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3Dsimo pens are designed for experimentation and creativity. In this review, 3D Printing Industry engineers take a look at two out of three of the products currently offered by this young Czech startup – the DIY 3Dsimo KIT and the “palm-size workshop” 3Dsimo Mini 2.
From unpacking and assembly, through to soldering, burning and 3D printing, the products are put through their paces for appearance, setup and user friendliness.
For hobbyists – the 3Dsimo KIT
As, according to 3Dsimo, “the first kit of [a] multimaterial 3D pen in the world with open source software [and hardware]” the 3Dsimo KIT is an applaudable effort by the company to provide for a market of tinkerers and hobbyists.
This is reflected in the packaging when it arrives – small, simple and sleek, the box explains most FAQs straight on the top layer and is generally aimed at an audience which already knows what they are looking for, i.e. a new project.
Inside the box, all parts of the kit are arranged neatly and clearly with an environmental conscience – there is minimal use of plastic, and any bags inside are reusable.
All in all, from unboxing to the first tests of the pen, it took our engineers around one hour to assemble the 3Dsimo KIT pen. Luckily, the manual provided for its assembly has a simple layout, and gives names of all parts of the pen for convenience and a thorough education.
As to be expected, putting together the small device proved incredibly fiddly, and a small screwdriver was needed to screw bolts for the parts. Applying the nozzle cover before screwing the metal parts in place first helps in the assembly as it keeps the parts in place.
Once completed, the 3Dsimo KIT pen has a very raw, homemade look, making no illusions about its DIY nature. With the two heat modes provided, we were able to achieve horizontal plastic deposition, meaning any 3D prints made by the pen would have to be done gradually through a number of different steps.
The overall verdict from our engineers is that the 3Dsimo KIT is ideal for tinkerers who like to put things together, take them apart, and learn about a technology through their own troubleshooting.
The 3Dsimo Mini 2 – a workshop multitool
The 3Dsimo Mini 2 is a multifunctional 3D pen for 3D drawing, burning and soldering. As with the KIT, Mini 2 packaging is simple and effective, with minimal plastic and filament strands included.
Little assembly is required for the Mini 2 to get it up and running – simply attach the power extension, and feed in the filament. The team were impressed by how quickly it takes to heat up It is ready to use after around 1 minute of warm up. Filament is also incredibly easy to add and remove.
The pen itself is finished in a smooth, white plastic, which feels light and easy to hold. In total there are four buttons on the pen – two at the end to control the temperature, and two on top (above the toolhead) which are used to extrude and retract filament when 3D drawing.
According to the test, “despite being really tall, the width of the pen makes it quite easy to reach the buttons on top to switch between functions.” If the extrusion buttons are pressed together for a few seconds, the pen can also be made to continuously extrude, for drawing an object with one continuous strand of plastic. These controls can also be made through the 3Dsimo mobile app, which has a good, clear display. PLA filament worked best when 3D drawing with the Mini 2. ABS, on the other hand, proved unsuccessful.
On suggestion from our engineers, the best purpose for material extrusion from the Mini 2 pen is to fill in/modify a ready-3D printed part, or to fix small broken parts. This feature compliments the other toolheads of the Mini 2.
In addition to a head for 3D drawing, the Mini 2 has one tool for burning, one for soldering, and one for foam cutting.
According to the official test report “The burning tool is an amazing tool to use to slice off some extra plastic from printed parts. It can also be used to easily remove some of the support material or give the printed object a better surface finish.”
The soldering head was also used to fix some broken parts. However, switching between these heads at present can be a little tricky.
Overall, the report concludes that “The 3Dsimo Mini 2 worked very well” and “It is very easy and simple to use.”