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The M200 began like many of the 3D printers available on the market, as a Kickstarter.com project. It wasn’t quite as successful as some other Kickstarter campaigns that have raised millions of dollars but Zortrax certainly has a lot to be proud of by raking in almost $180,000 in funding by the end of 2013.
The unit has a modern look with plenty of eye appeal and while it looks large it only weighs about 29 pounds. It is not necessarily designed to be a portable style unit but due to its light weight you can easily transfer it between rooms or locations without much effort.
Getting Started with the Zortrax M200
The printer feels like a high quality unit from the moment you take it out of the box. It has a very rigid and sturdy metal frame and all of the attached components feel structurally solid. The fit finish is above average as the edges are all aligned properly and are smooth to the touch. When you receive the printer, it comes in several parts that need to be assembled. However, it is a relatively simple process that should not take long, even for those who are experiencing 3D printing for the first time.
The M200 comes efficiently packaged in its box along with several other parts included such as a power cable, filament guide, filament holder, SD card reader, safety glasses, and the unit’s build plate. One thing to note is the power cord is not very long, so if you have a relatively long distance to reach your power source then you may need an extension cord.
Additionally, safety gloves are included in the box which might confuse some inexperienced users. However, the build plate can get quite hot during use and it is always recommended you wear safety gloves to avoid injuries or burns. Zortrax also includes a set of additional tools that can be quite useful for making adjustments while 3D printing with the M200 like a small cutting knife, spatula, nozzle key, pliers and tweezers.
One item that is not included, which we found to be a bit strange is no USB cable. While most people probably have one or even several around the house, this still seems like a bit of an oversight that Zortrax should address.
3D Printing Operations and Features
- Easy Set Up: Once you have the printer assembled and ready to go getting started with your first 3D printing process is easy. Once you power the unit on it is just a matter of loading the filament and then waiting for the single extruder to heat up to the required temperature. Once the extruder is at the appropriate temperature you simply feed the filament into the extruder and you are ready to begin your first 3D printing project.
- Desktop Design: The fact that the unit’s size is a good fit for almost any normal or even small sized desk makes it convenient to perform 3D printing projects in almost any location.
- Quality Prints: Once you start a printing job it doesn’t take long to notice the exceptional quality this unit is capable of providing. One of the more interesting features offered by the M200 is you can actually download designs for spare printer parts from the Zortrax website and use your M200 to 3D print them. Keeping a few spare parts on hand and the ability to print them yourself is quite convenient and a nice additional feature.
- Helpful Support Forums and FAQs: If you have any questions or run into problems while 3D printing, Zortrax also provides a complete support and help section on their website as well as a user forum that can be very helpful when trying to troubleshoot certain issues.
- Proprietary Software: The M200’s operations are controlled by proprietary software called Z-Suite which we found very easy to use and control the printer with. A few issues have been reported in user reviews while using the software with Mac operating systems but the Windows version seems to work well and without too many errors. The software gives you complete control to import designs, rotate them, scale them and move them around to suit the needs of your project. Navigation is easy and finding the commands required to complete a printing job from beginning to end is easy.
- Custom Settings: Additionally, Z-Suite offers a fair amount of customized settings such as splitting a printing job in two parts if you need to create a larger product with a design that will not fit into a single run.
- Compatible with a Variety of Filaments: Several types of filament are available for purchase on the Zortrax website although the printer comes with a spool of ABS you can start with. However, the printer is compatible with the available Ultrat, Glass and Hips filaments as well.
- Comes with Calibrating Build Plate: The M200 offers a choice when it comes calibrating the build plate, manual or auto-calibration. Some experienced users may want to choose the manual option if they have a very detailed printing project that requires fine tuning but we found the auto-calibration process to be very exact and effective. The unit can even readjust as it is printing the first several layers of a product if it senses this is needed.
- Relatively Consistent and Repeatable Results: This unit is designed to accommodate a wide range of 3D printing needs and is capable of handling even the most demanding projects. One of its strong points is consistency of quality as it can produce a high volume of dependable and accurate products on a long-term basis. The many customized settings that can be adjusted offer a level of flexibility you can’t get with other models in its category. Spending a few minutes getting to know the advanced features and settings available within the software will serve you well, as many advanced settings are offered. These can make a small but important difference when printing very detailed products.
Features of the m200 – At a Glance
- Weight-28.7 pounds
- Operating Temperature 60° to 95° F
- Connectivity SD Card or USB Cable
- Filament-ABS, HIPS, Glass, Ultrat
- WiFi Capable
- Proprietary Management Software> Z-Suite
- 7.87 x 7.87 x 7.28 inch Build Area
- .stl/.obj/.dxf Compatible
- 400-800 Micron Resolution
- 75mm Filament Diameter
Downsides (Cons) of the M200
We were very impressed with the overall results achieved when using the printer for several different printing jobs and believe it is capable of providing high-quality 3D printing even for those who need a commercial style 3D printer.
It doesn’t have dual extruders (which is to be expected with a small desktop unit like this), so be aware that this might limit the complexity of your projects. In particular, you won’t be able to effectively print in multiple colors/textures at the same time.
Overall, it’s not the most impressive 3D printer based purely on the specs. It does deliver consistent results, however.
Purchasing the additional side covers that are available for just under $100 may help avoid a few minor printing flaws as a result of uneven heat and unexpected drafts if you are in an open area. At a price of around $2,000 these should probably be included in our opinion, but overall a minor issue.
Final Verdict – Worth the Sticker Price?
The M200 is an exceptional printer in both design and functionality providing excellent printing quality for hobbyists and for those who need a 3D printer for commercial use as well.
There are very few flaws we found with the printer such as a shorter than ideal power cord, software issues when using a Mac based computer and the side covers that are not already included.
However, regardless of those minor problems the consistency in quality 3D printing and the ability to completely customize designs rule the day with this unit. I highly recommend this unit for those who are looking for flexibility, quality and advanced capabilities. You can check this listing for the latest pricing on packages.
- Decent build area
- Easy to use and learn with
- Compatible with more than just PLA and ABS print material
- Reliable and repeatable results
- Not the fastest printer
- On the pricey set
- Costly brand name filament
- Not the highest resolution prints