MakerGear M2 Desktop 3D Printer Review: High Resolution, BulletProof Build
The MakerGear M2 is an excellent 3D printer for both professionals and hobbyists alike. It’s made in the USA and has the support of a thriving community of 3D printing enthusiasts. There’s lots of help and guidance available if you’re new to 3D printing.
The MakerGear stands out from most 3D printers out there. It has one of the highest printing resolutions in the market giving you amazing detail and quality in your print. The printer also has a bullet proof like build, which is why it last so long compared to most printers.
- Key Features:
- What’s In The Box?
- Can You Purchase Any Upgrades For This Printer?
- What Software Do You Need For This Printer?
- Does The MakerGear M2 Need A Lot Of Calibration?
- Do You Need To Apply Tape Or Glue To The Print Bed To Help The Prints Adhere?
- What Maintenance Does This Printer Require?
- What Customers Are Saying:
- Final Verdict
|Print material||Auto Calibration||Maximum print size(inches)||Heating bed||layer thickness||Customer support||Assembly time||Warranty|
|PLA,ABS,PET,Flexible,Wood and more||No||8"x10"x8"||Yes||50-250 microns||Excellent||10 minutes||6 month warranty|
1.Amazing Printing Resolution.
This printer has one of the highest printing resolutions in the market. With a printing resolution range of 50 microns – 250 microns you get highly detailed and quality prints. Compared to lower cost printers that offer between 100 microns-400 microns where some of the detail and quality is lost.
2. Solid Construction.
The MakerGear M2 has a steel frame and a number of steel parts. The alignment components, extruder parts and wiring harness are made from cast aluminum using computer controlled machining. This means that this printer can provide industrial level 3D printing right in your home, workshop or office. It’s built to last and to give you many years of trouble free 3D printing.
The V4 hot end is made from stainless steel with a brass nozzle. MakerGear have designed this new version hot end to withstand much higher temperatures during the printing process. This allows you to use a much wider range of filaments.
3. Easy Calibration.
As you are probably aware, every 3D printer needs some level of calibration. The MakerGear makes it super easy with it’s four-point print bed. This removes the need for constant print bed leveling because once the bed is level, it will stay that way. Plus every MakerGear printer is calibrated before it leaves the factory making your job so much easier.
4. Extremely Versatile.
With the MakerGear M2 you can use any filament that you want. It prints easily with PLA, ABS, PET, HIPS, TPU and poly-carbonate. This printer also handles composites like metal, carbon fiber and wood, and various other filaments. This gives you complete flexibility to produce the kinds of prints that you want.
5. Uses Open-Source Firmware.
With the MakerGear 3D printer you can use the open-source software that you’re most comfortable with. The printer is compatible with 3D CAD software as well as any design software that produces STL files. It’s also compatible with open source and proprietary slicing software such as Simplify3D and slic3r.
6. Large Build Area.
This printer has a build area of 8 inches x 10 inches x 8 inches. This means you can create an amazing array of prints for whatever purpose you need, whether for home or business use. The heated print bed is made from Borosilicate glass with a replaceable laminated print surface. The print bed can easily maintain temperatures of 110 degrees Celsius (230 degree Fahrenheit).
7. Easy To Get Started.
The MakerGear printer package includes the Quick Start software, tutorial videos and an easy User Guide. Just take your printer out of the box and follow the set up instructions. You’ll be able to start creating beautiful prints in a very short amount of time.
8. Excellent Customer Support.
MakerGear offer excellent customer support for their printers. The MakerGear support team consists of 3D printing experts to ensure that you get the necessary help that you need.
There’s also a very active online community which you can access via the official MakerGear website. This community has members from around the world who share tips, ideas and insights into the use of the M2 printer. In addition, you have the option to collaborate on 3D printing and design projects once you’re comfortable with using your 3D printer.
MakerGear even have their own Wiki page with lots of helpful information. This includes how to get started, a technical guide, troubleshooting tips and much more.
What’s In The Box?
- The completely assembled MakerGear M2 3D printer with V4 hot end.
- A power supply with adjustable input voltage including 115 Volt or 230 Volt.
- A US compliant power cord.
- A 1kg spool of black PLA filament to get you started.
- The 8 inch x 10 inch Borosilicate glass print bed which has a print film applied to the surface.
- An extra roll of 2 inch replacement print film.
- A tool set.
- Some sample prints made with your MakerGear M2.
- An SD card with sample prints you can start with.
- A comprehensive user guide.
Can You Purchase Any Upgrades For This Printer?
There are a number of upgrades available for MakerGear M2 including an LCD panel and a dual V4 extruder kit. The LCD interface panel allows you to control your printer without the need to connect it to your computer. It incorporates a RepRap Smart Controller style LCD screen and includes all the assembly hardware, wiring and connections. You can find the installation instructions on the MakerGear Wiki page.
