Hi, Karl here for a new 3D printer review. Today we are going to take a look at the JGMaker Artist-D Pro. The Artist-D Pro is the successor to the non-professional version which debuted on Kickstarter and is an IDEX printer. IDEX is short for Independent Dual Extruders and is a fancy way of saying that it has 2 full hotend sets. From my perspective, Artist-D was introduced with great fanfare. I had several friends who picked up the original on Kickstarter and they seemed to be happy with it. But I didn’t see much value in it. I thought this was going to be just another printer that can print 2 different filaments. I have looked at printers that had similar capabilities with one key difference being that they shared common components. BUTâ¦ I quickly realized that one aspect that no one talks about is speed during production runs.
Unpacking, construction and calibration
The Artist D Pro comes mostly assembled and the instructions were pretty good. It doesn’t take long to put together a mostly assembled machine like this. I still remember my first kit. It took me about 8 hours to build and then another 2 hours to manage the wiring. I couldn’t imagine doing this again. Just a few bolts, electrical connections and a few junk and the construction is done.
After building any printer with aluminum extrusions and wheels, I came to expect to tighten eccentric nuts, belts, etc. I pulled the bed back, loosened the 2 bolts holding the extrusion in place and pulled them apart. Then tightened the bolts. Then repeat the same process on the 2 rear bolts. I changed the eccentric nuts and it fixed the bed issue. I then dragged the bed to the first nozzle.
1 more item to take away. The printer nozzle offset has not been set at the factory. I guess it’s by design. The offset ensures that the 2 nozzles can be perfectly aligned in 3D space when both hotends are used on single prints. There are instructions on how to set it up in the manual. There are 2 models on the USB stick as part of this calibration process. As soon as I saw the models and read the instructions, I immediately resized the models to a suitable size. I shrunk to 1mm thick. They were about 10mm thick. No need to waste so much filament and time. It took me 4 tries and about an hour. I misinterpreted the manual and got the x and y axes wrong the first time around. Relatively easy and painless to calibrate. You can see my error on the x and y axes. I doubled the 3rd and finalized the 4th.
I lied, one more thing to do. i use my calibration tool to find the best retraction settings. I received messages on the Facebook group with unreadable results and couldn’t figure out why sometimes it doesn’t work. Finally, I received a printer whose default settings did not work immediately. I was not getting good results and I reduced it to the temperature. I repeated the test at 10 degrees cooler to get readable results.
JGMaker Artist-D Pro teardown
Counsel to MKS Robin. Exceptionally tidy here. I would say the cleanest I have ever seen.
I have been 3D printing for a while now and almost 100% of the time I use the printer as a tool now. 2-color printing no longer interests me. But what if I told you that this printer can print twice as fast as most other printers.
Above you can see the nozzle in the park position. It sits directly on metallic bristles and I could tell it had the potential to be messy with a hot nozzle resting on bristles containing oozing filament. I was right and it ended up causing fine streaks of filament between the purge bucket and the model being printed. I went on the trusty old Thingiverse and found that my buddy had already created a replacement bleed bucket. He only modeled the left side and I was able to use one of the first special modes of an IDEX printer. This is mirror mode. In the printer menu, there is a place to choose the mode you want. In mirror mode, anything you set to print with extruder 1 will be mirrored on the second extruder. I just pushed the model on the left side of the build plate into my slicer. I went a little further than I needed but I was careful. It printed brilliantly and that’s when I got the aha moment. I started in conservative mode at 60mm / s and basically printed twice as fast as both nozzles were running at the same time. There is a catch with that. If you remember, the nozzles are not perfectly aligned on the z axis. I had to drop the left side of the bed to accommodate this. I went a bit too low at first and lifted off the bed a bit as you can see in the photo.
After mounting the new bleed buckets, I noticed something peculiar that was reflected perfectly in the print. In the past when I saw this I assumed it was just the patternâ¦ or the slicer did something wrong. After a little troubleshooting, it turned out that the extruder steps were not calibrated. It was a lot. And that uncovered a problem. The extruder is inconsistent. When calibrating my e steps, repeatability was an issue. By testing and telling the extruder to extrude 100mm of filament, I would get a delta of + -5mm.
Examples of Artist-D Pro prints
I was looking for something to print and my son showed me this corner finder video. I was curious if anyone had made one for the print and once again Thingiverse to the rescue.
It’s not really functional but it’s a nice little toy. He just doesn’t have the resolve to use it seriously.
Some more random impressions. It prints pretty well small.
IDEX. I like it. I can see a lot of potential with that. Of course, with any dual nozzle printer there can be some big challenges to overcome. There is a lot more complexity. But my mind is wandering. It makes me want to make a 4 nozzle printer for kicks. Not fully independent like an IDEX. I suggest sharing the movement to only get the duplicate mode. I can see printers like these being used in printer farms. If the printer could reach a bank of 45 minutes. That would put him in the realm of 11.25 minutes per bench …. which is very respectable. See Speedboat challenge.
I’m a little disappointed. Hope more fixes will be applied before releasing a newer version. I’m not the only one who had these hiccups. As I always suggest joining a Facebook group for a while before making a decision. On the other hand, you have to keep an open mind. There is always more disproportionate negative feedback.
Karl is a tech enthusiast who posts reviews of TVs, 3D printers, and other gadgets for manufacturers.