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Hands-on Gear Review
QIDI Technology X-One Review
Price: $500 List | $399.00 at Amazon
Pros: Inexpensive, easy to use
Cons: small build area, mediocre support
Bottom line: This is a fantastic value for those just getting started
Winning the Best Buy award for being the best bang for the buck, the X-One by QIDI Technologies is a decent printer at a much more palatable price than the bulk of the competition. This printer held its own in print qualities and capabilities against models that cost 2-4 times as much and is an overall great value option for those on a budget.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
Costing a fraction of the other models, the QIDI somewhat surprised us with its performance. This printer is relatively less well known than some of its peers but received favorable reviews and ratings — enough for us to include it in this group for our review. However, after some minor tweaks and adjustments, this was a solid performer, earning primarily above average scores.
To see which 3D printers were the top models, we bought the best models currently available on the market and put them through an exhaustive barrage of side-by-side tests. We scored these products from 0-100, based on their performance in our four weighted testing metrics, detailed below.
The most important set of tests evaluated the print quality of each product. The QIDI scored quite well, earning a 6 out of 10 for the decent suite of prints that it produced. You can see how this compares to the rest of the pack below.
We conducted a handful of different tests, having a panel with a range of experience rate each print — without knowing which printer created it, to eliminate any bias.
For the first test model — the 3D Benchy tugboat torture test — the QIDI did well overall. The PLA version was average, with some visible seams and an alright smokestack and windows. The ABS version was much better, with only a few seams and some excess strings.
For the next two test, the performance of the QIDI was a stark contrast. It did amazingly well in the bridging test in both PLA and ABS, producing some of the best models of the entire group. However, the ABS Eiffel Tower completely failed to print and was done very poorly in PLA.
The QIDI did well in the next trio of tests, the articulated elephant model, the dimensional accuracy nickel test, and the overhanging material test. The PLA overhang was great up to the steepest overhang, then dropping to acceptable quality. The ABS was similar but completely botched the steepest overhang. The nickel test was oversized in PLA and spot on in ABS, though there were some areas of daylight poking through around the nickel. The elephant was alright in ABS, with some layers separating due to warping while printing. The PLA version was a little better, with the legs moving freely and no layer separation.
The PLA hollow cube produced by the QIDI was exceptional, though the bridging was slightly subpar to the FlashForge. The ABS version was a little worse, with some unwanted strings, but still on par with the TAZ 6 or the Ultimaker. The ABS platform jack failed to print, with the PLA version exhibiting some poor quality overhanging sections and mediocre bridging.
The QIDI excelled at printing our low-poly figures in PLA but fell a little short when it came to ABS. The PLA versions were fantastic, with only a few strings and some subpar overhanging areas. The ABS versions had separating layers and generally looked much worse than other models.
Boosting its score, the QIDI did very well in the next trio of test prints. The spiral vase was awesome in both PLA and ABS, with no layers separating or voids, though the ABS version was a little fragile. The supports test was also great in both plastics, with the sacrificial structure easily removed by hand without additional tools and the underside of the supported area having a smooth finish. The tall tower test was also smooth with respect to the vertical axis, showing no noticeable Z-axis wobble.
Finishing out the metric, the PLA versions of our last two tests were great, the ABS not so much.
The threaded jar in PLA was exemplary, but its lid was a little on the rough side with some layer separation. The ABS jar was good, but the lid was warped and had rough threads that didn't easily mate with the jar.
Ease of Use
Coming in second in terms of importance, the Ease of Use metric is responsible for 30% of the final score for each printer. This metric is based on the difficulty at swapping the filaments, leveling the bed, unboxing and setup, as well as the ease at connecting to the printer and the quality of the display on the printer itself. The QIDI scored well, earning a 7 out of 10, comparing quite favorably with the rest of the group, as shown below.
The filament must be manually swapped on this printer, with a process similar to most other manual printers. You need to select unload from the menu, then it will preheat the nozzle and retract the filament using the extruder motor. We weren't the biggest fan of the location and style of the spool holder, as it was a bit difficult to reach.
This model required manual leveling of the build plate but it was easier than other models, like the Monoprice. This printer did have minimal setup required out of the box, only needing the spool holder and the filament guide attached before it was ready to print.
You need to download the Cura software from the internet — a reasonably capable and easy to use piece of software for 3D printing.
This model can print standalone from an SD card but includes an adapter for SD to USB to connect directly from a computer.
This model has a display with an integrated touchscreen and will show the % completed while printing, as well as total time and estimated time remaining.
Ranking third in importance, the Print Capabilities metric accounted for 20% of the final score for these products. We compared the build envelope and build surface, the temperature range of the extruder and bed, as well as the cooling, software upgradeability, and filament compatibility to determine scores. The QIDI did alright, meriting a 5 out of 10 for its performance in this group of tests. You can see how this compares to the rest of the group in the chart below.
This model has a smaller than average build envelope, earning it a lower score than its compatriots. Its build volume measures in at 150 x 150 x 150mm. The build surface also gave us some bed adhesion issues on larger prints, even when prepared with a glue stick, tape, or hairspray.
This model is compatible with generic 1.75mm filament, with the extruder being capable of hitting a maximum temperature of 250°C. The print bed is heated, and capable of reaching 120°C. This gives you a decent selection of compatible filaments, such as PLA, ABS, PVA, or HIPS, to name a few. This model also includes one fan for active cooling of the current print, as well as the capability to work with upgraded slicers instead of the recommended Cura.
The last metric in our test made up 10% of the final score, with the QIDI doing surprisingly above average, earning a 6 out of 10 for support. You can see how this compares with the other models in the following graphic.
We compared the documentation available from each manufacturer, the ease of contacting them and the helpfulness of their response, as well as the included warranty on the printer. The QIDI had a decent number of videos, though it seemed that many lacked any audio instruction or narration. The manufacturer appears to be based in China and wasn't the easiest to get a hold of. However, they did respond relatively quickly to our email about filament jamming issues and linked us to videos that solved our issue. This printer also includes a 6-month warranty.
This is the best value pick out there, offering you the most printer for your dollar.
The QIDI is a great option for those that want a 3D printer on a budget. It creates decent prints and is easy to use. The support is a little lacking compared to other brands and it has a small build volume but is the best bang for the buck if you can get past that.
— David Wise and Austin Palmer
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