Once you’re comfortable with your MakerGear 3D printer you may want to create more complex prints as well as venture into two color printing. The dual V4 extruder kit is made to extrude two different filaments at the same time. This avoids the need to change filament during the printing process. The kit comes with complete assembly instructions as well.
What Software Do You Need For This Printer?
The MakerGear M2 uses the Marlin firmware to tell the printer how to print an object. Marlin reads any file which is in the GCode file format. You can use any slicing software that you want as long as it can convert the design file into GCode.
MakerGear recommends the use of Simplify3D which you can purchase on their website if you wish. You can, however, use any open-source slicing software which is available for free. This includes Pronterface, Cura and Slic3r.
As for the original design or STL file, you can create this yourself using any CAD or design programs. You can also download design files from places like Thingiverse. In fact on Thingiverse you can find a whole range of items you can print as accessories for your 3D printer. For example, there’s a design for an iPhone camera mount. This cool little device means you can take time lapse photos of your print jobs among other things.
There’s also an entire community of MakerGear users on Thingiverse which you can join to share experiences and learn new tips and tricks.
Does The MakerGear M2 Need A Lot Of Calibration?
The MakerGear printer is calibrated at the factory before it’s sent out. In fact, the printer is completely tested by printing some sample objects which are included in your package. You will, however, still need to do some checks to make sure that nothing has moved during shipping. There’s an easy getting started video which explains how to do this on the MakerGear YouTube channel.
The only other thing you’ll need to do is level the print bed and you need to do this manually by adjusting 3 screws. Another very easy to follow video will walk you through this process. You’ll be ready to start printing after you’ve completed these steps . You only need to check that the print bed is level maybe once a week.
Do You Need To Apply Tape Or Glue To The Print Bed To Help The Prints Adhere?
The MakerGear M2 comes with a thin print film called polyimide tape which is already applied to the print bed. You’ll also receive some spare replacement film. This is perfectly adequate if you’re using PLA filament.
When replacing the polyimide tape, it’s a good idea to heat the bed first to around 60 degrees Celsius. Then remove the glass and place on a flat surface. Apply the tape, one strip at a time ensuring that there are no bubbles or creases and then trim the excess. Try not to touch the surface of the tape as the natural oils in your fingers could cause print adhesion problems.
If you are plan to use ABS filament however, it is a good idea to also apply some kapton tape to the print bed to allow for better adhesion.
What Maintenance Does This Printer Require?
As far as 3D printers are concerned, the MakerGear M2 requires only minimal maintenance compared to some other 3D printers.
Approximately once a week you should check that the print bed is level and adjust if necessary. You might also want to check that the Z end stop is at the correct location at the start of a print job.
Also check that the polyimide tape on the print bed is still in good condition otherwise replace it. To simply clean the surface of the print bed, you can use a spray of rubbing alcohol diluted to 50% with water and wipe over.
Once a month it’s a good idea to check that the X and Y belts are correctly tensioned. Ensure that the fans and fan guards are dust free and clean if necessary. You might also want to apply some white lithium grease to the linear rails and the lead screws.
Overall, just make sure that your printer is free of dust and debris and that all the parts can move freely. You’ll find an excellent maintenance guide on the MakerGear Wiki page.
What Customers Are Saying:
The MakerGear M2 3D printer gets excellent reviews from many happy customers. In fact 89% of customers have given this printer 5 out of 5 stars. A lot of customers said that the MakerGear is solidly built and easy to set up. Most are extremely happy with the quality of the printed objects that they’ve produced.
Customers were also very happy with the technical support they received if they had any problems. They stated that their issues were resolved quickly and easily. In fact one customer reported that he received a response to his email within 5 minutes! Other customers also commented on the excellent information found in the community forums.
The most common positive comments we read said that the printer was solid and can print any type of filament. Customers were also happy with the speed of their print jobs and the relative quietness of the machine. One customer commented that his printer produces very consistent prints and is reliable. Low maintenance was also mentioned quite a lot in customer reviews.
If you’re looking for an excellent 3D printer that you can use straight out of the box, then the MakerGear M2 3D printer is definitely worthy of your consideration. It’s well constructed and built to last a long time. It can be used by 3D printing enthusiasts, hobbyists, newbies and even professionals who need to print parts for their business. I love its super high resolution producing high quality prints and its bullet proof like constructions which is why it lasts for so long.
With its 6 month warranty and excellent technical support, you’ll be printing for years to come with this machine. Plus if you join one of the online communities, it may just become an obsession that takes over all your spare time!