Convince me to buy the M2...

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Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by chadp » Sun Mar 06, 2016 5:08 pm

Hello to all of you, I just registered but I have been lurking here for a while. Let me first say thanks for all of the information that you all provide, it has been great.

I have a small business designing and developing niche products for different industries. I purchased a printrbot several months ago to get my foot in the door of 3D printing but now I am addicted. I am looking to add a workhorse to my lineup of equipment. I have recently started a project that will require some production 3D printed parts and I want a machine that is up to the task. I have spent a month or so reading everything that I can find on the internet trying to decide the direction to head, that is why I am here. I am looking to add one machine now, but I want to choose that machine wisely so that if I need to add another down the road I can keep things consistent. I want a manufacturer that I can scale with. The M2 is on the top of the list, just trying to convince myself to pull the trigger. The lulzbot taz 5 is probably the only other option I am even looking at and I see some of the users here comment on past experience.

I understand the technical differences, and again that is why I am here and not on the lulzbot forum, but it would be nice for user feedback from any that have used both. Anyone with with an army of M2's that are running production? Any information you can pass on would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance.


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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by Jules » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:43 pm

Ummmmm - yeah buy it. :D Hopefully the guys who do run these things for production will chime in - (i think the winner is insta with six machines), but there are several with several, KWIM? :lol:

I've just got the one, but every time a new improvement comes out, I've been able to update and upgrade the machine to keep up with what's going on in the industry. (Now my little single V3b is a dual V4 with a MIC 6 plate and it is some kind of sweeeeeet!) That's the best part of the M2 - they don't leave their existing customers behind when they come up with an improvement. (And they're always researching and testing something new.)

But, aside from that, these things are rock solid performers. Not the fanciest looking setup, but if you want results, this is the machine to get. :P

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by chadp » Sun Mar 06, 2016 11:45 pm

Thanks for the info Jules.

Yeah I am thinking the MIC 6 plate is going to be one of the fist mods. I am hoping to round up a couple so I can rotate them in and out for cool down and part removal. Hopefully this will optimize my run time and allow me to meet demand with one machine for now.

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by jsc » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:34 am

I've only ever owned the M2, so I can't give you a comparative review, but at least vs the TAZ 5, one thing stands out: the M2 is $400 less expensive. And I don't feel that it's because you're getting $400 more value with the TAZ.

As Jules says, MakerGear supports their existing clients very well, and is constantly improving their product. It may not seem like it because the M2 hasn't updated the version number in a few years, but there have been a slow and steady stream of improvements over that time. The only thing that hasn't changed is the rock stable solid steel chassis. Their extruders have always been reliable work horses, and the latest v4 model stands up to any out there.

Because the design has been so stable and open, it is easy to modify. Looking around in this forum, you will find people who have done crazy decoupled dual extruders, replaced steppers with high speed servos, built numerous enclosures, running alternative firmware and electronics, installed magnetic or switch-based bed probes for auto leveling, used innumerable alternative bed materials, etc. etc.

The only desirable things that I'd say are missing vs more expensive printers are an enclosed build volume and a push-button (i.e., dumbed down) user experience. For the first, with the smorgasbord of low-shrink high strength filaments out there now, I don't thing it is an issue any longer, and you can easily throw together an enclosure if necessary. For the second, the workflow is common to a lot of Reprap-derived printers like the TAZ, and for "production" use I'd imagine you'd prefer to retain flexibility and power over a user experience that tries to be user friendly but ends up more limiting.

Finally, check the 3DHubs best printer guide's "enthusiast" category:

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by willnewton » Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:18 pm

I don't know if jprochnow is still around, but he had both I believe. He sold off several of his printers, one of the first to go was the Taz. He owned many 3D printers, but at one time I think he had 3 M2's.

If you count voting with your wallet, that is a strong review.

I have 3 printers now.
#1 is my M2 which is my pride and joy. It's so good, the forum support is amazing, MG support is good too.
#2 is my scratch built MPCNC with an 18x24 bed, but it's only advantage is size, the quality can't touch the M2, it is not suited for everyday use.
#3 is a Fabrikator Mini I bought for the sole reason finding out what $200 will get you in a cheap Chinese printer. The only thing I can say is that it works, but it sucks. I am fixing it up best as possible to hopefully donate to our local kid's science museum. I will never do that again.

