The Weistek Ideawerk Speed 3D printer is a brand new innovation from a collaboration of Chinese company Weistek and Danish company Create it REAL. It is a surprisingly affordable printer given the features it boasts, which include superfast printing speed, the ability to print with most filaments, a touch screen, and more. The Ideawerk Speed was on kickstarter but is now available in the market.
What’s in the Box?
The Ideawerk Speed comes fully assembled and ready to print out of the box. The package includes the necessary cables, accessory tools to scrape parts off the print bed and clean them up afterwards, a spool of ‘high-speed’ filament (Likely a marketing term with no difference to regular filaments on the market), and a USB drive preloaded with the printer’s manual and software.
The Ideawerk is a compact 298 x 221 x 403 mm (11.7 x 8.7 x 15.8 in) overall and only weighs 7.7 kg (17lbs). The print volume is a small yet reasonable 150 x 150 x 140 mm (6 x 6 x 5.5 in). The entire body is made with metal and all of the motors are enclosed, giving the Weistek Ideawerk a clean, elegant look while also serving to dampen the printer noise to only 44dB.
By far the most advertised and impressive feature of this printer is its print speed. At a whopping 450 mm/s, the Ideawerk is five times faster than most consumer desktop printers on the market today, and about three times faster than the Ultimaker that previously held the title for fastest printer.
The speed does come at a cost, however. The printer can only manage layer heights between .18 to .4 mm (180 to 400 microns).The finishing tools that come packaged with the printer also suggest that Weistek expects the print to need cleaning up afterwards.
Weistek also suggests that prints be done at .2 mm (200 microns) for best results, a fairly good resolution depending on the plastic used. The high speed also seems to only be achievable with PLA based on the advertising materials due to its lower melting temperature.
The Ideawerk is capable of printing several plastic filaments including PLA, ABS, nylon, HIPS, wood filaments, flexible PLA, PVA, and more. This suggests that the printer can reach over 260C, however the official temperature has not been released.
The heated bed can reach a respectable 100C, enough to support printing of any of the plastics mentioned above. The bed moves in both the Y and Z directions, which is not unheard of but different from most printers where the extruder moves in two dimensions and the bed only moves in one.
The Ideawerk comes with a 3.2″ full color touchscreen to interface with in either English or Chinese. There does not appear to be any SD card capability however the USB drive that it comes with can be plugged into the printer, suggesting that the printer does have the ability to print without a PC (using STLs or Fcode) using the USB stick instead of an SD card. The software included with the printer is MyMiniFactory however it can work with other software if the user prefers.
One of the biggest problems with this printer is simply that nobody seems to have their hands on the printer yet. Several websites have it up for sale however all the information regarding the printer’s capabilities come straight from Weistek. There are no independent reviews or even customer comments at the time of writing, making the claims of the Ideawerk’s capabilities seem too good to be true. This is as of November 2015.
There are a couple of videos showing the Ideawerk in operation; however all of them are from Weistek and only one shows the printer operating next to a person in a real environment as opposed to a white background with no other point of reference to tell if the video was sped up or not. In the candid video, the printer does not appear to be printing at nearly half a meter per second, instead it is probably printing at around 100-200 mm/s, and the printer next to it (One of Weistek’s other models) seems to have been set to a slower setting for the first layer of the print it was running.
If the Weistek Ideawerks Speed printer is everything it says it is, then this is a fantastic printer for a very affordable price. However if the claims are just advertising smoke, then this printer is no better than any other desktop printer on the marker. The speed of the Ideawerk is its greatest advantage over the competition; however the quiet operation and wide selection of plastics it can print with also grant the ideawerk an edge. Overall it does appear to be a very good intermediate printer with a lot of promise, whether it satisfies the customers remains to be seen.
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