Saturday, August 20, 2016

M3D Micro as a Prelude to the M3D Pro

If you are going to experiment with colorization, it's necessary to create objects with which to test that push the limits of one's experience and skills.

So, I have been designing one object after another and printing them out on the M3D Micro using both the flexible Tough 2D Ink and their unique ABS-R filaments.

I have two 3rd Gen Cube printers that would be much faster.  But, the Micro is the one I choose to use and for very good reasons.  First, as I have mentioned before, it is incredibly quiet.  Second, I do not print in ABS due to concerns over fumes and the only printer I can use with a similar product, ABS-R, is the Micro.  Third, I can't print flexible materials with the 3rd Gen Cube and I've fallen in love with printing flexible objects.

But, the most critical reason for choosing the Micro  for this task is that it just plain prints better contoured objects.  I can easily use 150 micron layers with absolutely no issues at all.  Even though I use BuildTak for ABS-R and add an extra layer of blue painter's tape when printing in flexible, the process of making allowance for the extra bed height is so easy to perform and check that it's a minor issue with which to deal. 

Of course, that is a manual operation and that leads me to look forward to the automation promised with the new M3D Pro 3D printer.  But, what really has me drooling is the increased speed of the Pro.  While I appreciate the reliability of the Micro printers (I work them hard for hour on end.) it is no secret that faster, with the same or better quality and low noise, is better.

I have not seen an M3D Pro in action.  But, on the day I taped my contribution to their KickStarter video, I did see some of the output from one of their prototype machines that can be seen in that same video.  I urge you to closely watch the video paying extra attention to every single printed object.  In fact, I manually scanned the video to analyze what the objects can tell me about the Pro's capabilities. 

I'm really happy that we found M3D and the Micro.  I'm happy with the quality I'm now able to obtain with safe and tough materials.  But, I will be REALLY happy when I can do so about 3 times faster!  That will mean more time testing with the eBrush and and less time waiting for prints to finish printing.  And, that also means more variety in my test items in the same 24 hour day!

These new materials and this new project has my mind reeling with new ideas and applications for FDM 3D printing, so the Micro and the Pro could not have come into our educational program at a better time.

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