M3D’s Kickstarter for their Micro 3D printer surpassed it’s USD$50,000 goal in a phenomenal 11 minutes.
For one the price, at USD$199 for early birds and a regular price of $299. For another, ease of use, with auto-levelling and auto-calibration. Within 48 hours the campaign for the printer had passed one million dollars. The funding mission now rides alongside Formlab’s Form 1 and Pirate 3D’s $1,438,765 Buccaneer campaign as the fastest selling home additive manufacturing machines in history. And they’ve still got 28 days to go…
Co-developers Dave Jones and Mike Armani took the visual aesthetics first approach to the design of their 3D printer: The have a compact unit, single piece shell, and vibrant design. The Micro comes in a range of seven colours, much like the iMac G3 that broke the mould for how attractive and appealing a personal computer could be, moulding a plastic frame available in splash of primary and secondary colours somewhat goes against the current convention for what a personal producer looks like. The black or grey box motif can be seen everywhere in the 3D printing industry at the moment, from MakerBot to 3D System’s Cube, the Ultimaker 2 to the Solidoodle. The rainbow of colour options appears to be proving very popular.
The Micro 3D Printer produces objects as tall as 4.6 inches (11.6 cm), and covers an area of 4.2 inches (10cm) by 4.4 inches (11cm). It features a 50–350 micron layer resolution, with a 15 micron X and Y positioning accuracy. The overall dimensions of the Micro, how much of your desktop it takes up, sizes up at a mere 185mm³, the printer weights in at just one kilogram (2.2 lbs).
The device has some lesser quality components, but boasts an advanced ceramic printhead, which heats the filament more uniformly for lower operating temperatures and higher-quality more uniform prints. M3D also re-thought the motors and drive system used to move the print head, which uses, in the words of Mike Armani, “a very different kind of motor,” which is more power-efficient and cheaper than the stepper motors used in most 3D printers.
The Micro is in a price range that pitches it in a niche that was blank a year ago, but, thanks to the 3D printer boom, has a number of competitors. The other printers seeking to take just the slightest slice of your money and give you a choice of well over 100,000 free downloadable designs in return are: QU-BD’s One Up for $199 and Two Up for £279; Makible’s A6 LT for $200 and A6 HT for $300; the PrintrBot Simple DIY kit at £299; and Pirate 3D’s Buccaneer at £397. The vital specifications of the best of the rest are the Buccaneer printer’s 100-micron resolution with a print area of 5.8 x 3.9 x 4.7″, and the 100-micron resolution MakiBox A6 with it’s print area of 4.3 x 5.9 x 3.5″. For a pre-assembled model with a more standard build area of 6″ x 6″ x 6″ I own a $499 Solidoodle 2.
The Micro 3D Printers other notable specifications include compatibility for a range of filament: ABS, PLA, nylon, chameleon, as well as M3D’s micro-filament spools or standard 1.75 mm filament spools. The printer works via USB with all the main PC platforms: Mac, Windows and Linux. The popular little printer also includes a removable ABS-bonding Print Bed. Advanced users can use the expert settings, as well as other software such as open-source slicers.
You can jump on board the Micro 3D Printer craze over at their Kickstarter campaign, which you can find by follow the link here.