The Zortrax M200 had already etched its name as one of the top premium 3D printers before the new and improved Zortrax M200 Plus came out. This long-awaited upgrade should fix some of the major issues reported in the first model, and our experience with it tells us that Zortrax may have succeeded in doing just that.
It’s important to keep in mind that this is a very particular kind of 3D printer designed for professional uses. There are some things it does very well, and some it misses out on. Read on, and you should find out whether this machine is a good fit for you or not.
From the specifications above, it is clear that the Zortrax M200 Plus has some significant improvements over the original model. These include the addition of a WIFI module, a powerful internal processor, an interactive touchscreen, and new presets that allow you to use other filament materials apart from the approved Zortrax filaments. Let us review each of the M200 Plus’s features in detail.
Like most other popular 3D printers, the Zortrax M200 uses Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) technology. However, Zortrax refined this technique into what they call Layer Plastic Deposition (LPD).
This technology involves melting a filament in the hot end and layering it using the nozzle, where it fuses with the rest of the plastic and cools down. Zortrax’s design is famous for its fantastic accuracy and precision.
The extruder “draws” the model by moving the nozzle back and forth, deposition layer after layer of material that fuses to form the print in question. To create the required design, the whole extruder is moved electronically by motors on a Cartesian plane to create a 3D object.
The accuracy and reliability of the 3D printer relies on the precision of the extruder’s movement, as well as its ability to extrude the melted plastic properly. Zortrax has equipped the M200 Plus with a redesigned extruder that reaches up to 2900C/554F, making it easier to control the ABS-type filaments that the printer uses.
The Zortrax M200 and M200 Plus were designed to be industrial-grade quality from the group up. Every component is made to be durable and reliable, which is why the machine is so heavy at 26kg/57lbs.
Aesthetically, the M200 Plus is a sleek and beautiful machine. It is designed to work with an enclosed build area, which gives it a beautiful look. However, this is a fairly large piece of equipment that measures 350 x 440 x 50 5mm (13.8 x 17.3 x 19.9 in) that will require a significant amount of space on a desk or countertop.
One of the biggest improvements in the Zortrax M200 Plus is its compatibility with 3rd party materials. The previous version needed to be used with Zortrax’s approved printing materials, mostly the Z-ULTRAT filaments. While you could have used third-party materials, it was hard to get the settings right to avoid problems such as clogging and warping.
The new model comes with different presets for some of the most common third-party materials. These presets allow you to work seamlessly with a wide range of common and even exotic materials such as glass-filled filaments. At the same time, you’ll avoid problems with your printer while getting the best in terms of accuracy and precision.
According to the manufacturer, some of the filament materials you can use include ABS, ASA, HIPS, PETG, PLA, SEMIFLEX, ULTRAT, among others. You can also use any color of material you like, but we do recommend sticking to Zortrax’s printing materials as much as possible.
The M200 Plus is not the largest 3D printer in terms of build volume, but it still gives you a sizeable workspace of 7.9 x 7.9 x 7.1 in (200 x 200 x 180 mm). This is enough for many applications, but it may not be suitable for industrial applications. Also, if you feel the build volume is too small for your project, you can buy more models of the same machine then split the designs. The Z-suite slicing software included in the purchase is quite adept at splitting models without compromising the design or the print.
However, if you’re looking for the convenience afforded by a larger build space, the Zortrax M300 is a scaled-up version of the M200. It features 300 x 300 x300 mm of build volume, giving you the capacity to print something as big as an entire motorcycle helmet in one go.
The smaller Zortrax M200 and M200 Plus are perfect for professionals, beginners, and enthusiasts alike who will mainly be working on smaller projects. The smaller unit is also a better fit for small spaces, such as offices and home workshops.
One of the most significant selling points of Zortrax 3D printers such as the M200 Plus is their amazing precision. The M200 Plus boasts a layer resolution of +/- 1.5 microns along the X and Y axes and 90 – 390 microns along the Z-axis. In other words, these figures represent the smallest detail you can obtain on the X/Y plane and the lowest layer thickness on the vertical axis.
The resolution determines the smallest movement that the printer head can make in one pass. Obtaining a high resolution is difficult and expensive, but that’s why many people go for Zortrax in the first place.
When you want high-quality 3D printing, the Zortrax M200 Plus can give it to you effortlessly. This is mainly because the company has perfected its hot end design with different cooling and heating points to ensure fluid and precise deposition.
