M3D Pro

M3D Pro Review

I’ve only been looking at low budget printers. This is one of the reasons why I wanted to review the M3D Pro, which is definitely an expensive printer.  

There aren’t many M3D Pro reviews from a beginner’s perspective too. A quick review helps me understand this printer better and it’ll help others learn as well. So here’s a quick review on the M3D to fill that need.

Table of Contents

Factors To Look For

The first thing I’m looking at is the print quality for sure. I need to see what type of prints I can make with it and what limitations it has. A good way to do this is to look at the “complex” models it has made. Any design with a lot of curves, and details is something that I would consider complex.

This is a good printer to get if you’re looking for a low budget printer. The second factor I’m looking at is user-friendliness which is known as the set up.

Potential users want to know the difficulty that goes into setting up. There are some printers where you need to manually level the bed. Another component to setting up is the software. What’s it like working with the software?

Software can also be included as part of the features. What can this printer do? Are there any unique features that this printer offers that other printers don’t offer?

After all the features is the design. The design affects durability, usability, and more. Looking at the overall design helps users get a sense of what they might be getting.

Looking at the design also gives me a look into the accessories. I’ll be looking at these 4 factors for the M3D Pro:

  • Print quality
  • Set up
  • Features
  • Design

M3D Pro

The M3D Pro is a Kickstarter project that has gotten a lot of popularity. It started in 2014 and got millions of dollars in funding.

This sensor network allows the printer to correct errors on its own. It does this by using a dual-arm processor and placing sensors all over the printer. These sensors collect data from how the printer is working as a whole.

The M3D Pro has a simple design. I’ll talk more specifically about the build in the design section. Overall though, this printer is easy to handle.

It’s known as a “plug-and-play” printer meaning you’re able to print quickly after getting it out of the box.

M3D Pro
Source: hackaday.com

Pros

Cons

  • Plug-and-play
  • Filament versatility
  • Features
  • Leftover filament after printing
  • Print precision
  • Open frame

Breakdown Of The M3D Pro

Print Quality

The print quality of M3D Pro isn’t the best I’ve seen from this price range. I would say it’s average for print quality.

One thing I didn’t like about the prints that I saw was the material left behind. Once a model is complete, you can see remnants of filament hanging over.

It’s similar to having the right ingredients in a sandwich, but having too much sauce. Having too much sauce gets old real quick. Some prints had overhang along with blotch areas as well.

I couldn’t find any prints with standard tests like “3DBenchy” though. If I saw a 3DBenchy model from this printer, then it would give me an idea of what kind of quality to expect.

Set Up

The set up for this printer is super easy. Like I said, it’s plug-and-play. From the unboxing, all you have to do is install the software on your computer, plug the printer, and use the USB cable.

You also have to manually calibrate the print head. I was hoping the sensors could do it automatically, but instead, you have to do it through the app.

The good part is you only have to make sure the calibration feature works the first time. After that, the print head will calibrate automatically. It should take no longer then 5-10 minutes.

Features

A great feature from this is the filament versatility.

The print head of the M3D is able to use a variety of filaments. This includes ABS, PLA, nylon, and more.

A unique feature is the 5-inch reels which is used to hold the filament. The average filament size you can use is 1.75-mm unless you adjust the nozzle.

Its precision isn’t as good as I would like. Precision is especially important if you’re trying to print miniature models. The M3D Pro has an accuracy of 0.4mm. I usually look for 0.025-0.1mm specifications when looking for great precision.

One cool feature is the rapid heating. This is possible because of the aerospace heater system. Astronauts use a similar system for rapid heating which means this feature is no joke. If they’re using it in extreme conditions, then it’s one of the most reliable tools.

One of the ace features is the micro motion sensor chip. It gives you data on the perfect position for printing. It’s part of the sensor network which I talked about in the beginning. And, if your print is interrupted, you have “embedded recovery”.

Embedded recovery lets you recover prints when events such as power outages or print failures happen.

Let’s talk about the software now. The slicer for this printer is easy to use, but why? What it does is display your model in the screen display. From there, you can play around with it. It’s like drag and drop in terms of simplicity.

A small feature to cap everything off is the filament compartment. You can store different filaments here. This makes it easy to switch or replace filaments when needed.

Design

The build volume for this printer is solid. It has dimensions of 7 x 7.5 inches wide which is around the average for 3d printers.

When you look at the printer, you can tell it has an open build area. The frame covers the build area from the top, but the sides are open. Having an open enclosure like this is more of a disadvantage for me.

