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M3 vs. M2 experience questions

Posted: Sun Jan 07, 2018 9:46 pm
by Larry
I volunteer at a local school that has a small printing program. I'm considering possibly upgrading their equipment, and am wrestling with an M2 vs. M3(-SE) decision. I’m very happy with an M2 kit I’ve been running for over a year now, so that alternative is well known. I would however like to hear a bit more about the M3 user experience before making any decisions, preferably from those who have had hands-on with both machines.

I’ve looked over available M3 information, primarily the knowledge base and M3-ID forum postings .. (interesting that there is almost nothing on the forum about the SE). I understand the marketed advantages of the M3 (i.e. the improved cooling as well as the OctoPrint/networking stuff along with assisted leveling). I just haven’t convinced myself of the value associated with the additional cost of the unit over an M2 kit. (I’d be funding this personally, so a related factor is that I could pick up two kits for a bit more than an M3).

I understand there are several use case factors to consider, but some initial specific questions would be ..
  • - is there any improvement in overall printing or print quality
    - robustness of wireless network connectivity .. (I currently solely run tethered USB using S3D slice/control)
    - is the OctoPrint Cura engine producing good results .. (or do I stick with S3D)
    - ease of leveling .. is ‘true leveling’ an easier/better process (especially for less experienced users).
Perhaps, in a nutshell, are you happier with your M3, and believe it is worth the extra cost.

I’m keeping an open mind on this and would like to learn more about experienced M3 benefits or issues before finalizing a decision and would appreciate any feedback or thoughts.


Re: M3 vs. M2 experience questions

Posted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 4:27 am
by Tim
I can't speak for the pros and cons of the M3 but I'll just say that I purchased a 2nd-hand M2 and donated it to the math/science program at the local high school, and they couldn't be happier with it. Occasionally I get called over to service it (like I will be doing tomorrow), but overall they just learned the ropes and ran with it.

My general impression from reading forum posts is that the ease-of-use features on the M3 are somewhat offset by other issues like getting the Wi-Fi to work. If the school already has a printer that is not a MakerGear, then they will already be familiar with the process of bed leveling and fine-tuning, and will probably find the MakerGear to be so much easier to work with that they would not fault you for not getting them the very latest and greatest model.

Re: M3 vs. M2 experience questions

Posted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 2:07 am
by Larry
Yes, Tim, I’m sure you are correct that they would be appreciative of any of the MakerGear products as they’ll often experience printing troubles with their various current MakerBot and Dremel machines .. and I think it would be helpful to have a heated bed (even though they solely use PLA), something they lack at the moment. The M2 or M3 would surely be a cut above what they have from a reliability and performance standpoint.

I was just pinging the community now that units have been in the wild for a while to see if I could get some feedback that the networking work flow and integrated slicer are working well, and if folks are noting any improvements due to the revised cooling. I’m always game to step up and go with something new, and the monitoring and control aspects of the M3 are attractive .. just would like to hear that people feel it’s been a worthwhile step up or overall upgrade.