Another unique feature of the Zortrax M200 Plus (and its predecessor as well) is that it requires the use of a raft. Because it has a perforated metal base to help with adhesion, it requires a raft at least a few layers thick to ensure that the model will not have holes on its bottom surface. However, the raft comes off easily when you are done printing.
For models, you may need to include support for overhanging or protruding parts. The Z-suite slicer software will usually include both the support structures and the raft automatically, but you can turn these off if you wish. Also, it’s always a good idea to check the automatically added supports before you start printing. If there’s a problem, you can correct the mistake early enough.
Since the M200 Plus is a single extruder printer, support structures and raft are all printed with the same material as your model. However, they come off easily when you pull them off with your hands or using a pair of pliers. The more expensive Zortrax Inventure comes with a system that creates soluble supports for seamless removal.
Any large air gaps or suspended parts may also require support or infill. Infill is the internal structure that can be completely filled with material (100% infill) or partially filled (less than 100% infill.) You can choose what percentage of infill you desire before slicing, and the software will do the rest for you.
The manufacturer’s specifications for the Zortrax M200 Plus state that it has a print speed of up to 100 mm/x and a travel speed of 200 mm/s. This is quite fast, given the resolution and accuracy of this 3D printer.
In practice, the print speed averages out at about 80 mm/s and only rises to the maximum velocity when printing infill; it could also be lower on perimeters and when printing complicated parts. You can choose between “normal” speed and “fast” speed mode in the new model. This compares well with other 3D printer models such as Ultimakers.
The Zortrax M200 Plus certainly wins when it comes to print quality. As many other users have already discovered, it gives some of the best details with no stringing, warping, and other common flaws associated with 3D printers.
One user noted that the Zortrax M200 printed the best legos he has ever seen, even compared with premium Ultimaker printers. This arises from the enhanced precision and resolution, thus providing superior dimensional accuracy and repeatability. At the maximum resolution of 90 microns, you will not even see the individual layers of material because it yields a smooth surface.
The hot end on the Zortrax M200 Plus is key to its high-level printing ability. Thanks to advanced heating and cooling systems, it allows for the precise deposition of plastic. The extruder can reach temperatures of up to 2900C or 554F.
At the time of publishing, the latest extruder version was the V3 with a double fan for extruder cooling and three heating points. The nozzle also has a new geometric design to help with more accurate material deposition.
More importantly, Zortrax designed the M200 Plus to have its feeder mechanism at the top of the extruder so that the whole assembly moves as one. This assembly not only allows better extrusion it also helps you achieve better control over your extrusion and retraction. Retraction is particularly important because it determines whether you get clean and precise plastic deposition.
The extruder is mounted on two firm steel rods to maintain the stability of the assembly and prolong its lifetime.
The perforated plate and heatbed on the Zortrax M200 Plus are central features in its design. The perforated metal plate helps greatly with adhesion when the filament in use is ABS or its variants. The heatbed is meant to reach a maximum temperature of 1050C.
In practice, however, the bed doesn’t truly reach this temperature. Unless you use the correct settings, we discovered that it is easy to cause warping. Using 20% of the fan capacity is commonly given as the solution for warping even when the bed temperature is high, and it seems to do the trick when little or no infill is required.
The perforated plate attaches to the Y-axis rods with the help of screws, and a small heating cable is also connected at the back. The plate has four silver calibration points that help the nozzle center properly.
Before starting a print, the bed rises until one of the silver points gets into contact and completes a circuit with the nozzle so that centering information can be received. This is why you should always clear out any material remainders from the nozzle and perforated plate.
Zortrax printers are designed to work with the complementary Z-suite software. The two work like a closed system, which means you cannot use any third-party slicing software with the printer.
The Z-suite slicing software is a comprehensive solution for 3D printing and management. It comes with some wonderful features such as:
The first Zortrax M200 was designed to be fully controlled by the software, including pausing the print. Even now that there is a display, you can still make the most out of this hands-free functionality, thanks to the machine’s WIFI connectivity.
Zortrax has now added a WIFI module to the Zortrax M200 Plus. This allows it to connect seamlessly to your computer network so that you can set your STL files to the printer wirelessly.
You achieve this by splitting the design for the model. After that, you assign the printing of the different components of the model to different machines and hit print. You can combine the pieces to make the model whole after all the devices are done. Worth mentioning is that you can pull this off with any PCs using Mac OS Mojave or Windows 7 and other newer operating systems.
The M200 model also comes with an inbuilt camera mounted inside the build volume. This gives you full remote operation capability so that you can keep an eye on your model as it prints even when you’re not close to the device.