If the time comes when I need an additional desktop printer or a lightning hits my shop, it will be an M2.

I have a friend with a HobbyKing Print-rite, which he liked initially (he has not owned a printer before), but now realizes that it is not well made, can only print PLA, and has 0 support other than what he can dig up online. He is jealous of my M2 capabilities and has let me know it several times.

Another buddy had an Airwolf that he thought was OK (his first home printer) until he saw my prints. He sold the Airwolf. He also has an insanely expensive filament printer at his workplace from one of the LARGE 3dprinter companies that cost them over $20k, other than being a fully enclosed machine, he says my M2 prints just as well as his company's desktop machine. He tried to get his company to buy an M2, but they went with a $30k 3dp machine, solely because they need the monster-sized build area for large prints.
I'm finally back to where I started two days ago!

A thread with some stuff in it I update every once in a while. viewtopic.php?f=8&t=9
See some of my stuff

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by jprochnow » Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:45 pm

Will is correct I have owned far too many 3d printers. Over the past 2 years I have owned and operated the following, MakerGear M2, Lulzbot Taz 5, Lulzbot Mini, Ultimaker 2, Zortrax M200, Rostock Max V2, Seemecnc Orion, Ultibots Kossel 250, Kossel Mini, Makerfarm 8-10-12in, Printrbot Simple Metal. I'm sure there is more but that's all I can think of.

Based on my list the makergear has been a workhorse and always produced prints that were of great quality. The Taz 5 is nice but the build volume is overkill. The frame had tons of flex and and took up large amount of space. If you had to move the printer you have to go through the entire calibration setup again. Where I have moved my makergears multiple times and never had to calibrate. The makergear is rock solid.

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by chadp » Tue Mar 08, 2016 4:16 am

Thank you guys so much for the information. I have studied every printer that I can find out there and I ended up back here at the M2. Normally I don't mind the trial and error approach with things, in fact I enjoy it, but since I am going to be relying on this printer for business I just want to get it right the first time. I intended to buy or build printers for a while just to have fun with them but now I am going to have to skip that step and just get the one that works.

There will probably be an M2 headed my way in a day or two. Just need to put the order together and make sure I am getting everything that I want/need.

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by Quark » Wed Mar 09, 2016 4:18 am

I don't think you will regret it. Everyone above are spot on. If numbers are your thing, I've had my M2 for the past 4 months and have not had a single failure with 500 plus hours of print time and about 1 mile of filament through it (history taken from OctoPrint). I was debating at first what spares to get, Rick convinced me I didn't need anything but maybe an extra borosilicate plate and an extra hot end. Neither of which I have used yet. After the initial "getting familiar" and some print setting tuning, I was printing some piggy banks for a friend's child birthday. It's been rock solid.

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by ajmadison » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:20 pm

The only thing that intimidated me about the M2 was its placement in the "Enthusiast" category by most of the 3D printer ratings guides. But if you buy the factory built unit, it can appropriately be placed on the "Plug & Play" list. Its that good out of the box. Once I understood that I wouldn't have to level the bed to get started, I bought my printer that week.

My only frustration was not using the hairspray/glue-stick bed preparation coatings. I wrecked my factory applied Kapton. But I applied the tape that came with the printer and started using the Garnier (Ultra) strength #5 hairspray, and prints that were a bear to get off, just pop off the glass.

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Re: Convince me to buy the M2...

Post by kartcrg » Fri Mar 11, 2016 9:26 am

I also bought the M2 for business over a year ago now. I have a product design firm and decided to finally pull the trigger on a 3D printer to prototype a client part in-house; it was a risky move with tight deadlines attached and Rick even warned me of a learning curve at the time. The M2 made that project a total success, it was easy and uneventfully smooth.

Since then, I have run countless prototypes off for many projects with no issues. Just posted a few up today actually: I couldn't be happier. The print quality matches any FDM printer out there, including Stratasys, 3D Systems, etc at 20x the price. My next purchase in additive manufacturing will likely be an SLS machine or something because, outside of build volume, I don't see anything on the FDM market offering value over the M2.

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