Dremel released their first 3D printer in 2015. About a year ago they released their latest model, the DigiLab 3D45. It was launched as a high-performance and versatile 3D printer and is aimed at the prosumer/professional user.
- Semi-automatic (assisted) bed leveling
- Automatic filament detection
- Built-in HD camera for remote monitoring
- Cloud print management (in collaboration with 3DPrinterOS)
- Dremel DigiLab Slicer (Dremel version of Cura)
- The closed build chamber, high bed, and extruder temperature allow you to print specialty filaments like nylon.
- Open filament system – can print 3rd party filaments
5 out of 5
|ease of use||
4 out of 5
4.5 out of 5
5 out of 5
|range of materials||
4 out of 5
|Support / help desk||
4 out of 5
5 out of 5
|Availability of spare parts||
3 out of 5
Unpacking and setup
The 3D45 is delivered in a not too large cardboard box that is very well packed. Thick foam and cardboard keep contents in place. The quick start guide helps you get set up and starting your first print in minutes.
What is in the box
- 16GB SanDisk USB Flash Drive
- Nozzle unclogging device
- 2 glue sticks for better adhesion to the print bed
- 2x filament spool
- User manual
- Quick Start Guide
- Power cable
- USB Cable
- Object removal scraper
- DigiLab 3D45 3D Printer
About the Dremel DigiLab 3D45
As mentioned above, the 3D45 is aimed at the prosumer/professional market. Its ability to print specialty filaments, enclosed print chamber, and versatile software is what makes this machine perfect for schools, makerspaces, and print farms.
First of all, it is a very solid and well built 3D printer. It has a closed print chamber, but the top cover and front door make it very accessible. The bed is a pull-out bed with heating and a glass top. The filament spool is located inside the build chamber and is accessible through a side panel. It’s worth mentioning that the bed leveling sensor is hidden and only ‘slides out’ before initiating a print or assisted bed leveling procedure. I like this because it lessens the chance of messing up the sensor in case a failed print starts to change.
The built-in carbon filter filters out potentially harmful VOCs, which is a great feature when using it in a classroom or office. Also: There are ports for: USB cable, USB flash drive and ethernet on the device.
I don’t really like the touch screen though. It’s not as responsive as I’m used to. I’ve started using a ballpoint pen (without the tip) as a stylus, which works great.
The user interface consists of clear icons and a well thought out layout. You’ll find settings for loading/unloading filament, changing extruder and bed temperatures, changing print speeds, and modifying fan cooling settings. I was a little confused at first because the machine didn’t follow the cutter settings for the extruder and bed temperature, but when you investigate the settings, you’ll find a switch that allows you to decide whether the cutter or device settings are master. .
I like the preheat function. When printing at high temperatures, it will take a while for the device to be ready to print (about 8 minutes for nylon with my test settings). This makes the preheat function indispensable.
Dremel’s 3D Slicer software is basically Cura with built-in recommended settings for the 3D45. I really like this, although I don’t think you have access to all of Cura’s settings. The 3D45 doesn’t prep before I start printing so I turned on the prep turret setting to no avail.
Control, connectivity and monitoring
Monitoring your prints is very easy with the 3D45. The built-in HD (720p) camera allows you to view your print in real time, but also allows you to create time-lapse videos to share of your prints. You have the option to remotely pause and stop prints when something goes wrong.
Multiple Dremels can be connected to the cloud via Wi-Fi or Ethernet. Cloud management software (powered by 3DPrinterOS) gives you information about the current printing status, temperatures, and the amount of filament left on the spool. This makes it ideal for offices, makerspaces, and universities.
Cloud management software also gives you the ability to correct your 3D models in case you suspect an error is present. You also have the ability to scale, move, rotate your files and eventually cut them directly from the cloud.
Dremel DigiLab offers three support channels that you can use as a customer of their products. They have a telephone help desk that you can reach Monday through Friday from 8 am to 5 pm (central time). They also have an email service and a live chat option available on their website. You can also register online to receive more support benefits. Overall it seems like this company goes the extra mile to help their customers with quality service.
Nylon is strong, stretchy, and somewhat flexible, making it perfect for functional applications. The Dremel 3D45 is marketed as being suitable for printing nylon, so I thought of a few use cases; a live hinge and nylon connectors.
I don’t print nylon just for fun. I only use it when I have a certain application or the object requires specific properties. The reason is that nylon is difficult to print. It is sensitive to humidity, tends to warp and requires a constant temperature in the printing chamber.
Also, nylon becomes easier to print when the layer height increases. The sweet spot is often between 200 and 300 microns. So you probably don’t want to print aesthetically pleasing objects with nylon. The complexity of the object is also something to consider. When you need a lot of support, it can be really hard to remove it later.
Before you start testing nylon on the 3D45, make sure of the following:
1) for printing with Dremels own brand nylon (you can use 3rd party filaments, but it’s easier to start with your own brand)
2) test with a freshly opened spool (removes the ‘damp due failed’ item)
3) your 3D model does not have any errors
Regarding point 2: in case there is too much moisture on the filament, put it in the oven for two hours (140°F / 60°C).
Point 3 sounds logical, but it can happen that you blame the filament or the printer for a bad printing result, but the real reason is an error in your 3D model.
I have deviated from the default Dremel nylon settings a bit and used the following print settings:
- extruder temperature: 518°F/270°C
- bed temperature: 212°F/100°C
- speed: approx. 50mm/s
- fan: 10%
- stuffed: 80% (I prefer to use between 40% – 80% for functional parts)
- layer height: 300 microns
- accession: Brim (12 lines) plus Dimafix spray
The first thing I printed was this gharley parametric living hinge.
You can twist it, bend it in all directions but it is impossible to break it.
The properties of 3D printed nylon are perfect for connectors. The strength and flexibility of nylon is what you look for when creating objects that need to support some weight.
Two years ago we covered a Kickstarter about a startup called Standard Products. Unfortunately, the company no longer exists because we really liked their idea. It was basically an online generator to generate furniture. The result was a bunch of connectors that you could print at home or have Standard Products print for you. All the wooden pieces have standard measurements of products that everyone can buy at a nearby store. Back then, we downloaded some connectors, but we never managed to print them with nylon. The PLA print went well, so we thought we had the nylon to blame. In fact, the problem was probably a bug in the .stl because we first managed to print a nylon connector when we used a magic “repair” button we found in the cloud software. We don’t know exactly what this “repair” button does, so we’re not 100% sure, but it worked.
I’ve also put Dremel’s Eco ABS to the test. This G-clamp by johan517, which can be printed without support, turned out very nice.
- extruder temperature: 437°F/225°C
- bed temperature: 113°F/45°C
- speed: approx. 60mm/s
- stuffed: 60%
- layer height: 200 microns
- accession: dimafix spray
Advantages of the Dremel 3D45
- Easy and safe to use
- nylon prints
- Versatile cloud print management software
Disadvantages of the Dremel 3D45
- No nozzle cleaning mechanism
- Not all Cura (Fire Tower) features appear to be available
- Not the best touch screen
The 3D45 gave me the best nylon printing results I’ve ever had with a FFF/FDM desktop 3D printer. Considering its price, it is one of the best options on the professional side of the market. The hardware is good, but the collaboration with 3DPrinterOS is what really makes this printer the perfect choice for schools, makerspaces, and print farms.
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