The X-Plus offers a closed installation space, WLAN connection and two different extruders. TechStage has tested whether the comparatively high price for the filament printer is worthwhile.
The fact that most 3D printers with filament first have to be assembled by the user or that they cost several thousand euros deters many interested parties. Many want to print 3D models, but do not concern themselves with the technology, structure and tuning of the devices. This is exactly the notch that the manufacturer Qidi Tech strikes with the fully assembled X-Plus.
In the last few months we have primarily been working on SLA printers such as the Ellegoo Mars (test report) or the Nova3d Elfin (test report). These harden resin with UV light and are particularly suitable for smaller objects with extremely high resolution. Our UV resin or plastic filament guide shows whether filament or resin printers are more suitable for your own needs: 3D printers in comparison.
Equipment and software
At first glance, the X-Plus offers comparable features to numerous other FDM printers: a construction space of 27 × 20 × 20 cm, a heated print bed and a color touchscreen for operation. Nevertheless, the comparatively expensive printer differs significantly from inexpensive budget models such as the Creality Ender series (guide).
First and foremost, the printer comes to the customer fully assembled; Time-consuming and nerve-wracking assembly is therefore not necessary. Next is the closed installation space, which allows filaments such as ABS, PA (nylon) or flexible TPU to be processed. More on this in the guide to standard filament. In order to use the full range of different filament types, the manufacturer includes two different printheads: a standard model and a high-temperature printhead. The print bed, which can be heated up to 120 degrees Celsius, is magnetic and the flexible print pad can therefore be easily removed from the interior. The well-considered little things are also noticeable. For example, the screws for the pressure bed calibration are secured with lock nuts. Inadvertent adjustment due to vibrations during operation is therefore impossible.
Incidentally, the X-Plus does not have a filament sensor. The printer does not automatically notice if the filament is running out. In practice, however, this is rarely a problem. However, the proximity sensor required for a simple calibration is available, which makes leveling the print bed much more convenient.
If you don’t want to feed the printer with print data via network cable or memory stick, you can conveniently send it to the X-Plus via WLAN. We only tried the WLAN function briefly. It works, but the connection was not stable in the test. Although this is annoying in practice, it is not a problem for successful printing. Because the respective print job is completely transferred before the printer starts. If the connection is broken, however, no observation by software is possible. After the printing process, the X-Plus switches off automatically – if the corresponding function is activated.
A heavily modified version of Cura is saved on the supplied USB stick as slicing software for the printer. Alternatively, the X-Plus also works with other slicers, for example a suitable printer profile for the Simplify3D software is stored on the memory stick. In the test, we are working with the modified Cura version, which we obtain directly from the manufacturer, as the version included is no longer entirely up-to-date. We use the included USB stick to transfer data.
In addition to a handful of different instructions for installation, changing the printhead or correcting errors, the scope of delivery includes tools, a replacement nozzle for the standard printhead, a spatula and a glue stick. A 1 kg roll of PLA filament is also included so that the printer is ready for immediate use out-of-the-box.
Commissioning is very easy and cannot be compared with kit printers. With dimensions of 71 × 54 × 52 cm, the X-Plus needs a relatively large amount of space, but the device with the closed and illuminated housing looks much more high-quality and stylish than inexpensive models.
The preparations for the first print are quickly unwound: After unpacking, the transport locks are removed, the printing plate is leveled, the included filament is inserted and the transparent plastic cover is put on – that’s all. The individual steps are shown in the illustrated instructions in a simple and comprehensible manner, so that just 15 minutes pass between opening the package and starting the first print. For comparison: The previously tested FDM printers, which were supplied as a kit, required two to six hours to set up!
The filament roll can be placed both outside the print room and inside. We hang up the supplied PLA filament outside the printing room. Other filaments, such as ABS or PA, should, however, be placed inside in order to heat them up sufficiently. More on this in the guide to exotic filaments. The alignment of the print bed is done with the help of an enclosed calibration card. What stands out positively at this point: The print bed is already perfectly calibrated in the delivery state and so we do not have to intervene further. We have seen it quite differently with other printers, such as the Ender 3 (test report).
Next we change the menu language to German and start printing the demo file saved on the USB stick. Before the actual printing process, the print head and heating bed are preheated to operating temperature (220 and 100 degrees Celsius). This takes just under 7 minutes; this period is comparable with other printers. If you work with ABS, you have to plan more time and also change the print head. It takes about 20 minutes for the temperature in the closed pressure chamber to reach 35 degrees – depending on the room temperature.
The printing process itself is not whisper-quiet, but the X-Plus makes significantly less noise than, for example, the recently tested Tronxy X5SA large-capacity printer (test report). This is due, among other things, to the closed case and the fact that the fans only start when required and do not run permanently under full load. The manufacturer states a volume of 40 dBA, in the test we measured values between 38 and 42 dBA at a distance of one and a half meters; a really good result. The first test print, a symmetrical structure, works without any problems and is printed very neatly on the print bed after a few hours.
After the demo file, the X-Plus still had to print a whole handful of objects for us. That worked very well overall and without having to recalibrate the print bed in the meantime. Our print results are not perfect, but this is due to the settings of the slicing software. If you optimize the settings for temperature and material flow, you will achieve an optimal print image with the X-Plus. But even in the default settings, we are extremely satisfied with the results. We only achieved such a good quality with the Anet ET4 (test report) after many hours and a whole series of tuning measures.
The adhesion to the print bed is basically okay, but the corners are slightly lifted with larger objects. In such cases, Qidi Tech recommends using the glue stick provided. In practice this works very well and reliably. Detaching the print objects is pleasantly easy thanks to the flexible print base, even without a spatula.
The change from the standard print head to the high-temp extruder is surprisingly straightforward. All in all, only five screws have to be loosened and screwed in again for the conversion. With a little practice, the exchange only takes about five minutes. What we noticed here: The manufacturer specifies a maximum calorific value of 300 degrees Celsius for the high-temperature variant. However, a maximum of 280 degrees Celsius can be set in the Qidi software. In practice, this did not bother, as this is easily enough for ABS and PA.
In the test we only worked with the supplied PLA. But we know from other users that other materials also work well. Even the TPU, which is not easy to process, does not seem to cause any problems for the X-Plus.
At the time of research, the X-Plus is listed from 745 euros in the price comparison. Whoever bought the device from the Czech warehouse of Banggood orders, pays 679 euros. It gets even cheaper with that Coupon code BGXPlus. Then the printer will only cost 560 euros.
Anyone interested in 3D printing and not interested in assembling and tuning a kit can buy the X-Plus from Qidi-Tech with a clear conscience. Neither manual skills nor extensive previous knowledge are required for commissioning and use. Compared to other 3D printers with similar dimensions, the X-Plus is not exactly cheap. In view of the good printing performance, features and the fact that the device achieves very decent results out-of-the-box, we consider the price to be fair and reasonable.
In particular, the handling, the very good documentation including the German menu navigation and the very decent print products with standard settings attracted positive attention in the test. Thanks to the closed installation space and the two enclosed print heads, the X-Plus is suitable for a large number of filament types. Due to the low volume and the chic design, the device does not necessarily have to be relegated to a basement room
Only for the high price and the lack of a filament sensor is there a minimal deduction of points.
If you need a larger installation space, you should take a look at the test report of the Tronxy X5SA large-capacity printer (test report). However, this must first be installed. We show more budget models in the guide: The 15 cheapest 3D printers.