Last week, I met with Philippe Guglielmetti, CEO of Zeepro, the company behind the new consumer 3D printer Zim. Zeepro is successfully raising funds via Kickstarter to bring this sexy and powerful sub-$800 3D printer to market. Since Chris Anderson stated that “3D printing will be bigger than the web” when he left Wired in 2012, the desktop 3D printer battle is raging, and it feels like there is a new one popping up on Kickstarter every month.
I have not seen Zim in action yet, but just from the videos and the specifications, I am really impressed by the product design and the performance of this new comer in the personal 3D printing world.
Compared to the most popular devices currently available in this category, namely the Makerbot Replicator 2 and 2X, and the Cubify Cube and Cube X , the Zim performs better (on the paper) for a lower price point and a sleeker design. The $347 Pirate3D Bucaneer, which will only be available for pre-order in December, delivers an elegant and minimalistic design as well; however, it packs fewer features. You can support Zeepro via its Kickstarter campaign and get a Zim with one extruder for $599 or with 2 extruders for $799.
The Zim prints faster than the Cubify Cube, the CubeX and the Bucaneer (110 mm per second vs 15 mm per second and 50 mm per second).
Additionally, Zim features a higher precision than all competing products (50 microns vs 125 microns for Cube X and 100 microns for Replicator 2X). The only benefit I can see with the more expensive devices is the larger print volume (see comparative table on Zim page – scroll down).
For less than $800 you will get two extruders for printing two materials or two colors simultaneously, while the Replicator 2X provides 2 extruders and more speed (200 mm per second) for three times the price ($2799). To get a dual extruder on the Cubify Cube X you have to pay $2999. The Cube and the Bucaneer provide only one.
What really sets the Zim apart from similar products is the Wifi and Ethernet connectivity, its affordable dual-head, and the ability to check the printing process remotely from a smartphone, tablet or PC, using the built-in camera.
There are tons of features that you can compare, check the table on Zim’s Kickstarter page (mid-page, scroll down). Another comparison source is available on the Top Ten Reviews website http://3d-printers.toptenreviews.com/
In the video below you can see Zim printing a dual color object with PVA support, then the PVA will dissolve in water when the print is done, leaving the movable parts intact.
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