The $300 New Matter Mod-T is more a toy than a 3D printer (but that’s OK)

0 Posted by - 15th December 2016 - Technology

As 3D printing moves from the realm of hackers and hobbyists into the commonplace it’s clear that there is room for a 3D printer for students, kids, and schools. While many in the space are going for that lucrative if price-sensitive market, I think New Matter may have nearly nailed it with their Mod-T.

This super-simple printer uses PLA to produce items that are not nearly as polished or highly-detailed. It’s highest advertised resolution is 100 microns but in practice the prints were grainy and relatively “sloppy.” In short the Mod-T is fun for quick prints and experiments than for high-resolution modeling or casting and the price is low enough to encourage such experimentation.

The printer is dead simple to set up and run. It is controlled entirely from a web app and there isn’t much you need to do besides pick or upload a model and place it on a virtual plate. You pick things from a database of free items on the website – you can also buy some models for printing – and press print. The printer does the rest.

It does this by reducing the overall complexity of the system. The build plate automatically centers itself and moves around on geared screws that move the build plate under the nozzle. This allows the head to stay in one place and simply raise itself as each layer is extruded. There is little difference in this process but it’s a bit simpler to manage and cheaper to manufacture the long gears that move the plate rather than a belt and motor system that other 3D printers use.

The company also included a large, clear hood to cover the print plate while printing. This is useful for two reasons. First the hood ensures that your larger prints won’t start peeling up during the process. Further, it reduces the noise from the motor and fans. It’s a nice addition even though the placement system – essentially a few raised dots on the rim of the machine – is pretty primitive.

It prints standard PLA and comes with one spool of the stuff. A little stand lets you keep it near the back of the machine and you simply feed the PLA through a hole in the back through a tube and into the simple extruder. You control the loading and unloading of filament via the web app as well. via #CIO, #Technology