M3D is making a bid to bring 3D printing to everyday consumers. Today the company is introducing the Micro, a product it claims to be the world’s "first truly consumer 3D printer." The Micro — now live (and already funded) on Kickstarter — was designed around three key principles: reliability, consistency, and accessibility. It features what M3D calls Micro Motion Technology, an auto-leveling and auto-calibration system that the company says will keep the Micro running optimally long into the future.
But the hardware improvements don't stop there. M3D is laying claim to 15 "innovations" that have come alongside the Micro's introduction. The company says it's the most space-efficient 3D printer ever made. It's also the quietest and consumes the least amount of power when compared to other products in its class. Some of the talking points are a bit silly, however; we're not sure the Micro's five exterior color options really count as an "innovation." But tinkerers will appreciated the device's replaceable print beds and nozzles. The Micro accepts PLA and ABS plastics as well the company's own Micro filament spools (or standard 1.75 mm spools).
One of the main obstacles between 3D printers and consumers has been clunky, unintuitive software. Here too, M3D promises improvements, having designed an app that’s "as interactive and enjoyable as a game" with a minimalist and touch-friendly interface. Micro owners can search for objects to print online and then organizing their 3D models into a library within the software for later reference.
But none of this would have come together if the Micro's Kickstarter campaign had fallen short. Instead, in just minutes, M3D successfully took in over $50,000 that will be used "to ramp up assembly." The company says it's been prepping for production for well over a year and hopes to have the assembly line moving smoothly sometime between August and September — backer rewards will be fulfilled and delivered by March of next year, according to M3D's timeline. $249 will get you a Micro, but you'll need to spend $899 if you want one from the first pre-production batch. At such an early stage, it's hard to gauge whether this is truly the innovative, breakthrough product that M3D is promising. 3D printers aren't exactly taking off like wildfire, but availability is expanding; you can buy one at Staples, after all. M3D says it's designed something "perfect for beginners and experts alike." The Micro's quick success on Kickstarter presents a good case that consumers might agree.