The M3D Micro 3D printer that I Kickstarted about a year ago just showed up!
It’s about 8” square so it’s much smaller than a standard 3D printer. This means you can only print items that are under 4-1/2” high. Cost is currently $350 — so it’s much cheaper than a standard 3D printer as well (which run about $1200 to start) — and orders are taking some time to ship.
Here is the very first item I printed — a test print of a Maker robot. It’s about an inch tall.
Pros for the M3D printer:
- Lots of free designs on thingiverse.com that can be downloaded and printed.
- Or make your own designs with simple, free software like Tinkercad.
- The M3D site has extensive user comments and a big community of people helping each other.
- The price and size!
- No software for Mac yet (they’re working on it) so I’m running the Windows software in Parallels on my Mac.
- Not quite consumer-friendly; people have had many issues with plastic getting stuck in the nozzle, temperature settings for melting plastic, calibration, and so on.
- It really needs a holder for the spool of plastic, to prevent the plastic from tangling on its way into the printer. I printed one myself, which attaches to the printer, and is working great (available from Justin PR on thingiverse). Here’s the photo of mine, attached to the printer:
Summary: If you’re interested in testing out 3D printing, and sending stuff off to Shapeways to be printed is taking too long to be fun, then this is a fairly inexpensive way to try it out (as long as you only want to print small).