New 3D Printer M3D Pro Hits Kickstarter

M3D just launched their second 3D printer on Kickstarter. The M3D Pro offers more professional features than its predecessor, the M3D Micro, which is still one of cheapest 3D printers around. Despite the higher price of $499, the campaign reached its $100,000 funding goal within hours.

The M3D Pro lures advanced users with a heated print bed from tempered glass, a larger build volume of 191 x 178 x 178 mm (7.5 x 7 x 7 inches) and a full-metal hotend that stands up to 270 °C. With 80 mm/s printing speed and 150 mm/s for travel moves, the Pro is notably faster than the Micro. The machine supports standalone printing from an internal memory, auto bed leveling, and resumes prints after filament shortages or power-loss. M3D also confidently includes a two-year warranty in all M3D Pro offerings.

Frankly, that all sounds like such a good deal it would ring our alarm bells if M3D hadn’t already successfully shipped a similar product. M3D doesn’t even require you to buy chipped filament cartridges. A high-spec printer that looks great, with a fully integrated software solution and at an affordable price may be exactly the all-round carefree package a lot of hesitant buyers have been waiting for.

However, the M in M3D also stands for marketing. With M3D advertising the Pro to feature a “Pro Sensor Network”, providing “full sensor feedback on all the motion axes” through “the same systems that made cell phones able to provide navigation guidance”, we somehow can’t help to keep our print-quality expectations where they were with the M3D Micro. Can our readers make sense of this? Let us know in the comments!

35 thoughts on “New 3D Printer M3D Pro Hits Kickstarter

  1. They may have shipped their previous product but a lot of people have reported a lot of grief with the machine, multiple users have reported exchanging machines at least twice.

    Also, apparently they didn’t even bother with basic niceties such as homing switches.

    They’re claiming to be innovative about using tempered glass as a build surface, but I havne’t seen where they’ve said how it’s better than borosilicate glass, which has been in use for several years now. That I understand, borosilicate better handles thermal cycling better.

    Heated beds are supposed to have even thermal readings all the way across the build surface, their IR photo suggests they aren’t spreading the heat smoothly across the build surface.

    They are calling their build volume huge when it’s a rather normal build volume.

    The mechanism looks interesting, I want to like them but I think it’s more appropriate to run away.

    1. Borosilicate’s surface is known to slowly chip away. I’ve talked to a few companies and people who deal with it and they have all experienced the issue where they remove a print and a glass chips/shards comes off with it. Sometimes large, but usually they are microscopic. Normal tempered doesn’t do that, however, heated unevenly it tends to kind of… Explode.

      Kickstarter is the equivalent of a shady used car salesmen, the best product often doesn’t get funded, it’s whoever has the prettiest video and promises the most to people trying to skirt the system and get something for cheap. Besides the fact that most Kickstarter products have glaring and obvious flaws (some are flat out dangerous), even if funded, and they are decent at business, there is the whole issue of dealing with China, which is an experience in itself.

      If you try building something today, especially a printer, you WILL have to deal with China. When Apple can’t stop a blatant ripoff with all of their money and connections, any newly founded kickstarter backed company with no experience is going to have a tough go of it.

  2. Looks like all gas and no substance.The reason M3D doesn’t have a well entrenched user community about its Micro printer is because most users get rid of the machine after trying to troubleshoot the multiple problems around positioning and layer resolution.With the same clumsy motors and the flawed mechanism this seems like it will only magnify those problems.I would definitely keep off till I see good reviews of the production version.

  3. My favorite part about their kickstarter is that there are 2 videos showing the unit working. One of a motor turning (not connected to anything mind you, just a motor turning) and a thermal video of a hotbed heating (and heating incredibly unevenly at that, their video shows that after their claimed one minute wamup time about 30% of the bed has warmed up to 80C but the rest of it bed is only about 5C warmer than ambient!).

  4. Speaking as a current owner of a Micro, M3D is barking up the wrong tree.

    The rumors you’ve heard about the problems with the micro are all 100% true. Mine is basically a paperweight at this point due to printing and mechanism issues. Not to mention that the firmware is at its end game. According to the creator of iMe, a replacement firmware for the micro, the current firmware takes up ~99% of the available flash memory, which is only 32k.

    Save your money and buy a flashforge.

    1. I love my Lulzbot Mini. Solid. Sollid. Solid.

      I bought the Cobblebot from a crowdfunding site for larger prints and it’s the worst 3D printer ever. Build instructions are horrible. Calibrating require insane patience. The owners of the company are plain mean. The V-wheels need to be very tight to work properly, but not too tight. Just right. I would never buy another 3D printer from Kickstomper or IndieNoGo.or Cobblebot. Just isn’t worth it.

  5. As a owner of the M3D Micro I have to say that I will never get another product from this company. Most of my problems they have blamed it on the”inks” even though I have purchased their filament and still can’t get a solid print without something detaching or warping mid print.

  6. no hack, nothing new or special, no mention of horrible reputation of previous model, no comparison or mention of other alternatives. neutral mention of the “Pro Sensor Network” which is most certainly vaporware (or did these guys, who skimp on limit switches, just invent a new radio/triangulation based positioning system that works better and is more cost-effective than a simple limit switch? maybe they managed to hack closed-loop positional feedback with DC motors and a bluetooth beacon? they should get the Hackaday prize!)
    I know you are against sponsored content, but this is like free advertising. why?

