For a long time now, Zortrax has been known for the M200 3D printer, a popular, well-received desktop machine that has earned Zortrax a reputation for reliability. The M200 has remained a consistent favorite, and one that we had a positive experience reviewing, and fans might remark that the 3D printer has everything they want – but there’s always room for improvement with any product, and Zortrax has taken the M200 and made it better with the new, upgraded M200 Plus.
When Zortrax set out to improve the M200, the company had print farms in mind, and the Plus is engineered to work with other 3D printers, with wireless connectivity and improved reliability, just as a start.
“A lot has changed since we introduced the M200,” says Zortrax Chief Technology Officer Marcin Olchanowski. “Besides positive feedback, we have also received plenty of invaluable suggestions from our customers. The 3D printing technology has moved forward. New materials have been introduced, the need for automation in manufacturing processes is on the rise, 3D printers are becoming more and more ubiquitous. We had to get the M200 ready for the new reality.”
Changes to the 3D printer’s hardware include major upgrades to the extruder and hotend. The M200 Plus now has an additional centrifugal fan to better dissipate heat generated in the XY block where the upper part of the hotend is attached. The filament drive mechanism has been redesigned, too, so that the filament no longer risks folding around the extruder’s cog wheel and getting stuck. An additional cooling fan has also been added, pointing directly at the model being 3D printed.
A new, better hotend V3 has been added, and a problem with a teflon pipe slipping out has been solved. The thermal intermediate zone has been modified for better print quality and reliability.
“Furthermore, by making the aluminum block smaller we have achieved improved heat dissipation and shortened the heating-up time,” explains Olchanowski. “Caps attached to the nozzle and bottom part of the hotend prevent dirt from getting inside and damaging the mechanism.”
The redesigned extruder now supports additional materials, including Z-SEMIFLEX and others. The M200 Plus now has a filament endstop; when the material runs out, the 3D printer will pause the print and notify the user.
The SD card has been replaced by a USB port, and a new, faster and more intuitive touchscreen has been added. Zortrax plans to add new interface functionalities with firmware updates that can now be done automatically over W-iFi. The small connector has been removed from the perforated build platform to keep it from getting damaged when users remove their prints from the 3D printer. A new spool holder has been added, as well as plates shielding the Z axis to improve safety and reliability. Prints can now be monitored in Z-SUITE thanks to a built-in camera.
A few software updates have been added, as well. Thanks to Wi-Fi and Ethernet connectivity, a single ZCODEX file can easily be uploaded to multiple 3D printers from one computer. Once the file is created in Z-SUITE, it can be copied directly to any USB storage device and uploaded directly using the M200 Plus menu. Prints can also now be remotely started and paused in Z-SUITE. Z-SUITE also has a separate control board for each connected M200 Plus, featuring details like the type of loaded 3D printing material or printing progress.
In addition to being able to print with Z-SEMIFLEX, users can now use third-party 3D printing materials as well.
Several of the improvements made to the M200 Plus were based on user feedback, and while the 3D printer remains the same machine that so many people have loved over the past several years, it has now become an even more effective and high-quality printer.
“There is a lot we have learned working on the M200,” concludes Olchanowski. “All these years of experience led to the M200 Plus, a reliable, future-proof professional 3D printer.”
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