low-temperature filaments like PLA in the heated chamber, as it can lead to issues such as sagging and elephant’s foot.
The heated chamber requires a separate power supply from the one that the printer uses. This increases electricity consumption. When running at full power, the chamber alone draws around 350W.
The QIDI X-Smart 3 has an automatic bed leveling (ABL) sensor, which helps the printer’s firmware compensate for any unevenness on the print bed. The sensor is a capacitive probe that detects the metal print surface.
The sensor works well with the provided print bed. However, it cannot be used with a glass bed. Keep this in mind if you prefer using a glass bed for your prints.
The automatic bed leveling process takes some time since the sensor scans 16 points on the bed. However, after the bed is leveled, you won’t need to run the bed leveling again before every print.
The automatic bed leveling system ensures that your prints adhere properly to the bed for more consistent and reliable prints.
The X-Smart 3D printer is operated through a 4.3-inch touchscreen, which is conveniently positioned at the top of the machine. The screen is user-friendly and easy to use. However, You’ll need to apply some bit of pressure on the screen for a click to register.
The user interface of the QIDI X-Smart 3 is designed with beginners in mind. As a result, it may not fully meet the needs of advanced users as it lacks some advanced settings.
Advanced users might need to use GCode for detailed customization. For example, on the menu, you cannot adjust critical parameters such as stepper motor current, acceleration, jerk settings, and others. You cannot also change Klipper settings, like pressure advance, through the UI. While the UI allows initiating the Input Shaper calibration sequence, it lacks further adjustments.
You may also encounter occasional inaccuracies in translated text within the interface.
Overall, while the UI is well-organized and accessible, it has some limitations and some rough edges. These limitations, though not major issues, could be addressed in future firmware updates by QIDI.
Now let’s check out the build quality of the X-Smart printer.
The X-Smart offers a spacious print area of 175x180x170mm.
The enclosure makes this 3D printer notably larger than open-frame machines. When considering a spot for it, keep in mind that you’ll need approximately 37×36 cm of space on your 3D printer table just for the machine itself.
Moreover, factor in the space needed in the front to open the front panel door, space at the rear for changing spools, and possibly room above the machine to remove the top lid.