    1. Firstly, I agree that this company seems shadey as hell and considering the other posts to this article, not somebody with a good track record at all. Buyer beware! Or should that be backer beware?

      They do explain some of the “Pro Sensor Network” on the Kickstarter page. They mention that they’ve got over two dozen sensors. The video they’ve got lists them all.

      5x Temperature sensors
      10x Position sensors
      1x Bed level sensor
      1x Power sensor
      2x Voltage sensors
      6x Current sensors

      In total, that comes up to 25 so they are over two dozen at least. As for the navigation claim, they just mean they’re doing sensor fusion to combine data from multiple sensors and employ closed loop feedback. They’re not actually talking about accelerometers, gyroscopes or actual positioning systems.

      Cutting through all the buzzword crap, I suspect that they’re actually listing each of the sensors for each channel of their motor controller board as most of the “Pro Sensor Network”. It sounds like they’re using brushless motors since that would explain the need for position sensors + closed loop feedback and also the claim that they’re getting faster speeds from lighter motors as well. There must be some limit switches as well in there somewhere. Most of the current sensors are probably the stall current sensors in the motor controller.

  7. I believe Moritz did mention in the article M stands for Marketing.

    I personally have had limited experience with a variety of 3D printers. I built my own from a n old scanner and some bits out of a bubble jet printer.

    It fails all the design criteria – sloppy z axis control the print head wobbles on its plastic runners the extruder was the cheapest thing I found on eBay from China. It was literally slapped together yet it gives surprising good reliable prints. Sure it’s not perfect but my prints are more than adequate for my needs.

    Now this is a one off build and there is a world of difference between that and production – but either I’m a genius engineer ( one look at my printer will tell you otherwise you can see it for yourself over on hackaday.io) or people designing these printers are hacks worse than me.

  8. Ungh. Proprietary software, where you can’t really communicate with it using any standard tools. Has anyone noticed that a lot of the shittier equipment seems to tend towards using proprietary crap. Cricut is another example. Whereas their competitors are just fine with some competition.

    We had someone join our makerspace to use working 3D printers, and basically toss us one of them, and say here, if you can do anything with it, go for it. So far we haven’t gotten around to loading a decent software on there.

  9. My experience with the M3D was pretty much all bad and super frustrating. It “almost” works, but “almost” isn’t what I paid all that money for. The machine is painfully slow and it’s very rare to get anything to complete. You start the thing printing when you go to bed and get up the next morning to see what went wrong and start over. It’s cute as heck, but it’s totally worthless. I’d never trust these guys again. Buy or build a real printer!

  10. As a Kickstarter owner of an M3D, I’ll say that it is definitely not something I’d buy again. It took them forever to get the software and firmware to a state that produced anything close to proper prints, but even then the printer was incredibly sloooooooow.

    Their “Pro” printer is based upon the same concepts as the original (molded structure, low mass moving components to allow cheaper stepper motors to be used), but they have tried to fix with all kinds of sensors the bed alignment issue that led to so many M3D owner problems. From what I can tell, the print head looks to be pretty much the same, but that’s OK since that was not the source of any problems for me. The carbon fiber rails look the same although they must be longer for the larger print volume. From the exploded model in their video, it looks like they’re still using the cheap 28BYJ-48 stepper motors I’ve read are used in the M3D, that being allowed by the low mass of moving parts.

  11. I wouldn’t buy into the “high speed with sensors” comment. If you look at their Current Status chart, that specific feature is still listed as “To Be Proven”, which means they’re only giving an estimate on how fast it will be able to move.

  12. I was one of the backers for the M3D Micro, and my experience with that was enough to tell me to never back a Kickstarter again. It was delay after delay, unannounced until after each delay was supposed to ship. They even hired a “communications” employee who’s sole purpose was to spoon feed us BS. I eventually got it, it broke on the third print requiring several hours over a few days of work to fix, and M3D support was responsive, but not really helpful. When it broke for the 10th time and needed a new part they didn’t respond at all, and eventually posted on their forums that they would ship replacement parts after all of the original orders were filled (still 6 months out). I managed to improvise. Still the printer is so slow, it’s not worth working with.

    My lack of faith in Kickstarter was even further deepend with the Peachy Printer, which I had already backed before this one. If you really want a cheap printer, wait until you can actually “buy” it, wait until people have reviewed it, wait until you know when it’s going to ship. Being on the front end of a new product will not be a good experience if all you want is a cheap product that works.

    1. And buy a very popular printer that has proven to be reliable, is so popular that there is a huge user base to assist you with any issues, and there is widespread availability of spare and mod parts to purchase and to make from STLs. For me, also taking low cost into consideration, that’s a Prusa i3 clone. Wanhao, Mononoprice, and Hobbyking all sell Prusa i3 clones:

      Wanhao Duplicator I3 v2.1
      *Monoprice Maker Select 3D Printer v2 (which has all of the fixes found in the Wanhao v2.1)
      Hobbyking Malyan M150 i3 (which from the photos of it looks like a V1 which definitely means buy one of the two above instead)

      * – the one I own

    1. Heated bed uses 0.6W per square inch, instead of the typical 5W per square inch in other printers. “making it 833% more efficient!”
      I wonder how they reach the same surface temperature with less heat? you could insulate the bottom side and half the required heat (and bend the bed) but 1/8th the power is not possible without insulating the top surface or lowering surface temperature. Annoying when strongly advertised features just don’t add up.

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