Back for a second year, Vancouver’s Tinkerine Studios has added a shiny new printer to their lineup, the Ditto Pro. We put the bright white machine through its paces and found that there’s a lot to like.
Unique Open C Frame
Keeping with the open design of their previous Ditto and Litto models, the new Pro has a very accessible “open C frame” build area. It’s great for demonstrations, as onlookers can easily see how it works. Fashioned from white Dibond panels, it features bright LED lighting and a built-in graphical LCD screen with an SD card slot. The extruder hot end is well designed, and the filament loading and changing was easy following the on-screen prompts.
The Ditto Pro is one of the few systems where the filament spool is kept within the confines of the printer. It’s a small detail, but a game changer when you’re pressed for space.
Fourth Highest in Overall Print Quality
This machine scored the fourth highest overall print quality in our tests, with especially impressive performance in the Overhang and Surface Finish tests. The Ditto Pro’s build area of 215×160×205mm falls just below average size, and it comes equipped with a removable, unheated, glass build plate, making this machine PLA only. Leveling the build plate was easy using the on-screen direction and the three-point adjustment knobs, but our testers had problems with print adhesion until we began using glue sticks.
Intuitive Bespoke Software
Tinkerine supplies their own bespoke software for their printers, known as Tinkerine Suite. It provides a user-friendly interface while tucking away the more technical details, and uses Ultimaker’s open-source Cura engine under the hood. Many of our testers found the software to be intuitive and easy to use. There’s no provision for manually controlling the printer from the software, but it’s an available option in the LCD menus.
Lacking Detailed Documentation
One of the biggest improvements across the field of tested printers this year has been in the area of documentation; unfortunately this has not been the case for the Ditto Pro. The primary machine documentation for this model was a nicely designed, but extremely brief, quick-start guide and an 18-page Tinkerine Suite software manual. With other companies providing bound 50-100 page guides, supplying so little in the way of documentation is a significant shortcoming.
The FAQ section on the Tinkerine website covers some topics such as print adhesion, but it doesn’t offer concrete direction, instead suggesting only that something may be needed. Similarly, the FAQ suggests that in certain circumstances the stepper driver voltage may need to be tuned, but offers no direction about what the process entails or how to go about it.
Throughout the course of our testing, the Ditto Pro performed extremely well, and did not experience any jams or clogs. However, testers consistently reported that the LCD control panel knob was way too sensitive, often making it hard to select the correct item from the menu. This ranged from a nuisance to borderline unusable throughout the weekend and was a source of frustration for many testers.
The Ditto Pro is a great-looking machine with print performance to match. It scored as well as some of the best printers we tested, while far less expensive than most of them. If the documentation were improved significantly, we believe that the combination of good design and easy to use software would make it ideal for new users. As it stands, the Ditto Pro is probably best for the user willing to get a little more involved in the care and feeding of the system — a tinkerer, and maybe that’s the point.