Review: Micro 3D printer from M3D

IDG.TV | Dec 8, 2015

This sub-$400 printer looks cool and gets the job done -- just not at lightning speeds.

I've been playing with the Micro 3D Printer from M3D over the past week and I've been impressed that such a small machine and produce good quality models and parts. I think you'll be impressed too.

The Micro 3D Printer started last year as a wildly popular online crowdsourcing project that raised nearly three and a half million dollars and turned into a machine that retails for as little as $349.

It has a 1970s retro look to it and can be purchased in three vibrant colors -- orange, blue or as you can see, green -- as well as black, white and my favorite, transparent.

The print filament also comes in the two most common thermoplastics -- ABS and PLA -- as well as a myriad of colors, including a heat sensitive plastic that changes color with the touch of a human hand.

Apart from its portability -- this easily fits in a backpack -- what I like most about the Micro is its ease of use and ability to fabricate good detail. It also simple to set up; You can have it unpacked from the box and printing in about 10 minutes.

The Micro's simplicity and size, however does limit its capability. Many object files you might download from online sites such as Thingaverse won't fit in its small print bed. But, the software that manages the Micro will allow you to scale models up or down, so you can shrink to fit.

The management software, also simple to use, is limited in its functionality but for a printer of this size it has all the necessary tools for creating a myriad of objects, from toys to moving parts like gears and jointed levers.

One test I perform on all 3D printers is fabricating a model of the Eiffel Tower -- its intricate lattice work tests a machine's ability to replicate objects with great detail.

Even though I had to shrink the model 24% to get it to fit in the print area, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the model it produced.

Compared to other sub-$500 3D printers, this machine is impressive. If you're lacking space (and a wad of money) this 3D printer is perfect for any beginner maker.