We’re always on the lookout for cool new printers, the Zim, which has just started its Kickstarter campaign, looks to have several unique features – while delivering dual-colour printing at an affordable price.
Running on either PLA or ABS, the Zim printer features both built-in Ethernet and WiFi so it can be networked to home computers, and it can also be controlled by smartphones and tablet, running Android, iOS and Windows Phone platforms.
The Zim incorporates a cartridge system (right) to enable quick, easy filament change – a welcome move, since filament changing is traditionally a fiddle and cumbersome business. The good news here is that you’re not tied into their proprietary brand: they provide a refillable cartridge that can take any 1.75mm filament. A further innovation is the fact that the printer incorporates a micro camera that monitors the printing process, so users can check the progress of their prints while in another room or even in another building.
The technical specifications aren’t that special: with a maximum build size of 5.9 inches square, it’s somewhat smaller than the Makerbot, although larger than the Cubify and the Buccaneer. The maximum layer resolution of 80 microns is good, but not as good as, say, the 40 microns offered by the Ultimaker – although it’s still significantly finer than the Makerbot’s claimed 100 micron maximum quality.
If you hurry you can pledge just $599 (£380 / €450) for the single-head version, or $799 (£505 / €600) for the dual-head version, which allows two-colour printing. The price goes up after all the “early bird” offers have been filled. Of course, as with all Kickstarter projects, if it doesn’t meet its target it won’t get funded at all; but with a relatively modest goal of $300,000 we think it’s almost certain to succeed.
Unlike many Kickstarter 3D printers, which rely on glossy computer-modelled renders of what they hope the finished product will look like, the Zim page includes a video that shows the machine up and running.
While we’re generally hesitant to recommend an unseen, unproven product, we reckon this looks like a good bet – and extras such as the built-in camera and ease of cartridge change are a real bonus. Click here to visit Zim’s Kickstarter page.