Subscribe / Unsubscribe Enewsletters | Login | Register

Pencil Banner

Review: M3D's Micro 3D Printer fits in a backpack, quiet as a mouse

Lucas Mearian | Dec. 9, 2015
This adorable printer, which will just overlap the palm of your hand, is a reliable performer.

M3D also offers what it calls an "expert" line of ABS filament. While ABS tends to be stronger and more flexible than PLA, it is also smellier and doesn't adhere to print beds as well. PLA and ABS are the most common filaments used in 3D printing today.

The standard PLA filament comes in a dozen colors, from Deep Lemon and Light Caribbean Blue to Deep Mulberry and Light Fuchsia. Chameleon 3D Ink comes in 10 variations between 7 colors and 4 temperature modes.

Drawbacks

When it came to the M3D management software, I was mostly pleased. While it doesn't have many sophisticated tools, the ones it does have, such as model scaling and auto calibration, perform well.

The one problem I had with the software was its print job time estimates. Most 3D printer software will offer you an estimate on how long a print job will take to run -- some are more accurate than others. I found with the Micro, it was relatively accurate on small jobs, but way off on larger prints. For example, the software estimated the Eiffel Tower would take two hours and 57 minutes to print; it took three times that.

One of the major drawbacks to this machine is that it has no onboard memory, meaning it's tethered to your computer via USB cable throughout a print job. As soon as you disconnect it, the print job will stop and you won't be able to resume it, even after reconnecting the cable.

This machine has no power switch. While that's not a huge deal, you will have to reach around to the back of the machine to plug in the power cord when you want to use it; that could be annoying if you back this machine up against a ball for space reasons.

Unlike many other consumer 3D printers, the Micro has no onboard LED screen or function menu. The machine must be controlled via the management software on your computer. While LED screens and function menus can be convenient, they're by no means a deal breaker. This printer has to be connected to your computer before a print job anyway, so I didn't find the lack of onboard controls a big deal.

Related to connectivity, however, I did find the provided USB cable too short: it's only three and a half feet long. I like a my cables to be at least five feet for more flexibility when printing on a desktop otherwise filled with computers, books and other obstructions.

Overall, the Micro 3D printer pleasantly surprised me. This is a machine that you can balance on one hand, easily pack to take with you and is an accurate model builder.

In the under $500 category, this machine is a winner that I can recommend it without reservation.

 

Previous Page  1  2  3  4 

Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.