Nowadays, people looking to buy an additive manufacturing (AM) system are spoiled for choice. Whether you or your business is looking for quality builds, or just something to zip out a few prototypes, odds are you can find exactly what you are looking for with a little digging. If price isn’t an obstacle, your options become even broader.
Many of the systems offered use material extrusion for builds, but process alone isn’t necessarily an indicator of quality. There’s a vast difference in strata lines when you compare a $200 3D printer to something meant for a professional audience. Polish company Zortrax skews toward the professional end of the desktop range with its Kickstarter-funded M200.
Zortrax refers to its process as “layer plastic deposition,” but that’s just another name for material extrusion to go along with the dozens (if not hundreds) of similar descriptors for the process originally named Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) by Stratasys. If you’ve ever been curious why companies don’t just call a process FDM, Stratasys still holds the copyright.
The M200 has pretty solid specs for a desktop AM system, starting with a build envelope of 8.07 x 8.07 x 7.5 in. (205 x 205 x 190mm). As is becoming more common, resolution comes in multiple settings with standard prints coming out at 90-400 microns and advanced prints reaching 25-50 microns. Wall thickness can also be defined with a minimal setting producing 400 microns, and an optimal setting producing 800+ microns. Zortax’s first AM system uses 1.75 mm ABS filament, with future options including PC, PLA and Nylon.
Zortrax is also banking on style to bring in some customers, with a powder coated black aluminum frame, and an overall aesthetic that screams “professional” rather than “garage.” The AM system comes assembled, and bundled with a number of tools useful for AM, including an SD card that contains ready-to-print .STL files. Z-Suite slicing and modeling software can be downloaded from Zortrax’s website. The M200 is currently priced at $1,899.
As young as the company might be, it already has its share of fans. Big fans. Dell reportedly put in an order for 5000 AM systems as soon as Zortrax finished shipping its Kickstarter packages. That sort of endorsement in both money and recognition can’t help but propel Zortrax forward, particularly in Europe where the company is located.
Below you’ll find a video hyping the M200.