The other connectivity options include USB, RJ45 (ethernet cable), and an SD card slot for mounting your STL files. The previous model lacked the WIFI module, so that is a big step ahead.
Whether you’re downloading a project from a third-party site or designing your own, we found the Z-suite software to be robust and fun to use. It is compatible with all standard 3D model file formats such as .stl, .obj, .3mf, or .dxf.
Once you open the model in Z-suite, you are free to make any changes you desire before saving it and slicing. The final output is a .zcodex file that you can send directly to your Zortrax printer using any of the connection means, including USB, WIFI, or ethernet.
The display is one of the major upgrades that the Zortrax M200 Plus received from the M200. The 720 x 480p touchscreen display enhances user interaction with its 5-point touch capability, allowing users to choose prints, change settings, and start/stop printing. However, the primary mode of interaction remains the Z-suite software.
The Zortrax M200 Plus is intended to be a professional plug-n-play 3D printer. Thanks to its firmware and software ecosystem, in addition to the Zortrax printing material, it is easy to get consistently high-quality prints with minimal effort.
Beginners, however, will find that the Zortrax M200 Plus is not so easy to use. From assembly to using the Z-suite slicer software to selecting print settings, it requires a high level of knowledge and skill in 3D printing to master.
The finished models can also be cumbersome to separate from the raft and support material, requiring the use of tools such as pliers to break them apart. Using the Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printer requires a lot of patience to get the best results, so it is only easy to use when it is with the right user.
However, using the touchscreen provided alongside designs on an SD card is a different story. The screen should display previews of the same, making it easier to choose the right options. Also, there may be changes to the user experience over time due to the firmware updates pushed to the device.
The Zortrax M200 is rugged and durable. However, it does require careful maintenance to keep it in perfect working condition. Zortrax has provided comprehensive resources on printer maintenance Trusted Source Maintenance Guide for Zortrax M200 Plus 3D Printer | Zortrax Support Center Learn how to properly maintain your Zortrax M200 Plus 3D printer. This article provides guidelines connected with maintenance work of the M200 Plus. support.zortrax.com and troubleshooting.
In short, maintenance primarily consists of cleaning the machine, unclogging the hotend, cleaning the perforated plate, calibration, lubrication, checking the moving parts, and replacing parts as required. It is not any more labor-intensive than other 3D printers, but it does require more careful attention.
The Zortrax M200 is a durable 3D printer that should last many years before any major problems occur. While there is no official information on the expected lifetime of the printer, there are users who have been using theirs for three or more years with no major issues.
Zortrax provides a 24-month warranty for all individual purchases and 12 months for corporate clients. The warranty covers any replacements or repairs for failure to perform as indicated, excluding any natural wear and tear as well as user errors in installation or maintenance.
The Zortrax M200 Plus is on the expensive end of the spectrum and will cost you upwards of $2,000 depending on where you buy it. You can also opt for a heat cover, which will cost an additional $200.
This makes the M200 Plus an option only for the most serious 3D printing professionals and individual enthusiasts. Its printing quality and reliability justify the price tag for those who do need such high-spec performance capabilities.
The other features of interest on the Zortrax M200 Plus include:
|The M200 Plus features exceptional detailing performance
|The Zortrax M200 Plus is expensive
|Users can operate the 3D printer remotely thanks to the connectivity capabilities, and the camera included
|The machine only works with Z-suite slicing software
|The printer is compatible with filaments from third-party producers
|It may be harder to use for beginners
|The touchscreen included is easy to use
|Maintenance is fairly complicated and needs lots of care
|The printer is built with longevity and a long lifespan in mind
|Multiple sensors in addition to the camera are included to ensure nothing goes wrong while printing
|A 24-month warranty for individual use and 12-month coverage if the machine is used for corporate endeavors
Throughout this Zortrax M200 Plus review, we have highlighted some of the major upgrades that the Zortrax M200 Plus has over the M200. These include a graphic user interface, a powerful processor, a WIFI module, two sensors, and a redesigned extruder.
The M200 Plus addresses some of the major issues voiced about the M200, including the lack of wireless connectivity and the problems many users faced with third-party filaments. This makes the M200 Plus the better option even when comparing it with models from other brands such as Ultimaker, Creality, and Prusa.
As you can see from the Zortrax M200 Plus Review above, the device is a significant step up from its predecessor, the M200. Also, it outperforms most models from competitor manufacturers, making the $2,000-plus price point worth it. Lastly, it’s one of the best machines for printing farms due to both the slicing software and the connectivity options provided.
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