In this review we bring you the MakerGear M2 from an American company based out of Ohio. The M-series has been going for while now and the second iteration(the M2) has a few variants as well. Their first 3D printer was a plywood version but now they moved on to a much better metal solution for the MakerGear M2. I’ve had the M2 for about a year or so and I must say I’m quite happy with it. I’ve trusted it with multi-thousand dollar print projects and 40 hour+ prints and it has not let me down yet. There a few issues of concern that I’ll discuss below but I’m informed that the newer versions of the M2 have addressed some of these. I can’t comment on the newest version of the M2 but it is basically the same printer at first glance.
So what do you get with this printer? Well I opted for the DIY kit which was priced at $1600ish USD. A bit pricey in my opinion but it is a pretty solid printer and has made much more then its value back to me. I would also highly recommend the DIY kit. Firstly it’s a great way to learn the printer itself by building it, secondly you save a bit of money.
The M2 is built with a tough metal frame ranging in thickness from 3.3mm to 6.5mm thick in some areas. Compare that to a Wanhao i3 at just 1.3mm thickness for the frame thus there will be no flexing in this printer at high speed prints.
With it’s top mounted direct filament drive and rigid body you will crank out fast and accurate prints in half the time of some printers. So fast it can actually shake and vibrate itself off the table. Assembly of this printer is pretty straight forward but will take a good portion of your day. Good thing they include some candy to munch on while you build it, I got a chocolate lollipop!
You will also given some tools to assemble the printer and left with a fair amount of spare parts.. at least I hope it’s spare parts.
Now it’s not all powder coated metal and candy. The thing I dislike most about the M2 is the 3D printed parts. The filament drive and assembly is 3D printed and I have replaced them several times now.
Fortunately you can print more parts so I recommend looking on the MakerGear forum for spare parts to print unless you have a second printer handy to print in case the M2 is down. At this price however it should be injection molded and have more metal components used. Furthermore when a print is finished the Z-plate just slams down with little cushioning and collides with the Z-axis stepper motor. I feel uncomfortable with the stepper motor acting as a stop for a fairly heavy Z-plate so I did design a very simple spring loaded dampening system. I suspect the MakerGear team is aware of the Z-plate impacting the stepper motor in this fashion, they included a tiny rubber washer to absorb the impact.
All in all this is a fantastic printer, I really like it. It provides reliable, accurate with low maintenance operation at fast print speeds and constructed with quality components minus a few 3D printed parts. This is a great printer for both new and advanced users and should serve you well for a long time. Regardless of the M2 variant with proper maintenance I feel this printer will last a long time.