As beginner-friendly as it is easy on your wallet, the iMate blows us away with its simple operation and excellent performance out-of-the-box. Where as most other printers at this price require lots of assembly and tinkering to even get started, the iMate comes ready-to-print for even the greenest of customers.
In-Depth QIDI TECH iMate 3D Printer Review
The iMate is QIDI’s most budget-friendly 3D printer to date,and promises some impressive specs in addition to user-friendly operation. Did they bite off more than they could chew or have QIDI come through with another great printer? Find out in today’s QIDI TECH iMate review.
QIDI TECH iMate Specs
The iMate starts strong with a relatively large build volume measuring 10.2” x 7.8” x 7.8”. This is large enough for most users and competitive with other printers in this price range. Models are printed over a heated and removable metal build plate which clips magnetically onto its platform. This flexible plate offers good adhesion and can be bent to help remove finished models.
The iMate prints in layers as small as 50-microns and up to 200-microns through a direct drive extruder. This direct drive setup allows for excellent results with flexible filaments like TPU and PETG as well as PLA. Notably, the iMate cannot print ABS without modifications. That’s because this printer features a semi-enclosed design with open sides and top. While this is safer than an open-frame design, it doesn’t offer the temperature control required to print with ABS.
Though it’s shipped with QIDI’s own slicing software, you’re also free to use Cura or Simplify3D for all your slicing needs. The one benefit is that there is a pre-set profile in QIDI’s software which can help beginners get started. The iMate offers either WiFi or USB stick connectivity options and a color touchscreen interface.
QIDI TECH iMate Pros
QIDI excels at making beginner-friendly machines and the iMate is no different. Once unpacked and leveled, this printer is ready to go for even the least technically-minded person. That’s because QIDI includes everything you need to get started on the USB thumbdrive they send with the printer. You get an instructional text document along with several videos, and even troubleshooting tips for the most common 3D printing errors. This company has really stepped up their game in this regard and we’re confident that anyone can get the iMate to perform.
For those who want a fuss-free 3D printing experience, the iMate was made for you. It requires little maintenance after you get started, too, and no modifications to get excellent print results. This is compared to other printers in this price range, which require a lot of assembly, constant fine-tuning and even hardware upgrades for similar results.
Whether you’re lucky enough to grab this printer on sale or if you buy it at full price, the iMate is a great value. It offers a fully-assembled, semi-enclosed design with a sturdy metal internal structure, hard plastic exterior, quality components, and amazing print results out-of-the-box.
The iMate doesn’t feel like a budget machine, either. There are a ton of “little” features like the interior light, color touchscreen, WiFi connectivity, and aluminum spool holder (just to name a few) that really make this feel like a modern, quality machine.
QIDI TECH iMate Cons
While not a bad thing on its own, we think QIDI’s marketing of this machine is kind of misleading. It’s important to note that this printer is NOT enclosed, and that there is no door or top cover and there are no side panels either. That means you can only print in simple filaments like PLA, TPU and PETG.
If this is a bummer for you, take a look at the iMate S, which shares all the same specs as the iMate but is fully enclosed and comes with a ton of extra components.
QIDI TECH iMate Verdict
The iMate has quickly become our favorite sub-$400 printer for beginners. Compared to other printers in its price range, the iMate comes fully assembled, includes modern conveniences like WiFi and a color touchscreen, and prints fantastically right out of the box with no modifications. We can’t say the same about similarly-priced printers like the Ender 3 V2. That makes the iMate the perfect choice for beginners, as well as a budget-friendly PLA-only option for experienced users.
If you have a bit more to spend, we also recommend the iMate S. The iMates S is very similar to the iMate, except that it comes with removable covers for the sides and top of the machine, allowing it to print successfully in ABS. The iMate S also comes with an extra extruder, an extra build plate, and lots of other useful accessories. If you’re on a strict budget, however, the iMate is still a great choice.