Open frames means the print is more vulnerable to damage. It also means the model and printer get more dirty.

The print head itself can move in all directions. It can move laterally and vertically. The print bed offers nice advantages too.

The first advantage is the print bed is removable. This makes it easier to remove models. Another advantage is that it shows where the print material is stored on a reel. Combine this with print bed heating and you got some useful tools for easy printing.

A heated glass surface makes it easier to remove prints, and gives the models a higher chance of a smooth surface.

Overall, the design is everything you would need. The only problem I have is the open enclosure.

Alternatives To The 3D Pro

EcubMaker TOYDIY

Pros

Cons

  • Multiple printing methods
  • Easy set up
  • Print quality
  • Customer support

The EcubMaker TOYDIY is a 4-in-1 3d printer. It’s ready to go out of the box, and it offers the same precision as the M3D Pro.

It’s known as a 4-in-1 printer because it can print 4 different ways:

  1. 3D printing
  2. Dual color 3D printing
  3. CNC carving
  4. Laser engraving
 

Besides the different printing methods, the EcubMaker is easy to set up. It comes with full-automatic leveling which means you don’t have to manually fix it. Although this printer is easy to set up, the customer support is shaky. Beware of printers having bad customer support. It makes it hard to troubleshoot if something goes wrong.

It also comes with a heated build plate that’s easy to remove. This printer is similar to other designs on the market. It also comes as an open 3d printer, and it looks similar to the Monoprice Mini Select. Anytime printers are comparable to quality printers, take it as a good sign.

When it comes to print quality, this printer makes decent models, especially with fused deposition modeling. The quality is on par with the M3D Pro.

Dremel DigiLab 3D45

Pros

Cons

  • Print quality
  • Filament variety
  • Easy set up
  • Features
  • Expensive
  • No 3rd-party filaments

I wrote about another Dremel printer when discussing the best 3d printers for schools. And, what I learned when writing about that printer is its print quality.

Similar to that, the Dremel DigiLab 3D45 is also good for print quality. When printing 3DBenchy, there was a smooth surface with detail in the model.Another advantage of this printer is the material variety. The DigiLab lets you use PLA, ABS, and more. A downside is the 3D45 doesn’t support 3rd-party filaments. 

Another reason why Dremel is good for schools is the user-friendliness. The bed leveling is semi-automatic, and the instructions to set everything is clear and easy to understand.

Dremel also provides a mechanism for recognizing filaments and adjusts its settings towards it. Looking at the printer, there’s no denying it looks high-tech.

It has a full enclosure with built-in lights that illuminate the interior. The enclosure contributes to its durability and its ability to stay quiet when printing.

QIDI TECH 3D Printer

Pros

Cons

  • Filament variety
  • Print quality
  • Features
  •  Manual installation

QIDI Tech allows you to use a variety of filaments. You can use PLA, Nylon, and more. What might give some inconvenience to users is you have to do some assembling. It’s not ready to go out of the box unlike the M3D Pro or these other printers.

It won’t take a while though. I would say it takes 30-40 minutes from unboxing to printing. Overall, the print quality is great. I haven’t seen anyone print 3DBenchy, but this guy printed a dragon which is a good test to see what kind of complexity this printer can deal with.

A unique feature of this printer is the dual extruders. But, instead of having dual extruders for printing simultaneously, there’s something I didn’t know was possible.

One extruder is set up for printing materials using ABS and PLA while the other extruder prints using nylon, fiber, and more.

Another feature which helps users is the flexible build plate. Just bend the plate and the model will pop right off. It’s also worth mentioning the different ways you can place filament.

You can place the filament either inside or outside. Standard material like PLA is placed outside while material like carbon fiber is placed inside. 

The overall design is sleek. It boasts an illuminated interior with a closed enclosure. It also has a 4.3 inch touch screen that’s easy to use. The touch screen makes it easy to calibrate what you need.

Should You Get The M3D Pro Or Not?

I personally think this isn’t the best printer in its price range.

There are some positive qualities, but the downsides outweigh it more. For one, the print quality isn’t great. The precision is at 0.4mm and that’s far from the ideal range I prefer.

Another disadvantage is it doesn’t print smooth surfaces. It’s known for blotchy areas. Not having great print quality is a deal breaker for me.

Some positives to look at are its user-friendliness and overall set up. New users will be able to print with this right from the box. 

For beginners, if you’re looking for your first 3d printer. I highly recommend something else. Not only can you get a low budget printer. You can get something that has every factor you’re looking for.

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