6 August 2015
DittoPro 3D printer by Tinkerine – an in-depth review
I want to talk about a particular 3D printer – the DittoPro 3D printer. The reason for it is that I have used it in a more unusual way and I have seen the reactions of the people to whom I presented it. In addition, I want to talk about it because it is a fine machine and it needs to be recognized.
Now, this is going to be an in-depth review, but not a structure one. Think about this review as a detailed opinion from a user point of view.
Part of my business in Mexico is the distribution of 3D printers. We, as a business, contact different companies for the distribution rights in the region and we were lucky enough to reach an agreement with Tinkerine. We got our demo unit from them, and that is the one I’ll be reviewing.
At a first glance
My first impression is that the DittoPro is a beautiful machine. It looks like a 3D printer that you can hang on the wall, metaphorically speaking. It comes ready to use for a unique out of the box experience with everything you need: a spool of transparent filament, an SD card, and a cord.
The surprise doesn’t end with how gorgeous the printer looks: it has a marvelous printing quality.
I read on the internet about some problems with bridging, but that’s actually the single thing I’m most impressed by. It is a fast and quiet machine; it can print up to 100 mm/s with a resolution of 300, 200 and 100 microns. Tinkerine claims that it could reach a 50-micron resolution but, during the two times I tried it, I didn’t get the quality print I get with 100 microns.
For me, this is not a 3D printer that can only be placed next to a computer. This is a demo unit and I am constantly moving it around.
I have to say that vibration is the worst enemy of this printer. If we move the printer around, we need to recalibrate the bed. I have done this so often that I don’t even bother with the calibration wizard. I do it just by looking at the printer on the first layer and by adjusting the bed screws accordingly.
It is not an ideal method because the calibration wizard is a magnificent tool that leaves the bed at just the right distance from the nozzle so that, when the print is finished, it comes out of the bed easily. But, I rather have a hard time getting the piece off the bed than having a bad print while I’m giving a demonstration.
Changing the filament is also done with a wizard setup, which is so quick and efficient that it has become part of my demonstration.
As I’m moving the printer around, I have damaged part of the back and the bottom of the aluminum body, and some of the rubber feets have come loose and I had to replace them. But, this is only a testament of how sturdy the printer is as it is able to withstand a use that It was not meant for.
DittoPro uses its own slicer that is built on top of the CuraEngine. The user interface is top notch, giving you enough tools to feel that you control the printing process, but not too many to overwhelm you. It is very intuitive and ideal for novice users.
However, a more experienced user will notice that this is not a good slicer. If your 3D model is complex, the slicer will take a lot of time or forever (literally) to process all the layers into G-code. Sometimes the slicer doesn’t correctly detect a surface and completely misses small details, like tiny pegs or thin surfaces.
The Tinkerine Suite is something fixable but, in the meantime, there should be enough documentation to let you switch from one slicer to another. Of course, Tinkerine wants you to only use its software, but it needs to make a more robust and powerful slicer for that to happen.
Overall, DittoPro is one of the finest printers you could get at a very affordable price, ideal for schools and universities. Every person who looks at it makes the automatic comparison with an Apple product: it looks slick and works excellent, despite my complaints about the Tinkering Suite.